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LAST UPDATE 12/31/2015....
Monarch Trail is a Progressive Rock band from Dundas, Ontario, Canada. Monarch Trail was born by initiative of singer and keyboardist Ken Baird, who had composed some Progressive music which required more complex arrangements than usual. Baird asked then Dino Verginella (bass) and Chris Lamont (drums), who had already played on his solos albums, to join in the project. After several rehearsals and adjustments on the compositions, the trio decided to begin to record, adding other musicians when needed. Guitar players John Mamone, Kelly Kereliuk, and Steve Cochrane were then brought into the project and provided major creative input on their solos and sections. Drawings by Annette Roche were the inspiration for the lyrics and became part of the album artwork. The result was Monarch Trail’s first album, called “Skye” (April 2014, Perpetual Tree Music). “Skye” is a Progressive Rock album faithful to the spirit of the 70’ and 80’s, and that is a consequence of the talent and combined experience of all musicians involved in the project. Ken Baird is a composer and producer who has released the solo albums: “August” (1996), “Fields” (1998), “Orion” (2000), “Martin Road” (2003) and “Further Out” (2009). He has also played and recorded for “Jacob Moon” and “Art Griffin”. Dino Verginella has worked with many artists (“Holly MacNarland”, “Chantal Kreviazuk”, “Jim Witter”). Chris Lamont is a requested session and live drummer proficient in all genres of music. He has worked with “Ellen Reid”, “Tyler Yarema”, “Wild Strawberries”, Greg Bush”; and released the CD “Echo Hermits” (2008, with “Sean Szutka”). John Mamone, is a remarkable guitar player, in spite of having been a bassist and lead singer for bands “Dragonfly” and “Volume Water”. He also released a solo album called “Order and Chaos”. Kelly Kereliuk has worked extensively as a session lead guitarist, like on new albums for “Steve Negus” and “Art Griffin”; and formed the band “Prismind” with John Mamone. Finally, Steve Cochrane has produced five solo albums. The later, “La La La: Variations on a Happy Song”, was featured at PR&PM in 2012. The music of Monarch Trail is a fine brand of symphonic Neo-Progressive Rock with balanced doses of melodic vocal parts and dense instrumental parts - long, bold and complex -often interrupted by interludes full of gloomy synths and delicate soaring guitars, immersed in eerie atmospheres and overall resembling “Genesis” (of albums “Trick of the Tail” and “Wind and Wuthering”). Although the rhythmic section is never as destroying as on “Genesis” or “UK”, it keeps an ongoing rocky drive that is real solid, regarding the standard Neo-Prog stylistics. The melodic vocals are either soulful or epic, recalling “Pendragon”, “Twelfth Night”, or “Saga”. Overall, Monarch Trail also resembles, or has influences of, bands such as “Camel”, “UK”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Sky”, “Marillion”, “IQ”, “Glass Hammer”, “Clearlight”, “Gordon Giltrap”, “K2”, “Red Jasper”, “Willow Glass”, “The Inner Road”, “Barclay James Harvest”, “Strangers on a Train”, “Rocket Scientists”, “Shadow Circus”, “Silhouette”, “Comedy of Errors”. The album “Skye” features 4 extra-long tracks. To give dynamics and balance to such long musical pieces, the band makes extensive use of contrasting moods. “Luminescence” (11:15) begins with symphonic turbo-force synthesizers inserted in a layer of electronic ambience, guided by pulsing bass and rocky drums and vocals concentrated on the first half of the song. Those components are counterbalanced on the second half by dominating eerie atmospheres and cadenced andantes that splay over a long instrumental sequence. “Silent World” (8:21) moves over faster tempos driven by vivid drumming, conveying magnificent harmony vocals, which are equilibrated by shorter instrumental interludes with frantic synths, soft pianos, and a long-lasting final guitar solo in “Hackett”-style that fades to the end. The instrumental “East of Fifty” (6:11) is led by Kelly Kereliuk, who improvises joyful Prog-Fusion melodies on his guitar, the whole piece long, contrasting that brightness with sober Medieval Progressive harmonies, recalling “UK”, “Genesis”, “Camel”, and “Pendragon”. Finally, on “Sky Above the Sun” (20:15) – the most symphonic and ambitious track – the changes of tempo and mood are perceived along 4 different movements: the first movement promises drama and mystery, and is more keyboard-oriented (with some pianos à la “Rick Wakeman”); the second movement is slow, with classical acoustic guitars and soft vocals (like “Barclay James”, “Gordon Giltrap”); the third movement is vigorous and gets gradually faster, summoning massive attack of epic synths, soulful vocals, guitar power chords, and great guitar solos that enhance the dramatic contents of the music; the fourth movement is soaring, bringing the climax enveloped in beautiful epic vocals! Monarch Trail is a great Neo-Progressive outfit, highly recommended for fans of “Genesis”, “Camel”, “UK”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Sky”, “Marillion”, “Twelfth Night”, “IQ”, “Pendragon”, “Glass Hammer”, “Saga”, “Clearlight”, “Gordon Giltrap”, “K2”, “Red Jasper”, “Willow Glass”, “The Inner Road”, “Barclay James Harvest”, “Strangers on a Train”, “Rocket Scientists”, “Shadow Circus”, “Silhouette”, “Comedy of Errors”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Monarch Trail are: Ken Baird – Keyboards, Vocals; Dino Verginella – Bass; Chris Lamont – Drums. Guest Guitarists: John Mamone - Guitars (on “Luminescence”, “Silent World” & “Sky Above the Sun”); Kelly Kereliuk - Guitars (on “East of Fifty”); Steve Cochrane - Classical & 12-String Guitar (on “Sky Above the Sun”). Words & Music by Ken Baird, copyright Perpetual Tree Music 2014; Recorded & Mixed by Ken Baird; Additional Recording, Mixing & editing by Steve Cochrane; Mastered by S. Cochrane. Album Art & Graphic Design by Annette Roche... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2015.......................More information about the band? Better check it out for yourself at: MONARCH TRAIL HOME PAGE...
. SINAGOGA ZEN - "Sinagoga Zen"
Sinagoga Zen is a Brazilian Progressive Rock & Fusion quintet from the city of Bento Gonçalves, Rio Grande do Sul. Sinagoga Zen was formed in 2001, and in 2004 it was giving musical support to an artistic project called "Multi-Group and Artistic Sinagoga and the Poets of Zen's Square" – which congregated musicians, writers, poets, and theatrical actors on collective art-performances (more or less like groups such as “Gong” and “Amon Düül” did in the late ‘60s). Those encounters happened in a house, which was employed by Sinagoga Zen simultaneously as stage, studio, hostel, and bar. That house was a shelter for all kinds of artists, and a meeting point for dozens of people that loved to hang around to talk, play, and celebrate together. Along the years, Sinagoga Zen had many members and formations, but Alison Seben (drums and percussion) and Wilian Baldasso (bass, guitar, violin) are in the band since the beginning. The line-up became gradually stable with the coming of Rafael Vignatti (piano and keyboards), Felipe Cenci Taborda (guitars, bass) and Giulia Ferreira Dall'Oglio (vocals). All musicians are involved in different musical projects. Their accumulated influences and experiences helped to forge Sinagoga Zen's original sound: a blend of Symphonic Progressive Rock with Jazz-Fusion, including polyrhythmic structures and modernistic dissonances, impregnated with the sonority of early 70’s Rock, and delivered with a Brazilian swing propelled by the energy of Rock. The musical references are as diverse as “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”, “Genesis”, “Yes”, “Weather Report”, “Passport”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Miles Davis”, “Stockhausen”, “Astor Piazzolla”, and Brazilian legends such as “Novos Baianos”, “Mutantes”, “Som Nosso de Cada Dia”, “Saecula Saeculorum”, “Bacamarte”, “Quaterna Réquiem”, “Sagrado Coração da Terra”. The fantastic and intriguing music of Synagoga Zen was recorded on their eponymous debut album, called “Sinagoga Zen” (October, 2014). The album represents the culmination of a perseverant work that began in 2006 and underwent a cumulative process of experimentation and maturation on the following years, until the final release. “Sinagoga Zen” has 5 tracks and enigmatic lyrics, sung in Portuguese (a trait that makes them to sound exotic to foreign listeners). The music is varied, but immediately catchy, regarding the fact that whoever is listening to it might be a gourmet of Progressive and Fusion music with a 70’s flavor. The arrangements are complex to the academic level, but the swing and positive vibes are other stimulating components that provide Sinagoga Zen’s music with tempting and irresistible qualities. The band boldly opens their debut with the long and ambitious “Mudança dos Tempos” (“Change of Times”, 20:15) – a song that has a strong influence of “King Crimson” of the early years. The themes unroll highly-edged, in a constant metamorphose of styles and moods that take unexpected and meandering ways, like musical traps cynically prepared by band members to surprise and hook the listener forever. There are many sequences, reflecting a continuous change of seasons: vintage keyboards are followed by eruptive Hard Rock riffs, and these are soothed by contemplative vocals; violins are delivered in dissonant arrangements, followed by wah-wah guitars and Hammonds, ending on pastoral guitars, eerie keyboards and vocals, successively recalling “King Crimson”, “Stockhausen”, “Piazzolla”, more “Crimson”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, and “Genesis”. This symphonic collage is balanced by the last track “Instante de Velejar” (“Moment for Sailing Away” 10:39) – another amazing song that combines experimental percussion (like “Uakti”), Brazilian folk guitars, operatic and Arabian vocal tunes, and psychedelic Blues (recalling “Pink Floyd”) with a dash of “Genesis” on keyboards, having as a climax an explosion of 60’s Psychedelia. Those two tracks alone would make this album fantastic, but Sinagoga Zen is a combative band, and stuffed the middle of the album with other awesome songs. Two of them have a strong influence of “Yes” (of the “Yes” and “Fragile” albums), on the instrumental sonic interlocking of bass, guitars and drums: “2014” (4:14) and “Presença” (“Presence” 6:28). “2014”, however, counts with leading female vocals and Jazzy pianos that stroll around sometimes, showing us that we are not listening to a copy of “Yes”; and “Presença” also has embedded keyboards that are reminiscent of early “King Crimson” and Fusion interludes marked by vocals that are supported by groovy drives; with excellent bass swings and subtle tunes coming from keyboards. The “trick of the track” is the humming voice of Giulia that hovers over the final instrumental sequence, full of keyboards. The funky jamming of “Presença” is extended to “Abdu Pensante” (“Thinking Abdu” 4:51) – a vibrant song on which the swing of “Weather Report” meets the revolutionary Rock of Brazilian “Os Mutantes”, having a guitar solo at the end that recalls “Steve Howe”! Sinagoga Zen really surprised me! They are ready to get a place of importance among Brazilian Prog-Rock bands, side by side with “Os Mutantes”, “Som Nosso de Cada Dia”, “Saecula Saeculorum”, “Bacamarte”, “Quaterna Réquiem”, “Sagrado Coração da Terra”, “Violeta de Outono”, “A Bolha”, “O Terço”, “Veludo”, “Moto Perpétuo”, “Cartoon”, “Som Imaginário”, “Recordando o Vale das Maçãs”, “Tempus Fugit”, and so on; being also highly recommendable for fans of early “King Crimson”, “Yes”, “Genesis”, “Pink Floyd”, “Weather Report”, and “Mahavishnu Orchestra”. Band members and collaborators involved in Sinagoga Zen are: Giulia Ferreira Dall'Oglio - Vocals; Wilian M. Baldasso (a.k.a. “Zé”) - Bass, Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Violin; Rafael Vignatti (a.k.a. “Teclas”) - Piano, Keyboards; Felipe Cenci Taborda (a.k.a. “Reverend Tabordex”) – Electric, Acoustic and 12-String Guitars, Bass; Alison Seben – Drums, Percussion. Album Produced by Sinagoga Zen with Direction by Wilian Baldasso; Recorded & Mastered by Marcos Mangoni (Jardim Elétrico Studios); Mixed by Sinagoga Zen & Marcos Mangoni. Graphic Design by Newton A. Baldasso; Photos by Debora Zandonai & Flávio Bello Fialho. Project Sponsored by the Cultural Funding of the Municipality of Bento Gonçalves, with support of the Municipal Counsel for Cultural Policies... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2015.....................Want to learn everything about this Brazilian band and musicians? Visit SINAGOGA ZEN HOME PAGE...
. TRAUMHAUS - "Die Andere Seite"
Traumhaus - a Progressive Rock band from Germany – is back to PR&PM! Traumhaus ("House of Dreams") released a few independent albums, namely "Traumhaus/Ausgeliefert" (2001) and "Die andere Seite" (2008), which were both remastered and reissued with bonus tracks in May 2014, via Progressive Promotion Records. Those two albums comprise Traumhaus’ catalogue of full-lengths, completed with the acclaimed "Das Geheimnis" (2013, PPR), featured at PR&PM as “best release of February 2014”. Traumhaus is notable for presenting a modern Progressive Rock style that surveys the panorama of Symphonic Progressive Rock in Germany and England, having embedded elements of Krautrock and Hard-Rock, and influences of "Anyone's Daughter", "Novalis", "Grobschnitt", "Stern-Combo Meissen", "Ramses", "Epidaurus", "Tibet", "Wallenstein", "Amon Düül II", "Birth Control", "Faithful Breath", "Pell Mell", "Hoelderlin", "Ziff", "RPWL", “Martigan",  "Shades of Dawn", "Blind Ego"; “Genesis”, “King Crimson”, "Marillion", "Galahad", "I.Q.", "Pallas", "Arena", and "Pendragon". The reissued 2014 version of "Die Andere Seite" features 7 original tracks plus two bonus tracks. The music it contains shows an increase in quality and performance in respect to the first album “Traumhaus/Ausgeliefert” (2001/2014), an evolution that is related to the featured line-up, which was mostly renovated in relation to the debut album. From the first incarnation of Traumhaus, only singer and keyboardist Alexander Weyland remained, and he was joined by Tobias Hampl (guitars, bass), Hans Jörg Schmitz (drums, effects, loops), and Jordan H. Gazall (bass); and also assisted by bassist Sebastian Klein and drummer Jimmy Keegan (of “Spock’s Beard” and “Santana”), both on the bonus track “The Secret”. The new musicians brought additive elements that enriched the already fantastic music of Traumhaus. Weyland’s tasteful use of vintage keyboards and his intrepid style were perfectly matched by Hampl’s insightful guitar riffs and versatility on solos. Gazall’s groovy and gloomy bass irradiates lysergic waves that pour down a veil of unreality over the songs, as he trades themes with guitars and keyboards, while Schmitz on drums is an unbelievable machine producing awesome rhythms – covering from Prog to Hard & Metal – with only one order in mind: destroy it all! The long compositions have great arrangements, perfect harmonization, and meaningful sequences of instrumental music. “Die andere Seite” is an album that can be listened from beginning to end with the same sense of amusement and surprise. The title track - “Die andere Seite” - is an impressive musical piece divided in 3 parts: “(Part 1)” (10:17) is symphonic, dynamic, dramatic, and contains  great instrumental sequences marked by soaring keyboards and guitars interplay, driven by imposing bass and drums; “(Part 2)” (7:08) is softer, presenting the main vocal theme pervaded by a note of hope, driven by beautiful pianos and long sequences of keyboards and guitars; “(Part 3)” (10:41) is the most vigorous one, plunges into heavy keyboards intermeshed with wild guitar attack, dense bass, and powerful drumming, with ghostly Mellotrons and slicing Moogs being reminiscent of a muscular “King Crimson”. “Die andere Seite’s” main theme is extended to the bonus-track “Zur anderen Seite” (4:08) (a piano and vocal version recorded in 2009). The two tracks “Hinaus” (10:07) and “Bleibe Hier” (6:57) were originally featured on the EP “Hinaus” (2005). But if the song “Hinaus” is the link between Traumhaus’ first works and the present album, for having a Neo-Prog contamination on keyboards and great Hard-Rock guitar riffs, “Bleibe Hier” (6:57) is a song that goes farther, combining melancholic vocals with hypnotic bass, trippy guitars, and awesome drumming, searching for new musical horizons that are also explored by bands such as “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “Tool” and “Black Noodle Project”. Confirming the new trend, Traumhaus also added to the album the awesome tracks “Kein Zurück” (10:27), a mysterious song that begins slow and trippy, and later gets denser, accelerating on the second part, dominated by a long instrumental sequence with psychedelic keyboards and dreamy guitars; and “Zwiespalt” (7:28), a heavy song with a Hard-Prog psychic-groove and a Prog-Metal luster. The album ends over the top on the bonus track “The Secret” (12:38) (English vocal version, 2014). With the presence of guest players Jimmy Keegan and Sebastian Klein, that impacting song is the right bait to attract the listeners straight to Traumhaus’ next album – “Das Geheimnis”. Brilliant, amazing, and addicting, Traumhaus’ “Die andere Seite” is indispensable for fans of bands like "Anyone's Daughter", "Novalis", "Grobschnitt", "Stern-Combo Meissen", "Ramses", "Epidaurus", "Tibet", "Wallenstein", "Amon Düül II", "Birth Control", "Faithful Breath", "Hoelderlin", "Ziff", "Pell Mell", "RPWL", “Martigan", "Shades of Dawn", "Blind Ego", “Genesis”, “King Crimson”, "Marillion", "Galahad", "I.Q.", "Pallas", "Arena", "Pendragon", “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “Black Noodle Project”. Band members and collaborators involved in Traumhaus are: Present Line-up: Alexander Weyland - Vocals, Keyboards; Tobias Hampl - Guitars; Till Ottinger - Bass; Stefan Hopf - Drums. “Die andere Seite” Line-up: Alexander Weyland - Vocals, Keyboards, Loops, Lyrics; Tobias Hampl - Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Bass; Jordan H. Gazall – Bass; Hans Jörg Schmitz - Drums, Effects, Drumloops. Guest Musicians: Jimmy Keegan - Drums; Sebastian Klein - Bass (both on “The Secret”). Recorded 2008 in Gückingen & Berghausen by A. Weyland; Drums Recorded 2008 by Ralf Hörshcligau & H.J. Schmitz in Diez & Andernach; Mixed 2008 & 2014 in Berghausen by A. Weyland; Drums Mixed 2008 by H.J. Schmitz in Andernach; Remixed & Remastered 2014 by A. Weyland in Berghausen. Bonus tracks written, recorded, mixed & mastered in Gückingen & Berghausen by A. Weyland. Produced by Traumhaus 2008 & 2014; Reissued under Progressive Promotion Records, 2014... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2015..........................If you want know more about this amazing band and its members, visit TRAUMHAUS HOME PAGE...
. DISTORTED HARMONY - "Chain Reaction"
Distorted Harmony is welcomed back to PR&PM! Distorted Harmony is a Progressive Metal quintet from Tel Aviv, Israel, consisting of Misha Soukhinin (vocals), Yoav Efron (keyboards, compositions), Guy Landau (guitars), Iggy Cohen (bass), and Yogev Gabay (drums). Distorted Harmony’s debut album, “Utopia”, was released in May 2012, and reviewed at PR&PM in Sep. 2012. “Utopia” was an awesome album that showcased a band with great musicianship, able to arrange and perform complex music with virtuosity. “Utopia” attracted attention of the specialized media, locally and worldwide, guaranteeing a nomination of Distorted Harmony for the “Limelight” category of the “Progressive Music Awards 2013” contest, held by the British “Prog” magazine; and assured to the band a leading place in the Prog-Metal scene of Israel. In 2013 Distorted Harmony started to work on their second full-length album, titled “Chain Reaction”, which was independently released in 2014. The style of Distorted Harmony combines powerful and technically complex Progressive Metal drives with elements taken from other musical genres, such as: unique time signatures of Jazz, symphonic harmonies of Classical Music, and vocal melodies of Indie Rock. The compositions have unexpected twists and turns, changes of pace and mood, and alternate heavy riffs with soaring interludes and tuneful vocals, catching the listener at once. The instrumental parts are loaded with solos of guitars and synthesizers (in a diversity of styles that go from Prog-Metal to Classic, Jazz, and Electronic). The influences come from bands like “Dream Theater”, “Symphony X”, “Opeth”, “Meshuggah”, “Periphery”, “Muse”, and “Porcupine Tree”. But the sound of Distorted Harmony is so eclectic, that many bands could be put on this list (see below). “Chain Reaction” has 9 tracks, which are in average shorter than the 6 tracks of “Utopia”. But the shortening of the new compositions caused a gain in their internal cohesiveness, bringing close-fitting arrangements, better musical progressions, and more refined mood control. The music of “Chain Reaction” stays as punchy, ferocious, and opulent than on the previous album, but has now extended its range also to include a dash of melodic Indie Rock on some vocal parts, a new trend that will make the sound of Distorted Harmony to be attractive for fans of bands like “Radiohead”, “Snow Patrol”, and “30 Seconds to Mars”. This new influence is realized on the opening track “Every Time She Smiles” (6:49), which oscillates between simple Indie Rock chords and extremely complex Prog-Metal riffs, being balanced by soaring vocal tunes, and embellished with floating pianos. But traditional Prog-Metal fans have not to be afraid, for this trend begins to be blurred ahead, precisely on “Children of Red” (5:13), which starts accelerated, running like a flying locomotive, loaded with pummeling bass and aggressive drums, tunneling into a paranoid world that recalls “Dream Theater” and “Opeth”, transporting a vocals chorus that is the only remnant of Indie Rock. A greater change of scope is sensed on the awesome “Misguided” (8:34) – supported by electrifying guitars and vibrant synths, and driven by vocals that recall bands like “Fates Warning”, “Redemption”, and “Sieges Even”. This song gets gradually heavier and denser, including instrumental sequences in Israeli Oriental Metal and technical Prog-Metal styles, recalling “Dream Theater”, “Planet X”, and “Derek Sherinian”. The eclecticism of Distorted Harmony is extended to the Electronic “Nothing (But the Rain)” (2:15) – a pulsing instrumental intro for “As One” (5:52), which takes the electronic hook and develops it to a hybrid Indie-Metal, resembling a partnership between “30 Seconds to Mars” and “Opeth”. Increasing levels of violence are perceived on the visceral “Hollow” (6:09) – a full-fledged Prog-Metal song that advances voracious, ready to devour the listener - the heavy artillery of the rhythmic section joins in with fierce keyboards and dazzling killer guitars, like a blend of “Dream Theater” with “Protest the Hero”. “As You Go” (3:14) is an acoustic ballad, poignant and beautiful, that is dragged by the awesome and impressive complex riffs of “Natural Selection” (5:17) – the power and heaviness of which are juxtaposed to jazzy sophisticated vocals. A different register of sound comes on the surprising closing track “Methylene Blue” (7:53), a hypnotic Post-Metal song recalling “Tool” and “A Perfect Circle”, driven by subtle pianos and suspended vocals that sound distant, lost in space. The tension is retained until the final big-bang explosion that liberates all energy in a whirlwind of instrumental metallic progressiveness. “Chain Reaction” is an impacting and extraordinary album, indispensable for fans of traditional and innovative Progressive Metal, With this work, Distorted Harmony achieved their main goal again, carving their name on the eternal walls of the Prog-Metal Fortress, together with bands like “Dream Theater”, “Symphony X”, “Kamelot”, “Everon”, “Sieges Even”, “Threshold”, “Redemption”, “Fates Warning”, “Arch & Matheos”, “Planet X”, “Derek Sherinian”, “Superior”, “Toxic Smile”, “Seven Steps to the Green Door”, “Vanden Plas”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Muse”, “Opeth”, “Meshuggah”, “Periphery”, “Dillinger Scape Plan”, “Coheed and Cambria”, “Animals as Leaders”, “Protest the Hero”, “Between the Buried and Me”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Distorted Harmony are: Misha Soukhinin - Vocals; Guy Landau - Guitars; Yoav Efron - Keyboards, Compositions; Iggy Cohen - Bass; Yogev Gabay - Drums. Album Produced by Y. Efron; Recorded by Jonathan Barak at Sonic Studios; Mixed by Y. Efron, Priel Horesh & J. Barak; Mastered by Jens Borgen at Fascination Street Studios. Artwork by Ben Broyde; Cover Design by Y. Efron & Hila Raam. Check Distorted Harmony on Youtube... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2015.................................................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit DISTORTED HARMONY HOME PAGE...
. TRAUMHAUS - "Ausgeliefert"
Traumhaus is a Progressive Rock band based in Berghausen, Germany. Traumhaus (which means "House of Dreams") was born from a previous mid-90’s group called “Zweeback”, and, in spite of the constant changes in the line-up, released a few independent albums that have been acclaimed by the Prog-Rock community: "Traumhaus" (2001), the EP "Hinaus" (2005), and "Die andere Seite" (2008). Traumhaus’ last album, "Das Geheimnis" (2013, Progressive Promotion Records), was featured here at PR&PM as “Best Band of February 2014”. In May 2014 Prog-Rock Label Progressive Promotion Records reissued Traumhaus’ catalogue of full-lengths with bonus tracks. The album on focus here is “Ausgeliefert”, which is the re-mastered and renamed version of the original debut “Traumhaus”, containing two bonus tracks. The band’s line-up formed then with Alexander Wayland (vocals, keyboards, piano), Frank Woidich (organ, keyboards, backing vocals), Bernhard Selbach (guitars, backing vocals, bass pedals), and Michael Dorniak (drums, bass, a few guitars, backing vocals). The music of Traumhaus is a vivid and lavish combination of Symphonic Progressive Rock and Neo-Prog, with a minor Hard-Rock contamination and retroactive interspersion of elements of 70’s Krautrock. The lyrics are all in German, adding an extra charm to the music. The keyboards are abundant, offering a sound-battery of Hammonds, Mellotrons, and Moogs, which are balanced in the arrangements by hardened guitar textures. The solos induce and emphasize the trippy nature of Traumhaus, delving into long instrumental parts that are conveyed by a flowing and dynamic rhythmic section. Overall, the compositions and sound recall bands like "Anyone's Daughter", "Novalis", and "Grobschnitt" (also because of Wayland’s voice), and "Stern-Combo Meissen", "Amon Düül II", "Hoelderlin", "Epidaurus", "Birth Control", "Faithful Breath", "Pell Mell", "Tibet", "Wallenstein", "Ramses", "RPWL", "Ziff", “Martigan",  "Shades of Dawn", and "Blind Ego", by the German side; and “Genesis”, “King Crimson”, "Marillion", "I.Q.", "Pallas", "Galahad", "Arena", and "Pendragon", by the English side. In spite of some songs being more accessible, that does not compromise the sound of the band, and it even has a positive effect, helping Traumhaus to part ways with the most cerebral and experimental characteristic of the genuine 70’s Krautrock, allowing the band to set free from the bonds and make a modern kind of Progressive music that open doors and windows to all listeners to jump in. “Ausgeliefert” brings 8 original tracks plus two bonus tracks. The opening “Aufwärts” (4:36) (a Neo-Prog song propelled by joyful synths and lively rocky beats); and “Zu Spät” (6:05) (a retro-rock driven by Hammonds resembling “Birth Control” and “Amon Düül”), are examples of the more accessible lean that Traumhaus may imprint to their songs without losing neither quality, nor their Progressive perspective. But the album’s best songs are the most symphonic ones, which show how Traumhaus was already musically mature from the very start: “Wandler” (8:42) is a soaring progressive ballad with a German style, that gets stronger and bolder as it is successively dominated by Hammonds, hard guitar chords, and an instrumental load of synths; “Das Neue” (5:37) is a heavy Neo-Prog with influences of “Genesis”, old “Marillion”, “Pallas”, and “Anyone’s Daughter”, enterprising a final ascension conducted by shivering Mellotron-choirs that introduce the most vibrant segment containing great drumming; and “Ausgeliefert” (17:39) is the album’s masterpiece, which evolves continuously, bringing dramatic changes, dreamy atmospheres and trippy solos of guitar. Equally awesome are the two instrumental tracks of the record, which are effervescent Hard-Prog pieces with influences of “Faithful Breath”, “Birth Control” and “Deep Purple”: “Peter & der Wolf” (5:05) has a greater Krautrock affinity on the oriental tunes (also recalling the experimentalism of “Amon Düül II”); while “Navanita” (5:20) has that 70’s Hard-Rock groove on the riffs (think “Deep Purple” and “Birth Control”), antagonized by inspired Moogs and pianos that rise from the harmonic frame. The original album should close with “Am Abgrund” (6:55), a bright song driven by harmony vocals and enclosed in a 70’s pastoral nostalgia, with the climax delivered by opulent synths, recalling “Genesis” and “Hoelderlin”. But the new version still offers two excellent bonus tracks, recorded in 2004: “Die Reise” (8:05) (instrumental part of “Kein Zurück” 2004), a tour-the-force in the style of “King Crimson”; and “Die andere Seite Teil 1” (9:48), an instrumental version of the ambitious symphonic piece that would be presented in its wholeness on an album of same name (look for the next review). Intense, brilliant, and mysterious, Traumhaus is indispensable, for fans of "Anyone's Daughter", "Novalis", "Grobschnitt", "Stern-Combo Meissen", "Amon Düül II", "Birth Control", "Epidaurus", "Faithful Breath", "Hoelderlin", "Metropolis", "Tibet", "Wallenstein", "Pell Mell", "Ramses", "RPWL", "Ziff", “Martigan",  "Shades of Dawn", "Blind Ego", “Genesis”, “King Crimson”, "Marillion", "I.Q.", "Pallas", "Arena", "Galahad", "Pendragon", etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Traumhaus are: Present Line-up: Alexander Weyland – Vocals, Keyboards, Lyrics; Tobias Hampl – Guitars; Till Ottinger – Bass; Stefan Hopf - Drums. “Ausgeliefert” Line-up: Alexander Wayland - Vocals, Keyboards, Piano; Frank Woidich - Organ, Keyboards, Backing Vocals; Bernhard Selbach - Guitars, Backing Vocals, Bass Pedals; Michael Dorniak - Drums, Bass, Backing Vocals, Guitar Solo on “Ausgeliefert”. Additional musicians: Nina Weyland – Guest Vocals on “”Zu Spät” and “Wandler”; Kuno Wagner – Touch guitar on “Die Reise” and “Die Andere Seit Teil 1”; Tobias Hampl – Guitar on “Die Reise” and “Die Andere Seit Teil 1”. Recorded & Mixed by M. Dorniak, Limburg 1998-2000. Bonus Tracks Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by A. Weyland. Album Mastered by Reinhard Bauer at Profiton Studios, Aschaffenburg. Produced by Traumhaus 2001 & 2014... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2015.........................,If you want know more about this amazing band and its members, visit TRAUMHAUS HOME PAGE...
. OLD MAN’S CELLAR - "Damaged Pearls"
Old Man’s Cellar (OMC, for short) is a Hard Rock & AOR band that was formed in January 2009 in the city of Modena, Italy. OMC was originally founded by Freddy Veratti - a professional guitarist and meticulous student of guitar styles, who had already played in a variety of musical projects (“Blackage”, “Neronova”, “Fango”) and cooperated with several Swing & Jazz and Pop-artists; and singer Riccardo Dalla Costa (a.k.a. Ricky DC), who had been the lead singer of the Metal band “Lost Breed” for 3 years. They were joined by Andrea Fedrezzoni, an experienced drummer who had played for 15 years with “Blackage” and “Neronova”. OMC became a complete band with the coming of keyboardist Max Boni and bassist Angelo Scollo, a couple of groovy musicians. Old Man’s Cellar published a short EP in 2009 and then started to work at their first full-length album, titled “Damaged Pearls” (November, 2013, Valery Records). The sound of OMC is basically a mix of Hard Rock and AOR, with references to 70’s to 90’s Glam Rock and Hair Metal, Classic Rock, and Melodic & Romantic Rock packed inside joyful, tuneful, and uplifting songs with well-behaving arrangements. The influences and resemblances are bands like: “Danger Danger”, “Skid Row”, “Bon Jovi”, “Poison”, “Motley Crue”, “Extreme”, “Europe”, “Winger”, “Mr. Big”, “Def Leppard”, “Van Halen”, “Queen”, “Peter Frampton”, “Whitesnake”, “Pretty Maids”, “Status Quo”, “Boston”, “Journey”, and “Triumph”. OMC’s differential in relation to many Rock bands is the excellent guitar playing of Veratti (more Neo-Classic than bluesy, with a “Mozartian” melodicism and joy, recalling “Eddie Van Halen”, “Michael Schenker”, “Adrian Vandenberg”, and Brazilian “Robertinho do Recife”), who transforms the most banal songs into pleasant rocky pieces. The other highlights of OMS are: the emotional and romantic vocals of Ricky DC; and Max Boni’s slightly progressive to synth-pop keyboards, which give a different spice to the sound. All is supported by a solid and groovy rhythmic section. “Damaged Pearls” has 12 mainstream-oriented tracks, with English lyrics, that may be divided in two groups: melodic Rock songs, and ballads. To the first group belong the title track “Damaged Pearls” (4:28); the groovy songs “Amber Lights” (4:12) (with a touch of 80’s rock) and “Rain Talk” (4:02) (more cadenced and bass-driven); and a number of best tracks on which Veratti incorporates the figure the guitar-hero - a character that has been despised by most mainstream bands of today. Those emblematic songs are “Hyperlove” (4:04) (joyful and romantic, driven by nice vocal tunes and sticky chorus); “The Years We Challenge” (4:26) (fast, lively, and having a rocky punch); “Soul Exercise” (3:46) (the heaviest Hard-Rock of the album, including slightly aggressive vocals); and “Undress Me Fast” (4:22) – a Party-Rock that closes the album with a festive mood. “Don’t Care What’s Next” (4:25) – which differs from all other tracks for being most inventive and experimental – is an interesting track that mixes Old Country harmony vocals with Electronic ambiences conveyed on a rock swing, and offers a great guitar solo and a sensitive interlude for piano and voice. The ballads are also a strong point of OMC, and they are beautiful, transmitting deep feelings, like on “Knees On The Straw” (4:51) (bluesy, painted with sad organs); “Still At Heart” (4:01), driven by acoustic guitars, pianos, and containing a pinch of sentimentalism on vocals; and the very best: “Is This The Highest Wave” (5:00) – a piano ballad embellished with outstanding guitar solo; and “Summer Of The White Tiger” (5:19) – which brings a “progressive” slant on its soaring echoing guitars and story-telling vocals, and final faster tempos crowned with excellent guitar solo. Old Man’s Cellar first album shows a melodic and competent band with great potential to be explored; and able to get into the mainstream of Rock, being specially recommended for fans of “Danger Danger”, “Skid Row”, “Bon Jovi”, “Poison”, “Extreme”, “Europe”, “Winger”, “Mr. Big”, “Def Leppard”, “Motley Crue”, “Van Halen”, “Queen”, “Peter Frampton”, “Whitesnake”, “Pretty Maids”, “Status Quo”, “Boston”, “Journey”, “Triumph”, “Vandenberg”, and the likes. Band members and collaborators involved in Old Man’s Cellar are: Riccardo Dalla Costa (a.k.a. Ricky DC) - Vocals & Backing Vocals; Freddy Veratti - Guitars; Max Boni - Keyboards; Angelo Scollo - Bass; Andrea Fedrezzoni - Drums... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2015....................................................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit OLD MAN’S CELLAR HOME PAGE...
