LAST UPDATE 12/31/2014....
. LA TULIPE NOIRE - "Matricide"
La Tulipe Noire was formed in Athens, Greece in 1997. Initial members: Lena on vocals, Alix (piano & keys), S. Kontakis (el. & ac. guitar), Y. Barkoulas (el. & ac. guitar), George F. (drums) and finally Hyde on bass guitar. During the same year the band recorded and released "In the Gates of Dream" through the Greek label Europa Records which was distributeed by Musea. Then Lena left the band to complete her studies in classical vocals and then George F. left the band. They were replaced by Ima on vocals and Nick Kassavetis on drums. Ima made backing vocals for various artists of mainstream music before joining the group in 1997. In 2000, La Tulipe Noire's second album "Shattered Image" was released by Musea. It met a great success around the world. Hundreds of letters and e-mails were sent with enthousiastic comments about the group. Shortly after Y. Bakoulas left the band...replaced by K. Savvides who started as "guest star" before becoming a regular member, then the group released "Faded Leaves" in 2002 with great success around the world. After a period of four years due to Kassavetis's health problems on March the 1st 2006 Musea released La Tulipe Noire's fourth album "Nostimon Hemar" which was the most successful commercial and artistic release of the group till now! After the release of "Nostimon Hemar" a series of changes came for the group. Ima left the group and she was replaced by Tatiana, which in turn was replaced by J. Massi in vocals. Guitarist K. Savides was replaced by Marios Mourmouras. Drummer Nick Kassavetis was replaced by Michael Osborn and Hyde moved to the second set of keyboards leaving space for Gavin Scott in bass guitar. La Tulipe Noire, an extraordinary Greek band, formed by five inspired and virtuous musicians, all them always developing an extraordinary range of musical experimentation and full of interesting ideas. La Tulipe Noire finds inspirations in several sources, and in their approach, we could find elements of Symphonic Progressive Rock and Neo-Progressive, the first style based from the 70's, the second one, around  the 80's, adding touchs of Melodic Progressive Metal from the first part of the 90's. Since their appearance, the band show a strong sense of melody, great musicianship, and always keeping the female vocals, despite some lineup changes, the female vocals are one of the strong points on the arrangements, that makes a big difference on the compositions, and also a tradition of the band. Their music is very melodic and symphonic, atmospheric keyboards and guitar solos are always present, combined with elegant arrangments and soundscapes designed by a remarkable bass and rhythmic drums, creating a sense of freedom, while, in some parts,  the orchestration is extremely intricate. After five edited albums, and with a delay for eleven years, La Tulipe Noire is back, with their sixth work titled as "Matricide", with sufficient maturity, La Tulipe Noire reveals the talent of a band with unlimited potential to create another masterpiece in the career of this amaxing Greek band. "Matricide" is totaly driven on female vocals, Julie Massie gives a special touch to the musical arrangements, not so aggressives, but also, not so soft, his voice has precisely and correct tone to interpret the lyrics in the songs on this album, providing a special mixture of heavy tones with symphonic testures. All the arrangements and the orchestration have a perfect balance, driven by heavy symphonic progressive instrumentals,  but also, including Prog Metal's trends, adding to this album, new elements making everything sound amazing. "Matricide" is composed by thirteen tracks, almost 60 min of pure musical delight. All tracks are amazing, there are no especial songs, all them are incredible, musically speaking, this album has an amazing production an epic and symphonic sound and the songs are equally breathtaking and mixing the best elements of Symphonic Prog Rock, Progressive Rock, Prog Metal and Neo-Progressive. Recorded and mixed at 111 Argyriou Studios, Athens. Recording & Mixing Engineer, Takis Argyriou. Additional recordings at G Studio, Athens. Add Recording Engineer: Nikos Iosiphidis. All songs written by Hyde. Vocals Designer by J. Massie. Narration by Michael Osborn. La Tulipe Noire's Digital Choir conduted by Hyde. "Earth" theme on "A Letter from Patmos" by Johann Sebastian Bach's "St John Passion", album cover art by Ed. Unitsky. This is one of those albums and band that you'll never forget from the first moment you play it in your cd player. There is one unique feeling, so ecstatic and energy and passion, so powerful that it will take you a long time to return you to your normal sense again. The main musicians on La Tulipe Noire today are: Hyde - Keyboards; Alix - Piano, Organ, Synthesizers; Julie Massie - Vocals, Vocals Designer; Marios Mourmouras - Guitars; Gavin Scott - Bass Guitar and Michael Osborn - Drums, Percussion. Brilliant, fantastic, amazing and an indispensable work, highly recommendable... (Comments by Carlos Vaz)
01/29/2014...................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit LA TULIPE NOIRE HOME PAGE...
. VIRTUEL - "Conception of Perception"
VirtueL is a Progressive Rock project of Bulgarian musician Konstantin Jambasov. Since 1986 he has taken part in several bands in Bulgaria (“Hades”, “Odesos”, “Total”, “Jekyll Hyde”, “Ametist”, & “Phobos”). In 1994 he began to work as session musician in collaboration with composer Nelko Kolarov. Jambasov released an extensive discography, including the “Clearland’s” album "Gift From Time" (2004); the Instrumental & Prog-Rock albums "Precious Experiences" (2006); "Humans and Gods" (2009); "Emotion in Motion" (2009), and "Back to the Roots" (2010); the Ethno-Rock album "Nations" (2007); and the acoustic "Jambonana" (2010), in the style of “Astor Piazzolla”, “Richard Galliano” & “Al Di Meola”. Jambasov is also author of cover-songs of famous bands, like “Kansas”, “Queen”, “Foreigner”, “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Stryper”, “Brian May”, “TNT”, “Symphony X”, “Europe”, “Triumph”, “Styx”. Jambasov’s project called VirtueL is intended to be a “www-based” band formed by a trio of Bulgarian musicians living in different parts of the world: Nick Markov from Huston, USA (keyboards, guitars), Rosen Angelov from Bracknell, UK (lead & backing vocals, acoustic guitar, bass), and Jambasov himself from Varna, Bulgaria (lead guitars, lead & backing vocals, bass, keyboards, programing). VirtueL’s first album, “I”, was released in 2011. The follow-up, titled “Conception of Perception”, was released in September 2013 under Japanese Label Orphictone Records. According to VirtueL’s musicians, their style is “Neo-Medieval Progressive Rock”. A just description for a band whose music has strong influences of Classical Music, Medieval Folkloric Music and Melodic Rock, and that is impregnated with the same grandeur of the best Symphonic Progressive Rock bands, such as “Genesis”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Emerson, Lake & Palmer”, “Mandalaband”, “Camel”, “Fruupp”, “Refugee”, “Queen”, “Twelfth Night”, “Pendragon”, “Clive Nolan”, “Pallas”, “Marillion”, “Kansas”, “Kayak”, “Triumvirat”, “Flower Kings”, “Little Tragedies”, and “Rumblin’ Orchestra”. VirtueL really surprised me with the high-quality and beauty of their symphonic music. The orchestral arrangements are opulent, grandiose, majestic, and pervaded by extraordinary instrumental work showcased in complex instrumental sequences on which abound grand pianos, neo-classical guitar solos, bombastic synths, and tuneful harmony vocals. The three musicians are masters of their instruments, and constantly engage into fearsome battles of synths, guitars and bass. The twists and turns unveil different ambiences and allow the perception of new atmospheres in the music. All is driven by melodic and emotional lead vocals that honor the British tradition. Overall, VirtueL sounds like the score-music written for an epic script. “Conception of Perception” features 14 tracks. Squeezed between the amazing instrumental intro “The Beginning” (2:14) and the final outro “Delight” (1:34), the listener will find many outstanding Progressive songs, such as the adventurous “Arguing With Shadows” (9:18) (which combines bombastic synths like “ELP” and “Triumvirat” with interventions of classical pianos, bass lines and demolition guitar playing, still having surprising harmony vocals and a final instrumental sequence that defies all criticism); the Neo-Medieval “My Portal to Heaven” (7:05) (which begins softly with acoustic guitars and soaring vocals, being embellished with fiddles, pianos, angelical violins, martial drums, ascending synths, and crowned with a great guitar solo); or the awesome “What an Old Man” (6:27) (which begins as a Folky ballad in the style of “Greg Lake” and “Kansas” – but grows powerfully towards breathtaking duels of keyboards and guitars, like “Pendragon”). Also the epic “Faraway” (5:42) (which combines futuristic ambiences with medieval guitars and classic piano parts, having a victorious feeling coming from the heroic vocals); and the Romantic ballad “Farewell to a Golden Heart” (6:19) (which combines string arrangements with baroque keyboards and moving vocal tunes), are both noteworthy songs that will please fans of “Wakeman”, “Clive Nolan”, “Kayak”, “Twelfth Night”, and “Pendragon”. Although some songs are less suitable to the Neo-Medieval tag, like “Rearranged” (3:12) and “I’m Back” (4:39) (which recall the lively and popish Melodic Hard-Rock of bands like “Europe” and “Winger”), they are not devoid of quality, and add variety to the album. Who could resist to the groovy guitars of “All Night” (3:09) – a Hard-Rock with Medieval vocals that evoke the image of a knight riding on his horse – killing with synth/guitar solos in Neo-Classical Metal style (like “Malmsteen”)? How to refuse to the appealing force of the Prog-Metal riffs of the enigmatic “Indecision” (5:30) (a dark and heavy song influenced by “Symphony X” and “Black Sabbath”); or to the power of “Off They Go” (5:04), driven by malevolent vocals, gritty keyboards, and having clever additions of church organs, timpani and neo-classical guitars? Just impossible! And as a coup de grâce, VirtueL offers two songs on which the influence of “Queen” is even stronger: “The River of Destiny” (5:51) and the final song “Conception of Perception” (4:34), which has a great instrumental sequence that closes this album superbly. “Conception of Perception” is one of best albums of the year. I became totally involved with its music, and added it to my favorites. An impressive, brilliant and indispensable work: a must-have item for fans of “Rick Wakeman”, “ELP”, “Genesis”, “Queen”, “Twelfth Night”, “Pendragon”, “Pallas”, “Marillion”, “Kansas”, “Kayak”, “Triumvirat”, “Flower Kings”, “Little Tragedies”, “Rumblin’ Orchestra”, “Clive Nolan”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in VirtueL are: Nick Markov - Keyboards, Guitars; Rosen Angelov - Lead & Backing Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Bass; Konstantin Jambasov - Lead Guitars, Keyboards, Bass, Programing, Lead & Backing Vocals. Produced by Konstantin Jambasov...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/29/2014....................................................,.....Interested to know more about the new the Band? Visit VIRTUEL HOME PAGE...
. PANDORA - "Alibi Filosofico"
Pandora was born in September 2005, Italy, when Claudio Colombo (drummer) decided to start a musical project with keyboardists Beppe Colombo and Corrado Grappeggia. Claudio Colombo, multi-instrumentalist and drummer, is the son of Beppe, a musician of long experience: The Colombo’s are voracious listeners of excellent Rock music from the Seventies and choose to start together a new musical journey. At first, their main inspiration came from the progressive rock of the 1970s - they wrote their own music drawing references from famous Progressive Rock groups originary from Italy and England. In that case, Pandora began as a group dedicated to the composition of progressive pieces - giving life first to large pieces that espouse fantasy and research sounds and melodies. The band is open to cooperation with many musicians to ensure that their musical project reaches a good conclusion. In the first years, these collaborations will not lead mainly positive results for the inconsistencies of the musical ideas, but the project of Pandora will live on. In 2008, the group registered their first CD entitled "Dramma di un Poeta Ubriaco"; it contains original songs that represent the path of Pandora's project. It does not contain "simple songs," but, through accourate research and attention to detail, the group wanted to explore various expressions of Progressive Rock from hard rock to medieval compositions, jazz and symphonic melodies. In 2011 they released their second album titled as "Sempre E Ovunque Oltre Il Sogno" (check comments about the album at PR&PM reviews 2011) considered as one of the best top 100 albuns from 2011. In fact, they show the harmony of a group that combines the emergence of Beppe's experience, the musical culture and composition of Corrado, and the talent of Claudio. Pandora is one of those new bands that emerged in the 20th century, who in a short time, become an important musical reference within the progressive rock scene of the 21 century. Since their first appearence, their music and sonority developed by the musicians on the band, travels around some musical styles, such as Progressive Rock, Prog Metal, Heavy Metal, Symphonic Prog Rock adding some touchs of Jazz Fuzion and also gently adorned by Folk elements. In fact, the band is able to take a variety of musical styles and come up with a record that is truly inventive and imaginative, with a pompous sound, similar to the bands like "Le Orme", "Locanda Delle Fate", "Yes", "King Crimson", "Quella Vecchia Locanda", "Goblin" and "Genesis", the symphonic trademark from the "New Trolls", "The Trip", "Corte Dei Miracoli", EL&P" and "Premiata Forneria Marcone", an instrumentation full of power and energy like of "Balletto Di Bronzo", "Biglietto Per L'inferno", "Dream Theater" and "Il Rovescio Della Medaglia", subtle touches from jazz like the  "Osanna" and "Deliriun". After the success of their second album, "Sempre e Ovunque Oltre il Sogno", Pandora is ready to introduce their newest work, "Alibi Filosofico", released on September 23rd, 2013. This album deserves a special attention, not only by the musical work, but also by the magnificent production. The cover was printed in three gatefold sleeve using a special paper, including a book with 32 pages, where we can hear all the lyrics, but only in Italian language (for english lyrics please check here), lineup and also all album's records informations. Apart from the excellent musical performance of the three main musicians from the band, on this album, of course, also it was the special musical contribution with the guest musicians such as David Jackson - "Van Der Graaf Generator", Arjen Anthony Lucassen - "Ayreon" and Dino Fiore - "Il Castello di Atlante", adding to this project, many different musical conceptions, creating a different atmosphere around some of the compositions. "Alibi Filosofico" features seven tracks, totalling 59 minutes of a pure musical delight. In my opinion, "Alibi Filosofico" have a big musical soundscape and pretty much all tracks are amazing, so picking some favorites songs is almost impossible, as it the musical arrangements change with every song, even so, I have to mention my choose and preference to the tracks "Il Necromante, Khurastos e la Prossima Vittima", the music is performed in a mildly aggressive pace especially on guitars and drums. "Né Titolo Né Parole", deserves a special mention, totally melodic with symphonic and epic passages including evangelicals vocals, arrangements are dominated by keyboards and guitar solos. "Apolo", at the beginning of this track, some parts it tends to jazz fusion including folk touches, however, soon afterwards, the arrangements are involved in a esperimental and symphonic atmosphere, something like a soundtrack to a film by "Dario Argento". "Sempre con Me" is fully driven by the vocals, sung in Italian, guitars and keyboards also dominating the arrangements, the rhythm follows the line of some bands of the 70s, such as "Le Orme", "Locanda Delle Fate", "The Trip", "Genesis", "Yes" and the other on the same line. The album closes, this musical journey, with the track "Alibi Filosofico", an epic and symphonic sound, where the musicianship is of an unquestionably high calibre, once more in the line of soundtracks, as on all tracks, the vocals are sung in Italian, I believe that "Alibi Filosofico" is the best track on the album, where the arrangements are dominated by incredible guitar's sounds, perfect vocals and angelic backing vocals, atmospheric keyboards, with a powerful  arrangement, where everything is perfect. This album is amazing; the music, the arrangements, the words and lyrics, the musicians, the art and illustrations of the cd...it's the whole package. Though with a lot of musical variety displayed on Pandora band, this band's music certainly will please to a large prog rock audience. It is so nice to hear a meeting of musicians, who not afraid to take chances and push their musical limits while still retaining an accessibility that many fans of this kind of Progressive Rock music needs to hear forever. The main musicians on Pandora band are: Beppe Colombo - Keyboards; Claudio Colombo - Drums, Electric Bass, Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Classica Guitar, Puerto Rican Cuatro, Keyboards, Orchestral Flute, Chorus; Corrado Grappeggia - Vocals, Chorus and keyboards. Guest Musicians - David Jackson (Van Der Graaf Generator) - Saxophones; Arjen A. Lucassen (Ayreon, Star One, Guilt Machine) - Minimoog and Electric Guitar Solo on "Né Titolo Né Parole"; Dino Fiore (Il Castello di Atlante) - Bass; Leonardo Gallizio - Bass; Duilio Mongittu - The Voice Of Apollo, Emoni Viruet - Vocals, Chorus, Percussions and Meldreth School Children (Jamie Arif, TJ Forman & Matthew Betts) - Soundbeam & Switches; Meldreth School Children - Jamie Arif, TJ Forman & Matthew Betts - Soundbeam & Switches; Leonardo Gallizio - Electric Bass, Fretless Bass; Emoni Viruet - Vocals, Chorus, Percussions and Duilio Mongittu - Voice of “Apollo”. Brilliant, amazing and fantastic band and an indispensable work, highly recommendable...  (Comments by Carlos Vaz)
01/29/2014...............................If you want know more about this amazing band and its members, visit PANDORA HOME PAGE...
. TIME GRID - "Life"
Time Grid is a Swiss & French Progressive Metal band composed of professional musicians with different backgrounds in Jazz, Classical, Experimental, Pop and Metal. Their goal is to create open-minded Prog-Metal that goes beyond the common boundaries. Time Grid was born in 2001 at the ETM (École des Technologies Musicales of Geneva), when Steve Huber (guitars), Rémi Poussier (drums) & Yves Marguet (bass) played together in Christophe Matthey's Metal Workshop. They were joined by Mathias Reuser (keyboards & vocals). Between 2001 and 2004 the band prepared material for a first album, but the departure of bassist Yves Marguet delayed their plans. Time Grid stood by until 2006, when their line-up finally solidified with the coming of keyboardist Raphael Sudan, new bassist Pierre Sottas, and female singer Laetitia Fontannaz. Rehearsals followed on, and in January 2009 Time Grid made their first live show at the ETM's 25th birthday in Geneva. Present in the audience was a guy named Tim, who owned a professional studio and offered Time Grid to record an album for free. The recording of “Life” then began in July 2009, but after one and a half year, Tim did not managed to finish the mixing process due to his busy schedule. Meanwhile, band member Rémi Poussier had built his own home studio, and so took charge of the mixing. But some guitar parts were lost during uploading and had to be recorded again, causing a discrepancy on the sound that hindered all the process. The mixing finished in 2012 and Christophe Matthey (Royal Studio, Lausanne) took charge of the mastering. So, after years of misfortune, delay, joy, frustration, fun, and passion, “Life” was finally released on January 21st 2013. Time Grid’s multiple musical influences (ranging from Rock & Fusion acts to Classical composers such as “Dream Theater”, “Pain of Salvation”, “Queen”, “Simon Phillips”, “Steve Vai”, “Rachmaninov”, “Prokofiev”, “Schostakovitch”, “Tchaikovsky”, “John Williams”) go straight into the band’s melting pot, together with references to heroic fantasy, science fiction, comics, and life itself, resulting in an unusual and fresh Prog-Metal sound. The vocal duos performed by Mathias Reusser & Laetitia Fontannaz are a trade mark of the band, and guide the songs through hidden passages into diverse musical styles, from Progressive to Melodic Rock, Jazz and Pop (recalling the metamorphosing sonority of “Pain of Salvation”). The excellent rhythmic section and odd-time signatures provided by bassist Pierre Sottas and drummer Rémi Poussier follow the singers on their adventure, and at the same time provide a powerful support for Steve Huber’s versatile playing (his guitar licks recall “Brian May”, “Vai”, “Phillips”, and “John Petrucci”). The final touch comes from the double-attack of Reusser & Raphaël Sudan on keyboards, mixing Classical, Heavy-Fusion, and Prog-Metal. “Life” features 8 tracks. “Deceit” (08:31) opens up the album with a “Dream Theater” instrumental verve, but the subsequent alternation of male-female vocals and twists to Jazz-Fusion parts (which recall “Vai” and “Phillips”) show that Time Grid has a singular sonority to offer to the listener. The songs “Emptiness” (10:41) and “Forsaken” (06:23) (not a cover of “DT”) are soaring Prog-Metal pieces that begin with emotional vocal parts and epic moments, but that grow heavier with abundant keyboards and guitars – being both recommended for fans of “Rush”, “DT”, “Enchant”, “Everon”, and “Sieges Even”. The album’s heaviest tracks - “Me” (06:04) and “Premices” (06:09) - are also highlights: “Me” has cinematic rhythmic twists, experimental vocals, complex instrumental parts, and amazing pianos, having a stronger influence of “Pain of Salvation”; while “Premices” is a vigorous instrumental Metal-Fusion that showcases wild solos of the entire band, recalling a mix of “Jordan Rudess”, “Vai”, and “DT”. But as Time Grid does not rely upon aggressiveness only, they also play melodic ballads like “Blind” (06:14), on which the male-female duo performs in a Broadway style, followed by acoustic guitars and amazing pianos; and the enigmatic nocturne “Zephir” (05:56), a ballad for piano and voice that recalls the sad mood of few songs of “Queen”. The band retakes the aggressive Prog-Metal style on the last track “Escape” (10:03) – a dark epic song having paranoid instrumentation suffocated in dense psychedelic atmospheres that recall “Dream Theater” (albums “Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence” or “Scenes From a Memory”). With a thrilling and ambitious approach to Prog-Metal, Time Grid has produced an excellent debut album and promises to be a leading act on the Swiss-French Metal scene. Time Grid’s “Life” is highly recommendable for fans of “Syrens Call”, “Adagio”, “Dream Theater”, “Pain of Salvation”, “Symphony X”, “Liquid Tension”, “Simon Phillips”, “Steve Vai”, “Rush”, “Enchant”, “Everon”, “Sieges Even” and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Time Grid are: Mathias Reusser - Vocals, Keyboards, Compositions; Laetitia Fontannaz - Vocals; Steve Huber - Guitars, Compositions; Raphaël Sudan - Keyboards; Pierre Sottas - Bass; Rémi Poussier - Drums. Former member: Yves Marguet - Bass. Album Produced, Engineered & Mixed by Time Grid; Mastered by Christophe Matthey at Royal Studio, Lausanne...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/29/2014..........................;..............Want to learn everything about the band and their history, go to TIME GRID HOME PAGE...
. SARASTRO BLAKE - "New Progmantics"
Sarastro Blake is a Progressive Rock project created by Paolo Pigni - an Italian musician who began to take guitar lessons in 1974 from a teacher who was involved with band “New Trolls”. After discovering “Yes”, he moved to bass and began to play on a band called “Black Out”. In the mid 80's he released his first solo album titled “Lonely Days” (produced by “Tiziano Cantatore”), which featured guitarist “Riccardo Zappa”, session man “Mark Harris” (“Fabrizio De Andrè”, “Pino Daniele”, “Al Jarreau”), and members of the “Eros Ramazzotti's” band. In early 90's he released an album called “The Barrett of The Drake”, on which he played all instruments. In 2000 Pigni was playing bass with the “Celtic Harp Orchestra” with Luca Briccola, who in 2008 invited Pigni to join in his band “Mogador” (with two releases in 2009 and 2010). In the autumn of 2011 Pigni started a solo project called Sarastro Blake. When he had enough songs for a full-length album, he asked Luca Briccola to step into the project, as arranger, producer and player. Recordings began in January 2012, but as Pigni intended to make Sarastro Blake a collaborative project rather than a traditional solo album, he began to contact other musicians who could add their own contributions via Internet. Pigni dragged many luminaries of the Progressive world into the project. Names of the stature of Rick Wakeman, Dave LawsonGreenslade”), David PatonAllan Parsons Project”, “Camel”, “Fish”), Richard SinclairCaravan”), Billy SherwoodCirca:”, “Yes”, “Conspiracy”), and Nick Magnus & Amanda LehmannSteve Hackett”) joined forces with a line-up formed by Paolo Pigni (bass, acoustic guitars, vocals), Luca Briccola (guitars, keyboards, flutes & backing vocals), Filippo Pedretti (violin), Mirko Soncini (drums), and additional singers: Serena Bossi & Marco Carenzio (“Trewa”) and Richard Allen. Their collective effort resulted in Sarastro Blake’s debut, titled “New Progmantics” (2013, Mentalchemy Records). The music is an extraordinary blend of highly melodic Symphonic Progressive Rock with elements of Medieval Neo-Progressive Rock & Progressive Folk, with strong influences of “Genesis”, “Camel”, “Caravan”, “Fruupp”, “Greenslade”, “Yes”, “Steve Hackett”, “Anthony Phillips”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Renaissance”, “Curved Air”, “Illusion”, “Solstice”, “Jethro Tull”, “The Moody Blues”, “Premiata Forneria Marconi”, “Marillion”, “Pendragon”, “Pallas”, “IQ”, and “The Enid”. “New Progmantics” has 11 tracks. The highlights go to the longest ones, which are orchestrated with thick instrumental layers of pianos, keyboards and soaring guitars that alternate with tuneful vocals. “The Lady Of Shalott” (8:34) is super melodic and has a tasty combination of classic vocals, soaring Medieval keyboards and folky violins that altogether recall the inspiring music of “Genesis”, “Camel”, “Caravan”, & “Curved Air”. “Scotland, The Place” (5:39) has pastoral passages that reminded me of “PFM”, “Jethro Tull”, “Caravan”, but embellished with Dave Lawson’s dreamy electric piano. “Stanzas For Music” (10:17) is the most symphonic track of the record, being divided in three segments: “a) The Say That Hope is Happiness”, “b) On The Bust of Helen by Casanova”, & “c) Reflect the Nature”. It has strong influences of “Renaissance” and “Rick Wakeman” (“Wakeman” himself played the piano parts), but segments “b” & “c” compose a long instrumental sequence that features amazing interplay of guitar & keyboards, reminiscent of “Greenslade”, “Fruupp”, and “Pendragon”. Finally “Flaming June” (9:49) is driven by a soft jazzy pace, being marked by pianos played by Pigni and by bluesy female backing vocals, bringing to mind some songs of “Pink Floyd”. Guest musician Billy Sherwoodadds really cool keyboards and soaring guitars to this song – and his performance is not brief! In alternation to those longest tracks, there are some Folk ballads that are mainly driven by acoustic guitars and female vocals: “Sonnet 116” (2:27) is performed by Serena Bossi and recalls bands like “Renaissance”, “Solstice”, and “Illusion”; while “Prelude To The Highlands” (2:07) & “My Heart's In The Highlands” (3:48) have Amanda Lehmann on lead vocals, and additional flutes and medieval percussion in the style of “Steve Hackett” and “Anthony Phillips”. “Solitary Bench” (3:11) is also folky, but is sung by a male voice, recalling “The Moody Blues”. The remaining tracks add some diversity to the record: “Clare's Song” (3:31) begins slightly popish, but with the coming of powerful bass and outstanding guitar solo it becomes a song with “80’s Yes” verve. “Remember” (3:14), with David Sinclair on bass and vocals, shows the same lively disposition of “Caravan’s” “gray & pink” style, and contrasts with the melancholic “Beyond” (3:15), which has beautiful clean guitars, keyboards, and bass. Sarastro Blake’s album is really outstanding, offering to the listener the most wonderful Progressive Music – with melody, emotion, quality, and something else. Indispensable for fans of “Genesis”, “Caravan”, “Camel”, “Greenslade”, “Steve Hackett”, “Anthony Phillips”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Yes”, “Curved Air”, “Renaissance”, “Illusion”, “Solstice”, “Jethro Tull”, “Fruupp”, “Marillion”, “Pendragon”, “Pallas”, “IQ”, “The Enid”, “Gray Lady Down”, “Mr. So & So”, “PFM”, “Narrow Pass”, “Flower Kings”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Sarastro Blake are: Paolo Pigni - Acoustic & Electric Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Nylon String Guitar, Vocals, Piano on “Flaming June”; Luca Briccola - Guitars, Keyboards, Percussion, Orchestration, Flutes & Backing Vocals, Bass on “The Lady Of Shalott”; Mirko Soncini - Drums; Richard Allen - Additional Vocals; Serena Bossi - Additional Vocals; Marco Carenzio - Additional Vocals. Guest musicians: Nick Magnus - Keyboards on "The Lady Of Shalott"; Filippo Pedretti - Violin on "The Lady Of Shalott"; Dave Lawson - Electric Piano on "Scotland, The Place"; Serena Bossi - Vocals on "Sonnet 116"; Rick Wakeman - Piano on "Stanzas For Music"; David Paton - Vocals on "Stanzas For Music"; Amanda Lehmann - Vocals on "My Heart's In The Highlands"; Richard Sinclair - Vocals & Bass on "Remember"; Billy Sherwood - Keyboards & Guitars on "Flaming June". Produced, Recorded & Mixed at the “Mentalchemy Dungeon Studio” in 2012 by Luca Briccola. Graphic Design by Luca Briccola. Front cover photo courtesy of “Iconic-images” (Christopher Colquhoun): homage to the painting “Flaming June” by Lord Frederick Leighton, model Ivory Flame...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/29/2014.................................Want to learn more about the musicians and the band, go to SARASTRO BLAKE HOME PAGE...
. PERSONA GRATA - "Reaching Places High Above"
Persona Grata is a Progressive Rock group formed in 1999 in Bratislava (Slovakia) by Adam Kuruc (keyboards) and Martin Huba (lead guitar). The band had different line-up formations and the musical direction evolved according to the tastes of its members. Being influenced by groups such as “Yes”, “Jethro Tull”, “Dream Theater”, “Meshuggah” and “Muse”, Persona Grata decided to stick to the Progressive Rock genre, which “holds up the greatest freedom of musical expression”. Persona Grata has then developed a sound focused on melody, complex rhythmic structure and odd-time grooves combined with raw energy, offering fresh and enticing Progressive music that will certainly be approved by the most exigent audiences. The group started to work on a debut album - “Reaching Places High Above” - a couple of years ago. The recording process involved the constant rethinking of the arrangements, with addition or elimination of layers and parts, until a demo version was finished and delivered for professional mix & mastering. “Reaching Places High Above” was officially released in August 2013. The album’s line-up formed with Martin Stavrovsk? (vocals, guitar), Jana Vargová (flute, vocals), Martin Huba (lead guitar), Adam Kuruc (keyboards), Timo Strieš (bass), and Ján Šteno (drums). “Reaching Places High Above” established Persona Grata as one of the best Prog-Rock projects around Slovakia, being very well received by reviewers and Progressive Rock fans. With 6 tracks, “Reaching Places…” is a super-solid album featuring amazing vocal and instrumental solo performances that collectively converge to a creative center that concentrates the most brilliant and superb Progressive music. Although on several moments the band plays wildly and heavily – either approaching the complex Prog-Metal stylistics of “Dream Theater”, or verging the Extreme-Metal brutally of “Meshuggah’s” instrumentation – there are also many parts that contain symphonic harmonies, melodic tunes and soft vocals, suggesting that the tag “Progressive-Metal” may be inappropriate to describe Persona Grata’s musical style, even an oversimplification of their hybrid sound, which is difficult to compare to regular standards. Take for example the opening track “Ace” (7:03). The first heavy guitar chords introduce us to a singer who has an incredible Hard-Rock kind of voice: Martin Stavrovsk?. Although influenced by “Robert Plant” and “Ian Gillan”, his groovy voice recalls me more of “Chris Cornell” (“Soundgarden”), “Layne Staley” (“Alice In Chains”) and “Eddie Vedder” (“Pearl Jam”). All song is cadenced, and a Fusion spice is also felt on the guitars. The final instrumental segment is accelerated, like some of “Dream Theater’s” recent songs. Yet the second track, “Edge Of Insanity” (12:18), begins lightly, with flutes and male-female duo singing softly, and driven by a bass like “Yes”. A twist introduces a psychotic part that recalls “Dream Theater”, but that is calmed down again by flutes and the soft vocals. This alternation of contrasts progresses until reaching a segment that recalls me of the Canterbury style (because of the flutes and bass), and also of the sound of “Anglagard”, reaching a beautiful climax with well-crafted guitar solos, flutes and Neo-Progressive melodies (recalling “Marillion”). Persona Grata changes skin again on the instrumental set composed of the tracks “Istanbul” (2:54) & “Orient Express” (9:31). The first is driven by ethnic Arabian percussion and introduces the other, a kind of Arabian-Metal divided in three parts: the first is delivered with a vertiginous speed – the solo work of both guitar and keyboards is just amazing, as well as the interlocked bass and drums on the ground, with flutes erupting from nowhere. The second part is more Progressive, having interludes with classical pianos, fantastic guitar solos, and oriental flutes; and the third is a Slovakian folkloric dance, furiously played on a cathartic “Avant-garde Metal” mode. The final musical set is composed of the tracks “Venice” (1:04), a Baroque harpsichord intro, and “I Am You” (14:10). The last one is the most Progressive song of the album, and combines cascades of classical pianos with bombastic symphonic arrangements. Vocals (male/female) are melodic, emotional, and dreamy. Some heavy parts follow on, but overall the song is dramatic and epic, growing with the windy sounds of synths, neo-classical guitars, and soaring keyboards that announce the final climax, crowned with heroic guitar solo. All those contrasts recall me of bands like “Muse”, “Ayreon”, “Pendragon”, “Adventure”, endorsing Persona Grata’s “Reaching Places High Above” as an outstanding and indispensable item for fans of Heavy Progressive Rock & Progressive Metal in general. After the album’s release, founding members A. Kuruc (whom was offered a position in the film & game industry) and M. Huba (in solo career) left the band. They were replaced by Matej Miklos (keyboards) and Peter Luha (guitars). Persona Grata immediately started to work on the following album – the new single “Forevermore” showcases their new sound with the new formation – check them out! Band members and collaborators involved in Persona Grata are: Martin Stavrovsk - Vocals, Rhythm Guitar; Jana Vargová - Flute, Vocals; Martin Huba - Solo Guitar; Adam Kuruc - Keyboards; Timo Strieš - Bass; Ján Šteno - Drums. New Members: Peter Luha - Lead Guitar; Matej Miklos - Keyboards, Compositions. Music, Lyrics and Production by Persona Grata; Mixing and Mastering by Michal Koleják...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/29/2014...................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit PERSONA GRATA HOME PAGE...
. THE MORGANATICS - "Never Be Part of Your World"
The Morganatics is an Alternative & Melodic-Rock band from Paris, France. The group gathered together in April 2012 around a core-trio formed by Sébastien (vocals, rhythm guitars, keyboards), Chris (female vocals), and Niko VD (drums); being completed with Lauris Braka (lead & acoustic guitars) and Mark Cruz Teix (bass). The Morganatics are bonded by a common goal – to make this musical project the center of their lives, even if it means sacrificing everything else. At the facilities of the Ongaku Studio, and with help of Bill Bastiani (co-vocalist of band “Enhancer” and producer of The Morganatics’ EP “Grains of Sand”), all the elements were fused together to bring this band to life. The Morganatics have then managed to record a full-length album for the independent French label M&O Music. Entitled “Never Be Part of Your World”, it was released on 28 October, 2013, featuring 11 tracks. The strength of The Morganatics relies on the melodic, but intense, sound that they create, underlined by Sébastien’s meaningful lyrics and in association with the personal melancholic and sensual image of the group. The Morganatics intend to enter into unexplored fields of the Rock World, digging deeper into the human aspects of life and soul. Their influences come from bands like “Anathema”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Alice In Chains”, “Metallica”, “Blackfield”, “Placebo”, “Muse”, “Pink Floyd”, and “Sixx AM”, but I found their sound to have a great resemblance with “Linkin Park”, and also with “Lacuna Coil” and “Evanescence”. The Morganatics is a solid band that delivers music which is both powerfully compacted and emotional. Guitarists Sébastien & Lauris Braka expel heavy riffs from their axes with aggressiveness, drummer Niko is an inexhaustible power plant, and bassist Mark Teix fill in the empty spaces with a matrix of rocky bass lines that keep the instrumentation tightly interlocked. The band evolves then by contrasts – the highly energetic parts are soothed down by Sébastien & Chris’ melodic vocals – sometimes soaring and confessional, other times anguished and raging – and often accompanied by pianos. “Never Be Part of Your World” contains 11 tracks. Along the album, The Morganatics never let it down, even on the softest passages. The power and vigor of this group and their ability to make music based on significant contrasts are felt from the beginning, on the most straightforward songs like “The Great Deceiver” (4:40) (that recalls “Linkin Park” with a killer guitar solo), “Sand (As Children Say)” (4:21), and “Come With Me” (6:10) (which is driven by furious Thrash Metal guitars soothed by interludes of “Placebo”-like vocals, keyboard effects, and acoustic guitars). The attack continues later with “Little Finger Syndrome” (5:38), an entrancing song driven by electronic beats, awesome guitar riffs and great vocal tunes, having a touch of “Anathema” and “Muse”. Under a Progressive point of view, the best songs are “Drag Me To Hell” (5:50) and “Echoes From The Womb” (10:33). “Drag…” is more like a soaring and dreamy ballad, intervened by great guitar riffs, and crowned with great guitar solo at the end; while “Echoes…” is a masterpiece, a long song that evolves progressively from melancholy to rage, recalling “Porcupine Tree” and “Anathema”. But the most emotional and melancholic facets of The Morganatics are shown only on the ballads that are scattered along the album. My favorites are “Fade Away” (6:25) – more Gothic in style, strongly emotional and tending to a heavier and epic final part – and the chained tracks “Three-Leaf Clover Girl” (3:36) & “Pro-Mia” (7:14) – “Three-Leaf…” being a piano ballad with string arrangements driven by innocent angelical vocals and immersed in a ghostly atmosphere that grows still more dramatic, romantic, and fairish on “Pro-Mia”. The remaining ballads are “Fly” (5:20) – which is more psychedelic, ending with a heavier part (recalling “Muse”), and the last track, “Ready” (4:49), which is more like a Melodic-Rock ballad with a touch of Folk. Summing all up, “Never Be Part of Your World” is a solid and cohesive album by The Morganatics - a new young band that already makes a mature sound, and that still has great strength to go farther. If you like energized bands with a modern melancholic touch, which recall “Anathema”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Linkin Park”, “Lacuna Coil”, “Evanescence”, “Blackfield”, “Placebo”, “Muse”, “Pink Floyd”, or “Sixx AM”, The Morganatics are highly recommended for you. Band members and collaborators involved in The Morganatics are: Sébastien “Seb” - Vocals, Rhythm Guitars, Keyboards; Chris - Female Vocals; Lauris Braka - Lead & Acoustic Guitars; Mark Cruz Teix - Bass; Niko VD – Drums...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/29/2014........................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Then you must visit THE MORGANATICS HOME PAGE...
. FABIO ZUFFANTI - "La Quarta Vittima"
Fabio Zuffanti is a prolific Italian musician from Genoa. He has been active since 1994, appearing as bassist, composer, solo artist and band-leader on over 40 albums of many groups and projects which were either founded, or coordinated by him (“Finisterre”, “Maschera Di Cera”, “Höstsonaten”, “Aries”, “Quadraphonic”, “Rohmer”, “R.u.g.h.e”, “laZona”, “L’Ombra Della Sera”). With his groups & projects he has toured in Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Portugal, United States, and Mexico. Zuffanti has also collaborated with other musicians and major producers in Italy, wrote Soundtracks, and composed two Rock Operas (“Merlin” and “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”). In 2012 Zuffanti published the book "O Casta Musica" (which originated an eponymous blog at the Internet), and became artistic producer for Mirror Records (associated to BTF), releasing the bands “Unreal City” (featured at PR&PM) and “Oxhuitza”. In the meantime, Zuffanti worked as DJ & VJ, presenting his show “Astrolabio”. Along his career, Zuffanti has composed music that spans across many genres: Progressive Rock, Pop, Singer-songwriter, Electronic, Folk, Jazz, Ambient, Celtic, and Classical. In 2006 he started a solo career dedicated to his eclectic and personal musical view. Initially, his music blended the songwriter and electronic styles, which he developed along the albums “Pioggia e Luce” (EP, 2007), “Fabio Zuffanti” (2009), “Ghiaccio” (2010), and “La Foce Del Ladrone” (2011). On his new album, entitled “La Quarta Vittima” (“The Fourth Victim”), Zuffanti returns to his favorite genre - Progressive Rock. Released on January 15, 2014, by AMS Records, “La Quarta Vittima” is a concept album with lyrics inspired on Michael Ende's book “The Mirror in the Mirror”. The extensive line-up features many of Zuffanti’s collaborators - Agostino Macor & Laura Marsano (“La Maschera di Cera”), keyboardist Emanuele Tarasconi (“Unreal City”) – and others (see list below). The album has 7 tracks, and the music covers diverse Progressive styles, including the Dark & Heavy Prog, Psychedelic & Space-Prog, Zeuhl, Neo-Prog, and the Italian Prog-Rock, having a resemblance to bands like “Finisterre”, “Maschera Di Cera”, “Höstsonaten”, “Runaway Totem”, “Goblin”, “Presence”, “Magma”, “Universal Totem Orchestra”, “Delirium”, “Museo Rosenbach”, “Le Orme”, “Panna Fredda”, “Il Paese dei Balocchi”, “Il Tempio Delle Clessidre”, “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, “ELP”, “Porcupine Tree”. Although there is a predominance of dark tones, psychedelic ambiences, and expressionist gothic atmospheres, the music is often brightened with the solo peformances of all musicians involved in the project, who keep the instrumental parts equilibrated between slow melancholic interludes and fast aggressive intermissions. Also outstanding is the textural richness of the music: Rhodes pianos, Hammonds, Mellotrons, sax, flutes, violins, vibraphones, Theremin, and trombones harmonically coexist with the customary guitars, bass, drums, synths and vocals. “La Quarta Vittima” begins with “Non Posso Parlare Più Forte” (11:57) – an impressive and nuanced track that blends Zeuhl’s hypnotic rhythms and vibrant bass with Psychedelic & Space-Rock ambiences that are delineated by echoing vocals. The instrumental highlights include the amazing flutes, the trippy guitar solo, and the Dark-Prog sequence with Mellotrons and sax. “La Certezza Impossibile” (7:28) is introduced by echoing guitars & bass and cosmic sound-effects, recalling early “Pink Floyd”. A psychedelic song most of the time, it combines surreal floating flutes and fantastic jazzy sax with clean guitars and monochordic vocals, reaching a climax with the keyboards. “L’Interno Di Un Volto” (6:43) is a Heavy-Prog piece delivered with powerful guitars, and having dramatic interludes for the coming of male-female vocals intervened by amazing saxophones – all leading to a magnificent epic final! “La Quarta Vittima” (4:38) is more lively, and concentrates Baroque keyboards in the beginning , being driven later by groovy bass and soaring flutes, entering in a Jazz-Rock domain that is crowned with great guitar solo. A Zeuhl flesh finishes this song, introducing the awesome “Sotto Un Cielo Nero” (9:04). Dark and slow it progresses mysteriously, like a trip to the ancient Egypt, among phantomic Mellotrons and sax – and accelerates with vertiginous jazzy pianos followed by equally fast bass & drums; and still offers a thick layer of keyboards (like “ELP”) and a beautiful Gothic-Romantic violin solo! “Il circo brucia” (7:30) is a heavy Zeuhl track: the mechanic rhythm is surrounded by space sounds of sax and gloomy choirs, leading to a tortuous guitar solo (recalling “King Crimson”) and to a stormy Heavy-Metal climax! Finally, on “Una Sera d’Inverno” (7:42), Zuffanti slowly connects patches of minimalistic pianos, poignant violins, whispering vocals, and introspective bass notes to build up a soaring song that explodes into the most gorgeous Neo-Prog guitar solo ever! Really an outstanding, brilliant and surprising album by Zuffanti, “La Quarta Vittima” is my choice for “One of best albuns for 2014”, and a must-have item to the Progressive Rock fans that have a penchant for “Finisterre”, “Maschera Di Cera”, “Höstsonaten”, “L’Ombra Della Sera”, “Presence”, “Universal Totem Orchestra”, “Runaway Totem”, “Goblin”, “Museo Rosenbach”, “Delirium”, “Le Orme”, “Il Paese Dei Balocchi”, “Panna Fredda”, “Goad”, “Il Tempio Delle Clessidre”, early “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Magma”, “Dün”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, and so on ... Band members and collaborators involved in Zuffanti are: Fabio Zuffanti - Samples, Loops, Casio, Clavicembalo, Bass pedals, Vocals; Saverio Malaspina - Drums, Loops & Percussion (on “La certezza impossibile”, “L'interno di un volto”, “La quarta vittima” & “Una sera d'inverno”), Loops (on “Sotto un cielo nero”); Paolo “Paolo” Tixi - Drums (on “Non posso parlare più forte” & “Il circo brucia”); Enzo Zirilli  - Drums (on “Sotto un cielo nero”); Riccardo Barbera - Electric & Fretless Bass, Counterbass; Laura Marsano - Electric & Acoustic Guitars; Emanuele Tarasconi - Piano, Fender Rhodes, Hammond organ, Minimoog; Alberto Tafuri - Piano, Fender Rhodes, Hammond organ, Synths (on “Sotto un cielo nero”); Gian Marco “Pantera” Pietrasanta - Sax & Flute; Fabio Biale - Violin; Luca Scherani - Vibraphone & Glockenspiel; Agostino Macor - Theremin; Rossano “Rox” Villa - Mellotron, Clavinet, Synths, Space Echo, Clavicembalo, Fender Rhodes, Trombone; Carlo Carnevali – Choir; Simona Angioloni – Choir. Credits: Music & Lyrics by Fabio Zuffanti (inspired on “The Mirror in the Mirror” by Michael Ende); Arrangements by Fabio Zuffanti & Rossano Villa. Album Recorded at the Hilary Studio. Engeneering, Mixing, and Artistic Direction: Rossano Villa; Mastering: Marco Lacchini (Audiomaster Studio); Produced by Matthias Scheller for AMS Records; Cover by Eugenio Crippa...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/29/2014...................Interested to know more about this great musician and his projcts? Visit FABIO ZUFFANTI HOME PAGE...
. AIRBAG - "The Greatest Show on Earth"
The Norwegian Progressive Rock quintet Airbag is back to PR&PM again (see under “Reviews 2010”). The group was formed in Oslo in 2004 by Asle Tostrup (vocals, guitar), Bjørn Riis (lead guitar), Jørgen Hagen (keyboards), Anders Hovdan (bass), and first drummer Joachim Slikker, who was replaced in early 2010 by Henrik Fossum (drums). Airbag gathered their fan base via Internet, and since 2007 has been acting alive, playing at festivals and supporting bands such as “Marillion”, “Pineapple Thief”, “Riverside”, “RPWL”, “Gazpacho”, and “Anathema”. Airbag’s first EPs - “Come On In” (2004), “Sounds That I Hear” (2006), and “Safetree” (2008) - were freely offered on the band’s website and had over 230.000 downloads within a few months. This phenomenon led Airbag to sign a contract with Norwegian Label Karisma Records, what resulted in the release of their full-length albums “Identity” (2009, reviewed at PR&PM) and “All Rights Removed” (2011). The later was a conceptual album, featuring longer pieces and dramatic instrumentation, and was awarded as “Best Prog Release of the Year 2011” for six times, thus solidifying Airbag’s reputation among fans and press. After those two successful albums, Airbag teamed up with sound engineer and co-producer Vegard Sleipnes to raise their music to the next level on a new album, titled “The Greatest Show on Earth” (2013, Karisma Records). The record took 18 months to be finished – a necessary time span for achieving the desired musical quality – and is now available on CD & Vinyl, containing 6 tracks. Lyrics discuss social topics concerning the feelings of alienation, manipulation, and authority distrust that are being experienced by modern men. Airbag’s music is still melodic, atmospheric, and a bit melancholic, aggregating sonorities that recall bands like “Pink Floyd”, “No Man”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “Marillion” (of “Hogarth” phase), “RPWL”, “Gazpacho”, “David Sylvian”, “Nosound”, “Radiohead”, “Sigur Rós” and “Chroma Key”. But their rhythmic section has improved since the coming of H. Fossum, who injected more stamina into the band’s sound, demanding more power from the two guitarists and at the same time counterbalancing Hovdan’s fluidal bass. This new textural shell is felt on the two initial tracks - “Surveillance” (part 1) (02:23) & “Redemption” (07:02) – the heaviest parts of which are reminiscent of the wildest sounds of “Riverside”, “Gazpacho” and “Porcupine Tree” - but retaining Airbag’s original essence. This change is also realized on the title track “The Greatest Show on Earth” (07:02), on which Airbag’s invests in contrasts: Fossum’s versatile drumming allied to Tostrup’s melodic and poignant vocals evoke the Alternative Rock sound of names like “Coldplay” and “David Sylvian”, while being intermingled to heavier guitar passages driven by Riis’ hovering solos – a trademark of Airbag’s sound. But the greatest advance is perceived on the song structure as a whole. More than on their previous works, Airbag has on the new album focused more carefully on arrangements, creating marvelous atmospheric soundscapes and reaching a perfect equilibrium between emotional themes and sensitive solo work – the ultimate goal of any Prog-Rock band. Beginning with the soaring ballad “Silence Grows” (05:54) – which amalgamates the souds of “Pink Floyd” and “Marillion” – Airbag’s musicians give a lesson in Progressive style, keeping the song growing steadily by adding successive layers of Hammonds, acoustic guitars, synths, and soulful guitar solos. They follow on with the amazing “Call Me Back” (11.15) – a very emotional and melancholic song that recalls the cool style of “David Sylvian” on the vocal parts, but which is most of the time centered on Riis’ guitar playing: he has become even more ambitious as a soloist, able to construct long solos that border the delicate style of “David Gilmour”, as well as the hovering chords of “Steve Rothery”. All his performance evolves within relaxing and dreamy arrangements – achieving the excellence on the final movement, when he enterprises a trippy journey in companion to magnificent bass lines and delicate keyboards – all paralleling the most recent works of “Pink Floyd”, “Marillion”, and “Porcupine Tree”. Airbag finishes the album with “Surveillance” (parts 2-3) (16:45) – a magnum opus that steps back in time to bring from oblivion the psychedelic sound of “Pink Floyd’s” albums “Meddle”, “Wish You Were Here”, and “Dark Side of the Moon”. Hagen’s performance on keyboards is outstanding, as he creates lysergic soundscapes that confront Riis’ longest guitar solos. But “Surveillance” is not a retro-psychedelic song at all, for it holds the most aggressive instrumental sequences (as heavy as modern acts “Riverside” and “Gazpacho”), which make a strong contrast against the surreal musical background. Summing up, “The Greatest Show On Earth” is the epitome of Airbag’s sound, and establishes a new standard for the band to work on in the future: highly recommended for fans of Soaring & Atmospheric Progressive Rock; an essential acquisition for fans of “Pink Floyd”, “Marillion” (post-“Fish”), “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “RPWR”, “Gazpacho”, “Frequency Drift”, “Mangrove”, “No Man”, “Mindfields”, “Sigur Rós”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Airbag are: Bjørn Riis – Lead Guitar, Keyboards, Backing Vocals, Bass, Lyrics, Co-production; Asle Tostrup – Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitars, Keyboards, Programming, Production, Graphic Design; Jørgen Hagen – Keyboards, Programming; Anders Hovdan – Bass; Henrik Fossum - Drums. Vegard Sleipnes - Sound Engineer & Co-producer. Ex-member: Joachim Slikker – Drums...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/29/2014..........................................Want to learn everything about the band and its members, goes to AIRBAG HOME PAGE...
. GRAN TURISMO VELOCE - "Di Carne, Di Anima"
Gran Turismo Veloce is an Italian Progressive Rock band from Grosseto, Tuscany. The group was formed back in 2008 with a line-up comprising Claudio Filippeschi (vocals, piano & keyboards), Flavio Timpanaro (bass, backing vocals), Massimo Dolce (guitars, backing vocals, weird ideas, loop programming), and Stefano Magini (drums). Discovered by Samuele Santanna (of band “Raven Sad”), Gran Turismo Veloce (or GTV) managed to record a full-length album, titled “Di Carne, Di Anima”, that was released in 2011 by Italian Label Lizard Records. Featuring 9 tracks sung in Italian, "Di Carne, di Anima" is a great album that builds up a safe bridge linking some modern and fresh Progressive trends such as Hard-Prog, Prog-Metal, and Symphonic Gothic to the most traditional sonority of Italian Prog-Rock (which is marked by great operatic and emotional vocals, profound symphonic melodicism, undeniable technical prowess, and massive use of vintage keyboards – Hammonds, Moogs & Mellotrons) – erecting a solid monument in honor to expressive, dynamic, and creative music. Without emulating any band in particular, GTV’s influences can be traced down to iconic Italian bands (“Le Orme”, “Banco del Mutuo Soccorso”, “Premiata Forneria Marconi”, “Delirium”, “New Trolls”, “Acqua Fragile”, “Panna Fredda”, “Semiramis”, “Locanda Delle Fate”, “Quella Vecchia Locanda”, “Museo Rosenbach”, “Metamorfosi”); bands of the Italian Prog-Revival (“Malibran”, “Nuova Era”, “Calliope”, “Il Castello di Atlante”, “Consorcio Acqua Potabile”, “Time Machine”, “Il Cerchio D’Oro”), and also to non-Italian sources, such as “King Crimson”, “Genesis”, “Pink Floyd”, “Dream Theater”, and “Ayreon”. “Di Carne, Di Anima” opens with “Anec Retrorsum” (0:22) & “Sorgente sonora” (4:15) – which begins with magnificent classic pianos and great vocal interpretation by Filippeschi (an awesome singer), becoming denser later with heavy guitars, powerful drums and cinematic bass harmonies (recalling me of “Malibran” and “Time Machine”). “Misera Venere” (5:19) is slower, psychedelic, emotional, and sophisticated, but finally becomes more dramatic near the cathartic end. Its other version - “Misera Venere” (reprise) (3:33) - has more space-rock keyboards, pianos, and flutes. Both songs – which are separated on the record but should have been compacted in a single piece – recall me of “PFM”, “Delirium”, “Museo Rosenbach”, and “Banco”, but with a renovated force. “Quantocàmia” (7:35) is an awesome instrumental piece driven by hovering guitar chords, fluidal bass, cinematic drums, and Hard-Prog keyboards (that recall band “Calliope”), and further included church organs, symphonic-gothic arrangements, dreamy electric pianos, and epic string arrangements (sometimes reminiscent of “New Trolls”, “Museo Rosenbach”, and “Metamorfosi”). The final sequence includes a superb space-rock guitar solo that is sliced in two by a surprising de-constructed part in the style of “King Crimson”. “L'artista” (4:30) is a calm song surrounded by a surreal atmosphere. Driven mainly by piano, bass, and vocals, its mellow tunes recall me of “Le Orme”, “Locanda”, “ll Castello di Atlante”, and “Nuova Era”. “L'estremo viaggiatore” (4:40) is a powerful song that evolves by the contrast produced between fast and heavy guitar riffs in Prog-Metal style opposed to soft parts driven by pianos, and delivered with emotional singing. In addition, it has a magnificent attack of Hammond organs, some Space-Rock moments, and psychedelic voices. “La paura” (4:55) is an experimental ballad the brings soaring vocals, electronic sounds on background, and futuristic deep bass, having influences of “King Crimson”, “Floyd”, “DT”, and “Ayreon”, but still retaining an Italian Prog identity. Finally, “L'indice e l'occhio” (8:32) closes the album with beautiful Classical pianos and marvelous vocal performance supported by soaring windy keyboards, which are replaced later on the song by Gothic orchestrations that gradually grow tenser until the very end. "Di Carne, di Anima" is one of those records that get better at each new listening, slowly revealing to the listener a really complex musical structure that has been carefully crafted by the musicians, with maturity, originality, and panache. A real gem in the Italian Progressive Rock scenario of the new century, Gran Turismo Veloce is a must-have band for fans of “Le Orme”, “Banco del Mutuo Soccorso”, “Premiata Forneria Marconi”, “Delirium”, “New Trolls”, “Acqua Fragile”, “Panna Fredda”, “Semiramis”, “Locanda Delle Fate”, “Quella Vecchia Locanda”, “Museo Rosenbach”, “Metamorfosi”, “Malibran”, “Nuova Era”, “Calliope”, “Il Castello di Atlante”, “Consorcio Acqua Potabile”, “Time Machine”, “Il Cerchio D’Oro”. Band members and collaborators involved in Gran Turismo Veloce are: Claudio Filippeschi - Vocals, Piano & Keyboards; Flavio Timpanaro - Bass, Backing Vocals; Massimo Dolce - Guitars, Backing Vocals, Weird Ideas, Loop Programming; Stefano Magini – Drums. Aldo Milani – Flute on “Misera Venere” (reprise). Ivano Bini – Voice on “L'indice e l'occhio”. Music Recorded by Davide Fatemi (“Badcastle Studio”); Max Rosati (“R&B Studio”), Matteo Breschi (“Underground Lab”), & Giampiero Sparagna (“Martina’s Studio”). Mixed by Max Rosati (“R&B Studio”); Mastered by Fabrizio de Carolis (“Reference Studio”). Produced by Lizard Records & Gran Turismo Veloce; Co-produced by Samuele Santanna...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/29/2014..............................................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit GRAN TURISMO VELOCE HOME PAGE...
. TILES - "Off the Floor"
Tiles - the amazing Progressive Hard-Rock quartet from Detroit, Michigan - are welcomed back to PR&PM webzine! Born in 1993, Tiles released many successful albums along its career, debuting with “Tiles” (1995, Polydor/Dream Circle), followed by four other albums that were produced and engineered by Terry Brown ("Rush", "Fates Warning") and released by InsideOut/SPV: “Fence the Clear” (1997), “Presents of Mind” (1999), “Window Dressing” (2004), and “Fly Paper” (2008). But Tiles is not a touring band, and with exception of the bootleg "Presence in Europe" – which records Tiles’ performance as an opening act for "Dream Theater’s" 1999 European tour – there is not much live material available. Therefore, in celebration to their 20th anniversary, Tiles’ members decided to record a “live in studio” album – one that would serve both as a career retrospective and a first official live recording. “Off the Floor” (2012, Standing Pavement Records) was recorded live in a controlled environment, in front of a selected audience, and took just a few extra takes and some minimum fixes on the guitar chords to be finished up. “Off the Floor” – a studio term meaning “recording a song as a complete performance without adding more parts later” – was exactly what Tiles needed to capture a snapshot of the raw energy delivered by the band when performing on stage. The set list is based on the 2008's album "Fly Paper", completed with songs from each of other Tiles’ four albums, a couple of new interludes, and some extended jams. “Off the Floor” features: amazing singer Paul Rarick, monster guitar player Chris Herin, and awesome rhythmic musicians Jeff Whittle and Mark Evans (who have the opportunity for showing off with their driving energy and improvisational skills); also counting with guest appearances by Matthew Parmenter (violin, backing vocals, Mellotron) and Keith Kaminski (flute). The album features 12 tracks, and opens bursting out energy with the Hard-stoned sound of “Landscape“ (4:27) – one of the heaviest and most straightforward songs of “Fly Paper” - followed by “Token Pledge” (6.46), of the debut album, an amazing tour-de-force showing the technical abilities of Tiles’ musicians, who fire out killer guitar riffs, potent drums, and amazing bass – all recalling a heavier version of “Rush". The following set reunites songs from the albums “Presents of Mind” and “Window Dressing” - two masterpieces of Tiles’ discography. “Modification” (3.39) (the only track from “PofM”), has been certainly picked up for being ideal for a show: short and clear-cut, it is delivered with extraordinary stamina alive. The two tracks of “WD” – the outstanding “Capture the Flag” (9:36) and the fragment “Segue/Window Dressing (part IV)” (3:49) - represent moments on which Tiles descend from the highest energetic thresholds down to more cadenced Progressive paces, just to give proof of the refinement of their music. Squeezed in between them, the track “Changing The Guard” (7.18) (of the album “Fence the Clear”) highlights Tiles’ most Progressive side for being stuffed with soaring guitar melodies and excellent rhythmic parts. After those calmer moments – necessary for the audience to take a breath - Tiles accelerates again, attacking with the most furious tracks of their albums “Fly Paper” and “Tiles”: “Dragons, Dreams & Daring Deeds” (7:52) - strongly influenced by “Rush” and embellished with long instrumental parts; “Dress Rehearsal” (5.06) - a stormy instrumental piece; and “Hide in my Shadow“ (5:37) – a groovy song that will appeal to the basic instincts of fans of “Dream Theater”, “Explorer’s Club”, and “Liquid Tension Experiment”. After “A Minor Interlude” (1:59), the show nears the end. And for the “grand finale” Tiles picked up two magnificent tracks of “Fence The Clear” – the emblematic album that helped to define the band’s own style (read about it on “Reviews 2013”): “Checkerboards” (15:14) and “The Wading Pool” (6.10). “Checkerboards” is a sensational magnum-opus, a wonderful piece of Progressive & Prog-Metal music, on which Tiles’ musicians perform with perfection. As I once wrote - obligatory in any show of this band. And “The Wading Pool” (6.10) (which comes as a bonus track) is a great melancholic ballad enriched with the presence of guest musicians Matthew Parmenter (Mellotron) and Keith Kaminski (flute). "Off the Floor" is brilliant and contagious, the unquestionable proof that Tiles should be playing alive more often, spreading their amazing music worldwide. Tiles is flagging out with two bombastic new releases for 2014: their sixth studio album, entitled “Other Arrangements” (an ambitious concept album), and “Off the Floor II” – featuring songs taken from Tiles’ appearance at the “ROSfest-2005”, plus bonus tracks. Stay tuned to Tiles in 2014! Tiles’ is an essential band for fans of Progressive Hard-Rock & Metal, highly recommended for fans of “Rush”, “Dream Theater”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Explorer’s Club”, "Enchant", "Spock’s Beard", “Transatlantic”, "The Tangent", "Karmakanic", “Shadow Gallery”, “Royal Hunt”, “Ark”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Tiles are: Paul Rarick – Lead Vocals, Chris Herin – Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Mandolin, Keyboards, Backing Vocals, Jeff Whittle – Bass, Keyboards, Backing Vocals, Mark Evans – Drums & Percussion. Special Guests: Matthew Parmenter – Violin & Backing Vocals on “Changing the Guard”, Mellotron on “The Wading Pool”; Keith Kaminski – Flute on “The Wading Pool”. Album produced by Tiles & Bob Phillips. Executive Production by Jeff Whittle. Recorded Live “Off the Floor” at Sound Scape Studio, Shelby, Twp., MI. Engineered by Bob Phillips, Mixed by Terry Brown, Toronto, Canada, Mastered by Peter J. Moore at the “E” Room, Toronto, Canada...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/29/2014.....................................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit TILES HOME PAGE...
. AZAZELLO - "Seventh Heaven"
Azazello – a Progressive Metal band from Russia – is back to PR&PM! (see on “Reviews 2011”). The group was founded in 1992 by guitarist Alexander Kulak under the moniker Morg. Initially devoted to Thrash-Metal, Morg’s music gradually evolved until 1995, when it transmuted into Azazello – a Progressive-Metal act with Russian Classical & Folk influences. In spite of having had many line-up changes Azazello released five albums from 2000 to 2011, with highlights for “Transformation” (Mals Ltd. Russia), which was reviewed at PR&PM in 2011. “Seventh Heaven” (2004, Starless Records, Russia) – is Azazello’s third album. Azazello’s musical path covered a hybrid sonority that included Thrash & Prog-Metal styles (like “Megadeth”, “Annihilator”, “Dream Theater”), incorporated Russian Ethnic and Classical elements (from “Vladimir Kuzmin”, “Alexander Barykin”, “Volapük”), and also made references to Progressive and Hard-Rock bands like “Yes”, “Deep Purple”, “Glenn Hughes”, “Jorn Lande” & “The Ark”. “Transformation” had participation of many guest musicians, a female singer, and extendedAzazello’s style into Melodic-Metal, Power-Prog, and Oriental Metal (recalling bands like “Nightwish”, “Epica”, “Syrens Call”, “Evergrey”, and “Orphaned Land”). “Seventh Heaven”, on the contrary, counted with a smaller line-up formed by Alexander Kulak (guitars, vocals), Vitos Afanasiev (keyboards, flutes), Dmitry Bakay (bass), and Idris Faridonov (drums) and featured an intermediary sonority - less aggressive by Prog-Metal standards, but even more Progressive, Classic & Folkloric, shining out with originality. “Seventh Heaven” has 7 tracks. With the exception of the intro “The Very Beginning” (2:17), and the “outro” “Blessing” (1:59), which are instrumental pieces, the remaining five tracks are sung in Russian. The two linked tracks “Microcosm of Macrocosm” (pt. 1) (12:02) & “Microcosm (pt. 2) – Dream Within a Dream” (10:51) make together a long Symphonic Prog-Metal composition that has a sound reminiscent of “Dream Theater”, “Shadow Gallery”, and also “Iron Maiden”, but slower and cadenced, embellished by Neo-classical guitars that run over mechanical rhythmic frames. A great contribution comes from amazing musician Vitos Afanasiev, who adds many creative and original keyboards and unexpected passages of flutes. On the second part, the arrangements become even more Symphonic and Progressive, combining Baroque bass harmonies, loads of keyboards, and flutes in Russian Classical style, all evoking the image of Polka dancers in the festival of the Czar. The Prog-Folk song “The Mystery” (8:29) has acoustic guitars, great bass passages, flutes, and soft keyboards, and is inspired on the Slavic traditional music (recalling groups like “Volapük” and “Karfagen”). “The Restless Rest” (10:49) aggregates in its beginning epic adventurous riffs in Neo-Classical & Prog-Metal styles, being dominated later by an awesome instrumental sequence which is extremely long, sounding like a blend of “ELP”, “Little Tragedies”, and “Dream Theater”. The title track “Seventh Heaven” (8:55) is the album’s heaviest, alternating traditional Heavy-Metal, Hard Rock and Thrash-Metal riffs, but also having fast and cadenced paces, crazy twists and turns, deep bass bridges, double attack of synths and guitar solos – and an interlude of pianos & guitars that even recalls “Queen”. The “outro” “Blessing” (1:59) closes the album with a New-Age bass solo (and a hidden ballad follows afterwards). In sum, Azazello’s “Seventh Heaven” is an amazing and impressive album, full of original, unusual and surprising musical tricks, that unveils an ever-evolving band that makes different albums each time. Azazello has just released a new album in 2013 - “MegaDream” (Melodic Revolution Records) – and we are eager to listen to it. Azazello is highly recommended for fans of Melodic Prog-Metal, Symphonic-Power-Prog and Ethnic-Metal who are searching for original bands – do not miss them! Band members and collaborators involved in Azazello are: Alexander Kulak - Electric & Acoustic Guitars; Vocals; Vitos Afanasiev - Keyboards, Flute, Backing Vocals; Dmitry Bakay - Bass; Idris Faridonov - Drums & Percussion. All tracks by Kulak, except the intro: by Kulak / Afanasiev & the outro: by Bakay. Produced & engineered by Kulak. Mixed & Mastered at “Mosfilm”...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/29/2014.................................Is there an interested to know more about them? Then you must visit AZAZELLO HOME PAGE...
. VEDDA TRIBE - "Good Night to the Bucket"
Vedda Tribe was an Italian Progressive Rock trio formed by Filippo Guerini (guitars, guitar-synth, vocals), Mauro Pamiro (keyboards, bass), and Flavio Leva (drums, electronic percussion), which released only two albums under the independent label Lizard Records. Their eponymous debut album “Vedda Tribe” (1999) was reviewed at PR&PM (Reviews 2013). The following lines concern their second and last release, entitled “Good Night to the Bucket” (2004). The five-year hiatus that spanned between the releases of the two albums must have been of a creative and turbulent time for the trio, because the music of Vedda Tribe changed a lot during that period. If on the first album Vedda Tribe’s sonority was comparable to bands like “Soft Machine”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Jean-Luc Ponty”, “Kenso”, and “Weather Report”, on “Good Night…” the band made a profound shift in their sonority, investing deeper into Electronica, Experimentalism and noisy music, following the musical line of bands such as “King Crimson”, “Ozric Tentacles”, “Djam Karet”, and “Mahogany Frog”, forgetting a little their primeval melodic Jazz-Fusion roots. The once marking pianos were replaced by more synthetic and electronic sounds coming from aggressive keyboards, the guitars became more distorted and anguished, and the rhythmic section adventured into odd metrics and experimental noises. Vedda Tribe’s second album contains 11 tracks. There are more tracks with vocals on this record than on the previous, and they are also comparatively shorter. The album opens up with the visceral and energetic title track “Good Night to the Bucket” (4:15), which introduces Vedda Tribe’s new dogma to us: a combination of heavy Electronica, Experimental, and Noisy metallic sounds. The band invests their efforts on that style on the following tracks “Interlude” (3:01) (a Space-Rock piece marked by bass and guitars); “A Monkey's Arm” (2:44) (fusing Cosmic, Industrial and Electronica with chaotic drumming); and “Danadune” (2:33) (a weird ballad featuring windy chimes and acoustic guitars with a touch of “Pink Floyd”). In this initial sequence, the highlight is track 3 - “Young Meditation” (6:25) - a song that has gritty distorted guitars, windy synths, coiling bass, syncopated drumming, and stoned vocals, which, overall, shares a resemblance with the works of “King Crimson” and “Mahavishnu”, but also with Vedda Tribe’s first album. Beginning with track 6, “Changes III” (4:16) (with monochord vocals, “Crimsonian” keyboards, and industrial sonic beats), everything that the trio has learned and assimilated from the previous experimental tracks starts to be further developed and explored in the following pieces, which are more organized and cohesive. The best of all is the pair made of tracks 7 - “Touch & Go” (5:02) – (a reunion of different kinds of vocals, funky lines of keyboards, and many synths inside an Electronic lounge); and 8 - “Uncle Bouzerant” (4:50) – (a song with original guitar solos and a “Canterbury” touch). These are followed by two instrumental pieces: “Coda” (2:15) (a keyboard solo confronting floating guitars and echoing percussion, recalling early “Soft Machine”), and “Better Try” (3:42) (on which a progression of bass and synths support a distorted guitar solo, recalling the experiments of “Zappa” & “Vai”). The album ends with “Good Night to the Players” (4:49) - a relaxing instrumental track that differs from all other tracks by bringing to the listener the melodies of the cosmic spheres, soaring sounds, and delicate patches of tunes in Ambient and New Age style. Although featuring a totally different sonority – which, in my opinion, is inferior in relation to what had been offered on the first album - “Good Night to the Bucket” is a difficult and still intriguing musical work, having the ups and downs that often accompany an abrupt shift of style like that. Rather than being recommended for Jazz-Fusion purists, Vedda Tribe’s second album must be especially recommended for fans of the most radical side of “Soft Machine”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “King Crimson”, “Robert Fripp”, “Zappa”, “The Wrong Object”, “Djam Karet”, “Ozric Tentacles”, “Mahogany Frog”, “Stereolab”, and also may spark the interest of appreciators of the Krautrock and R.I.O. styles. Band members and collaborators involved in Vedda Tribe are: Filippo Guerini - Guitars, Guitar-Synth, Vocals; Mauro Pamiro - Keyboards; Flavio Leva - Drums, Electronic Percussion...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/29/2014.........................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit VEDDA TRIBE HOME PAGE...
. HANS PLATZ - "Timestamps"
Hans Platz is a German guitarist who has been playing in many band since 1990: “Cyrus Dance”, “Bizzare”, “J.B.O.”, “Fiddler’s Green”, “Sushifarm”, “Subway To Sally”, and “Feuerschwanz” (since 2008, with two albums released in 2009 and 2012). To refine his playing technique, he visited the Berklee College of Music, and had workshops with “Joscho Stephan”, “Mattias IA Eklundh”, “Peter Wölpl”, “Gary Burton”, “Frank Gambale”, and “Bruce Saunders”. Hans Platz released his first solo album – entitled “Timestamps” - on October 11, 2013 (Piazza Recordings/Cargo Records). The album features a constellation of guest musicians, including drummers Marco Minnemann (“Illegal Aliens”, “Steve Wilson”, “The Aristocrats”), Wolfgang Haffner (Jazz drummer with an expensive discography), Wolfram Kellner (“J.B.O.”, “Sushifarm”), and Simon Michael (“Subway to Sally”); bassists Fabio Trentini (“Subway to Sally”, “Le Orme”), Pete Griffin (“Steve Vai”, “Terry Bozzio”, “Chick Corea”, “Stanley Clarke”, “Edgar Winter”, “Frank Gambale”, “Mike Portnoy”, “Jean-Luc Ponty”), and T.M. Stevens (“James Brown”, “Steve Vai”, “Joe Cocker”); and guitar player Mattias IA Eklundh (“Freak Kitchen”, “Evergrey”, “Soilwork”). “Timestamps” contains 11 tracks. The music is guitar-oriented Instrumental Fusion-Metal resembling “Steve Vai”, “Joe Satriani”, “Jason Becker”, “Tony MacAlpine”, “Paul Gilbert”, “Marty Friedman”, “Vinnie Moore”, “Frank Gambale”, “Ronnie Montrose”, “David T. Chastain”, “Shawn Lane”, “Richie Kotzen”, “Scott Henderson”, “Marc Bonilla”, “Guthrie Govan”, “Alex Skolnick”, “Buckethead”, “Bozzio, Levin, Stevens”, and “MGM”; and slightly influenced by “Paco de Lucía”, “Joaquín Rodrigo”, and “Astor Piazzolla”. Besides counting with the aforementioned list of extraordinary bassists and drummers, Hans Platz has accomplished another great goal on his record: one of being a guitar player of great technique who is most focused on the compositions and arrangements of his pieces than on showing off with his guitar playing. He is also more concerned about establishing a profitable partnership with the other musicians than staying on the center of all attentions. “Timestamps” resulted then in a varied and rewarding album, with the music being calibrated by the drummers that perform on it. So it opens up with the standard Fusion “Birdrange” (2:58) – a piece that came to Platz’s mind when he was practicing the “Tango Suite” by “Astor Piazzolla”, and that is brilliantly driven by the stylish drumming of Wolfgang Haffner. But when the drum kit is occupied by Marco Minnemann, the fans of Fusion-Metal and Experimental Prog-Metal can all stand up! Minnemann employs his eclectic style on tracks 2 - “Spanish Race On A Devil's Highway” (4:04) - an awesome Fusion-Metal with a vigorous Flamenco touch that combines guitar riffs and magnificent passages of Trentini’s bass with the cadenza of the Adagio part of “Concierto Aranjuez” by “Joaquín Rodrigo”, sounding like a blend of “Jason Becker”, “Marc Bonilla”, and “Paco de Lucía”. On the amazing Progressive and Tech-Metal tracks 3 & 9 - “Pull It Out” (3:24) & “Timestamps” (3:53) – Platz & Minnemann, with help of Pete Griffin’s groovy bass, experiment with odd-metrics (7/8 & 9/8), symmetrical structures, and Phrygian scales, all recalling “Becker”, “Chastain”, and “Friedman”. They finally put the house down on track 10 - “This Is War” (2:35) – an aggressive and futuristic Prog-Metal. In between, tracks 5, 6 & 7 are propelled by the Hard & Metal style of drummer Wolfram Kellner and the Funk & Jazz style of bassists Griffin, Trentini and T.M. Stevens, respectively: “Red Room Nine” (3:30) has surprisingly groovy guitars and Funky-Metal parts; “Axetasy” (1:49) is shockingly visceral; and “Freak Sauna” (3:24) combines freak guitars and exotic scales with exuberant free-flowing bass. These tracks will appeal to fans of “Vai”, “Satriani”, and “Gilbert”. Track 8, “Deadman” (2:59), is driven by Simon Michael’s killer rocky drumming, and concentrates the highest amount of guitar notes per square area with the double attack of Platz and Eklundh (for fans of “Satriani”, “Kotzen”, “Henderson”, “Montrose”). Finally, with Wolfgang Haffner on the drums again, Platz offers us the softer and most beautiful pieces of his album: tracks 4, “Father” (3:30), and 11, “Alive” (3:27), both having melodic tunes the recall the Neo-Classical style of “Vinnie Moore”, and “Jason Becker”. In sum, Hans Platz’s “Timestamps” is an excellent album in the Instrumental-Guitar style, being highly recommendable for fans of “Steve Vai”, “Joe Satriani”, “Tony MacAlpine”, “Paul Gilbert”, “Marty Friedman”, “Jason Becker”, “Vinnie Moore”, “Frank Gambale”, “Marc Bonilla”, “Ronnie Montrose”, “David Chastain”, “Guthrie Govan”, “Shawn Lane”, “Richie Kotzen”, “Scott Henderson”, “Buckethead”, “Joe Bonamassa”, “Glen Drover”, “Jarle Olsen”, “Alex Skolnick”, “Bozzio, Levin, Stevens”, “MGM”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Hans Platz are: Hans Platz – Guitars. Drummers: Marco Minnemann (tr. 2, 3, 9, 10), Wolfgang Haffner (tr. 1, 4, 11), Wolfram Kellner (tr. 5, 6, 7) Simon Michael (tr. 8); Bassists: Fabio Trentini (tr. 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10), Pete Griffin (tr. 3, 5, 9 & 11), T.M. Stevens (tr. 7). Guest Guitar Solo: Mattias IA Eklundh (tr. 8). Album Produced and Written by Hans Platz; Mixed by Fabio Trentini, except track 7 mixed by Christoph Beyerlein; Mastered by Christoph Beyerlein...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta) 
01/29/2014.....................................,.....Interested to know more about the Musician and Band? Visit HANS PLATZ HOME PAGE...
. TILES - "Tiles"
Tiles is a well-known Progressive Hard-Rock quartet from Detroit, Michigan. The band formed in 1993 with a line-up consisting of Mark Evans (drums), Chris Herin (guitar), Paul Rarick (vocals), and Jeff Whittle (bass); and has already been featured at PR&PM (see in Reviews 2009). Tiles soon signed with InsideOut Music/SPV in North America & Europe, and from 1994 to 2008 released five studio albums that brought within a highly elaborated blend of Progressive Rock and energetic Hard Rock. Their unique style and amazing musicianship has received compliments from “Ian Anderson” (“Jethro Tull”) and “Mike Portnoy” (“Dream Theater”); and Progressive luminaries such as “Kim Mitchell”, “Alex Lifeson”, and “Matthew Parmenter” made guest appearances on their records. Tiles’ eponymous debut album was originally released in 1994. In 1995 Polydor released it in Europe on their Dream Circle label. The album received excellent reviews from Aardschok, SCREAM, and Rock Hard (Germany). Teichiku Records released “Tiles” in Japan, and BURRN! Magazine rated it an 88/100. In 2004 the album “Tiles” and its two follow-ups – “Fence the Clear” (1997) & “Presents of Mind” (1999) - were re-mastered and reissued by InsideOut as Special Editions containing bonus tracks. The new version of “Tiles” has 12 tracks (3 of which are bonus), and features original bassist, singer & producer Kevin Chown as special guest. “Tiles” showcases a band that was full of energy and musical attitude, but that was still developing their style and own characteristics. But some traits were already present – the groovy bass, intricate drum passages, a preference for elaborated guitar solos, and the melodicism of incisive vocals. As other bands that appeared in the same period, Tiles was strongly influenced by “Rush”, “Triumph”, “Kansas”, and “Journey”, and band members also had a strong will of playing in a technical and challenging way, like bands such as “Altura”, “King’s X”, “Enchant”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Royal Hunt”, “Cairo”, “Ark”, “Rocket Scientists”, “Magellan”, “Explorer’s Club”, “Dream Theater”, and “Spock’s Beard”. The opening track “Analysis Paralysis” (5.11) is a typical Hard-Rock, driven by Rarick’s peculiar tenor voice and by a groovy bass, which irradiates magnetic waves powerful enough to keep the listener into the record. As a newcomer band, Tiles wrote different kinds of music on their debut – including the pair “Retrospect” (2.12) / “Trading Places” (4.27), respectively an acoustic guitar intro and a standard Rock, which are more commercially formatted and driven by a sticky chorus; albeit having that extra-quality that makes any Tiles’ song to sound above the regular - and the bright ballads “Bridges Of Grace” (4.44) (slow, with a 70’s sonority on guitars, soaring solos and a soulful vocal performance, recalling “Triumph”) & “Scattergram” (5.38), which is driven by the gentle plucking of guitars, melodic catchy vocals, and a soft “Lee-Peart” rhythmic section recalling “Rush”. More aggressive, and nearing the Prog-Metal edge, there are the explosive songs “Token Pledge” (6.40) (featuring killer guitar-bass licks, heavy riffs, “broken” rhythmic lines on drums, and a layer of keyboards on the background); “Dancing Dogs” (5.46) (a Progressive Hard-Rock with a cadence reminiscent of “Rush” and “Enchant”, containing substantial guitars, amazing bass evolutions and complicated drumming, still having twists and surprises - especially on effects of bass, and on a “Dream Theater”-like instrumental part); and “Dress Rehearsal” (4.56) (an awesome instrumental piece with fast Metal riffs and great Fusion guitar solos intertwined in bass & drums, what brings to mind the complexity of bands like “Dream Theater”, “Explorer’s Club”, and “Liquid Tension”). The most Progressive track is “Supply And Demand” (6.11), which also recalls “Rush” and “Triumph”, but having more groovy parts, nuances, soaring moments, and bittersweet vocal passages. Those songs modeled the style of Tiles – being harbingers of what would be better refined in the future, and come out on the following albums, ultimately reaching the apex on “Fly Paper” (see at Reviews 2009). “Tiles” Special Edition still offers 3 bonus tracks, which reveal a facet of Tiles that may have been forgotten. They are “Calling Out” (4.57) (a dramatic song with marking pianos and symphonic arrangements almost like “Styx” that grows on the guitar solo); “World Sunset” (5.20) (a Folk ballad that sounds like a blend of “Mountain” and “Kansas”, with a percussive set like “The Trees” by “Rush”); and “Forging A New Trend” (5.33) (a joyful and accessible song driven by pulsing bass and including an instrumental part with guitar solos). For those listener who love “Rush”, “Triumph”, “Kansas”, “King’s X”, “Enchant”, “Ark”, “Rocket Scientists”, “Magellan”, “Explorer’s Club”, very early “Dream Theater”, and who want to understand how a great band evolves through hard work and perseverance, I strongly recommend Tiles’ “Tiles”, and also their following albums. Band members and collaborators involved in Tiles are: Paul Rarick – Vocals; Chris Herin - Guitars, Keyboards; Jeff Whittle – Bass; Mark Evans – Drums, Percussion. Special Guest: Kevin Chown - Bass, Vocals. Produced by Kevin Chown & Tiles; Assisted & Mixed by Chris Andrews; Recorded by Chris Andrews, Pete Bankert & Henry Weck. Released in 2004 by InsideOut Music. All songs published by Standing Pavement Publishing 1994 & 2004 (BMI)...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/27/2014..............................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Then you must visit TILES HOME PAGE...
. THE OXFORD COMA - "Adonis"
The Oxford Coma is a Power-Trio formed in 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The line-up featured Billy Tegethoff (guitars, vocals), James Williams (bass, vocals), and original drummer Casey Dillon (who was replaced by Anthony Chamberlain in 2013). The original formation released an album called “Adonis” in late 2012, which received positive reviews in Phoenix Newtimes, Java Magazine, IAE Magazine, Progression Magazine, and on blogs from the US, UK, and Germany. The Oxford Coma has opened shows for “Soulfly”, “Fear Factory”, and “Amaranthe”. They have performed live at New York City (CBGB Music Fest) and at the famous Whisky A Go Go (LA), and also have made numerous trips to the west coast. The music of The Oxford Coma is a blend of Alternative & Heavy Rock characterized by gritty textures, trippy moods and experimental inquiries that they have suitably tagged as “Progressive Alternative Experimental & Psychedelic Grunge Rock”. Their songs are aggressively played, with passion and raw energy, being supplemented on live shows by artistic projections, creative lighting, and occasionally phosphorescent body paint. Either live or in studio, the music of The Oxford Coma consists in a sonic experience difficult to be forgotten. The sound is predominately bass-driven, inserted in a psychedelic ambience that is influenced by bands such as: “Primus”, “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”, “The Mars Volta”, “Nirvana”, “System of a Down”, “Incubus”, “Red Hot Chili Peppers”, “Them Crooked Vultures”, “Foo Fighters”, “Deftones”, “Muse”, “Atomkraft”, “Nine Inch Nails”, “Helmet”, “Jane’s Addiction”, “Rage Against the Machine”, “Queens of the Stone Age”, “Puscifer”, “0sm”, “The Necronauts”, “Underground Cities”, “Sea of our Escape”, “Kasabian”, “Black Tusk”, and “Toad”. “Adonis” has 13 tracks. “Ellipsis” (0:53), “Stall 3” (0:57), “Ether Moths” (0:40), and “Ghosts of Departed Quantities” (3:56) are noisy intros and outros, interludes or sonic experiments. The others are structured songs on which band members exercise their instrumental prowess and blend their influences, achieving excellent results. “BBS” (3:21) combines the bass of “Primus” with primeval shouts like “Nirvana” and “System of a Down”. On “Adonis” (3:23) the bass and groovy guitars recall “Red Hot Chili Peppers”, but with the aggressiveness of “Rage Against the Machine”. Flowing more freely, and driven by complicated Prog-Metal guitar riffs, the songs “Last To Die” (3:43) (with a great psychedelic guitar solo) and “Pirate Song” (3:35) evolve at fast Thrash-Metal speeds, contrasting with the slower songs “Rim Liquors” (4:28) – which is noisy and acid like the ‘60s, marked by distorted guitars that recall “Jane’s Addiction” – and “Mime” (4:50) - a heavy and compact Psychedelic Stoner Metal reminiscent of “Queens of the Stone Age”. Some songs are covered with the heavy armor of Psychedelic Prog & Post-Metal, recalling the sonority of “A Perfect Circle” & “Tool”. They are: "the mind-altering Seven” (5:02); the anguished “Lictosy” (6:25) – which has amazing parts with bass and also some guitars like “Deftones”; and “Peregrine” (6:33) – which is the song that has the greatest resemblance with the paranoid style of “Tool”. Although not aimed to fans of standard Progressive Rock & Progressive Metal, The Oxford Coma’s album “Adonis” is solid, musically mature, and impressive, being highly recommendable for fans of “Primus”, “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”,  “Nirvana”, “System of a Down”, “Incubus”, “Red Hot Chili Peppers”, “Deftones”, “Foo Fighters”, “Muse”, “Helmet”, “Atomkraft”, “Queens of the Stone Age”, “The Mars Volta”, “Nine Inch Nails”, “Puscifer”, “The Necronauts”, “Underground Cities”, “Black Tusk”, and so on… Band members and collaborators involved in The Oxford Coma are: Billy Tegethoff – Guitar, Vocals; James Williams – Bass, Vocals; Anthony Chamberlain – Drums. Past member: Casey Dillon – Drums. “Adonis” Recorded at Audioconfusion in Mesa, AZ; Engineered by Jalipaz & Dan Somers; Produced by Billy Tegethoff; Mastered by Jeff Carroll at Bluefield Mastering (Raliegh, NC). Also you can visit them at their Facebook Page...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/27/2014...............................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE OXFORD COMA HOME PAGE...
Toxic Smile – a German Progressive-Metal band - is back to PR&PM webzine! Toxic Smile was founded in 1996 in Leipzig by keyboardist & saxophonist Marek Arnold (of “Seven Steps to the Green Door”) and drummer Daniel Zehe. The line-up was completed with Uwe Reinholz (guitars), Larry B. (vocals), and Robert Brenner (bass). In 2004 original drummer Daniel Zehe left the band. His position is presently occupied by Robert Eisfeldt. Toxic Smile discography includes the full-length albums “Madness and Despair” (2000/2001, reissued in Europe in 2011), “RetroTox Forte” (2004), and “I'm Your Saviour” (2011); the EP “Overdue Visit” (2009), and the DVD “Toxic Smile In Classic Extension” (2006). Toxic Smile’s album “I'm Your Saviour” was released in 2011 by Progressive Promotion Records and reviewed at PR&PM in 2012. The music on the record was highly energetic, driven by Reinholz’s powerful guitars and Eisfeldt’s vigorous drumming, and founded on a solid matrix of Progressive Metal & Fusion Metal with influences of bands like “Dream Theater”, “Fates Warning”, “Queensrÿche”, “Symphony X”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Redemption”, “OSI”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Niacin”, “CAB”, “Planet X”, and “Presto Ballet”. A fresh and distinguishing component was added by the sophisticated Art-Rock & Pop vocals of Larry B. – a sensitive singer who reunites qualities of both “Peter Gabriel” and “David Sylvian” – intervened by Marek Arnold’s stylish keyboards and cool-jazzy saxophones, and also underlined by Brenner’s eclectic and outstanding bass work. This trio was responsible for introducing the softest and most melodic breaks into Toxic Smile’s usually heavy sound, giving the band an identity of their own. Toxic Smile’s last album is entitled “7”. It was released in November 2013 under Progressive Promotion Records, and contains 7 tracks. Although Toxic Smile repeats on “7” the successful musical formula used on “I’m Your Savior”, I found the songs of “7” to be still more cohesive, free-flowing, and equilibrated than on the preceding album. Toxic Smile’s ability to make straightforward rocky songs that blend Metal, Jazz, Pop and Prog inside opposing heavy-melodic arrangements remains matchless: that’s what the listener gets from the opening track “From Inside Out” (6:36) – driven by groovy beats, funky bass, swinging guitars, jazzy interludes, and delivered by Larry B.’s chameleonic voice, which alternates from the coarsest aggressiveness to the lightest kindness. The same happens on the following song “Barefooted Man” (8:28) – which begins like a Prog-Metal that recalls “Dream Theater”, but later goes through many transformations, offering tasty pianos, sophisticated Pop-Rock vocal parts (reminiscent of “Genesis”), amazing symphonic keyboards, and raging guitar, bass & drums –; and on the lively Hard-Rock “King Of Nowhere” (3:56) – ideal for live shows, for having both simplicity and room for extended jammed sequences. Treading more Prog-Fusion terrains, “Love Without Creation” (5:40) is a sophisticated ballad that begins with a great sax theme to which melodic vocals and pianos are added, being propelled by soft drums and bass, and guitars that grow gradually in drama and heaviness. But Toxic Smile’s best experiments in Prog-Metal stylistics, odd-metrics, and new sounds begin on “Needless” (6:24) (which emanates hypnotic waves from the combination of psychedelic gritty keyboards, malignant groovy guitars, deep bass lines, and vocals full of devilry); continue on “Rayless Sun” (8:00) (an amazing song that oscillates from extremely heaviness driven by aggressive keyboards to epic progressive moments, recalling “Queensryche” and “Redemption”); and finish on the last track “Afterglow” (7:34) (not a “Genesis” cover) - which is driven by locomotive guitar riffs, pulsing bass and heavy organs, offering a show of Reinholz on guitars. All those songs will be most appealing to fans of “Dream Theater”, “Planet X”, & “Liquid Tension Experiment”. As a whole, “7” is heavier, more solid and better than its predecessor - and by joining the distinguishing vocals of Larry B. with the remarkable keyboard approach of Marek Arnold inside a musical frame that uses more jazzy-funky-&-pop elements than usual, “7” assures to Toxic Smile a visible position among several standard Prog-Metal bands. A great and brilliant album, highly recommended for open-minded Progressive Metal & Fusion Metal fans who love “Dream Theater”, “Fates Warning”, “Symphony X”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Queensrÿche”, “Redemption”, “OSI”, “Niacin”, “CAB”, “Planet X”, “Presto Ballet”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Tiles”, “Dillinger Scape Plan”, “The Barstool Philosophers”, “Coheed & Cambria”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Toxic Smile are: Larry B. – Lead Vocals; Marek Arnold – Keyboards, Saxophones; Uwe Reinholz – Guitars, Vocals; Robert Brenner – Bass; Robert Eisfeldt – Drums. Additional musicians: Cat Henschelmann – Violins; Kiri Geile - Vocal Shouts on “Afterglow”. Drums recoded by Niklas Wenzel (Virtuous Vibes Studio); Basses recorded by Robert Brenner; Guitars recorded by Uwe Reinholz, reamping by Martin Schnella; Vocals, Keyboards & Sax recorded by Marek Arnold; Editing by Marek Arnold (B’side-Music); Mixing & Mastering by Martin Schnella (Overlodge Recording Studio)...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/27/2014..........................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit TOXIC SMILE HOME PAGE...
Jonas Lindberg & The Other Side is a Swedish Progressive Rock & AOR project founded in 2012 in Stockholm by multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer Jonas Lindberg. The conception of this project began earlier in 2008, when Lindberg had to record a CD to complete his graduation at the School of Music in Piteå, Sweden. The result was “In Secret Pace” – an EP that featured a large line-up of musicians and that was physically released in 2008 by ModeMusic. When that first EP was re-released in 2012 in digital format at his website, Lindberg felt that it was time for a new album to come out. So he wrote and recorded a new EP, which was titled “The Other Side” - hence the project’s name – which was released in September 2013 also by ModeMusic. Besides Jonas Lindberg (bass, keyboards, guitars, mandolins, backing vocals, programming), the line-up features other talented friends and professional musicians who play on some of the biggest musical acts in Sweden: Jonas Sundqvist (lead vocals), Calle Stålenbring (guitars), Michael Ottosson (keyboards), and Jonathan Lundberg (drums). With a high-quality sound production, “The Other Side” showcases clean and elegant music that contains a well-balanced mix of Progressive Rock and sophisticated Pop-Rock of the ‘80s to ‘90s, with influences of “Genesis”, “Yes”, “Pink Floyd”, “Marillion” (“Hogarth” phase), “The Flower Kings”, “Alan Parsons”, “Asia”, “Saga”, “GTR”, “Sting”, “Talk Talk”, “Duran Duran”, “Tears For Fears”, and “Coldplay”, being also reminiscent of recent Progressive bands that add a pinch of “easy-listening” melodicism to their sound, such as “Airbag”, “Silhouette”, “Unitopia”, “Comedy of Errors”, “Mindfields”, “Agents of Mercy”, & “Circa:”. “The Other Side” has 5 tracks. The arrangements are stuffed with many layers of keyboards – mostly pianos – that recall “Genesis”, “Alan Parsons”, “Marillion”, and “Coldplay”. Guitar solos are soaring – also recalling “Genesis”, “Marillion” and “Pink Floyd”; and the melodic bass lines add a great element of “Progressiveness” to the arrangements. The rhythmic section is lively, varied, and modern, forming a musical component that is mostly influenced by the ‘80s to ‘90s Rock. Vocals are a highlight on this album, and the tunes may recall, for instance, “Alan Parsons”, “Sting”, “Coldplay”, “Yes”, “Duran Duran”. Under the Progressive-Rock scope, the best songs are “Lies” (05:27), which hovers on a pillow of pianos, being driven by a slightly sad vocal tune and very progressive bass that makes a reference to “The Flower Kings”; “The Other Side” (05:26), which is more lively both on rhythm and vocals, but is stuffed with solos from synths and guitars (recalling “Genesis” and “Marillion”); and “Line no. 18” (08:23), which has heavier guitars, several twists and turns, and many solos of guitar and keyboards in Progressive style propelled by a vigorous rocky pace (recalling bands like “Asia”, “Saga”, “Yes”, and “Circa:”). Also noteworthy is the melancholic ballad “Little Girl” (04:38) – a soft and beautiful song immersed in a dreamy atmosphere that recalls “Genesis”. At last, “Where To Begin” (05:28) has the strongest Pop-Rocky vein, recalling “Sting” and other sonorities of the ‘80s, but also having a middle part that recalls “Parsons” or “Floyd”, and an instrumental part that recalls “Yes”. As a whole, “The Other Side” is musically great, and even though it stays on the border between the most typical Progressive and the most accessible AOR Pop-Rock, the way as those two worlds are crossed, blended and blurred together on the album makes Jonas Lindberg & The Other Side a musical act capable of being appreciated by all fans of Rock Music as it was played along the ‘80s & ‘90s. Highly recommended if you like “Genesis” (“Phil Collins” phase), “Yes” (“Trevor Rabin” phase), “Pink Floyd” (latest albums), “Marillion” (“Hogarth” phase), “Alan Parsons”, “Asia”, “Saga”, “GTR”, “Sting”, “The Flower Kings”, “Talk Talk”, “Duran Duran”, “Tears For Fears”, “Coldplay”, “Airbag”, “Silhouette”, “Unitopia”, “Comedy of Errors”, “Mindfields”, “Agents of Mercy”, “Circa:”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Jonas Lindberg are: Jonas Lindberg - Bass, Keyboards, Acoustic & Electric Guitars, Mandolin, Backing Vocals, Programming, Compositions; Jonas Sundqvist – Lead & Backing Vocals; Calle Stålenbring – Guitars; Michael Ottosson – Keyboards; Jonathan Lundberg – Drums. Album Recorded at various places in Stockholm & Hudiksvall; Mixed by Daniel Lindforss; Mastering by Classe Persson at CRP Recording; Produced by Jonas Lindberg...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/27/2014.......................More about the Musician and Band? Please visit JONAS LINDBERG & THE OTHER SIDE HOME PAGE...
. 1974 - "1974 & The Death Of The Herald"
1974 is a Progressive & Classic Rock quintet hailing from Newington, Connecticut. The line-up features Mike Forgette (guitar, vocals), Adam Clymer (guitar), Angela Rhea Piccoli (keyboards, vocals), Gary Dionne (bass, vocals), and Tim Moore (drums, vocals). Since 2007 the band has been captivating audiences with their sound based on powerful guitar riffs, catchy melodies, “Beach Boys”-styled harmony vocals, and energetic stage performances inspired on the Classic Arena-Rock bands of the ‘70s, such as “Yes”, “Kansas”, “Rush”, “Deep Purple”, and “Pink Floyd”. Focusing on concept albums that explore typical Sci-fi themes, 1974 has released the full-length album “1974 & The Battle For the Lazer Fortress” (2011); the EPs “The Return” (June, 2012) and “A Soldier's Tale” (December, 2012); and the newest full-length “1974 & The Death Of The Herald” (2013). These works have been well-received around the Connecticut Rock scene, granting to 1974 two awards, as “Connecticut’s 2012 Best New Artist” and “Connecticut’s 2013 Best Rock Band”. “1974 & The Death Of The Herald” is a concept album that contains 13 tracks that tell an adventurous sci-fi story about a Galactic War, being full of drama and bordering the Opera-Rock style. For a band formed by young people, the music of 1974 is surprisingly reminiscent of the Space, Psychedelic, & Hard-Rock of the ‘70s. But their overall sonority is not much retro, being updated to the new century to sound less experimental and more muscular – mainly on the guitar textures and on drums. Along the tracks, the listener can identify echoes of bands like “The Beatles”, “Jefferson Starship”, early “Pink Floyd”, “Hawkwind”, “Gong”, “Vanilla Fudge”, “Arthur Brown”, “Deep Purple”, “Fuzzy Duck”, “Budgie”, “Heart”, “Kansas”, “Blue Oyster Cult”, and very early “Rush” reverberating on groups like “Muse”, “Radiohead”, “Coheed and Cambria”, “Kyuss”, “The Decemberists”, “Simeon Soul Charger” and others. The highlights go for the Space-Rock atmospheres and the smart hooks, the groovy Hard-Rock guitars underlined with Hammond-sounding organs, the Psychedelic bass lines, the melodic guitar solos, and the bright and catchy vocals that are mainly driven by male voices, but that sometimes switch to female lead-vocals sung by the extraordinary Angela Rhea Piccoli - who recalls me of “Grace Slick” (“Jefferson Airplane/Starship”) and “Jinx Dawson” (“The Coven”). The songs are all excellent, and can be pleasantly heard in a single spin without boring the listener for a second. “The Great Galactic War” (03:13) is a contagious Space-Rock with Heavy-Metal guitars that sooths down on the ballad “Phantoms” (04:30). “Herald of Life” (03:15) is a nocturne for piano inspired on “Chopin” adapted with harmony vocals and guitars to sound as a Space-Rock. It sets the stage for a series of great ‘70-styled Hard-Rock songs, driven by groovy riffs and swinging Hammonds, recalling bands like “Deep Purple”, “Budgie”, “Fuzzy Duck”, “Arthur Brown”, “Hawkwind” and “Gong”: “Building an Empire” (03:51) is driven by a Space-Rock riff that recalls the song “Master of the Universe”, by “Hawkwind”, and has “Gong”-sounding saxophones and a great melodic guitar solo; “Ultimatum” (03:36) is more like “Deep Purple”, including the guitar solo and the powerful vocals; while “A New Beginning” (06:05) and “Vera” (04:40) are two brilliant songs that showcase the great talents of Angela Rhea Piccoli as lead singer (“A New …” is more Psychedelic, and has a vivid instrumental vibe; “Vera” is a groovy Hard-Rock with sticky harmony vocals). In between, 1974 offer us some ballads, like “Essential Arms” (04:49) (which begins with Hindu sounds like “Velvet Underground”, but ends with a Neo-Prog guitar solo); the Space-Blues “Admiral Tackett” (04:59) (driven by slide guitars and space-Rock backing vocals); and “A Dark Thought” (03:02), driven by soft male/female vocals. “The United Earthlands’ Assembly” (04:15) is a Post-Rock inserted into the album’s concept that shows how 1974 absorbs new trends. Finally, under a Progressive point of view, two tracks represent 1974’s most ambitious works for this album: “Abduction” (05:22) begins slow, recalling “Pink Floyd” and “Rush”, grows denser with Heavy Metal texturized guitar riffs and has soulful vocals and harmonious guitar solos, also recalling “Muse” and “Coheed and Cambria”; “Death of the Herald” (09:06) – which was strategically placed at the end of the record - is a masterpiece conjuring all 1974’s musical references, old and new. It begins slightly Folk, turns into a great Space Rock with epic vocals (recalling “Muse”), has amazing guitar solos and Prog-Metal instrumental parts, malevolent choirs like “Orff’s” “Carmina Burana”, and ends with Psychedelic soaring guitars! 1974 is a shiny and promising band that knows how to play Psychedelic, Space, Hard-Rock & Classic Rock of the ‘70s with the verve and stamina of the new century, being highly recommendable for fans of “Pink Floyd”, “Hawkwind”, “Gong”, “Vanilla Fudge”, “Arthur Brown”, “Deep Purple”, “Fuzzy Duck”, “Budgie”, “Heart”, “Kansas”, “Blue Oyster Cult”, early “Rush”, “Muse”, “Coheed and Cambria”, “Simeon Soul Charger”, “Arabs in Aspic”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in 1974 are: Mike Forgette - Guitar, Vocal; Adam Clymer – Guitar; Angela Rhea Piccoli - Keyboards, Vocals; Gary Dionne - Bass, Vocals; Tim Moore - Drums, Vocals. Guest musicians: Isaac Young – Saxophone on “Building an Empire”; Lou Lorenzo – Guitar on “Death of the Herald”; Jennifer Hill, Leah Lorenzo & Steve Gregory – Choir on “Death of the Herald”. Album released on 26 October 2013. Music & Lyrics by 1974; Recorded, Mixed, & Mastered by Jeff Weed. Produced by 1974 and Jeff Weed...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/27/2014........................................................,.....Interested to know more about this amazing Band? Visit 1974 HOME PAGE...
. MARCO DE ANGELIS - "The River - Both Sides of the Story"
Marco de Angelis is an Italian composer, musician, arranger and producer with almost thirty years of experience in music. Soon or later, the musical input accumulated inside his mind should have to find an outlet to escape out in the form of some artistic expression - that is “The River - Both Sides of the Story” - a conceptual piece that presents a consistent theme throughout the various phases of its creation, execution, recording and future representation. It is not a collection of songs, but a homogeneous and coherent body of work in which lyrics, music and arrangements fuse together harmoniously within the visual and suggestive concept of a “river”, which represents the real life, sided by its two river banks, which represent the dualism in which all human beings exist. Traveling on the river, one can make a trip of self-discovery, choosing to stop on one bank or another, or can just be dragged by chance into its whimsical flowing. “The River” was independently released in 2013 and features Marco de Angelis (guitar, bass, keyboards, and Chapman stick), Marcello Catalano (vocals), Cristiano Micalizzi (drums) and gest singers that form a women’s choir. In spite of his Italian roots, the music of de Angelis has nothing to do with Italian Progressive Rock, being rather aligned with the British Style. The songs are a blend of sophisticated British Pop-Rock and World Music covered with a Neo-Progressive luster, having a resemblance with the works of “Peter Gabriel”, “Paul Simon”, “Marillion”, “Fish”, “Phil Collins”, “Simply Red”, “Coldplay”, and the latest albums of “Genesis” & “Pink Floyd”. Although the compositions emphasize the song-format (by privileging Catalano’s sensitive lead vocals), the arrangements are also adorned with beautiful passages of pianos, and have solos of synths and guitars in Neo-Prog style. Cristiano Micalizzi on the drums shows a rich rhythmical palette that includes Rock, Jazz, Brit-Pop, and World Music ethnical beats, and makes a great duo with the impressive bass of de Angelis. The moods go from slightly lively to slightly cool or melancholic; and the female backing vocals (that sing short and long “uh’s” and “ah’s”) recall “Pink Floyd” and “Paul Simon”. “The River” features 12 tracks. “Radio” (0:21)/“Tell Me Why” (5:21) is lively, driven by World Music beats and backing vocals that recall “Gabriel” and “Paul Simon”, and has Neo-Prog guitars that recall “Marillion”. Other songs have a stronger Pop-Rock appeal, but never give out the melodic solos of guitar and synths. They are “One Love” (5:21) – which recalls “Marillion” (of the last days with “Fish”), “Genesis” (pop phase), and has an instrumentation more like “Asia”; “Snowbound” (4:47) – a ballad driven by acoustic guitars, symphonic string arrangements, and keyboards that recalls “Fish” and “Coldplay”; “Never Look Back” (4:26) – a rhythmically groovy song reminiscent of “Peter Gabriel” funky-phase, but that for some reason also recalls me of “Kansas”; “Take It Away” (6:28) - which is Techno, also resembling “Peter Gabriel”; and “Fly High” (6:54) - a sunny and soaring ballad like “Genesis”, “Phil Collins”, and “Simply Red”. Intermingled with those tracks there are some introspective and slightly melancholic songs such as “Black Stare” (5:04) - driven by pianos, recalling “Marillion” (with “Fish”), ascending to a pop-commercial end; “This Time” (6:31) - another “Marillion” with “Fish” kind of song that grows with more drama later; and “Regrets” (7:51), which has a touch of “Pink Floyd”, “Phil Collins”, and “Marillion”, ending with great melodic guitar solo. The song “What Do You Feel Now?” (6:17) tends to the Electronic Progressive style, having sound effects and instrumental passages influenced by “Eno”, “Parsons”, “Pink Floyd” (with highlight for the vocals and bass), and even “Manfred Mann” (on backing vocals); while the closing track “Our Trail Of Tears” (9:20) begins Popish (think of “Phil Collins” or “Simply Red”) and grows like a “Marillion” song of the “Hogarth” phase, being crowned with a typical Neo-Prog solo that vanishes into a man’s speech thanking the audience for winning a prize. “The River” is a solid work by Marco de Angelis, but as the music stays on the bordering line between sophisticated British Pop-Rock and typical Neo-Progressive style, a shall recommend this album only for fans of “Marillion”, the latest albums of “Genesis” & “Pink Floyd”, the solo works of “Peter Gabriel”, “Fish”, and “Phil Collins”, and fans of “Simply Red”, “Coldplay”, and “Paul Simon”. Band members and collaborators involved in Marco de Angelis/The River are: Marco de Angelis - Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Chapman Stick; Marcello Catalano – Vocals; Cristiano Micalizzi – Drums. Guests: Désirèe Petrocchi; Simona Rizzi; Susanna Stvali; Fabiola Torresi; Sara Berni - Backing Vocals. All songs written and arranged by Marco De Angelis, except: “Our Trail Of Tears” written by Marco De Angelis / Puzzle. All lyrics by Marco De Angelis, except: “Tell Me Why”, “Black Stare” (Marco De Angelis / Odette Albani); “Our Trail Of Tears” (Marcello Catalano) & “Snowbound” (Sham Hinchey). Produced by Marco De Angelis; Recorded, Engineered & Mixed by Marco De Angelis; Acoustic guitars session recorded by Maurizio Capitini; Additional post-pro mixing by Fabrizio Facioni. Recorded at Soundtrack Studio & Revolver Studio; Mastered by Sue Brown at The Crypt Mastering... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta) 
02/27/2014.....................Interested to know more about this great musician and Band? Visit MARCO DE ANGELIS HOME PAGE...
. RPWL - "Wanted"
The German Art-Rock band RPWL is back to this webzine once more! Initially founded as a “Pink Floyd”-cover band in 1997, RPWL grew up by playing innumerable live shows in Germany, France, Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, the United States, Canada, and Mexico, assembling a large and loyal fan-base until becoming a foremost act. Meanwhile, RPWL accumulated several chart successes, as well as an extensive discography, with highlights for “God Has Failed” (2000, debut album); “Trying to Kiss the Sun” (2002); “World Through My Eyes” (2005, featured at PR&PM); “The RPWL Experience” (2008, chosen best album of May at PR&PM); “Beyond Man And Time” (2012); and the live albums “Start The Fire” (2005) and “A Show Beyond Man and Time” (2013, CD/DVD). Along fifteen years of career, RPWL’s line-up has changed: of the four original members that gave name to the band, only Yogi Lang (vocals, keyboards) and Kalle Wallner (guitar) remained. Also the once quartet turned out to a quintet, with the arrivals of Marc Turiaux (drums), Markus Jehle (keyboard, piano) and Werner Taus (bass). This incarnation of RPWL is now coming with a brand new album - “Wanted” (Gentle Art Of Music/Soulfood Music). Scheduled for release on March 14, 2014 (Europe) and April 1st (USA), “Wanted” will be available in three versions: as single CD, as a “Limited Edition” CD+DVD with 5.1 surround mix (audio only), and as Double Vinyl. “Wanted” is a concept album that tells the story of Giuseppe Garibaldi, an admirer of the Greek antiquity who became aware of a scroll of Plato’s in which he analyzes the work of Hippocrates. It can be read in Garibaldi’s diaries that Hippocrates had in fact found the formula for a medicine that leads the spirit into a real and absolute world, free of all illusion and invisible ghost worlds. The question that arises at that point is the following: is the human race ready for what Plato called the “gift of absolute freedom?” RPWL transfers that question to the world of today: is modern man ready for absolute freedom? To explore all possible answers to this philosophical inquiry, RPWL has created a fantasy story, narrated along the 10 tracks of the new album. The complexity of the theme is matched by equally cerebral music. On “Wanted”, RPWL trails a new path, becoming less dependent of “Pink Floyd” mannerisms, and offers us a solid and renewed sonority that features elements of Electronica & Noisy Music, Alternative Rock, Hard & Heavy Prog, and even Prog-Metal. But all is stamped with RPWL’s customary sophistication and Art-Rock perspective - and tuned to the worldwide turmoil that is sweeping our society away. The band’s anxieties are explored on the tracks “Revelation” (5:17) – an awesome instrumental intro – and “Swords And Guns” (8:42) – an impressive song driven by “big brother” deep vocals, military-paced drums & bass, and long keyboard solo that warns us of the dangers of a religious-totalitarian system. Both tracks bring in new elements of Electronic/Noise, Alternative Rock, Heavy Prog, and even Prog-Metal styles allied to Futuristic soundscapes and melodic Progressive soaring parts with reflections of “Pink Floyd” and “Alan Parsons”. Other tracks have a more pragmatic and direct rocky attitude, such as “A Short Cut Line” (2:56)/“Wanted” (4:28) (a typical pulsing bass-driven RPWL rocky song, with a thrilling sensation that grows on the chorus); the surprising “Disbelief” (6:10) (which has groovy Hard-Rock riffs, robotic vocals opposed to soaring “Floydian” vocals, and bluesy final guitar solo); and the techno “Perfect Day” (6:18) (the album’s most danceable song, which may offer a new musical perspective to fans of “Radiohead”, “U2”, and “Coldplay”). But RPWL achieve their ideal esthetical climax on the very best songs “Hide And Seek” (5:08) (which begins with tuneful vocals underlined by acoustic guitars – recalling “Pink Floyd’s” old psychedelic songs - but grows dramatically later, by adding appealing ‘70-styled Hard-Rock riffs and Space-Rock bass, organs, and other vintage keyboards); and “The Attack” (11:07) (a Heavy-Prog masterpiece that evolves by contrasting moods - soft & soaring against dramatic & aggressive, melancholic against vibrant, tribal versus futuristic – which RPWL’s musicians manipulate as masters). Of course, the “Pink Floyd” seal is still imprinted in RPWL’s deepest sub-conscious, and crops out on the ballads “Misguided Thought” (6:07) (the delicacy of which will make you feel comfortably numb); and “A New Dawn” (5:34) (a half-acoustic, and slightly melancholic last song that brings an inspiring note of hope on lyrics), being both crowned with Wallner’s amazing guitar solos. As a whole, “Wanted” is a brilliant and ambitious new work by RPWL that revitalizes their sound without compromising their musical essence, being essential for RPWL fans around the world, and highly recommendable for fans of “Pink Floyd”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Marillion” (Hogarth Era), “Gazpacho”, “Airbag”, “Believe”, “Riverside”, “Osada Vida”, “Mindfileds”, “Division By Zero”, “Sylvan”, “Muse”, “Crystal Palace”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in RPWL are: Yogi Lang - Vocals, Keyboards; Kalle Wallner - Guitars; Markus Jehle - Keyboards; Werner Taus - Bass; Marc Turiaux – Drums. Produced & Released by Gentle Art of Music, Germany... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta) 
02/27/2014.............................Want to learn everything about the musicians and their fantastic band, go to RPWL HOME PAGE...
. REVILE - "The Moment in Review"
Revile were a 5 piece Rock band from Dublin, Ireland, formed by Andy O' Toole (vocals), Greg Clarke (guitars), Diarmuid Shore (guitars & samples), Cathal Rodgers (bass), and Andy Clarke (drums). Revile released two independent EP's before splitting at the beginning of 2005: "High Tide" (2003) and "The Moment In Review" (2004). “The Moment In Review” features 5 tracks and a sonority mainly influenced by bands like “Pearl Jam”, “Deftones”, “Faith No More”, “Soundgarden”, “Audioslave”, “Tool”, “Korn”, “Rage Against the Machine”, and “Red Hot Chili Peppers”. On songs like “Id” (4:43), “Living Receiver” (3:41) and “Choice & Consequence” (3:42), the listener will listen to vibrant music that combines a broken rhythmic frame bearing a Post-Metal accent on bass and guitars that is reminiscent of the sound of “Deftones” (mainly) and “Tool”. Vocals are really great, emotional, and sometimes lead rocky and groovy guitar riffs, the whole sound recalling bands like “Soundgarden”, “Audioslave”, and “Pearl Jam”. Sometimes, a bass line may recall bands like “Red Hot Chili Peppers” and “Rage Against the Machine”, and some noises are reminiscent of a lighter version of “Korn’s” experimental music. “Choice…” still features some distinguishing female vocals performed by Caroline Lawford. The energy of those three songs are somewhat soothed by the slower song “Forever Later” (3:37), which is more melodic and has emotional vocals, recalling the styles of “Soundgarden” and “Pearl Jam”. The EP ends with the outstanding and ambitious “Blood & Brine” (5:34), driven by complicated bass lines, being full of vocal nuances, and having breaks for atmospheric parts interspersed with aggressive one, and metallic guitar riffs - all recalling the best works of “Deftones”. Although not sounding original, Revile had solid musicianship, and potential to evolve to higher levels within their music style. Revile’s “The Moment In Review” is especially recommended for fans of the 90’s Rock & Metal bands like “Pearl Jam”, “Deftones”, “Faith No More”, “Soundgarden”, “Audioslave”, “Tool”, “Korn”, “Rage Against the Machine”, “Red Hot Chili Peppers”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Revile are: Andy O' Toole – Vocals; Greg Clarke – Guitars; Diarmuid Shore – Guitars & Samples; Cathal Rodgers – Bass; Andy Clarke - Drums. Additional musician: Caroline Lawford – Vocals on “Choice & Consequence”. Recorded between July 24th & August 15th 2004, Manor Park Studio; Engineered, Mixed & Mastered by Neal Calcterwood. Produced by Revile... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta) 
03/26/2014...................................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit REVILE HOME PAGE...
. BEYOND-O-MATIC - "Relations At The Borders Between"
Beyond-O-Matic is a Psychedelic & Space-Rock band that formed in New York in 1994 and soon moved along to San Francisco, California. The band released three independent albums before their first split-up: “The Flight of Luis Garcia” (1994), “Sonic Reclaimator” (1996), and “Your Body” (1998). They reunited in 2002 to record “Time To Get Up”, and dissipated again, to be ultimately rediscovered and resurrected through the efforts of the Psychedelic-Space Rock label Trail Records, which officially released “Time To Get Up” in 2010. Beyond-O-Matic was also featured on Trail Record’s compilation “Five Years in Space 2007-2012” (reviewed at PR&PM in 2013). Anyway, the release of “Time To Get Up” sparked new interest on the music of Beyond-O-Matic, resulting in the release of “Relations At The Borders Between” (2013, Trail Records). The material was originally compiled from improvised sessions in San Francisco in May 2012 (their first in almost a decade), and reworked and enhanced until May 2013. Lyrics were written by front-man Peter Fuhry in the weeks following the session, inspired by the music that was improvised and the feelings that were felt. Besides Peter Fuhry (vocals, flutes, guitars, and other instruments), the line-up features Kurt Stenzel (synthesizers, delays & other effects) and Anthony Koutsos (cymbals & drums). Beyond-O-Matic’s creative process includes building their own unusual instruments, use of improvisations, delays, overdubs, loops, and bombastic space-jamming. They might have smoked from weeds such as “Jefferson Airplane”, “Grateful Dead”, “Velvet Underground”, “Gandalf” (USA), “HP Lovecraft”, “Vanilla Fudge”, “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”, “Quintessence”, “Hawkwind”, “Can”, “Ash Ra Tempel”, “Amon Düül”, “Popol Vuh”, “Guru Guru”, and “Yatha Sidhra” – influences that can be sensed on their music – to create their own brand of Psychedelic & Space Rock. The highlights go for Peter Fuhry's psychedelic multi-layered vocals in falsetto, the cosmic-sounding synthesizers and effects, and the rhythms driven by groovy drums, ethnical beats, and reverberating cymbals. Indian ragas and primeval flutes add an exotic touch to trippy, emotional, and tantric compositions. “Relations At The Borders Between” has 7 tracks. Between tracks “In The C” (5:13) and “Out The C” (15:52) – which open and close the album, respectively – Beyond-O-Matic warps Einstein’s Space-Time continuum to make a psychedelic-cosmic journey that starts with the bright and shiny colors of San Francisco, and ends with the dimmed dark hues of the European Psychedelic-Space Rock and Krautrock. If “In The C” has the flavor of the ‘70s, evoking images of California’s sunny shores and inviting the listener to plunge into the waters of this record; track 2 - “Tick Tock Rock” (2:29) – is like an echoing and hypnotic vocal experiment that introduces the fantastic “Wish” (15:40). This one is an amazing Hindu-Psychedelic-Progressive song: a kind of majestic “Venus in Furs” balanced between magnificent ragas and epic vocals, still having a long improvised final sequence driven by ancient rhythms and flutes – all to take fans of “Quintessence”, “Yatha Sidhra”, and “Popol Vuh” to the orgasmic Nirvana. “Wish” is followed by “In Two Os” (12:56), which is more rocky, groovy, and tribal, having an alternation of Hard Space-Rock organs, inspired on “Vanilla Fudge” and “Hawkwind”, with lively vocals that recall songs of “The Beatles”, “Jefferson Airplane” and “Grateful Dead”, dropping into a long Acid-Rock sequence that ends up abruptly. The sunshine begins to fade out on “Turn, Switch, Trust” (10:42). Soaring and slow, this song soon retreats into the dark and somber realms of Stoner-Psychedelia, combining lysergic atmospheres, slumbering vocals, and ghostly echoing backing vocals - and will be appreciated by fans of early “Pink Floyd”, “HP Lovecraft”, “Ole Lukkøye”, and Krautrockers in general. But if you are a Krautrock fanatic, the best choices will be the tracks “But The Love” (10:02) and “Out The C” (15:52). “But The Love” is a slow Space-Rock driven by experimental and ethnical rhythms and mantra-like stoned vocals that goes on a crescendo with the addition, layer by layer, of 3.000 guitar effects, primeval flutes, multi-layered backing vocals, and several textures of keyboards. Causing a kind of “lost in time & space sensation”, it recalls bands like “Ash Ra Tempel”, “Can”, and “King Crimson”. Finally, “Out The C” (15:52) is a cosmic-soaring song that closes the album with even more vaporous sounds, stoned vocals, cymbals and guitar effects. If you love Psychedelic, Space or Krautrock music, Beyond-O-Matic’s new album consists in a fascinating item that cannot be lacking in your collection. Highly recommendable for fans of “Gandalf” (USA), “HP Lovecraft”, “Pink Floyd”, “Quintessence”, “King Crimson”, “Hawkwind”, “Can”, “Ash Ra Tempel”, “Amon Düül”, “Popol Vuh”, and “Yatha Sidhra”. Band members and collaborators involved in Beyond-o-Matic are: Peter Fuhry – Vocals, Flute, Strangely Tuned Guitars, Electric Harp, Melodica, Long Stiff Finger of Doom, Accordion, Wayne’s Percussion, Glenn’s Mellophone; Kurt “Stenzo” Stenzel - Synthesizers, Delays and Other Effects; Anthony Koutsos - Cymbals and Drums. Additional musicians: Edward Dahl – Guitar with 3.000 effects on “But The Love”; Michael “Seven” Harris – Bass & Bass Synthesizer on “In The C”. Past members: Glenn 'Free' Wilcox, Frank 'Tus' Grau, Mr. Clarke, Joe 'Oo' Martinez, Sam 'Spam' Morris, David 'Ginger' Gresalfi, David Jayne. Edited & Mixed by Peter Fuhry & George Dugan; Mastered by George Dugan at I-Heights Studio, New York (2012-2013). Trail Records production and design by Alexander Tsalikhin & Vlad Milyavsky...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta) 
03/26/2014..................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit BEYOND-O-MATIC HOME PAGE...
. BATTESINI - "Scored Fractals"
Battesini is a Brazilian Progressive Rock project led by multi-instrumentalist and composer Saulo Battesini (classical, electric and synth guitars, keyboards, samplers, bass). Battesini was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1960, and in 1973 he began to play guitar. He studied Classical guitar with João Pedro Borges and Luiz Antonio Perez; and learned musical theory at the “Villa-Lobos Musical School” in Rio. He learned Classical piano for two years, and Harmony Theory at the “Ian Guest Center for Musical Perfection” (“Centro Ian Guest de Aperfeiçoamento Musical” - CIGAM). He began later to tour with several instrumental bands of varied musical styles, ranging from Fusion, Jazz, Pop, and Rock to Progressive Rock; and recorded with many independent groups of the “Brazilian Popular Music” movement (“MPB”). Battesini took part in two important bands of the Brazilian 80’s Prog-Rock scene: “Quaterna Réquiem” and “Kaizen”. He currently works as free-lancer musician and teacher. Battesini is also electronic technician, and has founded his own digital studio to produce CDs, DVDs, and soundtracks. His own album, titled “Scored Fractals”, was recorded there in 2009, and released in 2010 under labels Rock Symphony / Musea Records). Battesini is on the edge of a trio formed by drummer and percussionist Mario Leme (“Bacamarte”, “Aether”, “Kaizen”) and bassist William Murray (“Bacamarte” and “Kaizen”), having support of additional musicians Odeid (bass), Wagner André (keyboards, also on “Kaizen”), Carla Drummond (flute), and Marcos Cardoso (piano). The music recorded on “Scored Fractals” covers a variety of genres: Symphonic Progressive Rock and Jazz-Fusion are the main segments, but also Brazilian Jazz, Classical and Folk Music show up in many parts. Battesini is fluent on guitars, classical guitars and keyboards, and never lets melody to be overcome by sterile technique. He reunites the pleasant sound of Symphonic Progressive Rock (with influences of “Triumvirat”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Camel”, “Genesis”, “Caravan”, “Gryphon”) with the complicated harmonies and subtle tunes derived from the Jazz-Fusion & Prog-Fusion of the late ‘70s to ‘80s (with influences mainly of “Holdsworth”, “UK” and “Jean-Luc Ponty”, but also of “Zappa” and “Mahavishnu Orchestra”). Opulent multilayered arrangements written for guitars and synths combine amazingly with impressive bass and free-styled drumming; and the additional musicians widen the musical horizons with their talents, making the album to sound even better. “Scored Fractals” also honors the Brazilian Prog-Rock Tradition, which has produced bands like “Os Mutantes”, “Som Imaginário”, “O Terço”, “O Som Nosso de Cada Dia”, “14 Bis”, “Bacamarte”, “Sagrado Coração da Terra”, “Quaterna Réquiem”, “Tempus Fugit”, “Lehmejun”, “Apocalypse”, “Alpha III”, and others. “Scored Fractals” features 7 instrumental tracks. The most “Progressive” tracks (in the sense of being long, divided in many parts, and having changes of pace and mood) are the opening track “Journey to Orien Planet” (At Oriental Side of Universe) (14:27) (with a “Triumvirat”-like rhythmic section supporting “Oldfield” Japanese keyboards, and intense guitar and synths interplay occurring inside Prog-Fusion arrangements); and the ghostly “Flying Dutchman” (11:42), which has a baroque structure enveloped in a dark atmosphere and gothic phantom choirs, recalling songs of “Quaterna Réquiem”, “Bacamarte”, and “Genesis”. This track is followed by a Progressive-Folk piece called “Tema 3” (10:13), driven by classical acoustic guitars, flutes, and percussion that are reminiscent of a medieval dance. The middle part has pianos and choirs, and the whole piece recalls the music of “Bacamarte” and “Gryphon”, with a bit of “Renaissance” and “Camel”. Leaning to the Jazz-Fusion and Prog-Fusion styles, track 2 - “Lapse of Confusion” (6:52) - brings soaring guitars and jazzy solos that resemble the elegant manners of the Canterbury scene; while track 5 - “Theme C” (5:43) – is soft and sophisticated, including more instruments (pianos, flute, and violin sounds), recalling “Camel”, “Eddie Jobson”, “Jean-Luc Ponty”, and “Holdsworth”. The interesting structure of track 6 - “One Bit Over” (7:04) – interlocks guitars and synths with somber bass notes in a scherzo that combines the humorous musical style of “Zappa” with the pioneering experimentalism of “Mahavishnu Orchestra”. The closing track, “A Little Moment to Rejoice” (6:02), is a joyful piece on which Battesini retakes his most “Progressive” vein: initial martial drums and keyboards recall “Triumvirat”, a delicate bass steers the music to a soft jazz, synths overcome guitars, and pianos take the music to the level of “Camel”, “Caravan”, and “Genesis”. An excellent work to be proud of, Battesini’s “Scored Fractals” is highly recommended for fans of Symphonic Prog, Canterbury Scene, Prog-Fusion & Fusion of the ‘70s to ‘80s, Brazilian-Prog, and all the bands cited above. Band members and collaborators involved in Scored FractalsBattesini are: Saulo Battesini – Electric and Synth Guitar, Keyboards; Sample Drums Line and 5-String Bass on track 4; Classical Guitar on tracks 5 & 7; Mario Leme – Drums; Percussion;William Murray – 6-String Bass (tracks 1,  3), Acoustic Bass Guitar (track 5), 4-String Bass (track 6); Odeid – 4-String Bass (tracks 2 & 7); Wagner André – Keyboard (track 3); Carla Drummond – Flute (tracks 3 & 7); Marcos Cardoso – Piano (tracks 5 & 7). Produced by Battesini...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta) 
03/26/2014..............................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit BATTESINI HOME PAGE...
. EMPYREAN SANCTUM - "Empyrean Sanctum"
Empyrean Sanctum is a new Progressive Metal & Power Metal band hailing from Chicago, IL. The line-up consists of founding member Justin Kellerman, (guitars, keyboards, compositions), plus Albert Rybka (lead vocals), Mario Buonincontro (bass), and Zach Libbe (drums). Empyrean Sanctums produces a powerful and appealing Metal sound that draws influences of bands such as "Dream Theater”, “Symphony X”, “Ayreon”, “Scar Symmetry”, “Meshuggah”, “Nevermore”, “Circus Maximus”, “Devin Townsend”, “Pagan's Mind”, “Cynic”, “Tesseract”, “Textures”, “Haken”, “Pain Of Salvation”; also recalling bands like “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Angra”, “Adagio”, “Helloween”, “Gamma Ray”, “Stratovarius”, “Rhapsody (of Fire)”, “Sonata Arctica”, “Space Odyssey”, “Time Requiem”, and “Evergrey”. Empyrean Sanctum's debut album “Empyrean Sanctum” was released on November 12, 2013. It was produced, mixed, and mastered by Zack Uidl (of “7 Horns 7 Eyes”), and features guest bassist Fabio D'Amore (“Pathosray”, “Serenity”) playing on all tracks. “Empyrean Sanctum” showcases a powerful, solid, and compact sonority. Guitars are melodic and neo-classical (like on “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Helloween”, “Stratovarius”), and fly amidst dense Prog-Metal riffs and energetic bass & drums that recall bands like “Symphony X”, “Evergrey”, “Nevermore”, “Adagio”, “Pagan’s Mind” and “Circus Maximus”. Keyboard arrangements may be either cosmic (reminiscent of “Space Odyssey” and “Ayreon”), or symphonic (as “Sonata Arctica”, “Time Requiem”, “Symphony X”). Singer Alber Rybka has his highs and lows - his vocals are highly-pitched, sometimes to an excessive point - but recalls singers of “Helloween”, “Gamma Ray”, “Stratovarius”, and “Angra” (“Andre Matos”). The Power-Metal frame is frequently broken by instrumental interludes of classical pianos, emotional vocals, and more complex Prog-Metal instrumentation, inspired on bands such as “Dream Theater”, “Scar Symmetry”, and “Pain of Salvation”. “Empyrean Sanctum” has 9 tracks. The ones I liked most are: “Premonition” (02:43) – an impressive instrumental intro for “The Old Man's Requiem” (09:03), which gathers a massive amount of Neo-Classical guitars in the style of “Malmsteen”, combining them with cosmic keyboards like “Space Odyssey”; “Desolation” (05:47) – an Epic with Egyptian magnitude that recalls “Symphony X”; and “A Dark Passage” (07:48) – a dark and climatic song that fuses the styles of “Scar Symmetry” and “Symphony X”, and on which Rybka has his best vocal performance, by engaging in an epic duel against Zach Libbe’s growling “Meshuggah”-like vocals. Also noteworthy are the album’s last tracks: “Ascension Into Eternity” (06:26) and “Guardian Of Ice” (16:12). Both are the most Prog-Metal pieces of this record, being strongly inspired on “Dream Theater’s” style, having emotional vocals that grow toward a dramatic climax. “Ascension…” has symphonic interludes and progressive duos of guitar & bass, while “Guardian…” is introduced by a Neo-Classical guitar attack, progresses with soaring vocals, and grows stupendously at the middle with an impressive instrumental part on which Kellerman unveils all his potential as a guitar player, performing groovy riffs and two amazing solos. The album still offers the song “The Ethereal Forest” (08:47) - which combines heroic chorus, classical pianos, and ethereal sounds with an epic instrumental final sequence driven by killer guitar solos (recalling the Symphonic Power-Metal act “Rhapsody of Fire”); and the two Metal ballads: “Through The Tempest's Wrath” (08:54) (with cadenced and fast moments, recalling “Angra”) and “Embracing The Light” (04:57) (a softer song that has harmony vocals like “Symphony X” and “Ayreon”, and a beautifully crafted guitar solo). Although not totally matured to conquer the exigent Prog-Metal audiences, Empyrean Sanctum has an enormous potential to grow. The band must adequate the vocal range of Rybka to the arrangements, look for a permanent keyboardist, and refine their production. For now, they are specially recommended for fans of “Symphony X”, “Dream Theater”, “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Scar Symmetry”, “Circus Maximus”, “Nevermore”, “Helloween”, “Angra”, “Gamma Ray”, “Stratovarius”, “Rhapsody (of Fire)”, “Sonata Arctica”, “Adagio”, “Space Odyssey”, “Time Requiem”, “Ayreon”, “Evergrey”, “Pagan's Mind”, “Cynic”, “Tesseract”, “Haken”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Empyrean Sanctum are: Justin Kellerman - Guitars, Keyboard Programming, Lyrics, Compositions; Albert Rybka - Lead Vocals; Mario Buonincontro - Bass Guitar; Zach Libbe - Drums, Growls. Special guest: Fabio D'Amore – Bass. Vocals, guitars & keyboards recorded by Zach Libbe at The Cave of Liberator. Bass performed by Fabio D’Amore and recorded by Ivan Moni Bidin at Artesonika Studio. Mixed & Mastered by Zack Uidl; Produced by Empyrean Sanctum & Zack Uidl, also more about you can visit the band at their Facebook page...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta) 
03/26/2014.......................Want to learn everything about the band and their history, go to EMPYREAN SANCTUM HOME PAGE...
. DOUBT - "Mercy, Pity, Peace & Love"
The super-trio Doubt is back to this webzine (see under Reviews 2010). Doubt consists of three gifted musicians with a large experience in the fields of Free-Jazz, Jazz-Rock and Canterbury Scene Prog-Rock. Alex Maguire (keyboards) played with “Hatfield and the North”, “Richard Sinclair”, “Evan Parker”, “Elton Dean”, “Tony Oxley”, and “Han Bennink”. Belgium-born Michel Delville (guitars) is a member of “The Wrong Object”, “TZGIV”, and “The Moving Tones”. Tony Bianco (drums) is a collaborator of Jazz-men “Dave Liebman”, “Evan Parker”, “Elton Dean”, and others. Doubt was born in the studio during a jam session that was recorded live and that ultimately resulted in their debut album “Never Pet a Burning Dog” (2010, MoonJune, reviewed at PR&PM), The album had guest participation of singer Richard Sinclair (“Caravan”, “Camel”, “Hatfield and the North”). “Never Pet…” showcased an innovative fusion of Free-Jazz & Jazz-Rock with the sound of Canterbury Scene; but also stepped on Heavy-Prog & Metal terrains. A Doubt‘s performance became a synonym to “cool jazzy moods, free-flowing improvisation, and odd melodies clashing against wild solo performances and vigorous collective jamming passages”, and shared a sonic resemblance with “Hatfield and the North”, “Richard Sinclair”, “Caravan”, “Camel”, “National Health”, “Soft Machine”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “John Zorn”, “Evan Parker”, “Elton Dean”, “Han Bennink”, “John Cage”, “Terje Rypdal”, “Zappa”, “King Crimson”, “The Wrong Object”, and “Dave Liebman”. Doubt has just released their second album, “Mercy, Pity, Peace & Love” (2012, MoonJune Records). The title is taken from “William Blake’s” poem, "Songs of Innocence and Experience". Diverging from the Jazzy orientation of its predecessor, “MPP&L” goes deeper in search of Doubt’s primeval sources, ranging from the transgressors “Jimi Hendrix”, “King Crimson”, and “Tortoise”, to the visionaries “Igor Stravinsky” and “Olivier Messiaen”. “Mercy, Pity, Peace & Love” is a concept album that brings 13 instrumental tracks, including one cover of “Purple Haze”Jimi Hendrix”). The album begins heavy with “There Is A War Going On” (3:22) which is an anti-war manifesto directed to the President of the USA, driven by dense Hammonds and martial drumming, and sharp guitars; repeated on track 8, “There Is A War Going On (reprise)” (1:18). Track 2, “Jalal” (7:16), uses a rhythmic structure reminiscent of “Zappa”, “Crimson”, and “Tortoise”, from beginning to end, while the guitars and bouncing pianos compete to occupy the empty spaces. Track 3, “No More Quarrel With The Devil” (4:41), and 11, “No More Quarrel With The Devil (reprise)” (1:14) stand among the best, for having a destructive disposition, a Heavy-Metal texture, an a psychotic tune based on a heavy “King Crimson”-styled riff that recalls the song “21st Century Schizoid Man”. Elephantine solos, paranoid guitar and keyboards, and behemoth drumming complete the madness. Track 4, “Rising Upon Clouds” (5:41) is a liquid composition that combines random pianos, soft cymbals, and crowing guitars, following one of “John Cage’s” musical recipes. “Purple Haze” (4:47) shows up, and this “Hendrix” cover is amazingly reformulated to sound like a psychedelic Stoner-Metal of the 21st century! Track 6, “The Invitation” (4:03), is a Soft-Jazz piece driven by soothing cymbals, magical tunes, clean guitars, and sounds of flutes. The title track, “Mercy, Pity, Peace & Love” (12:14), begins immersed in a sacred atmosphere, and as strange tunes arise from the mist, this piece gradually grows to include distorted synths, vaguely Oriental melodies, awesome drumming, and guitar-piano improvisations. The whole piece is like a blend of early “Soft Machine” and “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, under the point of view of “Messiaen”. Track 9, “Tears Before Bedtime” (2:44), is an Electric-Acid-Jazz-Rock into which thick sounds of synths and distorted guitars merge together, recalling “Mahavishnu Orchestra”. Track 10, “The Human Abstract” (6:24), is an Avant-garde Jazz driven by a creepy and paradoxical progression that, the faster it gets, the slower it goes. Track 12, “Mercury” (4:19), is a Jazz-Fusion combining skeleton-sounding pianos, enigmatic drumming and odd guitar evolutions, like “Tortoise”. The last track, “Goodbye My Fellow Soldier” (9:10), parallels the experimentalism of the title track: inspired on “Stravinsky” and “Messiaen”, this piece is a dark horror-symphony that joins creepy string-arrangements, tribal drumming, and a weird slow tune played on the guitar. Still a “difficult” album for the regular listener, “Mercy, Pity, Peace & Love” is full of new ideas and great instrumental performances, all coming from a band that is committed to never repeat the same record. Doubt’s new album is highly recommended for fans of Avant-garde Jazz, Jazz-Rock, R.I.O., and fans of music composed and performed by aliens, such as “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Soft Machine”, “Zappa”, “Robert Fripp”, “King Crimson”, “Zorn”, “Hendrix”, “Tortoise”, “Cage”, “Messiaen”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Doubt are: Alex Maguire – Keyboards, Sequencer; Michel Delville – Guitar, Roland GR-09, Samples; Tony Bianco – Drums, Sequencer. Album recorded on April 11 & December 5, 2011, at Studio Simonne (Brussels, Belgium); mixed & mastered by David Minjauw, on January 2012, at Studio Simonne (Brussels, Belgium). Produced by Doubt; executive producer Leonardo Pavkovic...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta) 
03/26/2014...................................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit DOUBT HOME PAGE...
. ONEIRONAUGHT - "Enlist Today"
Oneironaught is a Progressive Metal & Rock quartet based in Brooklyn (NY) since June 2012. The line-up features Nathan Lincoln (guitar), Robert Pena (guitar, keyboards), Damon Pelletier (bass), and David Mieloch (drums). Playing primarily instrumental music, Oneironaught fuses elements of different kinds of Music – mainly Rock, Psychedelic, Progressive, Metal, Jazz, and Classical – to create vibrant instrumental pieces that exude vigor, complexity, and that defy standards definitions. Band members seem to consume every kind of music (they are interested on Classical, Indie, Rock, Pop, Fusion, Disco, Polka, Reggae, Rap, Black, Orchestral, Soundtrack, Punk, Hardcore, Psychedelic, Minimalist, Opera, Metal, Easy-listening, Noise, Doom, Stoner, Jazz, Caribbean, Spaghetti-Western, Progressive Rock, Drone); and feel themselves influenced by bands as diverse as “Radiohead”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Russian Circles”, “Tool”, “Between the Buried and Me”, “Dillinger Escape Plan”, “Mastodon”, “Opeth”, “Cult of Luna”, “At the Gates”, “Muse”, “Mars Volta”, “King Crimson”, “Return to Forever”, and “Mahavishnu Orchestra”. But riffs, licks & picks resembling “Iron Maiden”, “Metallica”, “Motörhead”, “Voivod”, “Cirith Ungol”, “Watchtower”, “Rush”, “Primus”, and others may be also realized on Oneironaught’s sonority. Their self-produced debut album, entitled “Enlist Today”, was released on December 1st, 2013, and contains 7 tracks. The sound is totally unconventional, dynamic, sometimes as heavy as Thrash-Metal, other times soaring and Classical on the guitar harmonies; and spreads in different directions, either dissolving in pools of Psychedelic keyboards, or reverberating on waves of groovy riffs, pounding bass or explosive drumming. Amidst the sonic havoc, the band still finds space to include great guitar solos, complex drumming, smart bass scherzos and playful spaghetti-western moments. The album opens with “The Schillinger Escape Plan” (07:26) – which makes reference to one of Oneironaught’s most influential bands. A great Psych-Thrash-Prog piece, this song comes as a storm, pouring down psychedelic sounds, demolition drumming, pounding bass and adventurous guitar riffs. It is followed by “Ace High” (03:49), which merges amazingly Arabian influences with Space-Metal moments and ends with an epic martial pace. “The Sludgery” (08:20) is darker and mysterious, driven by guitar riffs that are dramatically heavier and slower than the previous, also recalling the sounds of “Opeth”, “Mastodon” and “Tool”. An unexpected break directs the song to a kind of Psych Spanish-Metal phase, and introduces crazy marry-go-round tunes and “Iron Maiden”-like galloping bass and drums. “World 8-4” (04:37) has calmer guitars that soar over hectic drums, but descends to low-tuned guitar riffs meandered by deep bass. The addition of psychedelically-distorted guitars makes this piece to sound like some horror-movie soundtrack. “Your Body is Responding Incredibly Well (to the Pregnancy)” (08:29) begins differently, with nice tuneful pianos, and gradually goes through musical changes to included more spaghetti-western Metal, Space-Rock organs, blowing-mind bass solo, Heavy-Progressive atmospheric cadences and more “Iron Maiden”-like guitar harmonies, being also reminiscent of “Porcupine Tree” and “Muse”. “Emerald City” (04:56) – the only song featuring brief vocals - is groovy and funny, and seems to be full of musical citations. The guitars bass and drums have a flavor of Psychedelic Hard-Rock of the late ‘60s to early ‘70s, and so have the keyboards and vocals. “Palace of the Beast” (11:02) is the magnum opus that closes the album. This composition was composed in a Baroque structure that reflects Oneironaught’s most Classical and Progressive influences. The piece slowly alternates from soaring to heavier moments, but every note has been carefully chosen, and the band never loses control of the overall cohesion, as much as it gets complex. An interesting and distinguishing band in the Instrumental Progressive-Metal style, Oneironaught is highly recommended for fans of “Porcupine Tree”, “Russian Circles”, “Tool”, “Between the Buried and Me”, “Dillinger Escape Plan”, “Mastodon”, “Opeth”, “Cult of Luna”, “At the Gates”, “Muse”, “Mars Volta”, “Iron Maiden”, “Metallica”, “Motörhead”, “Voivod”, “Spastic Ink”, “Watchtower”, “Rush”, “Primus”, “Outopsya”, “Valence”, “Dialeto”, “SOT”, and their likes. Band members and collaborators involved in Oneironaught are: Nathan Lincoln – Guitar; Robert Pena – Guitar & Keyboard; Damon Pelletier – Bass; David Mieloch – Drums. Recorded by James B. Shoen & Andrew Dunn; Mixed & Mastered by Nathan Lincoln; Produced by Richard Masch...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta) 
03/26/2014.....................,...............................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit ONEIRONAUGHT HOME PAGE...
Sweet Crystal is a Christian Rock Power-Trio hailing from Michigan, U.S.A. that has remained intact for 39 years. Marq Speck (lead vocals, keyboards), Bill Blatter (guitars, vocals) and Steve Wieser (drums) have been standing on the front lines of the Michigan Christian Rock scene even before that particular branch of music had a name. Sweet Crystal was formed in the winter of ‘71/‘72, and spent the ‘80s opening for bands such as “Bob Seger”, “Nazareth”, “Steppenwolf”, “Foghat”, “Rare Earth”, and “Stryper”. In 1985 gold-record-awarded “Blackfoot” producer Henry Weck sat behind the desk for Sweet Crystal’s debut EP - “Power-N-Glory” (1985, Nightcrier Music). Later, the band spent the ‘90s in the studio, writing and recording songs for independent films, corporate client events and personal music projects, until the release of their first full-length album “Still Standing” (2003). The new millennium saw the band reaching fans across the globe, thanks to the Internet, taking to the release in 2003 of a re-mastered version of “Power-N-Glory” (subtitled “Resurrected Masters”). In 2010 Sweet Crystal signed with Tate Music Group (TMG), a high-profile Christian music label out of Oklahoma, granting the release of their third record and second full-length album, “III” (November 2010, TMG). “III” (or “3”) has received positive reviews and song rotation on radio stations and Internet music sites across the globe, conquering new fans from England and Japan, to Brazil and Russia, and all across the United States – and helping Sweet Crystal to go farther with their message of inspiring people to feel better with themselves and take a better direction in their lives. The music of Sweet Crystal is a lively and easy-listening blend of Arena Rock, AOR, Hard, & Classic Rock with a Progressive orientation on keyboards, nice melodic vocals, and catchy hooks. The influences for a band that is almost 40 years on the road are ample, and range from “Led Zeppelin”, “Deep Purple”, “Boston”, “Meatloaf”, and “Peter Frampton”, to the most commercial side of “Asia”, “Rush”, “Whitesnake”, “Queen”, “Styx”, “Journey”, “Kansas”, “Yes”, “Stan Bush”, “Status Quo”, “Van Halen”, “Saga”, “Toto”, “Pink Floyd”, “Genesis”, “Marillion”, “Twelfth Night”, “Dire Straits”, “Stryper”, and “Queensrÿche”. “III” has 12 tracks, including a cover of “The Beatles”. The album opens with the lively “Holding Our Own” (3:53) and “By The Book” (4:40) – both driven by vibrant synths and fast rocky rhythms that recall the 80’s Progressive Rock and Classic Rock of bands like “Asia”, “Saga”, “Journey”, “Rush”, and “Boston”. “Holding…” places more emphasis on the keyboards and chorus, while “By The Book” is a guitar-oriented Hard-Rock that ends in the folky chords of “Book Return” (0:49). They are followed by “Did You Come Here To Save Me?” (1:50), which is a rainy intro for the very best track “Prisoner, Unbound” (6:22) – an impressive and memorable Prog-Rock song featuring different parts, driven by powerful guitar riffs, dramatic vocals, soaring symphonic keyboards, pianos, and inspired guitar solo, all bringing to mind the style of British band “Twelfth Night”. Also counting among the best tracks are: “Lion Of Judah” (4:12) – which is tense and somber, propelled by heavy guitars, an adventurous and strong chorus, and Hammond-sounding keyboards, recalling a bit “Kansas” and “Journey”; “Warriors” (4:51) – a really beautiful piano & acoustic guitar ballad, led by both male and female vocals, and crowned with a celestial guitar solo that approaches the style of some Neo-Prog bands such as “Strangers On A Train” and “Landmarq”; and finally “The Road Less Traveled” (2:59), which is a modern Neo-Prog in the format of “Marillion” (with “Hogarth”). Also a highlight is the cover of “Got To Get You Into My Life” (3:13), by “The Beatles”, which by combining World Music drumming with Classic Rock became totally different, sounding rather like a blend of “Genesis” with “Status Quo” and “Dire Straits”. Amidst those aforementioned songs, Sweet Crystal still offered us two easy-listening, fast-paced ballads, formatted for radio airplay: the soft “Another Time, Another Place” (4:16), and the romantic “Us, Eternally” (4:25). The short closing track “Numbers” (1:46) gives the listener his last blessing. Sweet Crystal has just added a fourth member to its line-up: bassist Marty Zarski has joined in, bringing 30 years of his own experience to this nice band that has no plans to stop at all. Still holding high the message of the Cross and “Reaching The World, One Song At A Time™”, Sweet Crystal is specially recommended for both Christian and Pagan fans that love the most accessible sound of bands like “Boston”, “Meatloaf”, “Peter Frampton”, “Asia”, “Rush”, “Yes”, “Styx”, “Queen”, “Journey”, “Kansas”, “Status Quo”, “Whitesnake”, “Saga”, “Toto”, “Genesis”, “Marillion”, “Twelfth Night”, “Van Halen”, “Dire Straits”, “Stan Bush”, “Stryper”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Sweet Crystal are: Marq “Q” Speck - Lead Vocals, Keyboards; Bill Blatter - Guitar, Bass, Vocals; Steve Wieser – Drums. New member: Marty Zarski – Bass. Guest musicians: Kathy Oyster – Vocals on “Warriors”; Keri Kimmel, Sherrie Northway, Cara Gross – Choir on “Prisoner, Unbound”; Ron Ellman – Violins on “Numbers”. Album Recorded at Nightcrier Music Studios (Canton, MI), Engineered & Produced by Sweet Crystal... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
03/26/2014...........................Want to learn everything about the band and its members, goes to SWEET CRYSTAL HOME PAGE...
. X-TERRA - "Wolves"
X-Terra - the White-Metal & Rock trio from Pennsylvania, U.S.A. - is back to PR&PM! (See at Reviews 2013). Formed in 1985, this band composed of Bill Hunt (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards), Anne Kachline (bass, backing vocals), and Bob Kachline (drums, backing vocals), has been performing mainly around Pennsylvania, New-York, New Jersey, and Maryland – conquering fans and spreading the words of the holy bible. X-Terra released three full-length CDs: “Wolves” (2003), “X-Nihilo” (2006), and “From the Vault” (2009). The last one was featured here at PR&PM in 2013. “Wolves” contains a compilation of 13 tracks written in 1988, 1989, 1993, 1994, and 2002, which were recorded from 2001 to 2002, and released in this independent album in 2003. As on the other album “From the Vault”, the compositions of “Wolves” are Heavy Rock standards that blend Hard Rock and Traditional Heavy Metal of the 70’s and 80’s, Glam Metal, and “Motorcycle” Metal with some doses of NWOBHM and Epic Metal. The songs have typical pounding bass and drums, guitar-oriented riffs, melodic guitar solos, and are driven by coarse Metal & Hard-Rock vocals that emphasize the chorus. The influences range from Christian bands like “Stryper” to “pagan” bands like “Judas Priest”, “Saxon”, “UFO”, “Krokus”, “Def Leppard”, “Scorpions”, “Accept”, “Riot”, “Grimm Reaper”, “Tokyo Blade”, “Dokken”, “Tysondog”, “Quiet Riot”, “Twisted Sister”, “Ratt”, “Great White”, “The Rods”, “KISS”, “Aerosmith”, “AC/DC”, “W.A.S.P.”, “Guns n’ Roses”, “Armored Saint”, and “Savatage”. My favorite songs from “Wolves” are the most aggressive and heaviest: the lullaby Classic-Metal of “Wake Up” (3:29), which emphasizes the chorus; the title track “Wolves” (3:36) – which is dark and comes with a heavy cadence like “Judas Priest”, but accelerates at the end; the NWOBHM-styled “Calm Before The Storm” (6:14), which has a powerful bass drive and several guitar solos in sequence; the epic “God's Grace” (6:28), which features a great guitar riff, disdainful vocals, and “Egyptian” guitars (an could be a “Savatage” song); the groovy “Don't Curse The Darkness” (4:03) – with Heavy-Metal guitar riffs and vocal interpretation that recalls the classic sound of “Judas Priest” with “Rob Halford”; the Motorcycle-Metal “All The Way” (4:59), which brings to mind bands like “Saxon”, “UFO”, and “Riot”, including an outstanding guitar solo; and finally the chaotic “I've Had Enough” (4:43), which combines live sounds of police-car sirens and a shouting mob with thundering tribal drums, pounding bass and tense heavy guitars, resulting in song that is as aggressive as “Accept”, “Dokken”, “Riot”, and “Armored Saint”. Decreasing in heaviness to most Hard-Rock tempered tracks, with influences of “Stryper”, “Krokus”, “Def Leppard”, “Quiet Riot”, “Twisted Sister”, “Great White”, “Ratt”, “AC/DC”, and “Aerosmith”, X-Terra also offer us the songs "Where There's A Will” (4:08), with caw bells, recalling “AC/DC”, “Aerosmith”, and “Krokus”; and the cadenced Hard-Rock Blues “Sell Anything” (3:09). But if the listener has a preference for joyful Rocky songs, driven by playful keyboards that recall the unmasked phase of “KISS”, “Van Halen” of “Jump”, or even the most party-rock side of “Guns n’ Roses”, then X-Terra has prepared “The Sun Will Shine Again” (6:21) and “It Isn't Love” (5:13). Of course, as on all Rock albums, the acoustic ballads could not be lacking. On “Wolves” there are two: the Country-Rock “We All Need A Hand To Hold” (5:18), which has a soulful electric guitar solo; and the mellow and slightly sad “It Doesn't Matter” (6:16), which features an acoustic guitar solo (both prescribed for fans of “Guns n’ Roses” and “Pearl Jam”). Overall, the album “From The Vaults” thrilled me more than “Wolves” did. But if the listener is looking for true Hard Rock, Classic Rock, and Heavy Metal of the ‘80s, he or she will also find in “Wolves” a good album in those styles – and one that will not hinder X-Terra in their mission of spreading the Christian message around the world. X-Terra is especially recommended for fans of “Stryper”, “Judas Priest”, “Saxon”, “UFO”, “Krokus”, “Def Leppard”, “Accept”, “The Rods”, “Scorpions”, “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”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in X-Terra are: Bill Hunt - Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards, Baby Glockenspiel, Kitchen Sink; Anne Kachline - Bass, Backing Vocals; Bob Kachline - Drums, Backing Vocals. Produced by X-Terra & Paul Sinclair; Engineered by Paul Sinclair; Recorded 2001-2002 at the Plymouth Rock Studio, Plymouth Pa...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta) 
03/26/2014.................................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit X-TERRA HOME PAGE...
. DARKYRA BLACK - "Dragon Tears"
Darkyra Black (a.k.a. Gina Bafile) is an Australian singer who was formerly the front-woman of Perth-based band “Caprycon” (Reviewed at PR&PM in 2011). In 2011, Darkyra departed in search of more ambitious musical paths. The inspiration and concept for her first album - “Dragon Tears” – came up in 2011, when Sean Bernard, one of Darkyra’s music colleagues on “Caprycon”, asked her to write additional lyrics and a vocal melody for music he had composed inspired on the Japanese Anime series “Puella Magi Madoka Magica”. As Darkyra immediately felt in love with the song, she also realized that the music could be easily expanded to the Symphonic Metal level, with the addition of guitars, bass, drums, and orchestral arrangements. To start up the project, Darkyra contacted George Boussounis, a music arranger who owns a company called Online Recording Masters in Athens. Boussounis became interested, and influenced drummer Garry King (“Jeff Beck”, “Joe Lynn Turner”, “Ian Parry”, and leader of Power Metal band “Achillea”) to get involved in the project. King brought other members of “Achillea” to fill in Darkyra Black’s line-up: Paul Jupe, (guitar), Fab Jablonski (keyboards), and Betovani Dinelli (bass). In September 2013, bassist Colin Haynes also joined the group, and Dinelli became a second guitarist. So “Dragon Tears” was recorded and released in 2014. It is a concept album that tells a dark and gothic tale about a geisha: love, loss, lust, betrayal, and revenge are all characters in this story, which converges to a tragic end. The music is a blend of Symphonic Metal, Gothic Metal, Epic Metal and Progressive Rock with elements of traditional pentatonic music, a dramatic score-music feeling, and an original touch of Japanese-influenced music. Overall, the Symphonic Metal arrangements recall bands like “Dreams of Sanity”, “Lacrimosa”, “Nightwish”, “Edenbridge”, and “Within Temptation”; the Gothic Metal riffs are like “Elis”, “Leave’s Eyes”, and “Xandria”; some Dark and Melancholic ambiences are like “Artrosis” and “Nox Arcana”. Passages of classical piano recall “Dreams of Sanity”, “Lacrimosa”, and “Evanescence”, and confront the modern sound of electronic keyboards that recall bands like “Erben der Schöpfung”, “Sirenia”, and “Nemesea”. The string arrangements brought to my mind the Gothic-Romantic style of “Lacrimosa”. Solos of guitars & synths abound, paralleling “Epica”, “Syrens Call”, and “Stream of Passion”. At last, Darkyra has a penchant for oriental music (as “Imperia” and “Dead Can Dance”) - in her case, a distinguishing and innovative preference for the Japanese Traditional music. The instrumental background is the perfect vehicle for Darkyra to showcase the attributes of her unique voice: mesmerizing power, burning passion, and outstanding singing ability; recalling female singers of the magnitude of “Sandra Schleret”, “Sabine Dünser”, “Marcela Bovio”, “Manda Ophuis”, “Tarja Turunen”, and “Kate Bush”. “Dragon Tears” has eleven tracks. The album is fantastic, and must be listened several times to allow total assimilation of the music that it contains, such is the richness of the arrangements. It opens with “Madoka's Lament” (5:24) – an emotionally strong lullaby that introduces Darkyra’s amazing voice and delicate sounds of Japanese music, assuring that this band has a differential, and dragging the listener into the story. On “Lullaby of Death” (5:08) Darkyra continues to enchant us with a Medea-kind of voice, luring us into the dark lairs of “Eyes Wide Shut” (5:02) – a song that begins creepy with somber pianos, but arises to a bombastic Epic-Metal later, having a great guitar solo. “Japanese Frankenstein” (4:37) sounds like a Japanese Anime soundtrack, descending to the Gothic vaults where hides the dramatic “Slither” (6:40), which has strings and icy pianos, recalling “Sirenia”, “Artrosis”, and “Evanescence”. “Before I Wither” (4:37) is a piano ballad that mixes Japanese music with Romantic references, and has an awesome “Dreams of Sanity” style; while “Cold Cold Stone” (6:33) begins modern, groovy, and techno, but gradually grows to a Symphonic Metal of epic proportions. The last four tracks of the album represent the climax of the story. “Never Know” (8:56) has amazing Symphonic beginning, theatrical vocals, eerie moments reminiscent of “Nox Arcana”, and bombastic orchestrations like “Lacrimosa”; “Tears By Candlelight” (3:35) is a straightforward and swinging Metal song on which Darkyra puts a spell on you with malignant tongue, and later brakes the enchantment with soaring vocals like “Tarja”; and “Kiss of the Dragon” (5:52) & “Dragon Tears” (12:51) are masterpieces in the style of “Dreams of Sanity”, “Nightwish”, “Edenbridge”, and “Syrens Call”. If “Kiss…” is marked by an intro with pianos & violins, the demolition guitar riffs, the martial drumming, and an overall aggressiveness; “Dragon…” is fast-galloping, and after 6 minutes of awesome Epic-Metal, brings a narrative sequence that promises a sequel. Darkyra Black is an impressive band that oxygenates the still waters of the Female-Fronted Symphonic & Gothic Metal reservoir, being indispensable for fans of “Dreams of Sanity”, “Nightwish”, “Edenbridge”, “Within Temptation”, “Elis”, “Leave’s Eyes”, “Evanescence”, “Xandria”, “Artrosis”, “Nox Arcana”, “Erben der Schöpfung”, “Sirenia”, “Nemesea”, “Epica”, “Syrens Call”, “Stream of Passion”, “Amartia”, “Imperia”, “Tarja Turunen”, “Indica”, “Delain”, “After Forever”, “Visions of Atlantis”, “Revamp”, “Forgotten Tales”, “Therion”, “Lacrimosa”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Darkyra Black are: Darkyra Black - Vocals; Paul Jupe - Guitars; Fabinho Jablonski - Keyboards; Betovani Dinelli - Bass, Guitars (solos on “Never Know”); Colin Haynes - Bass (on “Never Know” & additional parts of “Tears by Candlelight”); Garry King - Drums. Special guest: Thiago TrinsiSeraphim”) - Guitar on “Kiss of the Dragon”. Additional musicians: George Boussounis - Keyboards, Samples & Arrangements; Michael Porfyris - Cello; Ilias Sdoukos - Viola; Laertis Kokolanis - Violin; Dimitris Barbagalas - Acoustic Guitar on “Eyes Wide Shut” & “Never Know”. “Madoka’s Lament” composed by Sean Bernard 2011; other songs & lyrics written by Darkyra Black. Vocals recorded in Perth, Australia; Album Produced & Mastered by George Boussounis, Online Recording Masters & Morph Flow Studio (Athens, Greece); Mixed & Edited by Garry King, La Foret Groupe (France)...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta) 
03/26/2014..................Want to learn everything about this female singer and her history, go to DARKYRA BLACK HOME PAGE...
. MOGADOR - "Absinthe Tales of Romantic Visions"
Mogador is an Anglo-Italian band that started in 2007 in Como, Italy, when Richard Allen (vocals, drums) joined with guitarist Stefano Lago and keyboardist & flutist Luca Briccola to make a new Progressive Rock project.  Briccola (who is always playing in other bands, such as “Enshrine Cry”, “Trewa”, “The Scarecrows”, “Celtic Harp Orchestra”, and “Absentya”), called bassist Paolo Pigni to complete the line-up. Because rehearsals took place in a tie & scarf factory, the word Mogador - a Moroccan kind of cotton and silk blended cloth used for tie-making - came up as a suitable name for the band. In 2009 Mogador released their debut album “Mogador”, but upon its release, Stefano Lago departed from the band. As a trio, Mogador recorded and released “All I Am Is Of My Own MaKing” (2010), which had a better production and sold beyond the band’s expectations. In the middle of 2011 bassist Paolo Pigni left Mogador, when the band was already writing a new album. Allen and Briccola, not willing to perform as a duo, invited other musicians to contribute and perform on the record. The highlights went for singer Marco Terzaghi, who became a permanent member of Mogador. In this way, Mogador’s third album, “Absinthe Tales Of Romantic Visions”, was finally released in 2012 under Mentalchemy Records. The music on “Absinthe Tales…” is inspired by works of artists and poets who were mostly, if not all, users, abusers and/or appreciators of the distilled wormwood spirit called Absinthe (a.k.a. “green fairy”), which is the leitmotif for the whole album. “Absinthe Tales of Romantic Visions” features 13 tracks, and some of the best Classic Progressive Rock with British inspiration. Along the album, one may spot clear influences of iconic bands such as “Genesis”, “Yes”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Mandalaband”, “Renaissance”, “Jethro Tull”, “Curved Air”, “Gentle Giant”, “ELP”, and “Greenslade”, by and large combined with Classical Piano Music (inspired by “Prokofiev”, “Rachmaninoff”, “Mussorgsky”) and elements of Folk, Celtic, and Medieval Music, having also a resemblance with the most Epic Symphonic Rock produced by Neo-Progressive acts such as “Twelfth Night”, “Pallas”, “Pendragon”, “Clive Nolan”, “Mr. So & So”, & “Phideaux”. “Absinthe Tales …” opens and closes with two instrumental pieces written for piano: “Whispers To The Moon” (7:06) is a Classical piece accompanied by nice progressive bass and soft drums that draws most of its inspiration from musicians like “Tony Banks”, “Keith Emerson”, “Rick Wakeman”, and “John Tout”; while “Absinthe Rag (Ghost Track)” (2:56) is a joyful Ragtime piece. The folk songs are “She Sat And Sang” (3:13) – which is driven by great bass, violins, and Agnes Milewski’s vocals, recalling “Renaissance” and “Curved Air”; and “The Sick Rose” (0:55) -an eerie song that blends acoustic guitars like “Genesis” with Jon Davidson’s soft vocals. But keyboards multiply and guitars get bolder on “Dreamland” (4:37), which inserts long guitar solos in an overall sound that recalls me of “Mandalaband”; and on “Where Were Ye All?” (5:38) – which recalls “Jon Anderson” of “Yes” singing Hindu mantras on the album “Fragile”, with addition of flutes like “Jethro Tull”. But the best songs are concentrated from the middle to the end of the record. The most Symphonic are “Hardships” (10:05) - which alternates many segments that are successively reminiscent of the heaviest artillery of “King Crimson”, “ELP”, “Jethro Tull”, and “Greenslade”; and “Alone” (4:39) – a piano ballad, sung by Metal singer Gabriele Bernasconi with great feeling, that also has medieval and majestic arrangements comparable to the music of “Wakeman”, “Nolan”, “Mandalaband”, and “Kayak” and “Kansas”. Two other songs are amazing, and also the album’s heaviest: “Song Of Saul Before His Last Battle” (5:32) is dark and complex, recalling the sonority of “King Crimson”, and driven by the emotional voices of two singers – one, deep and powerful, the other, soaring and melodic; “Prometheus” (14:31) employs again Bernasconi’s powerful Metal voice to tell a heroic musical story that blends influences of “Twelfth Night”, “Pendragon”, “Pallas”, “Wakeman”, “Nolan”, and “ELP”, with a bit of the energy of the NWOBHM style, resulting in a really fantastic and dramatic grand finale. The album still has the shorts “We Never Said Farewell” (1:46), that follows a typical “Gentle Giant” style; “Incantation Of The Muse” (0:38), a fragmentary piano piece supporting a choir; and “Le Poison” (1:40) - a poem declaimed against a piano background. “Absinthe Tales…” is another brilliant work by Mogador. Although I missed Pigni’s bass a little, his absence did not compromise the music at all. But Mogador has just admitted two new members: Valerio Navarra (keyboards) and Salvatore Battello (bass). If Battello plays as heavy as Pigni, then Mogador will have this problem solved. Mogador is an amazing and consistent Progressive Rock band that plays in the British Classic style, being indispensable for fans of “Genesis”, “Yes”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Mandalaband”, “Renaissance”, “Jethro Tull”, “Curved Air”, “Gentle Giant”, “ELP”, “Greenslade”, “Fruupp”, “Twelfth Night”, “Pallas”, “Pendragon”, “Clive Nolan”, “Kayak”, “Kansas”, “Phideaux”, “Morild”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Mogador are: Richard Georg Allen – Vocals, Drums, & Percussion; Luca Briccola - Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Flutes, Vocals & Orchestration; Marco Terzaghi - Vocals. New members: Salvatore Battello - Bass, Guitars & Backing Vocals; Valerio Navarra – Keyboards. Guest Singers: Gabriele Bernasconi (on “Alone” & “Prometheus”); Jon Davison (on “The Sick Rose"); Curzio Galante (on “Le Poison”); Agnes Milewski (on “She Sat and Sang”). Guest Musician: Filippo Pedretti - Violin (on “She Sat and Sang”). Album Recorded at Mentalchemy Dungeon Studio and Richard Allen’s mezzanine percussion loft space between October 2011 & June 2012; Produced, Mixed & Mastered by Luca Briccola; Graphic Design by Luca Briccola...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
03/26/2014.....................................Want to learn everything about the band and its members, goes to MOGADOR HOME PAGE...
Daniele Liverani – one of Italy’s most prolific musicians - is back to PR&PM again! Playing Classical Piano since he was 6, and moving to the guitar at the age of 17, this young genius began a professional career in 1993. Although he nourished a great passion for Hard-Rock and Heavy Metal, he never forgot his favorite Classical composers, “Bach”, “Mozart”, “Chopin”, & “Debussy”. Liverani has played on several bands and projects, the most famous being the “Genius Rock Opera” trilogy (2002-2004-2007), with participations of drummer Dario Ciccioni and a stellar group of singers; and the Prog-Metal act “Twinspirits” (their album “Legacy” was featured at PR&PM in 2011). In 2012 Liverani released his first solo guitar album - “Eleven Mysteries” (also reviewed at PR&PM). Now he is coming with a second guitar album: “Fantasia” (2014, SG Records). The line-up has Marco Zago (keyboards), Nicolò Vese (bass), and Simon Ciccotti (drums). “Fantasia” is an eclectic and mature album, complex and catchy, and comes with a renovated strength, blowing a fresh breeze over the saturated Guitar-Oriented Instrumental format. As on “Eleven Mysteries”, the music of “Fantasia” blends Instrumental Metal, Metal-Fusion, Neo-Classical, and Prog-Metal styles, that are delivered either with bombastic vigor, or with subtle sensitiveness. Liverani shows his usual mastery over the guitar, Zago continues to be a great keyboardist that easily trespasses the lines that separate Classical from Rock and Jazz; and the new bassist Vese is a monster of the Fusion-Metal style, being sided by the power and precision of Ciccotti on drums. The sound recalls guitarists “Jason Becker”, “Marty Friedman”, “Paul Gilbert”, “Tony MacAlpine”, “Joe Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, “Richie Kotzen”, “John Petrucci”, “Vinnie Moore”, “Joey Tafolla”, “David T. Chastain”, “Ronnie Montrose”, “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Joe Bonamassa”; and bands like “Deep Purple”, “Cacophony”, “Racer X”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Niacin”, “Planet X”, “CAB”, “Black Country Communion”, “Derek Sherinian”, “Mr. Big”, and “Dream Theater”. “Fantasia” features 11 tracks. The amazing and turbinated “Unbreakable” (4.18) opens up the album combining dazzling Neo-Classical guitars with powerful Fusion-Metal intersections – with highlights to Nicolò Vese’s shredding bass passages in the style of “Billy Sheehan”. Leaning to the Neo-Classical panache, the apocalyptical “Apocalypse” (4.36) and the epic “Rage” (6.56) recall the wild and luxurious style of “Cacophony”, and “Becker”, “Friedman” and “MacAlpine”. Falling into the Fusion-World, where Jazz, Rock, Hard & Metal melt together in casts to produce patterns of brilliant and original music, the best choices are the pearls “Outstanding” (4.46) (driven by a contagious Hard-Rock riff that recalls “Deep Purple”, sensitive guitar solos, neo-classical brocades, and amazing groovy bass & drums that recall “Joe Satriani”, “Chastain”, “Montrose”, “Ritchie Kotzen”, and “Black Country Communion”), and “Daylight” (5.24), which opposes sophisticated Jazz-Fusion arrangements to gritty Hammonds that recall “Niacin”. But things get really heavy on the Prog-Metal-Fusion tracks “Gigantic” (4.02) – explosively bass-driven, powerful and compact, recalling the sounds of “Liquid Tension”, “Niacin”, “Dream Theater”, “Planet X”, and “CAB”, and thickened with Vese’s “Sheehan”- like solo; and “Guilty” (5.43) - groovy, this piece gradually descends to down-tempo Prog-Metal guitars and amazing drumming, recalling in succession, the music of “Satriani”, “Kotzen”, “Becker” and “Petrucci”. To give balance to the album and to illustrate how Liverani has been evolving as a sensitive guitar composer, the album includes three soft tracks: “Peacefully” (4.22) is a slow and soaring Jazz-Fusion with influences of “Vai”, “Bonamassa”, “MacAlpine”, and “Vinnie Moore” on the guitar, and an evident penchant for Classic Jazz on the piano passages; “Black Horse” (3.16) is driven by a beautiful and peaceful theme on the guitar and gains strength on an ascending solo (also recalling “Jason Becker”); and “Heaven” (3.59) is a celestial piece - light, delicate, and adorned with glassy sounds. But if somebody is in the mood for something Rocky, “Joke” (3.21) is a lively party-rock delivered with the same technical prowess of “Mr. Big”. Liverani’s “Fantasia” is still better than “Eleven Mysteries”, and showcases a brilliant player that holds total mastery over his guitar, sided by a line-up of extraordinary musicians, who will certainly find a way into all collections of Guitar-Driven Instrumental Metal, Fusion-Metal, and Neo-Classical Metal, being indispensable for fans of “Jason Becker”, “Marty Friedman”, “Paul Gilbert”, “Tony MacAlpine”, “Joe Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, “Richie Kotzen”, “John Petrucci”, “Vinnie Moore”, “Joey Tafolla”, “David T. Chastain”, “Ronnie Montrose”, “Kiko Loureiro”, “Malmsteen”, “Joe Bonamassa”, “Glenn Drover”, “Jarle H. Olsen”, “Cacophony”, “Racer X”, “Niacin”, “Planet X”, “CAB”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Mr. Big”, “Black Country Communion”, “Derek Sherinian”, “Dream Theater”, and their likes. Band members and collaborators involved in Daniele Liverani are: Daniele Liverani – Guitars, Compositions; Marco Zago – Keyboards; Nicolò Vese – Bass; Simon Ciccotti – Drums. Voice recordings by Tommy Hash; Sound Fx Content Provided by Audiosparx. Guitars recorded at Twinspirit32 Studio, Ravenna Italy; Drums recorded at Fear Studios, Ravenna, Italy; Keys recorded at The Hidden Factory Studio & NZ Studio, Padova, Italy; Bass recorded at Death Star VH Studio, Orbassano, Italy. Mixed & Mastered by Daniele Liverani; Produced by Daniele Liverani; Artwork by Nello Dell'Omo...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta) 
03/26/2014.........................Want to learn everything about the musician and his projects, visit DANIELE LIVERANI HOME PAGE..