. PHI - "Now The Waves of Sound Remain"
Phi is back to PR&PM again! Phi is a Post-Progressive Rock trio from Baden bei Wien, Austria. Phi was born in 2006 and had a brief incarnation as a quartet from 2010 to early 2011 (with keyboardist Christoph W. Pirker), before turning back to the power-trio line-up consisting of founding members Markus Bratusa (guitars, vocals), Nick Koch (drums), and second bass player Arthur Darnhofer-Demàr (who had replaced original bassist Peter Leitner in early 2010). Phi’s first full-length album, "For The Love Of Ghosts" (2012, Mals Records), had positive reviews and was followed by the EP "The Deflowering Of Reality" (2012, Office4Music), both featured at PR&PM in 2012. Phi’s second LP, "Years Of Breathing" (2013, self-released), was critically acclaimed and followed by a promoting tour through six European countries, during which drummer Nick Koch left the band to pursue other creative endeavors. Gabe Cresnar became the new drummer of Phi in Autumn 2013, and the band moved forwards and recorded a third full-length album, titled "Now The Waves Of Sound Remain" (24th of October 2014, Gentle Art Of Music/Soulfood Records). “Now The Waves …” has 9 tracks and represents the continuation of Phi’s sound showcased on the EP “The Deflowering of Reality”: solid music packed in elaborated instrumental arrangements, delivered with emotional vocals, and congregating elements of Post-Progressive Rock, Heavy Progressive Rock, and Heavy-Rock (with influences of “Tool”, “Riverside”, “Rush”, “Muse”, “Jupiter Society”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Guilt Machine”, “Coheed and Cambria”, “Soundgarden”, “Amplifier”); with additional elements of Psychedelic Rock (in the style of “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”, “Yes”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Radiohead”, “RPWL”, and “Sylvan”), and groovy Stoner-Rock (like “Monster Magnet”). Phi’s most important goal was ever to deliver emotion, making timeless music that would go beyond a regular listening experience - and they are becoming masters in doing it! The three musicians act together in perfect integration, each one giving a meaningful contribution to the music as a whole. Bratusa’s well-elaborated guitar riffs are amazing and groovy, and find a solid support on Darnhofer-Demàr’s pulsing and psychedelic bass. Both of them are propelled by a dynamic and fluent torrent of modern post-progressive rhythms provided by new drummer Gabe Cresnar: he holds the sticks with the same confidence and brilliance of his predecessor, and knows exactly when to play technically and softly, or powerfully and wildly. The cherry on this cake is Bratusa’s sensitive vocals, which oscillate between sadness and drama, spicing the songs with different moods, driving them through diverse ambiences. Some tracks of this album, such as “Buy Your Piece Of Love” (04:32), “Revolution By Design” (03:57), and “Maybe Sometime Else Then” (04:29) are electrified with a Heavy Rock spirit and an energetic attitude that are opposed and softened by Bratusa’s voice, progressing by contrasts, and being blurred into surreal soundscapes. The most surprising compositions are those on which Phi demonstrates great ability for condensing many influences in short spans of time, like on “Tune In Zone Out” (04:17) (with precious riffs, as groovy as “Monster Magnet” and “Zeppelin”, instrumental passages like “Rush” and “Muse”, and Space-Metal robotized vocals that recalled me of “Jupiter Society”); and “Behind A Veil Of Snow” (04:56) - a dark atmospheric, psychedelic, and mathematical song with slow and faster segments, drawing influences of “Tool”, “Soundgarden”, “Porcupine Tree”, and “Rush”. Also counting among the best are the two longest tracks: “Welcome Tomorrow” (08:03), which is soaring and more melancholic, like “RPWL”; and the title track, “Now The Waves Of Sound Remain” (10:20), which is eerie and unrolls slowly, driven by outstanding vocal performance and great guitar solo, to be finally consumed in a cosmic-sounding end. This albums still brings the psychedelic ballad “The Liquid Hourglass” (02:38), which has an influence of early “Pink Floyd” on vocals, exotic rhythms, and acoustic guitars; growing in drama on the final riffs. This great album closes with “This Last Favor” (04:39), an ironic ballad that turns heavier at the end. Phi is now on the road, promoting "Now The Waves Of Sound Remain". Support this excellent band, going to their shows if you can: their performance is promised to be explosive and astonishing! Phi is highly recommendable for lovers of Post-Progressive Rock, Heavy Progressive Rock, and Heavy-Rock with doses of Psychedelic and Stoner Rock, being indicated for fans of “Tool”, “Riverside”, “Rush”, “Muse”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Radiohead”, “RPWL”, “Sylvan”, “Jupiter Society”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Guilt Machine”, “Coheed and Cambria”, “Soundgarden”, “Amplifier”, “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”, “Monster Magnet”, “Kyuss”, “Osada Vida”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Phi are: Markus Bratusa – Lead Vocals, Guitar, Programming; Arthur Darnhofer-Demár - Bass, Vocals; Gabe Cresnar – Drums. Produced by Heiko Ernstreiter; Mastered by Jon Astley (“Led Zeppelin”, “The Who”, “Tori Amos”, “Anathema”); Artwork by Dr. Winter. Phi’s past members: Christoph W. Pirker - Keyboards; Peter Leitner – Bass; Nick Koch - Drums... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2015......................................Want to learn everything about the band and its members, you must visit PHI HOME PAGE...
. PYMLICO - "Guiding Light"
Pymlico is back to PR&PM once again! Pymlico is an Instrumental Progressive Rock project from Oslo, Norway, headed by multi-instrumentalist and composer Arild Brøter (drums, keyboards and additional guitars). Arild Brøter started Pymlico in the spring of 2009 as a studio project with several musicians involved, to give life to instrumental music that should combine all times Prog-Rock with elements of Fusion, World, Ambient, contemporary Pop Music and Film Music. Pymlico released two albums that were much acclaimed in the Prog-Rock community: “Inspirations” (2011) and “Directions” (2012), both on Spider House Records (Arild Brøter’s own label). “Directions” was even featured at PR&PM as “Best album release of March 2013”. With that positive feedback, Arild Brøter managed to gather together a live band to present the music of Pymlico in concerts. Since then, Pymlico has made presentations in festivals in Norway and Sweden (such as "Artrock in the City Park", in Lidköping) and arranged several concerts on their own. Pymlico’s last release was “Guiding Light” (2014, Spider House Records). As the preceding album, “Guiding Light” is a masterpiece of modern Prog-Rock, taking the listener on an amusing trip throughout 7 soaring instrumental tracks, with different emotional imprints. The music is soft, melodic, dynamic, eclectic, and inserted in an electronic ambience that houses sensitive tunes that spread out from weightless guitars, levitating synths and floating saxophones. The styles, moods, and influences are diverse, recalling me of bands of different branches of Prog-music, mainly of the Scandinavia region, such as “Bo Hansson”, “Samla Mammas Manna”, “Pekka Pohjola”, “Wigwam”, “Terje Rypdal”, “Isildur’s Bane”, “The Flower Kings”, “Kaipa”, “Karmakanic”, “Agents Of Mercy”; but also most classic bands, like “Camel”, “Genesis”, “Marillion”, “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”, “Clearlight”, “Gong”, “Focus”, and Electronic acts like “Tangerine Dream”, “Kraftwerk”, “E.S. Posthumus”, “Moby”, “Solaris”, but without copying any of them in particular. Tracks like “A Day Out” (3:52), “Sounds of the City” (6:43), and “Piz Gloria” (6:24), for instance, are all loaded with Electronic sounds and effects. Anyway, “A Day Out” combines that trend with intense and lively ethnical drumming which is typical of World Music; while “Sounds of the City” is like a danceable superposition of “Tangerine Dream” and “Kraftwerk”, delivered with a modern lounge-music swing that recalls “Moby”. Yet, on the amazing “Piz Gloria”, the Electronic support conveys a substantial layer of heavy, fast, and powerful guitars, bass, and drums reminiscent of a groovy “Porcupine Tree”, but having a cadenced final segment immersed in futuristic Space-Rock ambiences, driven by a psychedelic guitar solo in the style of “Pink Floyd”. Mostly focused on Oriental Music, tracks “Wanderlust” (5:40) and “Bobcat” (6:28) transmit different impressions to the listener. “Wanderlust” is dark and mysterious, has Turkish-Arabian percussion reminiscent of the sound of “Dead Can Dance”, and also recalls the score music of groups like “E.S. Posthumus”  and “Two Steps From Hell”, but spiced with some psychedelic flavors; while “Bobcat” – one of the album’s best - is energetic instead, being driven by heavy guitars and keyboards that amble along odd-metrical paths, recalling me of “Gong”, “King Crimson”, “Samla Mammas Manna”, “Karmakanic”, but also having a wonderful sequence of Classic-Prog andantes and harmonies that recall “Pekka Pohjola” and “Flower Kings”, with a dash of the Neo-Romantic beauty of “Focus” and “Kayak”. But the most rewarding tracks (regarding the conservative taste of orthodox Prog-fans) are “The East Side” (7:47), which combines Jazz-Fusion hovering drives and contemplative melodies inside a bowl of cosmic ambiences mixed to Neo-Prog motifs; and “Neptune” (13:48) – a precious closing track that is enveloped in bright colors, having soaring sax, space keyboards, and delicate guitars like “Genesis”, “Camel”, “Clearlight”, and “Pink Floyd” (mainly on the last part, that keeps a celestial ascension). After this shining “Guiding Light” album, Pymlico developed great prospects for 2015: the live line-up has solidified during the last two years, and is on the verge of becoming a permanent band. They are planning new shows and preparing the first recordings as a band, which will include: a digital EP featuring live material, videos for YouTube, and a fourth studio album. Stay tuned! Pymlico is a brilliant project, highly recommendable for fans of Symphonic Prog-Rock bands from Scandinavia, like “Bo Hansson”, “Samla Mammas Manna”, “Pekka Pohjola”, “Wigwam”, “Terje Rypdal”, “Isildur’s Bane”, “The Flower Kings”, “Kaipa”, “Karmakanic”, “Agents Of Mercy”, but also for fans of Classical & Electronic Progressive bands, like “Camel”, “Genesis”, “Marillion”, “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”, “Clearlight”, “Gong”, “Focus”, “Tangerine Dream”, “Kraftwerk”, “E.S. Posthumus”, “Two Steps From Hell”, “Solaris”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Pymlico are: Arild Brøter - Drums, Keyboards, and Acoustic Guitars; Øyvind Brøter - Organ, Piano, Additional Keyboards; Ivan Mazuze – Alto, Tenor & Soprano Saxophones; Even Kruse Skatrud - Trombone; Mattias Krohn Nilsen - Guitars; Geir-Anders Haugen - Guitars; Mads Tvinnerheim Horn - Guitars; Felix Martin - Guitars; Axel Toreg Reite - Bass; Knut Hillersøy - Piano; Einar Næss Haugseth - Electric Piano, Synthesizer; Julie Falkevik Tungevåg - Piano; Larry Salzman - Percussion, Suling Flute; Vilde Badendyck Katralen – Voice. Written, Arranged & Produced by Arild Brøter. Engineered & Recorded by Arild Brøter, Kristoffer Bonsaksen, Stian Storejorde, Øyvind Brøter, Larry Salzman, Felix Martin, & Even Kruse Skatrud. Recorded in Spider Room Studios (Oslo, Norway), Propeller Music Division (Oslo, Norway), Lydraffineriet (Asker, Norway), and other different home studios (Norway, USA, and Venezuela). Mixed by Arild Brøter at Spider Room Studios; Mastered by Rune Johansen at Lydmuren (Østfold, Norway). Cover photo by Vilde Badendyck Katralen; Artwork & Design by Colour Basement. Additional informatios visit Pymlico on  the Facebook page... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2015...............................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit PYMLICO HOME PAGE...
. STONED JESUS - "Seven Thunders Roar"
Stoned Jesus is a Stoner Rock trio from Kiev, Ukraine, consisting of Igor (vocals, guitars), Sid (bass), and Vadim (drums). Their discography includes the releases “First Communion” (2010), “Seven Thunders Roar” (March, 2012), “The Seeds, vol. I” (2013), and the latest work, entitled “Here Come the Robots” (April, 2014). Stoned Jesus is mainly influenced by a series of bands that belong to other rock branches, from Classic Rock to Grunge and Post-Rock & Metal, such as “Black Sabbath”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Nirvana”, “Pearl Jam”, “Alice In Chains”, “Tool”, “Neurosis”, “Rage Against the Machine”, “Deftones”, “Anekdoten”, “Drive Like Jehu”, “Opeth”, and “Mastodon”. But their retro-rock sonority is mostly reminiscent of “Black Sabbath’s” first albums, in special “Black Sabbath” and “Paranoid”, and other Psychedelic Hard Rock bands from the late ‘60s to early ‘70s (like “Budgie”, “Cactus”, “Edgar Broughton Band”), following the same line of modern Stoner-Doom and Psychedelic Stoner Rock acts like “Electric Wizard”, “Orange Goblin”, “Fu Manchu”, “Kyuss”, “The Melvins”, “Electric Moon”, and “Radio Moscow”. Stoned Jesus’ album on focus here is called “Seven Thunders Roar”, and it features 5 lengthy tracks. The predominance of distorted guitars and darkened guitar riffs are counterbalanced by a fatty bass sound, as the drums are maneuvered with the same heaviness and agility of original “Sabbath’s” drummer “Bill Ward”. The apparent stillness of first track “Bright Like The Morning” (8:40), driven by a distant and echoing vocal tune, is soon interrupted by a solid wall of Psychedelic-Stoner Rock riffs and lysergic guitar solos. The following track, “Electric Mistress” (9:20), is less soaring, however, and drops down from the air by the pulling action of extremely heavy, slow, and macabre riffs and drums, recalling the sound of early “Black Sabbath”, “Electric Wizard”, and “Orange Goblin”. As the distorted guitar solo goes on, dripping acid everywhere, the listener stays paralyzed, fulminated by the electrifying sound of the guitars and the ritualistic vocals. “Indian” (5:00), although having a lighter disposition that strangely recalled me of “Edgar Broughton Band”, has reserved a final segment with wild instrumentation that sounds like “Sabbath’s” first album, with guitar and bass dialogues, and wild jazz-rock drumming. The next song is “I'm The Mountain” (16:00) - the album’s masterpiece. A really trippy piece, it begins with acoustic guitars and melancholic vocals, and then it changes on the next instrumental sequence to a psychic Post-Rock, growing in intensity as the music and vocals continue to climb up the mountain side. The middle part arises with the rage of an avalanche, as the riffs turn stronger, the bass deeper, and the drums more defiant. The last four minutes of music are devoted to great instrumental passages, guitar solos, and the evolution of the rhythmic section, resulting in a Stoner epic that matches classics such as “Cream’s” “Tales of Brave Ulysses” and “Zeppelin’s” “Achilles Last Stand”. The last seconds of the song are spared for a vocal conclusion, which comprises the short poem-song “Headley Grange” (not credit as an individual song). The album finishes with the heavy Stoner-Doom song entitled “Stormy Monday” (8:40), which is driven by a riff that recalls me of “Electric Funeral”, by “Black Sabbath”. The song crawls slowly forwards, conveyed on “drunken” 60’s-styled vocal tunes and coiling guitar solos, until arriving to a cathartic end. This early album by Stoned Jesus really impressed me by its deep emotional content and by the high quality of the compositions. We hope to have more albums of this band reviewed here at PR&PM in the future, in special their last release: “Here Come the Robots”. For now, I shall strongly recommend Stoned Jesus to all lovers of Psychedelic-influenced Stoner Rock and Stoner-Doom who love the works of “Black Sabbath”, “Budgie”, “Cactus”, “Electric Wizard”, “Orange Goblin”, “Fu Manchu”, “Kyuss”, “The Melvins”, “Electric Moon”, “Radio Moscow”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Pearl Jam”, “Alice In Chains”, “Monster Magnet”, “Nirvana”, “Neurosis”, “Drive Like Jehu”, “Trouble”, “Cream”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Stoned Jesus are: Igor - Vocals, Guitars; Sid – Bass; Vadim - Drums. Album Recorded August-October 2011 on Destroy the Humanity Studios, Moscow, and Zvukocech, Kiev. Mixed by Anton, Sergey & Igor. Would you like listen some songs from the band visit Stone Jesus on BandCamp and on BigCartel too... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2015..............................................For more details and in the meantime please check out STONED JESUS HOME PAGE...
. ALDO PINELLI - "Suite Italiana"
Aldo Pinelli is welcomed at PR&PM once more! Aldo Pinelli is an Argentinean guitarist and composer who has been a regular member of Argentinean Prog-Rock band “Hábitat”. In 2002 he began a parallel solo career and released four albums: “Montanas, Bosques y Lagos” (2007), “Mantos y Tapices Sobrepuestos” (2009), “La Era de Melania” (2011), and “Temporada de Lluvias” (2012) - the last three were reviewed at PR&PM. “Suite Italiana” is Pinelli’s fifth album, and it was released in April 2013 under the independent Italian Record Label Lizard Records. “Suite Italiana” features 13 tracks (9 compositions + a suite in 4 parts), which have been mostly inspired on trips that Pinelli made around Italy in 2011, and in Villa de Merlo (San Luis Province, Argentina) in 2013. The line-up features Pinelli (vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards, bass, percussion), Paula Dolcera (cello), Silvia Pratolongo (percussion), and Roberto Sambrizzi (drums). As on Pinelli’s previous albums, the music of “Suite Italiana” is composed of songs and delicate instrumental pieces that follow the Electro-Acoustic format, being influenced by the French Impressionism and by the Celtic, Folk, and Medieval kinds of music. The sound has a resemblance with the acoustic side of Progressive bands like “Genesis”, “Camel”, “Jethro Tull”, “Gryphon”, “Steve Hackett”, “Steve Howe”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Anthony Phillips”, “Locanda delle Fate”, “Le Orme“, “PFM”, “Eris Pluvia”, “Ñu”, “Triana”, “Hábitat”, “Quaterna Réquiem”, and with Folk and Neo-Folk acts such as “Donovan”, “Steeleye Span”, “Clannad”, “Ataraxia”, “Faun”, “Estampie”, “Blackmore’s Night”, and “Astor Piazzolla”. The acoustic guitar is the predominant instrument, having support of different percussive instruments. Keyboards appear more often on this album than on the preceding ones, however, and wearing various textures. Other electric-generated sounds are restricted to a few electric guitar solos and some bass passages. Also differing from Pinelli’s previous albums, “Suite Italiana” has a higher amount of songs with vocals (with lyrics in Italian and Spanish), while the overall instrumentation lean a bit closer to the Progressive Rock stylistic. Most of those songs are concentrated on the first half of the record. The album opens with “Una Notte a Treviso” (2:59). Inspired in Italy, and sung in Italian, it has a strange tune, organs, and guitars that recalled me of early “Le Orme”. It is followed by the dramatic “Aquel Tiempo de Verano” (1:42), and later by the ecological and medieval “El Algarrobo Abuelo” (2:13) (a song inspired in Villa de Merlo). Both reveal a renovated preference of Pinelli by electric guitars and new keyboard experiments, and make a strong contrast with two other songs that are based only on acoustic guitar and vocals, so recalling Pinelli’s previous works: the melancholic and introspective “El Castillo Interior” (2:27); and the nostalgic “Hojas Secas” (2:08) (my favorite). The higher concentration of songs on the first half of the album is rather balanced with two excellent instrumental pieces: track 3 – “Las Nubes y las Sierras” (2:44) (an eerie and gloomy piece also inspired in Villa de Merlo); and track 5 – “El Combate de Obligado (Versión Instrumental)” (3:12), a Medieval-Progressive piece. But Pinelli concentrates his best compositional efforts on the last three instrumental tracks of his new album: the surprising “Encuentro Posible entre Piazzolla y Fripp”, and the two Italian-inspired pieces, “Misterios del Mediterráneo” and “Suite Italiana”. “Encuentro Posible entre Piazzolla y Fripp” (5:00) is an intriguing piece performed by a whole instrumental Prog-Rock ensemble (consisting of guitars, keyboards, bass, and drums) that explores the musical possibilities of an imaginary meeting between “Robert Fripp” on guitar and “Astor Pazzolla” on his bandoneon (the sound of which has been simulated by keyboards). “Misterios del Mediterráneo” (3:59) is full of mystery, being driven by acoustic guitars that deliver eerie sounds, but sometimes accelerate to a kind of Mediterranean dance, as creepy sounds of sirens stay calling. Finally, “Suite Italiana” is an ambitious suite divided in four parts: the first three parts are inspired in Italian cities; the fourth is a coda dedicated to Loris Furlan (executive of Lizard Records), and family. "Part “I) Roma” (4:23) is imposing, driven by neo-classic acoustic guitars and cello; “II) Firenze” (2:59) is pastoral on the guitar, and has the Medieval airs of “Gryphon”, “Steve Hackett”, “Anthony Phillips”, and “Quaterna Réquiem”, including keyboard adornments and violins; “III) Venezia” (6:00) is initially pervaded by a feeling of sadness, getting lively with the coming of Arabian rhythms and oriental tunes played on the electric guitar; and “Coda (Famiglia Furlan)” (2:59) combines different keyboard textures with electric guitars, proving that Pinelli is in search of new musical paths. An active musician who is always innovating and refining his music, Aldo Pinelli stays highly recommendable for fans of Medieval, Celtic, Folk and Neo-Folk, Electro-Acoustic Music, and soft Progressive Music, as performed by “Genesis”, “Camel”, “Jethro Tull”, “Gryphon”, “Steve Hackett”, “Steve Howe”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Anthony Phillips”, “Locanda delle Fate”, “Le Orme“, “PFM”, “Eris Pluvia”, “Ñu”, “Triana”, “Hábitat”, “Quaterna Réquiem”, “Donovan”, “Steeleye Span”, “Clannad”, “Ataraxia”, “Faun”, “Estampie”, “Sava”, “Blackmore’s Night”, “Astor Piazzolla”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Aldo Pinelli are: Aldo Pinelli – Nylon Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Percussion, Vocals; Paula Dolcera – Cello; Silvia Pratolongo – Percussion; Roberto Sambrizzi - Drums. Recorded by Aldo Pinelli at Estudio Melania (2011-2012); by Alejandro Belmonte at Estudio 2.21 (2012); and by Guido Aimar assisted by Juan Gallinger at Tolestudio (Dec. 2012). Mixed by Sebastián Durán & Aldo Pinelli at Tolestudio (Oct 2012); and by Alejandro Belmonte & Aldo Pinelli at Estudio 2.21 (Dec. 2012 – Feb 2013); Mastered by Alejandro Belmonte at Estudio 2.21 (March 2013). Album Produced by A. Pinelli, Co-Produced by Lizard Records... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2015.......................Interested to know more about this great musician and his projcts? Visit ALDO PINELLI HOME PAGE...
. SÉRGIO FERRAZ - "A Sublime Ciência & O Soberano Segredo"
Sérgio Ferraz is welcomed back to PR&PM! Sérgio Ferraz is a Brazilian violinist and composer from the state of Pernambuco, who has been one of the pioneers in the employment of the electric violin in Brazilian music. He has contributed with writer “Ariano Suassuna” and musician “Antônio Madureira”, two luminaries of the Northeastern Brazilian cultural movement known as “Movimento Armorial”. In 2001 Sérgio Ferraz founded the instrumental outfit “Sonoris Fabrica”, with one CD released. He also released the independent album “Segundo Romançário” (2010), in partnership with “Antônio Madureira”; and two solo CDs: “Danc¸ando Aos Pe´s De Shiva” (“Dancing at Shiva’s Feet”, 2010), reviewed at PR&PM in Oct. 2014, and “A Sublime Ciência & O Soberano Segredo” (“The Sublime Science & The Supreme Secret”, 2013). The music of Sérgio Ferraz features an original and cosmopolitan blend of Traditional Northeastern Brazilian Music with exogenous genres (Jazz, Oriental, Iberian and Minimalistic Music, Progressive, Psychedelic and Space Rock), which he calls “Brazilian Northeastern Fusion” – a personal style that isolates him from other Northeastern musicians (“Airto Moreira”, “Hermeto Pascoal”, “Zé Ramalho”, “Alceu Valença”, “Geraldo Azevedo”, and “Antônio Nobrega”). On his second album, “A Sublime Ciência & O Soberano Segredo” (“The Sublime Science & The Supreme Secret”), Sérgio Ferraz advances a few steps farther in his cosmopolitan style without missing his Brazilian identity. It is the amazing work of percussionist Jerimum de Olinda, now assisted by Gustavo Ferraz (bass, piano), that prevents Sérgio Ferraz from flying too much, always keeping a link with the dry earth of the arid environment, typical of the Northeastern Brazil, and cradle of many rhythms. From this environment Sérgio Ferraz and friends extract the raw energy that makes their music to sound so interesting: primitive and sophisticated at the same time. This apparent contradiction is superbly solved within the musical sphere, warranting to Sérgio Ferraz a place among iconic violin-oriented groups, such as “Jean-Luc Ponty”, “Curved Air”, and Brazilians “Sagrado Coração da Terra”, “Quaterna Réquiem”, “Wiermann & Vogel”. The album on focus here - “A Sublime Ciência & O Soberano Segredo” (“The Sublime Science & The Supreme Secret”) - has excellent production, containing 10 instrumental tracks and a booklet embellished with artistic drawings. I found “The Sublime Science …” to be better than “Dancing at Shiva’s…”. As on the first album, the violin dominates the melodic space, hovering over different traditional rhythms, having a bottom anchorage of great bass lines and a background layer of synthesizers that create an electronic-futuristic ambience that is really timeless. But the minimalist mood has been often replaced by stronger and more dramatic performances, and the integration of the violin with the opulent rhythmic section has improved a lot. Track one, “O Caminho Iniciático” (“The Esoteric Path)”, 2:39, is an eerie and transcendental piece enveloped in a kind of “breathing” sound that introduces the title track “A Sublime Ciência e o Soberano Segredo” (“The Sublime Science and the Supreme Secret”, 17:10). As the album’s main piece, “A Sublime…” is lengthy, and combines Northeastern Brazilian rhythms and trippy violins with Space-Rock drives, spiced with Kraut-Rock synths, representing the unique “Brazilian Northeastern Fusion” style as engendered by Sergio Ferraz. This piece is supplemented by track 9, “A Sublime Ciência Parte 2” (“The Sublime Science, Part 2”, 7:26), which is slower and has a dash of Arabian music on it. The potential and refinement of the “Brazilian Northeastern Fusion” are also greatly explored on “A Grande Batalha de Arjuna” (“The Great Battle of Arjuna”, 8:20), which brings subtle changes of rhythm and mood, and a superb dialogue between violin and bass. Other examples are the pulsing tracks: “Zumbi” (6:53) (“Zumbi” was a libertarian leader of the Afro-Brazilian slaves), which brings Jazz-Rock violins on the forefront and African rhythms and synths on the background; “Ventos Solares” (“Solar Winds”, 4:21), which combines an adventurous violin theme with cosmic synths, lively percussion and progressive uplifting bass, transmitting a sensation of freedom; and “Xaxado Eletroacústico” (“Electro-Acoustic Xaxado”, 5:08), which offers an advanced view of the “Xaxado” – one of the oldest Northeastern dances. The remaining tracks are soaring and calming, revealing the sensitive and transcendental sides of Sérgio Ferraz: “O Conselho de Krishna” (“Krishna’s Advice”, 3:08) supports a beautiful violin tune on a New-Age rhythmic base; “Lamento” (“Lament”, 8:26) has a majestic mid-tempo cadence conveying a melancholic violin solo with gypsy airs; and “Deus dos Ventos” (“God of the Winds”, 4:59), just with violin and piano, is an introspective Classical piece. Brilliant and original, the music of Sérgio Ferraz will sound exotic and familiar to foreign listeners, being highly recommended for Progressive, Fusion, and World Music fans who love violin-oriented music but are willing for something as exciting as, but different from: “Jean-Luc Ponty”, “Curved Air”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Eddie Jobson”, “Kansas”, “Arti & Mestieri”, “PFM”, “Sagrado Coração da Terra”, “Quaterna Réquiem”, “Wiermann & Vogel”, “Pell Mell” and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Sérgio Ferraz are: Sergio Ferraz - Electric Violin, Synthesizers, Loops, Compositions and Arrangements; Jerimum de Olinda - Assorted Percussion; Gustavo Ferraz - Bass and Piano. Produced by Sérgio Ferraz, Executive Production by Bebeth Andrade Lima for Zeppelin Fábrica de Sonhos. Recorded and Mixed by André Oliveira at “Estúdio Muzak” (Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil); Photos by Chico Porto; Art by Gustavo Buckhardt; Graphic Layout by “Estúdio Visio”... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2015.....................................Interested to know more about this brazilian musician? Visit SÉRGIO FERRAZ HOME PAGE...
. DERDIAN - "Human Reset"
Derdian is a Symphonic Power-Metal band born in 1998 in Milan, Italy. The present line-up features Ivan Giannini (vocals), Marco Garau (keyboards), Enrico Pistolese (guitars, backing vocals), Dario Radaelli (lead guitars), Marco Banfi (bass), and Salvatore Giordano (drums). After the two demos, “Revenge” (2001) and “Incitement” (2003), the band signed with Steelheart Records and released their debut album, “New Era pt.1?" (2005). In 2006 Derdian moved to the American label Magna Carta and released the continuation of the saga on the albums “New Era pt.2 - War of the Gods” (2007) and “New Era pt.3 - The Apocalypse” (2010). In 2013 Derdian left the fantasy genre behind and shifted to most current issues related to human society. The album “Limbo” (2013) was the outcome of that new thematic approach. It had such a good reception internationally, that was even distributed in the East via Japanese Spiritual Beast. Derdian’s fifth album is titled “Human Reset” (July 2014, self-produced). “Human Reset” offers an assemblage of 13 tracks that might represent the best of Derdian’s repertory so far. The music of Derdian is a powerful combination of heavy guitar riffs and savage drumming with symphonic orchestrations adorned with neo-classic solos played on guitars and keyboards. Derdian’s influences congregate some iconic bands that settled the foundations of the Symphonic Power-Metal subgenre, namely “Manowar”, “Malmsteen”, “Helloween”, “Rhapsody of Fire”, “Stratovarius”, “Sonata Arctica”, “Angra”, “Blind Guardian”, and “Symphony X”. Derdian’s sonority also has a great resemblance with bands like “Silver Mountain”, “Adagio”, “Nocturnal Rites”, “Wuthering Heights”, “Dark Moore”, and others (see below). In addition, Derdian has always been one of the main Power-Metal bands playing this style in Italy, together with the aforementioned “Rhapsody”, plus “Secret Sphere”, “Vision Divine”, “Luca Turilli”, “Daniele Liverani” (of “Genius” and “Twinspirits”), and followed by new bands such as “HellCircles” and “Etherna”. The album “Human Reset” opens with the instrumental “Eclipse” (1:14) – a symphonic intro for “Human Reset” (5:52). The title track is a Symphonic Power-Metal standard - thundering, epic, and destroying - that features two kinds of vocals (one jovial and melodic, the other, potent and aggressive). This enthralling start showcases a band on the apex of the career: the songs are played with vigor, panache, and extraordinary technical precision. The symphonic arrangements are overloaded with classical themes and pervaded with either a sense of majesty, or a “Mozartian” feeling of joy. That “Mozartian” inspiration becomes evident on songs like “In Everything” (6:16) (a cadenced, but still very melodic song recalling “Adagio” and “Dark Moore”, with English and Italian lyrics); “These Rails Will Bleed” (2:48) (Neo-Classical and accelerated, like “Stratovarius”); and the supreme “Music is Life” (6:25) – an awesome song driven by vocals with the same interpretative skills of “Wuthering Heights” and “Time Requiem”, interspersed with interludes for classical pianos, baroque harpsichords, and bass continuum; ending in ascending waves of operatic choirs. To avoid saturation of the music with Baroque excesses, Derdian bows to the rocky pragmatism on “Write Your Epitaph” (4:08): a sarcastic song of victory delivered with a Metal punch that recalled me of “Accept”, but having high-pitched shouts. But the best carnage that Derdian unleashes over the listener comes from “Mafia” (6:40) (a song that is as violent as a Thrash-Metal, having great groovy guitars and compatible annihilating synths); and “Absolute Power” (5:26), which has a touch of “Jason Becker” on guitars, followed by malevolent vocals (again, in English and Italian), catching the listener immediately. The “fast locomotive” pace of the rhythmic section and the amazing solos “à la Paganini” hold the listener on his seat from beginning to end. Surpassing this furious wave, the neo-romantic mellowness of “After The Storm” (4:57) (a Metal ballad in the format of “Scorpions” and “Stratovarius”, crowned with sensitive guitar solo) is the starting point for an epic ascension, as it had been announced on the previous track “Gods Don’t Give A Damn” (5:44) – a song cradled in a fantastic double-riff (with the piano counterbalancing the guitar) and delivering awesome solos of guitar and synths. Derdian’s final flight begins with “Alone” (7:23), driven by complex riffs sided by shivering operatic choirs and having breathtaking instrumental sequences with guitar and synths verging the Prog-Metal standard; and reaches the climax on “Delirium” (1:14), an instrumental neo-classical intro for “My Life Back” (6:31). This later is a magnum opus driven by superb vocals and ultra-symphonic instrumental passages, being enveloped in a dramatic theatrical atmosphere that only the Symphonic Power-Metal style can transmit to the listener! Derdian’s “Human Reset” is an imposing and impressive album, possibly the band’s masterpiece, being highly recommended for fans of “Rhapsody Of Fire”, “Stratovarius”, “Manowar”, “Malmsteen”, “Helloween”, “Sonata Arctica”, “Angra”, “Blind Guardian”, “Symphony X”, “Adagio”, “Edguy”, “Nocturnal Rites”, “Dark Moore”, “Elegy”, “Wuthering Heights”, “Freedom Call”, “Gamma Ray”, “Silver Mountain”, “Time Requiem”, “Luca Turilli”, “Secret Sphere”, “Vision Divine”, “Daniele Liverani”, “Genius Opera”, “Twinspirits”, “Almah”, “Avantasia”, “Astral Doors”, “HammerFall”, “Lost Horizon”, “Morifade”, “Revolution Renaissance”, “Kotipelto”, “HellCircles”, “Etherna”, “VirtueL”, “Zonata”, “Azazello”, an so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Derdian are: Ivan Giannini – Vocals, Lyrics; Marco Banfi – Bass; Marco Garau – Keyboards; Enrico Pistolese – Guitars, Backing Vocals; Dario Radaelli – Lead Guitars; Salvatore Giordano – Drums. Produced by Derdian; All songs written and arranged by Derdian. Derdian Recorded at Star Studio, Ivan Giannini Recorded at Ivancube Studio; Mixed and Mastered at Moonhouse Studio by Danilo Di Lorenzo. Artwork concept by Derdian; Cover Illustration by Mauricio Javier González Guzmán... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2015................................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit DERDIAN HOME PAGE...