. SYSTEM OF VENUS - "System of Venus"
System Of Venus is a Heavy-Rock band from Melbourne, Australia, that is headed by Fatima Bašic (guitar & vocals), also also features Amanda (bass) and Matt Lieber (drums). Their sound blends elements of Stoner Rock, Grunge, Sludge, Doom, and Heavy Metal – with a preference for producing low-end riff laden tunes & steam-rolling grooves, skillfully contrasted with stoned vocals and depressed mood-driven melodies. Since 2011, System Of Venus have been invited to perform at several of respected live music venues and festivals in Australia, as well as at an international festival. In 2013 System Of Venus finished their self-titled debut album “System Of Venus” with accompanying 8-page booklet complete with skull-gloomy illustrations. The songs tell tales of small town injustice, irrational greed, monster-ego’s, power-mongering and heinous cultural crimes. The band has also been featured on several CD compilations, including the Australian Heavy Music Magazine “Covermount CD”. SOV’ members appreciate the music of bands like “Kyuss”, “Melvins”, “Beastwars”, “Dreadnaught” (their mates from Melbourne), “Acid Bath”, “ISIS”, “Arc Of Ascent”, “Alice In Chains”, and “Kylesa”. But much of their sound also resembles bands like “Black Sabbath” (of first four albums), “Black Widow”, “Message”, “Trouble”, “Saint Vitus”, “Witchfinder General”, “Witchcraft”, “Stoned Jesus”, “Fu Manchu”, “Orange Goblin”, “Monster Magnet”, “Colour Haze”, the Stoner phase of “Corrosion of Conformity”, “Orchid”, “Egypt”, and the female-fronted Rock and Stoner bands “The Coven”, “Blood Ceremony”, “Misdemeanor”, “Koyen”, and “Witch”. “System Of Venus” was released on 13 October 2013, and features 7 tracks. “Blackrock” (04:15) is a typical Stoner-Rock introductory song driven by the powerful chords of a contagious guitar riff, doomy bass and Fatima’s stoned voice, all delivered with hot-blooded vigor. It opens space for the forthcoming “Dancing In Hell's Garden” (04:55) – a great song that has a sonority reminiscent of some classics of the “Vol. IV” album of “Black-Sabbath”. “Monster Ego” (04:41) has a slow and gloomy beginning, but changes later into a powerful Psychedelic-Metal of the early ‘70s (recalling me again of “Black Sabbath”, but also “Trouble”). “Dr Dumb” (05:00) is aggressive and has distorted guitar effects that recall bands like “Electric Wizard”, “Kyuss”, “Orange Goblin”, and “Beastwars”; while tribal bass & drums, howling guitar interventions, and malevolent vocals like “The Coven” create a heavy-laden psychotic-atmosphere. “Gannets Drive” (05:50) recalls the heaviness of the most basic and non-epic Doom Metal bands (“Trouble”, “Desolation Angel”, “Saint Vitus”). The vocal melody predicts the apocalyptical end, which comes in an instrumental sequence that sounds like the Post-Metal band “Isis”. One of the best songs, “Nothing” (06:54) is driven by an almost-epic guitar riff – and mixes some Sludge & Grunge Metal on its lengthy instrumental frame. The vocals are anguished, and the guitar solo is marking. Finally, “Beast” (04:28) is an amazing closing track that brings an Oriental influence on the hypnotic guitars, blended to agile drumming and tense bass (recalling the styles of “Arc of Ascent”, and in special the female-fronted band “Kylesa”); but the atmosphere evokes the images of some Halloween midnight ritual (paralleling bands like “Blood Ceremony”, “Black Widow” and “The Coven”). Although not being an original band in the vast universe of the Stoner world, System Of Venus allies stylish vocals and interesting lyrical content to a solid sonority, which could be further improved with the addition of a second guitarist-soloist. Their promising debut album is especially recommended for fans of “Kyuss”, “Melvins”, “Beastwars”, “Acid Bath”, “Arc Of Ascent”, “Alice In Chains”, “Black Sabbath”, “Black Widow”, “Message”, “Trouble”, “Saint Vitus”, “Witchfinder General”, “Witchcraft”, “Stoned Jesus”, “Fu Manchu”, “Orange Goblin”, “Monster Magnet”, “Colour Haze”, “Corrosion of Conformity”, “Orchid”, “Egypt”, and the female-fronted Rock and Stoner bands “The Coven”, “Kylesa”, “Blood Ceremony”, “Misdemeanor”, “Koyen”, and “Witch”. Band members and collaborators involved in System Of Venus are: Fatima Bašic – Guitar & Vocals; Amanda – Bass; Matt Lieber – Drums. Recorded & Mixed by Neil Thomason at Head Gap Studio, Melbourne, with some recording & editing by Samuel K on vocals. Album Mastered by Paul Fox at Indie Masters, Melbourne; Produced by Fatima Bašic; Design, layout and photography by Fatima Bašic; Original illustrations by Shane Van Den Akker...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
03/26/2014................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit SYSTEM OF VENUS HOME PAGE...
. THE BLACK NOODLE PROJECT - "Ghosts and Memories"
The Black Noodle Project is a Psychedelic, Progressive Rock & Metal band from Paris, France, that started in 2001 as a one-man project of Jérémie Grima (vocals, guitars). His 11 first songs became the debut album “Dark Smiles” (2003, distributed by Muséa Records). Grima, then sided by a line-up formed with Anthony Létévé (bass), Matthieu Jaubert (keyboards), Arnaud Rousset (drums), and Elad Berliner (recordings), prepared and released the second album “And Life Goes On?.?.?.” (2004, B-Smile Records/Muséa). During the recording, drummer A. Rousset departed, and was replaced by Franck Girault. In 2005 Sébastien Bourdeix, with whom Grima had recorded the album “Stereoscope” (2005, B-Smile Records/Oskar), joined the band as a second guitarist. The Black Noodle Project released “Play Again” (2006, B-Smile/Muséa; 2009, Oskar), but due to the difficulty of promoting the record on live shows, M. Jaubert and F. Girault left the band. Drummer Fabrice Berger joined in, and, as a quartet, The Black Noodle Project released “Eleonore” (2008, B-Smile Records/Muséa). In 2009 they signed with Oskar Records (Poland) and released “And Live Goes On…in Poland” (2009, live CD/DVD) and “Ready to Go” (2010). In 2011 A. Létévé and M. Jaubert (who had returned on “Ready to Go”) left The Black Noodle Project, which became a trio with Jérémie Grima (in charge of vocals, guitars, bass, & keyboard programming), Sébastien Bourdeix (guitar) and Fabrice Berger (drums). During 2011-2012, they released the albums “Dark & Early Smiles” (2011, a double CD containing their first album + Grima’s pieces from 2003/2005 + previously unreleased material), and “(Im?)?Memorial” (2012, Vinyl 45 rpm split album, with Metal band “Eyes Front North”). Finally, after two years of preparation, The Black Noodle Project released their fifth studio album: “Ghosts & Memories” (2013, Progressive Promotion Records, Germany). Mostly instrumental and based on strong contrasts, the music of “Ghosts & Memories” makes an impressive collection of deep, dense, and heavy sounds that are emotionally delivered in waves of delicate guitars and minimalist pianos that hover slowly over a massive layer of distorted guitars, throbbing melancholic bass, and compact drumming. The few passages with vocals – which are soaring and anguished – guide us through dark, mysterious, and nebulous soundscapes. The influences and resemblances are “Pink Floyd”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Anathema”, “Opeth”, “Sigur Rós”, “Anekdoten”, “The Gathering”, “Sylvan”, “Coroner”, “Metallica”, “Death”, “Agalloch”, “Nordagust”, “Katatonia”, “Type O Negative”, and “Ennio Morricone”. “Ghosts & Memories” has seven tracks. The main pieces are “The Wanderer of Lost Moments” (11:12) and “A Purple Memory” (10:32) – both have vocals and a symphonic structure. “The Wanderer …” is an impressive opening song on which the contrast between melancholy and anger is expressed by anguished vocals underlined by heavy guitars (recalling “Anathema” and “Anekdoten”), that engage later into a Metal guitar riff that sounds like “Opeth”; while “A Purple …” evolves by the alternation of a Post-Rock instrumental part with psychedelic segments driven by bitter and painful vocals that sound very “Floydian”. Each new cycle it heavier and more complex than the previous, and the riff repetition induces on the listener an altered state of mind in which he/she becomes closed within the self. Squeezed between those long tracks, there are four instrumental pieces. Notable for the contemporaneous sonority, “They Live, We Sleep” (3:59) is straightforward and hypnotic, and its howling guitars try to wake up the individual from the brain-washing alienation of our days; and “Voices From Yesterday” (5:48) begins with minimalist pianos, goes through moments of venturous Post-Rock guitars, and reaches a climax of aggressiveness on an extremely fast segment, as thrashing as “Opeth” or “Death”. The other instrumental tracks - “The Owls (Are Not What They Seem)” (7:11) and “Ghosts” (3:37) - exemplify how the music of The Black Noodle has become more melancholic, introspective, and darker along the time. “The Owls …” is gloomy, atmospheric, and introduced by spoken words that tell a frightening story, while plucked guitars, trembled pianos, vibraphones, echoing guitars, and the bass pace contribute to establish a psychedelic atmosphere that recalls “Floyd” and “Porcupine Tree”. Yet, “Ghosts” is melancholic and chilling like a rainy morning in the Arctic pole, but innovates with Mellotron-sounding melodies, electronic sounds and delicate acoustic guitars – irradiating a sensation of solitude (recalling me of bands like “Nordagust” and “Agalloch”). But not everything is about suffering, for moments of relief come with the wonderful song “Shades of Tomorrow” (6:26). Driven by Western-styled acoustic guitars and soaring organs, this beautiful song recalls the “Ennio Morricone” style, being differentiated by a brighter and hopeful mood. The Black Noodle Project’s new album is an impressive and emotionally deep work that reflects the band’s maturity, being highly recommended for fans of “Porcupine Tree”, “Sigur Rós”, “Anathema”, “Opeth”, “Sylvan”, “The Gathering”, “Coroner”, “Anekdoten”, “Agalloch”, “Katatonia”, “Nordagust”, “Riverside”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in The Black Noodle Project are: Jérémie Grima - Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keyboard Programming; Sébastien Bourdeix – Guitars; Fabrice Berger – Drums. With help of: Elad Berliner & Nicolas Simon. Past members: Arnaud Rousset - Drums; Franck Girault - Drums; Anthony Létévé - Bass; Matthieu Jaubert – Keyboards. Recorded by Lionel Forest at DS Sound & Jérémie Grima at the Black Lodge Studio; Mixed & Mastered by Lionel Forest at DS Sound...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
03/26/2014..............................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE BLACK NOODLE PROJECT HOME PAGE...
. SNOVI - "Snovi"
Snovi is an obscure and overlooked quartet hailing from Pula, Croatia. Snovi started in 2009 with a line-up comprising Marino Buršic (guitar), Marko Kalcic (bass), Roberta Paljar (keyboards), and Branko Crnogorcic (drums). Their music is mainly instrumental, and consists in an intriguing and vigorous fusion of Progressive Rock, Psychedelic & Space Rock, and Ambient motifs delivered within a shell of sounds derived from both Electronica and New Age. Snovi produced and released their first eponymous album, “Snovi” in the beginning of 2011. Although band members cited “King Crimson”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Pink Floyd”, “Frank Zappa”, “Bjork”, and “The Mars Volta” as their main influences, the music of this quartet sounds quite uniquely. Snovi is a hybrid Electro-Organic band that congregates influences of several branches of the Electronic Music and Heavy Progressive Rock, joining delirious guitar playing, pulsing bass lines and machine-gun styled drumming with frantic keyboard-delivered lounge music. Snovi’s sonority is sometimes gentle, recalling me of “Tangerine Dream”, “Brian Eno”, “Alan Parsons”, “Sigur Rós”, and underlined with soaring vocalizations, also bringing “Enigma”, “Era”, “Gregorian”, and “Qntal” to mind. Other times it is trippy, exotic and ancient, like “Ole Lukkoye”, mysteriously Gothic, like “Jacula” and “Otto Dix”, or dance-inviting, as the music of “Kraftwerk”, “Massive Attack”, and some of the Lounge-Music of the “Buddha Bar” compilations. But most of the time it is aggressively performed with propelling energy, recalling “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “God Is An Astronaut” , “Animals As Leaders”, “Mahogany Frog”, “Antonius Rex”, and even reaches the epic level of “E.S. Posthumus”. By creating dreamy and surreal soundscapes, Snovi (which means “Dreams” in Croatian) takes us into a new sonic dimension, inviting us to discover hidden worlds that exist beyond our imagination. The album “Snovi” contains 10 tracks. Behind the apparent quietude of birds that sing to acoustic guitars on the intro “Trigon” (0:51), lies the impacting organized chaos of “Anima Mundi” (5:31) – a dynamic Heavy-Prog & Progressive Post-Metal track with nervous bass and slashing guitars, yet beautiful, from which emanate conflicting feelings of despair and an exhilarating aura of spirituality. Few tracks are calmer, such as the ambient “Ekliptika” (3:27), which has echoing guitar sounds combined with electronic chords that get lost in the cosmic horizon; and “Virtualni Trubadur” (2:33) – a piece written for classical acoustic guitar, having a background of electronic glassy sounds, eerie percussion, and soaring voices. Two tracks are vigorous and sweating Electronic Lounge samples to go crazy-dancing, but are not devoid of an impressive Progressive attitude: “Chandra” (3:51) is violent, entrancing, and driven by a fantastic bass sound; at the same time it exudes a kind of religious sacred aura; and “Bal Vampira” (4:38) is a mesmerizing Dark-wave piece that arrives powerfully with the sound of Gothic organs followed by heavy-electronic and cosmic syncopated beats, being sided by Post-Metal texturized guitars. Voices arising from the dark add some drama to this piece. The remaining tracks are also absolutely amazing – and represent Snovi’s proficiency in creating memorable, emotionally rich, and high-tech music whenever desired. “Supermarket” (3:42) is driven by a lively groovy bass and features Arabian ethnical beats, binding both ancient and modern sonorities amidst psychedelic trippy sounds (for fans of “Ole Lukkoye” and Oriental-influenced Krautrock). “Iluzija” (4:45) - another powerful track that brought to mind “Jacula” and “Antonius Rex” - distills tonal hues and drama from deep bass, waving guitars, and incredible drumming, as Gregorian chants and angelical soaring voices hover atop. Finally, the album ends apocalyptically with the chained tracks “Trailer” (1:43) – which is a majestic orchestral piece that announces some upcoming epic movie like “Troy” or “300” (recalling “E.S.Posthumus”) – and the main attraction “Skylla” (7:46) – a bombastic Progressive & Post-Metal piece delivered with extraordinary stamina, being deeply rooted into the Hellenic Ancient Glory, and crowned with the foreseeing of our Dark-Cybernetic future. After the successful presentation of this debut at several concerts, Snovi began to record a new album - “Ciklus” – which is scheduled for release in 2014. An amazing, original, and greatly promising new band to get addicted to, Snovi is super-highly recommendable for fans of Heavy Electronica, Psychedelic Rock, Progressive Trance, Trip-Hop, Neo-Folk/Ethnical & Dark-Wave, Krautrock, Post-Metal, and Progressive Rock lovers in general. Band members and collaborators involved in Snovi are: Marino Buršic - Guitar; Marko Kalcic - Bass; Roberta Paljar - Keyboards; Branko Crnogorcic - Drums. Guests: Branko Radic, Tatiana Giorgi, Toni Pernic. You can check a special video from Snovi at Youtube... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
03/26/2014.....................Want to learn everything about the band and about their music, you need to visit SNOVI HOME PAGE...
. OSTA LOVE - "Good Morning Dystopia"
Osta Love (previously written Osta Lcve) is a Progressive Rock band from Berlin. After spending several years playing together in old vaults in Heidelberg, Tobias Geberth and Leon Ackermann moved to Berlin in 2010, and on September the 1st they founded Osta Love. Influenced by bands like “Pink Floyd”, “Genesis”, “Yes” and encouraged by the success of the Prog-Rock act “Porcupine Tree”/”Steven Wilson”, Osta Love released their first album, “Colours” in 2011. Along 2012, the band played shows in Berlin, before starting to write and record their first full-length album “Good Morning Dystopia” (May 2013, Progressive Promotion Records). The record line-up features Tobias Geberth (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, and string arrangements), Leon Ackermann (drums and percussion), and a few guest musicians (see below). Osta Love is influenced by “Pink Floyd”, “David Gilmour”, and “Alan Parsons” (mainly their works of the ‘70s), and by modern acts such as “Porcupine Tree” and “Steven Wilson’s” side projects, but is not a copycat of those bands. Also on the melodicism and textures of the guitars, bass, keyboards, vocal tunes, and on the overall arrangements (which also follow Symphonic patterns), one may detect influences of German Prog-bands that were less aligned to the Krautrock movement, such as “Novalis”, “Anyone’s Daughter”, “Amenophis”, “Ramses”, “Eloy”, “Wallenstein”, “Hoelderlin”, and “Minotaurus”. Osta Love’s songs are generally mid-tempo paced, painted in somber tones, and plunged in psychedelic atmospheres. The heaviness of few guitars riffs (a point of congruence with “Porcupine Tree”) is counterbalanced by the melodic synths, melancholic pianos, delicate acoustic guitar passages, and the emotive and soaring-stoned voice of Tobias Geberth. On the drums, Leon Ackermann provides the necessary Rock-Prog-Psychedelic rhythmic grounding, adjusts the paces and moods, and occasionally adds percussive surprises to the songs. The resulting music package is neither delivered with excessive instrumental overload, nor sounds like a Prog-Rock recycled cliché – guaranteeing many minutes of fresh and pleasant Progressive & Psychedelic Rock Music, that will leave the listener with a smile on his/her lips. “Good Morning Dystopia” has 10 tracks, linked one to the other. “Prologue” (4:51) combines strong guitar riffs, soaring synths, marking vocals and choirs to produce a dramatic song with epic contours that immediately drags the listener to this album. It is followed by “Fragile Freedom” (5:35), which comes rocky on the guitars, drums and vocals, but psychedelic on bass and synths; entering an eerie segment, driven by atmospheric bass, minimalist pianos, and acoustic guitars, that pervades into “Alienation” (4:34), a song which grows powerfully later, overall recalling “Porcupine Tree”, but also having more pianos and psychedelic vocals. The following pair of songs - “Subway” (5:13) and “Red Sky” (4:59) – are driven by pulsing bass lines and electronic- texturized keyboards, Space-Rock guitars and organs – and are the ones that recalled me of “Alan Parsons” and “Eloy” – even though the first comes with a typical “Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour” guitar solo, and the second features more lysergic vocals, pianos and oriental-sounding guitars. Yet, the bittersweet ballad “Insomnia” (6:12) was the one that recalled me most of “Pink Floyd” (albums “Dark Side of the Moon” and “Wish You Were Here”), on the combination of beautiful guitars, soft organs, and vocals. The song is long enough to include a final “song within a song” - a classic acoustic guitar segment that makes the bridge to “The Guards” (9:27). This one represents Osta Love’s most ambitious effort for this album: a magnum opus propelled by echoing voices and mesmerizing heavy riffs escorted by military-like choirs and distorted psychedelic solos – a combination that recalls me of the darkest tracks of “Floyd’s” “The Wall”. The song changes abruptly at the middle, featuring melodic pianos, soaring backup keyboards, acoustic guitars and wailing guitars; and returns even heavier with a “Porcupine Tree” - like instrumental passage followed by that “break dawn the wall” command. All the drama soothes down a little on the following ballads “Alaska” (4:45) – a poignant song driven by dreamy vocals, strings and choirs, and that becomes gradually more “Floydian” on the keyboards and specially on the guitars, until merging with the floating “Shine” (4:37), which is still more “Floydian”, although it ends with a long electric-piano solo that reminds me of “Alan Parsons” again. Closing the cycle, “Epilogue” (3:41) goes back to the musical themes of the “Prologue”, performing them still more bombastically, and finally finishing this great album – an impressive official debut that incites the listener to “ask-for-some-more”. Osta Love is recommended for lovers of Soaring and Psychedelic Progressive Rock with melody and sensibility, and a must-have for fans of “Pink Floyd”, “David Gilmour”, “Sid Barrett”, “Porcupine Tree”, “No-Man”, “Strawberry Fields”, “David Minasian”, “Rick Miller”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Osta Love are: Tobias Geberth - Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keyboards & String Arrangements; Music & Lyrics; Leon Ackermann - Drums & Percussion; Oliver Nickel - Bass. Guest musicians: Florian Hauss - Piano solo on “Red Sky”; Gregor Nicolai - Bass on “Fragile Freedom”; Sarah Gretsch – Spoken voice on “Alaska”. Produced, Mixed & Mastered by Tobias Geberth & Steffen Geberth; Recorded at Osta Love Studios in Berlin & Heidelberg between September 2012 & March 2013... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta) 
03/26/2014.............................You can find more information on the project and its musicians under OSTA LOVE HOME PAGE...
. TUNGSTEN - "The Reservoir"
Tungsten is a Female-Fronted Progressive Metal band hailing from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Tungsten was formed in 2011 by musicians who had played in several other bands, and spent two years performing alive around Philadelphia and New York City – always captivating audiences with their explosive shows. In 2013, with a line-up consisting of Titi Musick (vocals), Ben Grossberg (lead guitar), Jeff McCall (lead guitar), Justin Jones (keyboards), JT Wieme (drums), and original bassist Mishah Salman (recently replaced by Mike Louis), Tungsten entered studios to record their debut album “The Reservoir” (14 January 2014, independent release). Tungsten’s sonority is difficult to categorize. Their Prog-Metal style is dark and creative, combining influences of different styles & bands, ranging from Classic, Psychedelic, and Heavy Prog-Rock (“Pink Floyd”, “Camel”, “Rush”, “Ayreon”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Umphrey's McGee”), to 80’s Metal (“Iron Maiden”), Thrash-Metal (“Arch Enemy”), Prog-Metal (“Opeth”, “Mastodon”), Progressive Death Metal (“In Mourning”, “Barren Earth”), and assorted Metal acts (“The Sword”, “Baroness”, “Ghost”). Band members are individually influenced by “Black Sabbath”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Deep Purple”, “King Crimson”, “Keith Emerson”, “Witchcraft”, “Megadeth”, “Iced Earth”, “Dream Theater”, “The Mars Volta”, “Coheed & Cambria”, “Nirvana”, “Tool”, and “A Perfect Circle”. And because of Titi Musick’s spirited vocals, and her talent to balance the most aggressive moments with emotional tunes, Tungsten also reminded me of several Rock & Metal bands fronted by outstanding female singers such as “Jinx Dawson” (“Coven”) “Ann Wilson” (“Heart”), “Kimberly Goss” (“Sinergy”), “Doro Pesch” (“Warlock”), “Leather Leone” (“Chastain”), “Wendy O. Williams” (“Plasmatics”), “Kate de Lombaert” (“Acid”), and “Cristina Scabbia” (“Lacuna Coil”), besides “Johan Liiva” & “Angela Gossov” (of the aforementioned “Arch Enemy”). Somehow, Tungsten solves with extraordinary competence the problem of fitting all those influences together into their music in a suitable way. Furthermore, they find time and space to introduce inventive riffs, baroque guitar harmonies, great twin-guitar solos, hard and gloomy keyboards, powerful bass passages, and bombastic drumming – resulting in a sound that is original and distinctive. “The Reservoir” features 8 amazing tracks. “Water Over Stone” (06:01) opens the album with cosmic/psychedelic “Floyd” sounds, “Sinergy”-like Metal riffs, soulful vocals, and Prog-Metal styled guitar & synth solos. “Contamination” (06:14) has a soaring Prog-Folk beginning, gets faster with galloping Thrash-Metal riffs and aggressive vocals that come from Titi’s guts (recalling “Leather Leone”); the keyboards and Stoner-guitar solos are great, and introduce parts that recall “Iron Maiden”. “Atmos (Masto) Stoma” (07:17) is a dark Hard-Rock ballad driven by seductive vocals and great double-guitar solo – the song is also sliced with a progressive passage that recalls “Umphrey’s McGee”; and has a long Prog-Metal instrumental part. The two following songs are darker, immersed in emotionally deep moods that go from melancholic to furious, drawing on influences mainly of “In Mourning” (on the low and heavy tones), “Barren Earth” (on the Dark-Folk passages), “Opeth” (on the complexity and epic mood), “Mastodon” (on the raging moments), “Arch Enemy” (on the occasional guttural vocals), and “The Mars Volta” (on the mix of Spanish & English lyrics): “Night Wanders By” (08:25) is an epic driven by great Thrash-Prog riffs, gloomy synths, and a breathtaking sequence of solos of Hammonds and guitars, followed by Titi Musick singing maliciously (recalling “Coven”), or gutturally (like “Arch Enemy”); and “Coda” (01:26) + “El Dolor” (05:54) have Western-Mexican acoustic guitars and banjos that hint at an influence of “Mars Volta”, but the Progressive guitar passages are like a mix of “Umphrey’s McGee” and “Camel”; and those moments contrast strongly with the following creepy organs & Mellotrons, and intense vocals. More energetic, “The Opera House” (05:58) begins with epic guitars, and returns to the 80’s Metal with a 70’s Hard-Rock spirit, by opposing Hammonds against Thrashing riffs (recalling “Heart”, “Warlock”, “Chastain”, “Deep Purple”). But a change in pace introduces another epic part driven by awesome guitars. Finally, “The Reservoir” (7:53) is a pounding Space-Metal guided by Titi’s commanding voice (like “Ayreon”), having interspersed guitar harmonies, demolition drumming, Gothic keyboards and guitars (like “Ghost”), “Iron Maiden”-like instrumentation (but slower, more progressive, and reaching a climax on the superposed guitars), and a final vocal lament. The instrumental hidden track “Coda” arises again to close the album. In sum, Tungsten is an incredible and very promising new band that needs support of a record label to improve their already great music and to propel their career forward. Highly recommended for fans of “Iron Maiden”, “Arch Enemy”, “Barren Earth”, “Opeth”, “Mastodon”, “Baroness”, “Ghost”, “Witchcraft”, “Iced Earth”, “Dream Theater”, “The Mars Volta”, “Coheed & Cambria”, “Coven”, “Heart”, “Sinergy”, “Chastain”, “Acid”, “Plasmatics”, “Lacuna Coil”. Band members and collaborators involved in Tungsten are: Titi Musick – Vocals; Ben Grossberg - Lead Guitar; Jeff McCall - Lead Guitar; Justin Jones – Keys; Mike Louis – Bass; JT Wieme - Drums & Percussion. Tungsten Alumni: Mishah “Meesh” Salman - Bass (2011-2013); Madelaine Novak – Vocals. Album produced by Tungsten; all music & lyrics written, arranged, and performed by Tungsten...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/04/2014.................................Is there an interested to know more about them? Then you must visit TUNGSTEN HOME PAGE...
Konstantin Jambazov is a Bulgarian multi-instrumentalist & composer. Since 1986 he has been a very active musician, taking part in several bands in Bulgaria (“Hades”, “Odesos”, “Total”, “Jekyll Hyde”, “Ametist”, & “Phobos”). In 1994 he began to work as session musician with composer Nelko Kolarov. Jambazov has released an extensive discography, covering the styles of Prog-Rock, Instrumental & Acoustic, and Ethno-Rock. The most important releases are the “Clearland’s” album "Gift From Time" (2004); the Instrumental & Prog-Rock albums "Precious Experiences" (2006), "Humans and Gods" (2009), "Emotion in Motion" (2009), and "Back to the Roots" (2010); the Ethno-Rock album "Nations" (2007); and the acoustic "Jambonana" (2010), in the style of “Astor Piazzolla”, “Richard Galliano” & “Al Di Meola”. Jambazov also composes cover-songs of bands like “Kansas”, “Queen”, “Foreigner”, “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Stryper”, “Brian May”, “TNT”, “Symphony X”, “Europe”, “Triumph”, and “Styx”. One of Jambazov’s projects is called VirtueL - a “www-based” trio that he shares with Bulgarian musicians Nick Markov and Rosen Angelov. VirtueL’s two albums - “I” (2011) & “Conception of Perception” (2013) – were feature at PR&PM (see above). The album on focus herein – “Humans and Gods” (2009, Ozz Music BG) – belongs to Jambazov’s solo project called Otherwise. On this album in particular, Jambazov shows his musical talents playing all instruments and singing all tracks but one. He is helped only by Nikolaj Rajkov (lead singer on “Right Direction”), and lyricists Nick Markov, Rosen Angelov and Joan Petev. Differently from VirtueL – a group whose music is influenced by Classical Music, Medieval Music, and Symphonic Progressive Rock – Jambazov’s Otherwise follows a heavier and aggressive line, being influenced by Classic Rock, Neo-Classical Metal & Prog-Metal styles, but still having influences of Progressive Rock. The music is more guitar-driven, based on riffs, but the orchestrations are awesome, being lavishly adorned with violins, classical pianos and keyboards. The vocals are a mix of “Kansas” and “Foreigner”, with “Queen”-like operatic backing vocals (a Jambazov’s characteristic that he has transferred also to VirtueL). Other influences are “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Jason Becker”, “Symphony X”, “Adagio”, “Ayreon”, “Deep Purple”, “Rainbow”, “Trans-Siberian Orchestra”, “TNT”, “Triumph”, “Clive Nolan”, “Erik Norlander”, “Explorer’s Club”, and “Baroque Project”. “Humans and Gods” has 11 tracks, 2 of them are versions of songs that also appeared on the first VirtueL album. Jambazov shows his credentials on a series of Prog-Metal tracks that combine the dense bombastic riffs of “Symphony X” with luxurious Neo-Classical guitars like “Malmsteen”, plus “Kansas”-inspired violins, classical piano interludes, and “Queen”-operatic choirs: “What Am I” (8:21) is an explosive opening song; “Born To Fight” (6:26) has an amazing war of guitars, keyboards, and bass; and “Masters” (7:56) and the epic “Beauty” (3:59) are the two songs represented on VirtueL’s debut album. This Metal trend is extended to the album’s last tracks: “Strepped Life” (7:52) – which has an accessible Classic Rock beginning, but surprises the listener later with a sequence of classical pianos that support “Broadway” vocals, and with awesome Metal-Fusion instrumentation that deserves many stars; and “The Actor – And Album Reprise” (5:24), that makes an instantaneous of the album’s music. The record’s core is occupied by a number of melodic Hard-Rock & Classic Rock songs that recall different bands - from “Kansas”, “Deep Purple”, and “Ayreon” to “Foreigner”, “TNT”, and “Triumph”, also resembling the most accessible albums of “Malmsteen” and “Rainbow”. So, “Right Direction” (4:57) (on which lead singer Nikolaj Rajkov imprints his Hard-Rock groove, recalling “Foreigner”); and “Wanderer’s Eyes” (7:11) (which is soft and has choirs like “Queen”) are both slightly popish, but not devoid of instrumental quality. On this Hard-Rock line, the best songs are “TV Invasion” (4:55), which has a heaviness comparable to “Deep Purple”, “Ayreon”, “Triumph”, and “Kansas”, and features incredible guitar solo and gritty Hammonds; and “Wait For the End” (7:58), which begins with violins that evoke “Kansas”, and alternates lively rhythms like “Foreigner” with energetic and powerful guitars like “Symphony X”. Finally, a standard Progressive Rock marks presence on the soaring epic ballad “Broken Mirror’s Land” (6:20) – one of the album’s highlights, which begins with celestial choirs like “Queen”, delves into opulent and joyful pianos, and gradually grows with the chorus and orchestrations, recalling “Ayreon”. An extraordinary talented musician to get acquaintance with, Konstantin Jambazov and his projects are highly recommended for fans of “Kansas”, “Foreigner”, “Queen”, “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Jason Becker”, “Symphony X”, “Adagio”, “Sonata Arctica”, “Space Odyssey”, “Ayreon”, “Deep Purple”, “Rainbow”, “TNT”, “Triumph”, “Trans-Siberian Orchestra”, “Clive Nolan”, “Erik Norlander”, “Explorer’s Club”, “Baroque Project”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Konstantin Jambazov’s Otherwise are: Konstantin Jambazov - Lead & Backing Vocals, Lead Guitars, Keyboards, Bass, and Programming. Nikolaj Rajkov - Lead Vocals (on “Right Direction”); Nick Markov – Music & Lyrics (“Beauty”); Rosen Angelov – All Fantastic Lyrics; Joan Petev – Lyrics (“Born To Fight” & “Trepped Life”). Album Produced by Konstantin Jambazov; Recorded at Rebus Studio Varna BG, between 2008 and 2009...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/04/2014.....................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit KONSTANTIN JAMBAZOV’S OTHERWISE HOME PAGE...
. RHYTHM OF MARS - "Window of Destiny"
Rhythm Of Mars is a Progressive Rock, New Age & Neo-Classical band hailing from Fayetteville (Arkansas, USA). It was founded in 2010 by a duo composed of Aaron Straub (guitar) and Patti Unruh (keyboards). In 2013, with the arrival of Todd Frost (drums), Rhythm Of Mars became a trio. Unruh is a life-long Classical and Rock keyboardist who studied music on full scholarships at both the University of Arkansas and University of Oklahoma in the early 1970's. Straub is a virtuoso lead guitarist who has played with several bands around the area, including Hard Rock act “Without A Whisper” (which released the CD “Caught in The Fire” in 2006). Frost is a veteran drummer who has played in many bands. Rhythm Of Mars released three instrumental albums: “Romancing the Snake” (2011), “Beyond Dream” (2012), and “Window of Destiny” (2013). Although they regard themselves as a studio band, they are planning to include vocals and to perform alive in the future, by adding more musicians to the line-up. Meanwhile, Rhythm Of Mars continues to make music, hoping to have it chosen for Radio Play, FILM & TV Soundtracks. Rhythm of Mars’ third album - “Window of Destiny” - surprised me with some wonderful and melodic Progressive Music that is rare today, being very reminiscent of early days of Prog, when musicians searched for enchanting melodies and magical harmonies that could be combined in nice-sounding arrangements that would reach the listener’s soul and feelings. As I prepared this text, I spent pleasant moments at Rhythm Of Mars’ website, not willing to leave, listening to their wonderful music – and I advice everybody to do the same. For my (second) surprise, the photo that the band posted on their site showed a poster of “Opeth” hanging on the wall behind them! Well, if something can be said about Rhythm of Mars, is that their music is totally “anti-Opeth”: it is light, delicate, sensitive, diaphanous, moving, elevating, inspiring, and relaxing, without being soporiferous or pretentiously pompous. Their main influences are “Pink Floyd”, “Santana”, “Yes”, “Rush”, “Elton John”, “Yanni”, “Eric Clapton”, “Joe Satriani”, and “Joe Bonamassa”, but they also resemble “Andreas Vollenweider”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Gandalf” (Austria), “Lanvall”, “Gordon Giltrap”, “Steve Lukather”, “Paco de Lucia”, “Steve Hacket”. “Window of Destiny” features 8 tracks. The guitar is the main solo instrument, being generally supported by a classical layer of keyboards (pianos and New Age-sounding synths, more discretely and elegantly played than bombastically), and some acoustic guitar passages and soft drumming. The bass is also soft, played by different bassists, always melodically. Two pieces are basically guitar-driven: the opening track “Houdini” (3:45) – which is also the album’s heaviest - comes with the strength of a mild Neo-Classical Rock blended with Space-Rock chords, all supported by joyful pianos that have the mood of the 50’s Rock; yet, the title track “Window of Destiny” (5:01) is a placid ballad on which Straub shows his emotional side when playing the instrument, alternating modern guitar-playing styles (like “Satriani”, “Bonamassa”) with old-school weeping-guitar style (“Moore”, “Beck”) – achieving magnificent results. A couple of tracks are more keyboard-oriented, having emphasis on Unruh’s pianos. Such are “Pleiadian” (3:59), that blends soft Symphonic-Prog classical piano and delicate New-Age flutes in Pastoral soundscapes immersed in Medieval choirs; and “La Noche” (3:37), a Chopin-inspired Nocturne accompanied by the organ. A number of pieces lean to the New-Age with World Music influence, and have arrangements that bring to mind names like “Yanni”, “Vollenweider”, “Paco de Lucia”, “Santana”, “Mike Oldfield”, and “Gordon Giltrap”. The eerie “Love Spell” (4:30) follows the Hindu trend, having psychedelic sounds, great progressive soaring bass, and soulful guitar solo; “Labyrinth” (3:46) is a musical maze that leaps from India to fall down into the joyful North-American Country & Folk, bringing frantic and lively acoustic guitars, violins, and Straub going wild on his final guitar solo; finally “Masquerade” (4:56) is mysterious and seductive, driven by Latin moods that unroll underneath a mattress of Spanish acoustic guitars (as a mix of “Paco de Lucia”, “Santana”, and “Gordon Giltrap”). The last track is “Evolve” (2:40) – which is beautiful and relaxing, being driven by the free-flowing dialogue between acoustic guitars and a soaring electric guitar. Rhythm Of Mars is really an amazing band to be discovered, for it teaches us a lesson about the universal and spiritual quality of Music: it does not need to be complex to be enjoyed, just beautiful and heart-touching. Rhythm Of Mars is highly recommendable for lovers of soft Progressive Rock blended with New-Age & World Music, and for fans of “Yanni”, “Andreas Vollenweider”, “Gandalf” (Austria), “Lanvall”, “Santana”, “Joe Satriani”, “Joe Bonamassa”, “Steve Lukather”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Paco de Lucia”, “Gordon Giltrap”, “Steve Hacket”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Rhythm of Mars are: Patti Unruh – Keyboards; Aaron Straub – Guitars; Todd Frost – Drums. Additional Musicians: David Bayles - Bass & Mike Bailey - Drums on "Labyrinth"; Bryan Burkhart (Burkhart Productions - Fayetteville, AR) - Hand Drums & Engineering on "Masquerade"; Mike Bailey - Percussion & Engineering on "Pleiadian"; Paul Humphreys - Drums & John Burnett - Bass on "Houdini"; Chris Moore - Bass & Engineering on "Window Of Destiny"; Brett Rheams (Basement Studio) -  Engineering on "Evolve"; Chris Moore (East Hall Recording) – Album Mastering...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/04/2014.............................................More information? Better check it out for yourself at: RHYTHM OF MARS HOME PAGE...
. BELUGA - "Architecture of the Absurd"
Beluga (a.k.a. Architecture of the Absurd – and vice-versa) is a crazy Progressive Rock band. The group was founded by Lorenzo Matellán (keyboards & sound engineering) and Razl (a.k.a. Raúl Huelvesis, on guitars & vocals) - two musicians of unlimited creativeness. Lorenzo Matellán started his career playing Progressive Rock & Psychedelia, moved later to other styles (Rock, Pop, Hip-Hop, and Electronic oriented Disco & Funk), and with Beluga he came back to his Prog origins. Matellán’s only rule is to use his imagination unbound, and all possible tools around him to make music. Razl is a guitar player who is obsessed with searching new formulas of musical expression. His solo albums, “Rotonova” & “Microscopic”, had collaboration of musicians like “Mike Keneally”, “Bryan Beller”, “Dean Brown”, “Damian Erskine”, and “Charlie Dennard”. In Beluga, Razl is also the lead singer, a new musical experience for him. To complete the band’s line-up, that freak duo called the virtuoso bassist Damian Erskine and wizard drummer Marco Minnemann. If Minnemann strengthens the band’s rhythmic structure with heaviness and power; Erskine is the concrete that seals the fractures and gives extra-support to the apparently incoherent music engendered by Beluga’s freaked-out central duo. The quartet accumulated a massive number of spontaneously-generated musical fragments, which had to be ordered and integrated to shape the tracks that now compose Beluga’s debut album – “Architecture of the Absurd” (or vice-versa). The crazy world of Beluga’s “Architecture of the Absurd” (2013) gathers influences from unique-sounding bands, which they distill into their own brand of Caricatured Progressive Rock & Circus-Cartoonish kind of music – achieving unpredictable results. The instrumental parts recall original and innovative bands such as “Gentle Giant”, “King Crimson”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Zappa”, “Gong”, “French TV”, “Faith No More”, “Henry Cow”, “The Wrong Object”, and “Primus”; while the segments with vocals are similar to “Zappa”, “The Residents”, “Captain Beefheart”, “Mr. Bungle”, and “Oho” – meaning that Irony & Sarcasm are important components of Beluga’s music. The songs of “Architecture of the Absurd” tell stories about senseless parallel worlds and imaginary situations based on tales of the absurd, all exposed in lyrics that have an extraordinary double meaning. The music is complex, difficult, fractured and full of breaks, but after a few spins, the brains finally recognize some logical patterns and grooves that go straight through the ears, causing strong addiction on the listener. The album features 7 tracks. On “Photosynthesis” (5:19), the band irradiates a “Zappalesque” groove from the guitars, and its biochemistry-nerd lyrics could be part of some episode of “The Big Bang Theory”. “Paris ragtime” (6:08) has also a lively “Zappa-like” mood, being plunged in a Cartoonish atmosphere suggested by the playful vocals that also hint at an affinity with “Gong”. “Trying to Be a Courtclown” (5:25) brings mocking “la-la-la-la-la” vocals opposed to pro-Monarchy caricatured vocal tunes, being all supported by an instrumental background that includes passages of “Gentle Giant’s” byzantine instrumentation, “King Crimson’s” ironic musical observations, some Circus music, and a substantial soup of bass and keyboards. “Under a Black Cloud” (7:10) gets closer to what is called a “normal” song – even though being frantic like “Gentle Giant”, burlesque like “Mr. Bungle”, nervous like “Faith No More”, and sung by a kind of “Bugs Bunny” character - it also has a pinch of “Mahavishnu Orchestra’s” Fusion on the amazing guitars, and an occasional “Spastic Ink” bass & drums feeling. “Thylacine” (6:18) is a favorite, driven by great bass, drums and Mellotrons that suggest a Jazzy caricature in the format of “Van der Graaf”, “Zappa”, “King Crimson” and “Mr. Bungle”; still having “inverted” instrumental parts, “clowny” sounds, and chanting choirs like “The Residents”, before finishing with bumblebee guitar solos and Circus music. “Monologue” (6:43) is swinging like a jammed mix of “Primus” with “Mr. Bungle”, having a funky “Zappa” & “Red Hot Chili Peppers” bouncing pulse on guitars and bass. Finally, “Sunny View (For Douche-Bags)” (5:24) is the epitome of Beluga’s “most experimental experimentalism”. It begins randomly, with sounds that slowly amalgamate into a song (in this respect, recalling “The Residents”), and features a kind of “Louis Armstrong” voice dueling with a baby-voiced “Betty Boop” – all supported by incongruent-sounding “Gentle Giant” keyboards and an overall “Gong” harmonic swing, ending in a sarcastic Broadway song-style that recalls “Captain Beefheart”. Having no boundaries or limits, the music of Beluga is weird, but also brilliant, being therefore indispensable for fans of “weirdo” bands like “Gentle Giant”, “King Crimson”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Zappa”, “Captain Beefheart”, “French TV”, “The Residents”, “Oho”, “Mr. Bungle”, “Henry Cow”, “Gong”, “The Wrong Object”, “Primus”, “Zip Tang”, “Red Hot Chili Peppers”, “Arrigo Barnabé”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Beluga are: Razl - Guitars, Vocals, Voices All Around, Ukelele, Pedal Toys; Lorenzo Matellán – Keyboards, Synths, Sundries; Damian Erskine – Bass; Marco Minnemann – Drums. Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by L. Matellán at Headroom Studio. All tracks composed & arranged by Beluga. Lyrics by Razl, L. Matellán & Carolina Mateo. Art Design by Juanjez...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/04/2014.....................................Is there an interested to know more about them? Then you must visit BELUGA HOME PAGE...
VirtueL – the extraordinary Progressive Rock project produced by Bulgarian musician Konstantin Jambazov - is back to PR&PM! VirtueL is a “www-based” band composed of a trio of Bulgarian musicians who live in three countries: Nick Markov from Huston, USA (keyboards, guitars), Rosen Angelov from Bracknell, UK (lead & backing vocals, acoustic guitar, bass), and Jambazov himself from Varna, Bulgaria (lead guitars, keyboards, bass, backing vocals, programing). VirtueL released two albums so far: “Conception of Perception” (2013, Orphictone Records, Japan - reviewed at PR&PM - see above); and its predecessor – the debut album “I” (2011). VirtueL’s style is called “Neo-Medieval Progressive Rock” – a congregation of Classical & Medieval Music, Melodic Rock, and Symphonic Progressive Rock & Neo-Prog, inspired on the best Progressive bands. “I” features fantastic symphonic arrangements and virtuosic solos by the three core musicians and by amazing guest musician Elena Angelov (violins); and grounded VirtueL’s bombastic style, that would be further developed on “Conception of Perception”. “I” is brighter, more melodic and classical than its follow-up. Trapped within magnificent and complex orchestrations, the furious solo performances clash together, trying to escape from a labyrinth of sonic intricacy and flooding the musical space with moments of quintessential Progressive-Rock. “Beethoven”-spirited pianos and luxurious waves of keyboards & synths recall “Emerson”, “Wakeman”, “Nolan”, and “Scherpenzeel”. Carnivorous Neo-Classical guitar solos are expelled from electric guitars, recalling “Malmsteen” and “Brian May”. Acoustic guitars are influenced by “Al Di Meola”. Pompous bass passages make the counterpoint to heavenly violins that recall “Kansas”. Lead vocals are soulful, recalling singers of “Twelfth Night”, “Pallas”, “Kansas”, and “Kayak”; and are backed by gorgeous vocal harmonies in the operatic style of “Queen” (that show up in all songs, and not on just a few, as on the second album). The Metal parts are less frequent, but when present, are really powerful, bringing to mind early “Symphony X”, “Rhapsody of Fire”, and “Adagio”. Amidst such sublime music, VirtueL indulges in producing a few moments of accessible Melodic-Rock (like “Europe” and “Foreigner”). “I” features 13 tracks (11 + 2 bonus). The most appealing and powerful are those that best incorporate VirtueL’s “Neo-Medieval Progressive Rock” style. They are “The Beauty” (4:02) - an impressive first song that has pianos like “ELP”, follows on with an Epic mood that recalls “Twelfth Night” & “Pendragon”, leaving the “Queen”-like harmony vocals on the chorus; “Questions” (2:53) is an outstanding Neo-Folk ballad featuring violins; “Masters” (7:58) is a four-parted song composed of harmony vocals intro; frantic Prog-Metal instrumentation that recalls “Symphony X”; a segment with piano, violins and dramatic vocals; and bass-driven folky end. “Well Wrapped Lies” (6:05) has an epic ascension that leads to sublime celestial chords (recalling “ELP”, “Pendragon”, “Nolan”). Finally “A Prayer at Dusk” (4:10) – blends classical acoustic guitars and medieval flutes on an adventurous guitar theme, soaring choir vocals and wild guitar solo that dwindles to the medieval song “I Hear” (2:51). Also belonging here are the two bonus tracks (demos of 2013) – both having pianos introducing the symphonic parts: “Night Bird” (9:27) alternates vocals parts with long instrumental segments stuffed with solos of guitars, acoustic guitar passages and different keyboard textures; and “Love” (6:47) is delivered with heart and soul (like “Twelfth Night”, “Pallas”, “Pendragon”, “Kayak”). Two songs that are less medieval or epic, begin softly and grow later with addition of other instruments: “Millennium of Love” (5:27) recalls the romanticism of “Elton John”, but has killer solos of guitars & keyboards; and “Beyond The Gates of Nowhere” (4:49) is outstanding for blending beautiful “Queen”-like vocals with guitars that have the same accent of “Brian May’s”, and for having an extended instrumental sequence that is like an amazing duel of electric “Malmsteen” Vs. acoustic “Al Di Meola”. Three songs are more accessible: “If You Dare” (5:31) is a romantic-pop ballad that sounds like “Queen” with the violins of “Kansas”; “In The Middle Of The Night” (5:26) is a commercial Melodic-Rock, but compensates it with a long Neo-Classical part driven by wild keyboard & guitar solos; “Shut It Down” (5:34) is rhythmically like the recent music of “Marillion”, but the final third is all instrumental, dominated by classical pianos and flying violins, heavy guitars and gritty organs. Overall, “I” is as brilliant as “Conception of Perception” - just a bit more melodic and classically oriented than its follower – being an indispensable item for fans of “Queen”, “Rick Wakeman”, “ELP”, “Refugee”, “Genesis”, “Twelfth Night”, “Pendragon”, “Clive Nolan”, “Pallas”, “Marillion”, “Kansas”, “Kayak”, “Triumvirat”, “Flower Kings”, “Little Tragedies”, “Rumblin’ Orchestra”, “Baroque Project”, “Al Di Meola”, “Malmsteen”, “Symphony X”, “Rhapsody of Fire”, “Adagio”, “Azazello”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in VirtueL are: Nick Markov - Songwriting, Keyboards, Guitars; Rosen Angelov - Lead & Backing Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Songwriting; Konstantin Jambazov - Lead Guitars, Keyboards, Bass, Programing, Lead & Backing Vocals, and Songwriting. Guest musician: Elena Angelov - Violin. Songs Mixed at Rebus Studios (2010); Mastering by Unecore - Universal Mastering; Produced by KC Musik & Konstantin Jambazov (2011)...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/04/2014.................................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit VIRTUEL HOME PAGE...
. SPALTKLANG - "Lontano"
Spaltklang - one of many projects of Swiss saxophonist Markus Stauss - is back to this webzine once again (see under “Reviews 2010”). Spaltklang (which means “broken” or “split” sound in German) was born when Stauss had the idea o recreating with modern instruments what was once called a “broken consort” – a medieval ensemble composed of wind and pluck instruments and strings including a percussion unit. Besides Stauss (saxophones), the group was formed by Olivier Vogt (viola, violin), Stephan Brunner (electric bass), and Rémy Sträuli (drums, keyboards). At first, Spaltklang just played material from other projects of Stauss (namely “Überfall”, “Echoes” and “Ulterior Lux”). Since the first sessions, however, the musicians realized that any single piece could have evolved in different ways. So they decided to re-work all the compositions in the most radical manner possible, incorporating new ideas, modifying the arrangements, widening the primitive polytonal structure, and employing new concepts of improvisation, all to achieve an optimal level of inventiveness and originality. With this modus-operandi, the group produced music that sounded totally different from the original versions, and that was registered by Fazzul Music on four albums: “Alpenglühen” (2002), “Surprise” (2004), “Lontano” (2006), and “En Suite” (2009). “Lontano” was recorded at Ton-Art Studio, Basel, and engineered by Benno Hofer, featuring 10 instrumental compositions. As in other works of Spaltklang, the music is cerebral, harmonically atypical, and hybrid, incorporating elements of Modern Jazz and non-standard Prog-Rock (like “Zappa”, “King Crimson”, “Henry Cow”, “Univers Zéro”, “Art Zoyd”, and “Miriodor”), melded with Avant-garde and Experimental Music inspired by academic composers such as “John Zorn”, “John Cage”, and “Edgard Varèse”. The musicians work in unison as in a true chamber quartet. Brunner on bass and Sträuli on drums provide a dynamic and vigorous rhythmic section, playing complex jazzy and jazz-rock phrasings; but they are not afraid of getting their hands dirty by playing plain Rock or even Punk-rock riffs. They support the two soloists - Stauss and Vogt. Stauss appears more constantly as the first voice, always playing in that unique way that made him to be regarded as one of the re-inventors of the saxophone. Vogt makes a second voice, either on solos, or engaging in duets with Stauss, or dueling against him, in a constant and profitable musical diatribe. He even finds space to reinforce the arrangements of Brunner and Sträuli. The 10 tracks on “Lontano” are organized in three conceptual blocks. Four short tracks - “Antipasto” (1:00), “Primo” (1:03), “Secondo” (1:06), and “Dessert” (1:01) – comprise the four miniature movements of the composition “A Dinner in Honor of John Cage” (”Ein Diner zu Ehren von John Cage”), and are spread along the record, intercalated with the remaining six tracks. Three tracks are extremely long, dominating the first half of the record: “Nachher” (9:29 ), “Der Wurm” (9:28), and “4 + 1” (10:31). They are hybrid tracks, blending chamber-rock parts with moments of improvisation and free experimentation, employing musical themes that are expanded, explored and permutated from sax to strings and backwards, along different musical intervals. They are inspired in “Varèse”, “Cage”, and “Zorn”, paralleling the most theoretical works of “Zappa”, “Henry Cow”, and “Univers Zéro”. “Nachher” (9:29 ), in spite of the rocky, almost Punk, rhythmic section and the hectic duet of sax and violins, intercalates slow parts that recall “Cage”, and also incorporates something Arabic. “Der Wurm” (9:28) flows slower, somber and mysterious, bringing coiling melodies and sax scherzo. “4 + 1” (10:31) begins with strange dark-psychedelic, fat-acid bass effects that get structured later, being divided by a jazzy middle part with crazy improvisations by all band members. The remaining three compositions have regular durations, and occupy the second half of the record:  “Old & New” (6:04), “Berg & Tal” (6:42), and “Another Dance Tune” (5:02). Regarding the longer ones, these compositions are more visceral, vibrant, and compact. The Jazz-Rock “Old & New” (6:04) still includes a middle part for experiments with noise mimicking birds; but “Berg & Tal” (6:42) and “Another Dance Tune” (5:02) bring tightly interlocked duets of bass and saxophones, dazzling violin solos and free drumming amid cheerful medieval atmospheres, recalling punchy works of “Zappa”, “King Crimson”, and “Gentle Giant”. Definitely chamber-rock at its best, Spaltklang provides a defiant sonority for the brains - consisting in an edible dish to the most exigent of all R.I.O. and Avant-garde gourmets. “Lontano” is specially recommended for fans of “Univers Zéro”, “Zappa”, “Miriodor”, “Art Zoyd”, “The Wrong Object”, “Yugen”, “French TV”, “Henry Cow”, “John Zorn”, “John Cage”, “Edgard Varèse”, “Tortoise”, “Gargantua”, “Finnegans Wake”, an so on.  Band members and collaborators involved with Spaltklang are: Markus Stauss – Bass, Tenor and Soprano Sax; Olivier Vogt – Viola, Violin; Stephan Brunner – Electric Bass; Rémy Sträuli – Drums, Keyboards. Current expanded line-up: Markus Stauss - Saxophones; Olivier Vogt – Viola, Violins; Christian Weber – Bass; Rémy Sträuli – Drums, Jérôme Koopmann – Trumpet; Reudi Schmid – Electric Guitar...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/04/2014.........................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit SPALTKLANG HOME PAGE...
. TINKICKER - "The Cup of The Lord and the Wine of Demons"
Tinkicker is a Classic-Rock and Metal band based in Copenhagen, Denmark, that has already been featured at PR&PM. Tinkicker was formed in 2006 by composer/guitarist Søren Lindberg and lyricist/drummer Klaus Herfort, who were soon joined by singer Klaus Bastian. In 2008 Tinkicker signed with Russian label MALS and released their debut album “The Soliloquy of the Transparent Boy” (2008), a conceptual Rock-Opera with influences of Classic Rock. As a gesture of appreciation to Russia, the band reversed the “N” of their logo. In 2010 Tinkicker added guitarist and bassist Kristian Møller to the line-up. The band released then their second album, “The Playground at the Edge of the Abyss” (2011), which was reviewed at PR&PM in the same year. “The Playground…” was also a concept album based on true stories; and had great reception from Classic Rock magazines and reviewers. This success led Tinkicker to add bassist Torben Hedstrøm to the line-up in 2013, and to record a third studio album – “The Cup of The Lord and the Wine of Demons” (2014, Mals Ltd.). Like the two previous albums, “The Cup…” is a conceptual album that may be regarded as an ambitious sequel of the first two, having something of its own: the lyrical content deals with spiritual issues and the fragility of life viewed from different perspectives – always described with bloody, sweaty & tearful stained words. Tinkicker’s musical involvement oscillated between the Heavy Metal & Doom Metal styles (with influences of “Black Sabbath”), and the Psychedelic world inhabited by melancholic ballads with influences of “Pink Floyd”. The band even coined the term “Pink-Sabbath” to tag its own category – that also includes a combination of Classic Hard-Rock, Theatrical Horror Rock, and several sub-ranks of Heavy Metal. But the sonority and the surrounding atmospheres have become progressively heavier, gloomier and more dramatic from album to album, and now, besides “Black Sabbath” and “Pink Floyd”, there are strong influences from “Lizzy Borden”, “Angel Witch”, “Savatage”, “Jon Oliva’s Pain”, “Circle II Circle”, “Novembers Doom”, “Soundgarden”, “Alice In Chains”, “Alice Cooper”, “Trouble”, “Solitude Aeturnus”, “Queens of the Stone Age”, “Lou Reed”, and “Nick Cave”. “The Cup of The Lord and the Wine of Demons” has 16 tracks. Some tracks are short preludes, interludes, or postludes that divide the main songs in groups. Mostly, the music follows Tinkicker’s “Pink-Sabbath” style, which is marked by slow to mid-tempo pace, down-tuned guitars, and heavy riffs that are immersed in psychedelic-dark atmospheres. After the weird intro “Good Evening” (2:16), one of my favorites is “Confession of A Clown "Spin the Wheel"” (4:45) - slow & low-tuned, like a psychedelic revival of “Velvet Underground” blended with gloomy horror-rock components that recall “Alice Cooper”, “Soundgarden”, “Alice In Chains”, and “Savatage”. The following sequence is amazing: beginning with the Grunge-ballad “Lucid Dreams” (2:24), we are dragged by great guitar riffs, in “Pink-Sabbath” style, into the somber-folky “The Boy Who Found God” (1:37), accelerating and gaining heaviness on the Doom-Gothic “Which Box is Yours” (2:53) - which brings to mind bands like “Trouble” and “Solitude Aeturnus”. Another good sequence is made of the slightly “Floydian” ballad “Intermission I” (0:43) + the lysergic “St.  John” (4:29), driven by gritty slow bass and malignant vocals (like “Alice In Chains”), and rising to a dramatic “Sabbath”-like part that leads to the melancholic ballad “Last of the Bohemians” (6:39), which descends to the deepest abyss of the Progressive Doom-Metal, by employing anguished guitars and ghostly choirs (like “Trouble”, with the lyricism of “Savatage” and “John Oliva”). A number of single songs give stylistic diversity to the album: “A Beautiful Day” (3:23) hovers fast over Prog-Metal riffs, complex bass evolutions, and incisive vocals that sing ironic lyrics; “Chasing Rainbows” (3:48) is a Dark-Folk sung by mournful “Lou Reed”-kind of vocals, that contrasts with groovy Hard-70’s sounds; and “Flight of the Moose” (3:24) is the “joyful” song of this album – a fast Motorcycle Rock that recalls the beats of “Saxon” and “Judas Priest”. But the best tracks are placed near the end: “Intermission II” (0:48) introduces the amazing Heavy-Prog “The Mailman's Last Route” (10:06), which allies guitar riffs and Prog synths with solos like “Savatage” in a Metal-Rock drive that propels the music to the epic Desert-Rock ballad “Same Old Different song” (4:28) (for fans of “Queens of the Stone Age”). Finally the closing track “Playlist in the Sky” (5:44) is an extraordinary Stoner-Metal song with soulful vocals (in the style of “Nick Cave”), explosive double-guitar solos, and dramatic attitude, that vanishes into the chords of the ballad “Farewell” (1:01). Going some steps beyond the two preceding albums, “The Cup of the Lord and the Wine of Demons” is another great album by Tinkicker, specially recommended for fans of “Rock of the Darkness”, as made by “Black Sabbath”, “Lizzy Borden”, “Angel Witch”, “Savatage”, “Jon Oliva’s Pain”, “Circle II Circle”, “Novembers Doom”, “Soundgarden”, “Alice In Chains”, “Alice Cooper”, “Trouble”, “Solitude Aeturnus”, “Queens of the Stone Age”, “Lou Reed”, “Nick Cave”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Tinkicker are: Klaus Bastian - Vocals; Søren Lindberg – Guitars; Kristian Møller – Guitars; Torben Hedstrøm – Bass; Klaus Herfort – Drums, Percussion...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/22/2014.................................Is there an interested to know more about them? Then you must visit TINKICKER HOME PAGE...
. HOYT BINDER - "Prayrie Go Round"
Hoyt Binder is a guitarist, composer, and songwriter whose influences range from the 20th century composers to Jazz, Rock, Pop, Folk, and Progressive Rock of the late 60’s. Binder is a very active musician, and some of his projects are the Prog-Rock band Primitive Overflow (whose album, “Honor Way Down”, was featured at PR&PM in 2012); a Female-Fronted Prog-Rock band with his wife Saskia (with one album, “One Heart”, released); and an ethnomusicology project featuring the music of the Wounaan Indian Tribe of Panama. For now, Hoyt Binder is promoting his first solo album, “Prayrie Go Round” (November, 2013). The album features Trevor Lloyd (violin), Paulo Gustavo (bass), and requested drummer Toss Panos (“Robben Ford”, “Larry Carlton”, “Brett Garsed”, “Mike Keneally”, “Frank Gambale”, “Dweezil Zappa”, “Mark Bonilla”, “Steve Vai”, “Andy Summers”). The style is Instrumental Jazz-Fusion with Rock Moods and a slightly Progressive vein, having influences of “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Jeff Beck”, “Jean-Luc Ponty”, “Return to Forever”, “Weather Report”, “Terje Rypdal”, “Allan Holdsworth”, “Soft Machine”, “The Dregs”, “Eddie Jobson”, “Steve Vai”, “Al Di Meola”, “Fire Merchants”. “Prayrie Go Round” has 10 tracks. On them, Binder’s guitar playing is never furious, exaggerated, or impulsive, but always neat, sensitive, and focused on melody, offering us delightful moments of spiritual Jazz-Fusion. His music is nuanced, blending bright colors and gentle grooves with introspective moments and bluesy moods. His themes are born with the simplicity and abstraction of the great musicians, synthesizing which is most essential in music – melody and emotion. Not acting as a solitary soloist, Binder achieves a real synergetic communion with the other performers. His constant dialogue with Trevor Lloyd on violin is really wonderful, and always perfectly balanced by the superb rhythmic base provided by bassist Paulo Gustavo and monster-drummer Toss Panos. The album opens boldly with “This Is Why” (7:02) – an impacting and unconventional piece that contains extracts of a prayer ceremony of the Wounaan Tribe of Panama – having a touch of exoticism that parallels the music of “Mahavishnu Orchestra”. The moods are cleared up on the following tracks “Hip to Believin'” (5:33), which has something of “Gambale”, and sax-sounding violins like “Jean-Luc Ponty”, tightly harmonized with bass & drums; and “I Found You” (6:29) – a cool Jazz-Fusion on which clean soaring guitars keep an eloquent dialogue with violins – both awesomely escorted by the dynamics imposed by Panos on drums. A change of mood happens on “Missing Donnie” (6:22): in spite of its rocky-pop beats, it tends to the introspectiveness on the bluesy guitar moods – the ideal feeling for bassist Gustavo and violinist Lloyd to show up with sensitive solos. Another change of mood is felt on “Trip Over” (6:17), a groovy piece driven by rocky riffs, funky bass & drums, and soaring violins, recalling the odd music of “Fire Merchants” and “Weather Report”. “Insecure” (6:10) has a mysterious aura surrounding it, and recalls a mix of “Mahavishnu”, “Holdsworth”, and “Vai” - the Cool-Jazz harmonies hover over a soft rhythmic mattress provided by Toss & Gustavo, as Binder & Lloyd take their time, trading delicate and sensitive solos along all track. “Numb Goodbye” (6:56) combines psychedelic violin sound effects with a long placid guitar solo that is apparently out-of-phase with the bass and drums – but that is just a sonic illusion provoked by drummer-magician Panos - as the music is gradually adjusted to the uprising guitar themes. The final tracks are the very best. “Leap of Faith” (6:27) is an appealing ballad driven by a duel of guitar and violin that is developed and improved ad infinitum – backed by impressive fretless bass by Gustavo and Spanish-Progressive guitars that recall “Al Di Meola” or “Paco de Lucia”. “You'd Better Catch Me” (6:44) comes with a rocky vigor, recalling the music of “The Dregs”, but without keyboards. Driven by adventurous guitar riffs, violins that make a melodic counterpoint, and mild-galloping bass and drums, this lively piece and its title suggest that the musicians were playing for fun. Finally, “Prayrie Go Round” (7:01) nears the geniality of “Terje Rypdal”. Introduced by glissando guitars and gloomy soaring violins (which, according to Binder, represent a prayer), this piece goes on, supported by ingenious drumming that culminates in a final fugue in original Baroque-Jazz style, which, on Binder’s vision, represents an answer to the initial prayer. Congratulations to Hoyt Binder! He is gifted, and his solo album is magical! Hoyt Binder is already working on a second album that we hope to review soon. Delicate, mysterious, instigating, original, and surprising – the music of Hoyt Binder & friends will make Jazz-Fusion fans experience deep feelings, consisting in an indispensable item for fans of “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Jean-Luc Ponty”, “Return to Forever”, “Weather Report”, “Terje Rypdal”, “Allan Holdsworth”, “Soft Machine”, “The Dregs”, “Eddie Jobson”, “Steve Vai”, “Fire Merchants”, “Marbin”, “Vedda Tribe”, “Al Di Meola”. Band members and collaborators involved in Hoyt Binder are: Hoyt Binder - Guitars; Toss Panos - Drums; Trevor Lloyd - Violin; Paulo Gustavo – Bass. Chindio Pena - Narration on “This Is Why”. Album mixed by Smiley Sean at Bad Moon Studios and mastered by Maor Appelbaum at Maor Appelbaum Mastering...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/22/2014.......................................For more information about the musicians and their history, visit HOYT BINDER WEBSITE...
As Dramatic Homage is an Avant-guarde & Extreme Metal band hailing from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As Dramatic Homage began activities in 1999. The line-up features Alexandre Pontes (vocals & guitars), Igor Goularth (bass, vocals), Anthony Vinco (keyboards), and Evanildo Gouveia (drums). The band’s moniker refers to make honor to philosophical themes that deal with existential questions of human beings - their self-behavior, beliefs and motifs – which shall be exposed and discussed in a dramatic way. As Dramatic Homage’s musical goal is to include much freedom, versatility, dynamism, and atmospheric ambiences on their compositions, keeping the essence of the nowadays panorama – always being fostered by that straightforward power that transforms us in omnipotent beings. In 2012 As Dramatic Homage released their first independent album, titled “Crown”. The music is a mix of Death, Thrash, and Extreme Metal with Atmospheric & Melancholic Metal, having few elements of Progressive Metal, Post-Metal and Dark-Folk – brutally delivered by aggressive guitars, pounding bass, powerful drumming and granting & growling vocals. The influences are many, but notably iconic bands of the heaviest branches of Heavy Metal, like “Death”, “Kreator”, “Destruction”, “Coroner”, “Slayer”, “Possessed”, “Violence”, “Voivod”, “Tankard”, “Assassin”, “Onslaught”, “Hellhammer”, “Celtic Frost”, “Bathory”, “Sodom”, “In Flames”, “Children of Bodom”, “Vintersorg”, “Soilwork”, “Paradise Lost”, “Opeth”, “Anathema”, “Amorphis”, “Novembers Doom”, “Katatonia”, “Mastodon”, “Meshuggah”, “Tool”, and Brazilian bands like “Dorsal Atlântica”, “Korzus”, “Sepultura”, “Sarcófago”, “The Mist”, and “Chakal”. “Crown” contains 9 tracks. Beginning with the instrumental acoustic intro “Lessons” (0:43); As Dramatic Homage immediately shows the bands proposal on the Extreme-Metal track “Monumental” (3:59) – tons of decibels descends over the listener with the power of an avalanche. Amidst the brutally compacted sound, and the raging vocals, the mind deviates from the overall delirious mood, searching for shelter on the occasional atmospheric and melancholic recesses of the song, which combines elements of many bands together (“Death”, “Kreator”, “Meshuggah”, “Onslaught”, “Assassin”). The band does not allow a moment of truce, and continues to bombard the listener with a distorted mass of guitars, bass and drums on “Awake to the Twilight” (3:27) (which brings some Thrash-Metal riffs and dirty vocals trapped on slightly epic arrangements); on the tribal “Redemption” (1:59) (which has awesome head-banging guitar riffs with raw-meat shouted angry vocals); and finally on “Idyllic” (4:17): one of the best tracks for combining different styles of Metal – from Thrash to Atmospheric and Doom, also having changes of pace and many twists before the accelerated final part (all recalling the styles of “Destruction”, “Coroner”, “Opeth”, and “Vintersorg”). Interspersed among those tracks, a pair of tracks - “The Icon Omnipresent” (4:03) and “Journey Inside” (3:09) – are characterized for being slower, less aggressive, and for bringing more Melancholic & Doom, Psychedelic & Prog-Metal moments, combining influences of “Anathema”, “Opeth”, “Voivod”, “Meshuggah”, and “Tool”. “The Icon …” approaches a Symphonic Death-Doom Metal, with softer interludes; while “Journey Inside” is the “ballad” of this album, being marked by the melancholic mood and the psychedelic atmosphere (which will please fans of “Anathema” and “Tool”), growing later with the coming of Doomish guitar riffs and a great guitar solo. The climax of As Dramatic Homage’s stylistic appears on “From the Battle of Pain” (4:02) – a song that retakes the brutal aggressiveness of the initial tracks, being marked by a fierce duel of raging and growling vocals, and by addition of surprising and creative moments of Doom & Progressive Death-Metal, on the bass and drums. “Crown” ends on the postludium “The Age of Transition” (1:39) – an impressive instrumental piece that combines Dark-Folk acoustic guitars with amazing keyboards on the background, and an ascending guitar solo. Overall, I found that As Dramatic Homage goes better on the instrumental parts, mainly on guitars, than on the vocal parts. For this kind of vocals that require a panzer-coat on the throat, the band needs a front-man with more lung power. Anyway, I shall strongly recommend As Dramatic Homage for fans of “Death”, “Kreator”, “Destruction”, “Coroner”, “Slayer”, “Possessed”, “Violence”, “Voivod”, “Deathrow”, “Tankard”, “Assassin”, “Onslaught”, “Hellhammer”, “Celtic Frost”, “Bathory”, “Sodom”, “In Flames”, “Children of Bodom”, “Soilwork”, “Vintersorg”, “Paradise Lost”, “Anathema”, “Opeth”, “Amorphis”, “Novembers Doom”, “Katatonia”, “Mastodon”, “Meshuggah”, “Tool”, and for fans around the world that have already bowed to the force of Brazilian Thrash, as represented by “Dorsal Atlântica”, “Korzus”, “Sepultura”, “The Mist”, “Sarcófago”, “Chakal”, and so many others. Band members and collaborators involved in As Dramatic Homage are: Alexandre Pontes - Guitars and Voices, Alexandre Martins - Bass, Alexandre Carreiro - Lead Guitars, Antony Vinco - Keyboards and Julio Rodriguez - Drums. Music, Lyrics & Arrangements by Alexandre Pontes, except track 1, by Eliebert Nunes. Recorded, Mixed & Mastered at Pyro Z Studio; Vocals recorded at HCS Estúdio (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). Bass recorded by Alexandre Martins; Additional bass on track 5 by Murilo Pirozzi; Additional Lead Guitar & Strings by Eliebert Nunes & Romulo Pirozzi. Evolutive process during Winter/Spring 2011. Produced by Romulo Pirozzi & Alexandre Pontes...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/22/2014.........................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit AS DRAMATIC HOMAGE HOME PAGE...
. MIND PORTAL - "1/2: Thought and Matter"
Mind Portal – the amazing Progressive-Metal-Fusion band from Voronezh, Russia – is back to PR&PM! Founded in 2009 by Grigory Kurnosov (guitar), Vitaly Zotov (bass), Vyacheslav Bessonov (keyboards), and Roman Gorodnyansky (drums); Mind Portal released in 2010 a surprising and promising debut album entitled “Mind Portal 1/1” (Mals Russia), which was soon reviewed at PR&PM. After a long wait, Mind Portal is finally coming with a new album - titled “1/2: Thought and Matter” (2013, Mals Ltd. Russia). Mind Portal continues to compose instrumental music that combines together an array of influences that include: “Dream Theater”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Rush”, “The Dregs”, “Tribal Tech”, “Joe Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, “Vinnie Moore”, “John Petrucci”, “Richie Kotzen”, “Derek Sherinian“, “Jordan Rudess”, “Planet X”, “Niacin”, “Panzerballett”, and “Red Bazar”. Mind Portal delivers their music with talent and technical prowess, giving great attention to the dynamic and sophisticated arrangements, harmonizing the instruments as in a Prog-Metal-Fusion chamber orchestra. Abundant solos of guitar and keyboards get entangled in an intricate fabric, on which bass and drums dictate the pace – jazzy, progy, rocky, metallic or groovy – no matter what, the rhythm section will keep it flowing on and free. If on the previous album their music had an spirited mood reminiscent of “Rush”, “The Dregs”, “Satriani”, “Vai”, “Kotzen“, “Vinnie Moore”, and even “AC/DC”; on this new album, Mind Portal has chosen to compensate that tendency, by including on the new pieces more moments of vigor, rage and heaviness, approaching the sound of bands like “Dream Theater”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Niacin”, “Planet X”, “Derek Sherinian”, “John Petrucci”, “Jordan Rudess”, and “Panzerballett”. “1/2: Thought and Matter”, as its predecessor, is totally instrumental, featuring 6 tracks. To impress the listener positively, the albums opens up with the long title-piece “Thought And Matter” (13:15) - a Progressive-Metal featuring savage riffs and breathtaking passages in the vein of “Dream Theater”, “Symphony X”, “Liquid Tension”, and “Cacophony”, sliced in the middle by a soaring Fusion segment with guitars like “Vai” and another one driven by dense and groovy keyboards (recalling “Niacin” and “Planet X”), finishing with a long guitar solo and classical pianos. “The Lost Totem” (7:43) reveals a light disposition on the Progressive piano intro and on the lively Prog-Fusion guitar themes, including destructive shredded guitars à la “John Petrucci’s” mode, accompanied by tasty pianos that recall the style of “Jordan Rudess”, and converging to a hovering Prog-Metal segment that has surprising synthesized choirs. “Composition Time” (8:21) is a Hard-Rock Fusion that is driven by a less complicated, albeit very rocky and groovy rhythm section that supports generous layers of guitar solos in both Fusion and Hard-Rock styles, alternated with several lively and electrified keyboards, overall recalling the sound of “Satriani”, “Vai”, “Steve Morse”, “The Dregs”, “Rush”, “Niacin”, and “Liquid Tension”. “Information War” (9:07) is another explosive Prog-Metal track that combines thick layers of electronic-texturized machine-sounding keyboards that advance antagonizing heavy Prog-Metal riffs that recall “Dream Theater”, “Symphony X”, “Planet X”, and “Panzerballett”. Ultra-fast sonic-vibrating guitar solos like “Petrucci” get into a bloodbath battle against neurotic synth solos with Oriental influences (recalling “Sherinian” and “Red Bazar”) – and make the core of this violent piece. Finally, the classic pianos on “Intermedia” (0:49) introduce “Apotheosis” (5:42) – a Prog-Fusion track driven by Hammond-sounding organs, lively guitars, and a jovial tune on synths. The most Progressive track indeed, it recalls the spirit of the middle ‘70s (the instrumental of bands like “U.K.”, “The Dregs”, “Rush”, “Deep Purple”), but tempered with the vigor and disposition of the 90’s Fusion, and with the Neo-Classical style of “Vinnie Moore”. With this excellent and appealing second album, Mind Portal confirms the brilliant future that the band had already promised to the fans that ventured on their first album – becoming a highly recommendable Prog-Metal-Fusion item, indispensable for fans of “Dream Theater”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Rush”, “Symphony X”, “The Dregs”, “Derek Sherinian“, “Planet X”, “Cacophony”,  “Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, “Vinnie Moore”, “John Petrucci”, “Richie Kotzen”, “Jordan Rudess”, “Tony MacAlpine”, “Red Bazar”, “Panzerballet”. Band members and collaborators involved in Mind Portal are: Grigory Kurnosov – Guitars, Music; Vyacheslav Bessonov – Keyboards; Vitaly Zotov – Bass; Roman Gorodnyansky – Drums. All arrangements by Grigory Kurnosov & Mind Portal; Recording, Mixing & Mastering by Studio 600; Sound Director: Denis Pachevsky...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/22/2014................................Want to learn everything about the band and its members, goes to MIND PORTAL HOME PAGE...
. BRIMSTONE - "Mannsverk"
The Norwegian Psychedelic-Prog band Brimstone is back to PR&PM after a 5-year long hiatus! After the successful release of their last album “Smorgasbord” (2009, Karisma Records), when the band was still known by the long moniker “The Brimstone Solar Radiation Band”, Brimstone became a requested live act in Norway and most of Scandinavia, with incursions to the Psychedelic underground scene in Britain, Spain, France, and Germany. Brimstone’s “Smorgasbord” album (reviewed at PR&PM in 2009) presented a mix of American West Coast Rock & British Psychedelic Rock of the late ‘60s to very early ‘70s, with influences of “The Animals”, “The Beatles”, “Cream”, “The Who”, “Pink Floyd”, “Love”, “The Byrds”, “Santana”, “Allman Brothers”, “13th Floor Elevators”, also including elements of Jazz, Country, Folk, and minor Progressive influences, such as “Yes”, “King Crimson”, “Genesis”, and “Camel”. Brimstone’s creative musical approach made them similar to bands like “The Soundtrack of Our Lives”, “Supergrass”, “Oasis”, “Sun Dial”, “Colour Haze”. Now, after so long, Brimstone finally came up with a new album, titled “Mannsverk” (March 23, 2014, Karisma Records). “Mannsverk” is available on Vinyl Double LP, CD, and digital formats, and has 8 wonderful tracks. They were recorded at Brimstone’s own studio, performed by the original quartet formed by Rolf Edvardsen (guitars, vocals), Truls “Biff” Eriksen (bass), Øyvind Grønner (keyboards), and Thomas Grønner (drums). “Mannsverk” represents a new step in Brimstone’s career. The sunny and bright colors of “Smorgasbord” have been somewhat shaded and dimmed to the acid tones of deeper lysergic Psychedelic Music on this new album. Band members are so well integrated to each other, that their individual contributions have worked in unison in favor of a great synergetic driving pulse – full of stylistic freedom, devoid of creative constraints - but keeping Brimstone’s melodic and poetic brim. The distinguishing odd-time drumming of Thomas Grønner still provides Brimstone’s songs with a dynamic and unique signature, and his understanding with Truls Eriksen’s frantic bass has something of telepathic. The tightly-bonded duo build up groovy and jazzy rhythmical backgrounds that have marking presence on the opening track “A Norwegian Requiem” (6:28), on which the fast drumming pushes forwards all other instruments, hitting the listener with vigor, and contrasting with the slow pace of the stoned vocals. Also on “Voodoo” (6:21) the rhythm wizards liberate a groove that recalls “Santana”, while Edvardsen’s outstanding guitar solo recalls “Zappa”. Yet on “The Fixed Wheel” (3:10), the hectic drumming is confronted with organs, and epic choirs in “Ennio Morricone” style! But Brimstone’s evolution in direction of more intense feelings becomes evident on the Psychedelic-Prog anthems “Rubberlegged Man”, “Sjø & Land”, and “This is the Universe” – three songs highlighted by Rolf Edvardsen’s melodic and sensitive guitar work, and embellished by Øyvind Grønner’s endless stock of vintage keyboards. So, “Rubberlegged Man” (5:47) is slow, and begins with a strong influence of early 70’s Prog-Rock (recalling “King Crimson”), turning later into a psychic-blues that sounds as epic as “Mountain”, including soulful vocals, organs, and tuneful whistles (with a soul of its own, this song became one of my favorites – I heard it many times). “Sjø & Land” (12:19) unrolls over jazzy cadences and keyboards that recall “Van der Graaf Generator”, delves into dense lysergic atmospheres (like “Pink Floyd” and Krautrock), and engages into a long and slow instrumental sequence for keyboards and guitars (with a touch of “Terje Rypdal”). And “This is the Universe” (9:54) begins like folk-ballad, but grows in a Progressive way, driven by a strong chorus that leads it to the final apotheosis. Of course, a few songs are instilled with the old Brimstone’s style, characterized by soft, bright, and cheerful moods. “Flapping Lips at Ankle Height” (6:14) is a sunny Psychedelic song driven by playful Hammonds and slide-guitar solo that ascends to the skies looking for Lucy & Diamonds (it is the “Sanctimonious High” of this album); while “The Giant Fire” (4:28) is an acoustic ballad with soft harmony vocals that brings back the delicacy and innocence of 60’s Psychedelic-Folk. In sum, Brimstone’s new album was really worthy of a five-year waiting. Musically speaking, it showcases a band on the edge, capable of expressing themselves far better than on the preceding album; and under a Psychedelic-Progressive point of view, it has much more to offer to enthusiasts of the style than the preceding album. Brimstone’s “Mannsverk” is highly recommendable for fans of West Coast Rock, Psychedelic & Stoner Rock, Psychedelic-Prog, “Pink Floyd”, “Santana”, “13th Floor Elevators”, “King Crimson”, “The Soundtrack of Our Lives”, “Supergrass”, “Sun Dial”, “Colour Haze”. Band members and collaborators involved in Brimstone are: Rolf Edvardsen - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals; Truls “Biff” Eriksen - Bass; Øyvind Grønner - Guitar, Organ, Backing Vocals, Percussion; Thomas Grønner - Drums. Ex-member: Erling Halsne Juvik - Banjo, String instruments...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/22/2014.............................You can find more information on the project and its musicians under BRIMSTONE HOME PAGE...
. DEVA - "Murther"
The extraordinary Progressive & Gothic Metal band Deva is welcomed back to PR&PM! Hailing from Milan, Italy, Deva was born in 2006 after the reunion of the gifted classical soprano Beatrice Palumbo with the talented Prog-Metal guitarist & singer Federico Salerno. The outcome was a unique combination of Gothic Metal and Progressive Metal with Symphonic & Electronic influences – registered on Deva’s debut album “Between Life And Dreams” (2010, RNC Music, Italy, with distribution by Self). The album caught the attention of the media for its new approach to the Gothic & Progressive Metal worlds, and received positive reviews all over the world (including here at PR&PM – see at Reviews 2010). “Between Life And Dreams” was licensed to several European countries and to South Korea, giving visibility to Deva. Noteworthy were an invitation to compose a song for the soundtrack of the movie “Dark Resurrection Vol. 0” (inspired on “Star Wars”), and a participation as supporting act in a sold-out show for “Trivium” at Magazzini Generali, in Milan. In between, Beatrice & Federico were already composing a new album, titled “Murther”. The writing, arranging and production of “Murther” took time due to the complexity of the project: it involved a concept story and the composition of multi-layered orchestral & choir arrangements, which mixed modern and classical genres, leading to an innovative combination of Progressive & Gothic Metal - epically performed by Deva and many guest musicians.“Murther” (February 25, 2014, RNC Music, distributed by Self) confirmed what had been preconized on “Between Life and Dreams”: Deva is capable of delivering the best Gothic & Progressive Metal combination with the same (or higher) quality of other iconic Female-Fronted Metal bands, such as “Nightwish”, “After Forever”, “Within Temptation”, “Epica”, “Lacuna Coil”, “Nemesea”, “ReVamp”, “Amberian Dawn”, “Artrosis”, “Avrigus”, “Sirenia”, “Trail of Tears”, “Syrens Call”, “Forgotten Tales”, and “Evanescence”. The instrumental Prog-Metal parts are like “Dream Theater”, “Symphony X”, and “Kamelot”, and the strings bring to mind “Therion” and “Lacrimosa”. Deva’s most amazing quality is to achieve a perfect communion between the Progressive Metal parts (driven by fantastic guitar work of Federico Salerno), and the Symphonic Gothic-Metal parts (led by the mesmerizing voice of Beatrice Palumbo, who goes from the lowest notes, like “Tarja Turunen” and “Amy Lee”, to the highest, like “Simone Simons”, “Floor Jansen”, “Sharon den Adel”, and “Heidi Parviainen”). “Murther” has 15 tracks. Some are aggressive and impacting, such as “Can I Be Saved” (4:37) – the right choice to open the album and introduce Deva to the listeners, for it brings an impressive combination of styles that recall bands like “Epica”, “Lacuna Coil”, and “Dream Theater”. Meanwhile, “Delirium” (4:20) is delivered with wild guitar riffs coupled to eerie keyboards and dramatic vocals, like “Symphony X” and “Nightwish” (with “Tarja”); and “Lady of Time” (4:57) has powerful Thrash-Metal riffs and amazing sequence of guitar solos, underlined by Beatrice’s somber voice, and ghostly string arrangements – taking it to the terrains of “Epica”, “ReVamp”, and “Evanescence”. Those devastating songs contrast with a few interludes that pinpoint the track list. These are either instrumental pieces or short songs with a Folk-Medieval or Classic-Prog orientation: “Is This What We Really Are” (1:06); “Awareness Suddenly” (1:43); and the sequence made of the classical piano intro “Remembrance” (2:13) plus “Lullaby” (2:49) - a song for piano and strings with outstanding lyrical performance by Beatrice (recalling “Epica” and “Renaissance”!). But the essence of Deva’s style is deeply understood on the most emotional and melodic songs, which are immersed in grandiose symphonic arrangements and impregnated with gothic moods. Some of them bring female/male vocal duos that recall the Melodic & Symphonic Metal styles of “Nightwish”, and in special of “Kamelot” (with the participations of “Simone Simons”), also offering marvelous string arrangements and wonderful solos of guitars or synths – such are the somber “Come to Me” (5:00); the epic ballad “Decadence” (5:47); the anguished “What Have I Become” (4:41); and the gothic-romantic “My Sweetest Pain” (4:28). They heat up the path for the bombastic, ultra-symphonic, and very best tracks that come later. “Something Beautiful” (0:52), with angelical choirs and soaring violins, introduces “Confession” (5:56) - a vigorous Symphonic Metal like the best of “Nightwish”, “Epica” and “Within Temptation”, but with a 70’s accent on the keyboard riffs, and absolutely amazing Prog-Metal parts backed by violins and choirs! All reaches the climax on the final tracks “Dust and Shadows” (6:48) – which begins with original combination of Renaissance choirs (like “Palestrina”) and Gothic church organs, opposed to modern Prog-Metal guitars, synths, drums & bass solos, intervened by adventurous strings; and “Lilith” (7:16), which amazingly alternates instrumental parts in “Dream Theater” style with dramatic Symphonic Metal parts like “Nightwish” and “Epica”! An astonishing and ingenious band, Deva, and their brilliant and startling album “Murther” are righteous dignitaries to figure in the collections of fans of “Nightwish”, “Epica”, “Within Temptation”, “Lacuna Coil”, “Nemesea”, “After Forever”, “ReVamp”, “Amberian Dawn”, “Evanescence”, “Kamelot”, “Therion”, “Lacrimosa”, “Artrosis”, “Avrigus”, “Sirenia”, “Trail of Tears”, “Syrens Call”, “Forgotten Tales”, “Delain”, “Xandria”, “Elis”, “Darkyra”, etc. Must-have item. Band members and collaborators involved in Deva are: Beatrice Palumbo – Vocals, Baroque Viol; Federico Salerno – Clean Vocals & Guitars, Bass (tr.1,7,10,15), Keyboards; Ruggero Accardo – Bass (tr.4,8,11,14); Tony Corizia – Bass (tr.2,6,9); Davide Barbieri – Keyboards; Thomas D’Alba - Drums (tr. 6); Federico Paulovich - Drums (except tr.6). Orchestra: Maria Pia Abate - Violins; Mirko Landoni - Horns; Caterina Sangineto - Flutes; Andrea Vanzo - Violin (tr. 6). Choir: Ciro & Matteo Aroni, Beatrice Palumbo, Federico Salerno. All Concept, Story & Tracks Written by F. Salerno & B. Palumbo. Recorded by F. Salerno & B. Palumbo at SteelNight Studios (Milan); Engineered & Edited by F. Salerno. Drums Recorded at RecLab Studio (Milan), Engineered by Larsen Premoli – Drums tr.6 Recorded at SteelNight Studios, Engineered by Lorenzo Ardoni. Mixed by Larsen Premoli at RecLab Studio; Mastered by Pietro Caramelli. Album Produced by Deva & RNC Music (2014). Deva dedicated Murther to all the women persecuted and sentenced to death through the centuries...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/22/2014..............................Want to learn everything about the musicians and their fantastic band, go to DEVA HOME PAGE...