. ANDRÉ PERIM - "D’Água"
André Perim is a Brazilian composer, pianist and keyboardist from Rio de Janeiro. His music has an experimental nature that attempts to combine the sacred rhythms of Afro-Brazilian heritage (present in religious cults of African origin, like Umbanda and Candomblé) with the experimentation mood of the 70`s Progressive and Psychedelic Rock. “D’Água” (2014, independent release) is the debut album of André Perim (organ, piano, synths, PVC-phone, percussion), and counts with help of guest musicians Wellington Soares (percussion), Rodrigo Sebastian (bass), Pedro Mazzillo (electric guitar), João Pellegrino (acoustic guitar), and João Pedro de Lima Junior (Theremin).. “D’Água” (a Portuguese expression that either means “from water”, or “of water”) is a mini-CD containing 8 short instrumental tracks. The music sporadically recalls the works of other Brazilian musicians and groups of the Experimental, Progressive and Brazilian Jazz scenes, such as “Wagner Tiso”, “Egberto Gismonti”, “Som Nosso de Cada Dia”, “Som Imaginário”, “Flavio Venturini”, “Sagrado Coração da Terra”, “Alpha III”, “Uakti”, “Cesar Camargo Mariano”, “Tom Jobim”, “Francis Hime”, “Ivan Lins”; having a slight contamination of British experimental icons such as “Pink Floyd” and “King Crimson”. The first three tracks of “D’Água” – namely “Babel” (2:51), “Canoa” (4:10), and “Umbigada” (3:55) – have the stronger influences of Afro-Brazilian rhythms, conducted by the great percussionist Wellington Soares, whose work recalls me of the sonority of Brazilian experimental group “Uakti”). If on “Babel” the Afro beats are vivid and closely accompanied by Perim’s jazzy pianos (recalling the partnership of “Egberto Gismonti” and “Naná Vasconcelos” on the seminal album “Dança das Cabeças”), on “Canoa”, those African rhythms are fused to a somewhat New- Age matrix generated by Progressive sounding synths, creating a contemplative atmosphere and evoking the image of the “canoa” (“canoe”) floating slowly, down the river. On “Umbigada” (3:55), the rhythms are directly taken from the Afro-Brazilian dance known as “Capoeira”, disguised on 60’s psychedelic colors by a cheerful sound of organ reminiscent of a vintage Farfisa. The same texture of keyboard will be also employed on track 7, “Aqualouco” (2:07), a playful and cartoonish piece on which the keyboards and electric pianos seem to be dancing in Brazilian Carnival. The grand piano is the solo instrument on the beautiful track 5, “Outono” (4:10), a classic and romantic piece that could have been part of the repertoire of “Ivan Lins” or “Francis Hime”; and is the main instrument on the fast and adventurous track 6, “Mapa Mundi” (2:46) – leading different kinds of keyboards on a Jazz-Fusion piece that sounds like “Cesar Camargo Mariano” and “Rick Wakeman” combo. Under a Progressive point of view, the best tracks are track 4, “Orinoco” (5:16), which begins with sounds of Nature and goes forward in a Progressive vein, recalling “Sagrado Coração da Terra” and “Flavio Venturini”, and being embellished by jazzy electric pianos, psychedelic organs, soaring guitars, and a cosmic Theremin; and the last track, “Vento Lunar” (4:11), which brings rhythms of Northeastern Brazil on bass and percussion, conveyed on a floating mattress of keyboards that fly to the same cosmic thresholds inhabited by “Pink Floyd” and “King Crimson”. For my taste, the music of André Perim still lacks a main theme to conduct the music. He could risk going bolder on his next release, by bringing in more musicians to the project, working with them on the main themes, and maybe he could also test some vocals (a female voice would be a great contribution). Although not so bombastic or impacting, the music of André Perim contains an exogenous element that will attract curiosity of the listeners abroad, and will also satisfy the most contemplative listener. André Perim is specially recommended for fans of soft Progressive and New Age blended to Brazilian Jazz and Ethnic rhythms, who like “Wagner Tiso”, “Egberto Gismonti”, “Som Nosso de Cada Dia”, “Som Imaginário”, “Flavio Venturini”, “Sagrado Coração da Terra”, “Alpha III”, “Uakti”, “Cesar Camargo Mariano”, “Tom Jobim”, “Francis Hime”, “Ivan Lins”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”. Band members and collaborators involved in André Perim are: André Perim – Organ, Piano, Synths, PVC-phone (2, 4), Percussion (2); Wellington Soares – Percussion (1, 2, 3, 8); Rodrigo Sebastian – Bass (3, 8); Pedro Mazzillo – Electric Guitar (4); João Pellegrino – Acoustic Guitar (8); João Pedro de Lima Junior – Theremin (4). All songs composed by André Perim, except “Outono”, by Leandro Braga. Recorded in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, between 2013-2014. Percussion recorded at Base A Studio. Acoustic piano recorded by Léo Ribeiro. Mixed & Mastered by Bruno Scantamburlo, Dharma Studios. PVC-Phone produced and customized by Itiberê Andrade... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2015..................................................,.....Interested to know more about the musician? Visit ANDRÉ PERIM HOME PAGE...
. ETHERFYSH - "Stasis"
Etherfysh is an Electronic Music project held by Chris Christou, a musician that lives in Hastings, East Sussex (U.K.). Christou has always been fascinated for Electronic Music. As a child, he was exposed to several “Tangerine Dream’s” albums, especially “Zeit”, “Phaedra”, and “Stratosphere”, all of which have deeply impressed him. Christou spent much of his youth exploring new music and saving for his first synth purchase: a kit built string machine and Korg MS10. As he increased his collection of instruments, he also experimented and refined his music. Christou realized that when inspiration came to him, he felt like as he was capturing ideas that were coming out from the ether, like a swimming fish in motion. Hence, he christened the name Etherfysh for his musical project, which is an amalgamation of those two words. The available discography of Etherfysh comprises few CD’s: “Box of Fysh” (2005), "Stasis" (2006), and an album entitled "On Your Way Home" (limited edition of 150 numbered and signed copies), which are only available from the Etherfysh website or at CD Baby and other outlets (such as Groove, CD Services, Aural Innovations, Eurock). Etherfysh makes a dreamy and downtempo form of Electronic Music that combines the styles of the Berlin School with New Age, Ambient, and a dash of Jazz. Christou is mainly inspired by early Electronic pioneers, like “Tangerine Dream”, “Klaus Schulze”, “Vangellis”, “Ash Ra Tempel”, and “Tim Blake”; and by less obvious artists, such as “Joe Zawinul” (“Weather Report”). Other musical references may include “Brian Eno”, “Jean-Michel Jarre”, and “Patrick O'Hearn”. Christou is a follower of “Klaus Schulze's” concept of “Picture Music” – for him, the sounds of synthesizers have always evoked images inside his mind, imprinting sensations and provoking emotions. And that is the same experience that Christou wants to transmit to any listener who has contact with the music of Etherfysh. The album on focus here is “Stasis” (2006, Eclectic Mountain Records). It contains 7 totally instrumental tracks that are based on a single concept: if an astronaut became separated from his spacecraft and then drifted away through space, after the initial feelings of fear, panic, and resignation for his fate had been finally overcome, which kind of thoughts and visions would he experience alone, inside his flotation tank? To answer that question, Etherfysh started the album with “Orbit” (8:40), which represents the spacecraft being launched and reaching the outer space fueled by a sequence of electronic beats and propelled by cosmic melodies. “Stasis” (7:49) is the moment that precedes the drama, and is characterized by angelical and relaxing Ambient sounds. “Separation” (5:47) is dramatic and emotionally deep – marked by frightening and haunting sounds and alien noises, it sometimes recalls the style of “Tangerine Dream”. “Refraction” (4:39) leans a bit more to the New-Age genre, having dropping notes of piano that induce a contemplative state on the listener, transmitting a relaxing sensation that defeats the deep sense of despair reported on the previous track. “Gan Eden” (13:02) combines a stronger rhythmic pattern with a religious aura that emanates from subtle melodies that float around, similar to a church organ. As the music goes on, it becomes more rhythmic, producing hypnotic trippy effects on the listener. “Seraphim” (9:47) – the very track in my opinion – has two different moments. In the beginning, it sounds with a dash of Symphonic Progressive on it, brought in by grandiose levitating tunes that move outwards, forming ample circles of waving music that echoes like a soundtrack for the “dawn of mankind” (and recalled me of the band “Echo Us”). The next moment of this piece is marked by the sudden rising of a lively sequence of electronic beats, which convey ethnical rhythms and silken synth melodies, resembling a mix of modern electronic lounge-music with Trip-Hop. The astronaut’s journey ends on the lengthy “Last Flight” (20:46): again, a piece consisting of two different parts. The first half is dominated by cosmic echoing sounds having a frightening deep-sound on the background, evoking the image of a black-hole. Some angelical sounds appear, like spotlights on the dark cosmic mantle, announcing a changing of mood, from fear to a profound introspectiveness. The second half symbolizes the death of the astronaut, and is characterized by a series of bubbling sounds and shimmering light-flashing sounds that arise everywhere, at random, until the sound is concentrated in a huge mass of atoms that agglutinate in primordial molecules, as if the astronaut’s soul was witnessing the creation of the universe. I could imagine this story just listening to the impressive music of “Stasis”. Play this album as a background for movies such as “2001” and “Gravity”, and you will realize the imaginary and emotional powers that Etherfysh may cause on the listener. Etherfysh is highly recommended for fans of Electronic acts such as “Tangerine Dream”, “Klaus Schulze”, “Vangellis”, “Ash Ra Tempel”, “Tim Blake”, “Brian Eno”, “Jean-Michel Jarre”, “Patrick O'Hearn”, “Echo Us”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Etherfysh are: Chris Christou – All Synthesizers (Kawai: K1r & K1m, Korg N1r, Yamaha MU80, Evolution EVS1, Pro53, FM7, Absynth, Cubase SX, Wavelab, Soundforge). Album Recorded at Noetic Sound in July 2005. Mixed & Mastered at Resurrection Sound Kitchen in September 2005, except “Last Flight”, which was recorded live to 2-track at Noetic Sound in June 2005; Composed, Performed & Produced by Chris Christou, June to September 2005; Recording & Mixing Engineered by Tim White, with harassment from The Fysh; Album Artwork by Ed Unitsky and Nick Head... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2015...........................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit ETHERFYSH HOME PAGE...
. EVENLINE - "Dear Morpheus"
Evenline is an Alternative Rock & Metal band that was born in 2009 near to Paris, France. The line-up consists of Aarno Gueziec (vocals), Fabrice Tedaldi (guitar), Thomas Jaegle (bass) and Olivier Stefanelli (drums). After releasing a debut EP entitled "The Coming Life" in 2010, and performing as an opening act for “Alter Bridge” in Luxembourg in 2011, Evenline entered the studio to record the first full-length album, entitled “Dear Morpheus” (2014, Dooweet Records). Evenline offers to the listener a heavy and exciting blend of Alternative Rock & Metal with elements of New-Metal, Grunge, and Thrash, having influences of many bands, mainly “Pearl Jam”, “Creed”, “Alter Bridge”, “Metallica”, “Nickelback”, and “Breaking Benjamin”, but also “Killswitch Engage”, “Machine Head”, “Mudvayne”, “Deftones”, “Soundgarden”, “Foo Fighters”, “Novembers Doom”, “Symphorce”, “Alice In Chains”, “Stone Temple Pilots”, “Three Days Grace”, “Black Stone Cherry”, “Sevendust”, “Staind”, “Submersed”, “Shinedown”, “Daughtry”, “Bukowski”, “The Milton Incident”, “Hell of a Ride”, and more. Evenline is a pragmatic band that has no time to loose and goes straight to the point – attacking the listener without making prisoners. The music is heavy, solid, compact, and dynamic, based on powerful and awesome riffs, thundering bass and drums, a few solos and keyboards (courtesy of additional musician Benjamin Terrier). All is driven by the voice of Aarno Gueziec - a talented lyricist and singer who sounds basically as “Scott Stapp” of “Creed” and “Eddie Vedder” of “Pearl Jam”. “Dear Morpheus” contains 11 tracks. My favorites are those that are more aggressive, having the highest Heavy Metal contents, mainly featuring outstanding guitar riffs. Best examples are “Misunderstood” (4:53) – an electrified and powerful opening track that immediately hooks the listener with its guitar work, contagious heavy rhythms and outstanding vocal performance, also having the merit of presenting keyboards and a guitar solo (overall recalling me of “Symphorce”); and “Insomnia” (3:51), which is groovy as hell, concentrating on its riffs all the aggressiveness and rebellion of the world, sounding like a reunion of “Metallica”, “Alice In Chains”, “Mudvayne” and “Killswitch Engage”. The fast and thrashing “Hard to Breathe” (3:45) includes an adequately fast guitar solo, and will be appreciated by fans of old “Metallica”, “Symphorce”, and “Machine Head”; while “Without You” (4:24) and “Judgment Day” (4:03) will conquer the fans of “Creed”, “Alice In Chains”, and “Pearl Jam”,  mainly because of the groovy guitar riffs and vocals. Best track of all is the title track “Dear Morpheus” (7:07), a Prog-Metal song that goes through different changes of mood, having influences of “Alter Bridge”, “Novembers Doom”, and “Soundgarden”. But Evenline is not a band that survives only on the most basic instincts. Showing to be connected with the new trends and conscious that they are part of a new generation of bands that play music rooted on the 90s to 2000s, they amplified their influences to gather together larger audiences. Evenline has so included some tracks on the album that are more accessible, having influences of Alternative Rock, in the format of “Nickelback” and “Breaking Benjamin”, like the half-ballad “A Letter To A Grave” (5:32); the AOR formatted “Over and Over” (3:28); and the slightly melancholic “You Should Have Left Me” (4:10), which grows in heaviness later, emphasizing the chorus, as a blend of “Creed” and “Soundgarden”. The ballads are represented on this album by “Already Gone” (4:49), and the best of all, “Eternal Regrets” (4:22), an impeccable ballad that begins unplugged, is supported by string arrangements, and changes intensity as it progresses to the end – a “Pearl Jam”/”Creed” standard that closes this album with an extra touch of sensibility. Evenline is an impressive and impetuous band that is ready to conquer the world, having potential to stand side by side with bands such as “Pearl Jam”, “Creed”, “Alter Bridge”, “Metallica”, “Nickelback”, “Breaking Benjamin”, “Soundgarden”, “Killswitch Engage”, “Alice In Chains”,  “Machine Head”, “Deftones”, “Mudvayne”, “Foo Fighters”, “Novembers Doom”, “Three Days Grace”, “Black Stone Cherry”, “Bukowski”, “Sevendust”, “Staind”, “Submersed”, “Shinedown”, “Daughtry”, “The Milton Incident”, “Hell of a Ride”, “Symphorce”, being highly recommendable for all their fans. Band members and collaborators involved in Evenline are: Arnaud Gueziec - Lead Vocals, Lyrics; Fabrice Tedaldi - Guitar & Backing Vocals; Thomas Jaegle - Bass & Backing Vocals; Olivier Stefanelli – Drums. Additional Musician: Benjamin Terrier – Keyboards & Programming on “Misunderstood”, “Insomnia”, “Judgment Day” & “Dear Morpheus”; Guillaume Roussel – String Arrangements on “Eternal Regrets”. All songs by Fabrice Tedaldi & Arnaud Gueziec. Produced, Recorded & Mixed by Jim Dewailly at Twin Studios, Paris, France; assisted by Kevin Germain & Benjamin Terrier. Mastered by Tom Baker at Baker Mastering, California, U.S.A. Co-Produced & Arranged by Evenline.Would like chck some cool vudeos, please go to Youtube... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2015...............................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit EVENLINE HOME PAGE...
. FUZZLY - "Vol. II"
Fuzzly is a Brazilian Rock band from the city of Cuiabá, state of Mato Grosso, which since 2001 has been storming the audiences with their own brand of Stoner Rock, Desert Rock, Psychedelic Space Rock, and Stoner Doom. Fuzzly’s line-up consists of Dark Jordão (guitar and vocals), Rodrigo Mendes (bass), and Rafael Arruda (drums). The band has a series of releases, on both digital and physical formats, comprising:  “Fuzzly” (EP, 2003); “Middle of Nothing” (EP, 2004); “Like A Flame Of Vulcaine” (Album, 2006); “VinceFuzzlyBuz” (split album with “Vincebuz” band, 2011); “Live” (2012); “Void” (Single, 2013); and “Vol. II” (2014). The music of Fuzzly is heavy, sluggish, crude, and primitive, sounding like distorted iron and smelling like burnt metal. The band combines elements of early Heavy Metal, Psychedelic Rock, and Doom, delivered on slow tempos by exploding fuzzy guitars, groovy waves of bottom bass-sounds, acid drumming, and depressive stoned vocals, surrounded by dense atmospheres loaded with lysergic clouds. The influences and resemblances are bands like early “Black Sabbath”, “Blue Cheer”, “Hawkwind”, “Trouble”, “Electric Wizard”, “Bongzilla”, “Weedeater”, “High on Fire”, “Acid King”, “Acrimony”, “Kyuss”, “Brant Bjork”, “Cathedral”, “Colour Haze”, “Corrosion of Conformity”, “Fu Manchu”, “The Melvins”, “The Mushroom River Band”, “The Obsessed”, “Orange Goblin”, “Red Fang”, “Sleep”, “Witchcraft”, and their likes. Fuzzly’s album on focus here is “Vol. II”, their second studio album that was released in August, 2014 on both Digipack and Compact Disc versions. “Vol. II” is a mini LP containing 6 tracks. “Ashes” (04:44) is a great opening track that brings strong influences of early “Black Sabbath” and “Electric Wizard” on the heavy guitar riffs, being farther decorated with free-flowing guitar solos; being matched only by “Void” (03:19), driven by another “Sabbathic” riff that echoes in the dungeons of the mind, guided by moribund vocals. Yet, the bass-driven “Swimming Inside” (04:41) is slow and tribal, being rich in textures and effects. The distorted and lysergic guitars act like a powerful acid rock that dissolves the fabric of reality, as stoned vocals cry for a pledge. Those three tracks are interspersed on the record by two short instrumental tracks called “In” (03:18) and “Out” (02:40). “In” (03:18) features fuzzy guitars and echoing effects that float through trippy, psychedelic, atmospheres, producing a sensation of numbness; while “Out” (02:40) is more vivid, rolling dry like a Desert Rock with a Spanish vein. The mini LP finishes with “Sea Of Mars” (07:59) – a Space and Psychedelic Stoner Rock that drops acid from beginning to end, being surrounded by inter-cosmic sounds, and bombarded by solar winds and low-frequency waves coming from the darkest black-holes. Coming out directly from the guts of Brazil, Fuzzly is specially recommended for fans of Psychedelic Stoner Rock in the format of early “Black Sabbath”, “Electric Wizard”, “Blue Cheer”, “Hawkwind”, “Trouble”, “Fu Manchu”, “Goatsnake”, “Acid King”, “Corrosion of Conformity”, “Colour Haze”, “Cathedral”, “Acrimony”, “The Atomic Bitchwax”, “Kyuss”, “Brant Bjork”, “Dozer”, “Hermano”, “Karma to Burn”, “Los Natas”, “Lowrider”, “The Melvins”, “Mondo Generator”, “Monster Magnet”, “The Mushroom River Band”, “The Obsessed”, “Orange Goblin”, “Queens of the Stone Age”, “Red Fang”, “Sleep”, “Slo Burn”, “Solace”, “The Sword”, “Unida”, “Witchcraft”, “Wolfmother” and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Fuzzly are: Dark Jordão – Guitar, Vocals; Rodrigo Mendes – Bass; Rafael Arruda – Drums. Produced by Aero Studio, Cuiabá/MT, Brazil. Recorded in 2013 at Aero Studio; Mixed by Welliton Moraes; Mastered by Gabriel Zander at Estúdio Superfuzz. All songs by Fuzzly. Artwork by Nikita Kaun... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2015...................................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit FUZZLY HOME PAGE...
. ETHERNA - "Forgotten Beholder"
Etherna is a Progressive-Power-Metal band hailing from Pisa, Italy. Etherna was founded in 2006 by brothers Alessio and Alessandro Lucatti (keyboards and guitar, respectively). They recruited their friends Davide Mei (bass) and Giacomo Boschetto (vocals), and were joined by Francesco Micieli (Empoli-based drummer). With this formation, Etherna made many shows in Pisa and released an eponymous first album: "Etherna" (2008, Underground Symphony). In January 2008, the rhythm section departed, and it took months for Etherna to recompose the line-up with drummer Matteo Amoroso (ex “Vision Divine”, “Eldritch”, “Athena”), and bassist Marco Serani (ex “Violent Cocks”, “Dome la Muerte”, “The Diggers”). With the coming of new singer Andrea Racco (“Opening Scenery”), Etherna could record and release a second album, called “Forgotten Beholder” (2014, Valery Records). This new work is a concept-album dealing with the theme of “Death”, seen under the focus of “Neil Gaiman’s Sandman” (DC Comics). The harvester is disguised behind the image of a beautiful girl and leads the protagonist, a frustrated boy tired of his own existence, into a journey to another dimension – a new vision of death, presented as a force of rebirth, rather than a negative character. The record also marks a change in Etherna’s style, frankly embracing the Progressive Power-Metal, with more disposition, and higher technical prowess. The years passing from the first to the second release were good for the Lucatti brothers to refine and perfect their technique – they are perfectly integrated to each other, engaging in dazzling battles of guitars against synths along the whole album! The guitar riffs are powerful and awesome, instilled with fury and complexity. The talented brothers receive perfect support of the new rhythmic section made of Serani & Amoroso, who contribute with killer bass lines and thundering drumming, providing a savage Power-Metal anchoring to Etherna’s music. Completing the heavy deliverance of the lyrics, the aggressive and modulated voice of the amazing singer Andrea Racco, who measures up in talent and power to names such as “Dio”, “Nils Patrik Johansson”, “Hansi Kürsch”, “Jon Oliva”, “Matt Barlow”, and “Tim “Ripper Owens”. The resulting sonority is reminiscent of a blend of “Blind Guardian”, “Astral Doors”, “Wuthering Heights”, “Iced Earth”, “Demons and Wizards”, “Symphony X”, “Sun Caged”, “Planet X”, “Time Requiem”, “Sonata Arctica”, “Adagio”, and “Savatage”. “Forgotten Beholder” has 13 tracks that show that those guys regard music as a mission, with a true Metal attitude! The instrumental “The Sound of Loneliness” (2:06) introduces “Thoughts” (5:02), a dazzling Power-Metal with epic choirs that drags the listener into the record, and is followed by the outstanding “Lady of the Bridge” (4:32), which has a swing on guitars that recalls “Astral Doors” and “Savatage”. The title track, “Forgotten Beholder” (5:00), begins ethereally, but some malevolent vocals push the song to an ascending and awesome Power-Prog epic! This heroic effect will be only matched again on track 9, “Night Flight” (5:11), a Prog-Metal ballad driven by majestic cadences and soulful vocals (something that “Symphony X” or “Sun Caged” would compose); while track 5, “A Dream in Infinite Space” (2:27), is a ballad-interlude that precedes the hybrid “Kill Me Now” (6:00) – a powerful song that pours down tons of pounding metal over the listener, joining tightly interlocked instrumentation (recalling “Symphony X” and “Sonata Arctica” in their days of wrath) with a shivering harmony chorus in the style of “Blind Guardian” and “Time Requiem”. “Relevations” (4:49) hovers on a kind of “Dream Theater” pace, offering equivalent technical ability, and being the harbinger of a series of furious thrilling tracks – with highlights for the cruel trio: “Death” (3:48) (which firstly concentrates aggressiveness, to release it later in devastating shock-waves); “Return From the Unknown Dimension” (5:07) (on which cybernetic synths are overrun by galloping guitars and thundering drums); and “It’s Not a Goodbye” (5:23) (which combines “Symphony X”-like riffing with somber vocals reminiscent of “Iced Earth” and “Demons and Wizards”) - all three loaded with guitars and synths in fierce dueling fight! The climax comes on “A Color in the Rainbow” (4:16), which boosts the traditional Heavy-Metal musculature of “Dio” and “Judas Priest” up with vitamin implements, reaching the enlarged plus-size of “Astral Doors” and “Iced Earth”, adding a slicing Prog-Metal instrumental sequence, and Racco’s exceptionally high-pitched screams. The conclusion comes on “Three of Cups” (3:05) – a great piano Metal-ballad. Amazing, impacting, and stormy, “Forgotten Beholder”, by Etherna, is another top-quality release by Valery Records, which will spread the Metal Disease from Italy to the world, being indispensable for fans of “Blind Guardian”, “Astral Doors”, “Wuthering Heights”, “Iced Earth”, “Demons and Wizards”, “Symphony X”, “Sun Caged”, “Time Requiem”, “Sonata Arctica”, “Adagio”, “Savatage”, “Angra”, and other Prog-Power bands. Band members and collaborators involved in Etherna are: Andrea Racco – Vocals; Alessandro Lucatti – Guitar; Alessio Lucatti – Keyboards and Piano; Marco Serani – Bass; Matteo Amoroso - Drums. Special Guests: Valentina Baccelli – Female vocals on “Forgotten Beholder”; Henkka – Keyboard solo on “Revelations”; Fabio Lione – Vocals on “It’s Not a Goodbye”; Simone Mularoni & Roberto de Micheli - Guitar solos on “It’s Not a Goodbye”; Raffahell Dridge – Drums on “Three of Cups”. Forgotten Beholder is a concept by Valentina Baccelli. Produced by Alessio Lucatti. Recorded by Alessio Lucatti at Eden Studios (PI); Vocals Recorded by Andrea Polito at Rock Lab (TO); Mixed & Mastered by Simone Mularoni at Domination Recording Studio. Music by Etherna, Lyrics by Alessio Lucatti... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2015................................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit ETHERNA HOME PAGE...
. A.D.D. (AVVOCATI DEL DIAVOLO) - "A Dear Diary"
A.D.D. (acronym of Avvocati Del Diavolo, or “Devil’s Advocates”, in English) are an Italian Stoner & Alternative Rock trio. A.D.D. was born in 2007 and consists of Larry (vocals, guitar), Andrew (bass, backing vocals), and Riky (drums). A.D.D. released a 5-track demo in 2007 and since then has focused on an intense live career, marked by raw and impacting performances that involve the whole audience, with powerful emotional results. A.D.D.’s first full-length album was “Neo Evo” (2009), which was recorded at ZeroDieci Studio, in Genova. In 2010 the band began a series of concerts, extending along 2011. They spared time to enter the West Link Studio, with producer Alessandro Paolucci (“Vanilla Sky”, “Prozac +”, “Baustelle”), to begin the recordings for a second full-length album, entitled “A Dear Diary”, which should be mixed and mastered at Damage Inc. Studio by Dario Mollo - guitarist and producer of famous projects such as “Crossbones”, “Voodoo Hill” (with “Glenn Hughes”), “The Cage” (with “Tony Martin”) and “Noize Machine”. The years of 2012 and 2013 were marked by an un-plugged show; the releases of the promotional EP “DemoN” (2012) and the Digital Single “Heaven Underground” (2013); and the continuous preparation of the second album. "A Dear Diary" was finally released in April 2014, via Italian label Valery Records. “A Dear Diary” captures the wild and free musical spirit of A.D.D., offering to the listener almost one hour of great Stoner Rock, with highlights for the most authentic Desert Rock that has been recently made by any band around. Driven by powerful and straightforward guitar riffs, intense groovy bass, and solid drumming, the music of A.D.D. is immediately captivating to the listener, who falls totally mesmerized by the powerful alchemical combination of insightful harmonies and sticky choruses. The lyrics – all in English - are refined, ironical, and humorous, helping to imprint on each song a kind of musical single personality. The most important sonic influences are: “Queens of the Stone Age”, “Foo Fighters”, “Kyuss”, “Black Sabbath”, “Karma to Burn”, “Metallica”, “Muse”, and “Lamb of God”, but also “Primus”, “Fu Manchu”, and “Monster Magnet” may have a place in the list. “A Dear Diary” is loaded with 12 excellent songs. A great number of them are instant hits of A.D.D., capable of keeping the audience in an unstoppable head-banging trance, captured by the groovy sound of this amazing band. Falling in this cathegory are the straighforward Desert Rock tracks “The Good, the Bad, the Undead” (4:47), “LumberJackass” (4:05), “Frank-Einstein” (4:41), “Straightjacket” (3:28), and “Thunderbird Lover” (4:24). All of them are driven by Larry’s very personal vocal style, who sings like telling an incredible story, full of acid irony and humorous sarcasm. The music evokes the images of lizards, rattlesnakes, scorpions, cacti, the burning sun, rotting carcasses, meatless bones, cow skulls, poisoned water ponds, and the damned gritty dry sand on your thirsty lips. Of them, “The Good, the Bad, the Undead” (with its reference to Spaghetti-Westerns and the hilarious chorus); “LumberJackass” (with banjos and that kind of “serpent-of-hell” vocal part); and the Cabaret-Jazz “Straightjacket” (with scorpion-malevolent bass lines), could easily figure in any soundtrack of a “Tarantino’s” movie. Meanwhile, “Frank-Einstein” and “Thunderbird Lover”, both very groovy and having riffs recalling “Black Sabbath” and “Metallica”, are obligatory songs on a live show. But A.D.D. also know how to make Stoner songs adding some Psychedelic spice on them, including echoing guitars, fuzzy bass and acid drumming, such as it happens on “Nails” (3:12); on the creepy “Lullaby” (4:38); and on the anguished “A.D.E.” (“A Definitive Excuse”) (6:06), which are all immersed in eerie atmospheres and lysergic clouds. Nearing the end of the album, things start to get really heavier, with two songs that are not humorous at all, but very aggressive instead: “Fireflies (T.O.T. – Theory of the Timewave)” (4:04) and “Ver Sacrum” (4:46). If “Fireflies” is explosive and has the energy of Grunge Rock, “Ver Sacrum” is darker, atmospheric, and slightly epic on the backing vocals. The increasing aggressiveness of A.D.D. finally reveals its ugly face on the two last tracks: “After Doomsday” (6:18) and “A Dead Doesn't Die” (5:25). Both announce the end of the world by means of alarming sirens, thunder drums, deep-hellish bass, and apocalyptical Doom-Metal guitars, resulting in two masterpieces of the Stoner-Doom style. Even though I am not a primary appreciator of the Stoner style, I found “A Dear Diary” to be an addicting album through and through. Not a single boring song, not a compass loaded with senseless instrumentation – just the best and most authentic Desert Rock ever heard around. A.D.D. is a must-have band for any Stoner Rock fan who loves “Queens of the Stone Age”, “Foo Fighters”, “Kyuss”, “Black Sabbath”, “Karma to Burn”, “Metallica”, “Muse”, “Lamb of God”, “Primus”, “Fu Manchu”, “Monster Magnet”, “Orange Goblin”, “Electric Wizard”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Avvocati Del Diavolo are: Larry - Vocals, Guitar; Andrew - Bass, Backing Vocals, Keyboards; Riky - Drums. Additional Musicians: Dario Mollo - Additional Guitars on “Thunderbird Lover”; Roberto “Robbo” Vigo - Additional Piano on “Lullaby”. Album Produced by A.D.D. & Ale Paolucci. Recorded at West Link Studio, Additional Recording at Damage Inc. Studio. Mixed & Mastered by Dario Mollo at Damage Inc. Studio... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2015..........................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit A.D.D. (AVVOCATI DEL DIAVOLO) HOME PAGE...
Vogel Stauss & Artgenossen are a new musical trio spearheaded by Swiss saxophonist Markus Stauss – an unstoppable and resilient musician that has either created, or taken part, in countless projects in the fields of Jazz Rock, R.I.O. Progressive Rock, Experimental, Free-Jazz, and Avant-garde Chamber Music – namely “Überfall”, “Ulterior Lux”, “Zauss”, “Spaltklang”, “Kurai”, “Trank Zappa Grappa in Varése?”, and “Finnegans Wake” (some of them have been featured at PR&PM. This new Artgenossen project was born because of Stauss’ unquenched musical thirsty, and his question about “how a trio composed of a bass saxophone, a trumpet, and drums, should really sound like?” To answer that question, Stauss joined forces with Richard Koch (trumpet) and Rémy Sträuli (drums, a few keyboards). The result of their encounter was recorded in 2013 and released on CD this year under the title “En Route” (October 2014, Fazzul Music). “En Route” features 11 tracks. Those who are familiarized with other projects of Stauss will not get surprised by the cerebral and “difficult” nature of his compositions. As a musician who has been mostly inspired by the Avant-garde and Experimental Music as proposed by academic composers such as “John Zorn”, “John Cage”, and “Edgard Varèse”, Stauss is always in search of the novelty, the uniqueness, and the originality. And he is never afraid of confronting stablished musical dogmas or of stepping on new musical terrains, he simply allows himself to get lost inside his own idiosyncratic delirium of instrumental improvisation. What counts on this Artgenossen project-trio is the constant and eloquent dialogue that Stauss and his saxophone keep up with the trumpet solos performed by Koch – another questioning and challenging musician, in his own right. Between those two dueling contenders, the task of mediator has been reserved for a magnificent Sträuli, who keeps a private show rolling behind his drum kit. As on many other projects headed by Stauss, the tracks are distributed among a few fragments and interludes, experimental pieces, and complex Avant-garde compositions. To the first group belong the weird intro “Wach auff” (2:16); the elephantine and lazy “Intermezzo” (2:08); the noisy “Dance” (1:53) (for sax, trumpet and video-game blips); and the final track “Melafina” (0:43), with coarse-sounding trumpet. The most experimental are “Next Fragment” (8:11), which combines clattering fragments and odd-metrical experimentation with blowing effects coming from a soprano sax; and “En Art Blues” (7:46) – an experimental and disguised Blues that sounds mysterious, but also melancholic. Sometimes the music dissolves completely, crumbling into pieces and fragments that will be assembled together later on a new musical sequence. But the tracks that called my attention were the Avant-garde compositions, such as the title track “En Route” (5:14), which sounds like two elephants talking and having an incredibly complex drumming on the background; and the unexpectedly groovy “Inmitten” (4:09), which sometimes is driven by a Rocky pace, on which the sax and trumpet replace the guitars, being completely deconstructed and rearranged along its duration to sound as an alien piece. Also favorites are two tracks that get close to a “standard” Jazz (I mean, which are easier to be grasped): the lively “7413” (5:18), having a duel of crying trumpet and spirited saxophone; and “Ganz Ton” (6:44), on which sax and trumpet are like soldiers on some military invasion, crossing a mined camp, taking care not to be discovered by the enemy, until enterprising a victorious march behind the enemy’s lines. Finally, the most important composition of this album is “Muster 13” (9:57). Having something of “Spaltklang” on it, this piece is organized in three movements, with the first movement being lively and having synth sounds and sax and trumpet tunes that recall a R.I.O. piece; the middle movement being slow and mesmerizing; and the third movement being concluded by an intense instrumental interplay, with engagement of the whole trio of musicians. Summing all up, Vogel Stauss & Artgenossen atypically combine Avant-garde Jazz, R.I.O., Chamber Rock and Experimental Music, being specially recommended for fans of “John Zorn”, “John Cage”, “Edgard Varèse”, “Univers Zéro”, “Zappa”, “Miriodor”, “Art Zoyd”, “Spaltklang”, “Yugen”, “Henry Cow”, “Gargantua”, “Finnegan’s Wake”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Vogel Stauss & Artgenossen are: Markus Stauss – Bass, Soprano, and Tenor Saxophones, Compositions; Richard Koch – Trumpet; Rémy Sträuli - Drums, Keyboard. Album Recorded on September 21 & 22, 2013 by Benno Hofer at TON-ART Studio, Basel, Switzerland. Mixed & Mastered during September 2014 by Benno Hofer, Nadelberg, Basel, Switzerland... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/30/2015........................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit VOGEL STAUSS & ARTGENOSSEN HOME PAGE...
. THERAPHOSA - "Hung Like Mussolini"
Theraphosa is an Experimental Progressive Industrial Metal band from Columbia, MO, USA, consisting of founder members Tim Schnieders (vocals, samples, programming) and Pete Koenig (guitars, synths, programming), who work in close collaboration with Marvin (bass), and Victor Miller (drums and percussion). Theraphosa (which is the scientific name for the Goliath Bird-Eating Spider) was founded on April 1, 2009. Theraphosa has a sound that is heavy and futuristic, made of dope beats and ill riffs, and aims to challenge and overthrow illegitimate authority! Theraphosa draws inspiration from a series of bands like “Pink Floyd”, “Rage Against The Machine”, “Slipknot”, “Black Flag”, “The Clash”, “Rammstein”, “White Zombie”, “Pantera”, “Jane's Addiction”, “Dimmu Borgir” and “Black Sabbath”. The band has released their debut EP called “Hung Like Mussolini” (2014, Git-Mo Records). The sound is heavy, dense, slow, noisy, viscous, and rotten to the core. The home-made nature of the recording is a weak point, but the band can surpass it in the future by improving the quality of the production and equipment.  As it is now, their sound recalls me of bands such as “Death”, “Sodom”, “Venom”, “Amon Amarth”, “Behemoth”, “Cradle of Filth”, “Enthroned”, “Napalm Death”, “Emperor”, “Amorphis”, “Bathory”, “Carcass”, and “Hell Hammer” with an electronic experimental coverture. The EP “Hung Like Mussolini” features 5 tracks plus one unnamed sixth track. By transforming each song into an experimental laboratory of sounds, Theraphosa clearly advocates the taste for revolutionary music. The opening track, ”Adzhan” (3:11), begins with Arabic vocals saying minaret prayers, before falling into a pit of slow Doom guitar riffs and apocalyptical sounds. “Big Paxton” (5:06) mixes Industrial Metal sounds with weaves of deafening hard-core riffs topped by incisive guitar solos and delivered by hissed-reptilian vocals, being interrupted by Classic Jazz samples sung in a language that is like Russian, and mixed to an English speech. “The Crypt Fugue” (1:17) is an instrumental track that sounds like a Baroque-styled organ played underwater. “Neda” (4:51) has a contrast between Arabian-language vocals, vomited monster-like vocals, and Industrial dungeon-breath voices that rebound on a thick wall of hammered guitars and drums glued together by electronic-generated noises. “A.D.H.D.” (3:17) is an experimental demented track that blends sampled vocals of media icons with paranoid brain-washing distorted sounds in Industrial style that dissolve later into “Floydian” lysergic soundscapes. The unnamed sixth track (2:38) is an ultra-heavy kicking Metal track in the style of “Death” and “Sodom”, having electronic passages of cosmic-sounding radiations being encapsulated between a double-density guitar attack. Definitely, Theraphosa is neither a band for the weak, nor a band directed for the Prog-Heads that visit this webzine, but Theraphosa’s creepy and hairy long legs, and poisonous chelicerae, will nevertheless capture the appreciation of  fans of “Rammstein”, “Black Flag”, “White Zombie”, “Jane's Addiction”, “Dimmu Borgir”, “Death”, “Sodom”, “Venom”, “Napalm Death”, “Amon Amarth”, “Behemoth”, “Cradle of Filth”, “Emperor”, “Enthroned”, “Amorphis”, “Bathory”, “Carcass”, “Hell Hammer”, “Rage Against The Machine”, “Slipknot”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Theraphosa are: Timothy Schnieders - Vocals, Samples, Programming; Peter Koenig - Guitars, Synths, Programming; Victor Miller – Acoustic Drums and Percussion; Marvin - Bass. Additional Musicians: Awais Raza Qadri – Vocals & Prayer For Peace on ”Adzhan”; Annastasia Lee and Kali Hazel – Backing Vocals on “A.D.H.D.”. Intro vocals on “Neda” asked to remain unknown for her safety in her homeland. Spoken word intro on “A.D.H.D.” by Bradly Pitt courtesy of Fox Films; Chorus spoken words vocals on “A.D.H.D.” by Tina Turner, courtesy of Warner Films. All other samples not noted are of public domain. All songs written by Theraphosa, Copyright 2014 Goldstar Talent Music B.M.I. For more informations please visit their Facebook Page... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/28/2015........................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THERAPHOSA HOME PAGE...
. RANDOM TOUCH - "Alchemy"
Random Touch is back to PR&PM! 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 features 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”, being created at random by employment of both traditional and readymade instruments. Since 1999 Random Touch has accumulated an independent discography that records all their musical experiments. One of their albums, “A True Conductor Wears a Man” (2007), was reviews at PR&PM in 2014. The album that is being reviewed now is “Alchemy” (CD/DVD, 2007), which brings a record of their “music” on both sound and image. The members of Random Touch work as scientist of the sound: their music is a sequence of instrumental sounds punctuated with noise effects that are randomly assembled together, following non-linear arrangements. The conceptual line goes in parallel with the works of “Edgar Varèse”, “John Cage”, “Henry Cowell”, “John Zorn”, and the most experimental side of “King Crimson”, “Robert Fripp”, “Brian Eno”, “Pink Floyd”, “Art Zoyd”, “Frank Zappa”, “The Residents”, “Captain Beefheart”, “Henry Cow”, “Neptune”, “Fred Frith”, “Keith Rowe”, “Chris Cutler”, and the Krautrock movement. “Alchemy” is a double-disc item consisting of one audio CD (14 tracks) and a DVD featuring: 10 video-tracks based on the material recorded on the CD, a few documented jams (2004-2005) and extras. The “Alchemy” CD starts with “Incompleteness Becomes Us” (8:57), on which Ambient sounds create a futuristic atmosphere. “Cyborgs of Unlimited Dementia” (5:38) evokes robotized human beings break-dancing – and they can play the piano! On “The Alchemy of Turbulence” (6:18), echoing noises evoke the images of a laboratory of a sci-fi movie, surrounded with circus drumming. The mad-alien Blues “Stones Whisper in My Sleep” (1:49), introduces the mysterious “Beneath a Dreaming Moon” (5:40), on which a musical box induces the listener to enter a Hindu-meditative state, even though disturbed by distant urban sounds. “Abandon” (3:08) has snickering sounds of bells and drums that try to hide in the dark, while all other one go panic. “Nocturnal Emissions” (6:15) sounds like the sunbreak warming up the guitar strings and drums to achieve the Nirvana, but taking a traffic jam when coming back from that state of contemplation. “Crossing Expanses Darkly” (4:37) employs backward-rotating guitars to make people go mantra-shouting amidst waves of rumbling drums and gloomy synthetic noises. On “Insectiva Hallucinogenica” (3:33), we find the first record of humming insect-talk after a breakfast in the weed-crops; and on “As Above, So Below” (2:38), there are sonic-amputees dancing with vaporing water on a heated frying pan. The title track “Alchemy” (9:15) has creepy rattling sounds crawling on the floor, trying not to be spotted by hovering mechanical sound-particles, and coiling around a totally accidental drum solo. “Moonrise With Plane” (2:02) evokes the images of bees strolling in the night, flying together with bats and horning planes; while on “Bound for Escape” (4:47), some whistling and wuthering sounds, and other vocal oddities oscillate from nowhere to everywhere, crashing disordered drum-beats. Finally, “Intimate Friction” (3:28) brings in more floating Ambient sounds - waves, vibrations and windy drums - having the universal cosmic noise behind. Most of those tracks have been documented on the video-tracks of the “Alchemy” DVD: overall, they are surreal, psychedelic and experimental, and recalled me of the images of the documentary “L’Enfer de Henri-Georges Clouzot”, by “Serge Bromberg”. My favorites are: “Insectiva Hallucinogenica” (psychedelic kaleidoscopic images depicting entomological entities); “Graffiti Mobilis” (soundtrack for an abstract painting); “As Above, So Below” (with a cute little girl wearing a strange paper-hat and following her father’s artistic endeavors); “Moonrise With Plane” (alien and educative, showing the band’s creative process); the creepy “Nocturnal Emissions”; the surreal “Bound for Escape”; and “Abandon” (an ecological “memento mori” depicting still-life garbage). The extra footage of the DVD is very informative on the creative process of Random Touch, documenting a singular band capable of transforming aleatory music into a form of Art, exploring all musical possibilities involving the human senses. Random Touch is specifically recommended for Experimental and Avant-garde musicians, sound-effect technicians and soundtrack composers who are acquainted with 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”, “Neptune”, “Fred Frith”, “Keith Rowe”, “Chris Cutler”, and the Krautrock acts. 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; and Matthew Ebbing - Video Cameras. Detailed contents of the “Alchemy” DVD: I) Video music: 1.“Cyborgs of Unlimited Dementia”; 2.“The Alchemy of Turbulence”; 3.“Insectiva Hallucinogenica”; 4.“Graffiti Mobilis”; 5.“As Above, So Below”; 6.“Nocturnal Emissions”; 7.“Beneath a Dreaming Moon”; 8.“Moonrise With Plane”; 9.“Bound for Escape”; 10.“Abandon”. II) Documented jams (January 31, 2004; February 1, 2004; January 15, 2005; January 19, 2005; July 31, 2005; October 26, 2005). III) Words and Other Remnants... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/28/2015....................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit RANDOM TOUCH HOME PAGE...
. THE PYTHONS - "Liar"
The Pythons are an Italian Hard-Rock band from Milan. The line-up consists now of Frank Law (vocals), Alex (guitar), Alby the Crane (guitar), Andrew Valenza (bass), and Theo (drums). The Pythons broke into the scene with their eponymous debut EP “The Pythons” (2003, Four Stones) and began to perform concerts all across Italy and Europe. They recorded two studio albums for Valery Records: “Never Enough” (2005) and “Liar” (2011). Both albums have been distributed worldwide and received very positive reviews and enthusiastic comments from the media, causing an increase in the band’s activities: The Pythons have already opened several shows for famous international acts, such as “Alice Cooper”, “Gotthard”, “Gilby Clark”, “Faster Pussycat”, “Marsden & Moody” (ex “Whitesnake”), “Gene Hoglan”, and “Jaded Heart”. The album on focus here is “Liar”, which was released in 2011 under Valery Records. “Liar” contains 12 tracks, all of them having lyrics in English, to conquer the international audiences. The Pythons’ style mixes Rock, Melodic Rock, Hard-Rock, and Glam Rock in plain songs that are always delivered with explosive temper, pulsing bass, bombastic drums and great guitar work, topped by the malicious vocals of Frank Law. The influences are “AC/DC”, “Aerosmith”, “Alice Cooper”, “Bad Company”, “Bon Jovi”, “Danger Danger”, “Def Leppard”, “Dokken”, “Extreme”, “Faster Pussycat”, “Foreigner”, “Gotthard”, “Great White”, “Guns N' Roses”, “H.E.A.T.”, “Kick Axe”, “Kiss”, “Krokus”, “Mötley Crüe”, “Nazareth”, “Pearl Jam”, “Poison”, “Quiet Riot”, “Ratt”, “Twisted Sister”, “UFO”, “Van Halen”, “W.A.S.P.”, “Warrant”, “Whitesnake”, “Winger”, “Y&T”, and the likes. My favorite tracks are “The Face Behind” (3:19) – a heavy song retaining a 70’s groove and offering great guitar solos; the fast title track “Liar” (3:37) and the malignant “Constrictor” (3:28), both combining distortion, pulsing bass, great guitars and vocals full of devilry and malice. Also “My Own Savior” (4:05) – a Hard-Rock soothed by a melodic chorus; and “In This Life” (3:33) – an energetic song wrapped in shaded tones that delves in some Grunge-like aggressiveness – are counting among the best. The Pythons are also good in making ballads, and they have prepared two very good ones for this album: “Mary Ann” (4:44), which has a higher Rocky content; and the poignant and beautiful “Raindrops” (4:56), which employs acoustic guitars and the piano to deliver a sensitive vocal tune. Two other tracks also called my attention for having good riffs, although being always softened by a melodic chorus: “Chase the Sun” (3:18) is introduced by some almost-“Black Sabbath” psychedelic riffs broken by the melody of the vocals; and “Darling” (3:27) is a “really hard” Hard-Rock that switches to a happier mood on the chorus, pushing the sound of The Pythons to the Party-Rock style, which is approached frankly on songs like “Rise Against” (3:43) (an explosive song with sex-appeal), and on the ironic “Trail of Tears” (3:56) . Another highlight is the song “All In” (3:23) – on which The Pythons make an interesting experiment, by blending their groovy guitar riffs with some Punk vocal attitude and synths of the ‘80s. Even though they are neither a Progressive Rock act, nor a Prog-Metal outfit, I found The Pythons to be a solid and talented band, pretty comfortable in their musical niche. The Pythons will gather fans around the appreciators of “AC/DC”, “Aerosmith”, “Alice Cooper”, “Bad Company”, “Bon Jovi”, “Danger Danger”, “The Darkness”, “Def Leppard”, “Dokken”, “Extreme”, “Faster Pussycat”, “Foreigner”, “Gotthard”, “Great White”, “Guns N' Roses”, “H.E.A.T.”, “Kick Axe”, “Kiss”, “Krokus”, “Mötley Crüe”, “Nazareth”, “Pearl Jam”, “Poison”, “Quiet Riot”, “Ratt”, “Twisted Sister”, “UFO”, “Van Halen”, “W.A.S.P.”, “Warrant”, “Whitesnake”, “Winger”, “Y&T”, and other Hard-Rock bands, to whom The Pythons are greatly recommended. Band members and collaborators involved in The Pythons are: Frank Law – Vocals; Alex – Guitar; Alby the Crane – Guitar; Andrew Valenza – Bass; Theo - Drums. “Liar” Line-up: Frank Law - Vocals; The True – Guitars and Backing Vocals; Nick Donati – Guitars; Andrew Valenza – Bass; Giorgio Costa – Drums. Spoken words on “The Face Behind” and “Mary Ann” by Gavin Stewart. Recorded, Mixed, & Mastered at Moonhouse Recordings, Milan, Italy, by Danilo “Stonehenge” Di Lorenzo (2009/2010); Produced by The Pythons... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/28/2015........................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE PYTHONS HOME PAGE...
. NOVA - "Midnight Sun"
Nova is a New York based trio consisting of Alex Apollo Salazar (guitar), Ralgy Cepeda (bass and vocals), and Emmanuel Lorenzo (drums). Nova was born in 2009 as a vehicle for the three musicians to transpose all artistic boundaries. Nova’s sound is creative, intuitive, and passionate, and feed of genres that range from Funk and Psychedelic to Progressive and Latin rhythms (with influences that cover “The Mars Volta”, “Frank Zappa”, “Bjork”, “Turtles”, and Latin legends like “Bobby Valentín”, “Hector Lavoe”, “Willie Colón”, “Benny Moré”, “Ray Baretto”, and “Ramon Taranco”). Their lyrics are inspired by movie directors and writers (such as “David Lynch”, “H.G Wells”, “Alan Moore”, “Hubert Selby Jr.”). Along 2011 Nova played in several NYC venues, such as the Webster Hall, The Knitting Factory, the Spike Hill, and the Trash bar. Nova released their self-produce debut album, titled “Midnight Sun”, in January, 2014. The album brings 6 tracks. The sonority of Nova has much of the groove and swing of the music of the turn of the ‘60s to the ‘70s, retro-texturized and painted with the bright colors of the Psychedelic and Space Rock. In spite of all those influences cited above, Nova’s compositions have remnants of “Santana”, “Andromeda”, “Killing Floor”, “Ultimate Spinach”, “Funkadelic”, “13th Floor Elevators”, and “Pink Floyd” inserted in the arrangements, mainly on the outstanding bass lines, on the vintage guitars, and on the stoned vocals. The drums are spared for the Latin rhythms, lively Rocky outbursts, and lysergic Acid-Rock interludes that support all the fantastic instrumentation. Cepeda’s vocals are light and melancholic, and although passing on the right emotional grade to the listener, they sometimes fail and skip the right pitch, mismatching the instrumental quality of the band. I suggest that Nova could admit a full-time vocalist in the line-up, allowing Cepeda to concentrate his focus on his amazing bass playing. “Midnight Sun” begins with the title track “Midnight Sun” (1:02) - a short song with a “Mars Volta” kind of atmosphere that prepares the set for the Psychedelic-Latin Rock “Plexus Complex” (7:25) – a vibrant piece with influences of “13th Floor Elevators”; the vocals parts being slowed down to the march of the late 60’s psychedelic panorama. The accelerated pace is kept on the frantic “Fissure” (8:59) - another great energetic song in Psychedelic-Stoner style, driven by contagious riffs, groovy bass, and cool drumming, and the best vocal tunes by Cepeda. The final instrumental tour-de-force, busted by funky bass combined with echoing guitars, is really impressive, and capture the sonic imprint of the ‘60s to ‘70s with their retro-texturized net of sounds. To compensate the generous discharge of adrenaline of “Plexus” and “Fissure”, Nova composed two slower tracks: the mild Space-Rock “Xibalbia” (7:30), which begins relaxing, the main theme being played on bass with accompaniment of clean guitars and lysergic drumming, while the doped vocals invite the listener to transpose the event horizon and enter the cosmic singularity in a long instrumental sequence full of fuzzy guitars and similar effects; and “Remedy for Insomnia” (6:07) - a bittersweet, melodic, and depressed ballad that flows linearly on its harmonic structure. The album closing track is “Saturnia” (9:17) – a long and trippy Space-Psychedelic-Salsa-Blues that crawls over different moods and atmospheres, including some guitar moments that recall “Pink Floyd”, and bass passages that recall “Andromeda”, “Hawkwind”, “Killing Floor”, “Funkadelic”, and other hallucinogenic bands like that. In spite of the deficient vocals, I am sure that Nova will grow up musically from album to album, for their debut already showcases a promising band. Nova is especially recommended for fans of retro-rock music, Psychedelic, Acid, and Space-Rock, and Psychedelic Stoner Rock, who like bands such as “The Mars Volta”, “Santana”, “Andromeda”, “Killing Floor”, “Ultimate Spinach”, “Funkadelic”, “13th Floor Elevators”, early “Pink Floyd”, and Neo-Psychedelic bands like “Colour Haze”, “Hypnos 69”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Nova are: Alex “Apollo” Salazar - Electric Guitar; Ralgy Cepeda - Bass Guitar and Vocals; Emmanuel “Manny” Lorenzo – Drums. All Lyrics and Music written by Nova; Recorded, Mixed, and Mastered by Ms. and Mr. Press at Room 12 Studios. For more informations about the band check their Facebook page... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/30/2015.....................................Would like to know more about the band and their history, please visit NOVA HOME PAGE...
. NOSOUND - "Lightdark"
The Italian Art-Rock band Nosound is back to PR&PM once more! Nosound started in 2002 in Rome as a solo project of Giancarlo Erra (vocals, guitars, keyboards) and evolved later to become a complete band. Nosound’s discography includes many releases, comprising live CDs (“Slow, it goes”, 2007; “The Northern Religion Of Things”, 2011), EPs (“Clouds”, 2008; “At The Pier”, 2012), and full-length studio albums: “Sol29” (2005/2008/2010), “Lightdark” (2008/2010/2013), and “A Sense of Loss” (2009/2011) – all reissued by Label Kscope/Snapper as expanded re-mastered editions, featuring bonus material and DVD’s. Original issues of “Sol29” and “A Sense of Loss” were reviewed at PR&PM in 2005 and 2009, respectively. Nosound’s last release was the fourth studio album “Afterthoughts” (2013, Kscope), featuring Chris Maitland (ex-“Porcupine Tree”) on drums. Aside from Nosound, Giancarlo Erra runs a side-project with singer Tim Bowness (of “No-Man”), called Memories Of Machines. Their CD, “Warm Winter” (2011), had guest collaboration of “Peter Hammill”, “Colin Edwin”, “Robert Fripp”, “Steven Wilson”, “Julianne Regan” (“All About Eve”), “Jim Matheos” (“OSI/Fates Warning”), and “Huxflux Nettermalm” (“Paatos”). The focus of this review is Nosound’s second album, “Lightdark”. “Lightdark” was originally released in 2008 via Burning Shed Label, England, and reissued in 2008 and 2010 via post-progressive label Kscope/Snapper as a 2-CD deluxe edition with 5 bonus-tracks. In 2013, as part of the Kscope 5th anniversary celebrations, “Lightdark” was re-released on both double vinyl and CD deluxe editions, totally re-mastered in high resolution stereo and surround mixes, and containing rich photographic material. The line-up featured Giancarlo Erra (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Paolo Martellacci (keyboards, vocals), Alessandro Luci (bass), Gabriele Savini (acoustic guitars), and Gigi Zito (drums, vocals), and had collaborations of singer Tim Bowness (“No-Man”) and cellist Marianne DeChastelaine. “Lightdark” represented a kind of hallmark for the sonority of Nosound, characterized by a fusion of Soaring Progressive Rock, Ambient Music, and Post-Rock, containing elements of Psychedelia. The employment of vintage keyboards and enduring guitars combined to stringed instruments and melancholic vocals lead to the production of “trippy soundscapes” and emotional atmospheres that placed Nosound close to bands like “Pink Floyd”, “Porcupine Tree”, “No-Man”, “Brian Eno”, “King Crimson”, “Genesis”, “Sigur Rós”, “Bark Psychosis”, “RPWL”, “Tangerine Dream”, and “Eloy”. The version of “Lightdark” which has been sent to us is a promotional copy containing only Disc one, featuring the 7 original tracks. “About Butterflies And Children” (03:02) is an instrumental Ambient piece that opens the album with relaxing keyboards and pianos, introducing the Soaring Progressive song “Places Remained” (04:29), a slow and sophisticated Space-Blues with moving vocals supported on soft bass and drums, growing sturdier at the end with an energetic guitar solo. Nosound’s typical signature is also reproduced on “From Silence To Noise” (15:29) – an epic song composed of many segments, including: an astral prelude; an atmospheric instrumental set led by introspective vocals; an Ambient interlude; a sudden explosive guitar solo of psychedelic magnitude that propels an angelical chorus; and a cosmic postlude with wavy sounds and cymbals (recalling a blend of “Porcupine Tree”, “No-Man”, “Fink Floyd”, “Eno”, “RPWL”). Mostly dreamy is “Someone Starts To Fade Away” (08:55) – a Post-Prog ballad featuring Tim Bowness’ introspective vocals. The poignant delicacy of the hypnotic piano and the unreal atmosphere created by the Mellotrons are magnificently broken down by the amazing guitar solo that dominates the last third of this great song (like a “No-Man & Floyd” combo). Amazing contributions are also given by neo-classic cellist Marianne DeChastelaine. First, on the weightless “The Misplay” (04:32), on which echoing vocals flow amidst Ambient keyboards, creating unreal soundscapes trespassed by enigmatic cellos. Later, on “Kites” (08:30), on which the cello hovers ghostly on a mattress of soaring Mellotrons, driven by vocals drowned in sadness, both drifting toward a final sequence crowned with a magnificent synth solo. Closing Disc one, the title track “Lightdark” (08:45) comes up with Post-Rock waving sounds and contemplative vocals, irradiating a religious aura. The music is underlined by subtle tunes that gently reverberate on the background, as ethereal melodies arise from the Mellotrons, taking the song to an elevated threshold that borders the outer spheres. The sliding guitar falls like thin rain, pouring down on an ambient pool. Overall, the tracks of Disc one would be enough to recommend Nosound’s “Lightdark” to the visitors of this webzine. But if the tracks of Disc two (listed below) have the same musical quality of those of Disc one (as I believe they do), then this new version of “Lightdark” turns into an indispensable item for any fan of Soaring Progressive Rock and Ambient Music who loves the most trippy side of bands like “Pink Floyd”, “Porcupine Tree”, “No-Man”, “Brian Eno”, “King Crimson”, “Genesis”, “Sigur Rós”, “Bark Psychosis”, “RPWL”, “Airbag”, “T”, “Tangerine Dream”, “Eloy”, “Novalis”, “TNNE”, “Echo Us”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Nosound are: Giancarlo Erra - Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards; Paolo Martellacci - Keyboards, Vocals; Gabriele Savini - Acoustic Guitars; Alessandro Luci - Bass; Gigi Zito - Drums, Vocals. Guest Musicians: Tim Bowness - Vocals (on “Someone Starts To Fade Away”); Marianne de Chastelaine - Cellos (on “The Misplay”, “Kites”, “Lightdark”). Tracks on Disc two: “Cold Afterall” (6:18); “Like The Elephant?” (5:40); “You said 'I Am...” (4:41); “Clouds” (10:34); and the video-track “Lightdark” (08:45). Album Recorded March 2006 to February 2007 in Rome, Italy (Nosound, Timeline, Synchronia), Norwich, England (S.B.) and New York, the US (Skyview Sound)... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/28/2015................................,.....Interested to know more about the musician and his project? Visit NOSOUND HOME PAGE...
. TYSTNADEN - "Anima"
Tystnaden is an Italian Gothic-Metal band that was formed in 1999 around a nucleus consisting of guitarist Cesare Codispoti and singer/lyricist Laura de Luca. The band published the demos “Tystnaden” (2000) and “Fragments” (2003) with slightly different line-ups, and kept on playing intensely, either in festivals, or opening for “Vision Divine”, “Secret Sphere”, “Macbeth”, “Elvenking”, “Extrema”, “Infernal Poetry”, “Slowmotion Apocalypse”, “Raintime”, and “Linea77”. Tystnaden’s first full-length album, “Sham of Perfection” (2006, LMP), received positive reviews. The second, “In Our Eye” (2008, Renaissance Records), was distributed in North and South America and had a more matured sound, different from the Gothic stereotype. In 2009 Tystnaden renovated the line-up, and from November 2010 to January 2011 recorded a third album, titled “Anima” (November 2012, Valery Records). The new album resurrected the energy of Tystnaden, drifting away from the dark introspection of “In Our Eye”. Of the new repertoire, the songs "Struggling at the Mirror", "Mindrama", and "Innerenemy" were chosen for video-clips; with storyboard, screenplay, and 3D effects by Andrea Guarascio and Giulio Serafini. During 2013 the band promoted “Anima” live in Italy and neighboring countries, but in December 2013 lead singer and founder member Laura de Luca left Tystnaden, being replaced by Giada Etro (from “Ashes You Leave”). “Anima” still featured Laura (vocals), accompanied by Cesare Codispoti (guitars), Giancarlo Guarrera (vocals & keyboards), Marco Cardona (guitars), the Armenian Artur Sahakjan (bass), and Alberto Iezzi (drums). All of them are influenced by bands such as “System Of A Down”, “Korn”, “Linkin’ Park”, “Mudvayne”, “Slipknot”, “Messhugah”, “Sentenced”, “Stone Sour”, “Killswitch Engage”, “Metallica”, “Megadeth”, “Pantera”, “Nevermore”, “Avenged Sevenfold”, “In Flames”, “Children Of Bodom”, “Dark Tranquillity”, “Opeth”, “Dream Theater”, “Rammstein”, “Pink Floyd”, and “Muse”. But because of the female and male leading vocals, and the occasional Gothic choirs, Tystnaden also recalled me of bands like “Lacuna Coil”, “Epica”, “Evanescence”, “Sirenia”, “The Gathering”, “Anathema”, “Flowing Tears” and “Within Temptation”. The sonority is solid, pounding, and heavy, mixing elements of Thrash, Prog-Metal, and New-Metal, alternating Guarrera’s aggressive voice with the melodic singing of Laura. A symphonic background is provided by keyboards and strings, and the guitar solos are excellent, varying from the melodic Neo-Classic and Prog-Metal styles to the most distorted Thrash-Metal modes. The different influences and styles featured on each song grab the listener’s attention, and each listener will elect his/her favorites according to personal tastes. From the 11 tracks of “Anima”, my favorites are those having more symphonic keyboards, strings, and gothic choirs, with Laura’s vocals predominating over the aggressive male vocals, such as on the opening track “Lust” (4:01), led by her anguished, but sensual, voice and embellished with Gothic choirs; “Egonist” (4:21), which combines melancholic moments (like “Gathering” and “Anathema”) with vigorous Prog-Metal parts having gloomy synths and beautiful guitars; “Days And Lies” (4:27), that alternates Prog-Metal thundering riffs with vocals interludes featuring Laura’s amazing singing and choirs (like a mix of “Dream Theater”, “Kamelot”, “Sirenia”, “Epica”, and “Within Temptation”); and “Against Windmills” (5:10), an experimental track on which the band joins Oriental-Metal with New-Metal (like a mix of “Orphaned Land”, “Lacuna Coil”, “Mudvayne”, and “Slipknot”). A greater impact is caused by three songs that, not by chance, were chosen for video-clips: “Struggling At The Mirror” (3:56), a female-fronted Rap-Metal with influences of “System of a Down”; “Mindrama” (3:44), driven by a fast pace and having both singers in a duet backed by epic orchestral strings; and “Innerenemy” (4:36), as aggressive as “Children of Bodom” and “Dark Tranquillity”, but slowed-down on the chorus, and having poignant pianos and violins (like “Evanescence” and “Anathema”). Metal fans willing for something even more violent will prefer the destructive powers of “War” (3:42) and “The Life Before” (3:20), which combine Thrashing riffs and distorted solos with radical New-Metal vocals (like “Slipknot” and “Mudvayne”), and fierce Prog-Metal keyboards. These extremely heavy songs are well balanced by two introspective Gothic-Metal ballads: “Father Mother” (3:59) and “The Journey” (4:32), both embellished with classy pianos and majestic choirs. Tystnaden is an outstanding Gothic-Metal band that is not afraid of incorporating diverse Metal trends into their sound. Indispensable for fans of “Lacuna Coil”, “Epica”, “Evanescence”, “Sirenia”, “The Gathering”, “Anathema”, “Flowing Tears”, “Elis”, “Within Temptation”, and “Nemesea”, who also like “System Of A Down”, “Korn”, “Linkin’ Park”, “Mudvayne”, “Slipknot”, “Killswitch Engage”, “Metallica”, “Pantera”, “Megadeth”, “Nevermore”, “Avenged Sevenfold”, “Opeth”, “In Flames”, “Children Of Bodom”, “Dark Tranquillity”, “Rammstein”, and “Muse”. Band members and collaborators involved in Tystnaden are: Present line-up: Giada Etro – Vocals (since February 2014); Cesare Codispoti – Guitars (since 2000); Alberto Iezzi – Drums (since 2003); Artur Sahakjan – Bass (since 2008); Giancarlo Guarrera - Vocals & Keyboards (since 2012); Marco Cardona – Guitars (since 2012). Past members: Laura De Luca – Vocals & Lyrics (2000-2013); Federico Grassi – Guitars (2000-2008); Marco Di Castri – Bass (2000-2006); Lorenzo Frascaroli - Vocals & Keyboards (2003-2008); Giovanni Garimoldi – Vocals (2000); Nestor Borgo - Drums (2000); Federico Iezzi – Keyboards (2000). Additional arrangements on “Anima” by Luigi Stefanini; Choir by the More Glorious Choir; All music written by Tystnaden. Recorded at New Sin Studio, Italy; Engineered, Mixed & Mastered at New Sin Studio by Luigi Stefanini. Cover artwork & Logo design by Travis Smith; Photos by Matteo Guariso; Graphic & Booklet assembly by Silvia Pizziolo... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/28/2015...........................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit TYSTNADEN HOME PAGE...
Fred & The Living Deads is a French Rock band from Sarre-Union/Sarreguemines, with a line-up consisting of Fred Labudka (lead guitar and lead vocals), Jo Dehlinger (rhythm guitar), Greg Romming (bass), and Raph Dehlinger (drums, backing vocals). The band released their first eponymous EP in October 2013 and the Video Clip of the song "Fever" on Youtube in November 2013. Fred & The Living Deads draw their inspiration from the "zombie" phenomenon that marked the past generations, for example with the series "Resident Evil" or "The Walking Dead." At the same time, they use the theme as a metaphor to make a criticism to modern society, its problems and contradictions. The music is an amalgamate of modern Rock trends, including U.S. Rock, Teenage Rock, Post-Punk, Emo, and Alternative Rock & Metal, including metallic-textured guitars, consistent bass, solid drumming and nice melodic to emotional vocals, recalling bands like “Billy Talent”, “Muse”, “Green Day”, “The Offspring”, “Arctic Monkeys”, “My Chemical Romance”, “Fall Out Boy”, “The Killers”, “Jawbreaker”, “Sunny Day Real Estate”, “Panic! at the Disco”, and others. The EP “Fred & The Living Deads” features 6 tracks. The best and heaviest are the opening track “Fever” (4:28) – a melodic Rock & Metal which has been featured on Youtube; the fast-paced and energized “Strawberry Joe” (4:03); and the closing track “Infection” (4:56), which brings some guitar riffs that are slightly epic. The EP still brings the groovy “Live My Life” (3:37), which features some space synths and sticky “oh-oh’s” backing vocals; and two tracks that are mostly emotional and accessible: the melodic Emo-songs “Shelter” (4:03) and “Compare You to Me” (3:49), the last one being a party-rock that emphasizes the chorus, having also a melodic solo. Although not being the kind of band that the visitors of this webzine are is search for, “Fred & The Living Deads” surely knows how to make rocky and sticky songs that may attract the younger listeners, who are used to the sound of bands like “Billy Talent”, “Muse”, “Green Day”, “The Offspring”, “My Chemical Romance”, “Arctic Monkeys”, “Fall Out Boy”, “The Killers”, “Jawbreaker”, “Sunny Day Real Estate”, or are connected to the “Zombie” culture, the “Twilight-Vampire” culture, and the “Anime” culture. Band members and collaborators involved in Fred & The Living Deads are: Frederic Labudka - Lead Guitars & Lead Vocals; Joan Dehlinger - Rhythm Guitar; Gregory Romming – Bass; Raphael Dehlinger – Drums & Backing Vocals. All Music & Lyrics written by Fred & The Living Deads; Recorded & Mixed by Christophe Pullon at Deaf Rock Studio, Strasbourg, 2013. Produced by Fred & The Living Deads. Check their video "Fever" on Youtube... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/28/2015...............................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit FRED AND THE LIVING DEADS 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)
02/28/2015.......................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit BLOODY MARY HOME PAGE...