. D’ACCORD - "D’accorD III"
The Retro-Progressive Rock band D’accorD is back to PR&PM once more! Formed in early 2008 in Stord, Norway, D’accorD has already released two acclaimed albums – the eponymous debut “D’accorD” (2009) and the conceptual “Helike” (2011, Karisma Records) – respectively reviewed at PR&PM in 2010 & 2011. Both albums surprised listeners and critics for offering a musical brand that captured the true essence of the Progressive & Classic Rock of the early 70’s, featuring strong influences of “Genesis”, “King Crimson”, “Van Der Graaf Generator”, “Camel”, “Jethro Tull”, “Pink Floyd”, “E.L.P”, “Yes”, “Gentle Giant”, “Focus”, “Deep Purple”, “Uriah Heep”, “Queen”, and “Jane”. D'accorD has finally released a third album - “D’accorD III” (March 2014, Karisma Records). To preserve an authentic 70’s sonority, all tracks were recorded live at the fully analog Cowshed Studio in London, and analogically mastered at Fluid Mastering in London (“Deep Purple”, “Jethro Tull”). “D’accorD III” features Daniel Måge (vocals, flute & various instruments), Stig Are Sund (guitars), Fredrik Horn (piano, keyboards, sax), Årstein Tislevoll (bass, formerly on keyboards), and Bjarte Rossehaug (drums, on his last participation with the band). On “D’accorD III” the band has slightly deviated from the original sound, which bounced from the conceptual style present on the previous album “Helike” (that contained a single song divided in two parts), to a more down-to-earth rocky and straightforward sonority, with a Hard-Rock edge. But orthodox Progressive fans have nothing to fear about: the spirit of the 70’s Progressive Rock is still firmly embodied into the songs of this new album – which may have increased in number and shortened in time, but have positively amplified D’accorD’s musical style in theme and rhythm, without losing the primeval Progressive impulse. Måge is still a central figure, guiding the band with his unique and wild vocals, offering occasional interventions of flutes. Are Sund’s guitars are still melodic and soulful, but now performed with a sensible freedom of style. To the duo join the solid bass work by Tislevoll, and a powerful arsenal of vintage keyboards commanded by Fredrik Horn. “D’accorD III” comes on Vinyl and CD versions – the CD featuring 9 tracks (8 + 1 bonus). Overall, “D’accorD III” sounds as fantastic as its two predecessors, but has more consistency, being instilled with stamina - and a taste for virtuosic solo performances and complex harmonies. D’accorD’s greatest Progressive vein is present on tracks such as “These Last Todays” (10:26) and the bonus “The Doom That Came To Sarnath” (10:50) (which open and close the album respectively), and on “Mon - Sat: Part I” (5:30) & “Part II” (5:08). “These Last …” begins with nuanced moods like “VdGG”, and rolls majestically over a Progressive mid-tempo cadence, with instrumental moments of frantic “King Crimson” inserted into the harmony. Long guitar solos, decorative pianos, and Måge’s theatrical voice enhance the song. “The Doom…” (too good for a bonus track) is a magnum opus that evolves by contrasts – masterfully manipulated by D’accorD - as they reveal, little by little, the ample array of their 70’s references: guitars timbres that recall early “Genesis”, cosmic organs like “Crimson”, psychedelic sounds like “Floyd”, flutes like “Camel” and “Jethro Tull”, nostalgic vocal tunes like “Queen”, Baroque instrumentation like “Focus”, epic guitar solos like “Jane”, and bombastic symphonic moments like “ELP”. Meanwhile, on “Mon - Sat: Part I & II”, the band ventures into the Neo-Prog, recalling “Marillion” with “Fish”, transferring that energy to a tripod made of flutes like “Tull”, superb space-blues guitars like “Floyd”, and synths like “Genesis”, delving into the second part – a bittersweet song that gradually grows in drama, like a mix of “VdGG” and “Genesis”. But “D’accorD III” has other highlights: the ballad “Lady Faboulus” (5:47), which recalls early “Genesis” combined with playful saloon-pianos that recall “ELP”, being crowned with soaring guitar solo; and the groovy “Mr. Moonlight” (5:19) - driven by emotional lead vocals, appealing chorus, and celestial backing vocals, having an amazing duel of guitars against synths. This leads us to the Hard & Classic Rock “Ibliss In Bliss” (8:03) – on which adventurous guitar riffs and gritty Hammonds are hit by the anachronism of slicing synths, as a galloping Hard-Rock base that recalls “Deep Purple” opens way through supplicant vocals, soaring organs, flutes and guitars. Finally, for fans of Folk-Rock, D’accorD prepared the tracks “Here Lies Greed” (3:52) (which brings a mix of “Jethro Tull” and “Camel” in a lively frame of 60’s Psychedelic Blues); and “Song For Jethro” (6:10), driven by ironic vocals, Celtic mandolins, and weeping guitar solo; ending with a “local-pub” war-cry. So do not worry D’accorD’s fans all over the world – I found this album to be the best of D’accorD so far - a real Classic of the Retro Progressive & Hard Rock style, consisting in an indispensable item for appreciators of the early works of “Genesis”, “King Crimson”, “VdGG”, “Gentle Giant”, “Pink Floyd”, “ELP”, “Jethro Tull”, “Deep Purple”, “Focus”, “Jane”, “Camel”, “Queen”, “Atomic Rooster”, “Argent”, “Caravan”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in D’accorD are: Daniel Måge - Vocals, Flute, Guitars, Mandolin; Stig Are Sund – Guitar, Backing Vocals; Årstein Tislevoll – Bass, Backing Vocals; Fredrik Horn – Organ, Rhodes Piano, Synthesizers, Guitar, Backing Vocals; Former members: Martin Sjøen – Bass (2008 - 2011); Bjarte Rossehaug – Drums, Percussion (2008 - 2013). Album Recorded & Mixed at Cowshed Studio (London); Mastered at Fluid Mastering (London)...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/22/2014........................Want to learn everything about the band and their music, you need to visit D’ACCORD HOME PAGE...
Untoward Children is a Dark/Post-Punk/Psychedelic/Goth/Rock band of Los Angeles that began to take form in December 2010. In a night of fun at “Brian's Rancho de Jocko" - a converging point where several musicians gathered around to create music - the trio of friends made of Veronika Sorrow (vocals, keyboards, bass), Tim Thayer (guitars), and Brian Schreiber (drums) jammed together as never before, and liked the experience. They continued to rehearsal together, and the decision to create a new band and to start to write serious music soon popped up. The moniker Untoward Children was chosen in 2011 derived from the fact that band members had varied ages, but all agreed that adulthood had eluded them: so they refused to grow up. Tim remained on guitar and Brian on drums, leaving Veronika to sing and play different instruments, including a 1960's Roland synth and a 12-string bass guitar. The sound of Untoward Children progressed heavily, but not as heavy – the band needed a bassist. During a debut show on June 8, 2012, at Veronika's vintage rock n’ roll shop "Meowmeowz!" the band called the attention of Adriel Mederos (bass), who was in the audience filming their performance. After being invited for a test, Mederos was officially added to the line-up in August of 2012. Untoward Children then continued to play out all over Los Angeles, and in a music festival in TJ, Mexico, gaining fans and attention from the Goth subculture via Club Funeral and from the Baby Boomers in Long Beach. In June of 2013, Untoward Children began to record their debut album – called “Hunt” – which was independently released on January 14, 2014 (Untoward Productions). “Hunt” is a mini CD featuring 7 tracks. The music combines the sensuality of Dark & Gothic Rock - represented by Veronika Sorrow (one of her previous musical projects was “Nocturna: Homage to Siouxsie & the Banshees”) - with the 60’s & 70’s Psychedelia & Krautrock - represented by guitarist Tim Thayer. Everything was glued together by the neurotic Basic-Rock to Post-Punk rhythmic base provided by Mederos and his thundering bass, and propelled by Schreiber’s wilderness on drums. The resulting sound is a bizarre mix of influences that blend “Siouxsie & the Banshees”, “The Cure”, “Jane's Addiction”, “Lycia”, “Adam Ant”, “Plasmatics”, “Rolling Stones”, “The Who”, “The Doors”, “Pink Floyd”, “Gong”, “Steve Hillage”, and “Frank Zappa” (a fan even referred to Untoward Children as “Siouxsie Floyd”). Overall, “Hunt” sounds like putting out fire with gasoline – it is pure energy, visceral and adrenaline-exuding. “Half Sister” (3:09) opens the album with frantic Machine-gun drumming, Toreador courage, and Spanish flair vocals by Veronika, being followed by “Call the Police” (4:32) which is hammered out on a vintage Roland to produce a Dark Gothic mid-tempo beat, giving time for lysergic sonic clouds to dissipate as Veronika’s voice to come up from the deepest of her guts. The time for Untoward Children to show how they control their creative capacities on long songs comes on “Hunt” (9:20) - the album’s epic. Driven by tribal drumming and hypnotic bass (recalling “Jefferson Airplane’s” song “White Rabbit”), this long song undergoes changes of mood, highlighted by Veronika’s emotional vocals (that go from sobbing to sensual), and by Thayer’s guitar work - a ‘60s-flavored psychedelic solo that erupts suddenly to dominate all the last third of the song. The length of “Hunt” makes a contrast with the shortness of “Hadu” (2:20), which condenses a cathartic avalanche of instruments, noisy sonic effects reminiscent of heavy Krautrock, and Veronika’s tantric spitfire singing. The violence is soothed down on the Gothic “Minimonolith” (3:40), driven by distorted keyboards, odd melodies, sepulchral moods, and minimalistic singing. Things heat up again on “Things We Had” (3:40), a classic and danceable Post-Punk featuring strange psychedelic sounds that irradiate from a 12-string bass, and raging vocals that are restrained and numbed by an incredible guitar sound. To finish it up, nothing is better than “End of Days” (5:48) - a Post-Punk Rock tailored for fans of “The Cure”, on which mild-driving bass & drums and echoing guitars & keyboards build up soaring soundscapes, while Veronika foretells the emptiness of a post-apocalyptical world. Untoward Children aims their continual transformation and expansion, and are optimistic about their future. They are solid, visceral, impressive, and have great potential, but they are not a band for the most orthodox Progressive Fans. They may attract the new generations, more used to bizarre musical blends, in especial the Psychedelic, Gothic Rock, and Krautrock enthusiasts who look for something fresh, to whom Untoward Children is specially recommended. Also recommended for fans of “Siouxsie & the Banshees”, “The Cure”, “Jane's Addiction”, “Lycia”, “Plasmatics”, “Alien Sex Fiend”. Band members and collaborators involved in Untoward Children are: Veronika Sorrow - Vocals, Organ, 12 String Bass; Tim Thayer – Guitars; Adriel Mederos – Bass; Brian Schreiber - Drums. Album Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by Ulysses Noriega at Laundry Room Recording Studio (Los Angeles, California). Cover Design by Veronika Sorrow...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/29/2014..........................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit UNTOWARD CHILDREN HOME PAGE...
. MAHOGANY HEAD GRENADE - "Return to the Point of Departure"
Mahogany Head Grenade is a Progressive Metal Instrumental Trio formed in June of 2011 in Dallas, Texas. The line-up features Dan Hyer (guitar), Mike Pritchett (drums), and James Falcon (bass). Mahogany Head Grenade’s live set combines historical audio samples with a 20th century classical approach to melodies, themes, and song structure; all the while, staying true to their Texan Metal roots. Mahogany Head Grenade released an independent debut EP, entitled “Return to the Point of Departure”, in June of 2013. Tracked live, “Return to … ” was recorded & engineered by Sterling Winfield (“Pantera”, “Damageplan”, “Hellyeah”) at Valve Studios in Dallas; and mastered by Maor Appelbaum (“Cynic”, “Angra”, “Sepultura”) at his studio in California. “Return to the Point of Departure” features only 5 tracks – which are all pinpointed by historical vocal recordings that irradiate an alarming or futuristic cataclysmic aura. The sound is Instrumental Metal with elements of Thrash Metal, 80’s Metal and Progressive Metal, having influences of “Satriani”, “Andy Timmons”, “Jeff Beck”, “Steve Vai”, “Dream Theatre”, and “Symphony X” – names that share a preference by the trio; but they also recall me of the instrumental frame of “Metallica”, “Iron Maiden”, “Destruction”, “Trouble”, “Black Sabbath”, “Anthrax”, “Megadeth”, “Overkill”, “Metal Church”, and “Voivod”. The overall Rock groove and Metal feeling are impressive and immediately catchy, and dense and tense atmospheres predominate. The title track “Return to the Point of Departure” (6:52) is a powerful and rumbling Progressive Metal piece that hides an Oriental tune inside the distorted riffs. It has shredded guitar solos that recall “John Petrucci’s” style, so resembling “Dream Theater”, but also has parts like “Destruction” and groovy bass moments like “Megadeth” and “Overkill”. “Trouble for Trouble” (7:01) is a heavy and dense piece driven by throbbing bass lines, slicing drum-beats, and rocky grooves – including moments that recall many bands like “Metallica”, “Iron Maiden”, “Voivod”, “Trouble”, “Andy Timmons”. “Vinedresser” (7:13) is the most experimental piece of the album. It firstly sounds as having “Satriani” and “Beck” imprisoned in the same Metal straightjacket; later on, it has a brake for climatic passages of progressive bass that are haunted by a Hard-Rock spirit; and finally it enters a sequence delivered with Baroque-Metal, Prog-Metal and Fusion-Metal guitars that will please fans of “Vai” and “Liquid Tension Experiment”. “Etude War Machine” (6:06) – one of my favorites – irradiates such a groove from the guitar riffs that it immediately hooks the listener on. The metal frame is full of wah-wah guitars and surprising drums that are glued together by means of impressive bass lines, forming a kind of Metal base that recalls “Metal Church”. Finally, “Venetian Bricks” (4:01) closes the album surpassing all expectations: although being the shortest piece of all, it contains many twists, turns, and changes of pace, covering several different styles of Metal at the same time, thus confirming the great potential that Mahogany Head Grenade is able to unleash in the near future. Their debut EP is already impressive, and if band members continue to improve their technical ability to reach higher levels, this will be a really rewarding Metal band to follow on. Mahogany Head Grenade is highly recommendable for fans of instrumental Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal, Prog-Metal and Metal-Fusion in the format of bands like “Satriani”, “Andy Timmons”, “Jeff Beck”, “Steve Vai”, “Dream Theatre”, “Symphony X”, “Metallica”, “Iron Maiden”, “Destruction”, “Trouble”, “Black Sabbath”, “Anthrax”, “Megadeth”, “Overkill”, “Metal Church”, “Voivod”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Pantera”, “Cynic”, “Artillery”, “Valence”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Mahogany Head Grenade are: Dan Hyer – Guitar; Mike Pritchett – Drums; James Falcon – Bass. Album Recorded, Mixed & Engineered by Sterling Winfield at Casey Diorio’s Valve Studios (Dallas, Texas); Mastered by Maor Appelbaum at Maor Appelbaum Mastering (California, USA); Produced by Sterling Winfield & Mahogany Head Grenade...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/29/2014..................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit MAHOGANY HEAD GRENADE HOME PAGE...
. RISINGSIDE - "Arrow: The Onus Key"
RisingSide is a Rock quartet from Minneapolis, MN, that features Katie Lundberg (vocals, rhythm guitar), Tony Portwood (guitars), Ryan Worthman (bass), and Scotty Horey (drums). The young musicians have already a musical background. Katie started to learn classical violin at the age of 10, continued with Jazz bass at 15, and taught herself guitar. She grew up on Blues, and derived her vocal style from singers such as “Bonnie Raitt”, “Susan Tedeschi”, & “Aretha Franklin”. Katie’s has also a passion for illustration and comics – which she redirects into RisingSide’s lyrics. Tony Portwood is a classically trained multi-instrumentalist who plays piano and percussion since childhood. His main influences as a guitarist are “Paul Waggoner” (of Prog-Metal act “Between the Buried and Me”) and the band “Protest the Hero”. He also has a solo acoustic instrumental project. Bassist Ryan Worthman began with the band as a drummer, but then renewed his passion for the bass, which he has practiced since age 11. He is also a professional sound technician, and has worked at many venues in Minneapolis, collaborating on shows of “Keri Noble”, “Belfast Cowboys”, “Bob Wooton” and others; and applies his professional expertise to the live production, recording, mixing and mastering of RisingSide’s material. Drummer Scotty Horey grew up in Maine listening to rock & roll/oldies with his dad, and classical and new age music with his mother. Now he studies Music at the University of Minnesota, works as principal percussionist with the “Mankato Symphony Orchestra” and as summer percussionist with the “Ohio Light Opera”. Horey performs regularly in national & international Percussion Festivals, teaches music (he is preparing a DVD), and spreads Prog-Rock understanding to audiences through his community presentations. RisingSide is a great promise for the Independent Rock future scene. Their music is difficult to define: in simple words, it is Guitar-Driven Heavy Alternative Rock with elements of Blues, Folk, & Prog-Metal, blended with taste and talent, and wrapped up inside an excellent recording production. Influences as diverse as “Iron Maiden”, “Muse”, “The Mars Volta”, “Rush”, “Between the Buried and Me”, “Protest The Hero”, “Paramore”, and Folk & Blues singers are spotted in the sound. RisingSide’s material includes the 2-track EP “The Telling of the Tower” (available for download at their website), which is part one of a narrative that follows the epic love story of an angelic alien and a samurai living in feudal Japan; and their first full-length album titled “Arrow: The Onus Key” (2013, self-produced). It includes the first half of the “Arrow” story (a tale of an intergalactic battle of two alien races fighting for the fate of their world, and ours), and the second part of “The Telling of the Tower: Hourglass”. Overall, the music is layered, complex, hard & heavy, and their unique lyrical stories are told through soulful ballads that trespass different emotional states, groovy rocky tunes, progressive instrumentals, and driving metal riffs – recalling the soundtrack of a movie of “Quentin Tarantino”. The highlights go for Katie Lundberg’s strong, marking vocals (inspired on her favorite singers “Bonnie Raitt”, “Susan Tedeschi”, “Aretha Franklin”, but also recalling “Amy Winehouse” and “Adele”). Also impressive is Portwood’s lead guitar performance - technical, solid, modern, powerful and sensitive. But nothing would work so well without the extraordinary rhythmic session provided by Worthman’s groovy, metallic, and sometimes unusual bass lines, and by Horey’s intricate, varied, perfectly timed, and aggressive drumming, which holds the heartbeat of a sensitive feel. The album has 8 tracks. Six of them belong to the “Arrow: The Onus Key” saga: “Inciting Incident” (4:29) initiates with vigorous acoustic guitar work, while Katie sings a script that drags the listener to the album. Katie continues to impress the listener on the ballad “Save Her” (7:15), on which she sings with the passionate style of “Aretha Franklin”, while Portwood’s bluesy guitars add an emotional aura of farewell to the song. The mood changes drastically on “The Tentran Beast” (3:01): a visceral Metal song that combines “Iron Maiden’s” style with vocals of “Amy Winehouse”. “Chase” (3:47) delves into the frantic sound of “Between the Buried and Me” and “Protest the Hero”, but includes insane “Iron Maiden”-like bass & drums segment! And Katie feels comfortable singing it! “A Spell” (4:51) is a ballad that begins with soft acoustic guitars and accelerates vigorously to the final harmony guitar solo, introducing “Admonition of Eld” (4:19) – a demolition Prog-Metal that lays down somewhere amidst “Between the Buried and Me”, “The Mars Volta”, and “Iron Maiden”. The “Arrow” saga ends, and the second part of “The Telling of the Tower: Hourglass” begins, starting with the amazing “Volition” (5:24), which begins as an inspiring folky ballad and grows epically later with flying guitar riffs, odd rhythmic lines, dramatic vocals, and the best guitar solo (recalling “Muse”, “Rush”, “Protest the Hero”); and ending on the groovy “Seeking Avalon” (3:35), driven by more of that muscular acoustic guitars and a sticky vocal chorus. Song after song, I was impressed and became even more amazed with RisingSide - a brilliant new band, formed by young talented musicians, who deserve their place in the Alternative Rock & Progressive Metal world. Their outstanding album “Arrow: The Onus Key” is super-highly recommended for fans of distinguishing bands like “Iron Maiden”, “Muse”, “The Mars Volta”, “Rush”, “Between the Buried and Me”, “Protest The Hero”, “Coheed and Cambria”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in RisingSide are: Katie Lundberg – Vocals, Guitar; Tony Portwood – Lead Guitar; Ryan Worthman – Bass; Scotty Horey – Drums. Lyrics by Katie Lundberg with assistance of Dan Olmschenk (tr. 3, 4, 7). Drums recorded by Mike Duffy & Ryan Worthman; Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by Ryan Worthman (Complex Waveforms). Produced by RisingSide...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/29/2014............................Would like to know more about the band and their history, please visit RISINGSIDE HOME PAGE...
. PURSUIT OF POWER - "Sacra Metallum"
Pursuit Of Power is a Hard Rock, Heavy Metal & Power Metal band from the U.S.A. Pursuit Of Power was born in 2009 when guitarist Martin McCann built his own home studio, called Audio Moments Recording Studio, in La Porte, Indiana. McCann started the project by writing and playing of the instruments himself, and then he brought in Steve Mullican Jr. to do the vocals. Few years later, Pursuit Of Power’s debut CD - titled “Across The World” - was finally released on January 17th, 2012, under Irish Shred Records. It contained nine original tracks and a “Krokus” cover-song (“Russian Winter”). Pursuit Of Power had several positive reviews on metal websites and metal webzines and gathered fans all over the world. On July 29th, 2012, recordings began for their second album, titled “Sacra Metallum”, which was released on November 5th, 2013 also by Irish Shred Records. Aside from founding member Martin McCann (lead & rhythm guitar) and original singer Steve Mullican Jr., the album’s line-up featured Shane “Guitarber” Garber (lead & rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Mike Richards (bass), Dave Eskridge (drums on seven songs), and Al Droomok (drums on five songs). Differing from the first album - the songs of which were entirely written by guitarist Martin McCann, a total of five writers contributed with the lyrics and music on “Sacra Metallum”, including the late Dave Pursch (R.I.P.), who wrote eight of the songs with guitarists McCann and Garber. Steve Mullican Jr. and Mike Richards also had writing credits on the new CD. All these new musicians & writers have added a fresh new dimension to the sound of Pursuit Of Power – which is mostly influenced by European Power Metal and Traditional Metal, represented by names such as “Helloween” (with “Andi Deris” 1994 - present), “Masterplan”, “Iron Maiden” (with “Paul Di’Anno”), and “Judas Priest” (with “Rob Halford”). But I found a great resemblance of their sound with many bands of the ‘80s, from both sides of the Atlantic, including: “Metal Church”, “Grave Digger”, “Saxon”, “Grim Reaper”, “Satan”, “Angel Witch”, “Armored Saint”, “Obsession”, “Liege Lord”, “Cloven Hoof”, “Tyrant” (U.S.A.), “Omen”, “Griffin”, “Nasty Savage”, “Anvil”, “Manowar”, and “Manilla Road”. “Sacra Metallum” features 12 tracks. Powerful and compact drumming, fatty bass work, “Iron Maiden”-like guitars, Medieval Metal riffs with the style of the 80’s Metal, and warrior vocals (sometimes recalling “Paul Di’Anno”) are Pursuit Of Power’s main attributes. The tracks that called my attention were: the opening song “Grind The Ax” (04:12) (which recalls “Iron Maiden” with an slightly epic touch provided by Gregorian chants); the title-track “Sacra Metallum” (03:03) (a cadenced Epic-Metal in the format of “Tyrant”, “Griffin”, and “Nasty Savage”); the somber “Eye Of The Demon” (03:10) (which brings distorted guitar solos recalling “Anvil” mixed to “Tyrant’s” dark-Metal style); the Metal ballad “Maybe” (03:59) (which evolves by the contrast between gloomy atmospheric guitars and Metal outbursts that brought to my mind “Iron Maiden’s” song “Remember Tomorrow”); the ecclesiastic “Scripture” (04:52) (provided with long guitar solos and an apocalyptical aura that recalls “Angel Witch”); and, finally, the outstanding tracks “Rise Above” (04:08) (a dark Spanish-Metal with exploding Epic Metal riffs that reminded me of “Sanctuary” and “Maiden”); and the closing track “Ozmium Bluz” (07:24) (an original Blues-Metal delivered with soulful lead vocals, Gregorian backing vocals, and extra-long guitar solos). “Sacra Metallum” still brings the tracks “Death Toll” (03:44) and “Ritual Of Evil” (03:34), which have the same cadences as “Omen”, “Liege Lord”, and “Manowar” (with “Ritual…” having extra free-soloing guitars and harmony guitars like “Anvil”); the straightforward, locomotive-speeded tracks “Revenge Is Massacre” (02:03) and “Life” (01:36); and the American-Metal “Day Of Judgement” (02:42), which sounds like the traditional Heavy-Metal of “Manowar” adorned with guitars in the style of “Riot”. Although I found that Pursuit Of Power’s sonority is still too raw and requires some studio adjustments – the voice is too loud, and the instruments need more definition – this band holds the true flame of Medieval Metal of the 80’s, and shall be appreciated by fans of “Iron Maiden” (with “Paul Di’Anno”), “Judas Priest” (with “Halford”), “Metal Church”, “Grave Digger”, “Saxon”, “Grim Reaper”, “Satan”, “Angel Witch”, “Anvil”, “Manowar”, “Armored Saint”, “Obsession”, “Liege Lord”, “Omen”, “Tyrant” (U.S.A.), “Griffin”, “Nasty Savage”, and “Cloven Hoof”, to whom their album “Sacra Metallum” is specially recommended. Band members and collaborators involved in Pursuit Of Power are: Martin McCann - Lead & Rhythm Guitar; Steve Mullican Jr. - Lead Vocals; Shane "Guitarber" Garber - Lead & Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals; Mike Richards - Bass; Dave Eskridge - Drums (tracks 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 11, & 12); Al Droomok - Drums (tracks 3, 4, 5, 6, & 10). Album Produced by Martin McCann & Shane Garber. Recorded and mixed by Martin McCann at Audio Moments Recording Studio, La Porte, Indiana; Drums (tracks 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 11, & 12) recorded by Martin McCann at Revolution Recording Studio, Fish Lake, Indiana; Mastered by David Laney at Channel Fuse Media, Memphis, Tennessee; Manufactured by Nationwide Disc, Richland Hills, Texas. Cover Art by Andrejs Pidjass of NejronPhoto, Latvia; Package Design by David McCann; Technical Assistance by Eric McCann & David McCann...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/29/2014.............................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit PURSUIT OF POWER HOME PAGE...
. STEEL & GLASS - "Mysterious Beauty"
Steel & Glass is a Jazz-Fusion Power-Trio, whose musicians call themselves “Portland's Premiere Chapman Stick Trio”. The line-up consists of Jon Fox (guitars), Steve Gajdos (bass, Chapman stick), and Darrell Gray (drums, percussion). They are all experienced musicians, either with a solid academic formation, or with a large practice gained by playing alive in several bands. Jon Fox began playing guitar at the age of 8, and as a grown-up he graduated with a Bachelor in Music from the Lamont School of Music (Denver University) in 1999. Fox toured and produced an album with the Albuquerque Rock group “Starseed” (2004), played around Portland with the Prog-Rock group “Graxxus” (2005-2008), and, in Atlanta, with the instrumental Space-Rock act “Gnomonaut” (2009). Steve Gajdos is a descendant from Hungarian upright bassist Miloslav Gajdos. He started to play violin at age of 4 and continued with the tuba, which he played for 7 years. But after hearing to “Paul McCartney” and “Jaco Pastorious”, Gajdos decided to move to the bass, and fell in love with Jazz-Fusion and the fretless bass. In 2001 he enrolled in a music program at the University of Minnesota, graduating in 2008 as “Bachelors in Music with emphasis in Jazz Performance”. During those years he performed in numerous bands of Jazz, Salsa, Latin & Caribbean, Country, Rock, Blues, Funk, Bluegrass, Jazz Fusion, and played with “Jimmy Heath” and “Dan Phillips”. In 2006 he discovered the Chapman Stick, and today he is regarded as an exceptional player, composer and jazz arranger. Darrell Grey decided to be a drummer at the age of 12. Along the ‘90s he played in several bands around the Orange County and the Bay Area, notably “Gangwasi” and “Salamander” (that occasionally opened for “Santana”, “Flaming Lips”, “The Funky Meters”, “No Doubt”, “The Gin Blossoms”); “Puzzlefish” and “Baby Snufkin” (that toured in Europe in 1997-1998); “Boogiesquid” and “Epigene” (on 2 CDs), and with singer “Jane Collymore”. In 2008 he moved to Portland and joined the cover band “Stage Phryte”. A wish of getting involved with the melodic aspects of music made him experiment with keyboards and the tabla. In that time, he improved his drum style by taking lessons from drummer “Jungle Jim”. He currently plays for the “Freimuth” brothers: “James” (of “The Shatterbrains”) & “Rick” (of “The Bittersoundfase”). By means of that magic that sometimes pervades the musical world, those three musicians met each other around Portland’s musical scene and decided to join forces in a new Power-Trio: Steel & Glass. The chemistry of the trio produced an eclectic mix of Jazz-Fusion, Progressive Rock, Classic and Hard Rock music that found its way onto their debut album, titled “Mysterious Beauty” (2013, Entriprize Records). The record has 6 mesmerizing instrumental tracks, mostly driven by Fox, whose guitar is inspired by many guitarists (such as “Jimmy Page”, “Larry Coryell”, and “Shawn Lane”), but has a melodic sense and spiritual guidance that recalls “Alan Holdsworth”, “Pet Metheny”, “Al Di Meola”, and “Steve Lukather”. His tuneful guitar themes find a perfect counterpoint on the Chapman Stick of Gajdos, whose sensitive string plucking is wisely superposed to his ingenious arrangements, always favoring melody and emotion rather than exaggerated and sterile technique. In the middle stays Gray, who feels even the most slightly change of mood in the music, and regulates the temperature with his drumsticks, sometimes with soft and cool-jazzy drives, other times with mild rocky grooves, but always adding an extra spice to the instrumentation. Keyboards provided by guest musician Rick Freimuth help to create soaring soundscapes that emphasize the soft, melodic, relaxing, and more progressive nature of Steel & Glass’ sound. The album opens with “Rura Pente” (8:05), which begins full of energy, but dwindles to a gentle mood that evoke images of clear skies, green hills, white-sanded seashores (blending the styles of “Shawn Lane” and “Holdsworth”). “Mysterious Beauty” (7:15) is even lighter, and comes with a soft touch on the drums, and a guitar that recalls the sensibility of “Pat Metheny”. “Chromagnon” (6:54), however, runs tenser, driven by odd melodies, mechanical rhythms, and cosmic synths, having an approach to the Space-Progressive style. “Beneath A Steel Sky” (7:39) is painted in sunny Spanish colors, bringing in a fascinating duo by the guitar players, who exchange wonderful solos that evoke the image of waltzing dancers (this track will be picked up by fans of “Al Di Meola”). “Fountain of Youth” (5:47) has great bottom bass lines and firm drum anchorage sustaining silken guitar & keyboard notes - it begins cool and slow, but accelerates to a Hard-Fusion (being like a mild version of “Liquid Tension” or “Fire Merchants”). “Origin” (8:00) is a soft ballad that includes Folk and Prog-Fusion moments, having a central segment filled in with hard guitar riffs, groovy bass, and outstanding drum solo. Overall, Steel & Glass gratifies the listener more by their sensitive and melodic focus on music than by their technical abilities – which they not lack anyway! Their album “Mysterious Beauty” showcases a collection of great Melodic-Fusion standards, being highly recommended for fans of “Shawn Lane”, “Alan Holdsworth”, “Pat Metheny”, “Al Di Meola”, “California Guitar Trio”, “Steve Lukather”, “Larry Coryell”, “Fire Merchants”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Steel & Glass are: Jon Fox - Lead & Rhythm Guitars; Steve Gajdos - Bass & Chapman Stick; Darrell Gray - Drums, Percussion. Additional musician: Rick Freimuth - Keyboards, Piano, Xylophone, Strings & Special Effects. Album Recorded, Mixed & Edited by Rick Freimuth at Naked Mannequin Studios, (Brush Prairie, WA), except “Beneath a Steel Sky”, recorded at Metro East Television Studios (Gresham, OR); Mastered by Greg Blaisdell at Rock Recording (Hillsboro, OR); Produced by Rick Freimuth & Steel & Glass...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/29/2014...................Want to learn everything about the musician and his fantastic band, visit STEEL & GLASS HOME PAGE...
. GADI CAPLAN - "Look Back Step Forward"
Gadi Caplan is a guitar player and composer born in Israel. Caplan learned piano in his childhood, but as a teenager his passion for Rock and Blues led him to switch to the guitar. His quest for music made him travel to India in 2004-2005 (where he studied traditional Indian music and sitar); and afterwards to the USA. In 2006 he lived in New York, playing in various Rock bands; in 2007 he moved to Boston to study Jazz, Fusion, Funk, and composition at the Berklee College of Music, and later returned to NY to live in the Brooklyn. Along those years, Caplan’s guitar and compositional styles evolved to a mix of musical genres that include Rock, Jazz, Funk, Fusion, Progressive Rock, and World Music. His main influences are bands & names such as “Frank Zappa”, “King Crimson”, “Pink Floyd”, “Gong”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Radiohead”, “Jimi Hendrix”, “The Beatles”, and “Led Zeppelin”. In January 2011 Caplan released his first album, “Opposite Views”, which had positive reviews in specialized magazines and good reception from the Jazz and Rock communities, being played on many radio stations from Boston and New York to Texas and California, reaching as far as England, Belgium, Germany, Japan and Israel. Caplan’s new album is entitled “Look Back Step Forward” (2013, Independent), and has guest participations of musicians from the U.S.A., Canada, Israel, Finland and Poland. “Look Back Step Forward” seems to have been recorded in the ‘70s, due to the originality and freedom of style of the music that it contains. It has a Jazz-Fusion nature combined with odd-metric Progressive Rock, and brings elements of Psychedelic and World Music (including Indian drones and modes) – being all stamped with Caplan’s seal of originality and taste. With an extensive and varied musical background, Gadi Caplan has become a complete guitar player: he is eclectic – going from Jazz, Rock, and Psychedelia to the four corners of the World Music; he is emotional - blending lively and dynamic guitar passages with long melodic and soulful solos; and he is cerebral – he knows how to fuse his qualities as a soloist with his precise technique when crafting original harmonies and arrangements. At last, Caplan is not selfish – for the listener can easily realize that his companions share with him the same passion for music, and feel free to contribute to the compositions by adding their own solos and melodic passages. All this provides Caplan’s sound with a healthy complexity and an extraordinary richness that will make his music endure through the hazards of time. “Look Back Step Forward” has 10 tracks – 9 are instrumental, 1 is a song. The album opens brightly with “It’s All The Same” (4:07) – a shiny and lively piece that runs fast, combining Jazz and Canterbury styles, having playful sax, bouncing piano, and Caplan’s agile guitar recalling “Zappa” and “Caravan”. “Charlotte” (2:49) is an acoustic guitar solo, half folk, half classical, that introduces the single song of the album, “Brother” (6:27), which also recalls the Canterbury style, but gradually blurs into a psychedelic jazz, being highlighted with a soulful guitar solo. The record delves into more transcendental terrains on the “Harrison & Gong” combo “Within the Clouds” (7:22) (an amazing blend of Hindu-instilled Psychedelic Rock with “Gong”-inspired Space Rock, crowned with an extra-long guitar solo); and the gorgeous and mysterious “Indian Summer” (5:07) (based on Classical Carnatic music, it is surrounded by an exotic aura, irradiated by lysergic bass, flutes, and oriental instruments). “Frostbite” (3:48) and “Monsoon Season” (2:55) are aggressive tracks having a more unconventional Progressive approach: “Frostbite” is odd-metrical, recalling the style of “King Crimson”; and “Monsoon…” sounds like a blend of Indian music with Jazz, recalling the raw energy of “Mahavishnu Orchestra” being stuck in cosmic clouds of “King Crimson’s” keyboards. All that musical turmoil is soothed on the title track “Look Back Step Forward” (4:50) - a melodic Jazz-Fusion that trespasses sad to hopeful moods, being driven by sensitive guitars and outstanding violin tunes (recalling “Dixie Dregs”); and on “A Latin Winter” (3:40), a soft piece that brings a touch of Brazilian “Bossa Nova”. Closing the album, the amazing “Tesha” (6:24) floats on a delicacy that recalls “Focus” & “Jan Akkerman” on the melody and harmonies, but as if played with an Oriental glare that highlights the sensitive and classical violin tunes, which resemble “Mahavishnu Orchestra”. “Look Back Step Forward” is an outstanding work performed by great musicians under the leadership of a talented guitar player, who delivers what he has promised on the album’s title: look back to the classics to learn and get inspired – add your own personal view and experience – you will come up with something new, and this will take you a step forward on your way to become a complete musician. Gadi Caplan is highly recommendable for fans of Jazz-Fusion with an Oriental touch & Canterbury Progressive Rock, fans of “Frank Zappa”, “King Crimson”, “Pink Floyd”, “Gong”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Dixie Dregs”, “Caravan”, “Allan Holdsworth”, “Ian Akkerman”, “Hatfield and the North”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Gadi Caplan are: Gadi Caplan – Electric & Acoustic Guitars; Michael Hurwitz – Keyboards & Piano (except tr. 9); Gonzalo Allendes – Keyboards (tr. 4 & 9); Cristian Li – Keyboards (tr.1); Noga Shefi – Bass (all tracks except 4, 9, 10); Maciej Lewandowski – Bass (tr. 4, 9, 10); Moses Eder – Drums (all tracks except 9 &10); Alex Santiago – Drums (tr. 4, 9,10); Lihi Haruvi – Alto Saxophone; Michael Summer – Tenor Saxophone; Oded Weinstock – Vocals (tr.3); Duncan Wickel – Violin; Jussi Raijonen – Oud; Tucker Antell – Flute. Music composed and arranged by Gadi Caplan, except “Within the Clouds” by George Harrison & Gong. Lyrics by Gadi Caplan & Kc Daugirdas. Recorded at DPerry Music Studios and at Studio D in Boston, MA, by Daniel DP Perry & Ryan Murray with the help of Justin Milliken. Mixed by Daniel DP Perry. Mastered by Kevin Blackler at Blackler Mastering in Brooklin, NY...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/29/2014..................................................,.....Interested to know more about the musician? Visit GADI CAPLAN HOME PAGE...
. CLOSURE - "The Memory of a Madman"
Closure is an Alternative & Post-Progressive Rock act from Torino, Italy. With a line-up formed of Luca Rosa Sentinella (guitars), David Fulcheri (keyboards), Enzo Latona (bass), and Francesco Brancato (drums), Closure began activities in January 2009. Two years later they released their first work, “Striving for Knowledge”: a self-produced, instrumental concept album which united different forms of Art: Music, Writing & Painting. The band reached success when performing in local festivals and competitions, notably at the "Mei Supersound" (2011, Faenza). With the help of sound technician Fabio Piotto and the arrival of Simone “Cyd” Poletti (vocals), Closure began to work on a new ambitious concept. Starting with the imaginary character called “Mark Mullighan” – a repressed man who was forced to a psychiatric therapy based on psychopharmacological drugs and electroshock treatment – Closure underwent a substantial change in their musical style, in order to give voice to “Mr. Mullighan’s” misfortunes and adversities. Closure presented the new project in venues in Piedmont and Lombardy, winning a first prize at the "Cuorgné Rock Festival 2012", which led them to the "Tavagnasco Rock Festival 2013". In between, the band performed at the "Festoria" festival in Saronno (September 2012) – a show that was registered on the 5-track EP “Live from Festoria 2012” (released 2013). Closure’s sonority and lyrics caught the attention of Nico Spinosa (RNC Music), who witnessed the band winning the "Band Aid" competition in Milan. This led to a contract, and the release of Closure’s new album, called “The Memory of a Madman” (March, 2014, RNC Music). “The Memory of a Madman” tells “Mr. Mullighan’s” story in 11 tracks. The album is really solid and impressive, bringing excellent tracks. The sonority is a mix of Heavy Prog, Post-Rock, Post-Metal, and Atmospheric Metal, with influences of “Anathema”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Steven Wilson”, “Tesseract”, “Riverside”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Pink Floyd”, “Roger Waters”, “RPWL”, “Gazpacho”, “The Black Noodle Project”, and “King Crimson”. The songs carry within them a deep emotional burden, growing in intensity as the music progresses forwards and strides its way along melancholic, introspective, surreal and psychedelic soundscapes. The instrumentation is rich, full of note-by-note, well-crafted, guitar solos, and many passages of keyboards of different kinds – from dense Hammonds and eerie synths, to classic inspired pianos. The rhythm is marked by Post-Rock Progressive bass lines and secure drumming, giving a solid support to the instruments, which are added, layer by layer, to the arrangements. Also noteworthy are the tuneful vocals - emotional, anguished, but also confessional and hopeful (like “Porcupine Tree”, “A Perfect Circle”, “RPWL”, “Tesseract”), and sometimes accompanied by female vocals (like on “Anathema’s” album “Weather Systems”). “The Memory …” begins with the instrumental tracks “November 13th 1956” (2:54) & “D.D.I.” (4:37), which are driven by psychedelic bass, oriental scales, include great synths and a meandering guitar solo (like “Porcupine Tree” and “A Perfect Circle”). The first song is “Protected By Trees” (5:04), which is more like “Anathema”, having acoustic parts, sad vocals and melancholic moods opposed to amazing heavy guitars and corpulent synths. The monstrous “Kraken” (4:44) comes slowly from the abyssal recesses of the mind lured by hypnotic bass, echoing guitars, and depressed vocals (like “A Perfect Circle”), to be overcome by poignant “Floyd” guitars. “No One Will Forget” (8:53) runs dramatically as short riffs, epic strings, and distorted guitar solos are added to the double attack of thick bass and heavy Electronica. The vocals of a tormented mad-man scream for redemption amidst ascending synths – in vain, for he is totally defeated. “Murmur” (4:56) is a sensitive ballad that keeps a note of hope on the acoustic guitars and delicate pianos, leading to the slow “L.I.E.S.” (6:09), on which Heavy-Prog riffs, gloomy noises, and somber bass & drums enact a chase to the whispered vocals, which seek for refuge into a mattress of waving synths (all recalling a mix of “Porcupine Tree” & “A Perfect Circle”). The soft “Dreams” (2:33) wakes up to the sound of the nightmarish “About Your Idea” (8:06), on which groovy bass & drums and vigorous guitars are weighted against melodic soaring vocals – as a character who is deciding the pros and cons of an idea. This song has its climax on a sequence of solos of different kinds of keyboards, highlighted by outstanding pianos. Finally, the ultimate psychiatric relief comes on the acoustic “Like A Butterfly” (1:07), which is chained to “The Memory Of A Madman” (8:18), a soaring Prog-ballad led by male & female vocals that hover over ambient soundscapes, reaching freedom with a redeeming guitar solo (like a mix of “Anathema” and “RPWL”). Closure’s “The Memory of a Madman” is impressive and emotionally deep, a brilliant work in the style, indispensable for fans of “Anathema”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Steven Wilson”, “RPWL”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Riverside”, “Tesseract”, “Pink Floyd”, “The Black Noodle Project”, “Gazpacho”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Closure are: Simone P. Poletti – Vocals; Luca Rosa Sentinella – Electric & Acoustic Guitars; David Fulcheri - Keyboards, Synthesizer, Hammond Organ, Rhodes Piano; Enzo Latona – Bass, Backing Vocals, Francesco Brancato - Drums. Guest musicians: Giulietta Passera - Vocals (“The Memory of a Madman”), Backing Vocals (“Murmur”); Sarah Elena Poletti - Backing Vocals (“D.D.I.”); Enrico Cacciatore - Acoustic Guitars (“Murmur” & “The Memory of a Madman”). All tracks Recorded & Mastered at Punto Rec Studios (Turin, Italy); Engineered by Fabrizio Argiolas & Fabio Piotto; Mixed by Fabio Piotto...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/29/2014.......................................Want to learn everything about the band and its members, goes to CLOSURE HOME PAGE...
. ALEX FRIAS - "Innprata"
Alex Frias is a guitarist, technician, and producer who lives in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He grew up attending to several home musical events called "Serestas", full of great musicians playing brilliantly improvisational Brazilian music (a.k.a. "Chorinho"). Later he discovered the "electric" & "electronic" side of music, and was seduced by the electric guitar, which became the central instrument of his musical career. Alex Frias is fascinated by vintage guitars, analogical equipment, exotic acoustic string instruments, and also by the high-tech novelties that modern electronic music can offer, like the looping-modeling devices, which, in his view, create unlimited artistic possibilities for extant musicians as himself. The focus of his work – that he pursues with a religious fervor – is based on the experimental opposition of acoustic against electronic elements – resulting in a musical contrast that allows him to reach higher levels of emotional expression. "Innprata" is his solo project, created to be the vehicle for his musical quest. Besides Innprata, Alex Frias also plays on “Son de Giraffe” (Prog-Rock quartet), “Luz da Asia” (big band of World Music), “YBY”, “Avalanche”, and “Aliança Carioca de Violões” (acoustic guitar trio linked to “Robert Fripp's Guitar Circle”). Alex Frias first solo CD was “Manual do Bebê” (January 2001), a 4-track EP that brings lullabies for babies. “Innprata” was a more ambitious and experimental solo work: a full-length album that was recorded in January 2002, but released only in 2014 (via independent label ViaInterior Records). The CD is available on both digital and physical formats on Alex Frias website, and has guest appearance of several musicians (see below). The CD version of “Innprata” features 12 tracks, recorded with an excellent sound production. The music is a mix of Ambient, New Age, and Electronic Progressive Music, with elements of World Music (mainly Afro-Brazilian and Indian). The sonority is delicate, relaxing, and introspective. The vast arsenal of guitars that Frias has employed on the album, combined with the exotic string and percussive instruments performed by the guest musicians, provided the music with a rich collection of textures and ethnical rhythms, resulting in tracks that sound very different one from the other. Listeners who are interested in the meditative-inducing aspects of Ambient & New Age music will love the contemplative “Kadish” (06:48) (driven by the soft plucking of a swarmandal and a silken guitar melody that rises slowly); the slow “Auto Retrato” (04:43) (driven by a relaxing, but groovy, bass and acoustic guitars); and the futuristic “Ultramarine” (10:36) (with echoing glassy sounds and slide guitars superposed to electronic keyboards, it has a cinematographic amplitude that recalls “Tangerine Dream”, “Eno”, “Vangelis”). Listeners who prefer World Music with emphasis on Indian ethnic-sounding style will like “Monkey's Monk” (05:21) (a flute & sitar duo driven by the tanz and Gopi yantra, recalling “Ravi Shankar”) and the imposing “Neon Delli” (07:27) (a blend of electronic-generated drones and melodic acoustic guitars closed in a psychedelic ambience that sounds like a mix of “Ravi Shankar” and “Yatha Sidhra”). The Brazilian tradition is heard on the sad tracks “Silverland” (03:51) (that irradiates a nostalgic feeling from the “cavaquinho” strings) and “A Espera” (04:49) (an acoustic guitar tune accompanied by soft fretless bass) - both with influences of our Portuguese cultural colonization; and also on “Lullaby” (02:10), a ballad featuring the sweet voice of Helena Frias, who recalls the emblematic “Bossa Nova” singer “Nara Leão”). By contrast, the miscegenation of Brazilian roots is exposed on the vivid “Gnose” (02:37), which adds African rhythms and choirs to Amerindian flutes and beats (recalling Brazilian group “Uakti”). Finally, fans of more oriented Progressive Music will prefer the tracks “Cool Flame” (03:21), which has acoustic guitars and a few keyboards supporting an electric guitar solo (slightly recalling “14 Bis”), and the mysterious “Darshan” (05:06), which features a duo of acoustic and electric guitars, and Frias making vocals (as on “Sagrado Coração da Terra” and “Milton Nascimento”, it has an imaginary link that evokes the beauty of Brazilian’s Nature). The sacred-sounding “Innprata” comes as a bonus hidden track, closing the album. A great work in the style of Ambient, New-Age and Electronic oriented World Music, “Innprata” impressed us for its refined sound production and varied musical menu, being highly recommended for fans of names as diverse as “Brian Eno”, “Tangerine Dream”, “Klaus Schulze”, “Vangelis”, “Popol Vuh”, “Yatha Sidhra”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Philip Glass”, “Andreas Vollenweider”, “Aldo Pinelli”, “Alpha III”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Alex Frias are: Alex Frias – Electric, Synth, Reverse, Looping, Fuzz, Slide, E-Slide, Drone, Acoustic, Tremolo, and E-Bow Guitars, Looped & Electronic Percussion, Drum Programming, Fender Rhodes, Keyboards, Synths (flutes, voices, cymbals), “Cavaquinho”, Wind Chimes, Finger Bell; Voice. Guest musicians: Silvia Brasil - Swarmandal (tr. 1), Flutes, Tanz, Gopi Yantra (tr.4) Flutes and Tibetan Bell (tr.5); Pedro Peres - Fretless Bass (tr.2, 8); Cláudio Cepeda - Fretless Bass (tr.9); Mit Mujalli - Sitar (tr.4); Márcio Rocha - 12-String Craviola (tr.6); Rô Favilla - Shakers (tr.7); Helena Frias - Voice (tr.9); Eduardo Agni - Acoustic Guitar (tr.10); Alexandre Loureiro - Ghatam & Triangles (tr.10); Paulo Freitas - Classical Guitar (tr.11). Album Produced, Recorded, Mixed and Mastered by Alex Frias at Meteoro Studio, 2000 to 2002, except for “Ultramarine” and “Gnose”, recorded at Control Bedroom, 1992, and mastered at Meteoro Studio in 2002...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/29/2014...................If you want know more about this great musician and songwriter please visit ALEX FRIAS HOME PAGE...
. CLEARLIGHT - "Impressionist Symphony"
Clearlight is a legendary Progressive band conceived by the pianist, multi-keyboardist, composer and producer Cyrille Verdeaux. Verdeaux was born in Paris in July 31, 1949. He studied at the French National Conservatory of Music in Paris from 1963 to 1968, and completed his Master at the Nice Conservatory. His Clearlight project was the first French Progressive Rock band to sign with major British record labels, releasing the albums: “Clearlight Symphony” (1974, Virgin Records), “Forever Blowing Bubbles” (1976, Virgin Records), “Les Contes Du Singe Fou” (1977, RCA), and “Clearlight Visions” (1978, Polydor Records). Along the time, Clearlight’s music evolved from Progressive Rock with Classical Romantic influences to an experimental form that included Jazz, Psychedelic, and Oriental music. Clearlight toured around England and Europe, appearing in prestigious concert halls, sometimes following the fellow band “Gong”. The unexpected death of his 4-year-old son made Verdeaux to travel to India to study music, yoga and meditation – disciplines that influenced his life and music since then. From 1980 to 1987 Verdeaux lived in the USA, where he released several albums, some belonging to the “Kundalini Opera”. He returned to France in 1987 to teach music; and employing new digital technology, he released “Clearlight Symphony II” (1990, Mantra Records). In 1994 he moved to Santa Cruz, California, where his children lived; recorded a remake of “Les Contes Du Singe Fou”, and engaged in other projects. In 2004, after presenting a concert at a French Embassy, he had the idea of composing an album inspired on the Impressionist Art movement. In 2005 Verdeaux had recorded just part of the material, when Don Falcone in California invited him to record for his “Spirits Burning” project. Verdeaux was living in Brazil, but as he often went to California to visit his children, he planned a meeting with Don (what resulted in the Spirits Burning & Clearlight 2013 album “Healthy Music In Large Doses”). During the recording process, Don used a specific technique to collect tracks of musicians from all around the world. Verdeaux realized that he could do the same to complete his Impressionist album, and with Don in the project, they began to gather tracks from friends of Verdeaux that lived in England, France, and in the USA. “Impressionist Symphony” was finally released by Gonzo Multimedia on March 24, 2014 - to celebrate the 40th anniversary of “Clearlight Symphony”. “Impressionist Symphony” is totally inspired on the Music & Painting produced by the Impressionist Artists: it has influences of “Ravel”, “Satie”, “Debussy”, and “Chopin” on the music; and the booklet reproduces famous paintings by “Renoir”, “Monet”, “Pissarro”, “Degas”, “Van Gogh”, “Gauguin”, and “Toulouse-Lautrec”, that inspired Verdeaux to write the 8 compositions. The record features “Gong” members Tim Blake, Steve Hillage, and Didier Malherbe (who also played on the first Clearlight album), and other musicians (see below). “Impressionist Symphony” is a full Instrumental Symphonic Progressive Rock album that sounds like true Classical Music: highly melodic, emotional, complex, and multi-layered. Great part of the music is delivered by the virtuoso piano playing of Verdeaux and the magnificent violin of Craig Fry. They make a perfect counterpoint to Hillage’s Canterbury-accented guitar, and soften Thomas-Penny’s vigorous guitar style. Malherb’s extra-terrestrial sax and pastoral flutes, and Paul Sears’ orchestral drums add extra tones to the musical palette of the album. The experience that Verdeaux accumulated over the years playing different musical styles (Psychedelic, New-Age, Electronic) sprouts out of his new music, nurtured by Tim Blake’s ghostly Theremins, Cristophe Covax on synths, and Remy Tran’s cosmic sounds. All is blurred in diverse hues that are never superposed to each other, akin to the vivid colours and nuances painted on the masterpieces that were the source of inspiration. “Impressionist Symphony” opens with “Renoir En Couleur” (8:03), a “Ravel”-inspired madrigal on which piano and sax run like rivers, leading us to exotic places amidst battles of violins and guitars. The anchorage that prevents this music from dissolving comes from the delicate hands of Linda Cushma (bass, Chapman Stick), who knows how to apply her feminine intuition to the sound when requested. “Time Is Monet” (9:44) is more Romantic than the previous, having airs of a soundtrack. The emotive violin takes the lead, followed by floating flutes and orchestral percussion. “Pissarro King” (6:27) is a futuristic bolero driven by playful pianos, and by Thomas-Penny’s powerful guitar drive, martial drums, celebratory Theremin and Tubular bells. “Degas De La Marine” (7:53) is majestic, featuring triple synthesizer attack (with awesome sampled trumpet solo) and superb piano performance. “Van Gogh 3rd Ear” (6:39) steers to the Jazz-Fusion & Canterbury styles, combining Hillage’s fast guitars, Cushma’s vibrant bass, and Sears’ energetic drumming with flying pianos, Gypsy tunes and silken synths. “Gaughin Dans L’Autre” (11:07) is a sensitive Impressionist piece clothed in futuristic ambiences, having soaring flutes, guitars, and violins, enchanting piano melodies, and shooting-star Theremins. “Lautrec Too Loose” (5:22) is modern, having acoustic guitars with a touch of World Music following Progressive guitar solos, colorful pianos and cosmic sounds. “Monet Time (Duet)” (9:23) is a duet for violin and piano that closes this stupendous “Impressionist Symphony”: a real artistic endeavor full of great musicianship that marks Clearlight’s return to the Progressive World! Highly recommended for fans of “Debussy”, “Ravel”, “Satie”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Mandalaband”, “Renaissance”, “Gordon Giltrap”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Clive Nolan”, “Yanni”, “Isildur’s Bane”, “Rumblin’ Orchestra”, “Sagrado Coração da Terra”, “Bo Hansson”, and other Symphonic Progressive acts. Band members and collaborators involved in Clearlight are: Cyrille Verdeaux – Piano Bosendorfer 290 Imperial (tr. 2,4,8), Kurzweil 2600 (tr. 1,3,4,5,6,7), Synthesizers (tr. 2), Classic Cymbals (tr. 2,6), Compositions & Arrangements; Steve Hillage – Electric & Gliss Guitar (tr.1,5,6); Didier Malherbe – Doudouk & Soprano Sax (tr.1), Silver Flute (tr. 2,6); Tim Blake - Theremin, XILS Synth, i2M Musicport Sonuus (tr. 3,6); Cristophe Covax – Lead Synthesizers (tr. 4,5); Remy Tran – Cosmic Synthesizers & Sounds (tr. 4,7); Craig Fry – Acoustic Violin (tr. 1,2,6,8); Vincent Thomas-Penny – Electric & Acoustic Guitar (tr. 3,7); Linda Cushma – Bass, Chapman Stick (tr. 1,5); Paul Sears – Drums, Percussion, Classical Percussion (tr. 1,2,4,5,6); Neil Bettencourt – Drums (tr. 3); Don Falcone – Tubular Bells (tr. 3). Album Mixed on a Pro Tools HD/3 System by Cyrille Verdeaux & Don Falcone at Spirits Burning Studios, San Bruno, California, in 2013. Produced by Don Marino Falcone. Piano Bosendorfer recorded at Christian Grimault Studio, Nantes (produced by Olivier Briand); Kurzweil 2600 on “Degas de la Marine” recorded at Remy Tran home studio. Paul Sears tracks recorded at his home studio in Arizona by Joshua Medina; Linda Cushma tracks recorded by Steve Parrish at his home studio in Arizona. Rob Ayling – License & Distribution. Dan Shapiro helped on the initial recordings...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/29/2014.......................Want to learn everything about the musicians and his fantastic band, visit CLEARLIGHT HOME PAGE...
. ROCKET SCIENTISTS - "Supernatural Highways"
Rocket Scientists is a famous Progressive Rock band from California that features Erik Norlander (keyboards), Mark McCrite (guitar, vocals), and Don Schiff (NS/Sticks, cello). Formed in the late 1980s, Rocket Scientists initially released the studio albums “Earthbound” (1993) and “Brutal Architecture” (1995), followed by a successful tour in the US and Europe in 1997, registered on the live album “Earth Below and Sky Above: Live in Europe and America” (1998). After the release of a third studio album, “Oblivion Days” (1999), band members engaged in solo projects. Six years later, Rocket Scientists retook their regular activities with the releases of their acclaimed fourth album “Revolution Road” (2006), and of the indispensable 5-disc box set entitled “Looking Backward” (2007), which included re-mastered versions of their first 3 studio albums, a 4th CD with new versions of the band’s classic songs recorded in 2007, plus a DVD showing the 2007 sessions, interviews, and historical archive footage going back to 1993. Those releases were the base for Rocket Scientists’ tours during 2007-2009, with performances at RoSFest, 3 Rivers Prog Festival, Bay Area Rock Fest, Baja Prog (MX), the Rotherham Rocks (UK), and several clubs – all of which consolidated Rocket Scientists as a leading Progressive Rock act. The band entered then into a new hiatus, but in the end of 2012, as Norlander realized that the year of 2013 would mark the 20th anniversary of release of Rocket Scientists’ debut album “Earthbound”, he contacted McCrite and Schiff and suggested them a new reunion, to record an album to celebrate the occasion. The result came in the form of the 30-minute long instrumental EP entitled “Supernatural Highways” (March 20, 2014, Think Tank Media). “Supernatural Highways” is a superb release that marks the return of Rocket Scientists to the forefront of Progressive Rock, representing their perpetual evolution towards modernity and novelty. With support of long-time collaborators such as Gregg Bissonette (drums), Greg Ellis (percussion), Lana Lane (voice), Jon Papenbrook (trumpet), and Eric Jorgensen (trombone), Rocket Scientists’ skilled trio has fused their futuristic Space-Rock textures and electronic-sounding keyboards with vibrant, groovy, and polyglot World Music rhythms – keeping all tightly cemented together by swinging bass lines, precise up-to-date guitar work, and a modern Progressive focus. “Supernatural Highways” brings only two instrumental tracks. The central piece is “Traveler on the Supernatural Highways” (26:09) – an epic and “soundtrack-like” piece that sounds different from all of Rocket Scientists’ previous material. It originally began as an instrumental theme composed by Norlander to act as a prelude and finale to the album, in his usual conceptual style. But as the piece grew longer, with every new musical fragment contributing perfectly to the whole, the musicians decided to keep it intact, without edits or cuts. “Traveler…” is divided in parts “One” to “Seven”. On “Part One” (6:38), some futuristic desert rock strings entangle with electronic sounds, ghostly synths and vibrant beats – which gradually grow denser, propelling the piece through compressed layers of epic intergalactic synths and soaring guitar tunes. “Part Two” (3:44) is still more powerful, electronic, and cosmic-sounding, but has an ancestral universal feel coming from the ethnical beats and percussive swings. The cello is absolutely amazing, exotic and beautiful, and sooths the percussion down a little, as it merges with the interlude “Part Three” (1:26). “Part Four” (2:14) is slower and sounds like a new composition – unless that it continues to develop the bass themes of the interlude. Being introduced by pianos and having addition of organs and weeping guitars, the music sounds more organic, emotional and progressive than on previous parts. “Part Five” (3:19) is driven by harder rocky guitars, funky bass, and broken rhythmic lines coming from the drums – recalling duos by “Chris Squire” and “Bill Bruford”. The following segment is dominated by jazzy-flowing, ‘70s-texturized solos of guitar and keyboards. “Part Six” (1:45) is full of Latin beats, and the notes bounce out from Norlander’s keyboards with the agility of Rumba & Salsa dancers. Flutes duel with guitars, making the transition to “Part Seven” (7:03), on which the main themes of “Part One” are totally developed toward a climax. The EP’s second track, “On Her Majesty's Secret Service” (4:14), is an amazing version of the “James Bond” theme (a main musical influence to McCrite). It blends bombastic Moogs and epic bass progressions with string arrangements recreated by Lana Lane’s unique voice, while the brass tunes are performed by Jon Pappenbrook (trumpet) and Eric Jorgensen (trombone). “Supernatural Highways” is a fantastic comeback-album by Rocket Scientists, being highly recommended for any Prog-Rock enthusiast; a must-have item for fans of “Rick Wakeman”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Tangerine Dream”, “Yes”, late “King Crimson”, “Santana”, “ELP”, “Ayreon”, “Sigur Rós”, “Solaris”, “Mandalaband”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Rocket Scientists are: Mark McCrite - Acoustic & Electric Guitars; Erik Norlander - Synthesizers, Piano, Organ; Don Schiff - NS/Sticks, Cello. Additional musicians: Gregg Bissonette – Drums; Greg Ellis – Percussion (tr.1); Lana Lane - Vocal Pads (tr.2); Jon Papenbrook – Trumpet (tr.2); Eric Jorgensen – Trombone (tr.2). Recorded by E.Norlander, M.McCrite, D.Schiff, G.Ellis at Think Tank Media (El Dorado Hills, CA); Drums recorded by Eric Milos at Clear Lake Recording (Los Angeles, CA); Piano recorded by Robert George at Sound Temple Studio (Asheville, NC). Produced by Erik Norlander for Think Tank Media; Mixed by Erik Norlander at Think Tank Media (El Dorado Hills, CA); Mastered by Maor Applebaum at Maor Applebaum Mastering. “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” by John Barry...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/29/2014.............................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit ROCKET SCIENTISTS HOME PAGE...
. THE BEGINNING - "This Is … The Beginning"
The Beginning is a Neo-Psychedelic Rock band from the U.K. The line-up forms with Mathew Bethancourt (lead vocals, guitar, percussion); Louis Wiggett (guitar, backing vocal); Samuelle Aversano (bass); Paolo Aversano (percussion, backing vocal); Chris Payne (drums, percussion). Regarded as a great, but almost forgotten, psychedelic Rock gem, The Beginning’s only album, “This Is...The Beginning”, was recorded in 1998 and released in 2004 under Molten Records. The album soon became a sold out item, but by the efforts of German Psychedelic Rock Label Elektrohasch Records, “This Is …” turned out to be available again, on both vinyl and CD formats, in this year of 2014. The Beginning’s sonority contains a good deal of retro-textured Psychedelic and Acid Rock elements delivered by twin lead-guitar solos, lysergic groovy bass, thick layers of percussive instruments, and mind altering melodies and effects. The sound emulates the style of both sides of the Atlantic, containing influences from the American leg (mainly from the Californian and Detroit hubs) and from the British counterparts. But having neither Folk, nor Indian elements attached to their music, The Beginning stays rather aligned to the most Hard & Blues sides of the psychedelic movement, sharing a resemblance of sound with bands like “Quicksilver Messenger Service”, “Yesterday’s Children”, “Santana”, “Iron Butterfly”, “Blue Cheer”, “Captain Beyond”, “Kak”, “Amboy Dukes”, “The Scot Richard Case”, “Love”, “The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band”, “13th Floor Elevators”, “Yardbirds”, “Cream”, and the very early works of both “Led Zeppelin” and “Pink Floyd”. “This Is … The Beginning” features 7 tracks. Two of them have been recorded live. The album opens with the lively “Soul Revolution” (6:22), which brings within it the fluidity and solar disposition of the San Franciscan psychedelic style. The instrumental base goes on in unison, supporting the unpretentious vocals, until reaching a jamming-point on which all guitars, bass, and percussion get away from each other, trailing their own solos before reuniting ahead. Yet, “The Ju Ju Man” (4:08) runs attached to solid and groovy riffs driven by hellish bass, rocky guitars, stoner vocals, and lively Latin percussion, reminiscent of “Santana”. “Blue Honey” (8:46) runs slower than the two previous, but blends a Hard Rock swing that comes from the bass and rhythmic line-up with the freedom and improvisation of Bluesy guitars, wrapping it all in a dense cluster of sonic clouds that resembles bands like “Yesterday’s Children”, “Cream”, “Iron Butterfly”, and “Captain Beyond”. The peak of the album is reached on the extra-long “Baby’s Taking Me For a Ride” (“And the Sun Ain’t Never Gonna Set”) (13:06). The initial segment brings lively vocals and guitars that evoke California’s sunny shores; but the song delves later into a long instrumental part that gets gradually somber and darker. On the trippy jammed segment that follows, all instrumentalists adopt a kind of “anything goes” attitude, engaging in twin guitars improvisations, Acid-Rock bass passages, and ritualistic voodoo percussive beats. The last three minutes are dominated by stormy clouds of distorted guitars and noisy effects that dissipate into the lysergic atmospheres of “The Golden Whisper” (7:54) – an instrumental track made of cymbals, echoing sounds, backwards sounding guitars, and fuzzy bass, which are inspired on the experimental Space Rock produced by a very early “Pink Floyd”. The last two tracks – both instrumental - are a sample of the band’s firepower on live presentations. “Freedom Express” (5:29) is a guitar-driven jam session that impresses the listener with complex interwoven guitars; while “The Sacrifice” (2:23) is a percussion-driven piece tailored for fans of “Santana”. The Beginning is a high-edged band that revives with fidelity the splendor of the Psychedelic Rock Era from ’67 to ‘71, being highly and specially recommended for fans of “Quicksilver Messenger Service”, “Santana”,  “Yesterday’s Children”, “Iron Butterfly”, “Blue Cheer”, “Captain Beyond”, “Amboy Dukes”, “The Scot Richard Case”, “Love”, “The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band”, “13th Floor Elevators”, “Kak”, “Yardbirds”, “Cream”, early “Led Zeppelin” and “Pink Floyd”, and for fans of Neo-Psychedelic bands like “Colour Haze”, “Hypnos 69”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in The Beginning are: Mathew Bethancourt - Lead Vocals, Guitar, Percussion; Louis Wiggett - Guitar, Backing Vocals; Samuelle Aversano - Bass; Paolo Aversano - Percussion, Backing Vocals; Chris Payne – Drums, Percussion. Songs written, arranged & produced by M. Bethancourt; performed by The Beginning in June 1998. All Music copyright Delerium Music Ltd. 2004, licensed to Elektrohasch Schallplaten 2007...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/08/2014.....................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE BEGINNING HOME PAGE...
. SINE STAR PROJECT - "Building Humans"
Sine Star Project is a musical project held by singer, composer, and classically trained multi-instrumentalist Peter J. Croissant, of Southampton, Hampshire (U.K.). An anagram of Croissant’s name, Sine Star Project formed from the ashes of his former band “Savalas”. Croissant had been working as producer and engineer – most notably for “The Delays” – when he gathered around him bassist Karl Evans, guitarists Mike Davies and Dan Little, and drummer Alec Lowe (who is also the 17th in line to the Swedish throne). They released a single, “Strange Girl” (2005), and a full-length album entitled “Blue Born Earth Boy” (2007) under independent label One Little Indian. For the second full-length album, “Building Humans” (2008, Weatherbox), Croissant employed a line-up counting with Mike Davies (guitars) and Alec Lowe (drums on most tracks) of the previous formation, joined by Ben Rowley (bass), Matt Shmigelsky (drums on a few tracks), and a chamber orchestra (see below). The sound of Sine Star Project surprised me for its sophistication and high emotional content, driven by Croissant’s outstanding and expressive vocals. He is melodic and emotional, and his voice is high-pitched, reaching tuneful falsettos with easiness (recalling the voice of “Jeff Buckley”, but having a British intonation and melodic style). In respect of the instrumentation and arrangements, Sine Star Project is not a typical Progressive act, sounding rather like an Alternative Rock and Britpop band having more lyrical focus, dramatic substance, and burlesque attitude than the average, and absolutely no commercial potential. Although influences are ample and varied, their sound beats with a hearth of its own. But I could feel some inspiration coming from “Queen”, “David Sylvian”, “David Bowie” “Nick Drake”, “Pulp”, “Radiohead”, “Coldplay”, “Muse”, “Keane”, “Travis”, “Snow Patrol”, and even “Pink Floyd” and “Genesis” scattered along the album, sometimes delivered with a Jazzy accent, other times with orchestral arrangements that verge the Classical. Melodic pianos, Classic Rock guitar solos, and very unique backing vocals (recalling a non-operatic “Queen”) complete the package. “Building Humans” is a very eclectic album, in regard of the wide variety of moods, styles and textures that are present on its 10 excellent songs. Full of energy, and having a Rock attitude, the two first songs “Bleeding Like A Dog” (3:54) and “Brown Bread” (3:19) are the heaviest of all. “Bleeding …” is mostly a plain rock, and has influences of “Queen”, “David Bowie”, and “Muse” on guitars and chorus; while “Brown Bread” attacks the listener with heavy guitar chords that are found only in Metal bands, and has a melodic guitar solo that recalls “Muse”, giving the false impression that Sine Star Project is a Heavy Prog act. But this idea is immediately destroyed by the following sequence made of four ballads. “Eternal Sadness For Man” (4:57) is a gorgeous piano ballad with poignant vocals that brings “Coldplay” to mind, being however deeper and sadder. The powerful “Chinese Drag Queen” (5:53) begins softly with strings, flutes and mellow pianos supporting Croissant’s highest falsettos, but grows denser later with the coming of guitars and more keyboards. “Glitter Ghost” (3:12) is eerie, immersed in gothic atmospheres and driven by crying vocals, and finally, the lovely “Little Bird” (3:19) is a soft ballad driven by acoustic guitars, bittersweet vocals, and beautiful backing vocals that irradiate a religious aura. The music gets heavier again on the tracks “The Temptress” (3:45) (an outstanding song that brings within it the contrast between dramatic falsettos and heavy guitars, underlined by burlesque moments and supported by choirs reminiscent of “Queen”); and “Posthuman” (2:40) - a surprising Industrial-Electronic-Latin mix that will certainly please admirers of the experimentalism of “Radiohead” and “David Sylvian”. But listeners looking for something closer to the Symphonic-Progressive style will feel rewarded by the last two tracks: “Christmas Carol For The Dead” (3:54) and “Cathedral” (2:35). “Christmas…” is an inspiring and highly sensitive song, being driven by superposed vocals and brass instruments that grow epically to the end; while “Cathedral” is an instrumental piece that blends “Pink Floyd’s” harmony vocals with bombastic keyboards in the style of “Genesis”. Sine Star Project’s “Building Humans” is really a great musical work, which has been regrettably and unjustifiably overlooked by the musical industry and specialized media. I hope that this review will spark new interest on Sine Star Project, instigating Mr. Croissant and his troupe of musicians to revamp the band’s career. Sine Star Project is highly recommended for fans of original bands like “Queen”, “David Sylvian”, “David Bowie”, “Nick Drake”, “Pulp”, “Radiohead”, “Coldplay”, “Muse”, “Keane”, “Travis”, “Snow Patrol”, “Pink Floyd”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Sine Star Project are: Peter J. Croissant – Lead Vocals, Guitars, Piano, Synthesizers, Trumpet; Mike Davies – Guitars, Pedal Steel, Banjo, Vocals; Ben Rowley – Bass, Vocals, Guitars; Alec Lowe - Drums (tracks 3,4,6,8,9,10); Matt Shmigelsky - Drums (tracks 1,2, 7); Nathan Thomas – Live Synthesizers. String, Wind & Brass arrangements written by P.J. Croissant, and performed by: Kate Robey – Cello; Michelle Falcon – Violin & Viola; Jock Tylsdley – Fiddle; Claire Stocker – Flute; Ian Smith – Trumpet; Aiden Hampson – Trombone; Dave Taylor – Euphonium; Colin Smith – Euphonium; Duncan Smith – Tuba...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/08/2014.............................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit SINE STAR PROJECT HOME PAGE...
. DOGMA - "Under Dogma"
Dogma – the impressive and unique Female-Fronted Ethnical-Progressive-Metal band of Yerevan, Armenia, is welcomed back at PR&PM! Dogma was founded in 2008 by Vardan Grigoryan (bass, production) and Heno Grigoryan (guitar, song writing). They were soon joined by the gifted Zara Gevorgyan (vocals, lyrics) and Derik Vardumyan (drums, percussion). Dogma’s debut album, “Ethnic Methnic” (2009, Vibrographus), was a rewarding surprise in the world of Prog-Metal, and was reviewed at PR&PM in 2012. The album featured an original fusion of Armenian folkloric and liturgical music, Progressive Rock and Metal, played by skilled musicians who were fronted by the gorgeous and talented Zara. Dogma soon mesmerized the audiences around Armenia, attracting special attention to the band: in 2010 Zara was invited by Ian AndersonJethro Tull”) to do the guest act for his show in Yerevan. In 2012 Dogma unleashed to conquer the world, by playing in international festivals. Now Dogma brings us their second album, entitled “Under Dogma” (2013). As on their previous record, the music is an exotic and unique blend of Progressive Rock, Heavy Metal, and Armenian Traditional Music, but with more firepower, solidity, and surprises. And the addition of former sound engineer and keyboardist Serge Melkonyan to the line-up has added a symphonic background to the already magnificent music of Dogma. On this new album, Dogma reaches a balance between the extreme aggressiveness of Heavy Metal and the contemplative depth of their musical heritage. The Western Thrash Metal, NWOBHM, and Prog-Metal styles, once present on Dogma’s sonority, have receded in favor of the well-elaborated Ethno-Metal guitar riffs created by Heno Grigoryan, whose inspired chords convey the typical Armenian signature. He is followed by Vardan’s groovy-pounding bass, and Derik’s powerful ethno-drumming, with equivalent strength and passion. And Zara revives the ancient spirit of Armenian tradition, singing in Armenian with her mesmerizing voice. From the 10 tracks that compose “Under Dogma”, three are full-metal songs that showcase the force of this band. The opening track, “Sand Leopard” (4:01), has groovy ethno-Armenian guitar riffs that, when mixed to luring folkloric rhythms and the sensuality of Zara’s voice, recall me of bands like “Eyes of Eden”, “Imperia”, and “Lacuna Coil”. Equally amazing is “Expectation” (4:38), which alternates melodic Progressive parts with dense Heavy Metal ones, leading to a grand finale crowned with exquisite guitar solo. The peak of Dogma’s metal savagery is reached on “Black” (4:59), on which Zara’s eerie vocals fight dramatically against Derik’s growls amidst tormented guitars, bass, and drums (recalling bands like “Theater of Tragedy”, “Tristania”, “Draconian”, “Trail of Tears”). But Dogma reaches the most perfect Metal-Ethnical equilibrium on songs like “Who Are You For?” (5:34) and “Melancholy” (4:45). Both begin slowly, with traditional Armenian melodies that gradually grow in intensity and emotion, until finally steering for the full-fledged Metal mode that dominates from middle to end. On “Who Are …”, the music is initially gloomy, fusing later with Doom-Metal riffs; on “Melancholy”, the feelings of solitude and sadness delivered by Zara’s voice are counterbalanced by epic guitars reminiscent of the band “Warlord”. Dogma descends a few steps more in the Metal scale on a pair of songs that are mostly Ethnical, having Metal fragments only at the very end: “Argument” (5:08) is a bass-driven Progressive song backed by keyboards and mysterious vocals, sounding like a blend of “Deti Picasso” and “Lacuna Coil”; and “Who Has Seen?” (4:36) is acoustic and pastoral, driven by Zara’s yearning voice, but accelerates later to a folkloric dance (like “Dead Can Dance” or “Irfan”). Those tracks make the transition to Dogma’s fully traditional Armenian songs, on which electric guitars are abolished, and acoustic guitars and ethno-percussion are the main conveyors of Zara’s nuanced and emotional singing. Like on the lively “Joyspread” (4:08), with amazing passages for bass and cheerful voice; or on “Hori Loro” (3:49), an Armenian liturgical piece on which a male voice sings in duo with an entranced Zara. Finally, “Falling” (4:12) is a Dark-Folk lullaby that recalls the music of bands like “Daemonia Nymphe” and “Ataraxia”. Original, exotic, and mysterious, Dogma combines the music of today with the tradition of an ancient glorious past, being highly recommended for fans of Female-Fronted and Ethnical & Oriental Progressive Rock & Metal; and essential for fans of bands like “Myrath”, “Orphaned Land”, “Eyes of Eden”, “Imperia”, “Lacuna Coil”, “Deti Picasso”, “Warlord”, “Karl Sanders”, “OM”, “Dordeduh”, “Soul Enema”,  “Amaseffer”, “Arkona”, “Daemonia Nymphe”, “Ataraxia”, “Rajna”, “Artesia”, “Stellamara”, “Dead Can Dance”, “Irfan”, “Nemrud”, and “Quidam”. Band members and collaborators involved in Dogma are: Zara Gevorgyan - Vocalist & Lyricist; Heno Grigoryan – All Guitars & Song Writer; Vardan Grigoryan - Bass, Keyboards, Production; Derik Vardumyan - Drums & Percussion, Growling/screaming vocals on “Black”; Serge Melkonyan – Keyboards. “Black” Lyrics by Zara Gevorgyan & Vardan Araqelyan; “Sand Leopard” Lyrics by Violet Grigoryan. Recorded at “Dogma” Studio by Vardan Grigoryan & Serge Melkonyan; Mix & Mastering by Serge Melkonyan; Photo & Design by Artashes Stamboltsyan...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/08/2014...........................Want to learn everything about the band and its members, you must to visit DOGMA HOME PAGE...
. PERFECT BEINGS - "Perfect Beings"
Perfect Beings is a new Progressive Rock project from Los Angeles, California. In November of 2012, “Moth Vellum’s” founder Johannes Luley (guitars) invited Ryan Hurtgen (vocals, piano) to record a Progressive Rock album that should sound in the same style of the 70’s Golden Era. Along 2012 and 2013, Luley and Hurtgen wrote, composed, and orchestrated the musical material that would make the repertoire of the Perfect Beings Project. To rehearse and record the songs, they called upon Dicki Fliszar (an experienced drummer who had played on “Bruce Dickinson’s” song “Tears Of The Dragon”), Jesse Nason (keyboards), and Chris Tristram (bass). In April 2013, with help of engineer Julian David, the band recorded their debut album “Perfect Beings”, in a span of 3 weeks. “Perfect Beings” (2014, My Sonic Temple) is a concept album based on the book “TJ & Tosc” by “Suhail Rafidi”. The music is a Crossover between Progressive Rock in the style of “Yes” (mainly on guitars and bass, that emulate “Steve Howe” and “Chris Squire”, respectively), with ‘60s Psychedelic-Pop Rock that recalls “Beatles”, “Beach Boys”, and “The Moody Blues” (on some vocal and acoustic passages), pervaded by a modern Indie Rock style on some vocal melodies and on drums (that recall bands like “Radiohead” and “Coldplay”). Other influences and resemblances may include: “Druid”, “Flash”, “UK”, “Asia”, “Rush”, “Klaatu”, “Galahad”, “Circa:”, “Conspiracy”, “Glass Hammer”, “Rocket Scientists”, “The Flower Kings”, “Karmakanic”, “Agents of Mercy”, “Druckfarben”, “Big Big Train”, “3rd Degree”, and “Primitive Overflow”. “Perfect Beings” features 10 tracks. The opening song - “The Canyon Hill” (2:29), is a naïf ballad that sounds so much as “Beatles” and “Beach Boys”, that the listener might think that Perfect Beings is a mere Britpop band. Fortunately, “Helicopter” (2:40) comes soon from above with some lively and punchy Prog-Rock in the format of 80’s “Yes”, propelled by really groovy bass – and we realize that “Chris Squire” must be Tristram’s personal hero. But Perfect Beings begins to reach their main goal on the following tracks “Bees and Wasps” (6:24) and “Walkabout” (9:22). Although “Bees…” begins with an Alternative Rock signature on both vocals and drums, it becomes tenser later with the coming of great bass lines and unusual guitar riffs (recalling “Rush” and “King Crimson”), twisting to an unexpected climax with vocals, guitars and organs that recall “Yes” and “Flower Kings”. And the long “Walkabout” is a true Prog-song that goes through different transformations, including acoustic guitars and mellow vocals (a bit like “Moody Blues”), complicated instrumental parts, like “Yes” and “Rush”, and a long and eerie Neo-Prog-styled segment with drum solo that dissolves into psychedelic clouds. The band returns to the Crossover mode on “Removal of the Identity Chip” (5:43), which begins like a song of “Radiohead”, but engages later into a Progressive sequence having long guitar solo (identical to “Steve Howe’s” style) and organs (bringing to mind the “Yes” album “Going For The One”). The following track, “Program Kid” (4:39), begins like a Prog-ballad for piano and vocals, but surprises the listener by breaking into a heavy and fast-paced instrumental part featuring space keyboards, gritty organs, dazzling bass, and fierce guitars (which sound like the recent works of “Galahad” and “Pendragon”). “Program…” is followed by the ballads “Remnants of Shields” (3:50) – a sensitive song that slightly recalled me of “Coldplay”; and “Fictions” (4:57) - with beautiful harmony vocals and coiling guitars, which recalled me of some old albums of “Yes” (“Fragile” and “Close to Edge”). Another highlight is “Primary Colors” (3:30) – an epic song driven by an adventurous mood that sounds like an 80’s Rock with a Progressive luster, recalling a blend of “Yes” and “Rush”. Finally, Perfect Beings scores another goal on the final track “One of Your Kind” (8:18): a great song that evolves in the typical Progressive way, having a soft and melodic introduction, a middle interlude for classical guitar (in the style of “Howe”), and a final segment on which the instrumentation gets faster and increases dramatically toward the final climax. In spite of being on a Crossover threshold more than on an orthodox Progressive level, Perfect Beings have made an impressive debut album, on which the combination of Prog with Alternative Rock elements is well-elaborated and tasty, with the music being performed with rare competence by skilled musicians. So, I am not afraid to say that Perfect Beings are highly recommendable for fans of “Yes”, “Steve Howe”, “Chris Squire”, “Druid”, “Flash”, “The Moody Blues”, “Asia”, “Rush”, “Klaatu”, “Galahad”, “Circa:”, “Conspiracy”, “The Flower Kings”, “Glass Hammer”, “Karmakanic”, “Agents of Mercy”, “Druckfarben”, “Big Big Train”, “Rocket Scientists”, “3rd Degree”, “Primitive Overflow”, “Radiohead”, “Coldplay”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Perfect Beings are: Ryan Hurtgen - Vocals, Piano; Johannes Luley - Guitars; Chris Tristram - Bass; Jesse Nason - Keyboards; Dicki Flizar - Drums. Album Recorded in April, 2013 by Julian David at My Sonic Temple studio in Los Angeles, CA. Mixed by J. Luley; Mastered by J.Luley & C. Tristram; Produced by Perfect Beings...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/08/2014...................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit PERFECT BEINGS HOME PAGE...
. FROSKULL - "Froskull"
Froskull is the premier Progressive Rock band from Nashville, TN, and also the new moniker for the Stephen Rockford Hammond Band. Born and raised in Nashville, Stephen Hammond grew up at the very intersection of American musical culture, and soon developed an interest for compose, perform and produce music. In 2008, he released his first album, “Flux Punch”, named after the dissolved band in which he played. Shortly after the album release, Stephen recruited bassist Jason Schond and founded the Stephen Rockford Hammond Band. At first performing songs from the Flux Punch, Stephen gradually grasped higher levels of musical sophistication and songwriting, transforming the set lists into complex mosaics of electrifying fantasia. In 2011 Stephen recruited his brother Brett Hammond (guitars) for the line-up, and in 2012 Adam Dennis took over drums. The band was renamed for Froskull, and since then started to gather fans from the Internet community. Froskull were commented on Jazz, Fusion, and Rock talk shows; and shared the stage with Nashville country stars Chris Young and Lee Brice, and Rock and Roll legend Derek St. Holmes. Froskull's full-length, self-titled debut album “Froskull” was released in 2014 by Groovestand Compendium. The album captures Froskull's technical, dynamic, and aggressive cosmopolitan style: an eloquent expression of the band’s “pan-generic” and “omnivorous” music preferences, which include “Yes”, “King Crimson”, “Stone Temple Pilots”, “Steve Vai”, “Rush”, and “Gyorgy Ligeti”, but that also recalls bands like “Starcastle”, “Kansas”, “Tortoise”, “Unified Past”, and “Dream Theater”. Making profitable use of the highly inclusive possibilities of the Progressive Rock genre, Froskull may combine Space-Rock, Indie Rock, Progressive Metal, and Noisy Electronic Rock with a broader scope of musical influences, mixing them with inventiveness, and deserving no other tag than that of “Crossover-Prog”. “Froskull” features 12 tracks. A number of songs represent the core of Froskull’s style - one that is very original, for it combines the sonority of “Yes” (recalling “Jon Anderson” on vocals, the “Trevor Rabin” phase on the instrumentation, and the bass lines of “Chris Squire”, but sometimes with a deviation to “Geddy Lee’s” style), with powerful twin guitars and vigorous drumming delivered with the aggressiveness and complexity of Progressive Metal & Metal-Fusion acts (like “Vai”, “Dream Theater”, “Liquid Tension”). Those songs are “A Thousand Years” (4:00) (which has initial vibraphones that also recall “Tortoise”); the instrumental “Alabaster” (3:58) (which irradiates groovy Hindu ragas from bass and guitars, reminiscent of “Yes” album “Close to the Edge” – but more muscular); “Report from Ganymede” (4:00) (which is Space-Symphonic, having a stronger influence from “Rush”, and being crowned with twin guitars solo); and “Perihelion” (4:00) (which has a frantic beginning, a keyboards swing that vaguely recall “Kansas”, and guitars that recall “King Crimson”, “Vai”, and “Steve Howe”). Less “Yes-Metal”, but still complex songs under a Crossover point of view are: “Wait” (3:43) (which combines a mattress of acoustic guitars that are reminiscent of Nashville’s musical roots with some pianos and electronic ambience that recall “Tortoise”, all glued with heavy guitar riffs); “The Road to Sto-Vo-Kor” (3:08) (a weird Space-Prog-Metal); and “Paramatman” (3:59) (an Indie-Rock ballad backed with noisy electronic effects, on which Brett takes the vocal lead, guiding the song to a progressive labyrinth of guitars and keyboards. Finally, “Should Have Known” (2:52) is an Indie-Rock ballad that appeals to an ample audience. The remaining tracks are short interludes, numbered as “Bardo 1” (1:38), “Bardo 2” (1:47), “Bardo 3” (2:31), and “Bardo 4” (1:35) – which are all experiments with Noisy & Cosmic Electronica, mostly influenced by “King Crimson” and “Tortoise”; the most interesting being “Bardo 3” (with gloomy chanting and gothic keyboards). Although the weak recording conditions may have hindered the band to achieve better sonic results, Froskull came up with a very solid debut album that reveals a great musical potential, bringing within an original stylistic proposal that I shall call “Yes-Metal”. Froskull is recommended for a selected group of fans whose tastes may come to terms with “Yes”, “Rush”, “Starcastle”, “King Crimson”, and “Kansas” at one corner, and “Steve Vai”, “Dream Theater”, “Liquid Tension”, “Everon”, “Enchant” and “Unified Past” at the other. Band members and collaborators involved in Froskull are: Stephen Rockford Hammond - Vocals, Guitars; Brett Hammond - Guitars, Vocals; Jason Schond - Bass; Adam Dennis - Drums. Album Composed, Produced, Engineered & Mixed by Stephen Rockford Hammond. Recorded at Castle Froskull, Nashville; Mastered by Don Cobb at Independent Mastering, Nashville; Published by Groovestand Compendium Music Publishing Company (ASCAP)...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/10/2014.............................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit FROSKULL HOME PAGE...