. CATHEDRAL - "The Bridge"
Cathedral – the legendary Prog-Rock band from the U.S.A. – is welcomed to the PR&PM webzine! Cathedral was formed in 1975 by Fred Callan (bass) and Thomas Doncourt (Mellotron and other keyboards) after the break-up of their Psychedelic-Rock band called “Odyssey”. Cathedral’s line-up also featured Paul Seal (vocals, bass pedals), Rudy Perrone (guitars), and Mercury Caronia IV (drums). Cathedral played regularly around the Long Island musical circuit, and called attention of New Yorker record label Delta Records, which released the band’s first album, titled “Stained Glass Stories”, in 1978. The album offered a fine sample of the best Symphonic Progressive Rock, with strong influences of “Yes” and “King Crimson”, but also “Gentle Giant” and “Genesis”. It was highly praised by the Prog community, which regards it (even nowadays) as one of the greatest Progressive Rock albums ever recorded in America! “Stained Glass Stories” attracted an interest of Atlantic Records, but a follow-up did never come out, maybe because Cathedral’s ascension was coincident with the decline of Prog-Rock. Anyway, “Stained Glass Stories” was reissued on CD in 1990 via independent label Syn-Phonic. However, in 2003, with the worldwide Progressive Rock revival that began to flourish in the new century, Fred Callan took the initiative of resurrecting Cathedral for a new musical enterprise. He reunited Cathedral’s original members once again, and they began to write new music in the next three years. Along this time, Rudy Perrone had to leave, and his place was filled in by guitarist David Doig. Cathedral’s new music was finally recorded on the independent CD “The Bridge” (2007) - their second album after almost 30 years! “The Bridge” brings 7 tracks and an updated sonority in respect to “Stained Glass”: an expected consequence, regarding the long hiatus that separate those two albums. The listener will notice it when listening to the album’s shortest songs: “Satellite” (5:00), a groovy Rock; and “The Lake” (5:11), with Ethnical beats reminiscent of the solo work of “Peter Gabriel”. But the listener will also find a great amount of authentic “Progressiveness” on the longest tracks of “The Bridge”. “Monsterhead Suite: parts 1, 2 & 3” (13:21) has a weird entanglement of bass, guitar, and drums that hints at “King Crimson’s” old lessons, but is idealized in the ambience of the 21st century. Even though it may be too much avant-garde for appreciators of Cathedral’s first album, I am sure that the new generations, more used to the sound of bands like “Flower Kings”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Karmakanic”, “Transatlantic”, or “Agents of Mercy”, will realize the worth of this music and will assimilate it instantaneously. If Callan’s bass is less impulsive as it was in the past, it is still the leading instrument of the band, and has gained in sophistication and identity (sounding less as “Chris Squire”). Also the floating Mellotrons provided by Doncourt turned out to be more soaring and sensitive; and the voice of Paul Seal sounds more matured and nuanced than it was before. On drums, Mercury Caronia IV sustains the music with a locked rhythmic section, playing more technically than aggressively, and adding smart percussive moments. And the new guitar sounds provided by Doig are pervaded with a sense of modernity that enriched the new music of Cathedral. Doig shows how an excellent acquisition for the band he was on “Kithara Interludium” (6:28) – an instrumental track played on the classical acoustic guitar that will make fans of “Steve Hackett”, “Anthony Phillips”, and “Gordon Giltrap” to cry of happiness. “Hollins” (9:54) is a magnificent soaring piece introduced by Gothic choirs, having a strong English-Prog influence conveyed on its delicate tunes, while eerie Mellotrons hover above some interlocked arrangements of bass and guitars; ending with a surprising vocal part that evokes the nightmarish influence of “Peter Gabriel” of “Genesis”. “Angular World” (7:11) brings the dark atmosphere and aggressiveness of the past times, revealing the crooked influence of “King Crimson” hidden in the harmonic structure. The dramatic bass lines, the creepy guitar solo, the ghostly Mellotrons and the mysterious percussion are comparable to some Heavy-Prog acts of today (“Riverside” and “Haken”, for instance). The last of the “longs” is “The Secret” (11:33), which retains much of Cathedral’s old style, as featured on “Stained Glass…”: starting with Oriental modes and Medieval vocals (evoking a distant influence of “Gentle Giant”), and passing by a middle sequence full of soaring Mellotrons and sturdy guitars and synths, this song ends in an astounding passage featuring a balanced mix of elements inspired on “Yes” (bass, keyboards, harmony vocals) and “King Crimson” (Mellotrons, odd metrics, saxophones), that were very typical on Cathedral’s first album. In sum, “The Bridge” is neither inferior to, nor better than “Stained Glass Stories” - just different. Less retro-sounding and aggressive, but wiser, more emotionally experienced and original, “The Bridge” is a brilliant musical work that shines with its own uniqueness and value. Prone to be acclaimed more by the modern audiences than by orthodox Prog-heads, it still stands as a highly recommendable item for fans of “Yes”, “King Crimson”, “Gentle Giant”, “Genesis”, “Flower Kings”, “Kaipa”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Karmakanic”, “Transatlantic”, “Overhead”, “Agents of Mercy”, “Riverside”, “Haken”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Cathedral are: Paul Seal - Lead Vocals; David Doig – Brian Moore Electric Guitar, William King Acoustic, Synthesized Guitars, Saxophones and Cello; Thomas Doncourt – Mellotron and other Keyboards, Theremin, Flutes, Acoustic Percussion; Fred Callan – 4, 5 and 8 String Bass Guitars, 5 String Fretless, Moog Taurus Bass Pedals and Sounds; Mercury Caronia IV - Drums, Gongs, Bells, Tympani, Assorted Percussion and Devices. Former Original Member: Rudy Perrone - 6 and 12 String Guitars, Vocals. All Songs Written, Arranged and Performed by Cathedral; Lyrics by Paul Seal, except on “Hollins”, written by Doncourt and Seal. Produced by Cathedral and Brian Unger; Engineered by Brian Unger; Recorded at Ian London Studio, Long Island, New York; Jacket Art by Chuck Bernklau... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/28/2015.........................,.....More information about the band? Better check it out for yourself at: CATHEDRAL HOME PAGE...
. DEEP SLEEP OPERATOR - "While the Earth Sleeps"
Deep Sleep Operator is an obscure Hard-Rock and Heavy Metal one-man band hailing from the northern Wisconsin, USA. Mark Ehlers is the lead singer, guitarist, and main composer behind the project, and he defines the sound of Deep Sleep Operator with the following statement: “When Steven Spielberg has nightmares....it sounds like this.” Anyway, Ehlers has somehow managed to produce and release Deep Sleep Operator’s debut album “While the Earth Sleeps” (2012). Some tracks of it were successful in having domestic exposure in Wisconsin, Texas, and North Carolina, and reached international airplay in the UK, Australia, Italy, and Canada. Ehlers then assembled a live band to bring Deep Sleep Operator onto the stage, and has shared shows with bands such as “Jucifer”, “Bobaflex”, “Mobile Death Camp”, “Hounds of Jezebel”, “Throw the Fight”, and “Death Valley High”. Deep Sleep Operator’s album “While the Earth Sleeps” was a gratifying surprise for me. The CD contains 13 tracks – all of them possessed by the sinful evil spirit of 80’s Heavy Metal from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean! By combining the vibration and technical quality of the NWOBHM style with the raw energy of the most seminal and primeval Thrash-Metal made in USA, Ehlers has composed a bunch of killer Metal standards that will make the most catatonic Head-Banger to bang his/her head until it falls down from the neck! Taking the listener by assault, Deep Sleep Operator attacks with fierce, explosive, and devouring Metal power, armed with dynamic and creative guitar riffing, unstoppable and inexhaustible guitar soloing, thundering deep-bass lines, and heavy artillery on drums - all under the leadership of Ehlers’ insane throating vocals that spit-off bizarre lyrics with themes that cover from alien invasions to black magic. Overall, the sound has a nostalgic resemblance with the early days of “Metallica”, “Megadeth”, “Armored Saint”, “Savatage”, “Helstar”, “Metal Church”, “Dr. Mastermind”, “Savage Grace”, “Nasty Savage”, “Death Angel”, “Artillery”, “Manilla Road”, “Tank”, “Tysondog”, “Saxon”, “Savage”, “Warhead”, “Running Wild” (pre-Pirate phase), “Accept”, “Rage”, and others. From the 13 tracks of “While the Earth Sleeps”, I can state frankly that no one prevails over the others: this album is to be listened in its entirety, in a single spin. Starting with “Breaking the Earth” (4:48) – a fake alien-movie soundtrack that aims to settle a kind of “MIB” atmosphere for the entire album – the songs that follow on are all instant hits that will crush down each listener with a different impacting effect, according to his/her Metal tastes. “Feed Them Dirt” (4:20) has a boldly aggressive attitude, NWOBHM riffs, and surprising Voodoo drumming; “Spiritual Warfare” (4:14) is a slow-pounding Traditional Metal with story-telling vocals and wah-wah guitars; “Teacher of the Black Arts” (3:53) has galloping riffs, thrashing drumming, and hovering guitar solo; “Hyper Division” (3:50) and “They've Entered my Mind” (4:47) are two songs that feature a groovy combination of Hard-Rock and NWOBHM; “Tempo of a Frozen Heart” (4:52) is an early “Metallica-Megadeth” combo; “Nebula-Nightsky Island” (4:01) has synths, dark atmospheres, galloping drumming, and neoclassical guitar harmonies that sometimes recalled me of “Savatage”; “Temple of Massivo” (4:27) is a Psychedelic Metal that comes like a Pharaohs’ curse, containing a long instrumental part that recalled me of the epic style of “Manilla Road”; “Plant it Deep” (4:12) is an amazing Ethnical-Desert-Rock with complex arrangements and outstanding guitar work; “Don't Take a Knife to a Gunfight” (4:46) is an adventurous song suspended on a vibrant NWOBHM riff; and “Rise with Me” (3:29) is driven by fatty bass, electrifying guitar riff, and radioactive atomic solo, while doomsday vocals predict the apocalypse. “Population Zero” (1:40) is another fake alien-movie soundtrack that closes this insane album, leaving no leftover-tracks. After listening to this amazing piece of Metallic art, the least that I can do is to congratulate Mark Ehlers for this extraordinary accomplishment and praise Deep Sleep Operator as being one of the best 80’s Metal acts living in the 21st Century. Deep Sleep Operator is super-highly recommendable for lovers of the early days of NWOBHM and Thrash Metal, as it was viscerally played by “Metallica”, “Megadeth”, “Exodus”, “Metal Church”, “Armored Saint”, “Savatage”, “Helstar”, “Dr. Mastermind”, “Nasty Savage”, “Savage Grace”, “Death Angel”, “Artillery”, “Manilla Road”, “Iron Maiden”, “Angel Witch”, “Tank”, “Tysondog”, “Saxon”, “Savage”, “Warhead”, “Running Wild”, “Accept”, and “Rage”. Band members and collaborators involved in Deep Sleep Operator are: Mark Ehlers – Production, Songwriting & Performance. Mixed by Dan Deurloo at After Rome Studios MPLS MN. Mastering by Doug Van Sloun at Focus Mastering, Omaha, NE. Recorded at The Farm, Tilden WI. Percussion courtesy of EWQL SD1. Samples courtesy of Spectrasonics Distorted Reality 2. Cover Graphic by Frank Frazetta/Metaphase Brothel Graphyx... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/28/2015.......................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit DEEP SLEEP OPERATOR HOME PAGE...
. FLIGHT 09 - "Signs Of The Water"
Flight 09 is a veteran band of the Uzbekistan's Rock scene consisting of Igor Savitch (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Constantine Savitch (bass, backing vocals), and Artiom Piyanzin (drums, backing vocals). Flight 09 was formed in 1986 in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan (formerly USSR). Since 1986 they have played exclusively Progressive Metal. Recently however, they were forced to return to their proto-progressive Hard-Rock and Traditional Metal roots due to the unpopularity of complex music in their hometown. Flight 09 has always been a popular band in Tashkent, and from 1987 to 1998 participated in several festivals around the ex-Soviet countries. The band has also made concerts in Holland (1991) and in the USA (1993-1995, 1997, and 2000). Along the years, Flight 09 accumulated a discography comprising the albums: "0990" (1990), "Red and Black" (1993), "Jump in the Fire" (1994), "The Love Story" (1995), "Meeting in the Material World" (1997), "Turn Off the Light" (1999), “Rifflection” (2002, Neurosis Records, USA), “Forbidden Lullabies” (2003, Neurosis/Starless Records, Russia), and “Human Nature” (2005, MALS, Russia). Along those albums, Flight 09 has developed its own brand of Hard-Rock with elements of Progressive Rock, which they call “Progressive Cathedral Rock”. The sound is a mix of Classic and Progressive Metal riffs topped with elaborated melodic guitar solos, tightly articulated to a background of Symphonic keyboards, with inclusion of some instrumental passages that may be inspired on the Folk Music of Uzbekistan. If in some moments Flight 09 recalls me of bands such as “Scorpions”, “Rush”, “Rainbow”, and “Magnum”; in other moments I notice a resemblance with bands from Russia and from some ex-Soviet republics, mainly “Autograph”, “Aria”, “Black Coffee”, “SBS”, “In Search For”, and “Azazello”. A weak resemblance is still sensed in respect to the full-fledged Progressive outfits “Little Tragedies” and “From.Uz” (another successful band of Tashkent), except that the sonority of Flight 09 is heavier and less complex. Flight 09’s latest release is titled “Signs Of The Water” (2014, MALS, Russia), which is the first album having participation of new drummer Vlad Nemchinov. “Signs Of The Water” features 7 tracks. “Nowhere and Never” (5:55) opens the album alternating a weird Prog-Metal riff with a vocal-driven part combined with pulsing bass and atmospheric keyboards that contribute to create an epic atmosphere (and so recalling me of “Rainbow”). “The Snowy Tale” (6:50) follows on more vibrantly, painted with some Hard-Prog tints on keyboards (which have brought “Little Tragedies” to my mind), but having a bit more swing. Those initial tracks open way for two half-ballads, I mean, songs that have soft moments driven by melodic tunes (like Prog-ballads), but that alternate those moments of tenderness with additional heavier sequences (both have recalled me of the song-format of “Autograph”). “The Wave” (6:23) has pianos and acoustic guitars on its intro, growing dramatically on the heaviest sequences with pulsing bass, powerful drums, and soaring keyboards, being crowned with a great guitar solo; while “November Snow” (7:18) is a shadowed and romantic rock-ballad that progresses slowly toward its final climax, pinpointed with melodic guitar solos. But the best sample of the “Progressive Cathedral Rock” engendered by Flight 09 finally shows up on the last three tracks of the album. The listener will feel rewarded when listening to “Island of Dreams”, “When the Rain Will Come”, and “The Cloud” – all of them provided with the highest Progressive content, featuring very technical playing and having some twists and turns that surprise the listener. “Island of Dreams” (6:24) has a slightly Oriental contamination on the energetic rhythmic structure, and brings epic vocal parts and a middle section stuffed with folk-acoustic guitars followed by a great electric guitar solo, Classic Rock-styled (paralleling “From.Uz”). “When the Rain …” (6:09) is another half-ballad that starts soft and later accelerates with the coming of keyboards and a contagious guitar riff that recalls “Rush”. The vocal melody alternates malign and soft tones, congregating influences of “Magnum” and “Autograph”. And the closing track, “The Cloud” (7:00), begins with Gothic church organs that introduce a killer guitar suspended on a typical Prog-Metal riff. The middle part is Progressive, driven by melodic vocals and soaring bass, being later adorned with Folky flutes and motifs. The killer guitar riffs make a come-back in an epic atmosphere, leading to the final guitar solo, which comes bravely in a Classic-Rock garment. Although the sound production of “Signs of the Water” is not the best of all, Flight 09 is an experienced band whose musicians know how to compose above-the-average songs that are at the same time technical and sticky. Flight 09 is specially recommended for fans of Classic Hard Rock, Progressive Rock, and Metal in the Soviet style, as represented by bands like “Autograph”, “Aria”, “Black Coffee”, “SBS”, “In Search For”, “Azazello”, “Mind Portal”, “From.Uz”. Band members and collaborators involved in Flight 09 are: Igor Savitch – Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals; Constantine Savitch – Bass; Vlad Nemchinov – Drums. Ex-member: Artiom Piyanzin – Drums, Backing Vocals. All music by I. Savitch; All lyrics by I. Savitch & R. Ray. Album Produced & Engineered by I. Savitch; Edited by Progressor. Cover artwork by M. Lanin... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/28/2015..............................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit FLIGHT 09 HOME PAGE...
. ARLEKIN - "Disguise Serenades"
Arlekin is the Progressive Rock side-project of Igor Sidorenko - a multi-instrumentalist based in Kiev, Ukraine, who is also behind the bands “Stoned Jesus”, “Krobak” and “Voida”. But Arlekin has a sonority that is different from the Stoner-Rock act “Stoned Jesus”, or the violin-oriented Post-Rock band “Krobak” (read reviews about them at PR&PM, in 2014 and 2013, respectively). Arlekin is a standard Neo-Progressive one-man band that served as a vehicle for Sidorenko to bring to life some songs that he had written when he was about 16-17 years old. He was then very impressed and strongly influenced by the Neo-Progressive trend, both from the U.K., represented by bands like “Marillion” (“Fish” Era), “IQ”, “Shadowland”, “Pallas”, “Twelfth Night”, “Pendragon”, and the seminal “Genesis”, “Pink Floyd”, and “Camel”; and from the non-British countries, represented by bands such as “Collage” (Poland), “Clepsydra” (Switzerland), “The Watch” (Italy), “Red Sand” (Canada), and “Matthew Parmenter and Discipline” (USA). After having recorded nearly 3 hours of demo material, Sidorenko promised himself to release the music on a CD when he had the time and resources to produce it. The CD finally came to light in August, 2014, in the shape of Arlekin’s first independent album, titled “Disguise Serenades”. It is available both on digital and physical formats, and in a limited digipack edition containing an extra hidden-track that cannot be uploaded anywhere. “Disguise Serenades” contains 5 tracks. The compositions follow the Neo-Progressive standard, showing strong influences of early “Marillion” (“Fish” Era), with vocals oscillating from the “Gabriel-Fish” mannerisms to the “Matthew Parmenter” emotional mode. The guitar solos surpass the regular cliché, engaging into interesting melodic themes that are wonderfully counterbalanced with sensitive solos of synths. The long fights that happen between those guitars and synths consist in the strongest point of Arlekin – one that attracts and keeps the listener’s attention during the total time of each song. The instrumental passages are also adorned with other textures of keyboards, like organs. The rhythmic part is rather passive and simple, not as heavy or energetic as in “Arena” and “Galahad”, for instance. But regarding the fact that Sidorenko plays all instruments alone, his effort really deserves applause. “Disguise Serenades” starts with “The Lost Path” (08:22), which begins surrounded by an oppressive atmosphere – just with dramatic vocals and bombastic church organs, bringing later some emotional vibes comparable to bands like “Pallas” and “Twelfth Night”. “Dance of the Jester” (08:45), one of the album’s best tracks, recalls the early “Marillion” pattern, instilling a lively and rocky disposition in the rhythmic base. A vocal line recalling the “Fish” kind of voice transposes the joyful keyboards; arriving at a slow and beautiful sequence driven by ghostly gothic synths and confessional vocals that anticipate a great guitar solo. The last part is the “dance of the jester” itself, which gains in drama with the nearing end. “Romance” (04:56) is a melancholic ballad with sad vocals that abandons a bit the Neo-Prog standard, leaning to the Classic Prog, being closed with the best guitar solo of the album – pervaded with a spirit of grandeur. The fourth track - “In This Puzzled Roundabout” (15:01) – is the album’s masterpiece. It is long enough for Sidorenko to capture diverse emotional moods within its frame, and even insert a few non-Neo-Prog influences in the arrangements (recalling “Discipline” and “Floyd”). The first part of the song brings pulsing bass, Bluesy modes and Psychedelic timbres on guitars and keyboards, being gradually accelerated by powerful drum beats. A new layer of synths and a “Steve Rothery” kind of harmony guitar place the song on the Neo-Prog plateau again, in a sequence that is very similar to “Marillion”. The next part (recalling “Discipline”) has heavy guitar riffs and the vocal key drops to a menacing tone, introducing another great guitar solo, and beautiful instrumental passages, before going back to the “Marillion” Neo-Prog mode. This sequence is broken down by aggressive martial drums and frantic keyboard solos that introduce gorgeous sounds of organ and majestic andantes adorned with delicate guitar brocades. Taking the final hook, “Old Father East” (03:59) comes in as an instrumental coda, conveying beautiful waving melodies from the synths. After a long silence, the hidden track shows on: a different version of “Dance of the Jester”. Although Sidorenko has made a great job on this album, I think that he might obtain better results, by reuniting a complete band to play around him, including a vocalist and a rhythmic section, and go on for a second album. For now, Arlekin is greatly recommended for fans of early “Marillion” (“Fish” era), “Genesis”, “Fish”, “IQ”, “Pallas”, “Twelfth Night”, “Shadowland”, “Pendragon”, “Comedy of Errors”, “Discipline”, “Red Sand”, “Collage”, “The Watch”, “Clepsydra”, “Red Jasper”, “Silhouette”, “Pink Floyd”, and “Camel”. Band members and collaborators involved in Arlekin are: Igor Sidorenko – Vocals, All Instruments (Guitars, Keyboards, Bass, Drums). Written & Performed by Igor Sidorenko. Recorded at Lipky Zvukozapys, 2013; Mixed & Mastered by Alexandr Kuzovlev (“Vespero”), Summer 2013. Artwork by Valeria Kemnits. Also you can contact the band by their Facebook Page... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/28/2015...........................Want to learn everything about the band and their music, you need to visit ARLEKIN HOME PAGE...
. MAJESTIC - "Epsilon 1"
Majestic is back to PR&PM once more! Majestic is a Progressive Rock project from Minneapolis, MN, created and spearheaded by Jeff Hamel, who is also co-producer on the Proximal Distance recording project (featuring members of Slychosis). With the Majestic project, Hamel has already released several albums: “Ataraxia” (2010), “Labyrinth” (2011), “V.O.Z.” (2012), and “Epsilon 1 & 2” (2014). Two of those albums - “Ataraxia” and “V.O.Z.” - were featured at PR&PM in 2010 and 2014, respectively. From album to album, Hamel has refined Majestic’s unique sonority – one that incorporates old and new influences as diverse as “Yes”, “Genesis”, “Rush”, “Ayreon”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Star One”, and “Dream Theater” – to cover a broad spectrum of intensities that range from Symphonic Neo-Prog and Space-Rock to Hard-Rock and Prog-Metal. Majestic’s album “V.O.Z.” (2012) was an impressive double album that elevated Majestic’s music to a new threshold. The continuation of that work appears on a set of two albums, titled “Epsilon 1” and “Epsilon 2” (both independently released in 2014), which comprise a single opus. The “Epsilon” saga is based upon the star Epsilon, which is part of the Eridanus (The River) constellation. In Greek mythology, the constellation is associated with the story of Phaëton, the son of the Sun god Helios, who drove his father’s chariot across the sky, but lost control of it and set fire on the lands on Earth. To prevent a further disaster, Zeus struck Phaëton down with a thunderbolt, throwing him into the Eridanus. The album on focus here is “Epsilon 1”. The line-up features Jeff Hamel (guitars, bass, keyboards), Mike Kosacek (drums), and a cast of guest singers: Chris Hodges (“Every Living Soul”), Celine Derval (“Scythia”), Marc Atkinson (“Riversea”, “Nine Stones Close”, “Mandalaband”), and David Cagle (“Liberty & Justice”) - all talented vocalists who enhanced the emotional content of the songs with superb performances. “Epsilon 1” features six tracks. Tracks 1-3 - namely “Chariots”, “Mother Dearest”, and “Starlight” - are like prequels of the main opus “Epsilon”. The first two compositions are the heaviest of the album, combining powerful Space-Metal riffs with pounding drums, being driven by dramatic singing (recalling “Star One” and “Porcupine Tree”). “Chariots” (11:10), although having some cosmic-sounding moments, flows fast and dynamically, propelled by binary drum beats and by the rocky vocals of C. Hodges, offering elaborated solos of guitar and synths. On the awesome “Mother Dearest” (9:28), a ‘70-sounding Hammond is added to the groovy riffs, being driven by Celine Derval’s expressive vocals, which create a malevolent dark atmosphere for this song. “Mother…” has also great instrumental parts that tend to a heavy Psychedelia, including thrashing riffs escorted with escalating synths and astral-cosmic guitar sounds. Surpassing those havoc songs, the listener is introduced to the serenity and sophistication of “Starlight” (10:19), a song that goes on a soaring Progressive mode, on which the sensitive voice of Marc Atkinson sails on a space-psychedelic pool supported by a floating backing choir, and crosses tuneful waves of ethereal synths and soulful guitars. “Starlight” starts the transition of the music toward the mostly trippy Space-Prog atmospheres that dominate the forthcoming tracks 4 to 6, which comprise the beginning of the “Epsilon” opus. Numbered and subtitled as “Epsilon I - Event Horizon”, “Epsilon II - Doorways”, and “Epsilon III - Samskaras”, they will continue, as parts “IV-XI”, on the “Epsilon 2” album. Differently from the initial tracks, “Epsilon” represents the most Symphonic-Progressive side of Majestic: cushioned on classic arrangements, conveyed on “majestic” andantes full of epic moments, concentrating Space-Psychedelic similarities with bands like “Ayreon”, “Yes”, “Genesis”, “Pink Floyd”, “Eloy”, and “Hawkwind”. “Part I - Event Horizon” (8:41) is an uplifting track that begins with a long instrumental sequence that trespasses different soundscapes, alternating psychedelic, atmospheric and cosmic moods, reaching a platitude where a delicate and beautiful synth tune meets the emotional vocals of D. Cagle, progressing slowly, as on a great mix of “Yes”, “Eloy”, and “Ayreon”. It makes a strong contrast with “Part II - Doorways” (7:37) – an instrumental piece that, at first, brings classic pianos, fluidal bass (like “Chris Squire”) and angelical guitars/Mellotrons (like “Genesis”), steering later to a Space-Rock tour-de-force, driven by vibrant bass, wuthering synths, cosmic Moogs, and lysergic guitars (sometimes recalling the style of “Hawkwind”) – causing a great impact on the listener. The album finishes with “Part III - Samskaras” (7:21) – an Epic Progressive song (again, with Cagle on lead vocals), arranged around an imposing instrumentation (recalling “Ayreon” and “Floyd”), and crowned with a fantastic guitar solo that lures the listener to the “Epsilon 2” album. On “Epsilon 1”, Majestic has accomplished what had been promised on the previous album, “V.O.Z.”, certainly fulfilling the expectations of their fans. “Epsilon 2”, the continuation of this Prog-Saga, is eagerly awaited here at PR&PM! Majestic’s “Epsilon 1” is highly recommended for fans of Symphonic Neo-Prog, Hard & Heavy Prog, Space-Rock, and Space-Metal who like bands such as “Yes”, “Genesis”, “Rush”, “Ayreon”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Star One”, “ELP”, “Dream Theater”, “Arena”, “Deep Purple”, “Rocket Scientists”, “Pink Floyd”, “Eloy”, “Hawkwind”, “Pallas”, “Galahad”, “Twelfth Night”, “Pendragon”, “Roswell Six”, “Shadow Circus”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Majestic are: Jeff Hamel – Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Compositions; Mike Kosacek - Drums, Percussion. Guest Singers: Chris Hodges (on “Chariots”); Celine Derval (on “Mother Dearest”); Marc Atkinson (on “Starlight”); David Cagle (on “Epsilon I & “Epsilon III). (Jessica Rasche makes a cameo appearance on CD-2). Recorded in Minneapolis, MN, at Majestic Songs Studio; Mastering by Steve Carrao (Sage Audio); Artwork by Jonathan Maurin (Aeon Lux); Produced by Jeff Hamel... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/28/2015....................Want to learn everything about this amazing musician and his projects, go to MAJESTIC HOME PAGE...
Stardust Circus is a Hard-Rock and Glam-Metal band hailing from Minsk, Belarus. The present line-up consists of Dave Loretti (vocals), Stevie Black (guitars, backing vocals), J.J. (guitars, backing vocals), Wade Wilson (bass, backing vocals), and Plato (drums, percussion). Stardust Circus was founded in 2009 by guitarist, lyricist and composer Steve Black, who was successively joined by second guitarist J.J.; drummer Max Impreza, bassist Alex Coyd, and showman singer Dave Loretti. In 2010 Stardust Circus released a demo with 4 original compositions and a cover of “The Beatles” and started a busy career taking part in festivals and contests: “Alterwave 2009”, “Music Combat 2010” (winner); tribute show for “Manson-Gaga” at Reactor Club in 2011 (legendary venue in Minsk); support band of Russian guitarist “Sergey Tabacnikova”; “Spring Rock Fest 2011” (main attraction); and “Heavy Nice Day 7, 2011” (winner). In 2011 Stardust Circus made several concerts at Jolly Roger Cafe and began a series of 50 shows in Minsk that extended to 2012. By the end, drummer Max left the band and was replaced by Turok.  A new live phase began: in 2012 Stardust Circus won first place of the “Emergenza Festival” and reached the finals of the “Bulfest” contest, stablishing themselves as one of the most important bands of Belarus. With the band on the peak, Stardust Circus released their first full-length album, titled “Monkeys Of XXI” (July 2013, Independent). On the release party on October 10th 2013, the band presented to the audiences the new bassist Wade Wilson. Soon after, another line-up change was announced: drummer Turok left the band, being replaced by Plato. In March 2014, Stardust Circus celebrated the “Metal All Stars” pre-party, with “Bones Elias” (“Dead by Sunrise”, “Sixx: A.M.”), “UDO”, “Rhino” (“Manowar”), “Brian Fair and Matt Bachard” (“Shadows Fall”), “Jasin Todd” (“Shinedown”), and “Jon Donais” (“Anthrax”). In 2014 the band filmed their first official video-clip for the song “War in the Streets”. “Monkeys Of XXI” has 11 tracks. The music is energetic and vibrant, standing on the tripod made of Loretti (an outstanding singer, owner of a voice tailored for Hard-Rock), Stevie Black (who is responsible for the straightforward compositions, heavy and aggressive guitar riffs, and the smart lyrics), and J.J. (who contributes by embellishing the songs with his technical and precise guitar playing, covering a variety of Rock and Metal styles). The trio is well supported by a solid rhythmic duo consisting of ex-members Alex Coyd and Turok, who provided pulsing bass lines and powerful propelling drums on the record. A few additional keyboards were provided by Alexander Bobrov. Overall, the sonority of Stardust Circus recalled me of the best songs of bands like “AC/DC”, “UFO”, “Saxon”, “Judas Priest”, “Def Leppard”, “Dio”, “Scorpions”, “Krokus”, “Accept”, “UDO”, “Van Halen”, “KISS”, “Ratt”, “W.A.S.P.”, “Great White”, “Quiet Riot”, “Aerosmith”, “Skid Row”, “Bon Jovi”, and the likes - standing at the same professional level, and remaining loyal to the spirit of Rock! “Monkeys Of XXI” begins with the post-apocalyptical intro “War Overture” (1:46) preceding the groovy, contagious, and rebel-inducing “The Right To Break The Law” (4:08), a 70’s Hard-Rock that recalls “AC/DC”, “UFO”, or “KISS”, for instance, with a vibrant guitar solo; traits that also contaminate the groovy “Keep On Rockin'” (3:39) (featuring amazing vocals by Loretti and great bass passages by Coyd). As the album continues, we realize that Stardust Circus is also very proficient in the advanced principles of “Motorcycle-Metal”, as shown on the fast-driving songs “Perfect Killer” (4:12) and “Red Light” (2:57), both having guitar riffs that recall “Saxon” and “Judas Priest”, and a touch of “Dio” on vocals – so, open way ahead! Stardust Circus is not less accomplished when making lighter songs that have international radio quality, such as the bright Rock “No Fear” (4:23), which emphasizes the chorus and has free-flowing guitars, recalling “Def Leppard”, “Quiet Riot”, and “Van Halen”; or the Rock ballad “I Won't Save The World” (3:20), which is pervaded by a bluesy feeling that will appeal to fans of “Skid Row” and “Sebastian Bach”, for example. But a number of best tracks – the most powerful, aggressive, and verging the Metal style - have been strategically placed on the final part of the album. The escalating begins on “May Be I'm Insane” (3:57) (with great emotional vocals, thundering drums and amazing melodic guitar solo, and a layer of keyboards that provides it with a modern electronic touch); and reaches a peak on the anarchic title track “Monkeys Of XXI” (4:02) (which combines malignant vocals with thrashing riffs and awesome tribal drumming); and on the pounding and cadenced “War In The Streets” (5:03) – a Traditional Heavy Metal, with weight, mass and groove. The album ends on the outstanding “Heaven ?1” (5:08), which counts with some epic keyboards and a kind of “Led Zeppelin swing” to produce a Space-Hard Rock that verges the Prog! Really an excellent band fitting in the Hard-Rock & Metal styles, rivaling with the equivalent bands of the British-American axis, Stardust Circus is highly recommended for fans of “AC/DC”, “UFO”, “Nazareth", “Saxon”, “Judas Priest”, “Def Leppard”, “Dio”, “Scorpions”, “Krokus”, “Accept”, “UDO”, “Van Halen”, “KISS”, “Ratt”, “W.A.S.P.”, “Great White”, “Quiet Riot”, “Aerosmith”, “Skid Row”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Stardust Circus are: Actual line-up: Dave Loretti - Vocals; Stevie Black - Guitars, Backing Vocals; J.J. - Guitars, Backing Vocals; Wade Wilson - Bass, Backing Vocals; Plato - Drums, Percussion. Musicians on “Monkeys Of XXI”: Dave Loretti - Vocals; Stevie Black - Guitars, Backing Vocals; J.J. - Guitars, Backing Vocals; Alex Coyd – Bass, Backing Vocals, Keyboards; Turok – Drums. Additional Musician: Alexander Bobrov – Keyboards and Keyboard Arrangements. Album Produced by Stardust Circus; recorded at Scat Records Studios, Makaenka Studios, and M-Studio; Engineered by Stardust Circus and Anatoly Shmanaj; Mixed and Mastered by Nikolai Neronski at Nikolai Neronski Studios. If you want become a friend from the band please check their Facebook page... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
03/31/2015..................;;;..........................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit STARDUST CIRCUS HOME PAGE...
. MALCOLM SMITH - "We Were Here"
Malcolm Smith is an American composer and guitarist based in San Francisco, California, who is better known for being a founding member of Progressive Rock band “Metaphor”. Malcolm Smith is now venturing in a solo career and has just recorded and released his first album, entitled "We Were Here" (2014, Trope Audio). According to Smith, the album’s title reflects his vision about music and the future: he thinks that the music that people do today will be their artistic signature to the future – in the same way that 25.000 years old prehistoric cave paintings announce that “We were here!” Most of the music present on “We Were Here” is instrumental and was written during the hiatus since “Metaphor’s” last CD “The Sparrow” (2007). Besides Smith on guitars, the album features keyboardist Marc Spooner (“Metaphor”), drummer Mattias Olsson (“Änglagård”, “White Willow”, “Kaukasus”, “Necromonkey”), bassist Loren Gustafson, and has special appearances of singers John Mabry (“Metaphor”, “Mind Furniture”) and Deborah Roth; and guitarists Rich Longacre and Craig Launer. “We Were Here” has 6 tracks, 5 of which are instrumental. The music is an assemblage of old-school Progressive Rock that captivates the listener’s immediately. The compositions are fresh, dynamic, vivid, and bring within complex arrangements that shelter a vast array of odd time signatures, changes of pace, and tightly packed instrumental interplay. The solid instrumentation is based on amazing guitar playing and ponderous drumming, bonded together by fantastic bass lines and embellished with surprisingly keyboard passages, all performed by top-quality musicians. Most amazing is their ability to blend “sonic-rounded” symphonic moments that recall the refined instrumentation of “Genesis” in the beginning of the “Phil Collins” era, “UK”, and the sensitive melodicism of “Camel”, with peculiar rhythmic divisions reminiscent of “Gentle Giant”, “King Crimson”, and “Zappa”. Overall, the sound of “We Were Here” parallels the works of bands like “Happy the Man”, “Oblivion Sun”, “Kaipa”, “The Tangent”, “Spock’s Beard”, “Agents of Mercy”, “Big Big Train”, “The Dregs”, and other bands that have mixed the different stylistic lines sprouted from the British 70’s Prog, offering them in an up-to-dated format. “Peyronie's Angle” (5:58) opens the album irradiating cosmic waves from keyboards (recalling “King Crimson”), but soon splays over a multi-variegate kind of sound that Malcolm Smith intends to imprint on his compositions all record long. “Peyronie’s…” also covers sonic influences referable to “Genesis”, “Kansas”, “Camel”, and “The Dregs” conveyed on its powerful and sinuous rhythmic frame, having an extra-touch of “ELP” and “Rick Wakeman” on keyboards. “Cavity Research” (6:18) is even more twisted, being driven by a sensational groovy bass that pervades a sonic patchwork crafted with other instruments – triple guitar attack, sounds of saxophones and vibraphones, and amazing synths, recalling the intricate sounds of “Gentle Giant”, early “Yes”, and “Camel”. “Monkey Signature” (8:56) is not less amazing, having a playful sonic-profile that evokes the joyful image of a “merry-go-round” (hinting at “Zappa’s” sense of humor). But the mood gets serious later, with the coming of pastoral acoustic guitars and flutes followed by neat synths and guitars, accelerated by great drumming (recalling “Genesis”, “Camel”, “Yes with “Wakeman”, and “UK”). “Still... Life” (6:20) is a ballad on which John Mabry sings (recalling me of “Roine Stolt”, of “Flower Kings”), preceding a wonderful instrumental passage. “Sykiatry” (13:40) is a long suite divided in 9 parts (“i. Kids”; “ii. Mr. I”; “iii. Immortal”; “iv. Lessons Learned”; “v. Self-Less”; “vi. Cliff Diving”; “vii. Brainfood”; “viii. Mr. I – Reprise”; “ix. Apotheosis”). This magnum-opus sounds less quirky than all other compositions, emulating the classic styles of “Genesis” and “Camel” during the late ‘70s: sophisticated arrangements delivered with crystal-sounding textures on guitars and synths. The intro is eerie, and Deborah Roth’s vocals (with no lyrics) introduce the main melodic theme that will push the whole piece forwards. Also the amazing guitar solos, that bring “Andrew Latimer” to mind, increase the sonic resemblance of this piece with “Camel”. With few moments reminiscent of “Gentle Giant” and “UK”, this awesome piece will attract fans of bands like “Happy the Man” and “Oblivion Sun”. “We Were Here” ends on the weird “Les Canards de Guerre” (6:25): featuring odd metrics (like “Gentle Giant”) and voices that speak in French, this piece blurs into a floating mattress of sounds that recalls “Genesis” of the initial “Collins Era”. This excellent album by Malcolm Smith is the right item for all Prog-Rock fans to consume and appreciate, while waiting for a new “Metaphor” album (promised for 2015). Highly recommendable work, indispensable for fans of “Gentle Giant”, “Genesis”, “Camel”, “Yes”, “King Crimson”, “Happy the Man”, “Oblivion Sun”, “Kaipa”, “The Tangent”, “Spock’s Beard”, “Big Big Train”, “Discipline”, “Black Bonzo”, “The Dregs”, “David Minasian”, “Agents of Mercy”, “Metaphor”. Band members and collaborators involved in Malcolm Smith are: Malcolm Smith - Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Compositions; Marc Spooner – Keyboards; Loren Gustafson – Bass; Mattias Olsson – Drums. Special Guest Singers: John Mabry – Vocals on “Still…Life”; Deborah Roth – Vocals on “Sykiatry”. Additional Guitars: Rich Longacre (on “Cavity Research” and “Sykiatry”); Craig Launer (on “Cavity Research”). Album Produced by Malcolm Smith, Marc Spooner, Johnny Lima & Dave Gakle; Recorded & Mixed at Suspect Studios in San Jose, California; Engineered by Johnny Lima; Mastered by Bob Katz, Digital Domain; Art & Layout by John Mabry; French Translation (track 6) by Crystel Tuifua... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
03/31/2015..............................................More information? Better check it out for yourself at: MALCOLM SMITH HOME PAGE...
. SUPERFIX - "Superfix"
Superfix is an Alternative Metal and Hard Rock band that was formed in 2009 in Los Angeles, California. The band is fronted by singer Kalen Chase (a touring member of “Ko?n” in 2006-2008), and the present line-up features Eli Rubin (lead guitar), Jonas Blomqvist (lead guitar, backing vocals), Evan Joffred (bass, backing vocals) and Greg (drums). Since its appearance, Superfix has mesmerized and captivated the audiences with supercharged stage performances, supporting many great acts such as: “All That Remains”, “TRAPT”, “L.A. Guns”, “CKY”, “Fear and the Nervous System” (band of “Ko?n’s” guitarist “James ‘Munky’ Shaffer”); “Queensrÿche”, “Orgy”, and others. Superfix has recently released a self-titled, independent debut album, “Superfix” (2014), and has also finished a video for the song “Invasion” (available on Youtube). The sound of Superfix is solid, massive, and super-heavy, combining elements of Alternative Metal, Hard Rock, and Nu Metal with strong influences of “Avenged Sevenfold”, “Killswitch Engage”, “Alter Bridge”, “Bullet For My Valentine”, “Stone Sour”, “Slipknot”, “Deftones”, “Ko?n”, “Disturbed”, and recent “Metallica”. With tightly-packed metallic-guitar instrumentation driven by both groovy and extra-weighty drums, the band is the perfect vehicle for Kalen Chase to experiment with his vocal chords, covering from the melodic and emotional tunes of Alternative Heavy Rock to the anguished and extremely aggressive gutsy vocals typical of the Post-Metal and Nu Metal. The combination of those factors will result in songs that are immediately appealing to the average listener of Heavy Rock, who will certainly feel hooked by the catchy guitars and the sticky vocal choruses. “Superfix”, the album, features 11 tracks. My recommendation for whoever wants to experiment this new band is to try to listen one of the following songs, which I regarded as the best of the album: “Never Change” (4:52) – a powerful and luring opening song; “The Lion's Share” (4:56) – marked by a melodic vocal chorus and an impressive double guitar attack; “Invasion” (4:53) – an apocalyptical, cathartic, and aggressive song that was chosen for the video-clip with total justice; and “The Great Escape” (5:39) – an epic song driven by amazing guitar riffs and cadenced instrumentation that later grows in heaviness and drama. All the mentioned songs showcase an explosive combination of heavy-thrashing technical playing with angry-overloaded vocals that approach bands like “Avenged Sevenfold” and “Killswitch Engage”, sometimes surrounded by a dark-and-light atmosphere typical of “Alter Bridge”. Being considerably more violent and full of wrath, but still counting among the best, there are the groovy and syncopated “Promise Ring” (5:46) (a “Bullet For My Valentine-Stone Sour” combo, crowned with a skilled guitar solo leaning to “Avenged Sevenfold”); and the last track, “The Rider” (5:43), an ultra-violent song strongly influenced by “Stone Sour” and “Slipknot”. A pair of songs - “The Dream” (4:27) and “Mind” (4:19) - will please fans of “Deftones”, for both have their distinctive alternation of Post-Metal guitar riffs, imposing deep bass, contrasting moods, and anguished vocals (sometimes distorted by electronic effects) that find relief in sparse explosions of anger. Besides those tracks, “Superfix”, the album, still offers the songs “Run” (4:23) and “Soul Survivor” (4:25) – both leaning to the Alternative Metal sound, sharing a resemblance with “Bullet For My Valentine”; and the weird “Cry Wolf” (4:25), marked by gloomy backing vocals. A brave and exciting debut album from this new act, “Superfix” showcases an active band that is well connected with the most modern trends of Alternative Metal and Hard Rock, and that will grow up in the future. Superfix is working on a new EP. For now, the band is greatly and specially recommended for fans of “Ko?n”, “Bullet For My Valentine”, “Alter Bridge”, “Avenged Sevenfold”, “Killswitch Engage”, “Deftones”, “Disturbed”, “Stone Sour”, “Slipknot”, “Metallica”, “Mudvayne”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Superfix are: Kalen Chase - Lead Vocals; Eli Rubin - Lead Guitar; Jonas Blomqvist - Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals; Evan Joffred - Bass, Backing Vocals; Greg – Drums. Musicians that took part on the “Superfix” recording: Eric Kellogg – Guitar; Wes Clayton – Drums; Guitar contributions by Jonas Blomqvist on the songs “The Lion’s Share”, “Promise Ring”, and “Mind”. Album Written and Produced by Superfix; Recorded and Engineered by Mark Dorflinger at 118 West Studios, Simi Valley, CA; Mixed by Dirk Kloiber; Mastered by Maor Appelbaum at Maor Appelbaum Mastering, U.S.A.; Artwork and Design by Eric Gottesman... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
03/31/2015..............................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit SUPERFIX HOME PAGE...
. CLEARLAND - "Gift From Time"
Clearland is an AOR band from Bulgaria, spearheaded by the duo Nikolaj Rajkov (vocals) and Konstantin Jambazov (vocals, guitars, bass, and keyboards). Jambazov is one of the most active Rock musicians in Bulgaria. He has taken part in several bands, producing a lengthy discography that covers the styles of Progressive Rock & Metal, Instrumental & Acoustic, and Ethno Rock. Two of Jambazov’s main projects – the Neo-Medieval Progressive Rock trio “VirtueL”, and the Neo-Classic Prog-Metal act “Otherwise” – were featured at PR&PM in 2014 and highly recommended for appreciators of those styles. In spite of having some live footage available on Youtube (recorded at the “Alibi Club” in Varna, on 22 December 2004, including a cover of “Child's Anthem”, by “Toto”), the Clearland project has released only one full-length album so far, titled "Gift From Time" (2004, Orphictone Records). Besides Rajkov and Jambazov, the record features Peter Petrov on drums. Different from the symphonic complexity of “VirtueL”, and less aggressive than “Otherwise”, this Clearland side-project aims to stablish an instantaneous and straightforward connection with the large audiences, with quick assimilation of the music. The songs follow the melodic lines of most AOR acts, with influences of “Asia”, “Toto”, 80’s “Kansas”, 80’s “Yes”, “Queen”, “Brian May”, “Styx”, “Foreigner”, “Malmsteen”, “Triumph”, “Boston”, “Chicago”, “Journey”, and “Saga”. Clearland’s music is pulsing and easy-going, and lavishly embellished with neo-classic guitar solos and cool synths. The lead vocals are mellow and soft, like a mix of “Kansas”, “Styx”, and “Toto”, leading the sticky choruses that are supported by harmony vocals that recall “Queen”, but not in the operatic format. “Gift From Time” brings 9 original tracks plus one bonus (an instrumental version of “Bohemian Rhapsody”, by “Queen”). What really hook the listener to the songs are the nice vocals and the great guitar solos. No one can reprimand the musicians involved in the project, they are talented, capable of making professional music, but on Clearland the idea is that they also need to eat and pay their bills. So, when listening to “Gift From Time”, do not expect the bombastic Progressive music or aggressive Prog-Metal, but cool soft songs, mostly sung in English. The best are “Feel The World” (5:22), which opens the album, and “The Way to Love You More” (6:11), both driven by rocky pulses and guitar riffs, combining influences of “Queen”, “Brian May”, “Styx”, and “Kansas”; with “The Way …” (6:11) being crowned with a beautiful violin-sounding synth solo, followed by an amazing neo-classical guitar solo (“Malmsteen” styled). The record has also many ballads, and a sequence of them recalls the cool-jazzy style of “Toto”: “Gift from Time” (4:26); “I Keep Trying” (5:39) (this one featuring a great guitar solo though); and the pops “Love and Tenderness” (4:42) and the joyful “I Will Fly” (4:37) (arranged with brass sounds that brought even “Tom Jones” to my mind). After the “Toto-phase”, things get better on the following pair of ballads, which are more classical, orchestrated, emphasizing the piano, recalling the good ballads of “Styx”: “Temptation” (4:34) in centered on voice and piano, ending with a great guitar solo; and “Keep Spirits High” (4:34) combines sensitive harmony vocals with airs of Broadway, covering them with a thin luster of “Progressiveness”. Nearing the end, the record features two songs sung in Bulgarian: “Vechen Sun” (6:02) and “S Teb” (5:07), which are the most interesting tracks under a Progressive point of view. “Vechen …” is seemingly a blend of traditional Bulgarian music adapted for the Progressive standards, and has creative harmony vocals, symphonic string arrangements, and acoustic guitars like “Al Di Meola”, followed by a “Brian May” kind of guitar solo; while “S Teb”, which recalls “Toto” of the 80’s, has an elaborated instrumentation. The last track of the album comes as a bonus: it is an amazing guitar-driven, all instrumental version of “Queen’s” classic, “Bohemian Rhapsody” (5:44), which will surprise the fans of the original song. Although pervaded with the highest levels of commitment and professionalism, I found this Clearland project to be more easy-listening and far less attractive to the Progressive fans than “Jambazov’s” other projects - “VirtueL” and “Otherwise”. Clearland can, however, be specially recommended to fans of “Styx”, “Toto”, “Asia”, “Foreigner”, “Queen”, “Brian May”, “Journey”, “Malmsteen”, “Kansas”, “Saga”, “Boston”, “Chicago”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Clearland are: Nikolay Rajkov – Vocals; Konstantin Jambazov – Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keyboards. Additional Musician: Peter Petrov – Drums. Live Line-up: Julian Christov - Guitar and Vocals; Ilian Iliev – Keyboards; Dimitar Dimitrov – Bass; Tommy Kostov - Drums and Vocals. Music Arranged by Jambazov & Rajkov. Produced by K. Jambazov; Recorded and Mixed by K. Jambazov & Ilian Iliev at Classic Studio, Varna, Bulgaria. Mastering by Tony Grapes... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
03/31/2015...........................Would like to know more about the band and their history, please visit CLEARLAND HOME PAGE...
. SWAMP DA WAMP - "SwampDaWamp"
Swamp Da Wamp is a seven-piece Country-Rock band based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The band is fronted by charismatic lead singer Gig Michaels, and also counts with Keith “The Wizard” Inman (guitars), Nick Nguyen (guitars, Dobro, violin), Scooby (B-3, piano, vocals), Rich Basco (bass), David Lee (drums), and Adrienne Nixon (backing vocals). The music of Swamp Da Wamp covers the styles of American Southern-Rock, Country-Rock, Classic Rock and Blues, having the soulful influences of “Lynyrd Skynyrd”, “Allen Collins Band”, “Willie Nelson”, “Waylon Jennings”, “ZZ Top”, “Credence Clearwater Revival”, “Canned Heat”, “Black Oak Arkansas”, “Blackfoot”, “Allman Brothers”, “Outlaws”, “Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young”, and others of the kind. With themes and lyrics that appeal to the “simple man” that exists within every person’s heart, and vibrantly performed live presentations, Swamp Da Wamp has been growing a large fan-base around the Southern region of the U.S.A. Swamp Da Wamp is also a band that is concerned about the real-life problems that most people have to face daily, and so they get involved with many charity associations, such as the St. Jude’s Hospital, the Veterans Foundations, the Native American Heritage Association (NAHA); and are currently working with the international organization Stopbullying.com, helping to spread anti-bullying campaigns worldwide (their single “Fat Boy” is an autobiographical, anti-bullying anthem based on Gig Michaels’ own experiences). Since its creation in 2006, Swamp Da Wamp has been accumulating a discography that includes the albums “SwampDaWamp” (2007),“2.0” (2008), “Rock This Country” (2009), “Short Stories from a Long Road” (2011), “Intensity” (2012), “Heroes for Hire” (2012, single), and “The Best of Vol 1”, some of which are available for download on their website. Swamp Da Wamp’s first release was the eponymous album “SwampDaWamp” (2007, Big Penny Entertainment). “SwampDaWamp” features 10 tracks and comprises a collection of modern Southern Rock instant hits, performed by the talented musicians that then formed Swamp Da Wamp’s early line-up, showcasing an integrated band on which each member contributed with his/her own share of blood, sweat, and tears to produce the most honest and emotional bunch of songs that had been recently heard in the style. Pervaded by a nostalgic and familiar Country-Rock atmosphere, some highlights of Swamp Da Wamp’s debut album might go to the solos exchanged between the free guitars and the joyful pianos – abundantly present on tracks such as the uplifting “I'm Feelin' Saturday” (3:19), the traditional “Sunday Southern Tradition” (4:51), and the slightly modern “Little Pill Called The Truth” (4:24) – or could go to the sensitive and soulful passages of a Hammond B3 organ (reminiscent of “Allman Brothers”) that appear on ballads such as: the beautiful and sad “Sometimes” (3:33), the romantic Country-ballad “Blind Crippled and Crazy” (4:56), and the soft “Backporch” (3:56), driven by acoustic guitars and great female backing vocals, in the spirit of “Willie Nelson” and “Waylon Jennings”. Other highlights, however, would focus on the uplifting vibes that come from the hard-rocking guitars and groovy rhythms propelled by the thunderous voice of Gig Michaels: powerful songs like “Birthday” (4:38), “The River” (6:06), and “Tastes Like Chicken To Me” (5:25) had already revealed all the potential of this band to become a leading act among other modern Southern-Rock bands, by showing a musical vigor and thematic matureness comparable to bands like “Led Zeppelin” and “Black Crowes”. Completing the album, the nice song “Miss Becky” (3:32) retrocedes back in time to bring some early Country-Rock airs that recalled me of the sound of “Canned Heat”. With this debut album and the follow-ups, Swamp Da Wamp have introduced themselves as true inheritors of the Southern Rock, as immortalized by a generation of seminal bands like “Lynyrd Skynyrd”, “Allman Brothers”, “Willie Nelson”, “Waylon Jennings”, “Allen Collins”, and “Canned Heat”, consisting in an indispensable item for fans of those bands, as well as for fans of  “ZZ Top”, “Molly Hatchet”, “Outlaws”, “Black Crowes”, “The Decemberists”, “Band of Horses”, the most American-influenced side of “Led Zeppelin”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Swamp Da Wamp are: Gig Michaels - Lead Singer;  Keith “The Wizard” Inman - Guitars; Nick Nguyen - Guitars, Dobro, Violin; Scooby - B-3, Piano, Vocals; Rich Basco - Bass; David Lee - Drums; Adrienne Nixon - Backing Vocals. Musicians on “SwapDaWamp” album: Gig Michaels - Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar; Marty Hill - Lead & Acoustic Guitars, Dobro; Duke Rivers - B3, Piano; Michael Hough - Guitars, Backing Vocals; Robbie Hegler - Bass, Backing Vocals; David Lee - Drums, Backing Vocals. Additional Musicians: Michael Brignardello - Bass; Eric Darken - Percussion; Zippy Dokes - B3. Additional Background Singers: Sabra Callas, Lokie Cloud, Vicky Hampton. Produced by Joe Boyland; Engineered & Mixed by David Cline, assisted by Michael Teaney at Seventeen Grand Recording, Nashville, TN; Some drums, guitars & B3 recorded at Kudzu Ranch Studios, Engineered by Mark Williams... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
03/31/2015.................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit SWAMP DA WAMP HOME PAGE...
. ANNEXED - "When Philistines Joust"
Annexed is an obscure Instrumental Rock trio from Sydney, Australia, that consists of Alejandro Gonzalez (drums), Diego Mora (guitars and bass), and Tim Chang (guitars and bass). Annexed counts at least with one released album: “When Philistines Joust” (2008, Soviet Records). The CD features 10 tracks. The sound is heavy, dense, and distorted, mixing Post-Metal and Post-Rock trends, being largely influenced by bands like “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Russian Circles”, “Pelican”, “Isis”, “Neurosis”, “Long Distance Calling”, “Rosetta”, and “Year Of No Light”. The album opens with the slow and somber “Grind” (3:44), driven by deep bass and having noisy sound interferences that are immediately reminiscent of “Tool” and “A Perfect Circle”. Some other tracks follow on that same stylistic line, such as the hypnotic and melancholic “Welcome to the Paradox” (2:50), highlighted by a meandering bass; the introspective “Devious Rotations” (7:37) – a standard Post-Rock that gains in intensity with each new coming wave of riffs; and “Silhouette” (5:27), which alternates the melancholic parts with more aggressive ones (sometimes recalling “Isis”). But a greater number of tracks – which I regarded as my favorites – put the melancholic and dark feelings aside, replacing them with more vibrant and dynamic arrangements, endowing Annexed’s music with a post-rocky attitude that recalls bands like “Russian Circles”, “Pelican”, and “Long Distance Calling”, for instance. Those tracks are “When Philistines Joust” (5:05) and “Caterpillar” (5:09) – two fast and uplifting pieces propelled by means of flowing and destroying drums and enticing guitar riffs; “A Conflict” (6:59), which oscillates between Post-Metal and Post-Rock motifs; and “The Inbetween” (5:50), which places the most melodic tunes in contrast to a dramatic atmosphere that condensates into tormented riffs that recall “Tool”. Finally, the psychedelic and eerie “Phrenic Esquisse” (1:00) introduces the magnum opus “Common Dissect” (9:30) – a long, soaring, epic and Progressive piece having many nuances and that is adorned with guitar solos, that even recalled me of the grandeur of “Year Of No Light”. Because of the lack of information about Annexed on the internet, I think that “When Philistines Joust” may eventually turn into a collectible album for listeners who are in search of good overlooked albums belonging in the Post-Metal and Post-Rock styles. Annexed is therefore specially recommended for fans of “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Russian Circles”, “Pelican”, “Isis”, “Neurosis”, “Long Distance Calling”, “Rosetta”, “Year Of No Light”, and the likes. Band members and collaborators involved in Annexed are: Alejandro Gonzalez – Drums; Diego Mora - Guitars and Bass; Tim Chang - Guitars and Bass. Additional Bassists: Dave Hammer and Satoru Kramer. Live-Performing Bassist: Ben Morgan. Written, Arranged, and Performed by Annexed. Recorded and Mixed by Michael Morgan at 301 Studios, Sydney; Additional Recording by Diego Mora at SVT HQ; Mastered by Andrew Edgson. Produced by Tim Chang; Co-Produced by Diego Mora and Michael Morgan. Artwork by Momoko Hatano; Design by Diego Mora... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
03/31/2015...............................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit ANNEXED HOME PAGE...
. SIMEON SOUL CHARGER - "A Trick of Light"
Simeon Soul Charger is very welcomed back to PR&PM! Simeon Soul Charger (SSC) is an American Psychedelic Rock band native from Akron, Ohio, that in 2008 moved to Germany and is now living in Munich. Simeon Soul Charger was greatly acclaimed in Europe after the release of their two full-length albums: “Meet Me In The Afterlife” (2011) and “Harmony Square” (2012), both under German label Gentle Art of Music (headed by Yogi Lang of “RPWL”). Since then, the band has toured intensively in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, and The Czech Republic, amassing a substantial fan-base. “Harmony Square” – an impressive concept album that brought a rock-opera divided in 15 tracks – was reviewed at PR&PM in 2012. Simeon Soul Charger has finally come out with a new full-length album, entitled “A Trick of Light”. “A Trick of Light” was recorded live in studio, with the presence of friends and fans of the band, and was released on January 30th 2015, on digipack and vinyl versions, via Gentle Art Of Music with distribution of Soulfood Music. “A Trick of Light” features the same line-up of “Harmony Square”, consisting of founder members Aaron Brooks (vocals, guitars, keyboards) and Joe Kidd (drums, percussion, vocals), joined by Rick Phillips (guitars, mandolin, vocals) and Spider Monkey (bass, banjo). The band is now even more integrated, with each member contributing with lyrics and instrumental skills to a synergetic whole that sounds amazing, explosive, and addicting. “A Trick of Light” offers 10 tracks: a cover of “Screamin' Jay Hawkins” classic, “I Put A Spell On You”, plus 9 originals that depurate a blend of Folk, Blues, 60’s Psychedelic & Proto-Prog, 70’s Heavy Rock, Stoner Rock and Theatrical Rock that characterizes Simeon Soul Charger’s retro-sounding music. On “A Trick of Light”, the band congregated all their musical and intellectual influences (including bands like “The Beatles”, “The Kinks”, “Jimi Hendrix”, “Velvet Underground”, “Jethro Tull”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Black Sabbath”, “T-Rex”, “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”, “Can”, “The Residents”, “Exuma”, “Queen”, “Violent Femmes”, “Queens of the Stone Age”, “Them Crooked Vultures”, “The Decemberists”, “Radiohead”, “Primus”, “Muse”, and directors and writers such as “David Lynch”, “Stanley Kubrick”, “Ingmar Bergman”, “Shel Silverstein”, “Terrence McKenna”, “Robert Anton Wilson”, and “Dr. Suess”) to forge a really consistent album that delves deep into the seminal essence of 60’s-70’s Rock. Differently from the previous album, on which the songs were chained to each other in a suite, “A Trick of Light” brings compositions that retain an identity of their own. By treating each one of them as a single unit, the band was allowed to explore different trends and paths, and also to experiment further with their pantomimic way of making music. The new songs are very creative, full of hooking vocal melodies and groovy guitar drives, and each one has its own story to tell. The album opens with the catchy “The Prince of Wands (A Trick of Light)” (6:05), which is driven by Aaron’s marking vocals (like “Ian Anderson”, of “Jethro Tull”), amidst psychedelic-folk slide guitars, and very fine instrumental work – pay attention to the final guitar solo! “Heavy” (3:49) follows on, propelled by the Psychedelic waves that irradiate from the vintage keyboards and clapping hands, conveyed on a kind of “Kinks”-like contagious swing (think of “You Really Got Me”)! SSC goes on, mesmerizing the listener with the beautiful ballad “Evening Drag” (6:19), a song that brings playful pianos and great melodicism, recalling “Beatles”. The most sensitive and surprising sides of SSC show up on the excellent “How Do You Peel” (6:17) – a song that begins poignant, hidden in a lysergic atmosphere and guided by a slumbering guitar. But this apparent tranquility contrasts strongly with the disturbing Heavy Rock instrumentation that comes after, delivering a wild guitar solo! SSC then enters the darkest places, in a sequence of three of their most experimental tracks: the instrumental “Where Do You Hide” (3:19) is gloomy, darkened with acid-bass sounds, and leads to the frightening “Workers Hymn” (4:15), which combines tribal drums, gritty organs, and ritualistic vocal choirs to evoke the witchcraft airs of “Exuma”, “Coven”, and “Black Widow”; while “The Illusionist” (4:38) – another instrumental track – closes the sequence with bombastic guitars and keyboards, and stormy bass and drums that recall “King Crimson”. Back to basics, “Jane (A Bird in Flight)” (3:21) has a great 60’s groove, sounding like “Beatles” filtered by the prankster sieve of “The Residents”, adorned with tragicomic Horror-Rock organ that recalls “Arthur Brown” – who is also remembered on SSC’s awesome cover of “I Put A Spell On You” (6:30), which combines “Black Sabbath’s” heavy riffing with gutsy vocals and bluesy guitars! Finally, “Floating Castles” (6:07) closes the album amazingly, by discharging SSC’s raw energy on its Proto-Progressive instrumentation, crowned with dazzling guitars and chorus – a song that will leave the listener screaming for more! Another gigantic work by Simeon Soul Charger, “A Trick of Light” is a brilliant, solid, and memorable Rock album that should figure in any collection of Essential Psychedelic Rock items. Highly recommendable for fans of “The Beatles”, “The Kinks”, “Jimi Hendrix”, “Velvet Underground”, “Jethro Tull”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Black Sabbath”, “T-Rex”, “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”, “Can”, “The Residents”, “Exuma”, “Queen”, “Violent Femmes”, “Queens of the Stone Age”, “Them Crooked Vultures”, “The Decemberists”, “Radiohead”, “Primus”, “Muse”; “Family”, “The Amboy Dukes”, “Coven”, “Black Widow”, “Arthur Brown”; and new bands like “Brimstone” and “1974”. Band members and collaborators involved in Simeon Soul Charger are: Aaron Brooks – Vocals, Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Piano, Keyboards; Rick Phillips – Electric Guitars, Vocals, Mandolin; Spider Monkey – Bass, Banjo; Joe Kidd – Drums, Percussion, Vocals. Artwork by Stonino from Pescara, Italy. Booklet contains analog photography by Stephan Ebertshäuser & Christina Rosa from Bavaria, Germany... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
03/31/2015...............................For more details and in the meantime please check out SIMEON SOUL CHARGER HOME PAGE...
. MR AVERELL - "Gridlock"
Mr Averell is the song-based project of Dutch visual-audio artist René van Commenée. René is known in The Netherlands for his visual sound-art installations, theatrical performances and soundtracks for theatre, fireworks spectacles, and film. Over the years he has worked with many musicians around the world, notably with David Jackson of “Van der Graaf Generator”. About ten years after their first duo-performances, they released the first Mr Averell album, called “Batteries Included”, a collection of live recordings. René has also performed on albums by “VdGG's” Judge Smith, as percussionist, drummer, and vocalist. The side-project called Mr Averell was conceived by René in order to record and release song-based material on which he is the main writer, singer, and performer – being different from his other artistic adventures. “Gridlock” (May 2013, Equally Tuned Label) is the second Mr Averell release, and features guest performances by an impressive list of artists that happen to be friends of René: Mike Garson (“David Bowie”), David Jackson, Hugh Banton & Judge Smith (“Van der Graaf Generator”), John Ellis (“Peter Gabriel”, “Peter Hammill”, “The Stranglers”), Lene Lovich, Stuart Gordon (“Peter Hammill”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Massive Attack”), Dyane Donck (“Daisy Bell”), and also Martijn Alsters, Willem Tanke, Ninca Leece, Tammo Heikens, and Lisa Weiss. “Gridlock” is a concept album to be listened from beginning to end (even the pauses in between have a purpose). The album is an adventurous and Avant-garde musical journey through the pantomimic aspects of sound, voice and instruments, guided by the theatrical experience of René. It is like to analyze the philosophical observations of “King Crimson”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Pink Floyd” (album “The Wall”), “Peter Gabriel”, “Peter Hammill”, “Focus”, and “Frank Zappa” under the humorous & cartoonish perspective of  “Captain Beefheart”, “The Residents”, “Gong”, “Monty Python”, “Betty Boop”, “Jack Black”, “Arrigo Barnabé”, and “Nina Hagen”. The album has 12 tracks that describe the daily routine of a common person. Wake up with the urban noise of “Lock” (00:41), which introduces the mocking tunes of “Break The Mirror” (03:27) (driven by piano, organ, sax, and by René’s deep morning-voice). Take breakfast to the sound of “Kiss the Girl!” (05:08) (an Electronic Rumba that is punctuated by a woman’s voice, followed by elephantine sax, recalling “Nina Hagen” and “VdGG”). Go to church on “Deliberately” (04:06) – a Symphonic Gothic piece with solemn vocals and church organs (like “Focus” playing for the Pope, but with all formality being annihilated by hilarious lyrics). Get more serious on “Boxes” (08:16) – a melancholic slow ballad that recalls “VdGG” and “Floyd” that has sudden eruptions of raising voices and organ chords; and send everything to Hell with the outstanding “The Fear of Dreaming (for Marijke)” (06:10) (divided in a.“Weakness” & b.“For Marijke”) – a song immersed in a kind of “Phantom of the Opera” atmosphere, which has angelic women’s choir, ghostly guitars, dark bass, plagued-minded vocals, and turns into a Gothic-Rock with powerful drumming, great guitars and vocals. Now let’s face the industrial environment, beginning with “100 Presents” (00:13) (a weird voice & keyboard descending scale) and “Babel” (02:31) (made of sounds of big machines and loudspeaker talk), and plunge into hard work on the album’s best songs: “Gridlock” (03:22) (a male & female vocal duo intermingled in an Avant-garde sequence of keyboards, sax, groovy bass and great guitar solo – recalling “Gong” and “VdGG”) and “Sightseeings” (06:59) (a Cabaret-Gothic piano ballad that delivers sensitive tunes, echoing sounds, eerie vocals, and finishes with an expressionist sax solo, recalling “Floyd” and “VdGG”). The industrial noise is mixed with theatrical voices on “Unlock” (01:31), and all worries of a hard-day work vanish around the happy mood of the marry-go-round music of “Rideehoo!!” (03:57). If you like Avant-garde Progressive Music in the spirit and format of “King Crimson”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Pink Floyd”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Peter Hammill”, “Focus”, and “Zappa & Mothers of Invention”, but with the sense of humor of “Captain Beefheart”, “The Residents”, “Gong”, “OHO”, “Etron Fou Leloublan”, “Monty Python”, “Betty Boop”, “Jack Black”, “Arrigo Barnabé”, “Dread Zeppelin”, “Mucky Pup”, “Mr. Bungles”, “No Restraints”, and “Nina Hagen” - then Mr Averell is highly recommended for you. Band members and collaborators involved in Mr. Averell are: René van Commenné – Vocals, Synths, Hammonds, Organ, Mellotron, Pianos, Drum Programming, Accordion, Prepared Banjo, Frog; Mike Garson – Grand Piano (4, 10), David Jackson – Double Horns (3, 9) & Saxophones (2,  3, 9, 10), Hugh Banton – Organ (5), Judge Smith – Euphonium (2) Harmonic Voices (9), John Ellis – Electric Guitar (3, 9), E-bow (3, 9), Bass (3, 9), Lene Lovich – Vocals (3, 9) & Vocal FX (3), Stuart Gordon – Violin & Electronics (6b), Dyane Donck - Bass (1, 6b, 9, 11) & Sound-design (1, 11), Martijn Alsters – Electric Guitar (6b), Sound-design (1, 11) Chiflet, Siren & Treatments (12), Prepared Piano & Rerun (1, 11), Willem Tanke – Organ (5 middle section), Ninca Leece – Sound-design (3), Tammo Heikens – Electric Guitar & Bass (6b) and Lisa Weiss – Voice FX (3)... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
03/31/2015.........................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit MR AVERELL HOME PAGE...