. ALGABAS - "Angels And Demons"
Algabas is a Progressive Rock band from Vladimir, the ancient capital city of Russia. Algabas was founded in 2007 by writer and poet Sergey Milyaev (vocals, bass, music and lyrics). Other band members have embraced other professions – they are a journalist, a programmer and a teacher, but all of a sudden, they turn into Ilya Frolov (keyboards, guitar, and music), Igor Tarasov (guitar), and Oleg Vasilyev (drums, percussion). Band leader and lyricist Sergey Milyaev writes and sings only in Russian, which he believes to be the most expressive of all languages. Milyaev was born and raised in Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan, and has coined the moniker Algabas, which consists of two Kazakh words - “Alga” (“forward”) and “bass” (“head”) - meaning “Head First”, or, in an ample sense, “think ahead, then do”. And by following that motto, Algabas really makes things happen. The band organized several musical festivals in Vladimir, including the "Art- Progressive-Concept" (26-27 May 2012), featuring bands like “Quorum” (Moscow, Russia), “Kostarev Group” (Moscow, Russia), “The Pravednicks' Band” (Saint-Petersburg, Russia), and “Big Second” (Kiev, Ukraine). Algabas also played on 25th December 2012 at "Prog Day" festival in Moscow, and on 5th October 2013 at the 20th annual "Belomor Boogie" festival in Arkhangelsk. In March 2013 Algabas released the debut album “Angels And Demons” (edited in 2014 by Mals Records). The album has 9 tracks, and participation of a few guest musicians (see below). The style of Algabas, as described by Milyaev, is a blend of Classic 70’s Progressive Rock with Neo-Progressive Rock (influenced by bands like “IQ”, “Twelfth Night”, “Pendragon”, and “Galahad”) mixed to elements of Heavy-Prog and Russian Traditional Music, featuring poetic lyrics (in Russian, of course!). Musical fragments picked from different songs are eventually reminiscent of bands like “ELP”, “Yes”, “King Crimson”, “SBB”, “Colosseum”, “East”, “Deluge Grander”, “Anglagard”, “Calliope”, and also of their comrade bands “Autograph”, “Little Tragedies”, “Mind Portal” and “Azazello” (a perception caused by the metallic timbre of the guitars). Algabas, however, does not share a clear-cut resemblance to any one of them, presenting a sonority that refuges the standard Neo-Prog. The instrumentation is sturdy and powerful, packed in intricate and dynamic arrangements delivered by groovy bass and tightly interwoven to drums & keyboards. Guitars have a timbre typical of Metal and make a heavy counterpoint to the other instruments, also driving the main melodic themes by means of elaborated solos. The Russian Classical influence and the voice of Milyaev (who is a hearted interpreter rather than a “soft and polished” singer) add a typical signature to Algabas. The 9 tracks of “Angels And Demons” are all excellent, offering to the listener an ample variety of choices. The differential of Algabas is well represented on the first and last songs: the title track “Angels And Demons” (05:04) opens the album with demonic bass and keyboards, hammering guitars, and angelical string arrangements, in Russian symphonic style; while the closing track “Express Train” (06:07) uses similar symphonic arrangements and classical guitar solos to build a bombastic Progressive piece of epic proportions. But orthodox Prog-heads will feel frenzy to the sound of “Galilei” (05:47) (a progressive andante driven by epic vintage keyboards and trippy melodic guitars, with Milyaev declaiming lyrics with emotion and reverence); “Walking Around Jerusalem” (05:17) (an amazing instrumental piece for all band members to show their musical skills); and “The Madness Formula” (05:25) (an intense song delivered by theatrical vocals that emphasizes keyboards, recalling both “King Crimson” and “ELP”). Things get gradually harder and heavier on “The White Stone” (05:00) (a groovy Hard-Progressive song loaded with guitar solos, having martial passages with synths in Neo-Prog style) and on the impressive “The War” (06:31) – in spite of its sensitive beginning and delicate interludes, this song has pounding and heavy guitar riffs, spirited vocal performance, and fantastic ‘70s-styled Hard-Rock guitar solos (recalling the best of “Autograph”). Finally, two songs are so complicated, full of twist and turns, and fuse so many styles, that they cannot be easily categorized in a Heavy-Progressive graphic: “Secrets Of The Sky” (05:29) inserts staccato guitar riffs that recall “Metallica” into a fluidal matrix of Funk-Metal bass & drums, having Progressive interludes marked by melodic and romantic guitars themes; and “The Chimney House” (06:00) has the most metamorphic structure, combining many different parts that include Russian music, piano solos, and jazzy saxophones. Definitely, “Angels And Demons” is an outstanding debut album by Algabas – a band that brings the Heavy-Progressive branch under a new focus, retaining a strong link to the Classic Progressive trunk. Algabas is highly recommended for fans of “IQ”, “Pendragon”, “Galahad”, “ELP”, “King Crimson”, “SBB”, “Colosseum”, “East”, “Deluge Grander”, “Anglagard”, “Calliope”, “Autograph”, “Little Tragedies”, “Mind Portal”, “Azazello”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Algabas are: Sergey Milyaev - Vocals, Bass, Music and Lyrics; Ilya Frolov - Keyboards, Guitar, Music; Igor Tarasov - Guitar; Oleg Vasilyev - Drums, Percussion. Special Guests: Anton Andrianov - Guitar (on “Walking Around Jerusalem”, “Secrets Of The Sky”, “The War”); Vladimir Mikhaylov - Guitar (on “Galilei”, “The White Stone”, “The War”, “The Madness Formula”, “The Chimney House”); Albert Pogosyan - Percussion (on “The Madness Formula”); Nikolay Egorov - Saxophone (on “The Chimney House”). Nikolay Gorshkov & Anton Andrianov - Sound Producers. If you want to listem some songs from the band please visit Algabas on bandcamp. Would you like become friend from the band please check their Facebook page...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/10/2014.....................Want to learn everything about this amazing musicians and his project, go to ALGABAS HOME PAGE...
Nodo Gordiano is an Italian Progressive Rock band from Rome that was born in 1994 as a cover band of “King Crimson” and “Genesis”. The early line-up featured Andrea De Luca (bass, vocals), Alessandro Papotto (wind instruments, vocals), Tony Zito (drums), Roberto Proietto (guitars), and Fabio D'Andrea (keyboards). After the departure of keyboardist D’Andrea, the remaining quartet recorded the album “Nodo Gordiano” (1999, Lizard Records) and made live shows with “John Wetton”, playing “King Crimson” covers. In 1998, with the addition to the line-up of Giordano Rossini (vocals, flute) and Roberto Gavazzi (keyboards, piano), the band increased live activities. They played with “Francesco Di Giacomo” and “Rodolfo Maltese” (“Banco del Mutuo Soccorso”); appeared on TV, and attended several rock festivals. But in 1999 A. Papotto and T. Zito departed, putting an end to Nodo Gordiano’s first incarnation. In 2002, bassist Andrea De Luca joined with two experienced musicians - drummer Carlo Fattorini (“Der Blaue Reiter”, “Magog”) and guitarist Fabrizio Santoro (“Magog”, “Oak”) - and founded a second incarnation of Nodo Gordiano. In 2003 this trio had a cover of “King Crimson” (“Lament”) chosen for the compilation “The Letters: An Unconventional Italian Guide to King Crimson” (2004, Mellow Records). In 2004 Santoro left the band, and keyboardist Gianluca Cottarelli came in to take part on the album “Alea” (2005, Mellow Records). In 2007 A. De Luca and C. Fattorini built a studio to record the band’s third album, “Flektogon” (2009, AMS/Vynil Magic), which had participations of Franco Terralavoro (sax, flute) and soprano Silvia Scozzi. In 2013 guitarist Fabrizio Santoro (then playing with “Vu-Meters”) returned to Nodo Gordiano , recomposing the band’s second incarnation and stimulating the trio to record their fourth studio album: “Nous” (March, 2014, BTF\AMS). “Nous” reflects the artistic maturity reached by Nodo Gordiano over the last fifteen years. Besides their experimental compromise and stylistic freedom - typical of Nodo Gordiano’s musical questioning - the album has a sonic resemblance to Italian Progressive Rock of the '70s, merged with a modern straightforward attitude, appealing melodies, and creative arrangements. Sustained on iconic pillars such as “King Crimson”, “Pink Floyd”, and “Genesis”, a long list of Italian bands have also left an influential mark on Nodo Gordiano’s sound: “Panna Fredda”, “Garybaldi”, “Alphataurus” (on their ability to create psychedelic soundscapes and go on trippy journeys); “Area”, “Pholas Dactylus”, “Raccomandata con Ricevuta di Ritorno” (on their tendency to the experimentalism); “Alusa Fallax”, (on the ancient character of the percussion); “Osanna”, “Biglietto per L’Inferno”, “Semiramis” (on the disturbing aggressiveness of the interlocked bass, drums, and guitars); “The Trip”, “Balletto di Bronzo”, “Bloco Mentale”, “Corte dei Miracoli” (on the wild passages of keyboards and synths, on the variety of vintage keyboard textures); “Delirium”, “Acqua Fragile”, “J.E.T.” (on the epic arrangements); “Le Orme” and “PFM” (on the softest and mostly acoustic passages, on some vocals); and “Apoteosi” (on the brief, but important, presence of guest singer Silvia Scozzi). “Nous” features 7 long tracks that emphasize the instrumentation (four of them are totally instrumental). They go, from the first to the last, on a crescendo of Progressiveness, taking the listener to a fantastic journey toward the converging point between the routes of antiquity and the meridians of the future. Nodo Gordiano’s amazing ship departs from “Portonovo” (6:08), a mysterious song driven by acoustic guitars, trippy synths, and sounds of cymbals and percussion that evoke the old tales of the Mediterranean Sea (recalling “Alusa Fallax”). Propelled by windy guitars that recall “King Crimson”, the vessel defeats the tormented and electrified storm clouds of “Aion” (7:26) – an instrumental track introduced by passages of bass like “Pink Floyd”, intervened by distorted guitars that embrace the modernity, forging an impressive Post-Rock structure in the format of “The Black Noodle Project”. The lyrics that declaim the “Apologia del Nolano” (5:47) forecast the echoes of the ancient past that will rise on this aggressive piece with a true Italian Rock style. The instrumental title-track “Nous” (9:53) goes from a lethargic state to a powerful tour-de-force driven by groovy bass, lysergic guitars, and amazing drumming that are delivered with such a density, that only the ultra-psychedelic keyboards prevent them from sinking in the sonic mass. The album nears the apex on “Officina” (5:30) (a majestic song that has complex keyboards that recall early “Genesis”); and reaches the climax on the epic “Arturiana” (8:53) - an instrumental piece that bridges past and present, uniting references of the 70’s Italian Prog to the sound of Heavy-Prog acts like “Porcupine Tree”, also experimenting with gloomy tympani and glockenspiel. The journey ends off the shores of “Stella Maris” (6:12), a profoundly beautiful symphonic piece on which the piano, synths and guitars unite in echoing waves that vanish into Silvia Scozzi’s nostalgic singing. Definitely an impressive and brilliant work, Nodo Gordiano’s “Nous” places the band on the frontline of the present Progressive Rock scene in Italy. Nodo Gordiano is highly recommendable for fans of Progressive Rock with influences of “King Crimson”, “Pink Floyd”, and “Genesis”; and indispensable for all fans of Italian Progressive Rock. Band members and collaborators involved in Nodo Gordiano are: Andrea De Luca – Bass, Guitar, Synthesizers, Sax; Carlo Fattorini – Drums, Percussion, Vibraphone, Glockenspiel; Fabrizio Santoro – Electric Guitar, Synthesizers, Bass. Guest musicians: Silvia Scozzi – Harmony Vocals on “Stella Maris”; Gianluca Cottarelli – Electric Piano on “Stella Maris”; Valerio Di Giovanni – Guitar on “Portonovo”. Album conceived, recorded and mixed by Nodo Gordiano at Officine Nodo Gordiano and mastered by AudioMaster (Milan, Italy)...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/16/2014......................Want to learn everything about the musician and his fantastic band, visit NODO GORDIANO HOME PAGE...
. BRIEG GUERVENO - "Ar Bed Kloz"
Brieg Guerveno is a Breton-language singer, songwriter, and guitarist from Saint-Brieuc – a commune of the Brittany region, located in northwestern France. Guerveno began his solo career in 2006 releasing a folk EP entitled “Seder”, which was acclaimed by Breton artists such as “Alan Stivell”. On tour, he attended festivals like “Brest 2008”, “Pan Celtic” (Ireland), “Dazibao Festival”, “Galicia Fetival”, “Filets Bleus Festival” (Concarneau), and others. In 2011, he released another solo album - “Nozioù Deiou” (distributed by Coop Breizh). In 2012 Brieg Guerveno walked a step further, joining forces with two well-known musicians of the Breton rock scene: Xavier Soulabail (bass) and Joachim Blanchet (drums). The Brieg Guerveno trio then began to revolutionize the Breton music, by releasing the EP “Bleunioù an Distruj” (2012), which was the cornerstone of a so-called Breton-Progressive-Rock style. Their discography includes now a brand new, full-length CD, entitled “Ar Bed Kloz” (“Closed World”) (April 5th, 2014). “Ar Bed Kloz” has 10 songs with lyrics written and sung in Breton language – a distinct component of Guerveno’s music (the album includes translations for English). But Guerveno is not a traditionalist: for him, music should not fit into any special categorization – and any boundaries based on the opposite point of view should be broken, transposed, or abolished completely. His compromise it to keep his Breton cultural heritage alive inside his poetry and lyrics, at the same time combining it with cosmopolitan influences from the external and modern musical world, transforming past in present and old in new. As a modern Arena Rock outfit, Guerveno and friends prepare an eclectic meal - spiced with diverse influences, sonorities and textures - to be devoured with an omnivorous appetite. Everything going from the Breton Folk and Folk Rock of the ‘70s, to the most rebellious Heavy Metal, with long-lasting stops on Classic Rock, Hard-Prog, Progressive Rock, and brief halts on the 80’s Rock and 90’s Post-Rock scenes, find their way onto the new CD (together with influences of “Anathema”, “Radiohead”, “Motörhead”, “Katatonia”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Deep Purple”, and “Dream Theater”). All songs undergo a steady metamorphosis of styles and moods, resulting in unexpected and rewarding surprises. The title track “Ar Bed Kloz” (“Closed World”) (07:34) opens the album combining Guerveno’s tuneful voice with Breton-rooted acoustic guitars, Classic Rock poignant organs, and oriental elements, growing gradually from a Progressive cadence to a Hard-Prog pace, recalling “Led Zeppelin” and “Deep Purple”, but being summited with a soaring guitar solo. The listener will feel more firepower and energy coming from the heaviest tracks, flooded with dense Heavy Metal contents: “Al Liver” (“The Painter”) (05:31) is an impressive Hard-Rock with swinging guitars and sticky chorus that grow to a full-fledged Prog-Metal, delivered with Breton accented violins. “Traoñ an Hent” (“End of The Road”) (04:25) is aggressive, propelled by ‘70-styled gritty organs; and “Den Ne Oar” (“Nobody Knows”) (07:48) intercalates rocky grooves and melodic vocals with guitar riffs that recall “Judas Priest”, as the leading guitar solo takes the listener to a surprising instrumental segment driven by tense Prog-Metal bass that recalls “Dream Theater”. But Guerveno and friends expose their point of view - that no culture can survive isolated, and that diversity is the solution for hazards of a globalized world – offering different tracks that have unexpected references: “Dianket” (“Relief”) (04:03), driven by bass and electronic sounds, has the pragmatic simplicity of the Post-Punk sound of the 80’s, delivered with a punch that recalls “Bauhaus”, “Killing Joke”, or “New Model Army”; while “Divent” (“Unbound”) (04:21) and “Bev Out Atav” (“You Are Still Alive”) (05:35) respectively hybridize Alternative Rock beats like “Radiohead” and Breton native tunes with Post-Rock codas in the format of “God is an Astronaut” and “Sigur Rós”. Ballads are also highlights on this album. Especially tailored for the Neo-Progressive audience, “Skornet” (“Frozen”) (05:08) is eerie and beautiful, featuring string arrangements for cello and violins. Tending to the melancholy and introspectiveness, “Ar Spilhenn” (“The Niddle”) (03:25) is an acoustic-guitar ballad with airy backing vocals, half “Nick Drake”, half “Pink Floyd”; while “Dor 911” (“Door 911”) (06:16) sounds more traditional, having nostalgic accordions, atmospheric pianos, angelical choirs, and emotional vocals. Really a great and outstanding album, containing diversity and surprises, Brieg Guerveno’s “Ar Bed Kloz” is highly recommended for fans of Folk-oriented Progressive Rock, ‘70s Classic Rock & Hard-Rock, Prog-Metal, and Post-Rock, especially if they have an interest for languages. Band members and collaborators involved in Brieg Guerveno are: Brieg Guerveno - Vocals, Guitars, Songwriting; Xavier Soulabail – Bass, Additional Guitars, Backing Vocals; Joachim Blanchet - Drums, Keyboards, Backing Vocals (“Dor 911”). Guests musicians: Yann Le Corre – Accordion (“Door 911”); Yoann an Nedeleg – Uillean Pipe (“Bev Out Atav”); Etienne Tabourie – Violins & Alto (“Skornet” & “Al Liver”); Bahia El Bacha – Cello (“Skornet” & “Al Liver”). Recorded by Yan Soulabail (Studio du Faune) & Joachim Blanchet (Home Studio); Engineered by Yan Soulabail (Home Studio), Breizh; Mastered by Tony Lindgren at Fascination Street (Örebro, Sweden). Olof Petursdottir – English Translation. Art work designed by Owen Poho. Produced by Brieg Guerveno...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/16/2014....................,.....Interested to know more about the Musician and his project? Visit BRIEG GUERVENO HOME PAGE...
. SEASONS OF TIME - "Closed Doors to Open Plains"
Seasons of Time is an Art Rock & Progressive Rock band from Germany. The band was formed in October 1993 when five musicians from Bremerhaven joined together to play music mostly inspired on “Marillion”, “Pink Floyd”, and “Genesis”. Their goal was to keep their music honest and true, ever following the Art Rock style of late ‘70s to early ‘80s, without adhering to any new musical trend or fashion. In November of 1997 Seasons of Time released their self-produced debut album, called “Behind the Mirror” – a concept album telling a macabre story of a mother, who murdered her own children because of a new love affair. In 2010, after the departure of some musicians, Seasons of Time dissolved. Bassist/keyboardist and founder member Dirk Berger remained in the band and kept Seasons of Time alive as a studio project. In 2011, vocalist, keyboardist, and guitarist Malte Twarloh (who had played on Seasons of Time from 1997 to 2005) returned to the band, and the line-up was completed with Marco Grühn (drums) and Florian Wenzel (guitars). So, after 17 years, Seasons of Time could record and release their second album, which was entitled “Closed Doors to Open Plains” (February 2014, Progressive Promotion Records). “Closed Doors to Open Plains” is a concept album inspired by a Charles Chaplin’s statement: “Greed has poisoned men’s souls”.  The new album explores the power that “greed” has in our lives, how it influences our daily decisions, even against our own will; and how it pushes us in an irrational effort to reach for more. Concerning the music, the sound of Seasons of Time is a combination of the Neo-Prog sonorities of “Marillion” (“Hoggarth” era) and late “Genesis” (“Phil Collins” era), mainly on keyboards, with the introspective moods and psychedelic ambiences of late “Pink Floyd” (with vocals that recall “Bob Geldof”, of the album “The Wall”); being also reminiscent of “Porcupine Tree”, “RPWL”, and even “Eloy”, on the soaring guitars and hypnotic passages of bass. Sometimes the instrumentation grows heavier and more powerful, including some Space-Metal riffs that recall the sound of “Muse” and “Ayreon”. “Closed Doors to Open Plains” features 16 tracks. After the “Floydian” hypnotic sounds of the instrumental intro “An Overture in my Head” (3:21), the tracks that called my attention – not in their exact order of appearance on the record – were: the trio of songs made of “Expectations I” (2:39), “Expectations II” (4:50), and “Expectations III” (1:54) (having Space-Metal guitar riffs with a Spanish touch that bring to mind the sound of “Muse” and “Ayreon”, with “I” having dramatic piano and vocals; “II” unfolding in layers of electronic and ambient sounds; and “III” being more “Floydian” on vocals); the galloping song “Fuzz & Buzz” (2:52) (also recalling “Muse” and “Ayreon”); and the Neo-Progressive song “Someone” (4:08) (which combines heavy guitars with synths in the style of “Marillion”) and its instrumental complementary “Bite the Bullet” (3:40) (an accelerated piece driven by vibrant drumming, with keyboards and guitars reminiscent of “Genesis”). The album has also a number of ballads: “Closing Doors” (4:22) is a typical “Pink Floyd” psychedelic blues-ballad, including the “Gilmour”-like guitar solo; while “There are Times” (2:22) combines that “Pink Floyd” bittersweet melancholy with poignant piano and beautiful symphonic background, merging into the epic “Ignorance” (4:30), crowned with great synth solo and soaring guitars that enter the domains of “Porcupine Tree” and “RPWL”. Also influenced by “Pink Floyd”, “Porcupine Tree”, and “RPWL” – so presenting trippy synths, introspective moods, psychedelic ambiences, and electronic sounds – there is a group of instrumental tracks: “The Station at the Border of the Mind” (5:29) is the very best, driven by slow pulsing bass and having a long and elaborated guitar solo; while the soaring “Burning Bridges I” (2:28) and the somber “Burning Bridges II” (1:19) make a contrasting pair. The later introduces the last great track of the album, “Wide Open Plains” (10:21), a Neo-Prog song delivered with a hopeful feeling that contrasts with the somber moods of the previous songs, being stretched out by a bombastic instrumental sequence. The album still offers the rocky songs “A Step Ahead Behind” (3:19) and “You’re Not Needed Anymore” (4:28) – with a 90’s sound that recalls “Radiohead”. Although Seasons of Time may not sound as much original nowadays as they might have been in the 90’s, their work on “Closing Doors to Open Plains” is solid and promising, and their very good instrumental passages make them especially recommended for fans of bands such as “Marillion”, “Genesis”, “Pink Floyd”, “Porcupine Tree”, “RPWL”, “Airbag”, “Muse”, “Ayreon”, “Riverside”, “Eloy”, “Enchant”, “Sieges Even”, “IQ”, “Galahad”, and others of the kind. Band members and collaborators involved in Seasons of Time are: Dirk Berger - Bass, Keyboards, additional Guitars and Vocals; Malte Twarloh (of “K-ly Bell”) - Vocals, Guitars, additional Keyboards; Florian Wenzel - Guitars; Marco Grühn - Drums. Guest Musicians: Kelly Bell (of “K-ly-Bell”) – Additional Voice; Pete Harrison - Horns (on “There are Times”). Music & Lyrics by Seasons of Time; Produced by Seasons of Time; Recorded at The Circle; Engineered & Mixed by Dirk Berger. Additional recordings at The Stupes & The Bedroom; Mastered by Denis Blackham at Syke Mastering; Cover photos by Dirk Berger; Artwork by Kai Perkuhn & Dirk Berger. Ex-members: Willie C. Kimbrough (Vocals) 1993-1997; Thorsten Klein (Guitars) 1993-1995; Lars Ebsen (Drums) 1993-1996; Andreas Meyer (Keyboards) 1993-1997; Stephan Dinter (Guitars) 1995-1997; Erik Pilger (Drums) 1996-1997; Bert Müller (Drums) 1997-2010; Matthias Müller (Guitars) 1997-2001; Jürgen Ludewig (Guitars) 2001-2010; Frank Brusius (Keyboards) 2001-2010; Andreas Hoffmann (Vocals) 2006-2010...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/30/2014.................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit SEASONS OF TIME HOME PAGE...
. IAN ANDERSON - "Homo Erraticus"
Ian Anderson – the mad-piper and iconic front-man of legendary band “Jethro Tull” – is cordially welcomed at PR&PM webzine!  With an active musical career that spans from the late ‘60s to the 21st century, the name of Ian Anderson became in practice a synonym of “Jethro Tull”. Perhaps to be respectful to other musicians who are no longer in “Tull” (such as life-long friend Martin Barre), Anderson feels himself more comfortable using his name as a solo artist than using the legendary moniker. In 2012 Ian Anderson released “Thick As A Brick 2”, the follow-up to one of “Tull’s” most praised works. The original “Thick As A Brick” (1972) was a concept album based on the poem of a disgraced child prodigy called Gerald Bostock (an intellectual persona created by Anderson). As years passed by, the Bostock character remained dormant inside Anderson’s mind, until he was finally resurrected for a new “partnership”. By using lyrics supposedly written by Bostock - on which he metaphorically scrutinized the key events of British history, found a parallel with modern life, and projected some prophecies for the future - Anderson came up with 14 songs. These were reunited on a studio album, entitled “Homo Erraticus”, and released in April 2014 on Calliandra Records, in conjunction with Kscope. “Homo Erraticus” is available in several formats (CD Jewel Case; 2CD + 2DVD-V Hardback Book or Media Book; Double Vinyl), and features: Ian Anderson (flute, vocals, strings), Florian Opahle (guitars), John O’Hara (piano, keyboards, accordion), David Goodier (bass), Scott Hammond (drums), and Ryan O’Donnell (vocals, stage antics). “Homo Erraticus” is composed of 15 tracks, divided in three parts. “Part One: Chronicles” is the longest. Developed in 8 tracks, it evokes the sonority of “Jethro Tull’s” classic albums released along the ‘70s, from “Thick as a Brick” and “A Passion Play” to “Heavy Horses”, featuring an equivalent Progressive format. “Doggerland” (4:19) begins with Anderson’s unmistakable flute signature. His distinguishing voice underpins the lyrical content of the songs, arising wise observations about modern life, and making acid critics to it. The instrumentation that follows him has a typical vintage “Tull” sonority: guitarist Florian Opahle has absorbed much of Martin Barre’s style on guitars; and John O’Hara deals with an arsenal of keyboards that go from harpsichords to gritty Hammonds. Bassist David Goodier and drummer Scott Hammond dominate all the rhythmic mosaic of standard Prog-Rock, past and present alike. “Chronicles” progresses with “Heavy Metals” (1:32), which is a Medieval ballad for lute and bard vocals (like “Minstrel in the Gallery”); and “Enter The Uninvited” (4:12), marked by somber flutes, martial pace, and lyrics listing names of icons of the media. “Puer Ferox Adventus” (7:11) is a highlight of the album – a beautiful song that begins with a Celtic chanting and follows on with outstanding vocal tunes. The instruments are added one by one, each sonic wave bringing an emotive burden deeper than the previous, to be all released on the cathartic final segment crowned with insane flute solo. “Meliora Sequamur” (3:34) is magical and eerie, like an old praising song of the Round Table, but guitars launch it to the rocky modernity of “The Turnpike Inn” (3:06). “The Engineer” (3:12) celebrates the power of the British Empire with epic tones, merging with “The Pax Britannica” (3:05), which is the climax and conclusion of this wonderful Prog-Piece. “Part Two: Prophecies” comprises 3 tracks that recall “Tull’s” albums of late ‘80s to ‘90s (the best of “Crest of a Knave” and “Roots to Branches”). “Tripudium Ad Bellum” (2:50) is an impressive instrumental piece energized with guitars, keyboards, bass and drums, all led by Anderson’s flute, which brings a cosmopolitan accent – a consequence of his wanderings around the world, and his approach to other forms of music (such as the Asiatic). “After These Wars” (4:29) is a beautiful ballad, with long lyrics and a melodic rock guitar solo in non-“Barre” style, that ends in the softness of “New Blood, Old Veins” (2:32). “Part Three: Revelations” is composed of 4 tracks that recycle the musical themes of “Part One”, by adding lively rocky rhythms and synths to them and approaching “Tull’s” sonorities of 1979-1982 albums, such as “Stormwatch” and “Broadsword and the Beast”. “In For A Pound” (0:37) is a continuation of “Heavy Metals”; while “The Browning of the Green” (4:05) makes reference to “Doggerland”. The poetic speech on “Per Errationes Ad Astra” (1:34) brings revelations for the future of mankind, having its sonic conclusion on “Cold Dead Reckoning” (5:27), which remodels “Enter the Uninvited” with somber and more futuristic tones, epic inspiration, and vigorous instrumentation, reaching the apex on duels of synths against flutes, intervened by heavy guitars supported by martial bass and drums. “Homo Erraticus” is a great release that matches the best of the Ian Anderson/Jethro Tull career – centered on the figure of the Bostock persona and performed by excellent musicians that have been sensitive enough to grasp the true musical spirit of Jethro Tull. “Homo Erraticus” is a must-have item for all fans of Jethro Tull around the world; and indispensable for fans of Old-School Progressive Rock. Ian Anderson & Band are embarking on an extensive tour around the UK, Europe, America, and more, on which they will play the entire album followed by a selection of “Jethro Tull” classics. Not to be missed! Band members and collaborators involved in Ian Anderson are: Ian Anderson - Flute, Guitar, Bouzouki, Mandolin, Harmonica, Vocals; David Goodier - Bass Guitar and Double Bass; John O’Hara - Orchestral conductor, Piano, Keyboards and Accordion; Florian Opahle – Guitar; Scott Hammond - Drums and Percussion; Ryan O’Donnell - Vocals and Stage Antics...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/30/2014..............................................,For more details and in the meantime please check out IAN ANDERSON HOME PAGE...
. LANTINOR - "Ensign of Fairies – Book 1"
Lantinor is a Russian Art-Rock group that formed in the city of Barnaul in 1992. Lantinor had many line-ups during its existence, but musicians always gravitated around main composer Alexander Kaminsky (guitars, vocals). Initially a Hard-Rock act, the music of Lantinor evolved continuously by means of a creative process that allowed total freedom of experimentation, until it was eventually transformed into a blend of Russian & British Folk-Medieval Rock and Progressive Rock, with the eclectic addition of other styles, such as Psychedelic Rock, Hard Rock, Alternative Rock, Art-Punk, and even what has been dubbed “Russian Rock”. The lyrics – in Russian – are inspired in poetry and literature. They sometimes tell tales about the fantasy land of “Lantinor”, which metaphorically represents the real world, having a parallel to the works of “Tolkien”. The first line-up of Lantinor released a non-official debut album called “Chronicles of Lantinor - 1st Era” (1996), but disbanded shortly after. Band leader A. Kaminsky and original guitarist Fedor Golev continued to write music. In 2001, Kaminsky began a cooperation with multi-instrumentalist and programmer Alexander Kureevym, and flutist Anton Telkova, that resulted in the albums: “Tales of the Forest” (2001); “Chronicles of Lantinor - 2nd Era” (2004); “Symphony of the Nine Planets” (2004); and “Comrade” (2005), which was acclaimed for having social and political lyrics. In 2005 Kaminsky gathered some musicians around him for a period of live concerts that lasted two years. In 2008 some of those musicians participated on a new studio album, entitled “Book of Spells” (2008). This album marked the return of Kaminsky to the “Lantinor” fantasy themes, and featured compositions made of complex arrangements that tended to the Art-Rock style. Lantinor ceased live activities to concentrate on writing material for future albums. The first of the new series was “Last Wonder of the World” (2009), with guest appearance of vocalist Dmitry Malyshkin. The second is “Ensign of Fairies - Book 1” (2013, MALS Records, Russia), which became the band's first album released by a Russian label having worldwide distribution. “Ensign of Fairies - Book 1” is a concept album that represents the first part of a double opus, with lyrics narrating the collapse of an utopic super-spiritual empire, inspired on the books of Ivan Efremov. The line-up features Alexander Kaminsky (guitar, vocals, music, and lyrics), Dmitry Miroshnichenko (bass), Alina Bulat (vocals), and Anton Telkov (strings, percussion). “Ensign of Fairies – Book 1” is mainly a guitar-oriented Progressive Rock album with an eclectic and balanced blend of elements of Hard Rock, Folk-Rock, Medieval Rock, Canterbury Sound, and Alternative Rock – with mutating arrangements, melodic and subtle tunes, and alternation of vigorous moments with psychedelic sonorities that approach the standards of ‘70’s Progressive Rock. In spite of that, the music of Lantinor is pretty original, and not referable to any specific iconic Prog band. A slightly resemblance of sound is noted in relation to “Jethro Tull”, "Steve Hillage”, “Caravan”, “Hatfield and the North”, “Gryphon”, “Gentle Giant”, “Can”, “Wishbone Ash”, “Steve Howe”, “Steve Hackett”, “Pink Floyd”, “Cream”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Rush”, “Finch”, early “Rush”, “Mark Knopfler”, and even “Iron Maiden”; bands which might have left a musical imprint on Kaminsky. The album features 5 tracks: 4 longs, belonging to the “Ensign of Fairies” suite (parts 1 to 4) plus a short central track, entitled “Jerica” (4:45) - an outstanding adaptation, for guitars and vocals, of a traditional medieval piece (as was “Ethelion”, by “Gryphon”). The main piece, “Ensign of Fairies”, opens the album with “Part 1: At the Dawn of the World” (9:18), which is an example of the eclectic hungry of Lantinor. The initial guitars are clean and soft, but soon some riffs that recall “Rush” come in, followed riffs that recall “Iron Maiden”, vanishing into psychedelic sounds, eerie clouds, and clean guitars like “Knopfler”. “Part 2: The Golden Age” (15:05) is a Folk-Medieval piece that recalls the string instrumentation of “Jethro Tull”, “Camel”, “Gryphon”, and “Gentle Giant”, spiced with the vivid sound of “Caravan”, “Hillage”, and “Hatfield and the North”. The middle part has amazing female vocals, and the last part has psychedelic ambiences and hard-rock guitar solos. “Part 3: At the Verge of Epochs” (21:27), for being the longest, is also the most complex, and contains many musical references, old and new. It is like a patchwork, from which each patch could be developed into a complete song. The different vocal parts (sometimes like 80’s Alternative & Gothic Rock) alternate with instrumental parts that are either reminiscent of the 70’s Rock, or driven by heavy riffs, all adorned with guitar solos played in different styles (Blues to Hard Rock, Prog to Metal). “Part 4: Thus the Ensign Fell” (8:37) is mainly a Classic-Rock song that offers long and rocking solos of guitar. “Ensign of Fairies – Book 1” is a solid and original album, performed by great musicians, and overabundant in guitar timbres and styles. The second part of “Ensign …” is already written and is currently waiting for release. For now, Lantinor is a very interesting band to be explored, being highly recommendable for fans of Guitar-Oriented Progressive Rock, Folk-Rock, and Classic Rock who have a preference for “Steve Hillage”, “Caravan”, “Hatfield and the North”, “Steve Howe”, “Cream”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Rush”, “Finch”, “Wishbone Ash”, “Jadis”, “Mark Knopfler”. Band members and collaborators involved in Lantinor are: Alexander Kaminsky - Guitars, Vocals; Anton Telkov - String Instruments, Percussion; Alina Bulat - Vocals; Dmitry Miroshnichenko - Bass. Former members and contributors: Fedor Golev – Lead Guitar; Gennady Samarin – Bass; Stas Voronkov – Keyboards; Vladimir Malishkin - Drums. 2001-2005 Studio Line-up: Alexander Kureevym - Multi-instrumentalist, Programmer; Anton Telkova – Flute; with contributions of Fedor Golev – Guitars & Compositions. Live Line-up 2005-2007: Alex Lukashin - Bass; Eugene Kulick - Drums; Maxim Chaldaeva - Guitars; Anton Telkov - Flute; Kate Zlobina - Vocals (2007); Sergey Krotov - Flute (2007). Female Singers on the album “Book of Spells” (2008): Katie Zlobina; Alina Bulat; Natalia Voluyskih...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/30/2014................................Want to learn everything about the band and their music, you need to visit LANTINOR HOME PAGE...
. RANDOM TOUCH - "A True Conductor Wears a Man"
Random Touch is an Experimental Multi-Media group from Illinois that shoots live performances, creates music CDs, DVDs, and soundtracks for film and television. The line-up has Christopher Brown (drums, percussion, vocals, readymade instruments), James Day (keyboards, synths), Scott Hamill (guitars, banjo, mandolin), and Matthew Ebbing (video cameras). Their music happens by “accident”, by employment of both traditional and readymade instruments. Random Touch is also “Road-Noise”: a music concept originated inside the automobile. Active since the ‘70s, Random Touch has accumulated an extensive independent discography: “Unautomate” (1999), “Places We Go” (Double CD, 2001), “Hammering on Moonlight” (2002), “A Parade of Dusty Hobos” (2003), “The You Tomorrow” (CD/DVD, 2004), “The Elegance of Falling” (2005), “Alchemy” (CD/DVD, 2007), “A True Conductor Wears a Man” (2007), “Duologue” (2008), “A Box and a Word” (2008), “Turbulent Flesh” (Vinyl LP, 2009), “A Way From the Heard” (2009), “Through the Lens of the Other Dimension” (2010), “Reverberating Apparatus” (2010), “Tributary” (Double CD, 2011), and “Flock” (2012). The album under focus herein has the title of “A True Conductor Wears a Man” (2007, Token Boy Records) and represents their “music” style very well. The members of Random Touch are like noise-chasers, texture-hunters, and sound-researchers: their music is a collage of wavy sounds, noises, blips, hums, echoes, crashes, and resonances – which are all combined in the form of “organized chaos with unpredictable outcomes”. They follow the lessons of “Edgar Varèse”, “John Cage”, “Henry Cowell”, and “John Zorn”, and make a parallel to the most experimental side of “King Crimson”, “Robert Fripp”, “Brian Eno”, “Pink Floyd”, “Art Zoyd”, “Frank Zappa”, “The Residents”, “Captain Beefheart”, “Henry Cow”, guitarists “Fred Frith” and “Keith Rowe”, drummer “Chris Cutler”, singer “Demetrio Stratos”, the 70’s Krautrock movement, and “Neptune” (not the Extreme Metal band, but an experimental act that makes their own instruments). “A True Conductor Wears a Man” (2007) has 14 tracks that make experiments with diverse sound combinations. The weird intro “Silk Sheets, the Weight of Bodies Sliding” (1:24) is followed by “The Giant Took a Liking to Jack” (4:34), which combines outer-planetary talk with a soundtrack that grows in “Zappa”-like scale. “A Slow March Becomes a Flight” (3:20) is a quasi-song on which “Robert Fripp’s” accented guitars meet Broadway jazzy pianos. “Skipping” (4:54) is ambient and cosmic (like “Eno”) and “Something Worth Waiting For” (2:28) has robotic vocal poetry. Two tracks reminded me of the expressionism of “Art Zoyd”: “Plainclothesman Tuesday” (2:02), which is an icy-piano solo with a rhythmic support; and “Shelter” (5:49), which is full of gloomy fuzzy guitars that echo against sea waves, lighthouse horns, bird sounds, and that grows later with drums. The title track “A True Conductor Wears a Man” (2:12) is a good piece of music on which cascading pianos are mixed to sounds of the woods, resulting in relaxing effects; while the slightly organized “Getting Ready” (2:43) is a Prog-piece full of windy-synths and guitar distortions. “Mixed Up With Who?” (4:25) is a symphony for backward-guitar solo accompanied by vocal modulations, humming insects, bells, chimes, and tin-cans. The transcendental “Illumination of the Flesh” (3:45) unites the vocal experimentalism of “Demetrio Stratos” with the electronic style of “Eno”. “Naked Feet in the Dark” (4:59) go chasing echoing sounds in the howling darkness; and “All the While” (5:15) is a frightening piece that combines anguished cries with ghostly sounds and the noise of falling water drops, evoking the image of a lunatic imprisoned in a sanatorium cell. And “Exponentially” (6:29) is noisy and chaotic, and runs propelled by percussion, pulsing sounds, and bubbles, toward a kind of climax. With their idiosyncratic and “at random” process of music-making, Random Touch is not a band to be listened to, being rather a provocative band that instigates the listener to search and explore all possibilities of Music – hidden and yet to be discovered. Random Touch and their work are recommended for Experimental and Avant-garde musicians, sound effects technicians, and composers of soundtracks for weird and futuristic documentaries, who have interested in the work of “Edgar Varèse”, “John Cage”, “Henry Cowell”, “John Zorn”, “King Crimson”, “Robert Fripp”, “Brian Eno”, “Pink Floyd”, “Art Zoyd”, “Frank Zappa”, “The Residents”, “Captain Beefheart”, “Henry Cow”, “Fred Frith”, “Keith Rowe”, “Chris Cutler”, “Demetrio Stratos”, the 70’s Krautrock movement, and “Neptune”. Band members and collaborators involved in Random Touch are: Christopher Brown – Drums, Percussion, Vocals with TC Electronics’ Firework, Readymades; James Day – Kurzweil K2500, Alesis QS8; Scott Hamill – Fender Telecaster with John Bardon pickups, Banjo, Laptop Slide Guitar, Mandolin; Matthew Ebbing - Video Cameras...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
07/13/2014.......................................Want to learn everything about the band and its members? RANDOM TOUCH HOME PAGE...
Everybody Used To Call Me Joe is a Swedish band that started out as a trio in December 2002, rehearsing in a basement in Linköping. As soon as Markus (vocals), Andreas (guitar), and Peter (drums) were joined by Axel (keyboards, harmonica, and trumpet) and David (bass), they decided to form Everybody Used To Call Me Joe. The moniker is a good description of the band: five regular and everyday “Joes” who were striving with the ambition to be something else in the musical scene. Everybody Used To Call Me Joe concentrates on writing and playing music that they would like to listen to. This means generally Rock, Hard Rock, Folk Rock and Alternative Rock kinds of music, packed in a song format and wrapped on the sonorities of the ‘90s. The band’s first songs came along naturally and were recorded on a live demo, which was later released on CD under Statue Records. After having received e-mails from all over the world containing positive feedback about the first CD, Everybody Used To Call Me Joe decided to start a new project: a full length album entitled “Arise”. By spring 2004, with about 20 new songs written, the band tried out connections with producers and labels that could be interested on the “Arise” project; but eventually band members decided to work on their own. They recorded all songs over a two-week period in June 2004 at GUJA Sound Studio and "Arise” (2004, Just Joe Records) was released independently. “Arise” contains 13 songs. They are a mix of plain Rock, Hard Rock, Folk Rock and Alternative Rock music with influences of “Led Zeppelin”, “Black Crowes”, “Pearl Jam”, “Alice in Chains”, “Soundgarden”, “Radiohead”, “Coldplay”, “The Decemberists”, and “The Tea Party”. The songs are never heavy or aggressive, being rather melodic and dominated by a bittersweet mood; have an acoustic background and recall American Folk-Rock songs. The highlights are the vocals of Markus – an emotional singer that reminds me of “Eddie Vedder” – and the bass lines of David that engage perfectly with some Alternative Rock drumming. For fans of the mildest rootsy-rock side of bands like “Pearl Jam”, “Black Crowes”, “Alice In Chains” and “Led Zeppelin”, the song “Nightcall #12” (2:30) (a lively and energetic Rock), is a good choice to open the album. It is followed by some songs that I have as favorites. “Launch Pad” (3:41), an Alternative Rock with Oriental sounds recalled me of “The Tea Party”; “Hold 'em” (7:52) is a beautiful and emotional blues-ballad driven by nostalgic harmonica and later by trumpet. Still irradiating a rocky energy, “Insect” (4:23) is a mix of Alternative and Hard Rock grooves driven by the sound of an organ that grows on the guitar solo; and “Breathe” (3:42) has Southern Rock moments and tribal drums, recalling “Pearl Jam”. “Turning Point” (4:03) is a cool Fusion song that runs softly and groovy. The other tracks are ballads or soft rock songs. Some will be appreciated by fans of “Radiohead”, “Coldplay”, and other alternative bands, as for the title track “Arise” (4:00), the chic “Mr Man” (4:20), and the romantic piano ballad with melancholic vocals “Here You Are So Am I” (6:14). Other tracks come in a more American Folk-Rock style, like the harmonica-driven “Storm” (3:00) (reminiscent of “The Decemberists”); and “City Sleep” (4:12). But the best ballads are the acoustic “Back As King” (4:00) and 13 “Father” (5:14), both with introspective vocals that recall “Roy Harper”. Everybody Used To Call Me Joe is not a Progressive act, but their album is solid, bringing an honest sample of their favorite Hard Rock, Folk Rock and Alternative Rock standards. Everybody Used To Call Me Joe never released a follow-up to “Arise”, and the band seems to have ceased activities afterwards. For now, their album is specially recommended for fans of the softest side of bands like “Led Zeppelin”, “Black Crowes”, “Pearl Jam”, “Soundgarden”, “Alice in Chains”, “Radiohead”, “Coldplay”, “Pulp”, “The Decemberists”, and “Roy Harper”. Band members and collaborators involved in Everybody Used To Call Me Joe are: Markus – Vocals; Andreas – Guitar; Axel – Keyboards, Harmonica, Trumpet; David – Bass; Peter – Drums. All songs recorded in June 2004 at GUJA Sound Studio Produced by Everybody Used to Call Me Joe...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
07/13/2014............................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit EVERYBODY USED TO CALL ME JOE HOME PAGE...
. 25 YARD SCREAMER - "Something That Serves To Warn or Remind"
25 Yard Screamer is a Progressive Rock & Progressive Metal trio from Carmarthen, South Wales (UK). The band was formed in 2002 by Nick James (guitars, vocals, keyboards), Matt Clarke (bass), and Donal Owen (drums), to play music influenced by bands such as “Rush”, “Marillion”, “Yes”, “King Crimson”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Steven Wilson”, “Dream Theater”, “Anthrax”, “The Mars Volta”, “Opeth”, and “Meshuggah”. 25 Yard Screamer released the albums “The Picture Within” (2003); “Approaching from an Oblique Angle” (2004); and “Cassandra” (2007). “Cassandra” received positive reviews from specialized magazines and gave visibility to the band in the Prog-Rock circles, amplified later with the release of “Until All Are One” (2011). After the release of “Until All …”, 25 Yard Screamer felt a need for expanding their sound, and invited Tom Bennett (keyboards, orchestration) to join the line-up. As a quartet, 25 Yard Screamer recorded a new concept album, entitled “Something That Serves To Warn Or Remind” (November 2013, White Knight Records). Presented as a 6-page digipack album, “Something …” features photographic artwork by Brazilian Jefferson Ramos, and has 10 tracks. The new sound of 25 Yard Screamer became less aggressive than on the previous albums, offering few moments of violent Thrash and Prog-Metal, and tending more to the Heavy-Prog and Neo-Prog, approaching the sonority of bands such as “Porcupine Tree”, “Steven Wilson”, “Marillion” (“Hogarth” Era), “RPWL”, “Sigur Rós” and “Airbag”. The songs are often permeated by melancholic moods, irradiated from introspective and melodic vocals tunes. Bass and drums drift accordingly, matching the emotional burden of the songs, followed by symphonic and ambient arrangements provided by keyboards and effects. The guitars are melodic, even when they come with the energy of Prog-Metal, but sometimes they soar softly in Neo-Prog style. The songs avoid excessive twists and turns, rather running straightforward, albeit in a true Progressive pace that generally leads to a bombastic climax or to an inspired guitar solo. The initial twin tracks “The Lost Outside / Welcome In Here” (05:02) make a promising instrumental intro, with the first part recalling the ambient sound of “Sigur Rós”, and the second part being a melodic Progressive Rock. They are followed by “The Ritual” (05:22) – the first Prog-Metal song of this album, driven by pounding drumming and progressions of guitar riffs that recall bands like “Fates Warning” (with “Ray Alder”), “Redemption”, “Enchant”, “OSI”, and “Dream Theater”, with occasional soaring parts like “Marillion”. Nearing the end of the album, there is another full-fledged Prog-Metal track - “The Empty Ship” (06:30) - which has the same influences, being crowned with a sequence of great guitar solos (the last one having epic proportions). Those two songs stand at the same level of 25 Yard Screamer’s epic “Blacklight” (from album “Cassandra”). In between, the only track to have an equivalent Rocky energy is “The Journey” (07:03), a Prog-Rock that runs fast, having some influences of “Marillion” and especially “Rush” (post “Moving Pictures”), being adorned with a stylish guitar solo. The remaining tracks forming the core of “Something That …” are all Progressive ballads. Delivered in melancholic and emotional tones, they are the best tracks of the album, being crafted in the style of Progressive acts such as “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “RPWL”, “Marillion”, and “Airbag”, containing few moments reminiscent of the psychedelic sounds of “Dream Theater”, or punctual guitar riffs in the style of “Fates Warning”. The pianos and soaring guitars of “Wilderness” (01:58) are chained to “Always There” (07:30), which is initially driven by acoustic guitars, with the bass coming later. The middle of this song is dominated by atmospheric keyboards and anguished vocals that explode in a final guitar solo (just like “Porcupine Tree” and “Riverside” usually do). In the same line, “Lost In A Green And Blue Sky” (09:00) has more lively moods and bass lines that recall “Rush” and “Dream Theater”, and vocals like “Marillion” (“Hogarth”) that descend to deep introspectiveness, before the final instrumental catharsis. But the very best Progressive ballads are: “Home Is Not Home” (06:12) (which has cool sad vocals opposed to a symphonic background and delicate clean guitars in duo with a piano) and “Just Myself And These Keys” (09:15), which is an epic Neo-Prog song in the style of “Marillion” and “RPWL” that grows in a Progressive way, propelled by great vocal tunes and dramatic instrumentation, until reaching the bombastic climax. Although not shining with originality, “Something That Serves to Warn of Remind” is a nice album by 25 Yard Screamer, being especially recommended for fans of “Porcupine Tree”, “Steven Wilson”, “Marillion” (“Hogarth” Era), “Rush”, “RPWL”, “Airbag”, “Sigur Rós”, “Fates Warning” (“Ray Alder” Era), “Redemption”, “Enchant”, and “OSI”. Band members and collaborators involved in 25 Yard Screamer are: Nick James – Guitars, Vocals, Keyboards; Matt Clarke – Bass; Donal Owen – Drums; Tom Bennett – Keyboards and Orchestration. All music by Clarke/James/Owen; arranged by Bennett. Album Recorded at 2112 Studios, Pontyberem (South Wales), Aug.2012 – Jun.2013; Produced & Mastered by Nick James. Album cover photo by Jefferson Ramos (São Paulo, Brazil)...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
07/13/2014...............................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit 25 YARD SCREAMER HOME PAGE...
. THE DUTCH WOODSTOCK - "26-27-28 June 1970 - Rotterdam"
The Kralingen Music Festival (a.k.a. the Holland Pop) was a legendary three-day musical festival that happened in the Netherlands in 1970. Held from 26 to 28 June at the Klalingse Bos (Kralingse Forest) in Rotterdam, it was one of the most successful of the first generation of European rock festivals, and it has been regarded as an answer to the Woodstock festival, which happened less than a year before. Also featuring a stellar cast of bands – including several of the most important British and American Rock acts of the time – and with more than 100.000 attendees – this historical musical event was therefore referred as The Dutch Woodstock. The festival was filmed for a movie (usually known as “Stamping Ground”), but great part of the music that had been recorded did never appear on film, and remained unavailable for listeners. This priceless Rock treasure finally became available on “The Dutch Woodstock – 1970”: a 1DVD + 2CD box, released on May 2013 by Gonzo Multimedia. The box contains both on-stage footage and audio recording from artists such as “Pink Floyd”, “Soft Machine”, “Santana”, “Jefferson Airplane”, “Quintessence”, “Al Stewart”, “Canned Heat”, “Country Joe”, “T. Rex”, “Dr. John”, “It’s A Beautiful Day”, “Family”, “The Byrds”, and “The Flock”; and audio recordings of “East of Eden” and the Dutch bands “Cuby & The Blizzards” and “Livin’ Blues”. The DVD images showing people spread around the stage, seated on the mud, either smoking suspicious cigarettes or acting weird, make a true picture of the culture of the time – justifying this festival being named The Dutch Woodstock. The resemblance is undeniable, also because of the importance of artists that performed in the festival (not all of them were recorded for posterity). The DVD opens with “Santana” performing “Gumbo” by night, but retrocedes to the daylight, showing a young and pre-“Year of the Cat” - “Al Stewart” singing “Zero She Flies” and a rare image of “Marc Bolan” of “T. Rex” singing “By The Light of the Magical Moon”, accompanied only by “Mickey Finn” on percussion. Performances by “Canned Heat” (“Human Condition”/“The World's in Tango”/“So Sad”) and “The Byrds” (“Old Blue”), two of the best shows, animated the audiences with some basic Rhythm & Blues; while night appearances by “Country Joe” (playing “Oh Freedom”, including brief interview) and “Dr. John and the Night Trippers” (“Mardi Grass Day”) exposed the most African-Rooted influences of traditional and ritualistic Blues. In between, the highest peak of the Psychedelic trend showed up in rare images of “Quintessence” (“Giants”), and on the music of the San Franciscan bands “Jefferson Airplane” and “It's A Beautiful Day”. The iconic “Jefferson Airplane” is initially represented on the DVD with the song “Won't You Try Saturday Afternoon” (which is used as soundtrack for images of the audience on their daily activities); and later by a backstage interview with “Paul Kantner” and “Grace Slick” that precedes the live images of their presentation of the hits “White Rabbit” and “The Ballad of You and Me and Pooniel”. “It's A Beautiful Day” is represented with a wild performance of “Wasted Union Blues” – highlighted by the violin performance of “David LaFlamme” and his vocal duo with “Patty Santos” – rivaling with a heavy rainstorm that had fallen that night. Their song “Bulgaria” served as the perfect soundtrack for the subsequent psychedelic images of people waking up in the morning after. But speaking of impressive voices, nobody could surpass the incredibly aggressive and emotional performance of “Family’s” singer “Roger Chapman” on “Drowned in Wine” – whose dramatic style had an immense influence on future Prog-icons such as “Ian Anderson” and “Peter Gabriel”. With “Family”, the DVD brings the Progressive musical trend into focus, finishing with a sequence of bands that exemplify how the Folk-Blues & Psychedelic oriented Rock of the late ‘60s would be transformed into the Jazz-Rock, Fusion and Progressive Rock branches that would dominate the first half of the ‘70s. Beginning with the Chicago-based band “The Flock” (“Big Bird”), the viewer witnesses an unusual band that was able to mix traditional Jazz (represented by a trumpet and two saxophones) with Country violins (played by “Jerry Goodman”). In spite of the originality of their sound, “The Flock” still had an old way of composing music, and makes an intense contrast when opposed to the next video, which features an avant-garde “Soft Machine” playing “Esther's Nose Job”, with highlights for “Mike Ratledge’s” visionary compositional style, “Elton Dean’s” experimental sax, and the new Canterbury signature held by “Robert Wyatt” (drums) and “Hugh Hopper” (bass). The bridge from the Psychedelic to the Fusion world was trespassed on two songs of the Latin-Rocker “Santana” (“Savor”/“Jingo”), in a tour-de-force that must have echoed on generations of musicians. Finally, the foundations of Progressive Rock were introduced by “Pink Floyd’s” seminal songs “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” (a Space Rock), and “A Saucerful of Secrets” (a Classically-influenced Progressive piece that made the grand finale of this DVD). The double-CD set includes the audio of all video-tracks; presentations of the Dutch Blues bands “Cuby & The Blizzards” (“Dust My Blues”) and “Livin' Blues” (“Big Road Blues”); and material of British early Prog-Rock band “East of Eden” (“The Sun of East”/“Irish Theme”) – a band that must have influenced “Curved Air”. Featuring an authentic artistic event that reflected the attitude and behavior of a young generation during the turn of a decade, The Dutch Woodstock has a great historical value and socio-cultural importance, being an invaluable source for researchers interested in the evolution of Pop Music, and a highly collectible item for fans of late 60’s to early 70’s Folk & Blues Rock and Proto-Prog. Bands and songs that are featured on The Dutch Woodstock are: Disc 1 – DVD: 1.“Santana” – “Gumbo”; 2.“Al Stewart” – “Zero She Flies”; 3.“Canned Heat” – “Human Condition”/“The World's in Tango”/”So Sad”; 4.“Quintessence” – “Giants”; 5. “Jefferson Airplane” – “Won't You Try Saturday Afternoon”; 6.“It's A Beautiful Day” -  “Wasted Union Blues”; 7.“Pink Floyd” – “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun”; 8.“Country Joe” – “Oh Freedom”; 9.“Dr. John and the Night Trippers” – “Mardi Grass Day”; 10.“Family” – “Drowned in Wine”; 11. “It’s a Beautiful Day” – “Bulgaria”; 12.“T.Rex” – “By The Light of the Magical Moon”; 13. “The Byrds” - “Old Blue”; 14. “The Flock” – “Big Bird”; 15. “Soft Machine” – “Esther's Nose Job”; 16.“Jefferson Airplane” – “White Rabbit”/“The Ballad of You and Me and Pooniel”; 17. “Santana” – “Savor”/“Jingo”; 18. “Pink Floyd” – “A Saucerful of Secrets”.  Disc 2 – CD 1: 1. “Cuby & The Blizzards” – “Dust My Blues”; 2. “Canned Heat” – “Human Condition”/“So Sad”; 3. “Livin' Blues” – “Big Road Blues”; 4. “Al Stewart” – “Zero She Flies”; 5. “Quintessence” – “Giants”; 6. “East of Eden” – “The Sun of East”/“Irish Theme”; 7. “Country Joe” – “Freedom”; 8. “Dr John and The Night Trippers” – “Mardis Gras Day”; 9. “Family” – “Drowned in Wine”. Disc 3 –  CD 2: 1. “Santana” – “Gumbo”/“Savor”/ “Jingo”; 2. “Jefferson Airplane” – “White Rabbit”/“The Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil”; 3. “It's a Beautiful Day” – “Wasted Union Blues”/“Bulgaria”; 5. “T.Rex” – “By The Light of the Magical Moon”; 6. “The Byrds” – “Old Blue”; 7. “The Flock” – “Big Bird”; 8. “Soft Machine” – “Esther's Nose Job”; 9. “Pink Floyd” – “Set The Controls For The Heart of the Sun”/“A Saucerful of Secrets”...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
07/13/2014....................................,.....Interested to know more about the album? Visit THE DUTCH WOODSTOCK HOME PAGE...
. FLAMING ROW - "Mirage – A Portrayal of Figures"
Flaming Row – the International Opera-Rock project led by German multi-instrumentalist and composer Martin Schnella - is back to PR&PM! Three years after the release of their debut album “Elinoire” (reviewed in 2012), Flaming Row finally returns with a new album, entitled “Mirage – A Portrayal of Figures” (March, 2014, Progressive Promotion Records, Germany). “Mirage” is a concept album – the first of a trilogy – and was released in single and double-limited editions (the extra CD features the mixed instrumental parts of the whole album). It tells the story of an extra-terrestrial war: an alien force called “The Minders”, under the leadership of “The Magistrate”, have decided to annihilate the human race before our greed and pursuit of power may reach the space beyond planet Earth and cause the destruction of the “Mighty Equation”. The main character is a soldier named “John”. Besides the core musicians of Flaming Row (Kiri Geile, Martin Schnella, Marek Arnold and Niklas Kahl), the new album features many famous guest musicians and a dozen of singers (see stellar list below). As on the previous album, the music of Flaming Row incorporates diverse genres and styles, mixing Progressive Rock & Metal with Mainstream Rock and Folk Ballads, having a resemblance of sound with “Ayreon”, “Star One”, “Avantasia”, “Genius”, “Aina”, “Soulspell”, “Missa Mercuria”, “Stream of Passion”, “Epica”, “Nightwish”, “Within Temptation”, “Blind Guardian”, “Shadow Gallery“, “Symphony X”, “Space Odyssey“, “Trans-Siberian Orchestra”, “Clive Nolan’s Alchemy”, “Caamora”, “Barock Project”, and “Queen”. Flaming Row has an attribute that I appreciate in a Progressive act: the main melodic themes are explored in different ways – either on instruments (guitars, keyboards, acoustic instruments), or on amazing vocal performances (in solos, duets, trios, quartets, and choirs). The moods and intensities change according to the plot defined on the lyrics, going from soft and emotional to aggressive and epic. Everything converges to a single goal: to blow up the listener’s mind. The single version of “Mirage” has 8 tracks. Most are long and subdivided in pieces, having alternation of amazing instrumental parts with awesome operatic vocal parts. “Mirage – A Portrayal of Figures” (Part 1) (“I – The Last Survivors”, “II – No Way Out”, “III – Captured”, “IV – Confused”, “V – Noone Home Pt.1”) (16:15) is introduced by folk tunes and sax; includes carnivorous Prog-Metal guitar riffs, unexpected instrumental part with Rag-Time pianos and playful saxophones, amazing vocal performances and epic choirs, Wehrkamp’s solo, and a Folk-Metal end (think of a mix of “ELP”, “Ayreon”, “Blind Guardian”). “Aim L45” (7:05) is a great Neo-Folk ballad. “Burning Sky” (6:23) is a Power-Metal reminiscent of “Star One”, delivered with bombastic power chords, gritty organs, and choirs; and Anne Trautmann singing in company of a cello. “Journey To The Afterlife” (“I – Longing for Home”, “II – Remains”) (12:04) boldly joins two very different parts: the first is driven by the Soul & Gospel voices of the trio Magali Luyten, Kiri Geile & Simon Moskon, by the groovy bass of Lars Lehmann, and by gleeful operatic voices like “Queen”; the second, is a melancholic Farwell song that ascends dramatically to the sky riding on Prog-Metal riffs busted by Diego Tejeida’s synth solo. “Alcatraz” (4:04) is a brilliant song that brings influences from the 70’s Hard Rock on the guitars, highlighted by the Geile & Trautmann duo (like “Zeppelin”, “AC/DC”, “Heart”). “Memento Mori” (5:49) is a paranoid Prog-Metal with some “rap-Metal” aggressive vocals and powerful nuclear-bombing instrumentation (like “Symphony X”, “Shadow Gallery”, and “Dillinger Scape Plan”), that ends on an epic choir like “Star One”. “Pictures” (9:28) is an orchestrated folk-ballad that brings eerie guitars, soaring sax & flutes, delicate piano, and beautiful harmony vocals that recalls “Yes”, “Genesis”, “Renaissance”, and “Ayreon”. Finally, “In Appearance - A Portrayal Of Figures” (Part 2) (“I - Invisible”, “II - False Reality”, “III - The Appearance”, “IV - Noone Home Pt.2”, “V - Time Stands Still”) (18:44) is a Symphonic-Prog suite that combines theatrical-styled music (like “Clive Nolan’s Alchemy”, “Caamora”, “Barock Project”) with complex Prog-Metal moments and orgiastic guitars & synths (like “Shadow Gallery”, “Dream Theater”, “Symphony X”), that gets tenser with the coming of each new singer, having more than one climax, topped with 5 guitar solos (two of them by Arjen Lucassen and Brendt Allman). Truly a brilliant, exuberant, and impressive album, still more balanced than “Elinoire”, “Mirage” takes Flaming Row to a higher musical level, being indispensable for fans of “Ayreon”, “Star One”, “Aina”, “Avantasia”, “Genius”, “Soulspell”, “Missa Mercuria”, “Stream of Passion”, “Epica”, “Nightwish”, “Within Temptation”, “Blind Guardian”, “Symphony X”, “Space Odyssey“, “Shadow Gallery“, “Trans-Siberian Orchestra”, “Barock Project”, “Clive Nolan’s Alchemy”, “Caamora”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Flaming Row are: Main nucleus: Martin SchnellaSteel Protector”/“Cast In Silence”) - Guitars, Most Bass, Some Keyboards, Lead & Backing Vocals, Lyrics, Compositions; Kiri GeileSteel Protector”) - Vocals, Lyrics; Marek ArnoldToxic Smile”/ “Seven Steps To The Green Door”/ “Stern Combo Meissen”) - Keyboards & Saxophone, Some Lyrics; Niklas KahlMy Inner Burning”/“Cast In Silence”) - Drums. Special Guest Musicians: Arjen Anthony LucassenAyreon”/“Star One”) - 1st Guitar Solo on “In Appearance - Part 2”; Brendt Allman  (“Shadow Gallery”) - 1st Guitar Solo on “Memento Mori”, 4th Guitar Solo on “In Appearance - Part 2”, Lead & Backing Vocals; Dave MerosSpock’s Beard”) - Bass; Diego TejeidaHaken”) - Synth Solo on “Journey to the Afterlife”; Eric BrentonNeal Morse”) – Violin & Viola; Gary WehrkampShadow Gallery”) - 3rd Guitar Solo on “Mirage”, Keyboard solo on “In Appearance - Part 2”, Lead & Backing Vocals; Jimmy KeeganSpock’s Beard”/“Santana”) - Drums; Kristoffer Gildenlöw (Ex-“Pain Of Salvation”/“Rust”) - Bass; Leo MargaritPain Of Salvation”) - Drums; Nathan BrentonNeal Morse”) - Cello; Magali LuytenAyreon”/“Beautiful Sin”) - Vocals; Johan Hallgren (Ex-“Pain Of Salvation”) - Vocals; Ted LeonardSpock’s Beard”/“Enchant”) - Vocals. Additional Guest Musicians: Anja Hampe - Backing Vocals; Brian Ashland – Backing Vocals; Gero Drnek – Orchestral Arrangement on “Pictures”; Hauke Daniel Nies – Cajon & Bongos on “L45”; Jen Kommnick – Tin Whistle, Low Whistle, Uilleann Pipes, Cello, Violin & Mandolin; Lars Lehmann - Fretted and Fretless Bass; Max Dietzmann – Drums; Ole Rausch – Additional Guitar Solo; Rolf Wagels – Bodhran; Stephan Wegner – Additional Rhythm Guitar on “Alcatraz”; Tobi Reiss – Additional Piano; Anne Trautman – Vocals; Lars Begerow – Vocals; Melanie Mau – Vocals; Michael Lowin – Vocals; Simon Moskon – Vocals. Most of the music recorded, mixed, and mastered at Overlodge Recording in Oberhütte / Germany Studio by Martin Schnella in June 2011 – Janurary 2014...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
07/13/2014.......................If you want know more about this amazing band and its members, visit FLAMING ROW HOME PAGE...
. SOMASCETIC - "The Violence of Distance"
Somascetic is an obscured and overlooked band from the U.S.A. that was formed by Shawn Burnette (guitars, bass, keyboards, vocals, lyrics and compositions) and Andy Reamer (drums, percussion). This duo of musicians has already been introduced to the visitors of PR&PM in reviews about other projects of Burnette: “23 Current” and “Holostream” (whose albums were reviewed at this webzine in 2011 and 2009, respectively). Somascetic’s only known album is a double CD entitled “The Violence of Distance” (2004, independent release). It came out before the releases of “23 Current’s”, “Curve of the Universe” (2005) and “Holostream’s”, “Time and Space” (2007), being, in respect to the sonority, closer to “Curve of the Universe”: a mix of Dark Ambient & Heavy Progressive with Post-Rock & Post-Metal, including elements of Psychedelic Prog-Rock. The influences are almost the same: “Pink Floyd” (pre-“Dark Side of the Moon”), “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, and “Anathema”. The music is slow-flowing, mainly driven by the sound of soaring and lysergic guitars, hypnotic bass, tribal drumming, electronic noise-effects, and numb melancholic vocals. There is a predominance of somber and gray-colored atmospheres, evoking images of hallucinogenic soundscapes and gloomy desolated amplitudes. Somascetic’s double album “The Violence of Distance” contains 30 tracks – 12 on Disc One, 18 on Disc Two. Most of those tracks are, however, parts of longer compositions, which are generally divided in instrumental intros followed by 1 to 4 segments. The highlights of Disc 1 are: “Memory of Dark”, consisting of “Intro” (0:38), “Pt. 1” (4:50), “Pt. 2” (4:11), “Pt. 3” (4:37), & “Pt. 4” (5:43), which makes a journey to the same dark worlds visited by “Tool”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, and “Anathema”, with “Pt.2” having the most psychedelic and melancholic mood, “Pt.3” having the most introspective vocals, and “Pt.4” being the most aggressive on riffs and instrumentation, being very reminiscent of “Tool”; “Drifting Down”, consisting of “Intro” (1:13), “Pt. 1” (2:46), & “Pt. 2” (2:06), brings a vigorous and epic guitar theme embedded in “Pt. 1”, which is squeezed between the floating acoustic guitars of “Intro” and the inspired percussion and melancholic vocals of “Pt. 2” – which merges later with “Beneath the Current” (5:32) (an acoustic ballad ornamented with soaring guitar solos and driven by depressed vocals in the style of Nordic Prog-Folk); and “Beyond Dimension” – consisting of “Intro” (1:11) & “Beyond Dimension” (5:17) - which is very similar to “Tool”, especially on the guitar riffs, on the echoing vocals, and on the progression from the melancholia to the aggressiveness of the final sequence. Disc 1 still has “Out of the Dust” (6:13), a hard-psychic song with anguished guitar solo. Disc 2 begins with the cosmic-psychedelic song “Fear of Space” (4:19) (delivered with oriental percussion), but is rather characterized by a predominance of acoustic guitar & psychedelic melancholic ballads, such as “Untitled Instrumental” (4:05) (with pianos and rain sounds, recalling “Anathema”); “Ancient Remains” (5:00); “Among the Shadows” - “Intro” (1:04) & “Among the Shadows” (4:20); and, in special, “Flood of Souls” (5:59) and “Searching Fire” (4:02) - two Dark Progressive ballads with oriental percussion that will please fans of “Pink Floyd”, “Porcupine Tree”, and “Riverside”. But the best tracks of Disc 2 are: “Amid Ashes”, consisting of “Intro” (0:43), “Pt. 1” (3:32), & “Pt. 2” (4:10), which feature great Metal riffs, heavy lysergic guitars, and malefic vocals; and the title track “The Violence of Distance”, consisting of “Intro” (1:30), “Pt. 1” (2:46), & “Pt. 2” (4:44), which is an awesome Post-Metal piece in the style of “Tool”, featuring hypnotic guitar & bass harmonies that increase in tension, culminating on the longest and most elaborated guitar solo of the album. Disc 2 still offers “Burning Slow”, “Pt. 1” (3:13) & “Pt. 2” (2:59), which feature echoing guitars, fatty bass lines, tribal drums, and the darkest atmospheres. Disc 2 is completed with the noisy “Sound FX - 1” (0:08) & “Sound FX - 2” (0:12), and the instrumental patchwork “Huge Buzz” (4:27). An impressive album for its extended duration, Somascetic’s “The Violence of Distance” is especially recommended for fans of “Pink Floyd” (pre-“Dark Side of the Moon”), “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “No-Man”, “Anathema”, “Landberk”, “Anekdoten”, “The Black Noodle Project”, and other Dark Progressive and Post-Metal bands. Band members and collaborators involved in Somascetic are: Shawn Burnette - Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Piano, Vocals and various other strange sounds; Andy Reamer - Drums & Percussion. Music and Lyrics by S. Burnette; Recorded, Mixed, & Mastered by Hollis Greathouse & Jay Dudt at Audible Images, Pittsburgh, PA; Cover Art & Illustrations by Mike Bohatch; Produced by S. Burnette & Mary White...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/12/2014.......................................................................,.....Sorry but no web page avaliable now SOMASCETIC HOME PAGE...
. UNITOPIA - "More Than A Dream"
Unitopiais a highly praised Cross-Over Progressive Rock band from Adelaide, South Australia, formed by professional musicians involved with the music business. Unitopia was founded in 1996 by a nucleus composed of Mark Trueack (lead vocals), Sean Timms (keyboards, backing vocals), and Matt Williams (guitars, backing vocals), completed with David Hopgood (drums), Tim Irrgang (percussion), Craig Kelly (bass), and Daniel Burgess (sax, clarinet, flute, didgeridoo). Unitopia is also known for supporting environmental and social causes (topics that appear on their lyrics); and for having an association with artist Ed Unitsky (who makes the cover artwork for their albums). Unitopia debuted on CD with “More Than A Dream” (2007, Unicorn Digital, Canada), which was followed by three albums released on Label InsideOut Music: “The Garden” (2008, Double CD), “Artificial” (2010), and “One Night In Europe” (2011, Live CD/DVD). Their last release was “Covered Mirror” (2012, Musea Records), a cover album featuring 13 songs of different bands (including “Genesis”, “Marillion”, and “Yes”) revisited with Unitopia's unique touch. The music of Unitopia tries to reach deep into the heart and soul of the listener using progressive themes as a framework and including elements of Classical, Jazz, Heavy Rock, Pop, Groove, and World Music. The main influences are “Genesis”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Yes”, “Alan Parsons”, “Weather Report”, “ELP”, “Deep Purple”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Spock's Beard”, and “Flower Kings”; but band members have their individual preferences for: “Beatles”, “King Crimson”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Rush”, “Frost”, “Sigur Rós”, “Van Halen”, “Living Colour”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Joe Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, “Nuno Bettencourt”, “Frank Gambale”, “Marco Minnemann”, “Dillinger Escape Plan”, “John Zorn”, “James Brown”, “Jamiroquai”, “Miles Davis”, “Tony Williams”, “Chick Corea”, “Return to Forever”, “Herbie Hancock”, “John Coltrane”, “John Scofield”, “Chris Potter”, “Kenny Garrett”, Indonesian and Aboriginal Music, and more! All those influences converge into Unitopia’s stylish art-rock songs, characterized by tasteful vocal tunes, contagious grooves, sticky choruses, classic sophisticated arrangements, and Progressive complexity. Their music, apparently pop-oriented and accessible, requires in fact much listening to be completely understood and absorbed. The album on focus here, “More Than A Dream”, was Unitopia’s first, and showcased an early sample of the band’s eclectic style, their high musical quality, and prospects for the future, which would be further developed on their next works. Featuring 9 tracks, “More Than A Dream” has a stimulating beginning on “Common Goal” (4:36) – a heavy and groovy Neo-Prog with an electronic substrate, busted by malicious vocals and solid guitars. Other songs are outstanding for promoting a multicultural blend of ethnical World Music with Jazzy passages and Progressive influences, consisting in a musical differential for Unitopia: “Fate” (4:57) unites colorful sax to lively tribal drums, using both as a base for a soft-rock melody driven by acoustic guitars and chorus that recalls 80’s “Yes”; “Take Good Care” (8:36) has a really beautiful symphonic intro followed by soft vocals backed by Aboriginal chanting, ethnical flutes, and spirited female vocals, to deliver an ecological message; and “Still Here” (6:40) is a cool song influenced by “Peter Gabriel”, adorned with jazzy sax, Indonesian percussion, and Afro backing vocals. But the highlights of this album are “Justify” (12:52) and “Slow Down” (8:09). “Justify” combines soulful vocals with a 70’s Rock groove on guitars & organs (recalling “Kansas” and “Deep Purple”), has an instrumental middle segment driven by Fusion piano & bass (recalling “Weather Report”), followed by Hard Rock guitars and gritty organs, and a sequence of eerie guitars and vocals (like “Genesis” of “Gabriel”) embellished with violins and angelic choirs. “Slow Down” is a metamorphosing song that sounds as if “Genesis” of “Phil Collins” and “Marillion” met “Alan Parsons” inside a space-rock shuttle to dance to the music of an orchestra. Other songs combine influences of “Peter Gabriel”, “Alan Parsons”, and 80’s “Yes”, such as: “Ride” (3:44) (a pulsing song) and “Lives Go Round” (6:31) – which is joyfully driven by keyboards and vocals, but has a somber middle part finalized with great synth solo. Finally, the title track “More Than A Dream” (5:42) offers sensitive piano and vocals that recall “Genesis” (“Phil Collins” Era), wrapped up in great orchestral arrangements. With an eclectic focus that takes the Progressive sound to the large audiences, Unitopia – and all their records – are highly recommendable for fans of “Genesis” (“Peter Gabriel” & “Phil Collins” Eras), “Peter Gabriel” solo, “Yes”, “Alan Parsons”, “Weather Report”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Marillion”, “Fish”, “Spock's Beard”, “Flower Kings”, “Rush”, “Frost”, “Pain of Salvation”, “Return to Forever”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Unitopia are: Mark Trueack - Lead & Backing Vocals, Compositions, Production; Sean Timms - Keyboards, Lap Steel & Acoustic Guitars, Mandolin, Backing Vocals, Compositions, Production; Matt Williams - Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Backing Vocals, Production; David Hopgood - Drums; Tim Irrgang - Tuned & Un-tuned Percussion; Craig Kelly - Bass; Daniel Burgess - Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute, Piccolo, Didgeridoo. Holly Trueack - Cameo appearance on “Justify”. Mike Stewart (r.i.p.) – Bass on albums “More Than a Dream” and “The Garden”. All tracks recorded and mixed at Timms Tunes, Adelaide, South Australia, mastered by Neville Clarke at Disk Edits. Produced by S. Timms, Co-produced by M. Trueack...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/12/2014..........................................Want to learn everything about the band and their history, go to UNITOPIA HOME PAGE...
. NITE WOLF - "Taking’ Control"
Nite Wolf is an American Power-Trio from Albuquerque, New Mexico. The band was formed for fun about twenty four years ago, and the current line-up consists of Danny Vash (guitar, vocals), Mike Alberts (bass), and Bill Weber (drums). Nite Wolf delivers a powerful and soulful mix of Classic Rock, Hard Rock, and Traditional Heavy Metal, all based on addictive guitars, banging bass and stomping drums, with influences mainly of “Jimi Hendrix”, “Carlos Santana”, “Billy Gibbons” (“ZZ Top”), “Black Sabbath”, “Thin Lizzy”, “Iron Maiden”, and drummers “Keith Moon”, “John Bonham”, and “Carmine Appice”. Gigging around the Albuquerque area, Nite Wolf has already shared stage with “Blue Oyster Cult”, “Robin Trower”, “Pat Travers”, “Frank Marino & Mahogony Rush”, “Savoy Brown”, “Duke Robbilard”, “SteppenWolf”, “Randy Hansen”, “Johnny Winter”, “The Tubes”, “Earth Quake”, and “Leonard Haze” (“Y&T”), bands and names with which they also share a resemblance of sound. Band leader Danny Vash is a self-taught guitarist who has much experience performing both in studio and as live musician, and has already toured around the Western United States & Europe. Formerly settled in the San Francisco Bay Area, he has recently moved to Albuquerque, NM, to work as a studio musician and producer for Old Town Productions. Nite Wolf has released two albums so far, and is still in activity, currently working on a 3rd CD to be released soon. The album on focus here - “Takin’ Control” – was originally independently released in November 1996. “Takin’ Control” has 11 tracks, strongly oriented to the Hard Rock & Metal sound of the late ‘70s to the ‘80s, with a resemblance of sound with bands like “Judas Priest”, “Def Leppard”, “Saxon”, “Thin Lizzy”, “U.F.O.”, “Yesterday & Today”, “Pretty Maids”, “Krokus”, “The Rods”, “Quiet Riot”, “Triumph”, “Van Halen”, “Slade”, “KISS”, “AC/DC”, “Riggs”, “Accept”, “Riot”, “Aerosmith”, and “Guns n’ Roses”, driven by the virtuosi guitar playing of Danny Vash, followed by the groovy pounding bass of Mike Alberts, and sustained by solid and powerful drumming of Bill Weber. My favorite tracks are those leaning to the Hard Rock and Metal having influences and resemblance of sound with bands like “Judas Priest”, “Saxon”, “Krokus”, “The Rods”, “Accept”, and “Riot”, such as the opening song “Passion Dreamer” (5:46) – a 70’s Hard Rock with “Hendrixian” guitar solo and some riffs like early “Black Sabbath”, being driven by the voice of Vash, who reminds me of a tuneful “Ozzy Osbourne” - and the title track “Takin' Control” (4:32) - a Hard-Rock that brings a groovy swing on guitars and pounding bass & drums, recalling bands like “AC/DC”, “Riggs”, and “Thin Lizzy”. Other songs contain an even higher Metallic load, such as the heavy and cadenced “Broken Heart” (4:26) – with influences of early “Judas Priest” and “Accept”; and the 80’s Metal styled “Politician” (3:39) and “Viking Warriors” (4:00), both with a slightly epic touch that also recall “Riot” and “Armored Saint”. As the very best, there are the NWOBHM-styled instrumental track “Flutamus Hooty” (4:32) – with influences of “Iron Maiden” and “Saxon” – and the last track “Ninja” (5:07) – a powerful Metal song driven by potent bass and drums reminiscent of the “Judas Priest” of the “Painkiller” album. The album “Takin’ Control” has still other highlights, such as the cover song “Blue Suede Shoes” (5:09) – a Classic Rock featuring great guitar & bass solo performances; and the hybrid “Leadin' Me On” (5:27), which combines the American Hard Rock style with Punk-Rock bass and long guitar solos. The party-rock ballads like “Aerosmith”, “KISS”, “Slade”, “Guns n’ Roses” are represented on the CD by the songs “Golden Girl” (3:05) and “Fantasy Girl” (4:29). Overall, “Takin’ Control” is like a revival trip to the Hard Rock and Metal scenes of the 70’s to 80’s, very well produced and performed by musicians that are having fun with what they are playing. An honest band producing an honest rocky sound, Nite Wolf and the album “Takin’ Control” are specially recommended for fans of “Jimi Hendrix”, “ZZ Top”, “Black Sabbath”, “Thin Lizzy”, “Iron Maiden”, “Blue Oyster Cult”, “Robin Trower”, “Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush”, “Savoy Brown”, “Triumph”, “SteppenWolf”, “Judas Priest”, “Def Leppard”, “Saxon”, “Thin Lizzy”, “U.F.O.”, “Yesterday & Today”, “Pretty Maids”, “Krokus”, “The Rods”, “Quiet Riot”, “Van Halen”, “Slade”, “KISS”, “AC/DC”, “Riggs”, “Accept”, “Riot”, “Aerosmith”, and “Guns n’ Roses”, and other rocking bands. Band members and collaborators involved in Nite Wolf are: Danny Vash – Guitars, Vocals, Songs; Mike Alberts – Bass; Bill Weber – Drums; Gary Mclean – New Drummer. “Blue Suede Shoes” written by Carl Perkins, arrangement based on the work of Jimi Hendrix. Album Recorded at the Dog House, Tijeras, NM; Mixed by Dan Vash; Engineered, Mastered & Produced by D. Vash & M. Alberts. 10% of the final sale prices of Nite Wolf’s albums support ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/12/2014.............................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit NITE WOLF HOME PAGE...
. MARCELO PAGANINI - "2012 Space Traffic Jam"
Marcelo Paganini is a French/Brazilian composer, multi-instrumentalist (guitars, keyboards, bass, harmonica, “cavaquinho”, drums & percussion), producer, arranger, sound designer, movie maker, singer, poet, writer, journalist, and actor. Marcelo Paganini started to play music in 1975. He was a member of band “Tribo de Solos” (from Belo Horizonte, Brazil), and his one-man Midi band show “Marcelo Paganini is the Band” was one of the first Brazilian live electronic acts in activity in 1986. Marcelo Paganini lives in Paris since 1984. He owns a studio near Le Mans (Normandy), and plays on the only Brazilian funk/rock band in France. He also lived in New York City, where he played with virtuoso guitarist “Tiberio Nascimento”.Marcelo Paganini’s CD, entitled “Virtualmente Real: Realmente Virtual” (“Virtually Real: Really Virtual”), was released in 1996 in France and Brazil. Marcelo Paganini has already written more than 350 songs during the last 40 years, and a symphony called “Belo Horizonte” (2004). In January 2012 Marcelo Paganini made another USA Tour, playing in Cleveland, Chicago, New York, and West Orange; and made his first appearance at the winter NAMM in Anaheim California invited by Guitar Player Magazine. In April 2012, Marcelo Paganini started to record a new album, entitled “2012 Space Traffic Jam”. This one was recorded at the Eastcote Studios, in London, and finally released on January 25th, 2014. Marcelo Paganini (guitars, keyboards and vocals) has counted with the aid of some friends, who kindly accepted his invitation to join in the project: drummer Gary Husband (“John McLaughlin”, “Allan Holdsworth”, “Robin Trower”), bassist Marc Madore, keyboardist Eumir Deodato (Brazilian producer & arranger, winner of 16 platinum albums, who recorded with “Frank Sinatra”, “Aretha Franklin”, “Bjork”, and others); and ex-“Yes”, actual “Circa:” members Tony Kaye & Billy Sherwood. Kaye & Sherwood played on a shorter version of the song “Somewhere Somehow”, which was featured on the cover-mount CD of “UK’s PROG Magazine” (January 2014). Although mainly influenced by “Jimi Hendrix” and “Allan Holdsworth”, Paganini plays in a diversity of other styles, trying to be as free as possible as a musician and composer. Other bands from the Progressive universe that have influenced him are: “Yes”, “ELP”, “Gentle Giant”, “Genesis”, “King Crimson”, “Arrigo Barnabé”, “Arnaldo Baptista” (“Os Mutantes”). “2012 Space Traffic Jam” features Paganini’s own brand of Progressive Rock, Space Rock and Jazz-Fusion, offering 10 unusual songs that emphasize the instrumentation. The sonority is a mix of Progressive, Space-Rock, and Prog-Metal delivered with the improvisational freedom of Jazz-Fusion, all propelled by a powerful spacecraft motor of craziness. The tracks that called my attention are: “Sphinxes of Babel” (8:14), a Space-Jazz-Rock that opens the album with cabaret pianos, drunken guitars, echoing vocals, and which dissolves later into many guitars solos – showing Paganini’s idiosyncratic style; and “Somewhere Somehow” (8:01), which is more than two minutes longer than the version released by “PROG Magazine”; and has a strong influence of “Yes” on bass and vocals (recalling albums “The Yes Album” & “Fragile”), featuring a Hammond solo by Tony Kaye. Also Husband’s brilliant drumming, combined with Paganini’s eccentric guitar solo, has recalled me of “Mahavishnu Orchestra”. Other highlights are “Last Bart to San Bruno” (5:09), which opposes a mysterious aura of “Film Noir” against a frantic distorted guitar in “Robert Fripp’s” style and Deodato’s solo on organ; and the title track “2012 Space Traffic Jam” (8:40), a metamorphosing song that includes soft vocals, Blues, drunken weary guitars, string-scratching sounds, a sequence of “hide-and-seek” keyboards & bass, “rumba-machine-gun” drums, Fusion keyboards, and a psychedelic end like “Pink Floyd”. The album has also some weird ballads, like “Crying With a Smile” (4:29), a bohemian song for a solitary Latin musician driven by a swinging bass; and “B4Ever Now” (4:32), a de-constructed melancholic song that combines “Arrigo Barnabé” with “Arnaldo Baptista” (of “Lóki”). For those who like the virtuosity and vertiginous effects of Prog-Metal guitars & keyboards, the album has: the locomotive-fast “Actor” (3:06); the Baroque “Lost Secrets” (6:14) (like “Malmsteen” & “King Crimson” at 78 r.p.m); the Thrashing “For Real” (5:41) (with paranoid vocals lost in a labyrinth of keyboards, lunatic bass, and crazy drums, full of howling guitars and synths); and the tsunamic “Can’t Autograph Your MP3” (8:11), which pours down on you an avalanche of distorted decibels, as Paganini tries to play faster than himself, but is blocked by Deodato’s jazzy keys. A crazy and impacting album, Marcelo Paganini’s “2012 Space Traffic Jam” is indicated for listeners seeking for odd, original, and authoritative music, having universal amplitude. Specially indicated for fans of Jazz-Flavored Space-Rock & Prog-Metal, and anything among “King Crimson”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Jimi Hendrix”, “Hawkwind”, and “Arrigo Barnabé”. Band members and collaborators involved in Marcelo Paganini are: Marcelo Paganini - Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals, Music, Lyrics; Gary Husband - Drums; Eumir Deodato - Keyboards (on “Last Bart to San Bruno”, “B4Ever Now”, “Can’t Autograph Your MP3”); Marc Madore - Bass; Tony Kaye & Billy Sherwood - Keyboards & Bass (“Somewhere Somehow”); Dada Viana - Percussion (on “Crying With a Smile”); Raquel de Miranda - Backing Vocals (on tracks 1/10) & Cover Art. Album Recorded at Phil Bagenal’s Eastcote Studios (London) by George Murphy (17 Sept-11 Nov) & Joel Davies (12 Nov 2012); Mixed by Marcelo Paganini & Gary Husband. Produced by Marcelo Paganini. Also you can visit Marcelo Paganini at Myspace and Facebook...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/12/2014..............................Interested to know more about the Musician and band? Visit MARCELO PAGANINI HOME PAGE...