. MAJESTIC - "Epsilon 2"
Majestic is back to PR&PM once more! Majestic is a Progressive Rock project from Minneapolis, MN, spearheaded by multi-instrumentalist Jeff Hamel. The Majestic project has already released several albums, some of which have been featured at PR&PM: “Ataraxia” (2010), “V.O.Z.” (2012), and “Epsilon 1” (2014). Those albums showcase the evolution in time of Majestic’s unique sound, characterized by the incorporation of a varied palette of styles, ranging from Symphonic Neo-Prog and Space-Rock to Hard-Rock and Prog-Metal, graduated on a scale of heaviness that can cover influences from “Yes”, “Genesis”, and “Marillion”, to “Rush”, “Ayreon”, “Porcupine Tree”; reaching a peak on “Star One” and “Dream Theater”. The epitome of Majestic’s music was presented on a set of two albums, titled “Epsilon 1” and “Epsilon 2”, which comprise the “Epsilon” saga: one that tells a fictional story based on the star Epsilon, which is part of the Eridanus (The River) constellation, linking it to the Greek mythos of Phaëton, the son of the Sun god Helios, who met his demise when Zeus struck him down with a thunderbolt, throwing him into the Eridanus. Both albums “Epsilon 1 and 2” were independently released in 2014. “Epsilon 1” was reviewed at PR&PM in 2015 (see above). The album on focus now is “Epsilon 2”, which brings the continuation and conclusion of the “Epsilon” saga. The line-up has Jeff Hamel (guitars, bass, keyboards) and Mike Kosacek (drums), and a cast of guest singers: Chris Hodges (“Every Living Soul”), David Cagle (“Liberty & Justice”), and veteran Jessica Rasche, who makes a special cameo appearance. “Epsilon 2” features nine tracks, numbered from IV to XII, having subtitles. If the three initial tracks belonging to the “Epsilon” saga (featured on Disc 1) represented Majestic’s Symphonic-Progressive and Space-Psychedelic facets (recalling a blend of bands like “Ayreon”, “Yes”, “Genesis”, “Pink Floyd”, “Eloy”, “Hawkwind”), the tracks on Disc 2 irradiate a more energetic disposition, tending, in general, to the Hard & Heavy Prog, Space-Metal and Prog-Metal, having a resemblance with bands such as “Star One”, “Arena”, “Deep Purple”, “Rocket Scientists”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Dream Theater”, “Galahad”, “Pallas”, “Twelfth Night”, “Pendragon’s” last album, “Roswell Six”, “Shadow Circus”, and “Mundanus Imperium”. But some experimental insertions of Electronic, Ambient and New-Age Music – referable to names such as “Tangerine Dream”, “Vangelis”, “Brian Eno”, and “King Crimson” - do show up often, as well as some moments reminiscent of the Classical Progressive Rock of “Yes”, “Genesis” and “Pink Floyd”. “Epsilon 2” opens with “Epsilon IV - Generations” (5:32) – an instrumental Space-Metal delivered with bombastic drums and wild guitar riffs that heads to “Epsilon V - The River (Eridanus)” (10:29) – a Progressive song, with Chris Hodges on the lead, that goes through changes of temperature, going from cadenced, warm soaring guitars, to fervent hot-spots that spill aggressive riffs, paranoid vocals, and distorted guitar solos. “Epsilon VI - Incandescence” (7:48) brings in some electronic percussion, keyboards, and Space-Rock resonances that cushion the melodic vocals – transmitting a kind of “cosmic-exploration” feeling, as the music drifts over Floydian-Psychedelic soundscapes. This sensation continues on the amazing “Epsilon VII - Ancient Echos” (5:11), which trespasses astral fields and ethereal seas plentiful of Ambient sounds (recalling “Tangerine Dream”, “Eno”, and “Vangelis”) under the leadership of David Cagle’s outstanding vocals - emotional, soaring, epic – until dissolving into the awesome instrumental track “Epsilon VIII - The Journey Back” (6:09) – a Hard & Heavy-Prog that accelerates and slows down inside black-holes, housing a perfect balance between guitars and keyboards, containing surprises and experimental rhythms (with some “King Crimson” inspiration), concluding on an amazing Space-Rock styled final sequence topped with a Neo-Prog guitar solo. The record proceeds highly-edged on “Epsilon IX - Welcome Home” (2:14) – a delicate Prog-ballad, with sensitive piano and strings, featuring Jessica Rasche on vocals – and reaches a climax on “Epsilon X - Convergence” (11:55) – a bombastic song divided in two parts: the first one is pastoral, has flutes (recalling “Camel”), being delivered by Cagle’s melodic voice (recalling “Greg Lake”); the second part grows heavy, with the rising of paranoid atmospheres, killer guitars, and the strong voice of Hodges, all recalling “Porcupine Tree” and “Ayreon”. The ascension to the heaviest thresholds meets the apex on “Epsilon XI – Rise” (6:37), the most aggressive track, propelled by Hodges’ raging vocals and combining tribal drums, complex Prog-Metal riffs, electro-machine noises, and Hard-Rock texturized keyboards and guitars, recalling bands like “OSI”, “Star One”, “Porcupine Tree”, and “Deep Purple”. The saga ends on “Epsilon XII - Fade” (6:07) – a magnificent instrumental piece, frightening and majestic, that marches out amidst Symphonic Neo-Prog arrangements pinpointed by Electronic outbursts. When listened together, Majestic’s “Epsilon 1 and 2” make an explosive combination of igneous Rock with cosmic-bathed Progressive Music, consisting in two highly recommendable items fans of Symphonic Neo-Prog, Hard & Heavy Prog, Space-Rock, Space-Metal and Prog-Metal, who like bands like “Yes”, “Genesis”, “Rush”, “Ayreon”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Star One”, “Dream Theater”, “Marillion”, “Arena”, “Deep Purple”, “Pink Floyd”, “Eloy”, “Hawkwind”, “Pallas”, “Galahad”, “Twelfth Night”, “Pendragon”, “IQ”, “Roswell Six”, “Shadow Circus”, “Rocket Scientists”, “Mundanus Imperium”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Majestic are: Jeff Hamel – Guitars, Keyboards; Mike Kosacek - Drums. Guest Singers: Chris Hodges (on “V, VI, X, XI”); David Cagle (on “VII, X”); and Jessica Rasche (on “IX”). Singers Celine Derval and Marc Atkinson acted on CD-1. Recorded in Minneapolis, MN, at Majestic Songs Studio; Mastering by Steve Carrao (Sage Audio); Artwork by Jonathan Maurin (Aeon Lux); Produced by Jeff Hamel... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
03/31/2015..................Interested to know more about this great musician and his projcts? Please visit MAJESTIC HOME PAGE...
. KALLE VILPUU - "Silver Lining"
Kalle Vilpuu is an Estonian guitar player who is mostly known for having been a member of Hard Rock band “House of Games”. Kalle was born in the city of Kohtla-Järve on July 24th, 1963. He started playing drums in a High School band, but soon switched to the guitar. At the age 17 Kalle took private lessons in guitar and musical theory. In 1983, he attended the Georg Ots Tallinn Music School, where he learned classical guitar and pursued a musical education in Rock, Jazz, and Pop. He won the Uuno Naissoo musical competition two years in a row. During his studies, Kalle was already playing for successful Estonian Rock band “Seitsmes Meel” (1985-1990). Later, he played in “Tõnis Mägi’s 777” (important Estonian singer). In 1991 he was invited to play in Estonia’s leading Rock band “Ultima Thule”. Kalle has also played with other Estonian bands and projects: “Marju Länik”, “Saxappeal Band”, “Pantokraator”, “Data”, “Underwater”, “Kuller”, “Gunnar Graps Magnetic Band” – either releasing albums or touring with them. In 2003 Kalle joined Hard Rock band “House of Games”, which recorded the album “Rise and Shine” (2007) and gained notoriety by supporting “W.A.S.P.” in a tour around the UK and continental Europe. After leaving “House of Games”, Kalle started to compose and record his own music, what resulted in the release of his first solo album, “Silver Lining” (2013, Guitar Laboratory). “Silver Lining” features a core trio composed of Kalle Vilpuu (guitars, keyboards, vocal), Henno Kelp (bass guitar), and Andrus Lillepea (drums); who are helped by Mari Pokinen (vocals), Tarvi Jaago (flute), Tiit Kikas (violin), Martti Mägi (violin), Imre Eenma (bass, viola da gamba), Eduard Akulin (trombone), and Indrek Kruusimaa (flamenco guitar). Since early, Kalle’s musical tastes included Progressive Rock icons like “Yes”, “Genesis”, “Camel”, “Pink Floyd”, and some Hard-Rock bands like “Led Zeppelin”, “Black Sabbath”, and “Van Halen”. Later, he became interested in the Grunge and Seattle Rock scene, consumed Metal acts like “Slayer”, “Pantera”, and “Sepultura”, but also groups like “The Finn´s Havana Black” and “HIM”. All those bands had their share of influence on Kalle’s music – which is a hybrid combination of Hard-Rock, Metal, and Prog-Metal (on riffs, bass, drums) with Progressive arrangements conveyed on strings, flutes, soaring guitars, and a few synths. But Kalle’s musicianship goes beyond borders, also incorporating elements of Fusion, Psychedelic, Electronic, and World Music that form a sonic sustaining matrix reminiscent of the Trip-Hop branch. The result is an incredible mix of genres and styles, delivered with inviting rhythms and grooves that are always under the leadership of Kalle’s unquiet guitar, as he balances the music by opposing dense and heavy instrumentation to soaring and sensitive melodies in ambient-electronic soundscapes – creating an impressive experience in “modern Progressiveness” that is very rare to find elsewhere. Overall, the music of KalleVilpuu is like a combination of “Porcupine Tree”, “Anathema”, “Riverside”, “Opeth”, “Psychotic Waltz”, “Tool”, and “Panzerballett”, having a guitar player with the feeling of “Terje Rypdal”, “Montrose”, “George Bellas”, “Steve Vai”, “Al Di Meola”, and “Jan Akkerman”, and sharing traits with “Dead Can Dance”, “Aphex Twin”, and “Portishead”. “Silver Lining” brings 11 tracks, which are mostly instrumental – the singing is restricted to vocalizations that lack lyrics. The music trespasses different atmospheres and textures. Morse-code blips settle the interstellar ambience of “Anomalies” (6:26), an energetic piece propelled by waves of pulsing bass and drums, dark-symphonic strings, and guitars warped by black-hole distortion, recalling the dynamics of “Porcupine Tree” and “Riverside”. The Hard-Prog “Unforgiven” (3:47) is basically an amazing guitar solo extending over groovy riffs and surprising flutes!  The ethereal “Interno” (3:43) combines weird string arrangements and sophisticated jazzy rhythms to give support to soaring female vocals (recalling “Portishead” and “This Mortal Coil”), ending with an explosive guitar solo that hooks it to “Industrial No. 4” (4:17) - a contagious piece that puts in contrast massive Electronica against timeless tribal rhythms, as Post-Metal riffs support the crazy guitar. It opens the most violent sequence, made of “In the Back of My Head” (5:23) – a fast Prog-Metal driven by synths (a little like “Dream Theater”), having guitars like “Montrose/Vai”, and a segment for bass prowess; and “The Aliens (Have Landed)” (3:34) – an experimental, but addicting, piece recalling “Psychotic Waltz”, “Tool”, or “Panzerballett”, with a lean to a Turkish Trip-Hop. Much lighter are “Trappings” (5:44) - that fuses influences of “Genesis” with trombones, ethno beats, and classic violins; and “The Touch of Angel” (4:40) and “Rosie” (2:34), two ethereal and relaxing tracks which combine female mantra-chanting with echoing guitars, vaguely recalling “Yes”. Kalle’s Progressive endorsement comes on “Forgiven” (3:07), which inserts flutes, synths, male chants, and flamenco guitars (like “Dead Can Dance” and “Al di Meola”) into hard instrumentation; and on the title track “Silver Lining” (4:12) – a somber piece on which Kalle extracts great sound effects from his guitar, closing this extraordinary album with enhanced mystery and drama! Kalle Vilpuu continues to tour with “Ultima Thule” and will be in a “Seitsmes Meel” reunion. He is also planning a new project combining music and 3D visual art. His amazing debut album showcases a brilliant, but overlooked, guitar player and composer, who is highly recommended for fans of bands like “Porcupine Tree”, “Anathema”, “Riverside”, “Opeth”, “Dream Theater”, “Panzerballett”, “Steve Vai”, “George Bellas”, “Montrose”, “Psychotic Waltz”, “Solaris”, “Snovi”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Kalle Vilpuu are: Kalle Vilpuu - Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals; Henno Kelp – Bass; Andrus Lillepea – Drums; Mari Pokinen – Vocals; Tarvi Jaago – Flute; Tiit Kikas – Violin; Martti Mägi – Violin; Imre Eenma - Bass, Viola da Gamba; Eduard Akulin – Trombone; Indrek Kruusimaa - Flamenco Guitar. Art design by Hannes Aasamets & Mihkel Maripuu; Photography Aivo Kallas... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/30/2015.......,,......................................For more details and in the meantime please check out KALLE VILPUU HOME PAGE...
In The Presence Of Wolves is a new and amazing Progressive Metal band from Barrington/Delran that performs around the South Jersey/Philadelphia area. Founded in 2009 by Vini Stamato (bass, vocals) and Chris Capitanio (guitar), the band’s line-up solidified in 2012 with the arrival of Justin Alexander (guitar) and Mason Ingling (drums). The quartet wanted to do something different from the conventional Rock played around the Philly scene, so they decided to embrace the freedom of the Progressive Rock style - a fertile terrain for experimentation and rid of pre-conceived labels. In The Presence Of Wolves soon gained attention from the local Prog scene, performing at important venues like the TLA, Trocadero, Kung Fu Necktie, and The Legendary Dobbs. By combining the intensity of the Progressive and Alternative Metal strains with the refinement of Jazz, balanced by a groovy Hard-Rock effect, In The Presence forged an Experimental Metal mix that appealed to fans of the diverse Heavy-Rock divisions. Their compositions result from the clash of two components – one, groovy and swinging, that instantly captures the heart of the average fan of Rock; the other, cerebral, technical, and surprising, that hits the most exigent listener straight into the brains. The music is heavy-loaded, dynamic and fluidal, propelled by a rhythmic duo that plays like an explosive detonator – liberating earthquake forces, irradiating telluric waves, and spilling incandescent lava everywhere! Both guitarists are skilled, deliberately cruel, and surprisingly melodic – overwhelming the instrumentation with dazzling riffs and solos. Stamato’s vocals are accomplishedly insane, but oscillate between the aggressive and emotive moods. The sound congregates influences of: a muscular “Rush”, “Mastodon”, “The Mars Volta”, “Opeth”, “Incubus”, “Tool”, “Porcupine Tree”, and “Yes”. Because band members also like other emergent bands of New Jersey and Philadelphia, such as “Out of the Beardspace”, “Lör”, “Tungsten”, “Beyond Dishonor”, “Thank You Scientist”, “The Tea Club”, and “The Twenty Committee”, there is a sonic resemblance with a few of them (mainly the last three). But I found traces of other bands hidden in the complicated and primeval chords of In The Presence Of Wolves: from the iconic “Led Zeppelin”, “Black Sabbath”, “Jane’s Addiction”, “Living Colour”, and “Iron Maiden”, to the Tech-Metal dynasty of “Watchtower”, “Hades”, “Mordred”, branched into bands like “A Perfect Circle”, “Between the Buried and Me”, “Dillinger Escape Plan”, “Cynic”, “Fractured Dimension”, “Coheed and Cambria”; flirting with full-fledged Prog-Metal acts like “Dream Theater”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Explorers’ Club”, and “Tiles”. This weird mix of influences was concentrated on the 8 songs that compose “Thalassas” (2014) – the independent debut album of In The Presence Of Wolves. “Thalassas” begins boldly with the powerful “Man of the Times” (7:50), which discharges on the listener all the energy and straightforwardness of this band: the wild instrumentation conveyed on groovy riffs, astonishing bass and drums, reverberating like a “Rush” with steroids against insane vocals that oscillate between the aggressive and cathartic (like “Jane’s Addiction”) dictating an imperial pace for a space-metal guitar attack. “Storm in a Red Dress” (4:18) combines tightly embroidered guitars, bass and drums with lively punching dynamics – pervading the hellish Hard-Rock riffing with strong vocal chorus and bellicose guitar solos that dispute each trench excavated on the rhythmic ground. Most unexpectedly, there is a bass line that really recalls “Chris Squire” of “Yes” in a day of wrath! But the band is only heating up, and attacks again with two of the most elaborated of their songs: “Hypoxia” (7:00) and “Palladium” (8:02). Both are highlighted by jazzy-inspired guitars and extraordinary rhythmic sophistication, but “Hypoxia” evolves by contrasts, opposing fairish atmospheres and whispering vocals (like “The Mars Volta”) against explosive moments of entrancing rage (like a mix of “Tool” and “A Perfect Circle”), ending with a swing that hints at a “Led Zeppelin” + “Living Colour” preference – enhanced with a relaxed guitar solo. “Palladium”, however, is a byzantine Prog-Metal/Alternative Rock combo encouraged by fearless bass and drums to transpose different sonic panoramas – from “Hendrixian” riffs and “Rush”-like instrumentation, to roller-coaster guitar shredding and ultra-interlocked rhythmic frames, reaching its destiny on demolition guitar riffs like “Black Sabbath”. To take a breath, “Birdsong” (2:58) is a ballad that recalls “Dream Theater”, offering a truly Progressive double guitar solo. The closing title-track “Thalassas” is an ambitious three-parted suite: “I. The Careless Abandon” (5:10) is an intense song, abundant in Metal elements like havoc thrashing riffs and shouting vocals, but is surprisingly soothed down by mellow jazzy interludes and classical guitar harmonies; “II. What Dwells Below (The Portal)” (3:41) is an instrumental segment delivered with galloping bass lines that recalls “Iron Maiden”, steering to an Oriental-Metal mode that recalls “Opeth” and “Mastodon”; and “III. Back to the Surface” (6:07) is an inspiring Progressive song introduced by Classic piano, having melodic vocals and soaring guitars that will take the listener to ecstasy. In The Presence Of Wolves is really an exciting and surprising new band arising on the Metal horizon, consisting of extraordinary musicians with an enormous potential to grow. Their album “Thalassas” is super-highly recommendable for fans of “Rush”, “The Mars Volta”, “Mastodon”, “Opeth”, “Tool”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Out of the Beardspace”, “Thank You Scientist”, “The Tea Club”, “Watchtower”, “Hades”, “Mordred”, “Dream Theater”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Coheed & Cambria”, “Jane’s Addiction”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Living Colour”, “Cynic”, “Fractured Dimension”, “Between the Buried and Me”, “Dillinger Escape Plan”, “Explorers’ Club”, “Tiles”, and anything in between. Band members and collaborators involved In The Presence Of Wolves are: Vini Stamato - Bass, Lead Vocals; Chris Capitanio - Guitar, Backing Vocals, Additional Instrumentation; Justin Alexander - Guitar, Backing Vocals; Mason Ingling - Drums, Backing Vocals. Additional Musician: Geoff Langley - Piano & Synth on “Thalassas III”. Produced, Engineered & Mixed by Kevin Andreassian; Co-produced by Chris Capitanio. Radio Edits by Scot Moriarty; Recorded at Backroom Studios, Rockaway, NJ; Mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side Music; Artwork & Packaging by Jeffrey V Daniels. All songs written, arranged, and performed by In The Presence Of Wolves... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/30/2015............................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit IN THE PRESENCE OF WOLVES HOME PAGE...
. OSADA VIDA - "The After-Effect"
Osada Vida – the amazing Heavy Progressive Rock band from Poland - is back to PR&PM again! Born in the late ‘90s, Osada Vida has stablished a solid career along the 21st century, gathering a respectful discography consisting of the albums “Moment Krytyczny” (2000), “Osada Vida” (2004), “Three Seats Behind A Triangle” (2006), “The Body Parts Party” (2008), “Uninvited Dreams” (2009), “Particles” (2013), and “Where The Devils Live” (live DVD, 2012) - mostly released via the prestigious Polish label Metal Mind Productions. Osada Vida’s moniker refers to a small village existing in an area of today’s Benin, the inhabitants of which gave their newborn babies to be raised and protected by python snakes. Osada Vida’s most stable line-up consisted of founding members Lukasz Lisiak (bass, vocals) and Adam Podzimski (drums), plus Bartek Bereska (guitars) and Rafal “r6” Paluszek (keyboards). Their eponymous album, “Osada Vida” (2004), received positive reviews and led to invitations for concerts, including a tour with Progressive act “Riverside”. Osada Vida confirmed all their musical potential with the release of their acclaimed album “Three Seats Behind A Triangle” (featured at PR&PM as “best album” in February 2007). Other excellent CDs followed on, but after the release of “Particles” (2013), Bereska and Podzimski left Osada Vida. A re-energized line-up consisting of veterans Lukasz Lisiak (bass) and Rafal Paluszek (keyboards), plus Marek Majewski (lead vocalist since “Particles”), Janek Mitoraj (young and talented guitarist known for his work with “Brain Connect” and “Pasimito”), Marek Romanowski (drums), and a string quartet recorded a new Osada Vida studio album, titled “The After-Effect” (2014, Metal Mind). As usual, Osada Vida brings to the listeners some of the finest and most unbound Progressive Rock music, wrapping up together elements of Symphonic Rock, Neo-Prog, Heavy Prog, Prog-Metal, and Alternative Rock, equilibrating powerful and complex instrumental moments with soothing melodic passages and cool vocals - akin to bands like “Pain Of Salvation”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “Satellite”, “Collage”, “Abraxas”, “Believe”, “Mindfields”, “RPWL”, “Pink Floyd”, and “Genesis”. Along the 10 tracks of “The After-Effect”, Osada Vida trails the same path started on the previous album “Particles” - writing shorter, instant-assimilating songs that may reach out an audience the includes fans of Prog, Alternative, and Mainstream Rock. The arrangements of those songs are not easy or relaxed, however, and have not dropped in quality with the arrival of the new members. Guitarist Janek Mitoraj shows how a great acquisition for the band he was, by playing solos that are as technical, eclectic, and long as those of Bereska. Furthermore, he has a style of his own, and does not reveal the minor trace of inhibition for being in an experienced band like this, dominating the music with awesome performances, trading magnificent melodies with Paluszek’s keyboards, and conducting the strings on brilliant arrangements. Also drummer Marek Romanowski feels very comfortable when interplaying with bassist Lisiak - as if they were both old mates. They share a rhythmic understanding that verges perfection, and support the other musicians with a rich reunion of cadences that go from the complex sophistication of Jazz to the intricate structures of Prog-Rock, reaching the bombastic Prog-Metal mode! All of this musical versatility is easily experienced on the instrumental tracks “Still Want to Prevaricate?” (3:05) – a Techno-Prog-Fusion; and “Restive Lull” (5:42), a soft-Jazz adorned with clean guitars and pianos, intertwined to neat bass and drums. But with Marek Majewski’s melodic vocals, and nice lyrics in English, Osada Vida find the key element that links their difficult sound to the easy taste of the large Rock audiences – notably on the straight-rocking force of “King of Isolation” (3:51) and on the uplifting and accessible chorus of “Sky Full of Dreams” (4:32) – the album’s opening songs. But higher levels of sonic energy and bravery will be found on: “Lies” (5:34) – a mix of pulsing bass drives, fluidal drums, and Hammond keyboards with soaring vocals, fusion guitars, and jazzy pianos; “Losing Breath” (5:01) – an eclectic and weird combination of more Hammonds, NWOBHM riffs, soothing Progressive parts with harmony vocals, and absolutely amazing guitar solo; and “Haters” (4:32) – the heaviest song, propelled by mild aggressive vocals and dazzling guitars, bass and drums that fit perfectly together, decollating on a Symphonic Prog-Metal sequence. But if listeners demand a stronger reason for a true Progressive recognition, they will find it on some songs that equal the best of Osada Vida’ oldies: the acoustic intro “Dance with Confidence” (1:11); “I'm Not Afraid” (5:47) (a ballad on which the sensibility is adjusted by harmony vocals, mellow pianos, and pastoral guitars); and “No One Left to Blame” (7:52) – an awesome closing track instilled with classic Prog-vibes that begins like an unwittingly song, but gains in drama with the coming of an alerting chorus superposed to heavy riffs – and transposes an instrumental barrier made of powerful rhythms, incisive synths, and psychedelic guitars, to land on a soundscape painted with “Floydian vocals”. In sum, “The After-Effect” is another extraordinary and outstanding album by Osada Vida – one of the leading bands of Poland’s Prog-Rock scene indeed – and indispensable for fans of “Riverside”, “Satellite”, “Collage”, “Mindfields”, “Abraxas”, “Believe”, “Quidam”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Pain Of Salvation”, “Pink Floyd”, “RPWL”, “Unitopia”, “Genesis” (“Phil Collins” Era), and their like. Band members and collaborators involved in Osada Vida are: Marek Majewski – Lead Vocals, All Lyrics; Lukasz Lisiak – Bass; Janek Mitoraj – Guitars; Rafal "r6" Paluszek – Keyboards, Artwork; Marek Romanowski - Drums. Additional String Quartet: Agnieszka Sawicka – Violin 1; Jakub Kowalski - Violin 2; Anna Krzyzak - Viola; Wojciech Skóra – Cello; Arranged & Recorded by Jan Mitoraj. Recorded by Jan Mitoraj; Vocals Recorded by Slawek Gladyszewski; Drums Recorded at MaQ Records by Maciej Stach. Mixed by Slawek Gladyszewski & Jan Mitoraj; Mastered by Slawek Gladyszewski. Past Members: Magda Hajda – Vocals; Blazej Kubica - Guitar; Luca Juraszek – Guitar; Bartek Bereska – Guitar, Adam Podzimski – Drums... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/30/2015...........................If you want know more about this amazing band and its members, visit OSADA VIDA HOME PAGE...
. TOUCHSTONE - "Live Inside/Outside"
Touchstone is a modern Progressive Rock band from Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire (U.K.). Touchstone’s line-up has Kim ‘Elkie’ Seviour (lead vocals), Rob Cottingham (vocals, keyboards, SFX, lyrics, compositions), Adam Hodgson (guitars, SFX, artwork), Paul ‘Moo’ Moorghen (bass, backing vocals), and Henry Rogers (drums, percussion). Band members have been in touch with music since early ages and have accumulated a solid background playing in previous projects – so enhancing Touchstone’s sonic appeal. Touchstone was founded in 2003 by Rob Cottingham and Adam Hodgson. Cottingham had been active from ‘80s to ‘90s playing on “Cinema”, “The Waterbreakers”, and “The Orpheus Project” (his solo project, that released the album “Behind The Orchard Tree”). Hodgson held the Progressive project “South Side of the Sky” and had played on other bands (“Jesus Wept”, “Zinomorph”, “Core”, “Slippy”). When they met together, they realized that they shared the same ideas for creating an exciting, dynamic, and innovative kind of sound that would combine their favorite bands: “Yes” (with “Trevor Rabin”), “Van Halen”, “Joe Satriani”, “Pink Floyd”, “Genesis”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds”, “Asia”, “Marillion”, “It Bites”, “Frost*”; “Kino”, “Arena”, “Magenta”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Sting”, “Coldplay”, “Keane”, “Cardiacs”, “Mr. Bungle”, “Faith No More”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Muse”, “Rammstein”, and “Alter Bridge”. Touchstone was born from that meeting, and named after a lyric of the “Orchard Tree” album. Other members came in, bringing their own influences to the band. Bassist Paul Moorghen likes Progressive and Alternative Rock, and bands of the ‘80s (“Simple Minds”, “U2”, “REM”, “INXS”); drummer Henry Rogers appreciates Classic Rock (“Led Zeppelin”, “Deep Purple”, “Uriah Heep”, “AC/DC”), Jazz & Fusion, and has incorporated influences from “Mike Portnoy” (“ex-DT”). He has played with Prog-band “Final Conflict” and is involved with other projects (“DeeExpus”, “Nerve Toy”, “Sort Code”). Kim Seviour – who sings any kind of music, from Prog & Folk to Pop & Alternative Rock – joined Touchstone in 2006. Since then,Touchstonehas stablished a solid career, by releasing EPs and albums: “Mad Hatters” (EP, 2006); “Discordant Dreams” (2008); “Wintercoast” (2009); “Live in the USA” (2010); “The City Sleeps” (2011); “Oceans Of Time” (2013, Hear No Evil/Cherry Red Records); and “Oceans” (EP, 2014). Touchstone’s last release was “Live Inside/Outside” (2014, Touchstone Music, UK) – a deluxe package containing an audio CD + double DVD and a signed copy of the “Oceans” EP (available for the first 500 orders). The main dish of this release is DVD-1 (“Inside – Oceans Of Time Tour – Live at The Robin 2, Bilston - 27th October 2013”), featuring the last show of “Oceans Of Time’s” promotion tour. The images showcase a vibrant, integrated, and very professional band. Under the guidance of Cottingham, the maestro, all musicians act in unison to cradle Kim’s sensitive vocals inside arrangements that are abundant in melodic guitars, awesome pulsing bass, and dynamic drums. The music alternates heavy-rock straightforwardness and bombastic orchestrations with atmospheric and soaring moments. All is centered on Kim’s elegant figure - she is so gorgeous and sensual that attracts all eyes to her. Kim might look like shy or introspective, but as the show goes on, she reveals her spirit and talents on stage, dancing, gesturing, interpreting the songs, and also interacting with the audience! At Kim’s left stands Paul Moorghen, who impresses everybody with his amazing dominion of the bass – strong, flowing, and progressive! The bass is counterbalanced by Hodgson’s soulful and defiant guitar, which he keeps on the soloing mode all over the show. As the trio mesmerizes the audience, keyboards and drums also deserve attention. Strategically placed cameras record Cottingham’s flying solos on synths and capture each precise movement done by Rogers behind the drums. The set begins with “Intro” (1:16)/“Flux” (6:19) – an explosive song, on which the first part is powered by Thrash-Metal riffs and rhythms, just to make an astonishing contrast with the second part – a Progressive coda dominated by atmospheric keyboards and Kim’s ethereal vocals. The set list proceeds with many songs of the “Oceans Of Time” album and a few of Touchstone’s old classics, such as “Corridors” (6:08) – a vibrant song driven by fervent bass lines and painted in and amazing Oriental-Rock coloratura – and “Solace 2013” (5:05) – presented in its new format, as an epic Progressive ballad! The songs of “Oceans Of Time” featured on the show hint at the grandness of Touchstone’s last studio work. From the raw-energy and Oriental flares that escape from the gargantuan “Fragments” (4:11), the band steers quickly to the most Progressive terrains on the “longs” “Spirit Of The Age” (8:37) – a marvelous piece with changes of pace and atmosphere that offers ample instrumental interludes housing abundant solos of guitar and keyboards –; and “Shadows End” (7:17) – a concept song that brings within the best Symphonic-Prog arrangements, combining floating pianos, bombastic keyboards and bass, as Kim’s soaring vocals take the lead to the heaviest sequences, concluding with tightly interlocked instrumental interplay. From this height, Touchstone takes the audience down to earth again on the straightforward and rocky “Through The Night” (4:38) – brightened with Hodgson’s amazing guitar solo! The climax comes on the awaited “Oceans of Time” (10:38) – the magnum opus of the last album, delivered with tremendous Progressive power, crossing over many styles, ending with Kim incorporating a kind of victorious Goddess. After the curtain calls, the band returns to stage to play another highlight of “Oceans…”: “Contact” (5:31), on which warm and groovy rhythms are combined with sensitive guitars and keyboards to create the perfect ambience for a sensual vocal melody, that leads the song to gain gradually in emotion and intension – until exploding in a powerful sonic wave that recalled me of “The Gathering” (with “Anneke”). Finally, the band performs the old classic “Strange Days” (6:06) – their favorite for ending a show! All songs of the live set are replicated on the audio CD that accompanies the package. This leaves us with DVD-2 (“Outside – High Voltage Festival - 24th July 2010”), which contains the full presentation held in London’s Victoria Park, that had never been released before (except for the “Tears For Fears” cover of “Mad World”, made available on YouTube). Recorded with excellent quality of image and sound, the show featured Touchstone fronted by a red-haired Kim dressed in a Gothic figurine. The set included “Intro” (narrated by “Jeremy Irons”); “Wintercoast” – a storytelling, epic Neo-Prog driven by heavy riffs soothed down by Kim’s sweet vocals, and crowned by Hodgson's magnificent guitar solo; “Shadow” – which combined a lively, popish drive on bass and vocals with a “Phantom of the Opera”-kind of vibe on the synths; “Joker In The Pack” – a gloomy, dramatic song on which Kim incarnated the lyrics with her brave acting performance; and the customary “Strange Days”, played in an aerobic version that drove the audience to total delirium! The climax of the show came when Touchstone performed a cover of “Mad World” (“Tears For Fears”), enhanced by the extra guitar of special guest “John Mitchell” (“It Bites”, “Arena”, “Kino”, “Frost*”) – the apex of that Touchstone’s historical presentation! DVD-2 also includes a "making-of" documentary covering the creation of the “Oceans Of Time” album. Unfortunately, Touchstone has recently announced that Kim Seviour left the band due to medical problems. Until she recovers her health, Touchstone stands as a highly recommendable group for fans of “Yes” (with “Trevor Rabin”), “Pink Floyd”, “Genesis”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Asia”, “Marillion”, “It Bites”, “Frost*”; “Kino”, “Arena”, “Pendragon”, “Faith No More”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Muse”, and specially for lovers of unique-sounding, female-fronted bands that transit through the borders of Heavy Rock and Metal to Atmospheric and Soaring Progressive Rock, such as “Magenta”, "Karnataka”, “Landmarq”, “Soul Enema”, “Nemezis”, “Quidam”, “Tystnaden”, “Orphaned Land”, “Lacuna Coil”, “Majestic”, “The Gathering”, “Ayreon”, “Ambeon”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Touchstone are: Kim "Elkie" Seviour - Lead Vocals; Rob Cottingham - Vocals, Keys & SFX, Lyrics, Compositions; Adam Hodgson - Guitars, SFX & Artwork; Paul ‘Moo’ Moorghen - Bass, Backing vocals; Henry Rogers - Drums & Percussion. The Bilston show was filmed, directed, recorded, edited and mixed by Rob Reed (“Magenta”). Artwork illustrated and designed by Adam Hodgson. “Making Of Oceans Of Time” was filmed by John Siely. Produced by Touchstone... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/30/2015................................................For more details and in the meantime please check out TOUCHSTONE HOME PAGE...