. TWO PLACES AT ONCE - "Different Selves"
Two Places At Once was formed in September 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, by Renan Rocha (vocals & guitar), Juan Salinas (bass), and Victor Barbosa (drums), later joined in by Rodrigo Soares (second guitar). Their main goal is to produce a homogeneous blend of different musical genres, with emphasis on Alternative Rock, Progressive Rock and Heavy-Metal. With influences ranging from “Pink Floyd” and “Oasis” to “Black Sabbath” and “Deftones”, Two Places At Once feel also free to transit through the Psychedelic, Post-Metal, & Stoner-Rock styles, ambling around the sounds of bands as diverse as “Radiohead”, “Muse”, “Soundgarden”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “RPWL”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Anathema”, or “Kyuss”. Their compositions and lyrics are delicate and moving, being occasionally interspersed with cathartically aggressive moments. Two Places At Once released their first EP, entitled “Different Selves”, in March 2014, on independent label Flames Records. The excellent sound production was handled by Elton Bozza. From the first second of listening, Two Places At Once really surprised me! They are really a solid band with a professional scope, equal in level to foreign bands from the U.S.A. and Europe. And in spite of being such a young and early-formed band, their compositions have already the same maturity and profoundness of a veteran band. And I mean, it is not only the individual talent of the musicians involved that counts in here (and they are very good, indeed), but their power to make their songs to flow with a synergetic integrity. “Different Selves” features 4 excellent songs (sung in English, to conquer the outer world). Only the trio formed by Renan Rocha (vocals & guitar), Juan Salinas (bass), and Victor Barbosa (drums) has acted on this recording, having the extra support of Gardo Nooraai on additional keyboards. “Gloves” (06:55) opens the EP softly, like a soaring ballad, introducing Renan Rocha’s excellent emotional vocals (recalling “Liam Gallagher” of “Oasis”, but without exaggerating on the “stoned” vocal modulations). The delicate guitars have the melancholic tones of Alternative & Post-Rock, and propel the song effortlessly, as it unfolds slowly in a series of delicate melodies, irradiating from guitars and keyboards. “Wide-Eyed” (05:07) injects more energy and heaviness on its riffs, recalling “Deftones”, but also “Muse”. The luring swing bass, the stoned vocals, and the psychedelic guitar effects at the right time and place, are a guarantee of a pleasant listening and a trippy journey beyond the horizons. “Masks” (03:59) is a short Psychedelic ballad having Alternative Rock sonorities that recall “Radiohead” and “Oasis”, and passages for wah-wah effects on guitars, which grows dramatically close to the end. Finally, “Their Snake Gaze” (07:18) is the album’s best, featuring a Progressive structure. It begins like a melancholic and introspective song, with sensitive guitar plucking driving the vocals; but nearing the middle, the keyboards and guitars form an Ambient & Symphonic background that supports some vocal tunes, that are even sadder. The song reaches the climax on a Stoner-Metal instrumental sequence driven by amazing riffs! Who could tell that such a good band could exist just over there, in my own home town? Two Places At Once is a full-fledged modern Rock band, with heart, soul, and mind, and their brilliant and outstanding debut EP is more than highly recommendable for fans of Alternative Rock with a touch of melancholy, Brit-Pop, Psychedelic Rock, Post-Rock, Post-Metal, and Progressive-Oriented kinds of music, including everything from “Pink Floyd”, “Oasis”, “Deftones”, “Radiohead”, “Muse”, and “Soundgarden”; to “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “RPWL”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Anathema”, or “Kyuss”. We wait eagerly for a full-length follow-up. Band members and collaborators involved in Two Places At Once are: Renan Rocha - Vocals & Guitar, Lyrics; Juan Salinas – Bass; Victor Barbosa – Drums; Rodrigo Soares – Guitar; Gardo Nooraai – Additional Keyboards. Album Produced by Elton Bozza & Two Places At Once; Recorded by Elton Bozza at Flames Records; Mixed by Elton Bozza & Gabriel Zander at Estúdio Superfuzz; Mastered by Gabriel Zander at Estúdio Superfuzz; Digital Edition by Felipe Mesquita & Gabriel Arbex at Estúdio Superfuzz; Logo & Artwork by Marcelo Vasco (p2rdesign.com). All music was written by Renan Rocha & Two Places At Once.Also you can visit the band at their Facebook Page...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/12/2014..........................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit TWO PLACES AT ONCE HOME PAGE...
. IRON BUTTERFLY - "Live At The Galaxy 1967"
The legendary Iron Butterfly is welcomed at PR&PM! Iron Butterfly appeared at the hub of the Psychedelic movement that flourished in the late ‘60s. The band was successful, struggling in a rich musical scene on which groups like “The Doors”, “Jefferson Airplane”, “The Grateful Dead”, “The Who”, “Traffic”, and “Cream” competed fiercely for a place under the spotlights, dreaming of having a contract with major record labels, and the possibility of becoming famous. Iron Butterfly began to live such a dream when they signed to ATCO records (a division of Atlantic Records), in the spring of 1967, and released their debut album, “Heavy”, in 1968. The success achieved by “Heavy” led to the release in 1968 of their classic album “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”, which featured the eponymous 17-minute long song that broke down the conventional barricades imposed by the Musical Industry and catapulted the band to stardom, granting them the first “Platinum-Album” certificate ever. Iron Butterfly’s catalogue increased then, with the addition of the albums “Ball” (1969), “Live” (1969), “Evolution” (1970), “Metamorphosis” (1970), “Scorching Beauty” (1974, MCA), “Sun & Steel” (1975, MCA), “Rare Flight” (1984), “Light & Heavy” (1993, Rhino), and “Vida Deluxe Version” (1995, Rhino), which are constantly reissued. Along the career, Iron Butterfly went on extensive tours around the USA, Canada and Europe, and their music extended its influence from the ‘60s & ‘70s to actual days, making part of soundtracks of movies and TV series. But not everything was a bed of roses in the life of Iron Butterfly. The band had to fight hard in the beginning of the career to deserve attention. A milestone was their live presentations at the famous Galaxy Club, in the heart of the Sunset Strip. There, an early, but yet classical, Iron Butterfly line-up, consisting of Doug Ingle (organ, vocals), Danny Weis (guitar), Darryl DeLoach (vocals), Jerry Penrod (bass, backing vocals), and Ron Bushy (drums, percussion, backing vocals) presented their original songs and shocked the audiences with their aggressive performances, playing music that extrapolated the Flower-Power standards and attracted musicians like “Eric Clapton”, “Jimmy Page”, “Jimi Hendrix”, and “Jeff Beck” to see them. One of those memorable nights has been fortunately recorded and preserved on tape, like a fossil of an ancient era, and is now being offered by Purple Pyramid Label & Cleopatra Records to all Iron Butterfly’s fans around the world: “Iron Butterfly: Live At The Galaxy - 1967” (May, 2014). Available on both Digipack CD and deluxe colored 180 gram vinyl, “Live At The Galaxy - 1967” documents those early days of Iron Butterfly performing songs that would appear on their singles and on albums “Heavy” and “Ball”, and forever make part of their live repertoire. This CD is also the perfect companion for “Iron Butterfly – Live In Sweden - 1971” (Purple Pyramid Label). Although not sounding much clear (it was recorded by Ron’s friend Mike Lipman on a Roberts two-track reel to reel, without PA system; the vocals going through a bass speaker cabinet), “Live At The Galaxy – 1967” is full of historical importance. By listening to this album, one may evaluate the real impact that Iron Butterfly may have caused on the future Rock generations. Born in a fertile musical era, Iron Butterfly was the seminal pioneer of several styles of music that would flourish later in the ‘70s. Skillful solos that revealed the talent of the intuitive guitarists of the ‘60s became electrified, transforming traditional Folk & Blues into Hard Rock. Riffs became louder and distorted, and coupled with the massacre imposed by bass and drums, were harbingers of the Heavy Metal trend. Gritty keyboards created Psychedelic acid effects and lysergic atmospheres, anticipating the Space Rock sounds of the future. Organs sometimes brought echoes from the past and dueled with elaborated guitars inside ambitious arrangements that approached the Proto-Prog. The dramatic gloomy vocals prepared the stage for Horror Rock, and their scornful attitude settled down the Punk Rock foundations a decade before. “Live At The Galaxy - 1967” has 12 tracks. “Real Fright” (2:37) has the spontaneous energy that Iron Butterfly irradiated in order to astonish the audiences; “Possession” (4:51) is a diabolic Rock of the Darkness; “Filled With Fear” (4:31) is a Psychedelic-Blues; “Fields Of Sun” (3:31) is a slow non-standard Hard-Rock; “It’s Up To You” (2:48) is a Folk-Rock that blurs into the bluesy “Gloomy Day To Remember” (2:45). The set accelerated with “Evil Temptation” (5:45), a crazy Hard-Rock that predated the style of “Deep Purple”; “So-Lo” (4:03), a Psychedelic song with Baroque organs verging the Progressive; and “Gentle As It May Seem” (4:04), a Rhythm & Blues with pre-historical Punk vocals. The beautiful ballad “Lonely Boy” (5:57), was the moment for taking breath before setting the stage on fire with “Iron Butterfly Theme” (7:06), a noisy track that mixed Acid-Rock, Space-Rock and Heavy-Metal; and “You Can’t Win” (4:35), a punchy Rock reminiscent of “Cream” and “Zeppelin”. In spite of the poor recording quality, Iron Butterfly “Live at the Galaxy – 1967” is a remarkable release: absolutely necessary for fans of the band, as well as for researchers interested in the Psychedelic Era and in the foundations of Heavy Rock music. Band members and collaborators involved in Iron Butterfly are: Doug Ingle – Organ, Vocals; Danny Weis – Guitar; Darryl DeLoach – Vocals, Percussion; Jerry Penrod – Bass, Backing Vocals; Ron Bushy – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals. Recorded live July, 4, 1967 at the Galaxy, in Los Angeles, California, by Mike Lipman...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/12/2014..........................................Interested to know more about this fantastic Band? Visit IRON BUTTERFLY HOME PAGE...
Dream The Electric Sleep (or DTES, for short) are a Progressive & Alternative Concept-Rock quartet from Lexington, KY, USA. DTES was formed in 2009 by Matt Page (vocals, guitar, keys) and Joey Waters (drums, vocals). The line-up was completed with bassist Chris Tackett (ex-“Hyatari” and “Chum”), and guitarist Andrew Hibpshman (who was introduced in early 2014 to reinforce the band’s live sound). DTES’s discography includes the self-produced first album “Lost and Gone Forever” (2011) and the 4-track EP “Acoustics & B-Sides” (2012). DTES was featured on specialized magazines (“Classic Rock”, “Eclipsed” & “Progression”) and their positive reception among Prog & Heavy Rock communities led them to perform in the coveted “Church of Prog” slot  at the “Rites of Spring Festival (RoSfest)” (USA). Back from the festival, DTES entered studios in May 2013 to record their second full-length album, entitled “Heretics” (released in February 2014). “Heretics” represents DTES’s search for more thought-provoking themes and subjects, which are explored on their lyrics. It is an ambitious concept-album the follows the life of Elizabeth – a fictitious character who joined the suffragette movement in the early 20th century to fight for women’s right to vote. Elizabeth’s role was inspired on real women who were marginalized during their lifetime for their thoughts and actions, and who are depicted on the front cover of the album (most of them have been also represented on “Judy Chicago’s” picture called “The Dinner Party”). The song titles make references to works of literature and art connected to the concept (see below). Regarding the music, “Heresies” reveals DTES’s evolution in the field of composition and genre-bending prowess. DTES has many influences. Their main inspiration comes from Progressive bands like “Genesis”, “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”, “The Moody Blues”, and “Rush”, which have a sonic crossover with: Alternative Rock bands (“U2”, “Radiohead”, “My Bloody Valentine”, “Killing Joke”, “Doves”, “Seam”, “The Flaming Lips”); British Shoegazing icons (“Catherine Wheel”, “Ride”, “Swervedriver”); Heavy Prog & Psychedelic/Space Rock bands (“Muse”, “Astra”); Post-Rock acts (“Oceansize”, “The Life and Times”, “Neurosis”, “Cult of Luna”); and Stoner, Doom & Experimental Metal outfits (“Torche”, “YOB”, “Jesu”, “Tombs”, “Boris”). But DTES know exactly how to manipulate their influences to really surprise the listener, achieving excellent sonic results. DTES’s compositions follow the same line of Alternative Rock, Psychedelic, Shoegazing, and Post-Rock standards, but are complicated and stretched out to the Progressive patterns. DTES drive their songs in a determined style, then, by adding long instrumental sequences or well-crafted guitars solos, they steer the music to a totally different stylistic direction, not forcing it at all, but guiding it through new paths that could never be anticipated by the listener. Most of the 11 tracks of “Heretics” show that transmuting pattern. The title track “Heretics” (4:50) pours down heavy Space-guitar riffs that are trespassed by Psychedelic-Stoner vocals. “Elizabeth” (8:22) begins like a 90’s melodic Alternative Rock, with soaring vocals and delicate guitars that recall “U2” and “Radiohead”, but takes a detour back in time to feature a long guitar solo in 70’s Rock style! “Utopic” (6:38) begins like an eerie ballad with sensitive vocals, but accelerates frantically on bass & drums from middle to end, concluding on epic guitar riffs. Still better are “To Love is to Leave” (8:01) - another ballad driven by a powerful vocal tune that grows on a great bluesy guitar solo and has its climax on a heavy sequence of memorable Doom guitars; and “The Name You Fear” (6:09), which gallops on epic bass and drums, being sided by melodic harmony vocals and guitar solos (for fans of “Muse”). “It Must Taste Good” (8:31) is a Post-Rock with waving melodies, echoing vocals, and kilometric guitar solos that precedes the very best tracks “I Know What You Are” (6:42) (which dramatically puts in contrast deep melancholic vocals against epic ascending instrumentation); “Lost Our Faith” (2:05) (a folk intro); “How Long We Wait” (9:28) (an energetic Alternative Rock that softens into a long Progressive part full of floating guitars and vocals, ending on symphonic French horns); and “Ashes Fall” (8:07) – a heavy song, loaded with a dense concentration of lysergic Doom, Space & Post Metal riffs, featuring a Progressive guitar solo. The album still has the less transmuting, but not less interesting, “Fist to Face” (4:15). Dream The Electric Sleep is a first class band having a modern Progressive approach to their compositional style, and their album “Heretics”, although not aimed to the orthodox Prog-Heads, will be highly praised by fans of Progressive-oriented Alternative Rock, Shoegazing, Heavy Psychedelic/Space Rock & Post-Rock who like “Radiohead”, “My Bloody Valentine”, “Catherine Wheel”, “Swervedriver”, “Ride”, “Killing Joke”, “Doves”, “Seam”, “The Flaming Lips”, “Muse”, “Astra”, “The Life and Times”, “Simeon Soul Charger”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Dream The Electric Sleep are: Matt Page – Lead Vocals, Guitar, Banjo, Keyboards, Lyrics; Chris Tackett – Bass; Joey Waters – Drums, Vocals; Andrew Hibpshman – Guitar. Additional Musicians: Seth Meyers – Cello (tracks 1, 3, 7, 11); Nathan Williams – French horn (tracks 1, 4, 8, 10, 11). Spoken excerpts on “Ashes Fall” read by L.A. Watson & M. Page. Cover art by Matt Page; layout by C. Tackett & M. Page. Recorded at Sneak Attack Recording Co, Lexington, KI; Engineered, Mixed & Mastered by Jason Groves. Produced by DTES. Song titles and the works of literature & art that have inspired them: “Heretics” + “Elizabeth” = “Heresies” (art journal from the 1970s); “Utopic” + “To Love is to Leave” = “A Room of One’s Own” (essay by “Virginia Woolf”); “The Name You Fear” + “It Must Taste Good” = “The Yellow Wallpaper” (short story by “Charlotte Perkins Gilman”); “I Know What You Are” + “Fist to Face” = “Cornered” (video artwork by “Adrian Piper”); “Lost Our Faith” + “How Long We Wait” + “Ashes Fall” = “Waiting” (spoken word performance written by artist “Faith Wilding”)...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/12/2014...............................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit DREAM THE ELECTRIC SLEEP HOME PAGE...
Majestic is back to PR&PM! After the successful release of the album “Ataraxia” (reviewed at PR&PM in 2011), Majestic’s leader Jeff Hamel pushed the band to a productive career. Majestic’s recent discography incorporated the albums “Labyrinth” (2011), “V.O.Z.” (2012), and “Epsilon 1 & 2” (2014), which we hope to present soon. Along this prosperous path, Hamel refined his compositional style, learning how to blend many all-time Progressive references inside Majestic’s vessel to produce “majestic” pieces that, albeit shining with modernity, stay true to the Progressive spirit of the ‘70s. The album on focus here, “V.O.Z.”, represents the epitome of Majestic’s music, consisting in a true Prog-Rock masterpiece. “V.O.Z.” is a double album that features Jeff Hamel (guitars, bass, keyboards), Mike Kosacek (drums, percussion), and a cast of guest singers: David Cagle, Tara Morgan, Chris Hodges, and Celine Derval. As on previous works, Majestic’s style combines Symphonic Prog, Neo-Prog, Space-Metal, and Hard & Heavy-Prog, sounding like several 70’s bands blended with diverse modern Progressive references. Majestic’s compositions are often transmuting, dynamic, and dramatic. The instrumentation is multilayered, and masterfully alternates atmospheric & cosmic moments (driven by delicate guitars and soaring synths reminiscent of bands like “Ayreon”, “Yes”, “Tangerine Dream”, “King Crimson”, “Brian Eno”) with fervent sequences of Hard-Prog & Space-Metal riffs (driven by powerful guitars, organs, and pounding bass & drums, recalling “Star One”, “Dream Theater”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Arena”, “ELP”, “Deep Purple”). Those two currents may flow into “majestically” epic Symphonic arrangements bringing classic pianos, gothic organs, or Baroque keyboards (as “Genesis”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Rocket Scientists”); or may dissolve into Space-Psychedelic soundscapes (like “Pink Floyd”, “Ayreon”, “Eloy”). Although mostly instrumental, the music on “V.O.Z” has been underlined by talented vocalists who increased the emotional core of the album with superb performances, so evoking bands like “Twelfth Night”, “Pendragon”, “Pallas”; but also “Magenta”, “Nemezis”, “Landmarq”, and “Roswell Six” (because of the female singers). “V.O.Z.” consists of CD 1 (11 tracks) & CD 2 (7 tracks). CD 1 opens with “In Memory of …” (4:56), a farewell piece that precedes “VOZ I–X”. “VOZ I - New World” (4:23) & “VOZ II - Crossing Meridian” (7:49) are Progressive songs driven by David Cagle’s soulful voice, and bring pianos and agile guitars, recalling a mix of “Ayreon”, “Twelfth Night”, and “King Crimson”. They converge to the Space-Metal tracks “VOZ III - Approaching Storm” (6:28) & “VOZ IV - Milestone” (2:54) (both with contagious guitar riffs, cosmic sounds inspired on “King Crimson”, and gritty organs like “ELP”, soothing down to a Prog-Fusion). “VOZ V - Whispers” (4:10) is a delicate ballad featuring vocals of Tara Morgan (recalling “Landmarq” and “Magenta”) that merge with “VOZ VI - Freefall” (4:56): an instrumental piece having primeval flutes and electronic ambiences that echoes slowly in time. The superb final sequence comes with “VOZ VII - Darkened Worlds” (5:12), a ballad driven by Chris Hodges (recalling “Pendragon”, “Roswell Six”) that grows with eerie synths like “Genesis”, and merges into the instrumental “VOZ VIII - Rise to the Surface” (5:58) by addition of ethno-beats and large doses of Space-Prog guitars & synths. The conclusion of this magnum opus is announced by the celestial New-Age synths of “VOZ IX - Skies Clear” (3:01), which lead to “VOZ X - Voyage Ends” (8:19) – a superb and epic Prog-Metal song delivered with spirited vocals by David Cagle (aimed to fans of “Star One” and “Dream Theater”). CD 2 begins with the lullaby “Zosimos Sleeps” (1:05), but is wakened by the energy of “Becoming” (10:13), a Space-Rock delivered with fast destroying guitars, featuring wild vocal performance by Celine Derval. The ultra-Symphonic “Spirits Dwell” (8:19) brings Baroque harpsichords, soaring bass, cosmic soundscapes, and church organs, having a slight influence of “Yes” (“Close to the Edge” album). The psychedelic ballad “Around the Sun” (6:40), driven by Hodges on vocals, leads to the hyperbolic “Hyperbole” (8:43), a heavy-pounding instrumental Space-Metal enveloped in Post-Metal guitar textures. Celine Derval’s outstanding voice returns on “Becoming (Reprise)” (6:37), now offered in ballad-format, having bluesy guitars and jazzy improvisations on piano and drums. Celine also takes the lead on the grand finale: the royal “Red Skies” (17:11) – the album’s most dramatic song, which combines elements of Electronica with intense Prog-Metal heaviness, alternating them with soaring and trippy moments, delivered with outstanding vocal melodies and great Progressive themes. On “V.O.Z.”, Majestic has surpassed what had been offered on their previous albums, surprising and delighting their loyal fan-base. The new album “Epsilon” is expected to be even better! Majestic is a fabulous band, highly recommended for fans of Symphonic, Heavy-Prog & Space-Metal. Do not miss them! Band members and collaborators involved in Majestic are: Jeff Hamel – Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Music & Lyrics; Mike Kosacek – Drums, Percussion. Guest Vocalists: David Cagle (on “V.O.Z. - I, II, X”); Tara Morgan (on “V.O.Z.-V”); Chris Hodges (on “V.O.Z.-VII” & “Around the Sun”); Celine Derval (on “Becoming”, “Becoming (Reprise)” & “Red Skies”). Recorded in Minneapolis, MN, at Majestic Songs Studio; Mastering by Steve Carrao (Sage Audio); Artwork by Vladimir Moldavsky; Produced by Jeff Hamel...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/12/2014................................................,.....Interested to know more about this fantastic Band? Visit MAJESTIC HOME PAGE...
Il Tempio Delle Clessidre is back to PR&PM! The band was born in 2006 in Genoa, Italy, after the meeting of Elisa Montaldo (keyboardist & composer) with Stefano “Lupo” Galifi (singer of famous Prog act “Museo Rosenbach”). The partnership led to the live presentation of “Museo Rosenbach’s” album “Zarathustra” (1973) after 34 years, a goal achieved in February 2007 in a historical show at Genoa's Teatro della Gioventù. On a second step, the band’s line-up stabilized with the addition of the professional musicians Fabio Gremo (bass), Giulio Canepa (guitars) & Paolo Tixi (drums). Il Tempio began to work on new material, which was reunited on their eponymous album “Il Tempio Delle Clessidre” (2010, Black Widow Records), reviewed at PR&PM in 2011. The album shook the Progressive community and opened doorways for a show in South Korea (Oct. 2011), where the band was acclaimed by an enthusiastic audience. Other shows followed on, supporting bands such as “Soft Machine Legacy”, “Goblin”, “Locanda delle Fate”, “Arti&Mestieri”; and at the NEARfest (Pennsylvania, 2012). The success of Il Tempio Delle Clessidre led to the revitalization of “Museo Rosenbach”, and the consequent departure of Stefano Galifi from the band. He was replaced by the talented singer Francesco Ciapica, who went with the band to the Spirit of 66's Prog Meeting (Belgium), where Il Tempio was chosen as the revelation. After three years of their first release, Il Tempio Delle Clessidre finally came back to the scene with a second album, entitled “alieNatura” (2013, Black Widow Records). I was eagerly waiting for the opportunity to write about this follow-up, an album that had been chosen by many Prog-sites as one of the best releases of 2013 - with justice! “alieNatura” is magnificent, an awesome album that amazes the listener from beginning to end. As on “Il Tempio …”, the music is inspired on the Symphonic-Prog of the ‘70s, with influences of “King Crimson”, “ELP”, “Genesis”, “Gentle Giant”, and bands of the Italian Progressive scene: “Le Orme”, “Banco del Mutuo Soccorso”, “Museo Rosenbach”, “Il Balletto di Bronzo”, “Locanda delle Fate”, “Delirium”, “Biglietto Per L’Inferno”, “Metamorfosi”. But on “alieNatura” the music is more powerful and epic, performed by great musicians who are still more integrated to each other. This chemistry is reflected on grandiose arrangements, performed with extraordinary skill and passion. The vintage sounds that irradiate from Elisa’s keyboards find the perfect counterpoint on Canepa’s guitars. Fabio Gremo’s bass unleash awesome Progressive andantes, which are held at the rocky bottom by Paolo Tixi’s precise drumming. And Francesco Ciapica tempers the music with vocal modulations that go from the gothic and melancholic to aggressive and epic. “alieNatura” has 7 tracks. “Kaze” (4:15) is an instrumental ethnical intro that offers a preview of the great music that is yet to come, instigating the listener to go ahead. “Senza Colori” (8:30) is a Symphonic-Prog piece, having melodic parts opposed to spirited guitar riffs, balanced by Ciapica’s seductive voice. “Il Passo” (9:25) is somber, having complex Baroque guitars & keyboards (like “Gentle Giant”). The vocals irradiate an epic aura, leading the song on an adventurous path, but fall out into a deep introspectiveness, being softly driven by keyboards and bass. The soulful guitar solo, the medieval instrumentation, and the emotional vocals drive the music through a fantastic synth solo – full of creative freedom and sensibility! “Fino alla Vetta” (7:42) combines ethereal keyboards, Mellotrons, and violin-sounding guitars in an angelic intro (recalling “Locanda Delle Fate”). Acoustic strings support the bittersweet vocals, being gradually electrified by upcoming guitars, bass, drums, and more keyboards, opening space for a dramatic instrumental segment in Hard-Prog style containing dense Hammonds & synths, guitars and ancient choirs – a “Roman Empire” epic. On “Onirica Possessione” (9:08), the piano and vocals install a gloomy atmosphere, immediately dissipated by the heaviest Hard-Prog riffs, joined by aggressive vocals and superb arrangements for guitar. The song becomes a Prog-Folk driven by pastoral flutes, and the middle is psychedelic and frightening (recalling “KC”), and leads to a surprising “witches’ dance”, marked by pianos and Elisa’s operatic vocals. Her voice also takes the lead on the eerie piano-ballad “Notturna” (2:40). Finally, the suite “Il Cacciatore” (14:50) closes the album in five acts: “I-La Vera Preda” (powerful Heavy-Prog with affinities with ancient Mediterranean war-music, propelled by Francesco’s aggressive vocals & amazing choirs); “II-Volo di Rapace” (soaring symphonic part crowned with Neo-Prog guitar solo); “III-La Lince” (instrumental waltz-like sequence covered with neo-classical guitars & Hammonds, ending on a beautiful classical piano piece); “IV-Il Lupo” (hopeful vocals with a Romantic-Prog background, with ascending guitar solos); “V-Il Cacciatore” (the epic climax, repeating the initial themes and getting lost on the windy horizon). Overall, “alieNatura” consists in a true masterpiece, featuring fervent music tempered by melodic passages driven by sensitive vocals, honoring the tradition of Italian Prog-Rock. “alieNatura” is indispensable for Progressive fans in general; a must-have item for the “Rock Progressivo Italiano” enthusiast. Band members and collaborators involved in Il Tempio Delle Clessidre are: Elisa Montaldo – Keyboards, Piano, Organ, Concertina, Ethnical Instruments, Vocals; Francesco Ciapica – Lead Vocals; Giulio Canepa – Guitars; Fabio Gremo – Bass; Paolo Tixi – Drums. Album Recorded at Recording Studio Andrea Torretta (Genoa); Sound Engineer - Bruno Cimenti; Mixing & Mastering - Primigenia (Udine); Edited by Black Widow Records, Italy...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/12/2014......................Interested to know more about this fantastic Band? Visit IL TEMPIO DELLE CLESSIDRE HOME PAGE...
. FALSE CODA - "Closer To The Edge"
False Coda is Progressive Metal Band from Athens, Greece. False Coda formed in 2009 around a nucleus consisting of brothers Vasilis Milios (guitars) and Andreas Milios (drums), who are also members of the Metal band “Barbax.” After many changes, False Coda’s line-up began to stabilize in 2011, with bassist Nikos Pogkas (ex-“Shiverspine”), keyboardist Lefteris Kapetanios, and singer Manos Xanthakis (“Agnosia”, “Strangeyes”, ex-“Jericho”, ex-“Celestial Ode”, ex-“Blazon”). Since then, False Coda have been working hard, either recording tracks at their home studio, or taking part in festivals, such as the “Salaminas Metal Festival”. False Coda made their first tracks available at the Internet, until they finally released their debut album “Closer To The Edge” (2014, Steel Gallery Records). The sound of False Coda is mainly Prog-Metal, containing a combination of diverse elements from Thrash Metal, NWOBHM, 80’s Metal, and 90’s Metal, with influences that include “Dream Theater”, “Symphony X”, “Redemption”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Presto Ballet”, “Pain of Salvation”, “Angel Dust”, “Annihilator”, “Iron Maiden”, “Crimson Glory”, “Queensrÿche”, “Mordred”, “Faith No More”, “Rage Against the Machine”, and “Bal-Sagoth”. The vocals reminded me of “Bruce Dickinson” (“Iron Maiden”) and “Joey Belladonna” (“Anthrax”). “Closer To The Edge” features 7 tracks. “Simple Rules” (3:53) is an instrumental intro that recalls “Dream Theater”, has harmony guitars that recall “Iron Maiden” and funky parts that recall “Mordred”. “Code of Kindness” (6:52) follows on, being a full-fledged Prog-Metal song with and aggressive instrumentation that recalls “Symphony X”, being lavishly adorned with Neo-classical harmonies, and having Thrash-Metal riffs that recalled me of “Annihilator” and “Angel Dust”. From this point on, False Coda engages in a sequence of ferocious tracks: “Picture” (4:27) brings something of Ancient Greek music on the powerful guitar riffs, has deep dramatic vocals, and has an ultra-fast segment with keyboards that brought “Bal-Sagoth” to my mind; “Room of Pain” (5:14) runs wildly with the heaviness and speed of a locomotive (like on a typical song of “Symphony X”), but retrocedes in time by including gritty Hammond-sounding organs and 70’s rock guitars (like “Presto Ballet”), being cut by classic pianos and more guitars; and “Respect” (7:08) - one of the best - sends waves of demolition riffs, legions of war-marching bass, and thundering drums that sound with the same malevolence of “Symphony X”, invades the enemy’s territory bringing malign vocals (like “Nevermore” and “Crimson Glory”) and few “Rap-Metal” vocals (like “Rage Against the Machine”), ending with hovering pianos, Progressive guitars, and soulful vocals. But False Coda are also good in composing great Prog-Metal ballads, such as the title track “Closer to the Edge” (5:31), which runs on melodic lines that recall “Dream Theater”, “Shadow Gallery”, and “Redemption”, having groovy vocals and sticky chorus backed up by flying synths, and a great guitar solo. The closing track is “Blood on Eyes” (7:50), another best track that has Fusion lines, fast-soaring riffs, groovy vocals, funky parts, bass driven cadences that convey long guitar solos, and nervous thrashing riffs, showing influences that range from “Dream Theater” and “Pain of Salvation” to “Presto Ballet”, “Faith No More”, and “Annihilator”. False Coda’s debut is much impressive, and reveals a band with an enormous potential ahead them. They just need to surpass problems of home recording and production, and add more of their Greek roots to their music, so they will sound more uniquely. For now, False Coda is especially recommended for fans of Prog-Metal, NWOBHM, 80’s Heavy & Thrash Metal, and 90’s Alternative Metal, whose taste oscillates around “Dream Theater”, “Symphony X”, “Redemption”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Presto Ballet”, “Pain of Salvation”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Iron Maiden”, “Crimson Glory”, “Queensrÿche”, “Angel Dust”, “Annihilator”, “Nevermore”, “Mordred”, “Faith No More” & “Rage Against the Machine”. Band members and collaborators involved in False Coda are: Manos Xanthakis - Vocals; Vasilis Milios - Guitars; Lefteris Kapetanios - Keyboards; Nikos Pogkas -  Bass; Andreas Milios - Drums & Backing Vocals. Recorded at the The Edge Studios in Salamina, Greece; Produced, Edited & Mixed by Vasilis & Andreas Milios; Mastered by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios in Sweden...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/31/2014.........................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit FALSE CODA HOME PAGE...
. AUTUMN MOONLIGHT - A.M. - "The Sky Over Your Shoulders"
Autumn Moonlight (A.M.) was created in 2009 by Tomás Barrionuevo (Guitar, Piano, VSTi) and Mariano Spadafora (Bass, Piano, VSTi), in Berazategui, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Autumn Moonlight’s musical style comprises Instrumental Post-Rock with a Progressive Rock orientation, having as main influences bands such as: “God is an Astronaut”, “Long Distance Calling”, “Pg.Lost”,  “Mooncake”, “Oceansize”, “Russian Circles”, “Godspeed You! Black Emperor”, “Mogwai”, “Pelican”, and “Sigur Rós”. In 2009, A.M. released on the internet a promotional EP, which called the attention of independent Record Label Viajero Inmóvil. This label released A.M.’s first full-length studio album, entitled “The Sky Over Your Shoulders” (October, 2010), and its follow-up, “Alter Reality” (October, 2012), which came in Digipack & CD versions. The last releases by A.M. were: “A.M. Live Sessions” (August, 2013) and “A.M. Live Sessions II” (December 2013). They are available in digital format, and feature “live in studio” material recorded at the Calle 5 Studio (Berazategui, Buenos Aires). “A.M. Live Sessions” is a re-mastered 3-track EP that had participation of early drummer Gonzalo Duarte (in the band from 2010 to January 2011); while “A.M. Live Sessions II” features Mike Buenaventura Lima (A.M.’s drummer since middle 2013). The album under focus herein - “The Sky Over Your Shoulders” - has 8 tracks. This work impresses the listener for the high quality of recording and the professional performance of the musicians involved. As it is typical in Post-Rock standards, the music grows in waves, changing from delicate and soaring to vigorous and heavy, giving emphasis to the hypnotic and relaxing effects, and experimenting with different timbres, textures and sonorities. The compositions are driven sometimes by guitars, other times by pianos. The minimalist melodies are beautiful, exuding sensitivity and subtleness, and reverberate against a symphonic background that is often embellished with string arrangements that verge the Progressiveness. The album opens and closes respectively with “Autumn Moonlight Part I” (7:49) and “Autumn Moonlight Part II” (4:54). Both are typical Post-Rock pieces, driven by multilayered guitars that gradually grow more “rocky” at the end. “Part I” is basically made of guitar, bass & drums, but recalls the sonority of bands like “God Is An Astronaut”, “Mogwai”, and “Long Distance Calling”; “Part II” (4:54) features pianos, is more folky in nature, and has a placid mood, including soft textures on its frame. Following the same line, but being heavier, “Dawn Of Atlantis” (7:22) is characterized by a better use of the contrasts: monochromatic ocean-blue colors form waving sounds propelled by subtle pianos and martial drumming, which are sometimes interrupted by red-fire volcanic guitars that grow in intensity near the end. My favorite tracks are: “Letters To God” (7:44) - an imposing piece delivered with progressive andantes, having symphonic strings, folky sequences, melodic bass, a touch of “Genesis” on guitars, and an overall “Sigur Rós” style; “The Outsider” (5:31) - which is the heaviest track, containing vigorous Post-Metal riffs and elaborated Rocky parts, recalling bands like “Oceansize” and “Pelican”; and “Lost Paradise” (5:14), which begins melancholically with minimalist pianos, but gets heavier later with the coming of Progressive guitars, including solos. Two other tracks are also highlights of this album, for being so emotional, melodic and sensitive, that even recalled me of the soundtracks of “Miyazaki’s” animated movies: “T.O.R.” (5:35), the most beautiful, begins with introspective pianos and delicate acoustic guitars, then transforms that introspectiveness in an intense feeling of hope that spreads around with the coming of symphonic strings, reaching a climax on guitar solos; “The Sky Over Your Shoulders” (4:38), unites themes coming from bouncing pianos and strings to lay them down on a mattress of guitars. Overall, “The Sky Over Your Shoulders”, by Autumn Moonlight, is a well-produced and solid album that features beautifully crafted tunes that drift over emotionally deep soundscapes. It is highly indicated for the traditional Progressive fan that is willing to venture into the Post-Rock world, being also highly recommendable for fans of the genre who appreciate bands such as: “God is an Astronaut”, “Long Distance Calling”, “Mooncake”, “Pg.Lost”, “Oceansize”, “Sigur Rós”, “Russian Circles”, “Godspeed You! Black Emperor”, “Mogwai”, “Pelican”, “Krobak”, “Tortoise”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Autumn Moonlight are: Mariano Spadafora - Bass, Pianos, VSTi; Tomás Barrionuevo - Guitar, Pianos, VSTi; Mike Buenaventura Lima – Drums (since 2013). Former member: Gonzalo Duarte – Drums (from 2010-January 2011). Mixing & Mastering by Tomás Barrionuevo; Artwork by Tomas Piccinini...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/31/2014..................................................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit AUTUMN MOONLIGHT HOME PAGE...
. DILUVE - "What The Hell … !?!"
Diluve is an Italian Heavy Metal band which is formed with Andrea Volpi (vocals), Paolo Oliveri (guitars), Nicolò Riccomi (guitars, backing vocals), Alessandro Lupo (bass, backing vocals), and JF (drums). There is not much information about the band, but they recorded a Demo CD called “What The Hell is Diluve!?!” (2010). Diluve’s first full-length and self-produced album is “What The Hell…!?!” (2012), which was recorded and mastered by Italian keyboardist Freddy Delirio. The album brings 9 tracks, and a retro-sonority that dates back to the 80’s Heavy Metal, to the initial days of both the NWOBHM and Thrash-Metal styles. The sound is mainly pounding, fast, heavy, and crude, driven by dense guitar riffs, speedy-metal guitar solos, powerful bass, rumbling drums, and aggressive vocals (but not of the grunting type). There is a vocal component that shows up sometimes, and that sounds like Punk-Metal. In terms of sonic influences, Diluve resemble their compatriot bands “Astaroth”, “Bulldozer”, and “Dark Quarterer”, but also “Iron Maiden” (with “Paul Di’Anno”), “Warhead”, “Onslaught”, “Artillery”, “Nasty Savage”, “Razor”, “Attacker”, “Metal Church”, “Wrath”, “Omen”, “Exodus” (with “Paul Baloff”), “Nuclear Assault”, “Death Angel”, “Whiplash”, “Cities”, “Liege Lord”, “Holy Terror”, “Lääz Rockit”, “Brocas Helm”, and the Punk-Metal act “The Exploited”. Except for a few famous names like “Iron Maiden”, “Exodus” and “Metal Church”, most bands belonged to the underground Metal scene of the ‘80s, and if Diluve had been assembled at that time, then they would fit perfectly to the general panorama. But even the anachronism of Diluve’s sound may be attractive for the Head-bangers that are approaching the age of 50 (like myself), wakening some nostalgic feelings and remembrances of the damn good old past (man, how those primeval bands were awesome! – and some still are!). “What The Hell…!?!” opens with the instrumental intro “The King’s Rising” (1:35), and goes straightforward to what matters on the fast “Storm Attacks” (5:14), a NWOBHM song that recalls “Warhead”. “Victim of Venereal” (2:48) follows on even faster, and with a hilarious note on the sarcastic vocals that sound like a caricature of an opera. This one recalls me of “Nuclear Assault”, “Artillery”, and “Death Angel”. “I Got All” (4:16) combines a horse-galloping NWOBHM rhythm with Punk vocals to criticize our consuming society; while “Heavy Machine Gun” (3:25) runs over the listener with the same speed of a heavy crazy locomotive all loaded with rhinos. “Fatechild” (3:31) is a song that goes back to the times when “Paul Di’Anno” was “Maiden’s” singer, and the great guitar solos corroborate the impression. “A Sign From Above” (4:44) reminds me a bit of the compact and nervous guitar riffs of “Agent Steel”, but having some “Irish-Punk” vocals. The title track “What the Hell…!?!” (3:12) is a super violent and primitive Thrash-Metal driven by noisy guitars, bombastic bass and drums, and insane vocals like “Exodus” (with “Paul Baloff”) and “Razor”; having a break for a kind of “Tarantella”, or some other folkloric dance of celebration. Finally, the “proto-Prog-Metal” “Scarecrows, Guardians of Hellfields” (7:55) is an epic that alternates fast Thrash-Metal paces with more cadenced Heavy Metal parts, having interspersed on it a diversity of styles, such as Epic-Folk Metal on vocals, “Iron Maiden”-styled soaring parts on bass, and a number of fast and melodic guitar solos, also recalling “Brocas Helm” and “Attacker”. If you are an old Head-banger who has never grown up, and want to make a trip backwards in time, Diluve is the name of your time-machine. Especially recommended for fans of “Astaroth”, “Bulldozer”, “Dark Quarterer”, “Iron Maiden” (with “Paul Di’Anno”), “Warhead”, “Onslaught”, “Artillery”, “Nasty Savage”, “Razor”, “Attacker”, “Metal Church”, “Wrath”, “Omen”, “Exodus” (with “Paul Baloff”), “Nuclear Assault”, “Death Angel”, “Whiplash”, “Cities”, “Liege Lord”, “Holy Terror”, “Lääz Rockit”, “Brocas Helm”, “Abattoir”, and other Thrash and NWOBHM bands of the ‘80s.  Band members and collaborators involved in Diluve are: Andrea Volpi – Vocals; Paolo Oliveri – Guitars; Nicolò Riccomi – Guitars, Backing Vocals; Alessandro Lupo – Bass, Backing Vocals; JF – Drums.  Produced by Diluve, Recorded & Mastered by Freddy Delirio at FP Studio. All songs written by Nico, except “What the Hell” (Nico/Andrea)...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/31/2014..................................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit DILUVE HOME PAGE...
. QUANTUM FANTAY - "Terragaia"
Quantum Fantay is a Progressive & Space Rock band from Lokeren, Belgium. The group formed in 2004 around Pete Mush (synths & programming) and Jaro (bass guitar, djembe, didgeridoo), who were soon joined by Gino Bartolini (drums, djembe), Charles Sla (flute), and Dario Frodo (guitars). Quantum Fantay’s previous discography includes the studio albums “Agapanthusterra” (2005), “Ugisiunsi” (2007), “Kaleidothrope” (2009), and “Bridges of Kukuriku” (2010); and the live recordings “From Herzberg to Livingroom” (2007) and “Bridges Of The Old Fishingmine” (2011). Quantum Fantay’s fifth studio album is “Terragaia” (April, 2014, Progressive Promotion Records - Germany), which is regarded as a milestone in their career. “Terragaia” also features guest appearances of musicians from other Belgian bands, such as “Gracerooms”, “Neo Prophet”, and “Strograss”; and from the Cuban Progressive-Rock act “Anima Mundi” (see list below). Quantum Fantay’s musical recipe includes a combination of Ethnical instruments (or simulations) with Progressive Rock, Space Rock, Electronic Music and Psychedelic Rock, spiced with elements of Trance, Reggae and Dub. The music, totally instrumental, is fluidal, dynamic, complex, opulent, and much embellished, delivered with powerful propelling energy, and endowed with a timeless, unrestrained and metamorphosing essence that led band members to define Quantum Fantay’s style as “Liquid Space Rock”. Their influences are “Ozric Tentacles”, “Hidria Spacefolk”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Hawkwind”, “Pink Floyd”, “Gong”, “King Crimson”, “Genesis”, “Marillion”, “Jethro Tull”, “Jean Michel Jarre”, “Orbital”, “Massive Attack”, and “Leftfield”. The cosmic waves and bubbling noises that emanate from their sound make reference to bands like “Hawkwind”, “King Crimson”, “Gong”, “Brian Eno”, and “J.M. Jarre”. But Quantum Fantay are not a retro-vintage band, and prefer to support their music on a modern dynamic frame made of thick layers of synthesizers, aggressive guitars, and bass that recall bands like “Ozric Tentacles”, “Hidria Spacefolk”, and “Porcupine Tree”. They add to this matrix a Symphonic Neo-Prog cover made of subtle synths and soaring guitars, (which sound as harmonious as “Genesis” and “Marillion”), and large doses of flutes (like “Jethro Tull” and “Gong”). The percussive set includes drums and assorted Ethnical instruments which evoke ancient cultures of Planet Earth (Arabian, Turkish, Hindu, Asiatic, Jamaican), having a sonic resemblance with some experiments of “King Crimson” and “Gong”. That diversity is explored along the 10 instrumental tracks that compose “Terragaia”. The album opens with “Journey to Earth” (6:20), which delivers powerful heavy sounds wrapped up in Arabian veils, recalling “Porcupine Tree”, “Ozric Tentacles” and “Jethro Tull”. The scene moves to West Africa on “Azu Kéné Dékké Léppé” (5:20), an exotic Ethnical-Neo-Progressive piece driven by the polyrhythmic sounds of three djembes, sending ramifications to Jamaica. Back to Middle-East, we arrive at “Desert Rush” (7:23), a transcendental Turkish-Arabian piece enveloped in electronic ambiences. On “Aargh” (4:42), the acoustic guitars, bagpipes, and Celtic harps transport us to Irish moorlands, on the wings of soaring synths. On arrival, we are invited by frantic guitars to take part on a lively medieval dance. “Instant Karma” (10:56) combines Hindu sitars and religious vocalizations that blur with Space Rock clouds, pouring down a colorful rain of cosmic sound effects and soaring flutes. The last sequence is driven by powerful rock drumming, sounding like a blend of “J.M. Jarre” and “Porcupine Tree”. We move to the extremes of the world on “Chopsticks and Gongs” (6:07), a Chinese Progressive Rock; and on the mysterious “Indigofera” (5:22), on which aborigine didgeridoos reverberate on a profound throat singing (recalling “Philip Glass” and his “Qatsi” trilogy), echoing forwards on the tides of a Space Rock drive. The unpronounceable “Yah Roste Fooroap” (8:04) is like a flooding river of entrancing Electronic sounds (like “Massive Attack”) that rolls over ultra-melodic Progressive soundscapes. Let us flee to North America on “Cowdians” (10:04), which begins relaxing, but soon turns into a lively piece with the coming of banjos in a folky mix of Bluegrass and Old-Time music, always filtered by Quantum Fantay’s electronic & cosmic sieving. Our spacecraft finally takes off on “Journey from Earth” (5:47), propelled by a highly-explosive Neo-Progressive rocket-fuel that employs a mixture of flaring synths & guitars strongly influenced by “Genesis” and “Marillion”. A phenomenal album that really amazed me and surprised me from the early beginning to the very end, Quantum Fantay’s “Terragaia” is one of the best Space-Rock releases of the year. Must-have item for Progressive & Space-Rock fans that love “Ozric Tentacles”, “Orbital”, “Hidria Spacefolk”, “Hawkwind”, “Pink Floyd”, “Gong”, “King Crimson”, “Genesis”, “Marillion”, “Jethro Tull”, “Jean Michel Jarre”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Djam Karet”, “Mahogany Frog” and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Quantum Fantay are: Pete Mush - Synthesizers & Programming, Djembe, Marimba/Sitar/Koto simulations; Jaro - Bass, Djembe, Darbuka, Didgeridoo, Throat Singing, Harmonica; Charles Sla – Flute (all tracks but 7); Dario Frodo – Guitars; Gino Bartolini - Drums, Djembe. Guest Musicians: Gracerooms (“Gracerooms”) – Analog Bubbles (tr. 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10), Tabla (tr. 5), Additional Synths (tr. 7); Tom TasNeo Prophet”) – Acoustic Guitars (tr. 4 & 5); Anaisy GomezAnima Mundi”) – Bagpipe, Ocarina (tr. 4); Nele Casneuf – Harp (tr. 4); Joachim WannynStrograss”) - Banjo (tr. 9). Album Recorded & Mixed by Pete Mush at Pete’s Mushroomland 2013-2014; Mastered by Tony De Block at Midas/Redhot Mastering; Produced by Pieter ‘Pete Mush’ Van den Broeck...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/31/2014........................................For more details and in the meantime please check out QUANTUM FANTAY HOME PAGE...
. SECRET TALES - "L’Antico Regno"
Secret Tales is an Italian band from Milano that formed in November 2012 around a trio consisting of Roby Tav (keyboards, arrangements), Tiziana “Princess” Radis (vocals & backing vocals, guitar, lute, archlute, bodhran, percussion, lyrics), and Giancarlo “Zepi” Gabbanella (guitars & bass). Since 2009, two members of Secret Tales (Roby Tav & Tiziana Radis) also run a parallel project of Fantasy Dark-Folk music called D-M-D (Divine-Menti-Dark), with two CDs releases: “The Secret Wood Tales” (2009) & “The Lost Love” (2011). As passionate enthusiasts of Music & Art, the Secret Tales trio relied upon the prestigious collaboration of guitar player Andrea Cardellino (“L’Impero delle Ombre”), bassist Enio Nicolini (“The Black”, “Akron”), and drummer Gianluca Bracciale (“The Black”) to record their debut album, entitled “L'Antico Regno” (April 2014, CD/LP, Black Widow Records). “L'Antico Regno” is a concept album that tells about a magic trip to an ancient and lost kingdom, full of kings, queens, princes, princesses, fairies, witches, monsters and other magical creatures, in a universe where de Demiurge-Unicorn rules and protects all, including the monstrous Faust, and the charming PrincElfa. Secret Tales makes music that collectively may be called Dark-Rock. Inside their pot, different styles, modern and ancient, may melt together: Folk-Rock, Dark-Folk, Dark-Progressive, Ethereal-Gothic, Ambient, and Neo-Romantic Rock, Traditional Folk, Medieval, and Ancient Music. The influences and resemblances are varied, and may include “Ataraxia”, “Opus Avantra”, “Sophya Baccini”, “Diamanda Galas”, “Presence”, “Jacula”, “Antonius Rex”, “Era”, “Deva”, “Arkona”, “The Coven”, “Goblin”, “Daemonia Nymphe”, and “Blood Ceremony”. The album is fantastic, deep and powerful, and has 13 tracks. The intro “Stargate” (2:58), with its strange mix of Ancient chants and futuristic guitar, has the same magnificent air of an intro of “Ennio Morricone”. The Medieval acoustic ballad “Il Menestrello” (1:12) is an ode to Art that announces that the tale shall begin. A mysterious magical atmosphere arises on “L’Antico Regno” (3:28), a Heavy-Prog piece driven by Tiziana outstanding vocals; and follows on the cadenced “Il Giullare” (4:19), a Progressive-Doom Metal (recalling “L’Impero Delle Ombre”) that ends with dramatic vocal performance. On “In-Faust-O Goblin” (3:29), the atmosphere of horror grows darker and heavier, recalling bands like “Antonius Rex”, “Jacula”, “Presence”, and “Goblin”, being marked by monstrous voices. Stepping on Ethereal & Dark-Folk fields, “Il Canto Delle Sirene” (5:34) evokes images of desolated see shores, as the Siren’s songs, the ethnical percussion, and the soaring synths on the background join with acoustic guitars to sound like bands “Arkona” & “Daemonia Nymphe”. The Darkwawe “Rex Introduxit Puellam (L’incontro sublime)” (2:27) precedes the Neo-Folk lullaby “PrincElfa” (3:40), which features the impressive voice of Tiziana accompanied by peaceful strings, echoing flutes, and ethereal backing vocals. The uprising “L’Unicorno Lucente” (4:00) returns to the grandiose cadence of Progressive-Doom guitar riffs and neo-classical guitar solos, synths and flutes, while Tiziana’s vocals recall me of “Francesca Nicoli” (“Ataraxia”). The final act of this story will have a Progressive crescendo on the sequence of songs “Tornano Le Fate” (6:15), an Ethereal & Progressive song driven by fairish vocals, soulful melodic guitar solo, and Mediterranean acoustic guitars; and “Le Tre (Streghe, Fate, Aliene)” (3:52) – a Dark-Prog delivered with soaring guitar riffs and solos, dark bass, and vocals that alternate from ethereal to mystic; reaching the climax on “An Ancient History” (5:34): a fantastic song that recalls “The Coven” (60’s Black-Magic Psychedelic band led by “Jinx Dawson”), embellished with Celtic flutes, harmonic guitars, bass & fiddles. Finally, the closing minstrel song “Saluto Del Cantore” (2:11) proclaims the story is over. An unforgettable musical experience, a trip to the darkest and most hidden places of the human imagination, Secret Tales’ “L’Antico Regno” is a magnum  opus, being highly recommended for fans of Dark-Neo-Folk, Dark-Progressive, Ethereal-Gothic, Ambient, Neo-Romantic Rock, Traditional Folk, Medieval, and Ancient Music, who love bands like “Ataraxia”, “Jacula”, “Antonius Rex”, “Era”, “Deva”, “Diamanda Galas”, “Arkona”, “The Coven”, “Goblin”, “Opus Avantra”, “Sophya Baccini”, “Presence”, “Daemonia Nymphe”, “Blood Ceremony”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Secret Tales are: Tiziana “Princess” Radis - Vocals, Backing Vocals, Guitar, Lute, Archlute, Bodhran, Percussion, Lyrics; Roby Tav – Keyboards, Piano, Synths & Arrangements; Giancarlo “Zepi” Gabbanella – Guitars & Bass. Special Guests: Gianni Musy - Voice of the “King”; Andrea Cardellino - Guitars; Kristina Allram - Flute; Enio Nicolini - Bass; Gianluca Bracciale - Drums. Cover Design by Mago Merlino; Graphic Layout by Pino Pintabono...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/31/2014..............................Want to learn everything about the band and its members, goes to SECRET TALES HOME PAGE...
. IL SEGNO DEL COMANDO - "Il Volto Verde"
Il Segno Del Comando is an Italian Dark-Progressive band that was born in Genoa in 1995 as a studio project. In the next year, Il Segno Del Comando released their debut album “Il Segno Del Comando” (1996, Black Widow Records), with a line-up consisting of Diego Banchero (bass), Mercy (vocals), Gabriele Grixoni (guitars), Matteo Ricci (guitars), Agostino Tavella (Keyboards), and Carlo Opisso (drums). The album brought sonorities reminiscent of the Progressive Rock of the 70’s, enveloped in an oppressive Dark-Horror-Gothic atmosphere. This first album was inspired on a romance by “Giuseppe D’Agata” (base for a 70’s TV series by RAI), from which the band had also picked up the moniker. The music was mainly inspired on bands such as “Goblin”, “Jacula”, “Il Balletto di Bronzo”, “Antonius Rex”, “Biglietto Per L’Inferno”, and others. In the following years, Il Segno Del Comando participated on compilations issued by Black Widow Records, such as “…E Tu Vivrai Nel Terrore” (1998) and “Children of Black Widow” (1999), featuring reduced line-ups that orbited around Banchero and Grixoni. A second full-length album appeared only in 2002: “Der Golem” (2002, Black Widow), a concept album inspired on the esoteric novel “Der Golem”, by “Gustav Meyrink”. “Der Golem” had an experimental sound based on traditional middle-European music. Afterwards, Il Segno Del Comando stayed inactive until late 2010, when Black Widow Records invited Banchero to take part on a tribute-album dedicated to the band “Pierrot Lunaire”: “Pierrot Lunaire Tre” (2011, MP Records). The request took Il Segno back to studios again for the preparation of a third album. Inspired on one of “Gustav Meyrink’s” most esoteric writings - “Das grüne Gesicht” (“The Green Face”), Il Segno Del Comando recorded and released the album “Il Volto Verde” (November, 2013, Black Widow Records). The line-up featured Diego Banchero (bass, keyboards, Theremin), Maethelyiah (lead & backing female vocals), Giorgio Cesare Neri (guitars), Fernando Cherchi (drums, percussions), Maurizio Pustianaz (piano, organ), Roberto Lucanato (guitars), Davide Bruzzi (guitars), and had guest participation of Claudio Simonetti (“Goblin”), Gianni Leone (“Balletto di Bronzo”), Martin Grice (“Delirium”), Freddy Delirio (“Death SS”), Sophya Baccini (“Presence”) and others. “Il Volto Verde” is a masterpiece of the “Occult Progressive Rock”. Combining vintage sounds & concepts of 70’s Italian Prog-Rock with modern styles and visions, the music of “Il Volto Verde” sounds like a blend of Il Segno’s previous albums, fortified by the accumulated experience of all musicians involved in the project. The music is dense, impressive; with predominance of Dark-Gothic atmospheres, esoteric vibes, and demonical musical patterns reminiscent of modern Horror-movie soundtracks (a parallel to the partnership between band “Goblin” and movie-maker “Dario Argento” is undeniable). Thick layers of vintage keyboards and modern synths are combined with expressive guitars, thundering bass & drums, and ghostly Theremins to produce gloomy melodies and creepy harmonies, all under the spell of Maethelyiah’s necromantic vocals. “Il Volto Verde” features 12 tracks, some of which are instrumental intros for the elaborated (en)chanted pieces. The keyboard intro “Echi dall'Ignoto” (2:08) evokes the dark forces that will set up the Techno-Gothic atmospheres of “La Bottega delle Meraviglie” (3:41), driven by entrancing Moogs, bass & guitars, and Maethelyiah’s summoning vocals. “Chidher il Verde” (6:06) is a powerful Dark-Prog driven by mechanical guitar, bass & drums, ritualized choirs, and doomsday vocals that nears the Zeuhl style. Devouring guitars & synths swallow the listener into the sadness of “Trenodia Delle Dolci Parole” (6:41), a dark ballad featuring magnificent singer Sophya Baccini, that grows intensely on the instrumental sequence. The Techno-Voodoo “Il Rituale” (1:33) introduces the ritualistic “La Congrega Dello Zee Dyk” (8:02): a song driven by David Krieg’s vampire-vocals that recall “Type O Negative” and “Blutengel”. “Il Manoscritto” (6:16) is another impacting Dark-Prog that has apocalyptical female choirs, stormy instrumentation, and two outstanding guitar solos; a disposition that continues on the delirious “L'Evocazione di Eva” (4:27), a vintage instrumental track with guest appearances of Claudio Simonetti (organs, Moogs, Mellotrons) and Martin Grice (flute & sax). The music falls into deep sorrow on “Retrospettiva di Un Amore” (4:37): a neo-Classical song that evokes the European traditional music. The climax comes on the visionary “Usibepu” (6:15), which pulses with high-pressured Electronica pumped up by heavy guitars, thundering bass, acid synths, and hypnotic choirs; and on the heavy & vertiginous “L'Apocalisse” (4:09), a violent instrumental track ending on “Epilogo” (1:47): a demonic recitation. If you are an admirer of bands of the Darkness, such as “Goblin”, “Jacula”, “Il Balletto di Bronzo”, “Antonius Rex”, “Biglietto Per L’Inferno”, “Daemonia”, “Malombra”, “Presence”, “Runaway Totem”, “Devil Doll”, “U.T.O.”, “Finisterre”, “Hostsonaten”, “La Maschera di Cera”, “L’Impero Delle Ombre”, “Ballo Delle Castagne”, then Il Segno Del Comando’s “Il Volto Verde” is highly recommended to figure in your collection. Band members and collaborators involved in Il Segno Del Comando are: Diego Banchero - Electric & Fretless Bass, Keyboards, Theremin, Arrangements, Artistic Direction; Maethelyiah - Lead & Backing Vocals; Roberto Lucanato – Guitars; Davide Bruzzi – Guitars; Fernando Cherchi – Drums & Percussion. Additional Musicians: Giorgio Cesare Neri – Guitars; Maurizio Pustianaz - Keyboards, Piano, Organ. Special Guest Musicians: Claudio Simonetti – Keyboards on “L’Evocazione di Eva”; Gianni Leone – Keyboards, Organ, Recitation & Arrangements on “L’Apocalisse”; Freddy Delirio – Music & Keyboards on “Echi dall’Ignoto”; Martin Grice – Flute & Sax on “L’Evocazione di Eva”; Paul Nash - Guitar on “Retrospettiva…” & “Usibepu”; Sophya Baccini – Lead Vocals on “Trenodia …”; Vinz Aquarian – Moog & Kaossilator on “La bottega…”; David Krieg – Lead Vocals/Recitation on “La Congrega…” & “Epilogo”; Alessio Panni – Drums on “La Congrega…”, “Il Manoscritto” & “L’Apocalisse”. Ex-members/collaborators: 1996 line-up: Mercy (vocals), Gabriele Grixoni (guitars), Matteo Ricci (guitars), Agostino Tavella (Keyboards), Carlo Opisso (drums). 1998: Tullio Salvatore (keyboards). 1999: Francesco La Rosa (drums) & Stefano Agnini (Moog). 2002: Franz Ekurn (keyboards, piano, strings) & Livio Carusio (guitars). Engineering & Mastering by D. Banchero (Tricephale Independent Studios); Produced by D. Banchero & Giorgio C. Neri; Mastering by Freddy Delirio; Sound Editing by Max Sobrero. Cover Artwork by Danilo Capua; Layout by Pino Pintabona & Danilo Capua...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/31/2014.......................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit IL SEGNO DEL COMANDO HOME PAGE...
. DRUCKFARBEN - "Second Sound"
Druckfarben – the amazing Progressive-Rock band from Toronto, Canada – is back to PR&PM! Druckfarben was formed in 2007 by a quintet of professional musicians consisting of singer Phil Naro (ex-“Talas”), Ed Bernard (guitars, violin, vocals), William Hare (keyboards), Peter Murray (bass), and Troy Feener (drums). The band sprouted out from an ensemble called “Classic Albums Live”, a group of musicians who performed classic records note-for-note. After presenting the “Yes” albums “Close to the Edge” and “The Yes Album”, at the Phoenix Concert Theater in Toronto on September 20, 2007, Ed Bernard and Troy Feener decided to found the band they had dreamed of when they were both teenagers: Druckfarben. The band built up a reputation in a series of successful concerts during 2008, in which they covered songs of “Yes”, “Genesis”, “King Crimson”, “Gentle Giant”, “Kansas”, and “Rush”. Finally, in October, 2011, Druckfarben released their first eponymous album, which was reviewed at PR&PM in 2012. The album brought within an explosive mix of Classic Progressive Rock with influences of bans such as “Yes”, “Genesis”, “Gentle Giant”, “King Crimson”, “Emerson, Lake & Palmer”, “Rush”, “Jethro Tull”, “Kansas”, and “Greenslade”, all vigorously performed by skilled musicians with a predilection for exuberant arrangements and intense solo performances. On the forefront, the high-pitched voice of Phil Naro was reminiscent of “Jon Anderson”, with addition of a groovy inflection and more aggressiveness. Druckfarben have just released their second studio album, entitled “Second Sound” (March, 2014), featuring 8 tracks. The sound of Druckfarben is still characterized by an intricate instrumental interplay of classic Progressive keyboards with elaborated guitars and frantic violin passages, propelled by powerful bass lines and solid complex drumming. And the music still flows continuously through a maze of unexpected twists and turns, guided by Naro’s contaminating vocals - just as it did on their first album. But “Second Sound” advances some steps farther, by presenting the listener with a diverse sonority that brings in more influences (some passages recalled me of bands such as “Dixie Dregs”, “U.K.”, “Jean-Luc Ponty”), and at the same time makes experiments to find a signature of its own. Taking Druckfarben’s first album as a reference, songs like “An Answer Dreaming” (6:59) and “In Disbelief” (3:29) (which are “Second Sound’s” initial songs) feature the same lively disposition, the same complex interwoven instrumentation with amazing keyboard passages, thundering bass, and dazzling guitars, and vocals reminiscent of “Jon Anderson”, being still very influenced by 80’s “Yes”, “Gentle Giant”, “ELP”, and “Greenslade”. On “Surrounds Me” (7:22), the initial predominance of acoustic guitars coupled with vocals also recalls “Yes” (although of the ‘70s era), but as the song becomes more electrified from middle to end, it follows an amazing instrumental sequence driven by opulent organs & synths, “Steve Howe”-styled guitars, and hard riffs, bass & drums that have great influence of “Rush” (of “2112” and before). But songs like “Dandelion” (5:06), “Liberated Dream” (4:25), “Long Walk Down” (5:02), and “Another Day” (5:21) diverge from that central mode, pointing to different new ways. Two of them – “Dandelion” and “Liberated Dream” - even recall the sound of “Yes”, but as if the musical keys had been lowered down and chained to “King Crimson’s” bottom end. The result is that “Dandelion” sounds deeper and heavier, aspects that are reinforced by the presence of mysterious violin tunes that sound like a somber “Dixie Dregs”; while “Liberated Dream” sounds like a dark and funky version of “Yes”, having tightly interlocked guitars, keyboards, and boiling bass passages. In contrast, “Long Walk Down” is a light Progressive ballad bringing mellow tunes, soft pianos, soaring synths, and eerie airs that altogether recall “Genesis”, led by a second voice that resembles “Peter Gabriel”, and having Naro on the “Yes”-like backing vocals. Yet, “Another Day” exposes Druckfarben’s Folk-American & Cajun-Canadian roots, featuring banjos and mandolins that drive beautiful harmony vocals before steering unexpectedly to a vibrant instrumental sequence. Druckfarben finished the album with the title track “Second Sound” (18:49) - their first experiment with long-lasting songs, and also their most ambitious work so far. This awesome opus combines, with taste and quality, all of Druckfarben’s influences, old and new, showing the whole Progressive-Rock capacity of this amazing band. “Second Sound” features many different parts and progressive andantes marked by eerie pianos and delicate synths (like “Genesis”), silky violins (like “Jean-Luc Ponty”, “Dixie Dregs”, “Kansas”), folk acoustic strings, inspired guitars, and passionate vocals. Druckfarben’s “Second Sound” is a magnificent second album that will not let their fans down. A must-have item for fans of “Yes”, “Genesis”, “Gentle Giant”, “King Crimson”, “Rush”, “ELP”, “Greenslade”, “Kansas”, “Trace”, “Druid”, “UK”, “Dixie Dregs”, “Jean-Luc Ponty”, “Kaipa”, “The Flower Kings”, “Spock’s Beard”, “The Tangent”, “Karmakanic”, “Neal Morse”, “Circa:”, “Conspiracy”, “Tiles”, “Glass Hammer”, “Explorers Club”, “Flash”, and “Cairo”. Band members and collaborators involved in Druckfarben are: Phil Naro - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar; Ed Bernard - Guitars, Vocals, Violins, Violas, Mandolins, Banjo, Dobro, Pint Glass and Incidentals; William Hare - Piano, Organ, Synthesizers; Peter Murray - Bass, Vocals; Troy Feener - Drums, Percussion. Drums & Bass Recorded at TA2 Music by Don Horton; Additional Recordings at Ed Id Productions & the Junction Soundbox; Additional piano recorded at Number 9 Studios, engineered by Bernie Cisternas; Additional Engineering by Steve Major & Druckfarben; Mixed by Steve Major, Produced by Ed Bernard...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/31/2014.....................Want to learn everything about the musicians and this great band, go to DRUCKFARBEN HOME PAGE...
. SYNDONE - "Odysséas"
Syndone – the amazing Avant-Garde Progressive Rock Band from Turin, Italy – is welcomed back to PR&PM! Syndone was formed in 1989 by Nik Comoglio (keyboards & compositions), Fulvio Serra (bass) and Paolo Sburlati (drums). They aimed to work as a keyboard-oriented Symphonic Rock Trio having “Emerson Lake & Palmer” as a model. Syndone released the albums "Spleen" (1990) and "Inca" (1992), both under Electromantic Music, with production of “Beppe Crovella” (keyboardist of "Arti & Mestieri"). After a few live concerts, the band split up and each musician went on his own way. In 2009, Nik Comoglio resurrected Syndone as a quintet consisting of: himself on keyboards, Riccardo Ruggeri (vocals), Francesco Pinetti (vibraphone), Federico Marchesano (bass guitars), and Paolo Rigotto (drums & percussion). They released the album "Melapesante" (2010, Electromantic), which granted to Syndone the position of “Band of The Month” at PR&PM in March 2011. After “Melapesante”, Syndone’s line-up was downsized for a trio consisting of Nik Comoglio, Francesco Pinetti, and Riccardo Ruggeri – which released the album “La Bella é La Bestia” (2012, AMS/BTF). In January 2014, Syndone released their fifth studio album, “Odysséas” (Fading Records). The record features the trio Comoglio, Pinetti & Ruggeri, helped by several guest musicians, including the famous Marco Minnemann (drums) and John Hackett (flute), and ex-member Federico Marchesano (bass). “Odysséas” is an amazing Symphonic Progressive album with an Avant-garde touch. Syndone’s music is at first a byzantine combination of bombastic keyboards (mainly Pianos, but also Hammonds & Moogs), amazing bass progressions, and opulent drumming that really recalls “ELP”. But Syndone is much more than a mere cliché of “ELP”, having a signature of its own. One of the reasons is the incorporation of a vibraphone to the arrangements. The metallic sound of the instrument adds a touch of unreality and originality to Syndone’s sound, distinguishing it from “ELP”, and recalling bands like “King Crimson”, “Gentle Giant”, “Henry Cow”, “Isildurs Bane”, “Gong”, “Magma”, and “Dün”. Likewise, if “ELP” were influenced by the Academic Contemporaneous Music, Syndone is open enough to switch to a Jazzy mode (tending to the style of “Soft Machine”, “Arti & Mestieri”, “Area” and “Deus Ex Machina”), or to the Ancient Mediterranean canons. Another point of divergence with “ELP” - and a highlight of Syndone - is the presence of gifted singer Riccardo Ruggeri. His voice is marvelous, emotional, and has a wide range, transiting between the operatic style of “Freddie Mercury” and the soulful and bluesy modes of “Robert Plant” and “Joe Cocker”. Syndone’s extra components are a string orchestra and a brass ensemble. And one cannot forget that, as an Italian-Prog outfit, Syndone has also influences of bans such as: "Le Orme", "Jumbo", "Stormy Six", "Alphataurus", "Il Paese dei Balocchi", "Banco del Mutuo Soccorso", "Delirium", "Quella Vecchia Locanda",  "Osanna", "Nuova Idea", "De De Lind", "Latte e Miele", and “Il Rovescio Della Medaglia”. “Odysséas” has 13 tracks that keep a musical continuity from one to the other, as on a suite. They comprise instrumental intros, bombastic Avant-Gard Prog songs, and softer Neo-Classic Prog songs. Except for “Focus” (4:24) (which is a groovy Rock accompanied by a Big-Band that “J. Cocker” would have loved to sing), all other bombastic songs represent the best Prog-Rock made in Italy. The instrumental intro “Invocazione Alla Musa” (3:11) combines “ELP” and “King Crimson” with Syndone’s typical vibraphone signature; “Circe” (2:31) is an instrumental Jazz-Rock (recalling “Arti & Mestieri”, “Deus Ex Machina”, “Soft Machine”), having vibraphones and distortions that add a “sorceress” touch; “Ade” (5:01) features expressive pianos, great bass, and soft harps that contrast with distorted keyboards and Ruggeri’s falsettos, recalling “Crimson” and “Area”. The instrumental “Poseidon” (2:21), driven mainly by Hammond organs, has the greatest resemblance with “ELP”, and introduces a sequence comprising the songs “Nemesis” (5:10), “La Grande Bouffe” (4:52), and “Eros & Thanatos” (2:04), which feature jazzy grooves, imposing bass, destroying drumming, gritty organs, slicing Moogs, “Zeuhl-like” vibraphones, and experimental vocalizations, recalling parts of “Magma”, “Area”, “Deus Ex Machina”, “Banco”, “King Crimson” and “ELP”. The ballads follow a Neo-Classical to Ancient Mediterranean style, having predominance of classic pianos, poignant strings, and classic acoustic guitars, all guided by the magnificent voice of Ruggeri (singing in a “Freddie Mercury” mode). Ruggeri’s main vocal theme is presented on “Il Tempo Che Non Ho” (5:33), gains in drama with the coming of the orchestra, and ascends to celestial lyrical levels on the piano-ballad “Vento Avverso” (3:43). On “Penelope” (4:44), centuries of Mediterranean music converge to the piano that exudes the introspectiveness of a nocturne of Chopin, followed by Ruggeri’s sensitive performance and J. Hackett’s flutes. At the end, the instrumental “??e??e??a/Freedom” (1:47) (vibraphone solo) introduces “Daimones” (4:54): a Romantic-Prog song delivered with beautiful tunes on synths, and passionate vocals. A sparkling gem of the new century’s Italian Progressive Rock, Syndone’s “Odysséas” is a Must-Have album for fans of “ELP”, “King Crimson”, “Magma”, “Le Orme”, “Stormy Six”, “Alphataurus”, “Il Paese dei Balocchi”, “Banco del Mutuo Soccorso”, “Delirium”, “Quella Vecchia Locanda”, “Il Rovescio Della Medaglia”, “Osanna”, “Arti & Mestieri”, “Area”, “De De Lind”, “Latte e Miele”, “Deus Ex Machina”. Band members and collaborators involved in Syndone are: Nik Comoglio – Keyboards (Piano, Rhodes, Hammond, Moog) Orchestration & Composition; Francesco Pinetti – Vibraphone & Composition; Riccardo Ruggeri – Vocals & Lyrics; Guest Musicians: Marco Minnemann – Drums; John Hackett – Flute (on “Penelope”); Federico Marchesano – Bass; Sara Maria Chessa – Lever Harp; Pino Russo – Acoustic Guitars, Oud; Beppe Tripodi – Violin; Elena Favilla – Alto Violin; Claudia Revetto – Cello; Umberto Clerici – Cello; Marco Pierobon – Trumpet Bb; Marco Braito – Trumpet Bb; Gianluca Scipione – Trombone; Nilo Caracristi – French Horn; Stefano Ammannati – Tuba; Luca Biggio – Alto Sax; Paolo Porta – Tenor Sax; Gianni Virone – Baritone Sax. The “Labirinto String Orchestra” conducted by Mº Fabio Gurian. All Arrangements by Syndone. Mixed at Puntorec Studios, Turin, by Fabrizio Argiolas & Cristian Demaestri; Mastered at Fonoprint, Bologna, by Maurizio Biancani & Roberto Bartilucci. Artistic Production: Nik Comoglio & Camera D’Arte Association; Executive Production: Marcello Marinone & Fading Records...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/31/2014.........................Want to learn everything about the musicians and their fantastic band, visit SYNDONE HOME PAGE...
. GLEEMEN - "Oltre … Lontano, Lontano"
I Gleemen is a veteran band from Italy that was formed in Genoa in 1965. The 1969 line-up had Pier Niccolò “Bambi” Fossati (guitar, vocals), Lio Marchi (keyboards), Angelo Traverso (bass), and Maurizio Cassinelli (drums). I Gleemen played mainly Blues Rock & Psychedelic Rock with influences of “Jimi Hendrix”, “The Beatles”, “Santana”, “Ten Years After”, and other greats of the time, having as central figure the guitarist Bambi Fossati - an enthusiast of “Hendrix” and “Alvin Lee”. Their first single had a cover of “Lady Madonna” (“Beatles”), and gave visibility to the band. Their first eponymous album – “Gleemen” – was released in 1970 (BTF/Vinyl Magic), and gained editions on CD in 1993 (Mellow Records) and 2008 (BTF). In 1971, feeling the Progressive vibes that were coming on, Gleemen changed their style and turned to Garybaldi – a band that had more success than Gleeman, and also more releases: “Marta Helmuth” (single, 1971), “Nuda” (1972, with cover designed by “Guido Crepax”), and “Astrolabio” (1973). Garybaldi played live in Italy, either on festivals, or supporting bands such as “Uriah Heep”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, and “Santana”. In 1974, Fossati and Cassinelli disbanded the group, and joined with bassist Roberto Ricci and Indian percussionist Ramasandiran Somusundaram to form the project Bambibanda & Melodie, that recorded an eponymous album in 1974. Garybaldi would be reformed in the ‘90s by Fossati and Cassinelli, with Marco Mazza (guitar) and Carlo Milan (bass) as new members. More albums followed on: “Bambi Fossati & Garybaldi” (1990), “Bambi Comes Alive” (1993), “Blokko 45” (1996), “La Ragione e Il Torto”(2000), “Note Perdute”(2010), “Live in Bloom” (2011). Lost in their own musical era, I Gleemen seemed to be destined to obblivion. But in 2013, with support of Massimo Gasperini & Black Widow Records, the original members Maurizio Cassinelli, Angelo Traverso, and Bambi Fossati decided to revive I Gleemen for a new album. Entitled “Oltre ... Lontano, Lontano” (2013, Black Widow Records), the album featured brief participation of Bambi (due to his delicate state of health) and special appearances of Marco Zoccheddu (“Nuova Idea”), Martin Grice (“Delirium”), and others (see list below). The cover artwork depicts an image similar to that presented on the 1970 “Gleemen” cover, but showing band members gray-haired. But only their bodies have grown older, for their spirits still burn with the same Rock passion of their glorious past. “Oltre …” has a retro-sonority that emulates and revitalizes the 60’s Rock, featuring Bluesy and “Hendrixian” guitar solos, Hammond organs, groovy rhythmic section, and spirited vocal tunes, with influences of “Beatles”, “Hendrix”, “Cream”, “Santana”, “Ten Years After”, & others. The record was made still more brilliant and diverse due to the inspired and generous contributions of a cast of talented musicians (list below). “Oltre …” has 10 tracks, including some effervescent Rocky songs that bear the revolutionary spirit of the late 60’s that fostered the Hard-Rock rebellion of the early 70’s: “Anima di Gomma” (5:26) is a pleasant late 60’s Blues-Rock with a “Santana” swing mixed to flutes that recall early “Jethro Tull”; “La Grande Carovana” (4:18) is a powerful 70’s Hard-Rock driven by contagious riffs and sticky chorus, having great solos of vintage organ and guitar. Two tracks feature guitar-wizard Fossati: “Skizoid Blues” (5:16) is a delirious instrumental song in power-trio format, like “Hendrix” and “Cream”; and “In Una Stanza” (4:42) is a cadenced and heavy 70’s Hard-Rock performed with powerful chords, pervaded by a melancholic contrabass, driven by Fossatis’s aggressive vocals, and crowned with two of his soulful solos, recalling “Hendrix” and “Jimmy Page”. The ballads are beautiful and outstanding: “Canzone dei Cuori Semplici” (7:27) is a Proto-Prog enveloped in soaring guitars & cosmic Moogs that sounds like Garybaldi; while “Il Venditore di Pallone” (5:04) is classical, delivering catchy melodies with nostalgic feeling, and featuring sensitive tunes played on violin & contrabass. Reviving the spirit of the Flower-Power and the “Beatlemania”, “Stelle di Vetro” (4:57) is a sweet and colorful psychedelic song; “Solo Amore” (7:22) is a romantic pop-ballad with lively vocals and violins that recalls “George Harrison”, but that changes for a Blues-Rock with dueling twin-guitars; and “Nel Mio Cortile” (4:30) is a groovy Latin Rock heated up by Martin Grice’s saxophone, recalling “Santana” and “Traffic”. The album closes with the title track “Oltre … Lontano, Lontano” (10:24), an American Country-Blues combo that has pianos, acoustic guitars, harmonica, organs, and bluesy guitars; bringing the hidden-track “Per un Solo Istante” (an acoustic ballad). Bambi Fossati passed away in June 2014. This brilliant album honors him, by being totally loyal to the spirit of Rock n’ Roll. If you love 60’s to 70’s Rock as much as I Gleemen do, “Oltre … Lontano, Lontano” is more than highly recommendable for you. Band members and collaborators involved in I Gleemen are: 1970 line-up: Bambi Fossati - Guitars, Vocals; Lio Marchi - Keyboards; Angelo Traverso - Bass; Maurizio Cassinelli - Drums. Musicians & guests that played on this record: Bambi Fossati - Guitar, Vocals; Angelo Traverso - Bass; Maurizio Cassinelli - Drums, Percussion, Vocals, Acoustic Guitars, Keyboards, Harmonica; Pino Nastasi - Vocals; Alessandro Paolini - Bass, Contrabass, Electric Guitar, Iphone Moog, Programmed Strings, Electronica & Sound Effects; Marco Zaccheddu - Guitars, Hammond Organ, Whammy Guitar, Piano, Keyboards; Gianpaolo Casu - Acoustic & Electric Guitars, Vocals; Mauro Culotta - Supervibe & Electric Guitars; Luciano Ottonello - Electric Guitar; Roberto Piga - Violin; Daniela Piras - Flute; Martin Grice - Sax; Carlo Olivieri - Drums. Album Produced by Alessandro Paolini, I Gleemen & “Laboratorio Musicale Bagoon” (Genoa). Engineered & Mastered by Alessandro Paolini. Recorded & Mastered at Studio Bagoon (Genoa). Artwork by Pepa; Layout by Pino Pintabona...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/31/2014...............................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit GLEEMEN HOME PAGE...
. SOPHYA BACCINI’S ARADIA - "Big Red Dragon (William Blake’s Visions)"
Sophya Baccini is an Italian-Neapolitan singer, pianist, and composer. She has a professional training in Opera, but has a great penchant for Blues & Rock. Her experience as session musician and live vocalist led her to collaborate with “Vittorio Nocenzi” (“Banco”), “Lino Vairetti” (“Osanna”), and “Delirium”. But Sophya is better known for having been, together with Enrico Iglio, a founder member of the pioneering Dark-Progressive group Presence, which released several albums: “The Shadowing” (EP, 1990), “Makumba” (1992), “The Sleeper Awakes” (1994, Black Widow), “Black Opera” (1996), and “Evil Rose” (2008), reviewed at PR&PM in 2009. Sophya Baccini debuted in solo career with the album “Aradia” (2009, Black Widow Records), reviewed at PR&PM in 2009. In 2012 Sophya founded Sophya Baccini’s Aradia, a musical ensemble consisting only of women, to create a concept-album devoted to the English painter, poet and inventor William Blake, whose work has influenced many Rock musicians. So, Sophya Baccini & the Aradia ensemble, with help of important guest musicians (see below), recorded “Big Red Dragon (William Blake's Visions)” – an album that was proudly released by Black Widow Records in 2013, in CD & double Vinyl. “Big Red Dragon” is a timeless classic album. Underlined by the eclectic and amazing voice of Sophya (and her guests), the album brings a collection of rare and inspiring melodies that go from lyrical and bittersweet to romantic and nostalgic, enveloped in atmospheres that vary from dreamy and eerie to melancholic and frightening. The sounds of guitars and synths are reminiscent of the 70’s Psychedelic, Classic Rock, and Symphonic-Progressive Rock. But the orchestral arrangements are loaded with pianos and strings, and encompass decades of music of all kinds: Classical, Folk, Jazz, Blues, Romantic & Italian Opera-style, Soundtracks of the ‘40s & ‘50s, French-Italian Pop-Music of the 60’s, and even modern Techno-Pop. “Big Red Dragon” has 13 tracks. Except by the overture “William” (2:59) - a Symphonic-Prog piece dedicated to Blake’s character; and “Jerusalem” (3:06) -an English hymn, all other tracks were inspired on Blake’s paintings, drawings or illustrations. The chosen images transmit a deep and anguished emotional burden that was sensed by Sophya and masterfully transferred to the music. Part of the songs shows Sophya’s darkest side, recalling the styles of “Presence” and the “Aradia” album. Such are: the Black Mass “Satan” (3:54); the somber “La Porta Dell'Inferno” (9:01) (a poem with violins, rhythmic piano, and marking vocals by the “Osanna’s” Vairettis); the 70’s Horror-Rock “The Number” (4:19) (with Steve Sylvester on vocals, hypnotic female harmony vocals, and vintage keyboards); and the most amazing “Cerberus” (8:00), a symphonic Dark-Progressive piece with influences of Blues & Jazz, ghostly harmony vocals, and great synth & guitar solos. Also on the two Opera-Rocks “Just” (7:02) (on which Sophya’s pledging voice duels against Roberto Tiranti’s eloquent vocals, followed by Melodic Rock & Psychedelic-Prog guitar solos); and “Big Red Dragon” (5:27) (on which Sophya sings in duo with an aggressive Aurelio Fierro Jr. amidst sounds of pulsing techno-beats, Space-Rock synths, and lavish guitars), there are echoes of Sophya’s Heavy-Metal past. Other songs, however, are less aligned with the Dark forces, being instead pervaded with a Neo-Classical & Neo-Romantic spirit that works rather with sensitive, nostalgic, and introspective feelings. These songs are the album’s pearls that reveal how Sophya has surpassed herself, becoming a greater composer, performer, and singer than she ever was: “Angel Of The Revelation” (4:31) is melodic, emotive, and Jazzy; “Love Of Hecate” (5:49) is Classic, and has Baroque harpsichords and Brahms-like pianos; “While He’s Sleeping” (5:28) is a beautiful melancholic song that has soaring violins and Sonja Kristina’s contribution, in vocal duo with Sophya’s voice (recalling “Curved Air”); the theatrical “Au Matin Du Premier Jour” (5:47) brings great performance of Décamps (“Ange”), and has the nostalgic airs of an old French song; and “Beatrice” (6:37) is a Neo-Classical piano ballad softly driven by Sophya’s introspective voice, reminiscent of 40’s soundtracks. The last track is a New-Age version of the English Hymn “Jerusalem” (3:06), sung by Sophya with ethereal voice (Prog-fans may compare this version with the adaptation made by “ELP”). Rejecting all simplistic comparisons, Sophya Baccini’s “Big Red Dragon” is a wonderful, brilliant, profound, and unique album, created by an outstanding female musician who is experiencing the highest point of her talented career. Must-have item for fans of Symphonic Progressive Rock and Operatic-Rock! Band members and collaborators involved in Sophya Baccini’s Aradia are: Sophya Baccini - Voice, Backing Vocals, Keyboards, Piano, Synth Bass; Chicco Acetta - Guitars; Stella Manfredi - Violin, Viola; Francesca Colaps - Drums; Marilena Striano - Piano on “Beatrice”. Special Guests: Enrico Iglio - Hammond Organ, Mini Moog, Bells on "The Number"; Pino Falgiano - Keyboard Solo on "Cerberus"; Elisa MontaldoIl Tempio Delle Clessidre”) - Harpsichord, Celeste, Mellotron on "Love of Hecate"; Guest Singers: Irvin Vairetti & Lino VairettiOsanna”) - Vocals on "La Porta dell'Inferno"; Steve SylvesterDeath SS”) - Vocals on "The Number"; Roberto TirantiLabyrinth”, “Mangala Vallis”, “APD”) - Vocals on "Just"; Sonja KristinaCurved Air”) - Vocals on "While He's Sleeping"; Christian DécampsAnge”) - Lead Vocals on "Au Matin de Priemer Jour"; Aurelio Fierro Jr. - Vocals on "Big Red Dragon". All tracks written by Sophya Baccini, except “Au Matin…” (written by S. Baccini & C. Décamps) and “Jerusalem” (English Hymn composed in 1916 by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry inspired on Blake’s 1808 poem “And Did Those Feet in Ancient Time”. Album Recorded by Sophya Baccini, Mixed by Pino Falgiano at Onda Quadra Studio, Napoli. Executive Producers: Massimo Gasperini & Giampaolo Galluzzi...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/31/2014.......................................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit SOPHYA BACCINI’S ARADIA HOME PAGE...
. TRIPOD - "Nevermind This Black Album"
Tripod is a Grunge Rock quartet hailing from Norway. The line-up consists of Knut Arne Lillestøl (vocals), Stein-Inge Øien (guitars, backing vocals), Espen Bjørnholt (bass), and Åge Solheim (drums). Tripod started to play together in 2002, and since then they have been playing concerts in Norway, presenting their original songs. The band produced some demo-songs that have appeared on the DVD “Gatebil 2006?, a movie about car racing that sells 30,000 copies every year. Shortly afterwards, Tripod recorded and released a debut album called “Nevermind This Black Album” (November 2008, distributed by Trøndercore Records). Tripod also produced a video of the song “Another Monday” (featured on the album), which is available at the “Youtube” site. After the release of “Nevermind This Black Album”, Tripod seems to have ceased the recording activities, and must be expecting for the right moment to rise again. Tripod’s “Nevermind This Black Album” brings a decent and solid collection of Grunge Rock songs with a lean to the Melodic Post-Grunge. Their sound has influences of iconic bands of the Grunge movement (“Nirvana”, “Alice In Chains”, “Pearl Jam”, “Soundgarden”, “Foo Fighters”, and “Queens of the Stone Age”). “Nevermind This Black Album” brings 11 tracks. Powerful guitars, throbbing bass, unstoppable sturdy drumming, and nice emotional vocals – with mild doses of anguish and melancholy, and the precise measure of anger – are concentrated in blowing compositions that go straight to the point. My favorite songs of this album are: “Times Have Changed” (3:33) – a vibrant opening song that drags the listener to the record; “Another Monday” (3:29) - a song that alternates soft vocal melodies with energetic instrumental passages (and is the one that can be viewed at “Youtube”); and the Groovy-Grunge “The Dream” (3:50), that reminds me of the last works of “Alice In Chains”. Also counting among the best tracks of the album, there are two wild and heavy songs that should figure in the set-list of every live show of Tripod: “Cold” (3:33) and “Summer Gone By” (3:21). They are both powerful, devastating, delivered with electrifying Heavy-Metal riffs and thundering rhythmic support that verge the aggressiveness of “Kurt Cobain” in a bad day. Some of the other songs make use of musical contrasts, by opposing melodic vocal lines (sometimes instilled with melancholic moods) against aggressive instrumental moments, being reminiscent, for instance, of the songs of “Nirvana” and “Soundgarden”. Such songs are “My Time” (4:35), “Distant” (3:33), and “Tomorrow” (4:43), the last one being the best, for having anguished vocals and a few loops on the final instrumental part that are reminiscent of the Post-Rock style. Finally, Tripod’s album also features some very good melodic ballads: “Calm” (5:21) is a melodic Alternative Rock; “Rain” (3:22) is a beautiful acoustic ballad driven by a nice vocal duo (that will please fans of “Pearl Jam”); and “Tribute” (4:45) closes the album, bringing in poignant pianos, sad vocals, and harmony guitars on the climax. Although Tripod is not quite exactly what the visitors of this webzine are in search for, they appear before me as a band belonging to the non-American Grunge & Post-Grunge scene that has been overlooked by appreciators of that genre. Tripod is a very good band in its category, and band members make honor to the Grunge principles, by delivering wild rocky moments with passion and critical attitude. Tripod is especially recommended for fans of “Nirvana”, “Pearl Jam”, “Soundgarden”, “Alice In Chains”, “Foo Fighters”, “Queens of the Stone Age”, and the likes. Band members and collaborators involved in Tripod are: Knut Arne Lillestøl – Vocals; Stein-Inge Øien - Guitars, Backing Vocals; Espen Bjørnholt – Bass; Åge Solheim - Drums. Additional Musician: Erlend Os – Piano on “Tribute”. Album Recorded by Svein Erik Amas at Audiofarm, Orsta, Norway; Mixed by Fridtjof Nielsen at Tanken; Mastered by Hakan Akesson at the Cutting Room, Sweeden...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/22/2014..................................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit TRIPOD HOME PAGE...
. BRUCE MAIN - "Elements"
Bruce Main is a North-American musician who started to play piano at the age of 6, guitar at 11, and recorded his first original songs at 15. He studied electronics, acoustical physics and music theory, but never finished college. Instead he co-founded the Progressive band “Medusa”, with Brian Phraner, Don Freeborn, and Gordon Raphael (of “Sky Cries Mary” and “Colour Twigs”). After he left “Medusa”, he joined “The Eddies” (American rock band in the “Bob Seeger”/“Bruce Springsteen’s” style). After “The Eddies” split-up, he landed in Seattle and co-founded a record studio (“Format Arts Recording”), where he was the head engineer. Meanwhile, he started a Prog-Metal band called “Mania”, which had occasional participations of Mark Phraner, Don Freeborn and Freddy Krumins, and played all over Seattle before the Grunge era. He passed on his studio to Gordon Raphael and others, and went on the road as a front-of-house engineer. Mike Fisher (“Heart”) owned a sound company and hired Main as lead engineer. He then worked on tours for “Nirvana”, “Jean-Luc Ponty”, and others, and designed and installed large scale sound systems in major sports facilities with his old friend Brian Phraner. But as the will for playing music never left Bruce Main, in 2003 he put together a digital studio and started to record songs again. As a one-man-band, Main released the albums “Tracks” (2004) and “Layers” (2005). “Layers” had the track “Celebrity Circus” featured on “iTunes Modern Prog Compilation” (along with bands like “Dream Theater”, “Porcupine Tree”, “The Mars Volta” and “Glass Hammer”), and was reviewed at PR&PM in 2005. Main’s third album, “Elements” (2006), had more of a band approach, counting with the help of his old friends Brian Phraner, Mark Phraner, Don Freeborn, Bruce Jones, and Freddy Krummins. “Elements” explores the themes of global warming and climate change, and features 7 tracks. The sound is very melodic, soft and soaring, most of the times running slowly over a layer of acoustic guitars, being driven serenely by two singers (who alternate on the lead vocals). With few exceptions, the songs show influences of, and resemblances with, bands such as “The Moody Blues”, “Barclay James Harvest”, “Camel”, “Caravan”, “Genesis”, “King Crimson”, “David Gilmour”, “David Minasian”, “Illusion”, “Moon Safari”, “Spock’s Beard”, “Franck Carducci”, and “Rick Miller”. Main knows how to make Progressive ballads, and they figure among the best tracks of his album: the first, “Before” (7:59), is a Prog-Folk introduced by violins that has beautiful harmony vocals that recall “Moody Blues” and “Barclay James Harvest”; and the last, “One Day” (5:42), has a slightly melancholic feeling and a psychedelic touch on slide guitars, but is driven by melodic vocals that recall “Greg Lake”. Track 3, “Feel the Rain” (5:01), is also a beautiful piano ballad, having a pinch of “Floyd” on the soaring guitars. Equally noteworthy are tracks 4, “Arctic Toast” (4:41), and 5, “Things of Earth” (6:10), which concentrate influences of the British Symphonic Prog with a share of contribution from the Canterbury sound. The lyrics of “Arctic …” are instilled with English humor, and its bouncing notes and cheerful medieval melodies are reminiscent of “Camel”, “Gentle Giant”, “Genesis”, and “Caravan”. “Things …” is more melancholic, combining both acoustic and electric guitars that unfold in long soulful solos: it reminds me of “Camel”, “Caravan” (on the vocal tones), “Genesis”, and, because of the presence of a bass clarinet, also of “Gryphon”. But under a hard-core Progressive point of view, the most ambitious track is “Red Flags” (14:28) – a vigorous song with wonderful arrangements that are thickened with several layers of instruments, being delivered with fatty bass, many keyboards, and eloquent vocals that inject more Progressive drama to the whole piece (even recalling “King Crimson”, sometimes). Track 2, “The Heat” (4:34), is the only exception to the Progressive vibes that dominate the songs of “Elements”. It is a groovy song with contagious Latin beats that recalls a jam of “Santana” with “Bob Seeger”, and does not compromise the overall positive impression that “Elements” leaves on the listener. Five years after the release of “Elements”, Bruce Main released “Swimming in the Pixel Sea” (2011), a concept album that we hope to host at PR&PM soon. For now, Bruce Main and his album “Elements” are highly recommended for fans of soft and melodic Progressive Rock in the format of “The Moody Blues”, “Barclay James Harvest”, “Camel”, “Caravan”, “Genesis”, “King Crimson”, “David Gilmour”, “David Minasian”, “Illusion”, “Moon Safari”, “Spock’s Beard”, “Franck Carducci”, “Rick Miller”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Bruce Main are: Bruce Main – Guitars, Keyboards, Harmony Vocals, Drums (3) Electronic Drums (4); Mark Phraner – Lead Vocals (1, 5, 7), Backing Vocals (6); Freddy Krumins – Lead Vocals (2, 3, 4, 6); Don Freeborn – Drums; Brian Phraner – Bass & Harmony Vocals (1); Bruce Jones – Piano (3); Matt Main – Bass Clarinet (5). All songs produced, recorded, mixed & mastered by Bruce Main...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/22/2014.....................Interested to know more about this musician and his projects? Please visit BRUCE MAIN HOME PAGE...
. AUTUMN MOONLIGHT - A.M. - "Alter Reality"
Autumn Moonlight - A.M. is back to PR&PM! A.M. is a Post-Rock & Progressive duo from Argentina consisting of Tomás Barrionuevo (Guitar, Pianos, VSTi) and Mariano Spadafora (Bass, Pianos, VSTi). Recently, drummer Mike Buenaventura Lima has been added to the line-up, to give live support to A.M.’s shows. A.M.’s first full-length album was “The Sky Over Your Shoulders” (2010, Viajero Inmóvil Records, Argentina), which was reviewed at PR&PM in 2014 (see above). The album on focus here is “Alter Reality” (2012), which was also released by Progressive Label Viajero Inmóvil. “Alter Reality” follows the same line of its predecessor, containing all-instrumental Post-Rock music with a Progressive orientation that is mainly influenced by bands such as “God is an Astronaut”, “Long Distance Calling”, “Mooncake”, “Oceansize”, “Pg.Lost”, “Pelican”, “Sigur Rós”, “Russian Circles”, “Godspeed You! Black Emperor”, “Mogwai”, and “Tortoise”. “Alter Reality”, however, dares to experiment further, expanding the music of A.M. beyond the borders of “The Sky Over Your Shoulders” and revealing a new facet of the band. The greatest advance regards the mood – initially introspective, subtle, and melancholic, A.M. surprised me when they became on this second album more dynamic and vigorous, showing a rocky punch that sometimes grows to the aggressive level of the Heavy Prog & Post-Metal styles, but without losing their original sensibility. In response to that change, their compositions have shortened a little, but the arrangements have become more diverse, featuring elements of Heavy-Prog, Psychedelic Rock, and Prog-Metal. “Alter Reality” has 11 instrumental tracks. A.M.’s new rocky disposition is initially perceived on the typical Post-Rock tracks “Alter Reality” (5:02), which opens the album with delicate guitar melodies, giving up to few really heavy guitar riffs, as subtle pianos enter with a final classic touch (recalling the band “God Is An Astronaut”). Also on the excellent “Where All Begins” (3:46) the floating melodies and the ethereal textures of pianos and guitars are anchored down by some basic rocky bass, as other sturdy riffs bring energy to this system; and on the amazing “Falling Sky” (5:23) the piano intro is like a lullaby, and announces playful instruments that come together with a joyful mood: symphonic string arrangements fill up the empty spaces and ascend toward a Progressive guitar solo that makes the climax of this beautiful piece. A.M.’s desire for power increases on a series of tracks that work by contrasts, opposing melancholic parts against really heavy Metallic parts: “Ghost” (5:13) is a gloomy track on which plucked guitars echo around desolation, conveyed by interwoven bass & drums to an aggressive Post-Metal sequence, being like a blend of “Radiohead” with “Oceansize” and “Pelican”; the cinematographic “Odyssey” (4:28) makes it still better, opposing symphonic and progressive moments against dramatic martial drums, thundering bass, and ghostly sound effects, like a vast sea in the darkness. By means of wavy sounds, it merges with the impressive “Outer Sunset” (6:59) - an awesome piece that irradiates rare timbres from the guitars and has transient passages through Post-Metal, Prog-Metal & Heavy Prog, which surrender at the middle to slow, psychedelic bass-driven parts and echoing guitars. Such a musical impact is felt again on “The Eternal Smile” (5:22), which begins with echoing sounds and bittersweet melodies, like a rainy cloud that will vanish before the rising sun, growing heavier until bursting out suddenly with a solid guitar attack crowned with twin-guitar solos. Other tracks following this line are “Between Wars” (5:05), which develops a main Prog-Metal guitar theme bonded to hovering riffs, solos, and harmonies inside a psychedelic medium; and “Trine” (4:26), a standard Post-Rock. For fans of the original emotional, introspective, and melancholic style of A.M.’s first album, the relaxing and eerie Post-Rock ballads “Moving On” (5:19) and “28-5” (4:20) will be more than pleasing. In sum, “Alter Reality” is different from “The Sky Over Your Shoulders”, but keeps the original musical spirit of Autumn Moonlight pulsing inside a more vigorous body. Autumn Moonlight is therefore highly recommended for fans of “God is an Astronaut”, “Long Distance Calling”, “Mooncake”, “Oceansize”, “Pg.Lost”, “Pelican”, “Sigur Rós”, “Russian Circles”, “Godspeed You! Black Emperor”, “Mogwai”, “Tortoise”, “Mono”, “Krobak”, “Explosions in the Sky”, “This Will Destroy You”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Autumn Moonlight are: Mariano Spadafora - Bass, Pianos, VSTi; Tomás Barrionuevo - Guitar, Pianos, VSTi. Mike Buenaventura Lima – Drums (2013 on). Mixing & Mastering by Tomás Barrionuevo; Artwork by Tomas Piccinini...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/22/2014............................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit AUTUMN MOONLIGHT HOME PAGE...
. ADRIAN WEISS - "Easy Game"
Adrian Weiss – the German guitar player of bands “Thought Sphere”, “Forces At Work”, and now also “Gloryful” - is back to PR&PM to promote his newest instrumental solo album: “Easy Game”. After releasing his debut solo album “Big Time” in 2011 (reviewed at PR&PM in 2012), Adrian Weiss formed a live band in 2012 with Marcel Willnat (bass) and Lars Zehner (drums), to bring his music to the stage. In 2013 Weiss also began to perform as live guitarist for the Heavy Metal band “Gloryful”, becoming a permanent member in May 2014, after having contributed with two solos to their second album “Ocean Blade” (May 2014, Massacre Records). A very active musician, Adrian Weiss has been always performing solo clinics at various events, including the Guitar Fight Convention (2009/2010), the My Music Expo in Dresden, and the New Düsseldorf Pop. Weiss won second place at the Guitar Fight Club show in Bischofswerda, Germany, in 2010 and 2011. “Easy Game” (released in July 2014) is the second solo album by Adrian Weiss. As on his debut album, the style is Guitar-oriented Instrumental Rock, Metal, and Neo-Classical, with incursions in Fusion, Progressive, World, and Blues. The influences are: “Jason Becker”, “Marty Friedman”, “Montrose”, “Chastain”, “Joe Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, “Scott Henderson”, “Alex Skolnick”, “Steve Stevens”, “Tonny MacAlpine”, “Greg Howe”, “Vinnie Moore”, “Joey Tafolla“, “Marc Bonilla“, “Jeff Beck”, “Gary Moore”, “Al Di Meola”, “Yngwie Malmsteen”; and projects such as “Cacophony”, “MCM”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “California Guitar Trio”, “Niacin”, “Bozzio Levin Stevens”, “CAB”. “Easy Game” brings 12 instrumental tracks that were also enhanced by the participation of many guest musicians (see below). On the new album, Adrian Weiss shows how his accumulated experience as both live and session performer has paid off, refining his playing ability and further improving his creativity as a composer. His music has reached the perfect balance between melody, sensibility, and technique, covering many styles; offering groovy waves and staying harmonically interconnected with bass and drums. “Easy Game” has a greater number of heavy tracks than on the first album, making it more exciting for the listener. Weiss employs for the first time his slapping technique, with great results, on two of them: on the Speed-Metal “Awkward Silence” (04:44); and on the fascinating “Egyptian-Metal” “Camel´s Dance” (04:19), both delivered with furious guitar shredding and awesome drums, supplemented by funky picks. Also among the heaviest, “Instant Relief” (04:03) comes by tortuous guitar riffs that are smashed down by hammering beats (recalling the style of “Chastain”); while the carnivorous Metal-Fusion “The Offering” (04:21) combines insane guitar distortions with malefic bass lines, and surfs on Neo-Classical guitar progressions that recall the lessons of “Satriani”, “Vai” and “Becker”. But if the listener is more interested in groove than in heaviness, a couple of tracks lean strongly to the Hard-Rock, recalling the compositions of “Montrose”, “Henderson”, “Satriani”, “Bonamassa”, and “Vernon Reid”: “Immediate Measures” (03:45) has a real guitar swing behind its shredded bluesy solos, while the adventurous “Hacienda” (04:11) is one of the album’s best. Weiss continues to show his talents as a composer and performer by presenting two outstanding tracks in Neo-Classical style: “Aim To Please” (04:23) is melodic and Progressive, bringing “Jason Becker” to mind; and “Night Owl” (05:51) reminded me of the “Aranjuez Concert”, unless by being tinted in somber and lower tones. This piece is also impregnated with a feeling of nostalgia, and includes an inebriating solo of fretless bass. To give balance to such a heavy load, Weiss added some brighter pieces to the repertoire, such as the beautiful “The Last Days” (04:16); the excellent “Second Sunrise” (03:35) (a Fusion-styled track for fans of “Al di Meola”, “Pat Metheny”, “Steve Morse”); and the title track “Easy Game” (04:05), that irradiates a “Mozartian” joy, being embellished with melodic neo-classical guitars that run across an agitated rhythmic line (recalling “Vinnie Moore”). The album ends with the bombastic “Offbeat Frankenstine” (05:15) – a breath-taking Prog-Metal-Fusion track that offers luxuriant solos performed by five extra guitar players! After being bombarded with the stupendous music of this album, I am sure that “Easy Game” will please any fan of modern guitar-oriented Rock, Metal & Fusion, placing Adrian Weiss in the list of exceptional guitar players cited above. A must-have item for fans of “Jason Becker”, “Marty Friedman”, “Joe Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, “Scott Henderson”, “Alex Skolnick”, “Steve Stevens”, “Tonny MacAlpine”, “Paul Gilbert”, “Greg Howe”, “Vinnie Moore”, “Joey Tafolla“, “Marc Bonilla”, “David T. Chastain”, “Ronnie Montrose”, “Jeff Beck”, “Gary Moore”, “Al Di Meola”, “Joe Bonamassa”, “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Nuno Bettencourt”, “Glen Drover”, “Jarle Olsen”, “Todd Grubbs”; and projects such as “Cacophony”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “CAB”, “California Guitar Trio”, “MCM”, “Niacin”, “Bozzio Levin Stevens”. Band members and collaborators involved in Adrian Weiss are: Adrian Weiss – Guitar; Marcel Willnat – Bass; Lars Zehner – Drums. Guest Musicians: Demian HeukeThese Are The Days”, solo artist) – Additional Guitar Solos (on “Awkward Silence”, “Instant Relief”, “Immediate Measures”, “The Last Days”, & “Easy Game”). Christian MuenznerObscura”, “Spawn Of Possession”, “Necrophagist”) - Guitar (on “Hacienda”); Mf-CKinski´s Eyes”) - Fretless Bass solo (on “Night Owl”). Jens Krüger - Clean Guitar Solo (on “Second Sunrise”) & Thorsten PraestGUT”) - Guitar (on “Second Sunrise”). Guest Musicians on track “Offbeat Frankenstein”: Manuel FrankenKorsakow”) - Rhythmic & Acoustic Guitars; Jens BastenGloryful”, “Night In Gales”, “Deadsoil”) - Guitar Solo; Vito PapottoExotoxis”, “Gloryful”) - Guitar Solo; Jens SchaeferThought Sphere”, “Moment Of Detonation”) – Guitar Solo; Mischa LenzKinski´s Eyes”, “Forces At Work”) - Guitar Solo; Tim SchulteStigma”, “Wölli Und Die Band Des Jahres”) – Bass. Album was Recorded, Engineered & Mixed by Tim Schulte in Hilden, Germany between December 2013 and May 2014; Mastering by Eroc at EMR in June 2014...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/22/2014.........................Want to learn everything about this great musician and his project, go to ADRIAN WEISS HOME PAGE...
. HEYLEL - "Nebulae"
Heylel is a new Female-Fronted Band coming from the city of Porto, Portugal. Heylel was formed in the fall of 2012 by Narciso Monteiro (guitars, bass, keyboards, backing vocals), a former student of Porto's Jazz School. Monteiro is also a co-founder of “The Gama GT Blues Project” (Portuguese blues-band, with two records released) and is involved with other projects of Art, such as writing soundtracks. Heylel’s other members are: Ana Batista (lead vocals), who has experience in both classical and church-choir singing; Filipe Braga (drums), who is also a photographer and was responsible for the artistic visual component of Heylel’s album and booklet; and bassist Sérgio de Meneses, also from Porto's Jazz School, who was at first invited to be the band’s live bassist, and later became a full-time member. With different backgrounds in music, those musicians intended to recapture the essence of old-school Progressive Rock, at the same time adding a personal touch to their songs. Heylel’s sonority is then what they have tagged as “Alternative Progressive Rock with a Gothic Twist”. Their music is melancholic, atmospheric, and emotionally involving, driven by Ana Batista’s smooth, introspective, and angelical voice - in the style of “Anneke Van Giersbergen” (ex-“The Gathering”, “Agua de Annique”), but with more sadness on it. Other influences of their music include bands such as: “Anathema”, “The Gathering”, “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”, “Genesis”, and “ELP”; also recalling “Autumn Tears”, “Aesma Daeva”, “Evanescence”, “Frequency Drift”, the partnership between “Anneke & Daniel Cavanagh”, and the Portuguese band “Hyubris”. Heylel’s songs are now available on their debut album, called “Nebulae” (released independently in June, 2014). The CD is offered in a special case, containing a booklet embellished with pictures taken by drummer Filipe Braga, and features 11 tracks (two of which are covers of “Greg Lake” and “King Crimson”!). The tracks are divided in thematic blocks, each one organized under a title derived from Astronomy. The first block - “An Interstellar Cloud” - represents the heaviest and most powerful side of Heylel. After the instrumental “Hope” (1:49), which is a cosmic guitar intro with influences of “Pink Floyd”; the listener is thrown into the cosmological inquiries of “The Prophet” (4:18) – a great atmospheric Prog-Metal with a Gothic Metal lean on the angelical vocals, that alternatively recalls bands such as “The Gathering”, “Anathema”, and “Aesma Daeva”. Yet, on “Watcher of the Light” (4:30), the musical core lays in the space between two Gothic Choirs that reminded me of “Hyubris” and the project “Van Helsing’s Curse”. The rest of the song is outstanding for alternating vigorous Metal parts with tranquil atmospheric ones, being underlined by the sensitive vocals of Ana Batista, sounding as a perfect blend of “Anathema” and “The Gathering”. The second block - “A Newborn Star” - features two melancholic ballads pervaded by Neo-Classical sonic vibes: “Alter Ego” (3:55) has vampire-gothic pianos and emotional vocals, like “Anathema”, “Autumn Tears”, “Evanescence”; while “The Sage” (4:38) (cover of “Greg Lake”) is played with great fidelity to the original, unless that it has more emphasis on the sadness of the vocals. The third block - “Red Giant” – reunites introspective songs that follow a more Progressive structure, regarding the fact that they are slow and calm in the beginning, grow gradually denser in the middle, and reach the heaviest climax on the final sequence, summoning powerful guitars and solid bass and drums (being like a blend of the songs of blocks 1 and 2). So, “Deeper” (4:28) begins with poignant violins and echoing vocals, arising the tension steadily as it marches toward the end (as on “Autumn Tears”, and on the oldest songs of “The Gathering”); while “Wings of Eternity” (4:04) starts like an acoustic Folk song that is finished later with electrified guitars. This block ends with is a great version of “King Crimson’s” classic song “I Talk to the Wind” (6:30), tinged with more melancholic tones, and guided by Ana Batista’s mesmerizing voice. The fourth and last block - “White Dwarf/Black Dwarf” – reunites three songs, with a couple of them representing Heylel’s most experimental endeavors: “The Great Abstinence” (5:39) is a surprising song bringing Jazzy pianos, heavy guitars, and great vocals – one of the best of this album; “Sometimes” (3:56) is a sweet ballad for acoustic guitar & voice (for fans of “Anneke”); and “Embrace the Darkness” (3:37) creates an impressive creepy atmosphere, by combining Dark-Gothic organs, Doom-Metal guitars, and Monk choirs. “Nebulae” is an exceptional debut album that showcases Heylel’s ability to combine melancholic soundscapes with the melodic voice of a gifted female singer, being therefore highly recommendable for fans of “Anathema”, “The Gathering”, “King Crimson”, “Pink Floyd”, “ELP” (“Greg Lake’s” ballads), “Autumn Tears”, “Anneke Van Giersbergen & Daniel Cavanagh”, “Aesma Daeva”, “Evanescence”, “Artesia”, “Frequency Drift”, “Nox Arcana”, “Rain Fell Within”, “Amartia”, “Arkona”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Heylel are: Ana Batista – Vocals; Narciso Monteiro - Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Whispers & Growls; Sérgio de Meneses – Live Bass, Backing Vocals on "Watcher of the Light"; Filipe Braga – Drums. Music & Lyrics by Narciso Monteiro, except on “The Sage” (by “Greg Lake”) and “I Talk to the Wind” (“King Crimson” cover). Album Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by Narciso Monteiro at Lucifer’s Studios & Caverna, 2013/2014. Cover Art by Mafalda Cruz; Booklet Art by Filipe Braga...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/22/2014...................................Would like to know more about the band and their history, please visit HEYLEL HOME PAGE...
. PROUD PEASANT - "Flight"
Proud Peasant is an amazing and surprising Progressive Rock band from Austin, Texas, that was founded in 2011 by guitarist and composer Xander Rapstine. Rapstine had recently left the Pop-Rock band “The Evildoers”, that he had helped to found 8 years before, but which he no longer felt comfortable to be in. To start a new chapter in his musical career he decided to redirect his style for a more rewarding kind of music, one that he ever loved: Classic Progressive Rock, especially in the format of his favorite bands and musicians, such as “Mike Oldfield”, “King Crimson”, “Genesis”, and “Gentle Giant”. Rapstine had already written 3 lengthy compositions and to record them, he asked for help to sound engineer Chico Jones (Ohm Recording Facility). In November 2011 he began to recruit musicians for the project. Drummer David Hobizal (“Eddy Hobizal Trio”, “Ola Podrida”) of Brooklyn, NY, was the first to join in. The line-up was completed by talented and experienced Texan musicians from Fort Worth and Austin: keyboardist Jay Allen (“Crushed Stars”, “The Angelus”), bassist Kyle Robarge (“The Calm Blue Sea”, “My Jerusalem”, “The Murdocks”), and Mark Poitras (live keyboards, guitars, bells). But several other musicians contributed to the band's recording (see list below). Proud Peasant’s debut album, entitled “Flight”, was finally released in 2014 (Basement Avatar Records). The album features three long tracks, no lyrics, and occasional vocals that sing in solfeggio. According to Rapstine, the pastoral soundscapes that make the core of the music reflect the peace, beauty, terror, and uncertainty of life. The music of Proud Peasant pleased me from the first moment to the last. It is marvelously melodic, a rich symphonic patchwork of tuneful sounds that progress in metamorphosing waves, surprising the listener continuously, transmuting from Spanish guitars to Progressive Rock arrangements, from Mexican traditional brass to liturgical Baroque cantatas, also having the epic airs of a soundtrack signed by “Ennio Morricone”, on which the music dramatically anticipates the climax of the action. Also incredible, Proud Peasant makes a musical parallel to “Maurice Ravel’s” “Boléro”, presenting a main melodic theme that is repeated along the entire album, from instrument to instrument, but never ceasing to amaze the listener. In this manner, Proud Peasant teaches us a lesson in Progressive Music: how the simplest melody can be complicated to ascend to the thresholds of supreme beauty. The music of Proud Peasant follows no specific model. Aside from Rapstine’s favorite bands, groups like “Gryphon”, “Camel”, “Gordon Giltrap”, “Steve Hackett”, “Anthony Phillips”, “Fruupp”, “Greenslade”, “Sky”, “Karfagen”, and “Kvazar” have occurred to me when I was listening to “Flight”. The three tracks form a single unity, like the movements of a symphony, each one being subdivided in pieces (see below). Track 1, “The Prisoner” (12:28) is an Andante that introduces the main theme on acoustic guitars and replicates it on synths, thickening the arrangements with electric guitars, bass, drums, and undulating synths. A soaring guitar solo starts a new cycle, pushing the music in a crescendo, with addition of more instruments. Medieval flutes, pachyderm trombones, military drumming, Mexican trumpets, and Spanish guitars march forwards, as on a parade. By the inverse procedure, all instruments go away at the end, remaining only the acoustic guitars and snare drums. Track 2, “Awakenings” (19:34) has the vigor of an Allegro. It presents a variation of the main theme backed up by organs, runs in a fast Heavy Metal binary pace driven by exhilarating guitars, bass, and drums, and is intercepted by a jubilating Baroque second theme. The excitement is soothed down by sweet pastoral flutes that play the main theme, followed by eerie percussion. Ascending guitars dance with bouncing synths in frenetic joy, and psychedelic sonorities verge the unreality. Trumpets in Mexican mode play the complementary melodic theme, notes dance to Ragtime Jazz. Male/female choirs sing a Baroque fugue a cappella, attracting the guitars, bass, and synths to the final climax. And what is atop? The same main theme over again! Track 3, “The Precipice” (13:20) brings in more energy, like “King Crimson”, but also has nice symphonic moments, like “Gryphon”, “Gentle Giant”, “Greenslade”, and “Camel”. In the end, amidst torrents of synths, a singing choir ascends epically to the sky, recalling me of “Morricone” and “Kvazar”. After the release of “Flight”, Proud Peasant began to play live, providing the audiences with “the soundtrack to sublime dreams … and wicked nightmares”. I invite all Progressive fans to enjoy their fantastic music, and get addicted to it (as I did). “Flight” is a brilliant and magical album; highly recommendable and indispensable for fans of “Mike Oldfield”, “King Crimson”, “Genesis”, “Gentle Giant”, “Gryphon”, “Camel”, “Gordon Giltrap”, “Steve Hackett”, “Anthony Phillips”, “Greenslade”, “Sky”, “Fruupp”, “The Enid”, “Clearlight”, “Karfagen”, “Kvazar”, “Ennio Morricone”, “Ravel”, “Bach”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Proud Peasant are: Xander Rapstine – Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Tenor Guitar, Mandolin, Ukulele, Melodica, Glockenspiel, Percussion, Music; Jay Allen – Piano, Keyboards (Mellotron, Celeste, Moog, Juno); Kyle Robarge – Bass, Fretless Acoustic Bass; David Hobizal – Drums; Mark Poitras – Additional Keyboards, Guitars, and Bells (Live). Additional Musicians: Brian Butz – Tuba; Roy Coon – Clarinet; Phil Davidson – Violin; Kullen Fuchs – Trumpet; Jeff Halliburton – Timpani; Chico Jones – Percussion; Melaine Morgan – Flute; Chris Pickens – French Horn; Tony Rogers – Cello; Shauna Satrom – Trombone. Vocal Soloists: Brian Kremer, Jamie Moellenhoff, Greg Smith. The Proud Peasant Choir: Angus Barrs, Charlie Campbell, Jennie George, Chico Jones, Xander Rapstine, Susan Rossi, Greg Smith, Joy Smith. Track subdivisions: 1. “The Prisoner”: a. “The Illusion I (The Chamber”), b. “The Dream”, c. “The Fairy Forest”, d. “The Illusion II (The Keys to the Kingdom”). 2. “Awakenings”: a. “The Avatar”, b. “Starchild”, c. “Ice Castles”, d. “Salamandrina”, e. “The Dancing Bear”, f. “Ascension”, g. “The Jester King”. 3. “The Precipice”: a. “The Gauntlet”, b. “Threnody for the Forlorn”, c. “Entr’acte”, d. “Stardock”, e. “The Illusion III (Hypnagogia)”, f. “The Agathokakological Chasm”. Album Recorded, Engineered, & Mixed by Chico Jones at Ohm Recording Facility (Austin, Texas); Mastered by Jason Ward at Chicago Mastering Service (Chicago, Illinois); Cover Art by Chris Panatier; Produced by Xander Rapstine...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/22/2014...........................................Interested to know more about this new the Band? Visit PROUD PEASANT HOME PAGE...
. TNNE - "The Clock That Went Backwards"
TNNE (The No Name Experience) is a Neo-Progressive project that was founded by two former members of Luxembourg-based band “No Name”: keyboardist Alex Rukavina and singer Patrick Kiefer (who left “No Name” in September 2010). “No Name” lasted for 23 years, from 1988 to 2011, gravitating around the core members Kiefer and Rukavina, and also Chris Sonntag (drums), and recorded four albums. TNNE was formed a few years after the demise of “No Name”, by initiative of Kiefer and Rukavina, who were later joined by Michel Volkmann (guitars), Claude Zeimes (bass), and Gilles Wagner (drums). TNNE recorded and released a debut album entitled “The Clock That Went Backwards” (June 2014, Progressive Promotion Records), which features 9 tracks. The sonority of TNNE is very reminiscent of that of “No Name”, but I found TNNE to be more organic, with a stronger presence of guitars, which balance the massive presence of keyboards, achieving excellent orchestral results. Also the rhythmic section is more substantial, providing the music with a powerful blast. The songs are often lengthy, sparing enough room for long elaborated instrumental passages that are lavishly decorated with excellent solos of synths and guitars. Ruling above all, the excellent and dramatic vocal performance of Kiefer is what binds everything together and gives a greater meaning to the music. The come-up is a thrilling blend of Neo-Progressive Rock and Melodic Rock, comparable to the best moments of bands such as “Marillion”, “Pallas”, “Pendragon”, “IQ”, “Clepsydra”, “Arena”, “Galahad”, “Twelfth Night”, and “Pink Floyd” (post “Dark Side of the Moon”), being also reminiscent of contemporaneous bands such as “RPWL”, “Airbag”, “Silhouette”, and “Comedy of Errors”. “The Clock That Went Backwards” features 9 tracks. “My Inner Clock” (7:09) opens the album with the sound of clockworks (making a reference to the song “Time”, by “Pink Floyd”), and later navigate on Heavy-Prog riffs driven by Kiefer’s expressive vocals, rising to the climax on an epic Symphonic Neo-Prog sequence loaded with synths, the package recalling a mix of “Floyd”, “RPWL”, “Marillion”, and “Pendragon”. The dreamy soundscapes of “Clairvoyance” (2:13) act like a dimensional passage for “About Angels And Devils” (6:37), a song that runs straightforwardly, driven by contagious rocky beats, synths that simulate the sounds of violins, and emphasizing the sticky chorus and the soaring guitar solos; until arriving on the placid waters of “Looking Back And Forward” (7:04), an accessible and melodic Neo-Prog ballad that will satisfy the fans of “Marillion”, for being embellished with guitar harmonies and solos that recall the style of “Steve Rothery”. From this point on, the album leans frankly to a full-fledged Neo-Progressive mode, becoming heavier, denser, dramatic, and having the additional strength of wild saxophones (provided by guest musician Fred Hormain – a point of congruence with German band “Cyril”). The ascension begins with the awesome instrumental track “The Clock That Went Backwards” (4:52), which offers vibrant bass and drums thrusts, and fantastic solos of guitar. The climax is reached on two songs that I regard as the best ones: “Circles Of Life” (5:56) and “The Snow” (8:00). “Circles …” concentrates magnificent passages of piano, soulful story-telling vocals, neo-classic guitar solos and sensitive saxophones; while “The Snow” (8:00) gives a show of “Progressiveness”, regarding the fact that it flows along different moods and changes of tempo, alternating eerie moments (marked by floating synths, delicate melodies and soft vocals) with heavier part that are instilled with epic drama, including a bombastic final that combines heavy guitars with insane saxophone solo (recalling “Pallas”, “Arena”, “Twelfth Night”, and even “Van Der Graaf Generator”). Between them, there is the not less amazing “Welcome To My New World” (3:57): a powerful and groovy Hard-Prog enlightened by jazzy saxophones and by the versatility of Volkmann, who plays his guitar in the style of the 70’s Hard-Rock (obligatory in a set-list). The album ends on “Circles Of Life (edit)” (3:58) – a short version of that track that lacks the extended instrumental section. Regarding the Neo-Progressive stylistics, TNNE’s album “The Clock That Went Backwards” is really brilliant and amazing - one of the best releases of the year - consisting in an indispensable item for old fans of “No Man”, and for all-time fans of “Marillion”, “Pallas”, “Clepsydra”, “Pink Floyd”, “IQ”, “Pendragon”, “Arena”, “Galahad”, “Twelfth Night”, “RPWL”, “Cyril”, “Mangrove”, “Daymoon”, “Silhouette”, “Comedy of Errors”, “Airbag”, “Grey Lady Down”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in TNNE are: Patrick Kiefer – Vocals, Lyrics; Alex Rukavina – Keyboards, Compositions; Michel Volkmann – Guitars; Claude Zeimes – Bass; Gilles Wagner – Drums. Special Guest Musician: Fred Hormain - Saxophone (on “Circles Of Life”, “Welcome To My New World” & “The Snow”). Children singing & weird percussion on “Clairvoyance”, by Kayleigh & Melanie. Recorded by A. Rukavina at Studio 110 Luxembourg; Additional Recordings by M. Volkmann & C. Zeimes; Drums recorded at MOS Recording Studios; Mixed & Mastered by Andreas Heinen at MOS Recording Studios. Cover Artwork & Design by Leszek Bujnowski. Produced by Rukavina & Kiefer...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/22/2014..............................Want to learn everything about the musicians and their fantastic band, visit TNNE HOME PAGE...
Kingdom Come was a British band that was founded in 1970 by singer Arthur Brown, the “Father of Theatrical Rock”. Brown’s previous band, “The Crazy World of Arthur Brown”, had dismantled after the departures of keyboardist “Vincent Crane” and drummer “Carl Palmer” (“ELP”, “Asia”), who left to form “Atomic Rooster”. For a brief time, Brown worked in other projects until he gathered with guitarist Andy Dalby and others to found Kingdom Come. Before its braking-up in 1974, Kingdom Come released three albums that were very innovative under the musical and technological points of view, but that have not reached commercial success: “Galactic Zoo Dossier” (1971), “Kingdom Come” (1972), and “Journey” (1973, Polydor). “Journey” has been always regarded as the band’s best album, and featured keyboardist Victor Peraino, who liked to experiment with new models of synthesizers (such as the VCS3) and also explored new sonorities from his Mellotrons, Moogs, and Theremins. “Journey” was also the first album to have all percussion produced by a drum-machine. Kingdom Come became later know in the U.S.A. by the long moniker “Arthur Brown’s Kingdom Come”, to be distinguished from another band that had the same name. In spite of the absence of Brown’s charismatic character, Victor Peraino pushed the band forwards and released an album called “No Man’s Land” (1975), under the moniker Victor Peraino’s Kingdom Come. This album was reissued in 2010 by Italian label Black Widow Records. After 40 years, Victor Peraino and Arthur Brown decided to resurrect Kingdom Come. With a line-up having Jeff Faust (guitar), Nick Pynn (violin), bassists Joe Bass and Ric Vukmirovich, and drummers James Pryor and Joey Fava, the duo released a new album, entitled “Journey In Time” (April, 2014, Black Widow). “Journey In Time” features a collection of 10 songs - old and new - plus a bonus DVD featuring 4 songs (“Live at Motor City Music Factory, Detroit, USA”) and an appearance on a TV Show (Live in Los Angeles late '80s). The CD begins with a series of three new songs, which recall the original sonority of Kingdom Come as it was presented on their 1973 album “Journey”: a blend of Space and Psychedelic Rock with an experimental Progressive orientation. Track 1, “We Only Come to Help You” (5.45), brings a bombastic mix of 70’s Hard-Rock, Space keyboard-attack, and robotic-sounding vocals that bring to mind bands like “Deep Purple”, “Atomic Rooster”, “Kansas”, and “Alan Parsons”. The following track, “Future” (6.16), is a theatrical song driven by the sinister voice of Brown (who still emits falsettos with excellent results). As he tells a horror story, he guides the listener through futuristic soundscapes plagued by alien war-drums, extraterrestrial choirs, and epic violins, until reaching “Journey in Time” (5.19) – an awesome instrumental piece that combines Space-Rock sounds like “Hawkwind” with “ELP’s” Symphonic Prog style. Brown also takes the lead on the beautiful “Walk With Angels” (4.40), a new song that “retro-sounds” to the golden ballads of the 50’s, accompanied by poignant violins and Mellotronic angelic choirs. “Walk…” introduces the old song “Time Captives” (7.39) (from the “Journey” album), which was updated, by receiving an extra load of cosmic synths, sidereal sounds, hypnotic guitars, space-bass, and drums performed by a “flesh & bones” drummer. This CD also reproduces three of the best songs of “No Man’s Land” (all sung by Peraino). They have received new Progressive clothing and a sturdier bass & drums support (provided by Vukmirovich & Fava) to sound heavier and more modern, in order to match the overall sonority of the new album. So “Empires of Steel” (9.16) comes in stormy waves of keyboards, thundering rhythms, Metal riffs, and magnificent Prog guitars; “Sunset Sail” (6.20) delivers nice Symphonic-Prog melodies tinted in Psychedelic colors; and “Demon Of Love” (4.06) retains a 70’s Hard-Rock groove. But “Journey in Time” – as the title recommends – should not be completed without the inclusion of two classics of the Arthur Brown’s repertoire: “I Put a Spell On You” (4.34), on which Brown sings fantastically; and “Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood” (4.47), which confirms that the energy of Rock is the real fountain of eternal youth – for the septuagenarian Brown sings with the power and passion of a teenager. This great album should be already highly recommended as is, but is still offers a bonus DVD featuring historical footage of the band in the 80’s, plus a recent live show in Detroit, USA, where the band went wild playing “We Only Came to Help You”, “Empires Of Steel”, “Demon of Love”, and “Time Captives” (on which Brown’s image appears superposed to the frame, as if he was really there). If you like bands of the 60’s-70’s, like “Deep Purple”, “Atomic Rooster”, “Argent”, “Fuzzy Duck”, “Captain Beyond”, “Hawkwind”, “Vanilla Fudge”, “The Edgar Broughton Band”, “Pink Floyd”, “The Nice”, “ELP”, “King Crimson” (with “Brian Eno”), “Kansas”, and, of course, “The Crazy World of Arthur Brown” and “Kingdom Come”, then Victor Peraino’s Kingdom Come with Arthur Brown cannot lack in your collection. Band members and collaborators involved in Victor Peraino’s Kingdom Come with Arthur Brown are: Victor Peraino - Vocals, Keyboards, Andromeda, Moog Synth, VCS3, & Mellotron; Arthur Brown - Vocals; Jeff Faust - Guitar; Joe Bass - Bass; James Pryor - Drums; Nick Pynn - Violin; Ric Vukmirovich - Bass; Joey Fava - Drums. Early line-up members: Arthur Brown - Vocals; Andy Dalby - Guitars, Victor Peraino - Keyboards, Julian Paul Brown - Keyboards; Michael Harris - Keyboards; Phil Shutt a.k.a. Phil Curtis - Bass; Desmond Fisher - Bass; Martin Steer - Drums; and fake member “Ace Bentley” (actually the Bentley Rhythm Ace, an early drum-machine). Album Recorded at Diversion Studio (Detroit, Michigan, USA); Produced by Victor Peraino...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/22/2014...........Interested to know more? Visit VICTOR PERAINO’S KINGDOM COME (WITH ARTHUR BROWN)  HOME PAGE...
. CREEDY - "Privileged Vagabond"
Creedy is an acoustic guitar player, singer and composer, who has been briefly linked to Neo-Prog act “Pilgrym”. But Creedy, acting as a solo musician, is more like a minstrel or bard who embraces the Folk and Psychedelic Music of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s with fervor, love, and reverence. To make his dedication take form, Creedy released a solo album called “Privileged Vagabond” (2008, Holyground Records). Besides featuring Creedy (guitars, vocals, percussion, tablas), the album has participation of “Pilgrym’s” member and multi-instrumentalist Andy Wells (organ, piano, synths, accordion, backing vocals, percussion and bass pedals), Richard Dalby (guitars), Judah Lewis (percussion), Mohamed Ibn Sina (percussion), and Simon Trapp (bodrahn). The music is mainly acoustic, driven by folk guitars and the profound voice of Creedy (who reminds me of “Greg Lake” and “Roy Harper”), having influences of “Nick Harper”, “Syd Barrett”, “Jeff Buckley”, and “Fairport Convention” on the acoustic and vocal parts, being however intervened by some light Progressive instrumentation that comes in the format of different kinds of vintage keyboards – organs, Moogs, Mellotrons, and varied synths – having a parallel with the softest and most Folk-oriented songs of Progressive bands like “The Moody Blues”, “King Crimson”, “Anthony Phillips”, “Jon Anderson”, “Gordon Giltrap”, “Genesis”, “Camel”, “Renaissance” and “Illusion”. Several passages of the album feature exotic percussive instruments of Hindu origin, bringing back the airs of the Psychedelic rock of the late 60’s, recalling “Beatles”, “Ravi Shankar”, and “Quintessence”. “Privileged Vagabond” has 10 tracks. The album opens with the lively “Melt Us Down” (6:44), which recalled me of “Renaissance’s” song “Carpet of the Sun”. “Ninety Eight Percent” (3:48) is slower and pastoral, pervaded with sadness, recalling the ballads of “Greg Lake”, who is also a reference on “Opposites Attract” (6:25), a more classical song that adds passages of Mellotrons, synths, and flute sounds, being reminiscent of an old song of “King Crimson”. “Fall Into Winter” (6:00) is enveloped in an eerie atmosphere that recalls “Genesis” and is pervaded with wintery melancholy, contrasting with the bright “Fever” (7:14), one of the best tracks, which brings festive acoustic guitars (like “Fairport Convention”), Hindu mantras, accordions, and soaring vocal tunes (recalling “Quintessence” and “Steve Howe” of “Yes”). “To Faith With Love” (9:01) is another highlight: a long track that begins slow, with a melody as soft as “Beatles”, accelerating to a Hindu ritualistic dance on the following instrumental sequence; having additive exotic percussion and sitar-like sounds (the whole package making references to “Quintessence”, “Ravi Shankar” and “King Crimson”). “And Now Your Heart Is But An Organ” (5:45) is a psychedelic ballad that recalls “Moody Blues” on the long sequences of acoustic guitars, also making references to “King Crimson” and “Genesis” on the brief passages of Mellotrons. It is followed by two basically acoustic songs: “No Angel” (3:37) - a sweet relaxing Folk ballad having some medieval flutes; and “Lilac Jay” (9:12) - a lively Folk-Rock having few interventions of synths. The last track - “Particle Acceleration” (7:28) – is the most different of all. It begins with electronic distortions and ghostly voices (bringing the “Koyaanisqatsi” soundtrack to mind) and continues on a frantic pace, mixing both earthly acoustic and cosmic electronic sounds, blending influences of “Moody Blues”, “Genesis”, and “King Crimson”. The copy of “Privileged Vagabond” that I have in my hands has two extra-tracks: track 11 (5:24) is a shorter and whole-acoustic version of “Fall Into Winter”; and track 12 (2:16) is a record of the musicians preparing for a rehearsal. In spite of being much long, and excessively acoustic, “Privileged Vagabond” is made by a composer that loves music and wants to share his visions and sensibilities with the audiences. Creedy’s style and retro-psychedelic attitude might find many appreciators among the fans of Folk, Prog-Folk, Psychedelic-Folk, and Neo-Folk music, as represented by “Roy Harper”, “Nick Harper”, “Syd Barrett”, “Jeff Buckley”, “Fairport Convention”, “The Moody Blues”, “King Crimson”, “Anthony Phillips”, “Jon Anderson”, “Gordon Giltrap”, “Quintessence”, “Donovan”, “Ravi Shankar”, “Genesis”, “Camel”, “Renaissance”, “John Renbourn”, to whom Creedy is specially  recommended. Band members and collaborators involved in Creedy are: Creedy – Guitars, Vocals, Percussion, Tablas; Richard Dalby – Guitars; Andy WellsPilgrym”) – Organ, Piano, Synthesizers, Accordion, Backing Vocals, Percussion, Bass Pedals; Judah Lewis – Assorted Percussion; Mohamed Ibn Sina – Assorted Percussion; Simon Trapp – Bodrahn; Jules – Recorder. Album Produced & Engineered by Andy Wells...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
10/24/2014...................................If you want know more about this amazing band and its members, visit CREEDY HOME PAGE...
. ÂMON-SETHIS - "Part II – The Final Struggle"
Âmon-Sethis is a Progressive-Metal project that was founded in June 2007 in Grenoble, France, by Julien Tournoud (singer for “Hellixxir” and “Erato”) and drummer Raphaël Fascio (who had recently arrived in Grenoble from Montpellier). Their goal was to blend Progressive & Thrash Metal with Egyptian sounds. The name Âmon-Sethis (the Serpent-God of Egyptian mythology) was chosen for being linked to the history of the hero Ateravis, and his journey across the ancient Egypt during the Seventh Dynasty of Pharaohs. The line-up was completed with Olivier Billoint (guitarist fan of “John Petrucci” and “Yngwie Malmsteen”) and Maurizio Colombo (bassist of “Erato”). After recording the 3-track EP “The Legend of the VIIth Dynasty” (2009), founder drummer Raphaël Fascio left the band, being replaced by Pierre Dalban (of “Monkey Bizness” and “Nightmare”). From August to December of 2010 Âmon-Sethis worked on the recording of their first full-length album, entitled “Part I: The Prophecy” (March 2011, Brennus Music), followed by a series of live presentations supporting bands like “Nightmare”, “Dark Moor”, “Blaze Bayley” and “Vanden Plas”. Now, after three years, Âmon-Sethis finally presents to the world the conclusion of the Ateravis saga, as told on their second full-length album, called “Part II: The Final Struggle” (May 2, 2014, Dooweet Promotions). The album features a modified line-up consisting of founder member Julien Tournoud (lead vocals), original guitar player Olivier Billoint, plus Thierry Ventura (bass), Johan Fallout Koninckx (keyboards), Thierry Delvaux (drums); and a cast of guest singers, male and female (see list below). Âmon-Sethis’ music is an splendid blend of Symphonic Progressive Metal, Traditional Metal, and Oriental Metal with Egyptian affinities, offering awesome vocals, solid guitar riffs, pulsing bass, ritualistic drumming, and an exotic and atmospheric background provided by hieroglyphic keyboards. The main influences are “Symphony X”, “Dream Theater”, “Therion” (albums “Lepaca Kliffhot” and “Theli”), and “Myrath”, but there are resemblances with bands like “Iron Maiden” (of album “Powerslave”), “Crimson Glory”, “Kamelot”, “Epica”, “Nile”, “Karl Sanders”, “Rainbow”, and bands from Israel, Egypt, Turkey, and Arabian countries (e.g. “Khepri”, “Orphaned Land”, “Melechesh”, “Amaseffer”, “Pentagram”, “Narjahanam”). “Part II - The Final Struggle” has 10 tracks sung in English, with some Egyptian-spoken words. The songs are chained to each other, being driven by Julien Tournoud’s impressive voice (reminiscent of “Midnight” of “Crimson Glory”, without shouts). The album opens with the ancient Egyptian “Prelude to Chaos” (02:00), and gets faster with the galloping bass and drums of “Shadow the Light” (04:16). The pace is slowed down to a march on “Pharaoh's Army” (05:12) and “Hope” (05:01). The first is heavy and compact like “Therion” and “Crimson Glory”; while “Hope” is more soaring and melodic, like, “Kamelot”, having a 70’s-Rock touch that brought “Rainbow’s” classic song “Stargazer” to my mind. “Aissem Tenemra” (05:59) takes us across the hellish sands of the desert, guided by malevolent vocals and majestic instrumentation. In our trip, we stare to the “Eyes of the Sun” (05:53) – a melodic Metal ballad on which Tournoud sings in duo with a female singer, recalling “Kamelot” and “Epica”, ending in a symphonic hook that leads to the best part of the album. Starting with “Ateravis the Commander” (05:44) (a great blend of “Epica” and “Kamelot”), the Pharaoh’s soldiers are trained in the art of Metal-war. Equipped with amazing riffs, destructive guitar solos, pulsing bass, and Egyptian drums, they are encouraged by brave male/female choirs to march to the final confrontation that happens on “Exterminate the Earth” (03:44) & “Far Beyond Death” (03:18) – two aggressive songs that are as heavy as the pyramid of Khufu, but that fly with the violence of a sand-storm. The apocalyptical “Exterminate …” combines clean and growling vocals (recalling “Melekesh”); while “Far Beyond …” has a heavy instrumentation, like “Symphony X”, with additional vocals like “Nile”. To finish this outstanding album, Âmon-Sethis prepared the long track “The Final Struggle” (25:43), the climax of Ateravis’ saga, telling his adventures in the afterlife. It begins slowly and light, growing gradually until reaching the highest standards of Progressive & Oriental Metal epics, congregating surprising passages that trespass different styles and atmospheres, driven by vocals that go from tuneful to monstrous (like “Narjahanam”), and being full of powerful riffs, Naja-snake coiling bass, choirs, and pianos. On “Part II: The Final Struggle”, Âmon-Sethis deciphered the enigma of the Sphinx and unveiled the secrets of the pyramids, becoming highly recommendable for fans of “Symphony X”, “Dream Theater”, “Therion” (album “Theli”), “Crimson Glory”, “Kamelot”, “Epica”, “Iron Maiden” (album “Powerslave”); and indispensable for fans of Oriental Metal in the style of “Nile”, “Karl Sanders”, “Myrath”, “Melechesh”, “Khepri”, “Amaseffer”, “Pentagram”, “Narjahanam”, “Orphaned Land”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Âmon-Sethis are: Julien Tournoud - Lead & Backing Vocals; Olivier Billoint - Lead & Rhythm Guitars; Thierry Ventura – Bass (since 2011); Johan Fallout Koninckx – Keyboards (since 2012); Thierry Delvaux – Drums. Guest & Additional Singers: Fabrice Emmanuelson (ex-“Thalia”, “Ellipsis”); Vader Moloch (“That Old Black Magic”, “Voracious God”); Lucie Vételé (“Whispering Tales”); Sarah Hirschmuller; Eric Bévilacqua; Mourad Guirari; Mathilde Chappat. Album Reamped, Mixed & Mastered by Brett Caldas-Lima at Tower Studio; Lead Vocals Recorded at Microclimat Studios by Xavier Sindt. Amon Sethis’ Former members: Stéphane Albanese – Keyboards; Benjamin Dupré - Keyboards; Maurizio Colombo – Bass; Pierre Dalban – Drums; Raphaël Fascio – Drums. For other informations please you can visit Facebook and Reverbnation sites...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
10/24/2014.........................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit ÂMON-SETHIS HOME PAGE...
. EYES OF VERONA - "Ex-Voto"
Eyes of Verona is an Alternative Heavy Rock quintet hailing from France (and not Italy, in spite of the name). The line-up features Sophie (vocals), Samy (guitar), Mathieu (guitar), Nicolas (bass), and Sofiane (drums). Eyes of Verona was born in January 2012, and after the release of their single "Feed your Believers" the band has been emerging on the music scene. The single was followed a few months later by Eyes of Verona’s first EP, entitled "Chapter 1: The Fight" (released in November of 2012). The first of a trilogy, “Chapter 1” was the starting point for a tour around France and abroad – on which the band offered energetic and powerful on-stage performances, ever fronted by the magnetic and vibrant presence of lead singer Sophie. In 2013, the band signed to the Inspur Music label for a full-length album. Called “Ex-Voto”, the record was finally released in April, 2014, and tells, on 12 tracks, the last two chapters of their trilogy. The sound of Eyes of Verona is based on frenetic drumming, pulsing and confident bass playing, soaring or aggressive guitar passages in varied of styles, textures, and effects, and on the outstanding vocal performance of Sophie. Melody, energy, emotions and sensitiveness are the characteristic of this quintet, which draws influences from their favorite bands of both English and American Alternative Rock scenes, such as “You Me At Six”, “Thirty Seconds To Mars”, “Young Guns”, “Memphis May Fire”, “Deaf Havana”, “Bring Me The Horizon”, “Paramore”, “Futures”, “Fall Out Boy”, and many others. Although not being a Progressive act, Eyes of Verona has grouped the songs on “Ex-Voto” under the titles “Chapter 2: Trust” and “Chapter 3: Glory”, disposing then in a progressive order, going from the most melodic and soft arrangements to the most intense and heaviest moments. The first group begins with “Chapter 2: Trust” (1:21) – an short intro with electronic beats and robotic-sounding vocals that recalls “Fall Out Boy”, continuing on “Restless Nights” (2:59), a song that is driven by Alternative Rock agile drumming (like “30 Seconds” and “Radiohead”) combined with solid guitars that recalled me a bit of the rockiest side of Gothic Metal bands, like “Sirenia”, “Xandria”, “Elis”, and “Lacuna Coil”. But Eyes of Verona prefers to embrace the Alternative rock style, as they show on the following songs “Our Little Friend” (3:39) and “Renovatio” (2:54), which are more emotional, bringing some heavy guitar riffs that sound like a blend of “Paramore”, “30 Seconds to Mars”, and “Snow Patrol”, and reaching a climax on “Annie” (3:19), which discharges on the listener a Post-Punk energy, being adorned with guitar tunes and effects that sound like a mild version of “Bring Me The Horizon”. The second group of songs – which I liked most, for being more varied in style, and also for having the best melodies - begins with “Chapter 3: Glory” (1:52), a somber electronic orchestral intro driven by Sophie’s introspective voice and a brief male chorus. “… Glory” clears the way for “Free the Swan” (2:57) – a pragmatic Punk Rock that recalled me of “Siouxsie and the Banshees”, which makes an impressive contrast with the following song “My Odyssey” (3:38), a gorgeous folk acoustic piece sung by Sophie with a so sweet voice, that recalled me of “Agua de Annique”, for example. This soft interlude has no other reason than to surprise the listener on the next songs, which I regarded as the best of the album: “The End of Babel” (3:55), which begins like a piano ballad, but ascends to a kind of Space-Alternative Rock mode, driven by humming-soaring guitars and lively chorus (again, like “30 Seconds to Mars” and “Snow Patrol”), being performed by Sophie with great passion; and “Hare and Hounds” (2:34) – which is a fantastic song propelled by Post-Rock guitars that resembles a crossing of “God Is An Astronaut” with “The Gathering”. The last track belonging to “Chapter 3” is the heavy “86400” (3:15) – a powerful Alternative-Rock having some blasting Post-Punk affinities. But the final track of the album is the title track “Ex-Voto” (2:34), which works like a single music entity, closing the circle with somber electronic sounds, keyboards, eerie vocals, and weird ritualistic choirs. Although I am not able to qualify Eyes of Verona inside a clear-cut category – due in part by their varied influences and also by my poor knowledge of rocky bands of the Alternative circuit, I found this band to be very consistent, professional and owner of a great potential yet to be discovered and explored. Adding the fact that Eyes of Verona is fronted by a talented female singer, I shall highly recommend this band for all lovers of Female-Fronted Rock Bands, of any genre, subgenre, or style, being it Alternative, Gothic, Metal, or Post-Punk, in special for fans of “Paramore”, “Siouxsie and the Banshees”, “The Gathering”, “Xandria”, “Elis”, “Lacuna Coil”, “30 Seconds to Mars”, “The Killers”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Eyes of Verona are: Sophie – Vocals; Samy – Guitar; Mathieu – Guitar; Nicolas – Bass; Sofiane – Drums...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
10/24/2014..................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit EYES OF VERONA HOME PAGE...
. SUMMER BREEZE PROJECT - "Contact - Part One"
Summer Breeze Project (SBP) is a Dutch Progressive Rock project that was initiated in the spring of 2008 by some Dutch musicians as a prospect for the upcoming summer – hence the suitable name of Summer Breeze Project. After a few sessions, the musicians felt that their different backgrounds produced really good Progressive music, and the fact straightened and fortified their connection. SBP released then their first independent mini CD, “Energy” (March 2009). As SBP made live presentations and received positive feedback from the audiences, the project members started to see themselves as a whole band. So SBP recorded a full-length album, called “Unusual Horizons” (September 2011), soon followed by the tribute single called “Hollow” (2012), which was recorded to support their sound-engineer Ron Willems, who climbed the Alpe d’Huez to raise money for the Dutch Cancer Society KWF. Later in 2012, the Dutch record label Freia Music, in collaboration with “Background Magazine”, “iO Pages” and “ProgWereld” (three organizations that give support to the Dutch Prog-Rock scene) selected 8 bands to represent the best of the new generation of Progressive Rock in the Netherlands. As one of the selected bands, SBP recorded an 8 minute track called “Concrete”, which was featured on the compilation album “Dutch Exposure Project”, released in 2012 by Freia Music on 180 grams wide grooved vinyl and CD. In search for more ambitious works, SBP is now presenting to the audiences their new EP, called “Contact - Part One”. Independently released in May 2014, “Contact - Part One” is the first chapter of SBP’s so-called “Contact Triptych”: “Contact - Part Two” is planned to be released later in 2014, while “Contact - Part Three” must be out before the summer of 2015. “Contact - Part One” brings 3 new songs that have been recorded and mixed by SBP in their OINK-studios, and features a line-up consisting of Gert Bruins (of “Taurus & Pisces” project, featured at PR&PM in 2009, on lead vocals and guitars), Gordon van Pelt (guitars), Fons Panneman (keyboards, synths, soundscapes, backing vocals), Jørgen de Jonge (bass, backing vocals), and Rene Troostheiden (drums, drum programming & percussion). The music of SBP is civilized and refined, based on melodic themes that are immediately catchy to the listener. The main style is Symphonic Neo-Progressive Rock, but incursions into Arabic, Classical, Metal and Electronic kinds of music may be done occasionally, to add a kind of spice to SBP’s overall sound. Otherwise, the music is delicate and beautiful, flowing softly and slowly over eerie and dreamy soundscapes. SBP’s main influences are bands such as “Pink Floyd”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Steven Wilson”, “Blackfield”, “Rush”, “Taurus & Pisces”, to which I shall add: “Marillion”, “Pallas”, “IQ”, “Twelfth Night”, “Arena”, “RPWL”, “No-Man”, “No Name”, “Alan Parsons Project”, “Klaatu”, “Kayak”, and “Flamborough Head”. “Contact - Part One” contains only three tracks, but these are musically rewarding, regarding the collective symphonic point of view. The album opens with “Signs” (5:21), which approaches the theme of extraterrestrial life. The outer atmosphere is filled with electronically programmed drum-beats and silken sounds of synths, which introduce the pleasant voice of Bruins (and the song recalls me of “Pink Floyd”, “Alan Parsons”, “No-Man”, and “Porcupine Tree”). Propelled by gentle Hammonds and underlined by smooth bass notes, the song presents a clean guitar solo, light and translucent, as dreamy pianos come out to sharpen our curiosity about what is hidden beyond the astronaut’s eyes. “Pareidolia” (5:30) follows on, having somber colors bringing sturdier riffs, made of combined guitar and organ chords. The vocals change as well, being slightly dramatic sometimes, and pervaded by an introspective feeling that recalled me of “Arena”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Blackfield”, and “RPWL”. This melancholic sentiment remains on the great vocal melody of “Garden of Delight” (7:26), but it is dissipated slowly by the uprising guitars, psychedelic choirs, and ascending keyboards that contribute to transmute sadness into hope. The mildly epic keyboards that come by the end recalled me of “Pallas”, “IQ”, “Marillion”, “Twelfth Night”, and “RPWL”. Really a fascinating project to delve in, Summer Breeze Project is highly recommended for fans of “Pink Floyd”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Steven Wilson”, “Blackfield”, “No-Man”, “Taurus & Pisces”, “RPWL”, “Alan Parsons Project”, “Marillion”, “Pallas”, “IQ”, “Twelfth Night”, “Arena”. We are eagerly waiting for “Contact – Parts Two & Three”, expecting them to be longer. Band members and collaborators involved in Summer Breeze Project are: Gert Bruins – Lead Vocals, Guitars; Gordon van Pelt – Guitars; Fons Panneman – Keyboards, Piano, Hammond, Synths, Soundscapes, and Backing Vocals; Jørgen de Jonge – Bass and Backing Vocals; Rene Troostheiden – Drums, Drum Programming & Percussion. Album Played, Recorded, Mixed & Produced by SBP...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
10/24/2014.........................................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit SUMMER BREEZE PROJECT HOME PAGE...
. SÉRGIO FERRAZ - "Dançando aos Pés de Shiva"
Sérgio Ferraz is a violin player and composer who was born in the city of Garanhuns, in the state of Pernambuco, Brazil. Sérgio Ferraz is one of the pioneers in the employment of the electric violin in Brazilian music. In 1980 he began to study at the “Conservatório Pernambucano de Música” (Music Conservatory of Pernambuco), and in the following decade he integrated the group “Alma de Água” (“Soul of Water”), that has toured around Brazil and the U.S.A. In 2001 Sérgio Ferraz founded the instrumental outfit “Sonoris Fabrica”, which released an eponymous CD. Meanwhile, Ferraz has also contributed with important Brazilian writer “Ariano Suassuna” (founder of the 70’s cultural movement known as “Movimento Armorial”, which had the goal of promoting the Brazilian northeastern traditional culture); and played with “Quarteto Romançal” – an Academic-oriented group conducted by “Antônio Madureira” (acoustic guitar player linked to the “Movimento Armorial”, and founder of the legendary “Quarteto Armorial”, which had the aim of elevating Brazilian folkloric northeastern music to the level of classical chamber music). In 2012 Sérgio Ferraz composed the “Concerto Armorial” (“Armorial Concert”), performing it as the main violinist with the “Orquestra Sinfônica Jovem do Conservatório Pernambucano de Música” (Young Symphonic Orchestra of the Music Conservatory of Pernambuco). Sérgio Ferraz made presentations at the “Garanhuns Jazz Festival” (2013) and has performed live around Brazil. The discography of Sérgio Ferraz consists of three albums, all released independently: “Segundo Romançário” (2010), in duo with Antônio Madureira; and the solo works “Dançando Aos Pés De Shiva” (“Dancing at Shiva’s Feet”, 2010) and “A Sublime Ciência & O Soberano Segredo” (“The Sublime Science & The Supreme Secret”, 2013). Ferraz has also composed and recoded one track for Brazilian Heavy Metal band “Hate Embrace”, which was featured on the band’s CD, entitled “Sertão Saga”. As a composer born and raised in Northeastern Brazil, Sérgio Ferraz has been initially influenced by the traditional music of that region. But he has also been positively contaminated by foreign kinds of music, like Jazz, Minimalist, Indian, Arabian, and Iberian, which have endowed his sound with a cosmopolitan quality that is not frequent among other Brazilian musicians. Although that northeastern tradition is quite recognizable on his pieces (e.g. on the rhythms provided by Jerimum de Olinda), that heritage is not as strong as on the work of Brazilian musicians such as “Airto Moreira”, “Hermeto Pascoal”, “Zé Ramalho”, “Alceu Valença”, “Geraldo Azevedo”, and “Antônio Nobrega”. The traditional roots of Ferraz are diluted, blurred, metamorphosed, and electro-electronically texturized by means of synthesizers, travel on worldwide geographic coordinates, and reach the frontiers of Progressive, Psychedelic and Space Rock. This may lead the listener to compare the music of Sérgio Ferraz with iconic violin-oriented bands and names, such as “Jean-Luc Ponty”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Curved Air”, “Eddie Jobson”, and Brazilian “Sagrado Coração da Terra”, “Quaterna Réquiem”, and “Wiermann & Vogel”, but they also differ a lot of the sonority of Sérgio Ferraz (who feels comfortable under his own tag of “Brazilian Northeastern Fusion”). The album on focus here - “Dançando Aos Pés De Shiva” (“Dancing at Shiva’s Feet”) - has 12 instrumental tracks, featuring the violin on long solos accompanied by a few keyboards and synths, but sustained by different kinds of percussive instruments. The predominance of minimalist sounds, introspective moods, and exquisitely elaborated arrangements is perceived all along the record. “A Última Batalha Na Terra” (“The Last Battle On Earth”, 6:01) opens the album combining Brazilian Northeastern rhythms and bass sounds with mysterious Arabian melodies and psychedelic atmospheres, creating a tension that contrasts with the tranquility of “Chuva Cinza” (“Gray Rain”, 5:39) and “A Segunda Chuva” (“Second Rain”, 3:43) – two Neo-Classical pieces, backed up by pianos, that deliver nostalgic and romantic themes on the violin (recalling “Wiermann & Vogel”, “Quaterna Réquiem”). Also “O Amor, O Saber, O Poder” (“Love, Knowledge, Power”, 3:23) has gorgeous violin tunes, superposed to relaxing watery sounds (recalling “Sagrado Coração da Terra”). “Festa da Colheita” (“Harvest Celebration”, 5:45) brings traditional violins and keyboards, and contemplative moods of ancient times, contrasting with the contemporary-sounding “Antes Do Sol Vir Até Mim”Before The Sun Comes To Me”, 6:16), an amazing World-Music piece that combines elements of Pop, New-Age, and Jazz-Fusion harmonies, recalling “Jean-Luc Ponty” and “Mahavishnu Orchestra”. A few tracks are experimental, featuring violins that blend the Northeastern Brazilian style with Oriental modes: “O Grande Vishnu” (“Vishnu, The Great”, 7:03) is ambient-cosmic; “As Três Transformações do Espírito” (“The Three Changes of the Spirit”, 4:51) is tense and exotic; and the triad consisting of “Encontrando a Flor de Lótus” (“Finding the Lotus Flower” 0:34) + the title track “Dançando Aos Pés De Shiva” (“Dancing at Shiva’s Feet”, 7:53) + “A Solidão do Guerreiro” (“The Solitude Of The Warrior”, 0:37) features a somber composition that becomes gradually clear, having violin prelude and postlude in Northeastern and Baroque styles, respectively. The album ends with an electronic version of “The Last Battle On Earth” (5:28) that shows how Sérgio Ferraz is connected to the modern trends, for it recalled me of Russian Trip-Hop band “Ole Lukkoye”. Brilliant, unique and amazing, Sérgio Ferraz is highly recommendable for fans of Brazilian Northeastern Music and for Progressive & Fusion fans of “Jean-Luc Ponty”, “Curved Air”, “Eddie Jobson”, “Sagrado Coração da Terra”, “Quaterna Réquiem”, “Wiermann & Vogel”, who are looking for violin-oriented music with a different and exotic focus. Band members and collaborators involved in Sérgio Ferraz are: Sergio Ferraz - Electric Violin, Piano, Synthesizers; Jerimum de Olinda – Percussion (Tambourine, Djamber, Jar, Caxixi, Cajon, Tin-Can, Speaking-Drum, Cymbals, Whistles, Congas, Pau-de-Chuva). Live line-up: Gustavo Ferraz – Bass; Benone Alexandre – Drums. Produced by Sérgio Ferraz, Executive Production by Bebeth Andrade Lima. Sound Engineering by André Oliveira; Pictures by Chico Porto; Graphic Layout by Saulo Bernardino & Victor Poggi; Artistic Direction by Gustavo Burkhardt. All songs were composed, arranged and performed by Sérgio Ferraz. You can visit Sergio Ferraz at MySpace page too...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
10/24/2014......................Want to learn more about this amazing musician and his project, go to SÉRGIO FERRAZ HOME PAGE...
. SOUL CAGES - "Moon"
Soul Cages is a band from Hemer (Germany) that was born in December 1990. The members of Soul Cages had already played in Speed and Thrash Metal bands, but together, their different experiences and musical influences helped them to forge a flexible-styled, more melodic kind of Art-Rock combined with Progressive influences. After recording a demo-tape in 1992, Soul Cages signed with Massacre Records and released a few albums: the eponymous debut “Soul Cages” (1994), which was also published in Europe and Japan; “Moments” (1996); and “Craft” (1999). In the meantime, the band played or toured with bands such as “Saxon”, “Golden Earring”, “Savior Machine”, “Veni Domine”, and “Rage”. In July 2000 Soul Cages quit the contract with Massacre Records and entered in a long hiatus. Nevertheless, Soul Cages worked constantly on new songs, built up their own studio (“Soundcages Studio”), and after much time began to record and produce a new album, called “Moon”. “Moon” was released in 2013 under the band’s own label Soundcages Music, and is only available at their official homepage and live performances, or via the internet. Along their history Soul Cages had different line-ups. The line-up featured on “Moon” consists of Thorsten Staroske (lead vocals, guitars, and keyboards), Beate Kuhbier (female backing vocals, keyboards), Knut Nitschke (guitars), Jörg Nitschke (drums), and bassist Jörg Bode (who left the band after the recordings and was replaced by the band’s sound engineer, Ingo Vieten). The music of Soul Cages is a combination of Heavy Metal and Progressive elements that is neither violent (as their Thrash-Metal roots could imply), nor complex as in modern Prog-Metal bands. But it is varied and melodic, delivering emotion by means of combining and/or alternating the male lead vocals with the female backing vocals (never of the operatic kind). Well-crafted guitar riffs and elaborated solos of guitar join forces with imposing bass lines and technical drumming, conveyed on mid-tempo paces that come with heaviness, but not speed (differing from the Power-Metal mode). In general, the sound of Soul Cages recalled me of many Heavy Metal bands of the 90’s and 2000’s, mainly those whose influential imprint has been left by the trio “Rush”, “Iron Maiden”, and “Queensrÿche”, and which could be collectively assembled under the tag “Proto-Progressive-Metal”. Such band-list is extensive, but I shall mention “Enchant”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Dream Theater” (represented by the earliest albums); “Cairo”, “Altura”, “Lemur Voice”, “Conception”, “Hair Apparent”, “Ivanhoe”, “Mystic Force”, “House of Spirits”, “Everon”, “Magnitude 9”, “Shadow Keep”; projects like “Ayreon”, “Knight Area”, “Missa Mercuria”; and the most recent “Sieges Even” and “Amaran’s Plight” for comparison. “Moon” contains 8 tracks. “Always Meet Twice” (5:24) is a great opening track that begins with interlocked guitars and bass, irradiating a Metal pulse that increases in intensity by alternating somber and epic moments. This track shows how the typical sound of Soul Cages, albeit pervaded by many influences, will always emphasize the essential aspects of music: melody and emotion. On the title track “The Moon” (7:54) – one of the best – the music begins slow, surrounded by a dark atmosphere that recalls the somber intros of “Iron Maiden”, going on changing, bringing bass-driven modes like “Rush”, and heavy Thrash-Metal moments, guided by male/female vocal harmonies that increase the emotional content, until the final coming of epic guitar riffs and soaring keyboards that are crowned with a great guitar solo – melodic, neo-classical, and mysterious. “The Curse” (4:16), which is faster, is another example of Soul Cages’ generalist style, beginning with soaring Prog-Metal instrumentation reinforced by symphonic keyboards, congregating influences of early “Dream Theater”, “Enchant”, and “Shadow Gallery”, and combining them with harmonies like “Iron Maiden” and vocals that recall “Queensrÿche” and “Conception”. Large doses of old “Queensrÿche” are also perceived on the vocal lines of the malign “Darkness” (4:20), accompanied by instrumental parts that recall the sound of “Rush”, lowered some keys down; or combined with guitar harmonies and drumming from the “Iron Maiden” pattern, such as on the somber track “Tomorrow” (4:48), and on the amazing “Waiting” (6:35), which is framed by complex guitars and bass, interspersed with epic vocal parts, with highlights for Beate’s second voice. Nearing the end, the ballad “Beautiful” (5:14) alternates melancholic and energetic moments, having male/female duo and progressive interludes (recalling “Sieges Even”); while the last track, “Point One” (4:32), is an awesome instrumental piece with influences of early “Dream Theater” and “Shadow Gallery”. Representing a great comeback of Soul Cages to the musical scene, “Moon” is a soulful, melodic, and addicting album that is highly recommended for fans of the early days of Prog-Metal, as it was played by “Rush”, “Iron Maiden”, “Queensrÿche”, “Enchant”, “Royal Hunt”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Dream Theater”, “Cairo”, “Altura”, “Lemur Voice”, “Conception”, “Hair Apparent”, “Mystic Force”, “Ivanhoe”, “House of Spirits”, “Everon”, “Magnitude 9”, “Shadow Keep”, “Ayreon”, “Knight Area”, “Explorers Club”, “Missa Mercuria”, “Seventh Avenue”, and the most recent “Sieges Even”, “Amaran’s Plight”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Soul Cages are: Thorsten Staroske – Lead Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards; Beate Kuhbier – Female Backing Vocals, Keyboards; Knut Nitschke – Guitars; Jörg Nitschke – Drums; Ingo Vieten – Bass (April 2012 to present). Ex-members: Stephan Tigges – Bass (until 2002); Jörg Bode – Bass (2003 to Jan. 2012); Patricia – Female Backing Vocals (1992-1995); Enrique Foedtke – Keyboards (1998-2001). Album Recorded at the Soundcages-Studio; Mixed & Mastered by Ingo Vieten; Produced by Soul Cages...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
10/24/2014..........................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit SOUL CAGES HOME PAGE...
. ESTHEMA - "Long Goodbye"
Esthema is back to PR&PM! Esthema is an instrumental world fusion ensemble from Boston (MA, USA) that since 2006 has been refining a musical style that blends Jazz-Fusion and Prog-Rock with Traditional Music of the European Balkan Region and the Near & Middle East. Esthema’s first two albums - “Apart From The Rest” (2007) and “The Hereness and Nowness of Things” (2009 - featured at PR&PM in 2011) - were both critically acclaimed and placed the group on internet sites and radio stations specialized in Indie, Fusion and World music throughout the U.S.A., Europe, and Turkey, side by side with acts such as “Herbie Hancock”, “Return to Forever”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Al Di Meola”, “Paco de Lucia”, “Gipsy Kings”, and “Arvo Pärt”. In June, 2014 Esthema released their third self-produced album, entitled “Long Goodbye”, featuring a renovated line-up: the original members Andy Milas (guitar) and Onur Dilisen (violin) have been joined by Naseem Alatrash (cello), Mac Ritchey (oud & bouzouki), Tom Martin (bass), and George Lernis (drums & percussion). All musicians involved in Esthema have both Western and Eastern influences, derived from their different cultural backgrounds and their academic training. Milas loves Progressive Rock, Metal, New Age, Jazz, Greek & Middle Eastern music; Onur was born in Izmir, Turkey, graduated at the Boston Conservatory in 2009 and became a member of Plymouth Philharmonic Orchestra; George Lernis was born in Cyprus, and graduated at Berklee College of Music with a Bachelor in Jazz; Mac Ritchey has studied Turkish and Armenian Music with “Alan Shavarsh Bardezbanian”, “Brahim Fribgane”, and “Mal Barsamian”, and plays on groups “35th Parallel” and “The Response”; Naseem Alatrash comes from Beit Sahour, West Bank, has studied at the “Edward Said National Conservatory” in Bethlehem, is a member of the Palestinian National Orchestra, has performed with famous musicians (“Ron Carter”, “Simon Shaheen”, “Jorge Drexler”, “Café Da Silva”, “Leo Blanco”, “Marcel Khalife”), and is interested in Classical, Middle Eastern Music, Jazz and Folk/Rock; and Tom Martin is a demanded bassist with 15 years of experience who has built a solid reputation in the professional musical scene. Each of the new members is capable of contributing to the music of Esthema with new diversity and new concepts, without modifying Esthema’s musical essence and main vision: to transcend geographical and cultural barriers, composing music that sounds unique and familiar to all people around the world. Esthema’s sound is instrumental and electro-acoustic. Middle Eastern rhythms and strings abound. The musicians are able to blend Western and Eastern influences in a cohesive and harmonized way, performing with fluidity and precision some rare and exquisitely crafted melodies and arrangements. Overall “Long Goodbye” has less influences from Latin music than on previous albums (caused by the departure of the South American components), but brings much more of Balkans and Turkish-Arabian Music, wonderfully well-blended with Jazzy motifs and Western Folk elements. The mysterious and introspective atmospheres predominate, instilling in the listener an indistinct sensation of being at the same time in both Western & Eastern hemispheres of the world. “Long Goodbye” has 8 tracks, and opens with the triptych “Three Sides To Every Story”, “Part I” (2:01), “Part II” (8:21), and “Part III” (3:19). This is a very instigating piece that, although dominated by Middle-Eastern modes, is pervaded by a modern Progressive Rock drive furnished by some vigorous guitars and a bed of ambient sounds (which are not produced by synths, but with an electric oud) that are also combined with Classic strings. It will please most fans of Jazz-Rock and R.I.O-styled bands, such as “Univers Zéro”, “Miriodor”, “Gargantua”, “Moraine”, “The Living”, “Mahavishnu”. “Fire and Shadow” (6:49) is darker, driven by bass in Moroccan style followed by equivalent rhythms and strings. This piece evolves by contrasting some vivid moments with introspective parts that are rooted on European tradition. “Reflections From The Past” (9:07) deals with homesickness, mixing the sounds of both American Jazz and Middle Eastern scales and rhythms, with highlights for the bass, the meandering violins, and the Cyprus/Greek vibes that come from acoustic guitars and ouds. Most amazing are two tracks born from the European folkloric roots: “Without A Moment's Notice” (9:22) is driven by a main theme that gets gradually complicated by the addition of acoustic guitars, cello and violin, in a constant metamorphose of melodies, motifs, and emotions; and “Reminiscence” (4:22) is a vivid piece that blends Celtic and Arabian sounds, transmitting a nostalgic feeling. The album ends with the title track “Long Goodbye” (11:41), which deals with the feelings of separation, finitude and death. It is a profound, mysterious and dramatic piece propelled by the increasingly tension supported by the instrumental frame (highlighted by the duel of acoustic guitar against violin and the melancholic cello at the end). Another brilliant work by Esthema, “Long Goodbye” is highly recommended for fans of R.I.O., Jazz Fusion, World Music, Eastern Music, “Avishai Cohen”, “John Zorn”, “Simon Shaheen”, “Laço Tayfa”, “Strunz & Farah”, “Al Di Meola”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Miriodor”, “Univers Zéro”, “The Living”, “Moraine”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Esthema are: Andy Milas - Guitar; Onur Dilisen - Violin; Naseem Alatrash - Cello; Mac Ritchey - Acoustic & Electric Oud, Bouzouki; Tom Martin - Bass; George Lernis - Drums & Assorted Percussion (riq, hadjira, kanjira, frame drums, darbuka, tambourine, conga, timpani, marimba). Recorded by Peter Kontrimas at PBS Studios, Westwood, MA; Additional Recording at Possum Hall, Carlisle, MA. Mixed by Mac Ritchey at Possum Hall; Mastered by Randy Roos at Squam Sound, Ashland, NH; Produced by Esthema...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
10/24/2014....................................................,...........,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit ESTHEMA HOME PAGE...
. AISLES - "4:45 A.M."
Aisles are an amazing Art-Rock band that comes from Santiago, Chile. Aisles formed in 2001, and began to play locally, rehearsing and experimenting with the fusion of various genres, namely Rock, Progressive Rock, Fusion and World Music. In 2003, Aisles produced a high-quality demo that later became the base of their acclaimed debut album “The Yearning” (2005, Mylodon Records), which was published and distributed in the United States, Japan, and Europe (Musea Records). In 2007, Aisles released a self-produced second album called “In Sudden Walks”. “In Sudden …” had a more ambitious production: the album was mastered at Gateway Mastering Studios and had collaboration of selected guest artists. The effort paid off: “In Sudden Walks” was nominated for the “Prog Awards” (Italy) in the “Best Foreign Record” category, and led Aisles to perform at the “11th Progressive Rock Festival Crescendo” (2009, France). In 2013 Aisles released their third studio album, entitled “4:45 AM” (October 29th, Presagio Records LLC). The line-up features Sebastián Vergara (vocals, keyboards), Germán Vergara (guitars, keyboards, vocals), Rodrigo Sepúlveda (guitars), Alejandro Meléndez (keyboards), Daniel Baird-Kerr (bass), and Felipe Candia (drums), having collaborations of a guest singer (Constanza Maulén) and a string quintet on three tracks each. The music of Aisles is clean and neat, combining Neo-Progressive Rock with stylish Fusion and sophisticated 80’s Rock, also incorporating rhythmic elements of World Music. This unabridged approach corresponds to the band’s will for evolving continuously, allowing their liberal and eclectic music vision to prevail over any predetermined categorization. The music of Aisles is melodic and carefully arranged, dominated by long-lasting instrumental soundscapes, and delivered with refined emotion by tuneful vocals and delicate guitars and keyboards. The influences comprise bands such as “Marillion”, “Pendragon”, “Pallas”, “Asia”; “Yes”, “Genesis”, “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson” (mainly works of the 80’s), “Steve Hackett”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Jean Michel Jarre”, “Vangelis”, “Jean-Luc Ponty”, “Pat Metheny”, “Queen”, “Rush”, “Journey”, “Toto”, and “Saga”, having minor influences of “Cat Stevens”, “Tori Amos”, “Pedro Aznar”, “Miles Davis”, "Sting”, “The Police”, “Depeche Mode”, “Radiohead”, and a touch of “Roxy Music”, “Double”, “Spandau Ballet”, and “Simply Red”; sharing a resemblance with bands like “Unitopia”, “Airbag”, and “Mindfields”. “4:45 AM” has 10 tracks. The songs have English lyrics that deal with concepts such as pain, blood, resilience, and strength: 4:45 am is the most dangerous hour of the day, the time on which you either get up or get lost, as your soul struggles to decide for triumph or decline. Not by chance, the album opens with the title track, “4:45 AM” (4:06), and decides to wake the listener up, for it is a spirited Neo-Prog, delivered with a rocky punch that recalls “Marillion”, “Pallas”, and 80’s “Yes”, also having a pinch of “Simply Red” on vocals. The music proceeds on the instrumental track “Gallarda Yarura” (4:32) – an amazing Neo-Medieval piece adorned with layers of keyboards and melodic guitars that recall the style of “Pendragon” –; and goes on with a joyful pop mood on “Shallow and Daft” (4:53), which will satisfy fans of 80’s Synth-Pop. Aisles return to the Neo-Prog mode on the sensitive and slightly romantic “Back My Strength” (4:55), with Germán on the lead vocals. On “The Sacrifice” (5:08), one of the album’s best songs, Aisles create emotive atmospheres with beautiful and introspective melodies that are delivered with ethereal softness. The middle of the CD is occupied by tracks that show the commitment of Aisles in making eclectic music: “The Ship” (0:57) / “Intermission” (5:02) are instrumental pieces that fuse the Electronic styles of “Jarre”, “Vangelis”, “Alan Parsons”, late “King Crimson”, and “Radiohead”; while “Sorrow” (6:57) is a typical 80’s Pop-Rock driven by delicate acoustic guitars, soft vocal tunes and strings that will please fans of “Simply Red”, “Double”, and “Depeche Mode”. But for the greatest pleasure of the most reticent Prog-Heads, Aisles spared two super-Progressive tracks for the final stroke, which increased the album’s value. The first is “Hero” (8:11), an awesome instrumental piece that unfolds slowly in a Progressive way, bringing cosmic sounds and echoes of “Rush”, “Jarre”, “Floyd”; New-Wave and World Music beats; “Genesis”-like melodies, Fusion guitars; Gothic chants that fall into deep and somber Space-Rock passages (like “King Crimson”); finally ending on majestic guitars like classic “Queen”. The second (and last) track is “Melancholia” (10:40), a symphonic song that transmits the same tranquility and contemplative mood of 70’s “Yes” and “Sigur Rós”. If you like bands like “Marillion”, “Pendragon”, “Pallas”, “Asia”, “Yes”, “Genesis”, “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson” (mainly works of the 80’s), “Steve Hackett”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Jean Michel Jarre”, “Vangelis”, “Jean-Luc Ponty”, “Pat Metheny”, “Queen”, “Rush”, “Toto”, “Saga”, "Sting”, “The Police”, “Depeche Mode”, “Radiohead”, “Roxy Music”, “Double”, “Simply Red”, “Spandau Ballet”, “Unitopia”, “Airbag”, “RPWL”, “Satellite”, “Collage”, “Glass Hammer”, than Aisles cannot be lacking in your collection: amazing and highly recommendable! Band members and collaborators involved in Aisles are: Sebastián Vergara - Leading & Backing Vocals, Keyboards; Germán Vergara – Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Vocals, Keyboards, Lead Vocals on “Back My Strength”; Rodrigo Sepúlveda – Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Backing Vocals; Alejandro Meléndez – Keyboards & Synthesizers; Daniel Baird-Kerr – Bass; Felipe Candia - Drums & Percussion. Guest Musicians: Constanza Maulén – Vocals (on “4:45 AM”, “Shallow and Daft”, “Sorrow”). String Quintet: David Nuñez – Violin 1; Diana Brown – Violin 2; Valentina Maza – Viola; Alejandro Barría – Cello; Nelson Arriagada – Contrabass (on “Sorrow”, “Hero”, “The Sacrifice”). Ex-members: Luis Vergara – Piano & Keyboards; Felipe Gonzales – Bass. New member: Juan Pablo Gaete – Keyboards. Also you can visit Aisles at Reverbnation Page and MySpace Site...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
10/24/2014..,...;..........................You can find more information about the band and their music at AISLES OFFICIAL WEBSITE...
. OCEANS OF NIGHT - "Midnight Rising"
Oceans of Night are back to PR&PM! Oceans of Night is a Progressive Metal project led by New Yorker independent musician and multi-instrumentalist Scott Mosher and singer Scott Oliva (“Wind Wraith”, “Iron Maiden” tribute band “Live After Death”, “The Nightmare Stage”). Mosher had already released 4 solo albums before initiating the Oceans of Night project in 2009, guided by a new musical vision. Based on his tastes and experiences, Mosher created a style called “Ambient Progressive Metal” – one that combines the energy and aggressiveness of Prog-Metal with the softness of Electronic, Ambient, and New Age music, creating a deep sonic contrast. The music was also supplemented with elements of Space Rock, Symphonic Prog, Classic Rock, Hard Rock and Melodic Metal, combining influences and sonorities of diverse bands such as: “Fates Warning” (“Ray Alder” era), “Queensreÿch” (post “Operation Mindcrime”), early “Dream Theater“, “Vicious Rumors”, “Redemption”, “OSI”, “Ayreon”, “Star One”, “Evergrey”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Sieges Even”, “Everon”, “Jupiter Society”, “Iron Maiden”, “Rush”, “Journey”, “Asia”, “Tangerine Dream”, “Eloy”, “Kitaro”, “Alan Parsons“, “Mike Oldfield”, “Jean Michel Jarre”, “U2”, “Depeche Mode”, “Steve Vai”, “Tony MacAlpine”, and “Greg Howe”. Oceans of Night released two independent albums: “The Shadowheart Mirror” (2009) and “Domain” (2011), both reviewed at PR&PM in 2009 and 2012, respectively. Oceans of Night have just released their third independent album: “Midnight Rising” (2014, Allaroundniceguy Music). Once again mixed & mastered by Joey Vera (“Armored Saint”, “Fates Warning”, “Engine”), the new CD features Scott Mosher (guitar, bass, keyboards), Scott Oliva (vocals), Alan Smithee (drums), and guest appearances by keyboardist Vivien Lalu (“Lalu”, “Shadrane”, “Hubi Meisel”), guitarist Chris Rifkin (“EF5/F5”, “Eye of the Storm”), and singer Stephanie Warren. “Midnight Rising” contains 10 tracks (9 + 1 bonus). A number of them are straightforward Rock & Metal songs that contain fewer elements of Progressive or Electronic music. “The Haunted Mind” (4:50) is an impacting Prog-Metal that opens the album, being decorated with amazing solos of guitar and synths, recalling “Queensrÿche” and “Redemption”. “Crashing Down” (3:48) is an 80’s Metal song guided by galloping instrumentation and aggressive vocals, formatted as “Armored Saint” and “Judas Priest”. And “Is This Who We Are” (3:45) swings on a Melodic Rock pace that resembles “Journey”, “Saga”, and “Asia”, featuring a tuneful guitar solo. But “Midnight Rising” also represents the continuation of the Ambient Metal style defined on Oceans of Night’s previous albums, and this statement is clearly confirmed on tracks “Midnight Rising” (6:22), “The Burning Sky” (8:59), and “Gone Forever” (10:02). All these songs are highlighted by the confrontation of a powerful and aggressive Prog-Metal attitude against a series of Progressive, Ambient, & Electronic moments. “Midnight …” balances Ambient sounds and cosmic amplitudes (like “Tangerine Dream”, “Michel Jarre”, “Star One”) with Classic Hard Rock drives and malignant vocals (like “Dio”, “Halford”) strategically interspersed with soaring Progressive moments, abundant guitars and beautiful synths; “The Burning Sky” mixes elements of Melodic Rock and Progressive Rock with sensitive vocal tunes (recalling “Asia”, “Iron Maiden”, “Sieges Even”, “Redemption”), having a climax on the final instrumental sequence, dominated by shredding guitars and synths in combat, changing to Ambient style in the last minutes before being smothered by an avalanche of heavy riffs; and “Gone Forever” (10:02) brings moments of Synth-Pop, Space Rock, Art-Rock, Progressive Rock, and Electronic Music, pervaded by melancholic moods that alternate with solid Hard Rock & Metal instrumentation, going from “Depeche Mode” and “Parsons” to “Journey” and “Oldfield”, also bringing the customary epic guitar solo. Yet, “Wherever You Are” (7:54) leans to the Neo-Prog style, combines emotional vocals, interlocked solos of soaring guitar and waving synths, and will amaze fans of “RPWL”, “Marillion”, “Rush”, and “Sieges Even”. The album still brings two amazing instrumental tracks: “Critical Mass/The Breathless Sleep” (4:58) is a typical Ambient Prog-Metal piece conveyed on tense guitar riffs, thunderous drumming, and dramatic arrangements that dissolve into electronic soundscapes like “Tangerine Dream”; while “A World Born of Fire” (5:25) is an odd-metric Prog-Metal that recalls “Dream Theater” and “Symphony X”, differing only on the Hard-Rock twist of the guitar solos, and a change for brief Electronic-Ambient modes that are pinpointed by powerful guitar chords and slicing synths that keep on soloing. The album ends with the bonus track “Reach Me” (3:24) - a Neo-Prog ballad driven by Stephanie Warren’s sweet voice. Oceans of Night remain dedicated to exploring the potential of their Ambient Progressive Metal style, as shown on this great third album, which is highly recommended to Prog-Metal fans who like “Fates Warning”, “Queensreÿch”, “Redemption”, “OSI”, “Sieges Even”, “Ayreon”, “Star One”, “Rush”, “Journey”, “Asia”, “RPWL”, but also like “Alan Parsons”, “Mike Oldfield”, and “Tangerine Dream”. Band members and collaborators involved in Oceans of Night are: Scott Mosher - Guitars, Bass, Keyboards and Programming; Scott Oliva – Lead and Harmony Vocals; Alan Smithee – Drums, Percussion. Special Guests: Vivien Lalu - Surgically-placed keyboard solos; Chris Rifkin - Strategically-placed guitar solos; Stephanie Warren - Conveniently-placed vocals. Guitar, Bass & Keyboards recorded by Scott Mosher at Nice Guy Studios, Los Angeles, CA; Vocals recorded by Scott Oliva at Vice Studios, Farmingville, NY; Drums recorded by Alan Smithee in Los Angeles, CA; Stephanie’s vocals recorded by Jim Rothis in Hollywood, CA. Mixed & Mastered by Joey Vera at The Bridge, Woodland Hills, CA...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
10/24/2014....................Is there an interested to know more about them? Then you must visit OCEANS OF NIGHT HOME PAGE...
. STRANGE LAND - "Delta-v"
Strange Land is back to PR&PM once again! Strange Land was formed back in November of 1998 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At that time, the band was a power-trio consisting of Chad Novell (bass, lead vocals, keyboards), Sean Gill (guitar, vocals), and Brad Klotz (drums). Strange Land then recorded and released two full-length albums: “Anomaly” (2001, self-produced) and “Blaming Season” (2005) both of which were reviewed at PR&PM in 2010. The third album, “Catharsis”, was released in 2009 and amplified the band’s fan-base in several countries around the world. Strange Land had been regularly playing in progressive music festivals and clubs in Milwaukee, Detroit and Chicago until 2010, and reached the finals in the 2005 Emergenza festival. The band has opened shows for “King's X”, “Tiles”, “Discipline”, “Gary Hoey”, “Fish”, “Three”, “McGill/Manring/Stevens”, “Event”; and received airplay on Progulus and WMSE radio stations, and on “Bruce Dickinson's” internet radio show. In the summer of 2010, member Sean Gill moved to Denver, Colorado, and the band continued to work long distance for a while. But in late 2010 Chad Novell left the band, and Sean Gill (now in charge of guitars, bass, vocals and keyboards) and Brad Klotz (drums, vocals, winds, and sax) decided to work as a duo in studio. Free of the constraints of live-playing, the duo focused on pushing the limits of their music. They released a single in late 2012, and a new full-length album, called “Delta-v”, in 2014. “Delta-v” has 13 tracks, and sounds different from Strange Land’s previous albums. In the past, the band made a Prog-Metal-oriented kind of music that gathered influences of bands like "Fates Warning", "Savatage", "Rush", “Iron Maiden”, "Zero Hour", "Pain of Salvation", "Galactic Cowboys", and “Spastic Ink”. Now, on this new album, Strange Land shows that the band still delivers a Heavy & Rocky sound, with complicated instrumental arrangements on some parts (Gill is effective as both bassist and guitar player), but the overall sonority became more straightforward and visceral, with influences coming from Alternative Rock, Thrash-Metal, Grunge, Stoner & Hard-Rock, and Post-Metal, sharing resemblances with bands like “Soundgarden”, “Faith No More”, “Nirvana”, “Annihilator”, “Muse”, “Queens of the Stone Age”, “Melvins”, “Tool”, “Galactic Cowboys”, and even “Frank Zappa”, “Budgie”, and “Primus”. This new format seems to be the most comfortable for drummer Klotz, who has improved his technique though, and surprises the listener by playing also brasses and saxophones on one track. Of the 13 tracks on “Delta-v”, four are short intros; others are pragmatic Heavy & Alternative Rock standards, and just a few have a Progressive length. The two musicians alternate on singing, but the vocals have a Punk-Rock uncompromised inflection. The album opens with “Un-Fare For The Common Man” (04:34), a visceral Heavy Rock, with powerful riffs and disdainful vocals that is complicated in the middle with interlocked guitars, bass, and drums, which even recall “Rush”. It is followed by “Evening Stroll” (00:40) + “Under Watchful Eyes” (03:40), which comes on malevolent cadenced riffs, the intertwined bass & guitars and the stoned psychedelic guitar solo recalling “Melvins”. The other tracks that called my attention are: “Whisper Change” (00:59) + “Solid” (07:26) – a dramatic ballad driven by melancholic vocals, and having an instrumental part in Prog-Metal style; “Root Canal In 3-Part Harmony” (05:34), a Stoner-Rock driven by groovy bass and guitars that brought bands like “Sabbath” and “Budgie” to my mind, besides offering a great guitar solo and making an attempt with melodic harmony vocals; and the instrumental “Luke's Blue Serial” (04:21), the most different of Strange Land’s repertoire – it is an intricate Jazz-Rock piece full of brasses and saxophones having a “Frank Zappa” ironic swing and great performance by Klotz, who shows how he has increased his drum ability. At last, some NASA radio transmissions make the core of “Launch Window” (01:27), which is a countdown to the violent “Flare” (06:51) - a paranoid Thrash-Metal with influences of “Voivod”, “Annihilator”, and “Megadeth” that includes Space-Metal sequences and a pinch of Punk-Metal & Grunge (and a memorable solo of guitar). Besides those songs, “Delta-v” still offers “Dr. Manhattan” (05:35) – which is a Prog-Metal with Post-Metal moments that sounds like old Strange Land; “Tetsuro In Pursuit Of Oneness With His Instrument” (01:16) - a voodoo drumming that precedes “Protagonize” (06:12) - a song that begins well, propelled by powerful Prog-Metal riffs, but that later declines to a regular Indy rock. “Delta-v” ends with “Burn” (03:42), a psychedelic ballad that suddenly explodes, like “Tool”. This new album by Strange Land is like a return to the basics. Although the band is in need of a front-man, the instinctive disposition will find followers among appreciators of Alternative, Stoner & Grunge Rock, fans of “Faith No More”, “Nirvana”, “Queens of the Stone Age”, “Melvins”, “Galactic Cowboys”, “Budgie”, “Soundgarden”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Strange Land are: Sean T. Gill – Guitar, Bass, Vocals, Synths, Programming; Brad Klotz – Drums, Vocals, Brasses, Saxophones. Ex-members: Chad Novell – Bass, Vocals, Keyboards; Esteban Gonzalez – Drums...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
10/24/2014......................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit STRANGE LAND HOME PAGE...
. ADVENTURE - "Caught In The Web"
Adventure is the brainchild of the Norwegian multi-instrumentalist Terje Flessen who had many years of musical experience. Terje started playing guitar around 1980. He was self-taught. He usually plays Fender Stratocasters. His favorite is a modified 1962 Fender Strat. He plays it through a Fractal Axe FX 2, and Marshall amps and cabinets. He uses Jim Dunlop picks and Ernie Ball strings. Terje started Adventure with Odd Roar Bakken in 1996, because they wanted to take their music "up from the cellar" and reach a wider audience. Terje's main influences are "Uli Jon Roth", "Ritchie Blackmore", "Brian May" and "Andy Latimer". Odd Roar Bakken lives in Trondheim with his wife and kids, also he had some guitar lessons as a teenager, and has been playing the instrument since he was 13. Played the keyboards since 1990; he was self-taught. He plays Keyboards, synths, piano, acoustic guitar, electric guitar and mandolin. His favorite influences are: "Uriah Heep", "Queen", "Kansas", "Camel", "Jethro Tull", "Golden Earring", "Dream Theater", "Arena", and "Ayreon". In 1996 Terje Flessen and their musician friends decide to self produce their first album, was then that, they released their debut CD titles as "Adventure",  in Skansen Studios, Trondhein - Norway, the work takes from June of that year until November 1999 and it's released in the year 2000. After nine years, Adventure released their second album called "Beacon Of Light" by Progress Records. The two works, obtained excellent national and international repercussions, and well received by music critics. Although, the band being formed around the years 90, the musicians demonstrate strong influences of Symphonic Progressive Rock 70s, but including many hard ornaments in the compositions. The Adventure's music flows perfect around two styles, Symphonic Progressive Rock and Hard Rock, their music is totally synth/keyboard dominated, while plenty of amazing guitar works are not just a simple addition the arrangements, quite the opposite, interacts well with keyboards, while bass and drums forming the instrumental background. However, some of the highlights on the band is the use of acoustic guitar, piano, female vocals and some wind instruments like the flute, added the compositions a very classical atmosphere. They found a perfect formula and know how to use all resources to combine in perfect harmony the Symphonic style with the Hard Rock. "Caught In The Web" is their third album, released by this incredible norwegian group, and came to offer a range of amazing musical sounds and impecable orchestration, that keeps us connected all the time, even when we heard the album for the first time. The album contains 13 tracks totalling 66 minutes, where I can describe as an "Adventure" through the future coming back to the past. Listen carefully all songs, you can hear some influences from "Uriah Heep", "Queen", "Kansas", "Camel", "Jethro Tull", "Arena" and subtle passages of "Dream Theater" and "Ayreon". This conceptual album flows from beginning to end showcasing a fantastic sonority and many different conceptions on the arrangements, like a fan of the Adventure, really I can imagine how it "Caught In The Web" must sound to many fans of this genre and from this band also. Would not be necessary to describe each song on this album, all they are interconnected. I recommend the album to be heard all at once, with no interruptions, in that case you will realize all different instrumental conceptions, with, hard elements, epic passagens and a symphonic atmospheric. The main musicians on this Adventure album are: Odd Roar Bakken - Keyboards, Acoustic Guitar, Terje Flessen - Guitars, Sound FX, Terje Craig - Bass, Vocals, Elen Hopen Furunes - Vocals and Kristian Resell - Drums. Guest Musicians are Roar Nygård - Vocals, Knut Erik Jensen - Piano, Lars Hyldmo - Flute and Tone Dahl - Flute. Brilliant, fantastic and indispensable work, highly recommendable... (Comments by Carlos Vaz)
10/24/2014.........................You can find more information about the band and their music at ADVENTURE OFFICIAL WEBSITE...
. THE DANBURY LIE - "The Danbury Lie - Act I - III"
The Danbury Lie is an obscure Indie Rock band from New Haven, Connecticut, that was founded in 2012 and inhabits the limbo and cyberspace. The Danbury Lie uses a combination of acoustic,  folk, and rock experimentation to deliver music that is reminiscent of bands of the Classic Rock era of the late 60’s and 70’s (like “The Coven”, “Black Widow”, “H.P. Lovecraft”, “13th Floor Elevators”, “The Fugs”, “Pearls Before Swine”, very early “Pink Floyd”), with a modern Indie Rock luster. The releases from The Danbury Lie include: “The Danbury Lie” (Apr 2012), “Unlocthed” (Feb 2013), “Rhode Island Summer” (Feb 2013), “The Danbury Lie - Act I-III” (May, 2014), and “Fourth Time’s a Charm” (July, 2014). The band has also produced some experimental videos (such as the 11-minute long “The Great Jester”) and has uploaded them on Youtube. As I could not find any information about the line-up on any of the websites researched, I will respect that will of band members of staying anonymous. The instrumentation is composed mainly of vocals, guitars (acoustic and electric), bass and drums, and a few keyboards (organ). The sound of The Danbury Lie is reminiscent of the Psychedelic Folk and Psychedelic Rock of the 60’s, having a taste for the darkness, the mystery, and the black magic, hence my reminding of bands “Coven”, “Black Widow”, and even “H.P. Lovecraft” (even though TDL’s music being far less sophisticated). There is also an experimental component reminiscent of bands like “The Fugs”, some moments making reference to Indian music (as had bands like “Quintessence” and “Kaleidoscope”), and guitar passages that recall “13th Floor Elevators”. Vocals and the overall tones are slightly melancholic to bittersweet, recalling “Pearls Before Swine” and early “Pink Floyd” (“Sid Barrett” era). “The Danbury Lie – Act I - III” is a physical CD compiling the digital releases of three of TDL’s previous works (“?” + “The Great Jester” + “The Unnamed Album”). It features 13 tracks, but in fact, there are only 10 songs recorded on it, for the introducing tracks “Acts I, II, and III” are just silences during 6 seconds each. “Act I: ?” comprises a collection of gloomy folk-psychedelic lullabies. The eerie “Witches” (1:58) and the macabre and ritualistic “In the Rain” (2:44), driven by zombie-stoned vocals, will bring shivers to your spine, and recall bands like “Coven” and “Black Widow”. “Last Day” (4:42) is immersed in an atmosphere of unreality, and the soaring vocals combined with Indian ragas are reminiscent of “Quintessence”. The experimental and chaotic “Elm Street” (1:42) fuses sounds of vibraphones, drums, and radio transmissions with weird guitar harmonies, being like a temporal transition from “The Fugs” to “White Stripes”, continuing on the alarming “The Final Thread” (1:23), driven by whispering vocals and tenebrous riffs (were those guitars heavier and more distorted, this song might be mistaken for an early “Black Sabbath” classic). “Onward” (2:46) goes through depressive string chords, deep bass, and noisy guitar effects that transmit a feeling of solitude and desolation. And the nice folk-rock “In Time” (3:27) is pervaded by a melancholic feeling, but also by an epic inspiration that comes from the guitars and vocals (recalling a blend of “13th Floor Elevators” with “Blues Magoos”). “Act II” is represented by the long single piece “The Great Jester” (11:13). This is the album’s best track, having a Psychedelic-Dark-Prog attitude, going along nuances and dramatic instrumental passages, with doses of wild bass, distorted Metal guitars, and crazy solos. “Act III” consist of only two songs: “Freedom Chant” (04:13) is Psychedelic as early “Pink Floyd”, but drifts over ritualistic beats, hypnotic-stoned vocals, and black-magical guitars, bringing back to mind “Coven” and “Black Widow”; and “As of Yet” (03:11) is a psychedelic-folk song with a touch of “H.P. Lovecraft” and “Pearls Before Swine” on the melancholic vocals. Neither a full-fledged Progressive act, nor a Prog-Metal standard band, The Danbury Lie is specially recommended for fans of the darkest, most psychedelic, and introspective groups of the late 60’s to early 70’s, like “The Coven”, “Black Widow”, “H.P. Lovecraft”, “13th Floor Elevators”, “The Fugs”, “Pearls Before Swine”, very early “Pink Floyd”, “Kaleidoscope”, “Blues Magoos”, “Quintessence”, and so on … Band members and collaborators involved in The Danbury Lie are: ? – Vocals; ? – Guitars; ? – Keyboards; ? – Bass; ? – Drums. Album produced by The Danbury Lie. Check The Great Jester their video here...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
11/26/2014........................................................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE DANBURY LIE HOME PAGE...
. BLOODY MARY - "Anno Zero"
Bloody Mary is an Italian Gothic Rock outfit that was born back in 2000 in Milan, and presently forms with Aldebran (vocal folds), LaMountain (guitar), Dave (guitar), Stranger (bass), and Jürgen (drums). From the beginning, the band worked to develop a personal style that blends 80's Wave Gothic-Rock and American Hard Rock with elements of Heavy Metal, being led by the deep, sensual, and mysterious voice of Aldebran. After debuting with the demo single “Little Sister” (2000), the band discovered that being on stage was their most natural impulse and launched the live demo “Bloody Zero Live” (2001), followed by the promo EP, “Red” (2002), under Vor-Daran Productions. “Red” was positively welcomed on magazines (“Zillo Magazine”, “Psycho”, “Ritual’) and helped to build a reputation for Bloody Mary around the Gothic-Rock scene in Milan. More demos were released under Vor-Daran - “Promotional CD January 2003” and “Rosemadder” (2004); followed by an appearance on the “Saturday Live Club Compilation” (2003, Sony Music, Massive Arts). Bloody Mary’s first album, “Blood'N'Roll” (2005, Six Six Six Records), was well received on “Terrorizer” and “Kerrang”, and marked the beginning of an international career for the band, with shows in England. A few more appearances on compilations – “Perversion Volume 5” (2006, Ritual) and “Gothic Love” (2007, Sony Music/V2) – preceded the release of the 4-track EP “Dig Up For The Party” (2007), which featured a “Ramones” cover ("Pet Sematary"). From 2007 to 2008, Bloody Mary continued to grow a fan-base with more shows in the UK, Italy and Germany. In spite of some changes in the line-up, Bloody Mary performed at Hellhounds Festival at Estragon (BO) in 2009 with “Tiamat” and “69 Eyes”, and at the Musicdrome, with “Deathstars” and “Sonic Syndicate”. In 2010 Bloody Mary signed with Valery Records to release the album “Party Music For Graveyards”, which showed a huge evolution in their sound and was acclaimed by European press (“Zillo”, “Kerrang”, “Sonic Seducer”, “Orkus”, “Metal Hammer Germany & UK”). More concerts followed on in 2011-2012, in England, Germany (Berlin), and Italy; and a 2012 tour as supporting act for “Tiamat” and “69 Eyes”. In 2013 Bloody Mary recorded the third album: “Anno Zero” (2014, Valery Records), which tells about a hypothetical war happening in the near present, leading to a diesel-punk future where armies fight to conquer a desperate world. “Anno Zero” has 10 tracks, all sung in English. The music shows Bloody Mary’s deepest essence: “passion, blood, adrenaline, and an ironical view of life and society”; and has influences of their favourite bands and composers, such as “Fields of Nephilim”, “The Cure”, “Bauhaus”, “Joy Division”, “The Cult”, “HIM”, “Type O Negative”, “Anathema”, “The 69 Eyes”, “Orff”, and “Wagner”. But I think that fans of “The Sisters of Mercy”, “Klaus Nomi”, “Deine Lakeien”, “Blutengel”, “Danse Macabre”, “Virgin Black”, “Lacrimosa” (non-symphonic stuff), “Poisonblack”, and “Lord of the Lost” will also find Bloody Mary very enjoyable. The sound of Bloody Mary is solid, professional, and competent, with highlights for the voice of Aldebran (recalling “Type O Negative”, “Deine Lakeien”, “Blutengel”, “Lord of the Lost”). The initial tracks of “Anno Zero” lean to the most classic and swinging side of Gothic Rock, driven by 80’s rhythms on drums, pulsing bass, melancholic and ironic vocals, and heavy riffs alternating with delicate guitar harmonies. Songs such as “I Keep Pretending” (4:23), with an electronic base and rocky pulsing punch; “Crawling” (4:54), with different vocal types and a theatrical air; the post-punk “Chase the Nowhere” (3:31); and the hit “Frozen” (4:25), which hooks on the melodic “The 3rd Chance” (4:59), will be specially appealing to listeners connected to the dark sound of the UK Gothic nightclubs who love bands like “Joy Division”, “Bauhaus”, “Fields of Nephilim”, “The Cure”, “Sisters of Mercy”. But my favourite tracks of this album are: “Did You Let Me Down” (3:56), which is brilliant for taking a joyful vocal melody and reducing it to something dramatic and ironically by means of a second voice – the Gothic view that reminds us that things may be apparently well, but the shadows are ever near -; “Concrete Jungle” (2:34), the heaviest track, recalling the pragmatic and straightforward style of “Type O Negative”; “Judith” (4:47) – a gothic-love drama; and the very best “So Far Away” (5:53), a great Gothic song with impressive vocals, full of anguish, that grows gradually denser and heavier, as metal riffs come like thunders from the indistinct horizon (for fans of “Virgin Black”, “Deine Lakeien”, and “Lord of the Lost”). “Anno Zero” finishes with the vibrant “I Am Gonna Miss You?” (5:15) a track adorned with vocal samples and great guitar solo. Bloody Mary is presently promoting their new album around Europe and has shot their first video (for the track "Frozen"). Bloody Mary is highly recommended for lovers of graveyards & parties, Gothic Rock & Metal, in the style of bands like “Fields of Nephilim”, “The Cure”, “Bauhaus”, “Joy Division”, “The Cult”, “HIM”, “Type O' Negative”, “Anathema”, “The 69 Eyes”, “The Sisters of Mercy”, “Klaus Nomi”, “Deine Lakeien”, “Blutengel”, “Danse Macabre”, “Otto Dix”, “Virgin Black”, “Lacrimosa”, “Poisonblack”, “Lord of the Lost”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Bloody Mary are: Aldebran - Vocal Folds; LaMountain - Guitar; Dave – Guitar; Stranger - Bass; Jürgen – Drums. Past members: LaRouge – Bass (until 2007); Gavin G-Drone – Guitars (2008-2011). Written and Produced by Bloody Mary. Recorded, Mixed & Mastered at Twilight Studio; Published by Valery Records...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
11/26/2014......................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit BLOODY MARY HOME PAGE...
. ECHO US - "II:XII, a Priori Memoriaé"
Echo Us is back to PR&PM! Echo Us is an Electronic Music project conceived in 2000 by Ethan Matthews – a composer and producer working within both popular and experimental music since 1990 and an ex-member of Prog-band "Greyhaven". Living in Portland, Oregon since 2003, Ethan has been developing his own compositional technique, which is based on the combination of many musical genres receiving an Electronic/New-Age treatment through a “psychic connection with the outer world”. His first experiments resulted in the eponymous debut album “Echo Us” (2005). The second album, “The Tide Decides” (2009, Musea Records), was the beginning of a multi-album conceptual work that continued on “Tomorrow Will Tell The Story” (2012, Absolute Probability Recordings). All those albums were reviewed at PR&PM in 2005, 2009, and 2012, respectively. Echo Us has just released the fourth studio album, which completed the multi-album trilogy initiated on “The Tide Decides”. Entitled “II:XII, À Priori Memoriaé” (2014, Dust on the Tracks/SPV), the record features Ethan Matthews (vocals, synths, guitars) and guest musicians Henta (vocals), Raelyn Olson (concert harp), Chris Smith (flute, piccolo), and Christina Fitzgerald (oboe). “II:XII, À Priori Memoriaé” is the apex of Echo Us’ stylistic evolution. Echo Us has mastered a kind of “sound-sculpturing” style that is unconventional and unbounded, aggregating fragments of diverse kinds of immaterial and spiritual music: Electronic, Ambient, New-Age, Gregorian chant, Folk-Celtic, Renaissance, Neo-Classic, and Progressive. Echo Us makes use of delicate acoustic guitars, clean electric guitars, angelical harps, floating winds, classy piano with melancholy tones, metallic noises and assorted percussion reminiscent of World music to compose a musical patchwork sustained by an electronic-esoteric ambience. Vocals & voices are predominantly gentle and progressive (by Ethan) and mystic and New-Age/Celtic (by Henta), orbited by peaceful liturgical chants and choirs inspired on Gregorian and Sacred Music. All those sonic elements coexist harmonically, erecting dreamy halls full of divine light, transcendental beauty, and grandeur – inhabiting the same celestial spheres of “Tangerine Dream”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Jean Michel Jarre”, “Alan Parsons Project”, “Era”, “Enigma”, “Kitaro”, “Gregorian”, “Andreas Vollenweider”, “Vangelis”, “Yanni”, “Philip Glass”, “Enya”, and “Qntal”; with guitar & keyboards arrangements also recalling “Genesis” (with “Steve Hackett”), “Yes” (with “Steve Howe”), “David Gilmour”, “Gordon Giltrap”, “Clearlight”, “Sky”, “Gryphon”. “II:XII, À Priori Memoriaé” brings 11 tracks, most of which have been arranged in two main blocks, called “A Data” and “B Data”, separated by an interlude. “Vestige” (3.28) is the prelude that sounds like a preview of the new album – an eerie piece built of acoustic strings, pianos, celestial sounds and patches of Gregorian chants. “‘A’ DATA” begins with “i. Exordium (Apologue)” (11.06), driven by Ethan’s soft vocals amidst electronic rhythms, bass strings, and Gregorian/Sacred Music chants pinpointed by crystal-sounding guitars and fluidal pianos; and goes on with “ii. Solum vobis (Only You)” (3.32), which links the cosmic spheres with the earth below, mixing elements of Pop & World Music with a great Progressive guitar solo; enters the symphonic instrumental “iii. Inventionem memoriam (Chrysalis)” (2.41) (which has some influences of the classic sound of “Genesis”); and finishes with “iv. Residuum (Remainder)” (3.41) (with a guitar solo that recalls “Steve Howe”). The interlude consists of the beautiful Neo-Classical song “Nightlight” (4.22), driven by oboe, harp, and the fairish vocal duo Ethan & Henta; and the levitating “Memento” (1.44). “‘B’ DATA”, is spite of its religious and cosmic nature, is tightly arranged: regarding the fragmental compositional technique of Echo Us, it is also the easiest track to be grasped by the listener. It starts with “i. codicillus (From Far Away)” (9.52), rich in percussion, choirs, flutes, metals, and with stronger presence of clean electric/acoustic guitars (with extended Classic-Progressive solos that recalled me of “Yes”, “Gryphon”, “Giltrap”, “Sky”, and “Focus”); becomes relaxing on “ii. restituendo (Where We Dream To Go)” (4:53) (a New-Age song with female canticles that recalled me of “Enigma” and “Era”); and grows on the symphonic fabric of “iii. viseretque (We Always Knew)” (10.30), which unfolds in multiple textures and sounds (with highlights for guitar solos and the poignant pianos), finishing with the instrumental climax “iv. denique in perpetuum (Beyond the Blue Horizon)” (6.05), which will please fans of New-Age and Prog. The wonderful music of “II:XII, À Priori Memoriaé” causes deep relaxing effects on the listener, being surrounded by a permanent religious aura that enlightens the spirit. Echo Us stays highly recommendable for fans of Electronic, Ambient, New Age, and Soaring Progressive Music in general who love “Tangerine Dream”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Jean Michel Jarre”, “Era”, “Enigma”, “Kitaro”, “Gregorian”, “Andreas Vollenweider”, “Philip Glass”, “Vangelis”, “Yanni”, "Alan Parsons Project", “Changing Images”, “Enya”, “Qntal”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Yes” (“Steve Howe”), “Genesis” (“Steve Hackett”), “Gordon Giltrap”, “Clearlight”, “Sky”, “Rhythm of Mars”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Echo Us are: Ethan Matthews - Electric & Nylon String (Spanish) Guitar, Yamaha 'Silent' Guitar, Filtered Octave Guitar, Fog Horn, Synthesizers, Piano, Ashbory Bass, Percussion (forks, pirouette cookie containers, screwdriver), Harmonium, Glockenspiel, Programming/Sound Design, Lead, Background, and Resampled Vocalizations; Raelyn Olson - Concert Harp; Henta - Vocals; Chris Smith – Flute and Piccolo; Christina Fitzgerald - Oboe. Produced by Ethan Matthews...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
11/26/2014....................Want to learn everything about the musician and more about his history, go to ECHO US HOME PAGE...
. FOLKSTONE - "Damnati ad Metalla"
Folkstone is a Medieval Folk Rock & Metal outfit based in Bergamo, Italy. Folkstone was founded in 2004 by Lorenzo “Lore” Marchesi (lead vocals, compositions), as a project that would combine Hard Rock & Heavy Metal (represented by modern guitars, bass and drums) with ancient medieval instruments (such as bagpipes, bombards, harp, cittern, hurdy-gurdy, flutes). Folkstone consists today of a numerous line-up counting with: Lore (vocals, bombard, guitar, bouzouki), Matteo (pipes, hurdy-gurdy, rauschpf), Andrea (pipes, percussion, rauschpf), Maurizio (pipes, woodwinds, cittern), Roby (pipes, vocals, rauschpf), Silvia (harps), Federico (bass), Lucas (guitars), and Edo (drums). Folkstone performs regularly on stages and festivals in Italy and abroad, always captivating the audiences with their powerful and adrenaline-busted presentations and gathering fans around the world (even in Brazil, where the band has a Fan-club on Facebook). Folkstone has accumulated an important discography, including the full-length albums “FolkStone” (2008) and “Damnati ad Metalla” (2010) – both released under Fuel Records – which were followed later by “Sgangogatt” (2011, acoustic collection) and “Il Confine” (2012) – these two released under their label Folkstone Records. A new album, entitled “Oltre … L’Abisso”, is scheduled for release in 2014. Folkstone’s bombastic shows are also registered on a series of DVDs: “Feuertanz Festival 2010” (featuring three songs of Folkstone), “Respiro Avido” (2012, Promo DVD), and “Restano i Frammenti” (Live, 2012, Folkstone Records). The music of Folkstone irradiates powerful Pagan vibes and evokes medieval atmospheres, blending sonorities from the past with rocky themes of the present. Traditional Metal & Medieval Metal guitar riffs are combined with the sound of bagpipes, bombards and old kinds of wind instruments, driven by an energetic rhythm section that evokes the images of attacking cavalries, marching crusaders, and rustic inns, in which the soldiers could make a festive beer-drinking party, celebrating a life that could be too short. The lyrics are narrated by the unique Italian singing of Lore, whose powerful and deep voice sounds like that of a barbarian. The band’s influences come from iconic acts of the Folk-Rock and Folk-Metal scene, such as “In Extremo”, “Schelmish”, “Corvus Corax”, “Subway to Sally”, “Schandmaul”, “Tuatha de Danann”, “Elvenking”, “Omnia”, “Faun”, “Garmarna”, “Saltatio Mortis”, and “Turisas”; but brings, on the guitar riffs, a great influence of Metal bands like “Iron Maiden”, “Running Wild”, “Grave Digger”, “Blind Guardian”, and “Alestorm”. Folkstone’s album under focus herein is “Damnati ad Metalla” (2010, Fuel Records), which has 13 tracks. The instrumental “Ol Bal di Òss” (1:52) + the first song “Longobardia” (4:07) set the stage for a medieval drama full of thrilling adventures and heroic deeds. Straightforward songs will follow along the record, bringing in all the energy and stamina that represent Folkstone’s vision of the medieval peasant’s moto: life is short, so let us celebrate before it is too soon. The listener may bet that songs like the war-crying “Aufstand!” (3:48), the epic “Frerì” (04:33), the most festive “Un’Altra Volta Ancora” (03:57) (with male and female vocals dancing to the sound of teasing tin-whistle flutes) and “Nell’Alto Cadrò” (04:40) will make the audiences rock, twist, shout, and summon forces for a fight (or for a drink), being obligatory on Folkstone’s gigs. But the tracks that I liked much are those containing heavier doses of Metallic guitar riffs, combined with bagpipes and flutes, more adventurous choirs, and a higher Epic Metal content, such as “Anime Dannate” (04:51) (driven by sticky chorus and ghostly female vocals) and “Senza Certezze” (04:33), both of which have fast and hovering guitar riffs that recalled me of “Iron Maiden” and “Running Wild” (but only if those bands had bagpipes!). Better still are the traditional “Luppulus in Fabula” (04:42), an instrumental piece featuring Scottish bagpipes and Davul drumming; “Terra Santa” (04:00), a song that begins with acoustic guitars but that immediately turns heavier, bringing pounding riffs, wild male vocals and female backing vocals in Turkish style; and the epic “Vortici Scuri” (03:48), which combines strings and vengeful galloping paces. The album finishes with other two great songs: “Vanità di Vanità” (03:26) (an amazing cover of “Angelo Branduardi”, played on Folk-Metal style); and “Rocce Nere” (02:07), a medieval liturgical choir. Folkstone’s “Damnati ad Metalla” is a great album in the Folk-Metal style, being highly recommended for fans of bands such as “In Extremo”, “Schelmish”, “Corvus Corax”, “Omnia”, “Subway to Sally”, “Schandmaul”, “Tuatha de Danann”, “Elvenking”, “Faun”, “Garmarna”, “Saltatio Mortis”, “Turisas”, “Running Wild”, “Grave Digger”, “Blind Guardian”, “Alestorm”, “Spellblast”, “Korpiklaani”, “Ensiferum”, “Arkona”, “Eluveitie”, “Finntroll”, “Fejd”, “Skiltron”, “Triddana”, and others of their kind. Band members and collaborators involved in Folkstone are: Lorenzo Marchesi (Lore) - Vocals, Bombard, Guitar, Bouzouki; Matteo - Pipes, Hurdy Gurdy, Rauschpf, Backing Vocals; Andrea - Pipes, Percussions, Rauschpf; Roby - Pipes, Vocals, Rauschpf; Maurizio - Pipes, Woodwinds, Cittern; Silvia - Harps; Federico – Bass; Lucas - Guitars, Backing Vocals - Edo – Drums. Ex-members that played on “Damnati ad Metalla”: Ferro – Bass; Fore – Drums; Clara – Harp. Guest Musicians: Daniele Paolati – Davul (“Luppulus in Favola”); Giovanni Guerini – Baritone (“Anime Dannate”); Veronika Kralova – Soprano (“Anime Dannate”); Maurizion Cardullo – Tin Whistle (“Un’altra Volta Ancora”); Coro “Le Due Valli” – Additional choirs. Engineered, Recorded & Mixed by Yonatan Rukhman (Solid Groove/PR Studio, Bergamo, Italy); Mastered by Dragan Tanashovic (Bohus Sound, Gotebörg, Sweden); Illustrations & Artwork by Jacopo Berlendis; Produced by Yonatan Rukhman & Lorenzo Marchesi; Executive Production by Fuel Records & Folkstone...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
11/26/2014..............................More information about the band? Better check it out for yourself at: FOLKSTONE  HOME PAGE...
. THE MERLIN BIRD - "Chapter and Verse"
The Merlin Bird is a fantastic Progressive Rock band based in Melbourne, Australia. The Merlin Bird has been founded by the duo Geoff Dawes (vocals, keyboards, guitars) and Dan Moloney (drums, percussion), who are the core musicians of a line-up that presently features Shakira Searle (vocals), Dave O'Toole (guitar), and Dylan Stevenson (bass and vocals). Other guest musicians also contribute to the band, on recordings and on their unique live performances, which combine juggling, masks, and story-telling. The Merlin Bird’s debut EP, titled “Reason and Rhyme” (2003), has been praised by the specialized press as an original, wonderful and must-have item. The Merlin Bird has just released a second independent CD, the full-length album titled “Chapter and Verse” (2014). The music on the album is so nice and wonderful that will make any orthodox prog-head to levitate to the ceiling. The Merlin Bird play an original brand of Symphonic Progressive Rock that combines generous portions of Classical, Middle-Eastern, and Celtic Folk music coupled with esoteric lyrics. The multi-layered arrangements sprout out from the perfect interaction between two main musical components: the first is the rich Progressive instrumentation, abundant in pianos, classical guitars, melodic bass, and soft orchestral percussion; the other is the awesome polyphonic singing delivered by tuneful male and female voices that cover different styles, going from medieval times to modern Broadway. The synergetic effect that those two components produce when being together result in a charming combination of Sacred Music and Medieval & Renaissance Music with British-styled Progressive Rock, surrounded by “One Thousand and One Nights”-like atmospheres, and Fairish auras, that are The Merlin Bird’s trademark. Although the band describe their sound as “‘Jethro Tull’ meeting a bad-tempered ‘Enya’ in an Irish pub owned by ‘Genesis’, but full of people arguing about ‘Pink Floyd’, as sung by three classically trained singers who have ended up in a rock band that listens to ‘King Crimson’”; I found their music to be reminiscent of a broad mix of names, including scholar composers such as “Thomas Tallis”, “Josquin des Prez”, “Henry Purcell”; groups of Medieval & Folk music like “Steeleye Span”, “Estampie”, “Mediaeval Baebes”; and a number of rock acts with a penchant for elaborated female-fronted vocals, mixed harmony vocals, or operatic vocals inserted in a symphonic frame, such as “Kate Bush”, “Lana Lane”, “Tarja Turunen”, “Queen”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Renaissance”, “The Morrigan”, “Pictorial Wand”, “Roswell Six”, “Barock Project”, “Adventure”, “Narrow Pass”, “Clive Nolan” (projects “Caamora”, “Strangers on a Train”, “Alchemy”), “Pär Lindh”, “M.A.V.”; also having the epic Neo-Prog touch of “Pendragon” and “Twelfth Night”, and an Oriental glare inspired on “Dead Can Dance”. Some Metal bands (e.g. “Ayreon” & “Star One”, “Within Temptation”, “Nightwish”, “Edenbridge”, “Therion”, “Epica”, “Deva”, “The Flaming Row”), if deployed from their heavy coating and dark-Gothic mood, are serve well as references. “Chapter and Verse” has 13 tracks. The prologue “To The Unknown God” (4:12) is a vivid song driven by soulful vocal lines and a dynamic instrumental base that aims, quite successfully, to get the listener stuck to the album. The title track, “Chapter and Verse” (2:56), completes the task, defeating any resistance with marvelous female vocal duos and superb pianos. The sequence “Chapter 3” (0:17) (Arabian instrumental) + “Words Across The Sky” (1:14) (Sacred Music sung in Latin and English, recalling “Steeleye Span”) + “In Dreams Of Egypt” (1:23) (a Neo-Folk instrumental piece) show how The Merlin Bird can go from Sacred to Profane in a question of seconds, and prepare the listener for the next. “Of Night And Day” (4:59) retrocedes to the Renaissance epoch, bringing in harpsichords and beautiful female vocals on the forefront, supported by soaring male and female backing vocals. But the brilliance and grandiosity of The Merlin Bird’s music are better appreciated on tracks like “The Word That Was” (3:30), an eerie instrumental piece akin the most atmospheric moments of “Genesis”, which introduces “The Turning” (5:20) - a powerful Symphonic Prog-Rock of British affinities led by male vocals and backed by female vocals, having a thrilling instrumental sequence (think of “Wakeman”, “Clive Nolan”, and “Renaissance’s” album “Scheherazade” to grasp the idea); and still on “Backburner” (6:52) – another authentic Prog-Rock that combines ancient Crusades chanting, adventurous themes on guitar and keyboards, precise male/female vocal duos, magnificent piano passages, narrations, and epic Medieval choirs, recalling successively “Josquin”, “Genesis”, “Wakeman”, “M.A.V.”, and “Ayreon”. Surprises are reserved on “Truth's a Lady” (3:09), which blends playful Cabaret music (influenced by “Queen”) with Gregorian chants. Mostly soaring are: the fairish Celtic-ballad “Unto Rome” (4:17) and the introspective “Another Story Told” (7:17) – driven by poignant vocals, grand pianos, echoing guitars, and bombastic orchestral percussion (tubular bells and timpani); fading into the promising “To Be Continued…?” (1:24). All those words were not enough to describe the beauty and power of The Merlin Bird: a superb and must-have band tailored for fans of Polyphonic Singing, Fantasy Music, Medieval & Renaissance Music, British Progressive Rock, or anything with elaborated vocals, from “Thomas Tallis”, “Josquin des Prez” and “Henry Purcell” to “Steeleye Span”, “Estampie”, “Mediaeval Baebes”, “Kate Bush”, “Lana Lane”, “Tarja”, “Dead Can Dance”, “Queen”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Renaissance”, “The Morrigan”, “Pictorial Wand”, “Pär Lindh”, “Roswell Six”, “Barock Project”, “Adventure”, “Narrow Pass”, “Clive Nolan”, “Caamora”, “Strangers on a Train”, “Alchemy”, “M.A.V.”, “Twelfth Night”, “Pendragon”, “Ayreon”, “Star One”, “Edenbridge”, “Nightwish”, “Within Temptation”, “Therion”, “Epica”, “Deva”, “The Flaming Row”, “Gentle Giant”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in The Merlin Bird are: Geoff Dawes – Vocals, Keyboards, Guitar, Lyrics; Daniel Moloney – Drums, Percussion; Shakira Searle – Divine Vocals; Dave O'Toole – Electric & Acoustic Guitars; Dylan Stevenson – Bass & Many Vocals. Additional Musicians: Trevor Carter – Electric Guitar; Ross Kroger – Bass; Beck Sian Robson – Vocals; Teleri Holton – Vocals; Jessica Nabb – Magical Vocals. Former Member: Mark Kral – Bass. Unofficial Member: Beck Sian Robson – female vocals on the “Reason and Rhyme” EP. Album Engineered & Produced by Trevor Carter (Studio 52) & Paul Strahan (Strahany’s Sound Studio); Co-produced by Dave O’Toole & The Merlin Bird...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
11/26/2014..........................Want to learn everything about the musician and his history, go to THE MERLIN BIRD HOME PAGE...
. THE “D” PROJECT - "Making Sense"
The “D” Project is back to PR&PM! The “D” Project is a Canadian Progressive Rock band that features Stéphane Desbiens (vocals, guitars), Mathieu Gosselin (bass), Jean Gosselin (drums), and Isabelle Cormier (violon). Band leader Stéphane Desbiens (who is also known for having been the founder of Progressive band “Sense”) is a multi-influenced musician and an outstanding guitar player who covers from Blues and Hard Rock to Jazz and Classical Music. The “D” Project is his vehicle to propose a very personal and alternative view of Progressive Rock Music. The first album, “Shimmering Lights” (2006, Ozéta Productions), had participation of important musicians of the Progressive scene, such as “Tomas Bodin” (“Flower Kings”), “Martin Orford” (“IQ”), and “Fred Schendel” (“Glass Hammer”). On the second album, “The Sagarmatha Dilemma” (2008, Ozéta Productions), Desbiens amplified his musical horizons and began a partnership with producer and lyricist Francis Foy. “Sagarmatha…” also had participation of guest musicians - “Stu Nicholson” (“Galahad”), “Brett Kull” (“Echolyn”), “Derek Sherinian” (ex-“Dream Theatre”, “Planet X”), and “John Green” (“Singularity”) - and in July 2008 it was featured here at PR&PM as “Album of the Month”. “Sagarmatha…” was followed by the praised album titled “Big Face” (2011), which was supported by musicians such as “Tony Levin” and “Lalle Larsson”. Three years passed by until the release of The “D” Project’s fourth studio album, titled “Making Sense” (May 2014, Ozéta Productions). Desbiens and Foy worked together again to create 8 inspired songs that were enriched by special guests: Sean Filkins (ex-“Big Big Train”), Claude Leonetti (“Lazuli”), and Guillaume Fontaine (“Nemo”); leaving the mastering process in charge of Andy Jackson (of “Pink Floyd” hall of fame). As suggested by its title, “Making Sense” represents a trip back to Desbiens' “Sense” epoch. At the same time, it aims to stretch his Progressive horizon to unexpected territories. In fact, on this new album, Desbiens has opted for following a more down-to-earth trend on a few tracks, favoring a Hard-Prog style in disfavor of the trippy attitude that was in guidance of the previous albums. The music, however, is still reminiscent of many Classic Prog-Rock groups (e.g. “Pink Floyd”, “Kansas”, “Genesis”, “Camel”, “Curved Air”); and now incorporates more vivid colors, also recalling bands like “Van der Graaf Generator”, “King Crimson”, “Triumph”, “Dixie Dregs”, “Neal Morse”, “Transatlantic”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “RPWL”, “Sylvan”, “Silhouette”, and others. This change of mood is especially sensed on the opening track “Rearview Mirror” (5:24), on which the once transcendental and uplifting vibes of “D” were replaced by heavier riffs with metallic-textures and feelings of anger, melancholy and frustration. Creepy melodies amble around psychedelic soundscapes, as sporadic moments of relief come in the form of floating saxophones and backing choirs, reuniting, under the same flag, “Floyd’s” modernity, “Riverside’s” anguish, “Sylvan’s” contrasting phases, and “VdGG’s” brilliance. Still more alien and experimental is “What Is Real” (5:25), which uses electronic beats, contagious rhythms, heavy guitars, and violin sounds to compose a modern song that has parts of “RPWL” and “Curved Air”. To equilibrate that stormy attitude, the album brings two exemplary Prog-ballads that follow “D’s” original recipe, and will make the pleasure of his old fans: “Making Sense” (5:16) is propelled by the interaction between acoustic guitars, soaring organs, and amazing sax, having a melancholic touch of “Floyd” and “Roger Waters” (remember “The Wall” album), finishing with outstanding guitar solo; while “Missing Star” (7:38) is driven by pianos, symphonic strings and keyboards, featuring Filkins’ introspective vocals surrounded by angelical choirs, guiding the song to a divine climax with beautiful solos of guitar and sax! But if technical prowess is on demand, it will show off on the awesome tracks “Nothing Here Is Innocent” (5:28) and “Spanish Castle” (3:24) (instrumental), both having tightly interlocked instrumentation containing jamming bass and drums, jazzy drives, and potent organs and guitars, recalling a mix of “Genesis”, “Kansas”, “King Crimson”, “Transatlantic”, “Neal Morse”, “Dixie Dregs”, and “Paco de Lucía”! “Dagger” (3:49) is a popish 80’s Neo-Prog song that precedes “Out of Range/Out of Line” (9:34), a Progressive opus that closes this album magnificently, conveyed on joyful layers of acoustic guitars, female choirs, and pastoral and celebrative flutes (like “Genesis”, “Camel”, “Jethro Tull”); switching to an instrumental sequence full of malevolent bass, vibrant guitars, baroque keyboards, and complicated drumming, and having the last third dominated by a classic guitar solo. With “Making Sense”, The “D” Project brought us more of their extraordinary Progressive music, attesting their status of indispensable item for fans of “Pink Floyd”, “Kansas”, “Genesis”, “Camel”, “VdGG”, “Triumph”, “Dixie Dregs”, “Spock’s Beard”, “Neal Morse”, “Transatlantic”, “RPWL”, “Riverside”, “Sylvan”, “Silhouette”, “Tiles”, “Big Big Train”, “Flower Kings”, “Karmakanic”, “Agents of Mercy”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in The “D” Project are: Stéphane Desbiens - Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards, Music; Mathieu Gosselin - Bass, Rickenbacker Bass, Backing Vocals; Jean Gosselin – Drums; Isabelle Cormier - Violon. Lyrics by Francis Foy. Special guests: Sean Filkins (ex-“Big Big Train”) – Vocals; Claude LeonettiLazuli”) – Léode; Guillaume FontaineNemo”) – Keyboards; Giovani Orteaga – Saxophone; Kathleen Webster – Backing Vocals; Marie Noel Harvey – Violons; Marie Pier Gagné – Cello; Sylvain Laberge – Flute; Francis Foy – Backing Vocals; Jean Étienne Colli Marcoux – Percussion; Francois Bérubé – Backing Vocals. Recorded & Mixed by Stéphane Desbiens at Studio de la Rive, Québec, Canada (Nov. 2013 to Mar. 2014); Mastered by Andy Jackson at Tube Mastering (UK); Produced by Ozéta Productions & Francis Foy...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
11/26/2014.......,.....................Want to learn everything about the band and their history, go to THE “D” PROJECT HOME PAGE...
. A.c.o.D. - "Another Path..."
A.c.o.D. is a brutal Heavy-Metal band hailing from the French city of Marseille that was founded at the end of 2006 by Chris (guitars, compositions) and Fred (vocals, lyrics). The line-up stabilized in 2007, with the coming of Thierry (second vocalist), J.B (second guitarist), Jérome (bass), and Didier (drums). The band has performed more than 50 live concerts in France and released a first album, titled “Point Zero” (April, 2009), which received good reviews of the specialized press and encouraged the members of A.c.o.D. to go farther. The second album, “First Earth Poison” (2011, Axiis Music) followed on just two years later. A.c.o.D. is now promoting their new independent EP, titled “Another Path…” (2014). The sound is an upheaved and tormented mix of the most violent and aggressive branches of the Heavy Metal genre, namely Thrash, Death, Black, Extreme, and “really heavy” Traditional Metal. The convergence of those hellish trends resulted in a new and yet undefined style that A.c.o.D.’s members like to refer to as “Blended Metal”. “Another Path…” has 5 tracks. A.c.o.D.’s music includes a sonic and massive mass of distorted guitars that are played with extremely speed and violence, coupled with fatty whirlwind bass lines and thundering drumming. All is led by two vocalists that growl, grunt, shout, and spit fire from their throats with the ferocious attitude of a Goblin (sounding like a combination of “Sodom” and “Slayer”). The predominant heavy and vertiginous locomotive-pace is rarely interrupted, unless on few passages with slower guitars and melancholic- anguished vocals. The brutality of the music draws influences from bands like “Slayer”, “Death”, “Sodom”, “Tankard”, “Death Row”, “Assassin”, “Exhumer”, “Possessed”, “Venom”, “Killswitch Engage”, “Mudvayne”, “Slipknot”, “Exodus”, “Violence”, “Kreator”, “Destruction”, “Rigor Mortis”, “In Flames”, “Amon Amarth”, “Amorphis”, “Behemoth”, “Cradle of Filth”, “Dorsal Atlântica”, “Sarcófago”, “Sepultura”, “Krisiun”, “Korzus”, “Whiplash”, “Onslaught”, “Obituary”, “Morbid Angel”, “Napalm Death”, and many others like them. The album opens with two songs that make a great impact, causing on the listener the destructive effect of a nuclear warfare! “Another Path” (2:51) and “Black Wings” (5:04) are both pure dynamite, pouring down on the listener some thousands of tones of igneous molten metal – crude, violent and slaughtering. “Black Wings”, at least, has some guitar harmonies and rhythmic passages that recall the most elaborated works of “Iron Maiden” – thus being a good example for what A.c.o.D. calls “Blended Metal”. But without allowing the listener a single moment to take a breath, the band turns their total firepower against the disarmed ears on “Unleash The Fools” (4:14): a track that delivers paranoid and nervous guitar riffs, and avalanching bass and drums, which are suddenly interrupted by a middle part with soaring plucked guitars and melancholic vocals that reflect some perplexity about the craziness of the world. “Unleash …” is followed by the syncopated “Abuse Me” (3:14), which has a 90’s Metal oriented sound that recalled me of bands like “Slipknot”, “Mudvayne”, and “Killswitch Engage”, but interspersed by some slow Doom Metal riffs. The EP finishes with “Words of War” (5:14), another excellent example of the “Blended Metal” style, which delivers machine-gun velocity on drums, double-wrath vocal attack, sonic-buzzing guitars and dazzling bass in an frantic orgy of Metallic rage and destructive invasion, with surprising slowing-down moments driven by melancholic vocals, or atmospheric parts that are reminiscent of early “Opeth”; ending with power-metal epic riffs that fade into the red-blood horizon. Although being too much extreme for the regular visitors of this webzine, A.c.o.D. will find a fan- base among appreciators of extremely violent and crude Metal, Norwegian Black-Metal, German Thrash, old school Death Metal, and Brazilian Thrash & Death. A.c.o.D. is specially recommended for fans of “Slayer”, “Death”, “Sodom”, “Tankard”, “Death Row”, “Assassin”, “Possessed”, “Venom”, “Exhumer”, “Sacred Reich”, “Exodus”, “Violence”, “Kreator”, “Destruction”, “Rigor Mortis”, “In Flames”, “Amon Amarth”, “Behemoth”, “Cradle of Filth”, “Dorsal Atlântica”, “Sarcófago”, “Sepultura”, “Krisiun”, “Korzus”, “Whiplash”, “Onslaught”, “Obituary”, “Morbid Angel”, “Napalm Death”, “Celtic Frost”, “Emperor”, “Enthroned”, “Amorphis”, “Angel Dust”, “Dark Angel”, “Sacrilege”, “Bathory”, “Carcass”, “Burzum”, “Mudvayne”, “Slipknot”, “Killswitch Engage”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in A.c.o.D. are: Fred - Vocals, Lyrics; Thierry - Second Vocalist); Chris - Guitars, Compositions; J.B – Guitars; Jérome – Bass; Didier - Drums. Produced by Shawter at the Eagle Black Studio. Mixed & Mastered by Damien Rainaud at the Darth Mader Studio... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
12/31/2014................................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit  A.C.O.D. HOME PAGE...
. IAN PELLOW - "Fruit Allures"
Ian Pellow is a multi-instrumentalist musician and composer. He was born in Montreal, has lived in Ottawa, Toronto, and Belgium, and now lives in the beautiful Highlands of Scotland. Ian Pellow has been playing music since his early childhood, and is pretty skilled with guitars, keyboards, drums, and some wind instruments (flutes and sax). However, his favorite instrument is the fretless bass, which he maneuvers as a professional, having total dominion over it. Ian Pellow has accumulated a small and obscured independent discography consisting of the albums “Marti Who?” (2004), “Fruit Allures” (2006), and “Kynky Slinky” (2012). On “Fruit Allures” – the album on focus here - Ian Pellow combines the seminal Jazz-Fusion and Prog-Fusion sounds typical of the 70’s, having as main influences “Frank Zappa”, “Jaco Pastorius”, and early “Chicago” (with “Terry Kath” and “Peter Cetera”), but adding elements that will sometimes also recall other acts such as “Kansas”, “Weather Report”, “The Dregs”, “Traffic”, “Allan Holdsworth”, “Bill Bruford”, “Return to Forever”, and “Steely Dan”. Ian Pellow’s music is melodic and vivid. The compositions are very dynamic, arranged in sophisticated and elaborated harmonies. The predominant fretless bass lines are outstanding and flow freely, engaging into a permanent instrumental interplay with soaring Fusion-sounding guitars and vigorous mildly-gritty organs, sometimes ornamented with warm saxophones and Prog flutes, and embellished with synths that sound with the smooth and polished textures of 70’s Fusion. The groove is an important ingredient on Ian Pellow’s sauce, being added in generous doses to spice and thicken the mix of condiments that make his music really smelling and mouth-watery. “Fruit Allures” contains 11 recipe-tracks, offering a complete and varied menu of appetizers, antipasti, main dish, and smooth sorbets belonging to the Instrumental Progressive-Fusion cuisine, all prepared by “le chef” Pellow, who works alone. I should start my meal ordering the light and lively “salads” “Lettuce Prey” (5:14), with a swinging American olive-oil on it (recalling “Chicago”, “The Dregs”, and even “Steely Dan”); and the playful “Salad Days” (4:30) with rasps of solos of organ and guitar; finishing with the romantic “Fondue You” (6:27) – a soft-melted piece driven by soaring Fusion guitar emanating cool-jazzy sophisticated vapors, having a special  “Pastorius”-styled bass solo as a toppling. My main dish would be composed of tracks containing energetic fats, groovy-gravy beats and peppered instrumental garnishments that could really give sustenance, such as the caloric “Pasta Sell by Date” (4:12) which opens the album with a 70’s atmosphere and has a sound of organ that recalled me of “Kansas”; and “Give Pizza Chance” (3:20), a rocky track having guitars with the flavor of “Chicago’s Terry Kath” and saxophones. The next order would combine a hard-boiled “Energet Egg” (6:46) (having a fervent super groovy/psychedelic yolk and two basses within a Hard-Rock eggshell, recalling “Zappa”) with “Summer Bries” (7:50) - driven by addicting bass and drums splayed on great Prog-Fusion arrangements and having intense solo exchange between the guitar and bass. Still hunger for more of this excellent musical-food, I should certainly order the stewed “Cello con Carne” (5:28) – the only whole symphonic Progressive piece of the album, having pastoral flutes, majestic andantes and imposing orchestrations, smelling airs of a sensitive soundtrack – with the accompaniment of potatoes and one “(The) Sheep Shag Truffle” (5:12) – which offers a well-defined theme on guitars that is interspersed with Hard-Prog moments, covered with crispy melodies coming from the bass (like joining “Pastorius”, “Weather Report”, and “Allan Holdsworth”), all softly scented with the subtle flute and sax of a “Quantum Leek” (4:48). Finally, for dessert, the extra-delicious title track “Fruit Allures” (4:58) – a complete Fruit-Fusion-salad offering balanced moments of delicate tunes and sturdy rampages, covered with groovy, and sticky, honey syrup. Ian Pellow really has surprised me: give this guy a band of top-quality musicians and a big kitchen, and you will witness the meteoric ascension of his career – either in music or in cooking. “Fruit Allures” is an edible and easily-digestible CD, a pearl of tasteful Progressive-Fusion Music that will enlist Ian Pellow among the preferences of many fans of “Frank Zappa”, “Jaco Pastorius”, “Chicago”, “Kansas”, “Weather Report”, “Traffic”, “The Dregs”, “Allan Holdsworth”, “Bill Bruford”, “Return to Forever”, “Steely Dan”, and so on, to whom Ian Pellow is really highly recommendable. Band members and collaborators involved in In Pellow are: Ian Pellow – Fretless Bass, Guitars, Keyboards, Saxophones, Flutes, Drums, and what more. Composed, performed and produced by Ian Pellow at ZapKath Studio, Scotland... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
12/31/2014..........................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit IAN PELLOW HOME PAGE...
. HELLCIRCLES - "Prelude to Decline"
HellCircles are a Metal quintet from Cremona, Italy. The group was founded in 2008 by Marco Parisi (vocals, keyboards) and Roberto Fornaroli (guitar), who were soon joined by Fabio Pedrali (guitar), Davide Ravara (drums), and later by Danilo Arisi (bass). In 2009, HellCircles released the demo “Stillness”, a 5-track EP recorded at New Sin Studio, in Treviso, which had positive reception on specialized webzines and magazines, being elected "demo of the month" on some of them (“Metal Maniac”, “Rock Hard”, “Metal Demons”). Some songs of "Stillness" were featured on radio programs, including the "Friday Rock Show" of Radio BBC6, conducted by “Bruce Dickinson” (“Iron Maiden”), or were included on compilations ("Metal Sampler Vol. 1" by the Argentinian label Highlights Records; "Kill City Vol. 20" by the American 272 Records; and "WorldDEMOns 2009" by the Italian webzine “Metal Demons”). A line-up change occurred when guitarist Fabio Pedrali left the band and was replaced by the talented Francesco Ravara. Meanwhile, HellCircles played live intensely, sometimes sharing the stage with “Uli Jon Roth”, “Elvenking”, “Strana Officina”, “Killing Touch”, “Elektradrive”, and “Node”; or taking part in the 21° and 22° editions of Cremona's Motorock festival (privileged by bands “Saxon”, “Riot”, “Virgin Steele”, “Rage”, “UDO”, “Primal Fear”, “Edguy”). In 2010 HellCircles signed with the English label Rising Records to release an album, but due to financial problems, the label ceased activities in 2013. A new contract was signed with Italian label Valery Records and HellCircles could finally release their first full-length album, titled “Prelude To Decline” (April 22, 2014, Valery Records). The album has excellent production and features guest singer Ralf Scheepers (“Primal Fear”) on one track. “Prelude to Decline” has 10 tracks and showcases a professional band owner of great technical ability and melodic quality. In spite of being Italian, HellCircles sounds like most of the Scandinavian and German Power Metal bands, such as “Nocturnal Rites”, “Sinergy” (without the voice of “Kimberly Goss”), “Evergrey”, “Morifade”, “Astral Doors”, “Dream Evil”, “Primal Fear”, “Iron Savior”, “Vanden Plas”, and “Scorpions” (on the ballads), and also recalled me of the USA bands “Helstar” and “Seven Witches”. A few tracks (namely, “Take Or Give Up”, “Turn Back Time”, “The Damaged Done”, and “Release Your Pride”) have minor parts with growling/grunting vocals, approaching the sound of bands like “Children of Bodom” and “Dark Tranquillity”. Personally, I found that type of vocals totally unnecessary for this band, but their presence neither compromises, nor diminishes the destructive (positively speaking) effect caused by HellCircles! Overall, the music is consistent, compact, pounding, and vigorous, ushered by the double-attack of awesome guitars texturized like true “metal-guitars” (not low-tuned) that emanate elaborated riffs and speed-of-light solos, being coupled with daggering keyboards. The rhythmic base is powerful and vertiginous, made of power-plant drumming and devouring bass lines that hit the listener with savage attitude. The sound is tightly packed in pounds of concentrated iron-steeled amalgam and topped by great vocals – aggressive, melodic, and including high-pitched screams. “Prelude to Decline” opens with the symphonic intro “Stillness” (1:33), followed by “Let Us Unite” (4:22) – a vertiginous song that fustigates the listener like an F-5 hurricane. The heaviest songs are “Take Or Give Up” (6:10), which alternates cadenced and accelerated parts, featuring killing guitar solos, frantic synths, and machine-gun drumming; and “The Damage Done” (5:45) (a reference to “Dark Tranquillity’s album?), which delivers with warp speed some stormy riffs and merciless solos that bring whirlwinds into your mind, like a blend of “Primal Fear”, “Helstar”, and “Space Odyssey”, but with a brutality that also resembles “Dark Tranquillity”! A few songs are less violent, such as the standard Power-Metal “Turn Back Time” (4:50); the epic “Rise Again” (5:11), which is notable for the emotional vocals and for the shredded guitar solo; and the soulful “Like A Hero” (6:12), a really outstanding Metal ballad. The most technical moments appear on the final tracks, which lean a bit to the Progressive Power-Metal style. The melodic “Our Drawing” (5:46), with Ralf Sheepers, has complex riffs distributed over several changes of tempo, beautiful classical pianos and harmony guitars, and surprising jazzy and neo-classical instrumental interludes. The title track, “Prelude To Decline” (1:49), is a Medieval piece that announces the epic closing track “Release Your Pride” (6:54), which combines Prog-Metal and Power-Metal instrumentation with different kinds of vocals, and dares to enter the terrains of bands like “Vanden Plas” and “Children of Bodom”. HellCircles were for me a great surprise: their album is awesome from beginning to the end – breathtaking, destroying and seizing! A promising band in the Power-Prog Metal style, HellCircles are highly recommendable for fans of “Nocturnal Rites”, “Sinergy”, “Evergrey”, “Astral Doors”, “Morifade”, “Primal Fear”, “Dream Evil”, “Helstar”, “Seven Witches”, “Iron Savior”, “Masterplan”, “Vanden Plas”, “Alexi Laiho”, and also “Children of Bodom” and “Dark Tranquillity”. Band members and collaborators involved in Hellcircles are: Marco Parisi - Vocals & Keyboards; Roberto Fornaroli - Guitar & Vocals; Francesco Ravara - Guitar; Danilo Arisi - Bass; Davide Ravara - Drums. Guest singer: Ralf ScheepersPrimal Fear”) on "Our Drawing". Ex-member: Fabio Pedrali – Guitar. Album Recorded at Domination Studio and Fear Studio, except vocals recorded at MP Studio; Mixed & Mastered by Simone Mularoni at Domination Studio; Produced by Valery Records. Also visit HellCircles at MySpace and Youtube... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
12/31/2014........................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit HELLCIRCLES HOME PAGE...
. SVET KANT - "Loneliness"
Svet Kant is an Experimental Metal band founded in 2011 by guitarist and vocalist Santiago Kodela, an Argentinean musician of Slovenian descent. After leaving the Thrash Metal band called “Malicia”, Santiago Kodela felt that it was time to devote more time and energy to his parallel project, one on which he would try to reach new musical horizons within the Metal genre. He named the project Svet Kant – which is the Slovenian translation for “Holy Failure” – meaning that without failure there is no learning, and without learning there is no inner growing. Kodela began to search musicians to help him to record Svet Kant’s debut album: “Loneliness”. “Malicia’s” drummer was the first to step in, but after the first week of recording, he decided to leave the project due to lack of time. Kodela then met producer Ramiro Pacheco from Muzic Records, who offered all his help. Finally, session drummer Santiago Sauza contributed on the recording, and bassist Federico Gervan (who played in another band) performed on all tracks and was credit as a guest musician. “Loneliness” was finally released in 2013. The music is a blend of different styles of Metal, from Black, Death and Thrash to Folk-Metal, Prog-Metal and Ambient Metal, influenced by Kodela’s favorite bands: “Gojira”, “Meshuggah”, “Decapitated”, “Dream Theater”, “Alice in Chains”, “Pantera”, “Megadeth”, “Between the Buried and Me”, and “Animals as Leaders”. By my experience, I found the sonority of Svet Kant also to resemble other brutal Metal acts, such as “To Mera”, “Agalloch”, “Bathory”, “Sodom”, “Vintersorg”, “Soilwork”, “Paradise Lost”, “Anathema”, “Amorphis”, “Katatonia”, “Mastodon”, “Opeth”, “At the Gates”, “Napalm Death”, “Sabbath”, “Sepultura”, “Voivod”, “Sólstafir”, “Panopticon”, “Vagrond”, “Blóôtrú”, and “Aversion to Mankind”. Svet Kant is a true experimental act. To the regular Metal influences, they add different elements taken from Classical, Jazz, and Funk to create a unique style. The instrumental parts alternate crude and brutal straightforward Heavy-Metal playing with moments of Prog-Metal complexity, reflecting different degrees of technical difficulty, that are constantly opposed and counterbalanced by beautiful passages of classic acoustic guitars. Those sublime acoustic moments are strategically placed on each song, coming either as relaxing intros or as unexpected interludes that break up the violence of the music. The vocals capture the essence of the lyrics (in English) and correspond to the different emotions and moods that Kodela’s was wanting to transmit to the listener: the aggressive and tormented sections are underlined by angry growling vocals; the most ambient, folk and atmospheric parts are delivered by a kind of ghostly backing choir, sacred, epic and medieval. Those choirs act as musical hallmarks, preceding guitar solos, indicating changes of rhythm and tempo, or strengthening the acoustic parts, marking the changes of mood. Those backing choirs are an interesting characteristic of Svet Kant that may be further explored – I am sure that Kodela was expecting the choirs to sound more impacting, like a Gregorian chant or a somber Gothic choir, but better sonic results may have been hindered by difficulties on the production phase. "Loneliness" features 8 long tracks, all with the peculiar style of Svet Kant. The instrumental intro “The Peace Within Loneliness” (4:11) is an acoustic guitar classical piece with nostalgic feeling. The stillness is soon disturbed by the brutality of “The Radical Cleansing” (9:05) – a dense and crude song delivered with machine-gun drumming, recalling the thundering sound of “Bathory”, “Napalm Death”, “Sodom”, “Death”, that finishes with a funky swing on the last bass and guitars. “An Infinite Curse” (9:10) is still more violent and hellish, driven by jackhammer drumming,  horse-riding guitars, and vomited vocals, soothed down by ambient sounds that emanate from the gentle plucking of the acoustic guitars. The best sequence has “Delivering Beasts” (11:00), full of experimental guitar riffs and avalanching drumming that converge to a groovy-fusion final sequence that comes as an element of surprise; “This Redundant Humanity” (8:02), which makes use of ultra-fast drumming to convey a series of complex Prog-Metal riffs and interesting guitar solos, being interspersed by the most progressive and classical acoustic moments of the album; and “To Demonize The Unknown” (10:58), with addicting thrashing riffs, brutal parts like “Sepultura”, and some psychedelic-thrashing moments like “Voivod”, crowned with a sensitive guitar solo that opposes melancholy to all fury that pervades this song. “Smothered By This Race” (10:38) begins with a guitar solo full of drama and anguish, and turns later into the Apocalypse, with the four horsemen running upon you! And “Nature's Hatred” (9:57) completes the task, bringing in the total Armageddon! Svet Kant has recently moved the base for Dublin, Ireland, with support of Power bacK Productions, and Santiago Kodela is now leading a new line-up with Liam Molloy (guitars), Paul Cassidy (bass), and Romain Volto (drums). Due to their extreme brutality, Svet Kant may not gather fans among the habitués from this webzine, but I hope that their effort will be paid off in the future, for Svet Kant has an original style and great potential to grow, and should be checked out by fans of “Gojira”, “Meshuggah”, “Decapitated”, “To Mera”, “Agalloch”, “Bathory”, “Sodom”, “Vintersorg”, “Soilwork”, “Paradise Lost”, “Anathema”, “Amorphis”, “Katatonia”, “Opeth”, “Mastodon”, “At the Gates”, “Napalm Death”, “Sabbath”, “Sepultura”, “Voivod”, “Panopticon”, “Sólstafir”, “Vagrond”, “Blóôtrú”, “Aversion to Mankind”, and others of their kind. Band members and collaborators involved in Svet Kant are: Credits for "Loneliness": Santiago Kodela - Guitars, Vocals; Santiago Sauza - Drums (session appearance); Federico Gervan - Bass (guest appearance). Produced by Santiago Kodela & Ramiro Pacheco at Muzic Records Studios, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2012. Svet Kant’s Present line-up: Santiago Kodela - Vocals, Guitars; Liam Molloy - Guitars; Paul Cassidy - Bass; Romain Volto - Drums... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
12/31/2014.............................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit SVET KANT HOME PAGE...
. X-TERRA - "X-Nihilo"
X-Terra is back to PR&PM once more! X-Terra is a White-Metal & Rock trio from Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. The band was formed in 1985 and consists of Bill Hunt (lead vocals, lead guitar, keyboards), Anne Kachline (bass, backing vocals) and Bob Kachline (drums, backing vocals). X-Terra has performed around Pennsylvania, New-York, New Jersey, and Maryland, and released on CD the full-length albums “Wolves” (2003), “X-Nihilo” (2007), and “From the Vault” (2009). A Demo of this band appeared on PR&PM in 2004; and the official albums “From the Vault” and “Wolves” were reviewed at PR&PM in 2013 and 2014, respectively. X-Terra’s album on focus here is “X-Nihilo”. Bringing 14 tracks, the CD features a mix of Hard Rock, Classic Rock and 70's to 80's Metal styles, typical of X-Terra, powered with positive Christian-Rock lyrics and themes. As on other X-Terra albums, the songs follow the Rock and Heavy Metal standards, being pulsing, contagious, uplifting, and always having sticky choruses and good guitar solos. The resemblances are shared with both Christian and non-Christian bands, such as “Stryper”, “Judas Priest”, “Saxon”, “UFO”, “Krokus”, “Def Leppard”, “Scorpions”, “Accept”, “Riot”, “Tokyo Blade”, “Dokken”, “Tysondog”, “Grimm Reaper”, “Quiet Riot”, “Twisted Sister”, “Great White”, “Ratt”, “KISS”, “Aerosmith”, “AC/DC”, “W.A.S.P.”, “The Rods”, “Guns n’ Roses”, and even “Led Zeppelin”, “ZZ Top” and others. The album opens with “X-Nihilo” (2:06) and closes with “X-Nihilo – Reprise” (2:11), both being like vignettes for beginning and ending shows, driven by Doomsday dramatic drumming and the deep voice of Archangel Metatron. In between, the band arranged a selection of good songs that will appeal to different tastes and audiences. My favorites are those that lean to the 70’s to 80’s Metal style, some of them recalling band like “Stryper”, “Krokus”, “Def Leppard”, “Accept”, “Riot”, “Dokken”, “Quiet Riot”, “Twisted Sister”, “Great White”, and “Ratt”, such as: “I Will Survive” (4:56) – a vibrant and uplifting 80’s Metal; the bass-bottomed “Feather Tank” (5:53), and the positivist hymn “Music Is the Only Drug You’ll Ever Need” (6:51) – a song title that expresses my own ideas about music and drugs (I mean, if more songs had addicting riffs, amazing guitars, pulsing bass and contagious rhythms like this one has, why should anybody spend money on drugs, that destroy the mind, body and soul, instead of buying a ticket-show for X-Terra?). Still on the hall of my favorites, there are “Purchased in Blood” (5:50) – a great Metal track with interspersion of Folk moments (with a touch of “Led Zeppelin’s” “Stairway to Heaven”) in the middle and at the end of the song; “Who You Step On” (7:01) – driven by a hot-groovy beat that recalls “You’ve got another thing coming” of “Judas Priest”, and having great backing vocals well placed on the second part; “This World” (4:38) – a great song with a Soul Music accent on vocals and early 70’s riffs; and “Hello” (6:42), a raw and energetic song that is introduced by deep bass lines, has great guitar solo and a chorus that recalls the style of “KISS”. Other songs lean to different styles. “Don't Knock the Rock” (4:36) is closer to the Hard Rock of “ZZ Top”; while the lively “Don't Give Up” (4:41) is a Party Rock delivered with pulsing beats and backed by some synths. And as the ballads are never lacking on X-Terra’s albums, “X-Nihilo” offers the good “The Runaway” (4:54) (recalling “ZZ Top” and “The Outlaws”); the soft “You Are the Reason” (4:04) (like a psychedelic love song of the 60’s, including the organ), and the best of the three, “Dear Lord” (8:51) – a totally acoustic guitar ballad driven by bittersweet vocals that recall “James Taylor” and “Cat Stevens”. Although not being as good as “Wolves”, “X-Nihilo” is undoubtedly another great album by X-Terra, being especially recommended for fans of “Stryper”, “Judas Priest”, “Saxon”, “UFO”, “Krokus”, “Def Leppard”, “Scorpions”, “Accept”, “Riot”, “The Rods”, “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 “Slade”. 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. Album Recorded and Mixed by Bill Hunt; Mastered by John Meyers at Plymouth Rocks Studios. Cover Artwork by Anne Kachline. Produced by X-Terra... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
12/31/2014.................................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit X-TERRA HOME PAGE...
. ZAUSS - "Diafonia - Leitmotiv - Waves"
Zauss - the experimental project consisting of guitarist Francesco Zago and saxophonist Markus Stauss – is back to PR&PM! In 2005, Stauss (who was known around the Swiss Jazz and Rock scenes for playing in “Überfall” and “Spaltklang") began a partnership with Zago, resulting in the different parallel projects “Neolithicum Duo" (2005), “Yugen" (2005), and “Kurai" (2008). In July 2006, during a live presentation of the "Neolithicum Duo" in Tradate (VA), Stauss and Zago made an improvisional music session, which was recorded and later released under the moniker Zauss, on a CD called "Neulich Neben der Grenze" (2006, Fazzul Music). Since then, Zauss’ discography has augmented with the CDs entitled “Überall - In Terra Straniera -Borders Beyond" (2011, reviewed at PR&PM in 2013), “Notturno Leise im Wind” (2012), and the newest “Diafonia Leitmotiv Waves”, all released via Fazzul Music (Stauss’ own record label). “Diafonia Leitmotiv Waves” was recorded live in studio on 28 July 2013 in Tradate (VA), Italy, engineered by Benno Hofer, and released on CD in September, 2014. On this recording session in particular, Stauss and Zago had the aim of experimenting with Improvisional Music by combining an electric guitar, loops, and the soprano saxophone. The music of Zauss is intuitive and focuses mainly on the creation of different textures, noises, and moods. By means of free improvisation, the duo promotes the total deconstruction of the regular musical structures in time and space, resulting in a kind of anti-music that creates dreamy to concrete audio-visual impressions that may either disturb, or calm down, the listener. “Diafonia Leitmotiv Waves” features 11 tracks. Beyond the experimentation and avant-garde attitude present on tracks such as the weird “Introitus” (2:37) (on which Zago captures and dominates to his own will the sound of the electric fields that emanate from his guitar); the noisy “Nordwind” (4:37); the squeaking and cartoonish “Wie Kinder” (5:34); and the chaotic “Es Fuegt Sich” (4:56) (which combines statics, interference, hysterical sax, and guitars that have a strange “deep-sink” sound), Zauss finds some interesting musical results on tracks like “Diafonia” (5:17), which has a vivid song-structure that arises by the confrontation between Zago’s syncopated guitar and the elephantine sax of Stauss; and "Crescendo con Fuoco" (6:20), an initially mourning piece that goes gradually hectic, with the coming of the rhythmic guitar that emulates the sound of bass and drums, and of the frenetic sax. The main pieces of the album are “Adagio Molto” (9:35) and “Prima dell'Alba” (7:43), both of which reflect the state o introspectiveness experimented by the two musicians when they are concentrated on their improvisional sessions. “Adagio …”, although slow, is poignant and sensitive, driven by a delicate sax tune, which is reinforced on its subtleness by the cosmic-sounding guitars; while “Prima …” offers a beautiful melody that arises from the sax to be superposed to a soft and nostalgic guitar plucking. Speaking of emotions in their purest state, the following tracks are really good on impressing the listener with deep feelings: “Senza Troppa Eleganza” (5:28) transmits a feeling of misplacement; “Lamento” (9:34) is slow and melancholic, but on its lengthy duration one can realize a kind of chamber-music symphonic structure, as Stauss goes on extracting violin-like sounds from his tenor sax; and finally, “Gran Noturno” (6:59) is hypnotic, unreal, slumbering, and frightening, recalling a piece of the band “Art Zoyd”. After listening to “Diafonia Leitmotiv Waves”, I can tell for sure that Zauss stays firmly compromised with the aim of making unconventional music, and is determined to contradict and destroy all musical dogmas. The theoretical and cerebral style of Zauss is therefore specially recommended for fans of hard-core R.I.O, Avant-garde, Experimental and Free-Jazz Music, and people interested in Expressionist soundtracks. Band members and collaborators involved in Zauss are: Francesco Zago – Electric Guitar, Loops; Markus Stauss – Tenor Saxophone. Album Recorded on 27 July 2013 in Tradate (VA, Italy); Engineered and Mastered in July 2014 by Benno Hofer, Nadelberg (Basel, Switzerland)... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
12/31/2014....................................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit ZAUSS HOME PAGE...
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