. TOUCHSTONE - "Oceans"
Touchstone is a Modern Progressive Rock band from the U.K. that features Kim ‘Elkie’ Seviour (lead vocals), Rob Cottingham (vocals, keyboards, SFX, lyrics, compositions), Adam Hodgson (guitars, SFX, artwork), Paul ‘Moo’ Moorghen (bass, backing vocals), and Henry Rogers (drums, percussion). Since its foundation in 2003, Touchstone has been solidifying its career releasing EPs and albums, with highlights for: “Wintercoast” (2009), “Oceans Of Time” (2013, Hear No Evil / Cherry Red Records), and the double DVD+CD “Live Inside/Outside” (2014, Touchstone Music UK), that was reviewed at PR&PM (look above). The music of Touchstone congregates influences from Progressive, Industrial, Alternative Rock, and Metal bands, mainly “Yes” (“Trevor Rabin” era), “Steve Howe”, “Van Halen”, “Joe Satriani”, “Pink Floyd”, “Genesis”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds”, “Asia”, “Marillion”, “It Bites”, “Frost*”; “Kino”, “Pendragon”, “Arena”, “Magenta”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Sting”, “Elton John”, “David Sylvian”, “Coldplay”, “Keane”, “Cardiacs”, “Mr. Bungle”, “Faith No More”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Muse”, “Rammstein”, “Alter Bridge”, and others. Touchstone’s goal is to have been able to accommodate those divergent influences inside their songs, reaching a perfect equilibrium between the powerful and heavy rocky drives loaded on the guitars, bass and drums, and the emotional atmospheric moments sustained on keyboards, synths, and Kim’s vocals. Touchstone’s last release – “Live Inside/Outside” (CD + double DVD, 2014) reunited two of the most important shows performed by Touchstone - one at London’s “High Voltage Festival, 2010” (counting with guest guitar player “John Mitchell” of “It Bites”, “Arena”, and “Frost*”); and the other, “Live at The Robin 2, Bilston, 2013”, registering the last date of the promotion tour of the band’s much acclaimed studio album, “Oceans Of Time”. The first 500 ordered copies of the “Live Inside/Outside” package were shipped with an autographed copy of the limited edition of the EP “Oceans” (2014) - Touchstone’s work on focus here and now. “Oceans” brings five tracks, all of them being previously unreleased alternative takes from the “Oceans Of Time” album. “Oceans” opens with “Suffer The Little Children” (3:18) – a great atmospheric modern Progressive piece immersed in floating keyboards, romantic arrangements for strings and piano, featuring a sensitive vocal duet by Kim and Cottingham, with a mild steering to the pop. It is followed by “Ocean Down” (2:25) (keys, bass, and vocal mix) – a soft, sweet, and weightless Progressive ballad that focus on emotional melodies. Then comes a “fragment” of “Fragments” (1:27) – a demo recording featuring only part of the vocal sequence, and that does not give any clues about how amazing, powerful and impressive this song is in its entirety. Another demo is represented by “Contact” (3:27) – a great highlight of the “Oceans Of Time” album, which is featured here as a short instrumental version, nevertheless maintaining the sophistication and cool ambience of the original. The last track of the EP is “Flux” (Single edit) (3:33) – an abridged version of the original song that met its way to the “Oceans” album, but which represents better than any other track all the strength and instant punch that irradiates from Touchstone’s music: this edited version keeps the initial accelerated Metal mode, with heavy riffs and powerful rhythms, but replaces the surprising contrasting atmospheric part of the original with a slowed-down rocky pace, cutting the extended instrumental sequence that is played on the live version. The “Oceans” EP was an interesting item to be given as a bonus with Touchstone’s live album, but I found it aimed for fans of the band and collectors, only. It has the quality, however, of showcasing a creative band that is capable of giving different directions to the same song. Touchstone is highly recommended for lovers of female-fronted bands that transit through the borders of Heavy Rock and Metal to atmospheric and soaring Progressive Rock, such as “Tystnaden”, “Orphanade Land”, “Soul Enema”, “Lacuna Coil”, “Majestic”, “The Gathering”, “Ayreon”, “Ambeon”, “Revamp”, “Mostly Autumn”, “Magenta”, "Karnataka”, “Strangers on a Train”; being also highly recommended for fans of the bands enlisted in this text. Band members and collaborators involved in Touchstone are: Kim "Elkie" Seviour - Lead Vocals; Rob Cottingham - Vocals, Keys & SFX; Adam Hodgson - Guitars, SFX; Paul Moorghen - Bass, Backing Vocals; Henry Rogers - Drums & Percussion. EP Produced by Touchstone Music UK... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/30/2015................................................For more details and in the meantime please check out TOUCHSTONE HOME PAGE...
. CAILYN LLOYD - "Voyager"
Cailyn Lloyd is a guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, and composer from Wisconsin, USA, who plays mainly Symphonic Progressive Rock. Her influences range from guitarists such as “Peter Green”, “Eric Clapton”, “Pete Townsend”, “Jimi Hendrix”, “Carlos Santana”, “Alvin Lee”, “Jimmy Page”, “Rory Gallagher”, “Stevie Ray Vaughn”, “Eddie Van Halen”, “Robin Trower”, “Eric Johnson”, “Walter Becker”, “Chris Duarte”, “Lee Ritenour”, “Carrie Brownstein”, “Nancy Wilson”, “Bonnie Raitt”, “Joan Jett”, to Classical composers such as “Dvorak”, “Bruckner”, “Vaughan-Williams”, “Beethoven”, “Schubert”, “Shostakovich”, “Mozart”, “Brahms”, and “Mussorgsky”. She also likes “Yes”, “Kansas”, “ELP”, “Journey”, “Dream Theater”, “Coheed and Cambria”, and “Jellyfish”. At an early age, Cailyn learned piano, violin and bass. Later she switched to the guitar and spent some time playing in London. After returning to the USA, she continued to study guitar, bass, and keyboards, learned to play drums, and took time off to raise a family. After nearly a decade, Cailyn returned to music full time, either performing with the bands “Alimony Blues Band”, “IX Lives”, and “Enigma”, or working as a session musician. Presently, Cailyn learns music theory with San Francisco composer, “Daniel Leo Simpson” and owns a studio where she produces her albums. Her first release was a Blues-Classical crossover EP (2008). The second, a partnership with awarded singer Dani Daly, which resulted in the Cailyn & Dani’s album “True Lies and Other Fairy Tales” (2009) – which received good reviews in “Vintage Guitar Magazine” and here at PR&PM (in August 2009). In 2012, Cailyn released her acclaimed album “Four Pieces”, featuring four instrumental tracks in Symphonic-Rock style inspired on the works of “Vaughan Williams”, “Dvorak”, “Samuel Barber”, “Debussy”, “Chopin” and “Schubert”. Her fourth release is “Voyager” (2014, Land of Oz Music). Inspired on NASA’s eponymous space program, it features 14 instrumental tracks (mostly titled after the celestial bodies explored by the Voyager probes) and also pays tribute to “Gustav Holst’s” Suite, “The Planets”, by  rearranging four of its movements (“Jupiter”, “Saturn”, “Uranus”, “Neptune”) in Progressive-Rock style. The digipack edition brings a booklet containing detailed explanations about the Suite and the Voyager program, plus scientific and mythological notes on the celestial terms that give name to the compositions. Cailyn’s brand of Progressive Rock music is really impressive – multi-layered, deep, and melodic. Cailyn’s guitar-playing is really superb - technical, but also soulful, having a strong Bluesy accent on the solos and a Hard-Rock and Metal luster on the powerful riffs. The wild-spirited nature of Cailyn’s guitar finds a perfect balance on the Classic vein that she exposes when playing keyboards: the piano is chic, inspired on Romantic, and Contemporaneous academic masters; the synthesizers are cosmic-futuristic and provide the harmonious orchestral background, necessary in classic Symphony-Prog. Cailyn also plays fantastic bass lines that fit perfectly in the arrangements, denoting her great knowledge of musical theory. She also plays drums and percussion on a few tracks, but most of the drums were performed by the amazing Neil Holloman – who knows how to keep the raw energy of Rock flowing along the compositions, breaking the most ethereal passages. Sporadic appearances of other instruments (cello, sax, English horn) give an extra spice to the mix. Overall, Cailyn’s music compares to the best Symphonic-Prog played by “ELP”, “Wakeman”, “Sky”, “Clearlight”, “Mandalaband”, “Gordon Gitrap”, “Renaissance”, “Genesis”, “Yes”, “Fruupp”, “Kansas”, “Focus”, “Finch”, “Triumvirat”, “Novalis”, “Amenophis”, “Eloy”, “Ayreon”. The title track, “Voyager” (4:21), is a celestial mix of “Focus” and “Wakeman” that introduces this journey. The dramatic “Io” (3:38) is balanced between powerful guitar chords and Progressive instrumentation; and the calm “Europa” (3:10) offers bluesy guitars, melancholic cello, cool piano, and cosmic sax (recalling “Sky” and “Clearlight”). Those satellites precede the first of “Holst’s” pieces: “Jupiter” (5:40), which, together with “Saturn” (5:15), offer a majestic transposition from Classic to Rock, by being instilled with vigor and opulence, resembling a guitar-oriented “ELP”. The force of “Saturn” reverberates on its moons, “Titan” (3:49) (a groovy piece including pressurized guitars, clean acoustic guitar, and Space-Rock synths) and “Enceladus” (2:14) (a piano nocturne that transmits the somber sensation of living in the shadow of the ringed planet). Another of “Holst’s” pieces, “Uranus” (4:25) - and its moons, “Miranda” (3:55) and “Ariel” (2:12) – received a different treatment, being bombarded with Hard-Rock and Prog-Metal solar winds charged with particles of dazzling guitars, explosive bass and drums, and cosmic-ray synths, having occasional sheltering of pianos (showing influences of “Ayreon” and “Dream Theater”). “Neptune” (5:21) and “Triton” (3:38), however, were treated with sensitive melancholy, replicating the coldness of their surfaces on long melodic guitar solos – with “Neptune” compensating its angelical choirs with psychedelic radiations. The Voyager probes give Earth a last goodbye on “Pale Blue Dot” (3:53) – a nostalgic orchestral piece adorned with piano, cello and English horn - and depart to the outer limits of our solar system on “Heliopause” (4:36), surfing on fantastic bluesy guitar solos towards the unknown. Cailyn’s album “Voyager” offers a true lesson in Classic Progressive Rock, featuring a rich and exciting mix of Music, Astronomy, and Mythology. Brilliant, outstanding, and absolutely indispensable for fans of “Symphonic-Progressive Rock with Classic Rock Guitars”, as it is played by any of the bands cited above. Band members and collaborators involved in Cailyn are: Cailyn Lloyd – Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Synthesizers, Drums & Percussion on “Europa”, “Enceladus” and “Pale Blue Dot”; Neil Holloman – Drums on the remaining compositions; Deryn Cullen – Cello on “Europa” and “Pale Blue Dot”; Ian East – Sax on “Europa”; Nancy Rumbel – English Horn (performance and engineering) on “Pale Blue Dot”; Shelby with StudioPros – Vocals on “Neptune”. All music by Cailyn, except “Jupiter”, “Saturn”, “Uranus” and “Neptune” by Gustav Holst, arranged by Cailyn. Recorded and Produced by Cailyn Lloyd at Land of Oz Studios, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin; Mixed by Rick Barnes and Cailyn Lloyd; Mastered by Mike Tholen – all at Rax Trax Recording (Chicago, IL)... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/30/2015.....................Want to learn about this great female guitar player and her music, go to CAILYN LLOYD HOME PAGE...
. JACK JEFFERY - "Enlightened Horizon"
Jack Jeffery is back to PR&PM once more! Jack Jeffery is a guitarist, singer and composer from Virginia, U.S.A., who produces his own albums. His music combines Progressive, Psychedelic, Electronic, Ambient, and Folk Rock styles, having influences of bands and artists like “Pink Floyd”, “Alan Parsons”, “Brian Eno”, “The Moody Blues”, “Roger Waters”, “Syd Barrett”, “David Gilmour”, “Kraftwerk”, “Ash Ra Tempel”, “Manuel Göttsching”, “Tangerine Dream”, “The Beatles”, “John Lennon”, “Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young”, “Simon & Garfunkel”, “Paul Simon”, “Nick Drake”, “Yes”, and “Rush”. Jack Jeffery has already released two albums: “Passage to Agadir” (2010) and “The Constant that Remains” (2012), which were reviewed at PR&PM in October 2010 and March 2012, respectively. The compositions on both albums were divided in two ample sonic domains: one, Electronic, was largely influenced by artists such as Alan Parsons”, “Brian Eno”, “Kraftwerk”, “Ash Ra Tempel”, and “Tangerine Dream”; the other, Psychedelic & Folk, was delivered in the form of melancholic ballads with strong influences of “The Moody Blues” and “Pink Floyd” (emulating the bass and vocals of “Roger Waters”, but also “Barrett’s” songwriting and “Gilmour’s” guitar), and less influences of “Beatles”, “Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young”, “Nick Drake”, “Simon & Garfunkel”. After two years of silence, Jack Jeffery has finally recorded and released a follow-up to his previous albums. Entitled “Enlightened Horizon” (2014), the record has been totally written, performed, and produced by Jeffery alone. On “Enlightened Horizon”, Jeffery improved his style, and is sounding a little more introspective than on his preceding albums. “Enlightened Horizon” features 11 tracks. As an adept of Instrumental Electronic Music as it was crafted during the ‘70s, Jeffery opens the new album with the portentous “Global Rise, Ancient Truth” (5:52), which blends strong influences of “Alan Parsons” and “Pink Floyd” on its cosmic-sounding arrangements. Walking on the same line, the slightly somber “Approaching the Starlight” (5:59) brings also names like “Tangerine Dream” and “Brian Eno” to mind, but surprises the listener with the growing intensity toward the final climax, with angelic choirs and soaring guitar solo. Yet, the uplifting sequential beats of “Trans-Celestial Express” (4:57) recall the music of “Kraftwerk”, and transport symphonic tunes that irradiate from celestial synths. Finally “Continuum” (3:55) embraces other trends of modern Electronic Music –Trance and Trip-Hop – having a strong appeal to dancing, mixed to a female Oriental singing, as if Jeffery was revisiting his first album, “Passage to Agadir”. Also the Classical piece “Sonata No. 1 in C for Theorbo” (1:20), played on the guitar, makes a remarkable parallel to his “Gavotte for African Steel Guitar” (of “The Constant that Remains” album). Searching for innovation, Jeffery prepared the strange pair “Amazing Grace / The Consequence of Love” (6:00) – a song that links a traditional theme played on an untraditional way (with distorted guitars) to a basic 70’s Punk-Rock swing that breaks the Progressive line of this album completely! But the song-ballads are the matter on which Jeffery shows his best. There are five of them scattered along the CD, alternated with the instrumental Electronic pieces, and most show Jeffery’s preference for bands like “Pink Floyd” and “The Moody Blues”. “Melancholy Minstrel” (5:53) and “Memories of Tomorrow” (6:28) are perfect examples of Jeffery’s ballad-style, blending the melancholy of “Pink Floyd” with the sensitiveness of early 70’s “Moody Blues”, capable of touching the listener deep in his/her feelings. “Memories …” is the best, despite its slow pace, gloomy atmosphere, and mysterious combination of lysergic keys and weeping guitars – which sprout out in beautiful melodies. Yet, on “The Road That Never Ends” (5:11), Jeffery surrenders to the simplicity of Bluegrass and its acoustic sonority, crafting very nice arrangements for guitar, banjo, and violin. Also mostly acoustic, “Never Go Back to the Mountain” (8:19) recalls the soft sound of 60’s “Moody Blues”, exuding nostalgic feelings from the lead and harmony vocals, and from the organ. Finally, “Our Own Past” (6:32) is a gorgeous song that closes the album bringing soaring keyboards and a shining note of hope on the guitar solo that ascends above the overall sadness, recalling me of “Barclay James Harvest”. In sum, with this brilliant new album, Jack Jeffery stays walking with confidence on the musical path that he has been paving since his previous works. With “Enlightened Horizon”, he will aggregate more fans around the lovers of Electronic, Soft Progressive, and Bittersweet-Ballad Music, being highly recommended either for fans of “Alan Parsons”, “Brian Eno”, “Tangerine Dream”, “Kraftwerk”, “Jean Michel Jarre”, “No Man”, “NoSound”, “Pymlico”, or for appreciators of “Pink Floyd”, “The Moody Blues”, “Barclay James Harvest”, “Roger Waters”, “Rick Miller”, “Nick Drake”, “Gordon Giltrap”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Jack Jeffery are: Jack Jeffery – Vocals, 12-String & 6-String Acoustic Guitars, Electric Guitars, Synthesizers, Programming, Trumpets, and Cornets. Written, Performed, Recorded and Produced by Jack Jeffery. Check some songs at SoundCloud... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/31/2015................................Interested to know more about the Musician and his music? Visit JACK JEFFERY HOME PAGE...
. SWEET CRYSTAL - "Power-N-Glory: Resurrected Masters"
Sweet Crystal – the leading Christian Rock band from Michigan, U.S.A. - is back to PR&PM! Sweet Crystal has been in activity for 39 years with an intact core trio consisting of Marq Speck (lead vocals, keyboards), Bill Blatter (guitars, vocals) and Steve Wieser (drums). Formed back in the winter of ‘71/’72, Sweet Crystal is a veteran Christian Rock band that was into this style even before the style was named. Along the ‘80s, Sweet Crystal opened shows for several bands (“Bob Seger”, “Nazareth”, “Steppenwolf”, “Foghat”, “Rare Earth”, and “Stryper”). In 1985, Brownsville Station drummer and gold-record-awarded “Blackfoot” producer Henry “H-Bomb” Weck decided to release Sweet Crystal’s debut EP, “Power-N-Glory” (1985, Nightcrier Music). The EP was followed by the full-length albums “Still Standing” (2003) and “III” (2010). “III”, which was reviewed at PR&PM in March, 2014, was supported by the Tate Music Group, an important Christian Music Label, and received positive response from all around the world, helping Sweet Crystal to spread out their inspiring religious messages. Sweet Crystal’s 1985 EP was re-mastered and reissued in 2003 with the new title of “Power-N-Glory: Resurrected Masters” (Nightcrier Music). The music of Sweet Crystal is a vibrant and easy-listening blend of Arena Rock, AOR, Classic & Hard Rock with a Progressive orientation on keyboards, featuring nice melodic vocals and catchy hooks. Their influences are ample, ranging from “Led Zeppelin”, “Deep Purple”, “Boston”, “Meatloaf”, and “Peter Frampton”, to the most commercial side of “Asia”, “Rush”, “Whitesnake”, “Queen”, “Styx”, “Journey”, “Kansas”, “Yes”, “Status Quo”, “Saga”, “Toto”, “Pink Floyd”, “Genesis”, “Marillion”, “Twelfth Night”, “Van Halen”, “Dire Straits”, “Stryper”, and “Queensrÿche”. “Power-N-Glory: Resurrected Masters” has 6 tracks. This EP is more Hard-Rock, AOR, and 80’s Rock oriented than “III”, what is in much consonance with the time period in which it was recorded: the middle of the ‘80s. Consequently, the songs are lighter, more lively, and festive than the better songs present on “III” (an album that leaned more to the Hard-Prog and Melodic Metal). Anyway, I am sure that songs like the title track “Power and the Glory” (4:47) – which opens the album with vigor, propelled by a powerful rocky pace, some Neo-Progressive synths flying around, embellished with some guitar and synths solos, and highlighted by a slightly epic touch; and the closing track “Come On Over” (3:17) – a fast Hard-Rock in the format of “Van Halen”, “Def Leppard”, “Stryper”, “Deep Purple”, and “Queen”; will have much approval from Sweet Crystal’s most younger and recently formed fan-base. But if the listener is in the mood for a dance, he will prefer the tracks “Lead Me to the Rock” (4:07) – a spirited 80’s Synth-Pop with electrifying guitar solos and emphasis on the chorus; or “For Once in Your Lifetime” (3:48) – a groovy 70’s Hard-Rock in the format of “Status Quo”, “Foghat”, “AC/DC”, “Bad Company”, and “Nazareth”. The EP still offers “Now or Never” (4:13) – a joyful song that recalled me of the most Pop side of “Rod Stewart”, “Journey”, or “Toto” – and the romantic ballad “Here, Now and Then” (5:35), with a 80’s flavor reminiscent of “Simply Red”, but with a guitar on the background that vaguely recalls “Yes”, covered with a layer of synths in Progressive and Synth-Pop styles. Sweet Crystal has plans to release their fourth record. 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 commercial side of bands like “Boston”, “Meatloaf”, “Peter Frampton”, “Asia”, “Rush”, “Whitesnake”, “Queen”, “Styx”, “Journey”, “Kansas”, “Yes”, “Status Quo”, “Saga”, “Toto”, “Genesis”, “Marillion”, “Twelfth Night”, “Van Halen”, “Dire Straits”, “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: Bob Rundell – Guitar; Lenny Clark – Bass, Lead Vocals (on “Here, Now and Then”). EP Recorded at Schollhouse Studios, Ann Arbor, MI; Engineered by Weck & Speck. Produced by David Henry Weck & Sweet Crystal.  Restoration & Mastering by Steve Meyer at ESR Studios, NY. P-N-G Logo Redesigned by Jon MacKinder... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/31/2015..................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit SWEET CRYSTAL HOME PAGE...
. DRIFTGLASS - "All That Remains"
Driftglass is an amazing Progressive Metal band from Toronto, Canada. Driftglass emerged out of the ashes of another Prog-Metal band called “Dissident Saint”, which since 2003 had been playing around the clubs of Toronto. But with the constant come-and-go of band members, “Dissident Saint” dissipated almost completely. The current incarnation of the band, consisting of Alvin Ihsani (vocals), Gera Kisselman (guitars), Ilya Maximenko (guitars), Andrei Zaretski (keyboards), Alon Shenfield (bass) & Jeff Marshman (drums), emerged in Toronto in 2008 under the new moniker of Driftglass. Each band member has a different musical background, with influences that range from the Progressive & Classic Rock of “Pink Floyd”, “Yes”, “King Crimson”, “Rush”, “Porcupine Tree”, and “Queen”, to various branches of the Heavy Metal tree, including the Traditional Metal of “Black Sabbath”, the 80’s Metal of “Iron Maiden” and “Queensrÿche”, the Prog-Metal of “Dream Theater”, “Opeth”, and “Mastodon”, and even some Grunge affinities with “Alice in Chains”. This diversity of tastes worked as the glue that held Driftglass’ members together, turning their music into a thrilling and adventurous blend of Progressive Rock with catchy modern Heavy Metal, as it was showcased on their debut EP, titled “The Stranger” (2009). Following the release of “The Stranger”, Driftglass embarked on a series of local shows before returning to the studio to compose a full-length album. This enterprise lasted some years, but Driftglass finally came out with “All That Remains” (August, 2014) – an outstanding Prog-Metal album featuring 9 tracks that are marked by the dynamics, wide range of influences, and great songwriting capability – reflecting the maturation of the band’s sound. In fact, the distinctive styles that Driftglass imprints on each of the compositions, without mixing too much the sonic influences that arise from well-defined periods of time – the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s – is what gives a positive diversity to “All That Remains” – an album containing only great songs, which will impact the listener, however, more or less according to his/her tastes. Also a strong point of this band lies on the great quality of the musicians involved – mainly the guitar players (always melodic), the keyboardist (always Prog-classic), and the bassist (fluent in 70’s grooves and NWOBHM potent drives). Although technical and dynamic, the drums could improve with more Metal aggressiveness. The vocals, on the contrary, are tailored for Progressive music, and show their best moments on the most melodic and soothing passages. In spite of their list of influences, Driftglass sometimes also recalled me of some Proto-Prog-Metal and Melodic Prog-Metal bands like “Helstar”, “Griffin”, “Liquid Tension”, “Niacin”, “Sieges Even”, “Superior”, “Cairo”, “Everon”, “Circus Maximus”, “Empty Tremor”, “Shadow Gallery”, and “Redemption”; with their music being complex, full of twists and turns, richly embellished with abundant solos of guitars and synths, and having inspiring passages for the piano. The first song - “Insect In a Jar” (05:54), is more like a straightforward Heavy-Metal (like “Griffin”) in the beginning, growing later with the coming of some outstanding Prog-Metal instrumentation. The amazing “Thrown Out To Shore” (06:58) boils in a fusion of notes and rhythms that brought bands like “LTE” and “Niacin” to my mind, but in a certain moment the song decollates in a Prog-Metal flight that has a strong resemblance with the style of “Dream Theater”. Yet, “Devil Of My Dreams” (08:48) retrocedes to the 80’s Proto-Prog-Metal epoch, being delivered with the typical NWOBHM pace of “Iron Maiden”, and bringing some exciting guitar passages that recalled me of “Helstar” and “Griffin”, unless that the whole song is also trespassed by piercing synths and gritty organs. From it, Driftglass jumps straight into the new century on “My Last Lament” (05:36), a song that alternates thrashing riffs, carnivorous guitar solos, and ghostly keyboards, with atmospheric moments marked by anguished vocals, resembling “Opeth” and “Mastodon”. But Driftglass’ most Progressive side sprouts out on ballads like “Evelyn” (03:56) – half Folk, half Alternative Rock, with gorgeous electric piano and soulful bluesy guitars; and “Disconnected” (04:25) - a soaring fairish song sweetened by the voice of guest singer Polyna Firer. Finally, Driftglass’ potential appears on the breathtaking suite “Dawn To Dusk”, composed of three tracks: “The Rise” (05:30) + “The Unfolding” (10:12) + “All That Remains” (09:00). If “The Rise” recalled me of “Helstar’s” album “Nosferatu”, but mixed to dramatic keyboards, “The Unfolding” (10:12) floats on magnificent Progressiveness, bringing in bittersweet to epic vocals/harmony vocals interspersed to sublime instrumental interludes, full of great pianos, Classical & Spanish electric/acoustic guitars, and superb double guitar-solo (!); while “All That Remains” (09:00) balances lightness and heaviness on groovy guitar riffs that ride on rumbling bass and drums (like “Porcupine Tree” meets “Opeth”), concluding with a heroic sequence that recalls a gradual evolution from “Queensrÿche” and “Sieges Even” to “Shadow Gallery” and “Dream Theater”. Driftglass has really arrived with hunger to conquer the Prog-Metal world! Their album “All That Remains”, despite few flaws of production, is full of qualities – and shall not be overlooked by fans of “Rush”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Queensrÿche”, “Dream Theater”, “Mastodon”, “Opeth”, “Iron Maiden”, “Helstar”, “Griffin”, “LTE”, “Niacin”, “Sieges Even”, “Superior”, “Everon”, “Circus Maximus”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Redemption”, or “Cairo”, to whom Driftglass is highly recommended. Band members and collaborators involved in Driftglass are: Alvin Ihsani – Vocals; Gera Kisselman – Lead, Rhythm & Acoustic Guitars; Ilya Maximenko – Lead, Rhythm & Acoustic Guitars; Andrei Zaretski – Keyboards, Piano; Alon Shenfield – Bass, Mandolin, Glockenspiel; Jeff Marshman – Drums; Polyna Firer – Guest Vocals on “Disconnected”. Produced & Mixed by Driftglass; Recorded at Rivermill Studios; Drum Recording at Alcatrax Studios engineered by Chris Lysiak; Vocal Recording at Silverbrich Studios engineered by Ted Onyszczak; Mastered at Metalworks Studios by Chris Crerar... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/31/2015.............................More information about the band? Better check it out for yourself at: DRIFTGLASS HOME PAGE...
. THE TEA CLUB - "Rabbit"
The Tea Club is back to PR&PM! The Tea Club is a band from New Jersey that presently consists of Patrick McGowan (vocals, guitar), Dan McGowan (guitar, vocals), Jamie Wolff (bass, violin, cello), Joe Dorsey (keyboards), and Dan Monda (drums). Since the late 1990’s the band has been conquering fans with their own brand of Crossover Progressive Rock, mixing elements of Art Rock, Heavy and Classic Prog, Alternative Rock, and Post-Rock. The Tea Club has already released four EPs and three full-length albums that received positive reviews from the press: “General Winter’s Secret Museum” (2008, featured at PR&PM in 2009), “Rabbit” (2010), and “Quickly Quickly Quickly” (2012). They were produced, recorded, and mixed at the Big Blue Meenie Studios by Tim Gilles (“Taking Back Sunday”, “Thursday”, “The Fiendz”). The covers were painted by artist Kendra DeSimone, but the albums also feature original artwork by Dan and Patrick McGowan. After the release of “Rabbit”, The Tea Club spent the rest of 2010 and 2011 playing shows along the East Coast, including the “ProgDay festival” in North Carolina, the “Philly Film & Music Festival”, the “NJ Proghouse”, and an acoustic opening show for “Jimmy Gnecco” (of “Ours”) at the North Star Bar in Philadelphia. Meanwhile, reviews and articles about The Tea Club appeared in publications (“Metro Philly”, “Indie Music Reviewer”, “Origivation”, and “JUMP”), attracting interest to the band. After the release of “Quickly Quickly Quickly”, The Tea Club supported “Beardfish” on their U.S.A. mini-tour in May 2012. In 2013 The Tea Club played at the “Terra Incognita Festival” (Quebec, Canada) and later toured with “Thank You Scientist” (with a performance at Indie Music Reviewer’s “IMR Music Festival” in Atlanta, GA). The Tea Club’s second album, “Rabbit”, was released on October 9th 2010. Besides the core members Patrick and Dan McGowan, the album’s formation included former members Becky Osenenko (bass) and Kyle Minnick (drums), and guest keyboardist Tom Brislin (who had played for “Yes” and “Camel”). “Rabbit” consisted of 9 tracks that showcased a talented band in plain evolution, walking with mature steps in search of their own and unique sonic signature. On “Rabbit”, The Tea Club masterfully combined new Alternative Rock trends with the old 70’s Prog idealism – experimentation with no boundaries – delivering their music with skillful and intense instrumental interplay, allied to melodic and sensitive vocals. The oneiric ambiences and pastoral soundscapes crafted by the band were in constant contrast against the most turbulent and dynamic moments, surprising the listener with great inventiveness and rare originality. The stylistic package is not easy to categorize, but one may realize influences of, and resemblances with, bands such as “Echolyn”, “King Crimson”, “Rush”, “Genesis”, “Anekdoten”, “Radiohead”, “The Mars Volta”, “Thank You Scientist”, “Jimmy Gnecco” & “Ours”, “Suã”, “Haken”, “Pain of Salvation”, “Discipline”, “Karmakanic”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Black Noodle Project”, “Beardfish”, “Silent Reunion”, “Out of the Beardspace”, “The Twenty Committee”, and “Perfect Beings”. Perfect representatives of The Tea Club’s sonic pattern are tracks like: “Simon Magus” (6:23) – an impacting opening song, vibrant and vigorous, driven by powerful Post-Rock chords (like “Suã”) wrapped up in complex, dynamic instrumental arrangements and led by Patrick’s expressive voice (assembling manners of “Jimmy Gnecco”, “Cedric Bixler-Zavala”, and “Peter Gabriel”) - and “Nuclear Density Gauge” (7:21), which departs from a psychedelic intro (recalling “The Mars Volta”) towards total madness on the following sequence, including a show of drums and percussion. Also tracks “Out Of The Oceans” (7:17) – a bouncing song that grows with more cadenced bass and drums (recalling “Karmakanic”); and “He Is Like A Spider” (6:20) – with its entwined Post-Rock instrumentation and nice backing vocals; are two great songs that show how The Tea Club knows how to counterbalance turbulent moments with calming interludes, making contrasts with the emotional burden of the vocal tunes. Speaking of contrasts, the pastoral ballads “Royal Oil Can” (5:15) and “Tumbleweeds” (4:09), which are mostly acoustic, driven by nice vocals and sweet backing vocals, equilibrate the album against the gloomy tracks “Diamondized” (6:33) and “The Night I Killed Steve Shelley” (9:07). “The Night …” is dramatic and surpasses all expectations, emphasizing the power of Osenenko’s bass and vocals that go from anguished to cathartic, while an instrumental final part goes paranoid, having a great participation of Brislin on synths (all recalling a blend of “Ours”, “Black Noodle”, and “Suã”). Finally, “Astro” (11:30) closes the album following the classical standards of 70’s Progressive Rock, even recalling “Genesis” on some passages of guitars and synths. In sum, “Rabbit” was a great album by The Tea Club – a band that always instigates the listener with their cerebral music. The Tea Club is finishing their 4th album, which will be released soon. We are already eager to listen to it! The Tea Club is a brilliant and original band, highly recommended for fans of “Echolyn”, “Thank You Scientist”, “Jimmy Gnecco” & “Ours”, “Beardfish”, “The Mars Volta”, “Sua”, “Radiohead”, “Silent Reunion”, “Pain of Salvation”, “Genesis”, “King Crimson”, “Haken”, “Discipline”, “Karmakanic”, “Black Noodle Project”, “Out of the Beardspace”, “The Twenty Committee”, “Perfect Beings”, “Rush”, “Anekdoten”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Coheed and Cambria”, “Perfect Beings”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in The Tea Club are: Patrick McGowan - Vocals, Guitar; Dan McGowan – Guitar, Vocals; Jamie Wolff - Bass, Violin, Cello; Joe Dorsey - Keyboards; Dan Monda - Drums. “Rabbit” line-up: Patrick McGowan - Vocals, Guitar; Dan McGowan - Guitar, Vocals; Kyle Minnick – Drums; Becky Osenenko – Bass. Special Guest: Tom Brislin – Keyboards. Recorded at Big Blue Meanie Recording Studios, Jersey City, NJ. Produced by Tim "Rumblefish" Gilles. Engineered by Chris "Kita" Larson, Chris "Noz" Marinaccio, Kevin "Iceman" Neaton and Alex "Stillers" Eddings. Additional Engineering by Matt "Debris" Menafro and Chris "Kita" Larson. Mastered by Alan Douches with Tim Gilles at West West Side Music. Studio Mom: Nene Mildenhall/Gilles. Cover artwork by Kendra DeSimone; All Artwork by Dan & Patrick McGowan... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/31/2015.......................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE TEA CLUB HOME PAGE...
. RITE OF PASSAGE - "Angels & Demons"
Rite of Passage is an USA Progressive Metal band conceived in the spring of 2010 by guitarist Kurt Spranger. The idea was to put together a Progressive Metal project with the best musicians of the Metro Detroit area. After 8 months of countless auditions, the current line up emerged: Bill Quigley (vocals); Kurt Spranger (guitar), Justin Valente (piano & keyboards); Jon Martin (bass); and Robert Barton (studio drummer). Aiming to forge a sound that could combine the styles of “Dream Theater”, “Rush”, and “Pink Floyd”, Rite of Passage finally recorded a debut album, titled “Angels & Demons” (2014, Coon Creek Records). “Angels & Demons” features 8 tracks that are distributed in three conceptual blocks called: “Phase I - Separation”, “Phase II - Transition”, and “Phase III - Reincorporation”. The sound produced by Rite of Passage is very heavy, compact, pounding, and powerful. Although the mid-tempo cadences are a preference of the band, a few faster thrashing upheavals do occur in selected moments. Keyboards provide an efficient orchestral background to the compositions, but sometimes engage into rocketing ascensions that verge the Space-Metal kind. The fatty bass is an element of surprise-attack, instilling some groovy waves that are not common on the music of other Prog-Metal acts. The vocals are more of the melancholic, emotional and epic types, contrasting nicely against the solid walls of guitar riffs that surround each composition. As a whole, Rite of Passage recalled me of several bands, without sounding equal to any of them: the cadences and vocals recalled me of “Queensrÿche”, “Fates Warning” (with “Ray Alder”), “Redemption”, and some songs of “Warlord”; the Space-Rock keyboards recalled me of “Bal-Sagoth”, but most of the time are like “Symphony X”, “Dream Theater”, and “Redemption”; finally, the thrashing riffs are as powerful as “Megadeth” and “Iced Earth”. Sporadic employment of Oriental modes into psychedelic and orchestral musical contexts also recalled me of “Tool”, “Karl Sanders” (“Nile”), “Queensrÿche” (specifically “Promised Land” album) and “Kamelot”. “Phase I” is made of tracks “Breaking Through The Walls” (7:14) – an opening song that, for being too long, loses the force of its straightforwardness; “Dream Horizon” (6:35) – which has a perseverant bass and a resemblance with “Redemption” and “Fates Warning” (“Ray Alder” Era) on vocals; and the best of three, “Before Midnight” (7:53) – a Thrash-Prog-Metal that recalled me of “Symphony X” and “Dream Theater”, but also “Megadeth”, bringing somber atmospheres, Space-Metal ambiences, interesting resonant bells, and more guitar solos. “Phase II” is the best sequence: it consists of “Change & Transition” (8:58) – which begins like a ballad with Classic piano/vocal intro (with airs of a “Phantom of the Opera” style), then grows to full-fledged Prog-Metal (in the vein of “Dream Theater” and “Redemption”), bringing piercing synths, fatty bass, and distorted guitar solo that dilacerates the mind; “Angels & Demons” (7:21) - which brings a drastic change of atmosphere, opposing Oriental-Metal psychedelic soundscapes to NASA’s Apollo transmissions from the Moon, making a contrasting temporal effect (like a mix of “Queensrÿche”, “Tool”, and the solo work of “Karl Sanders” of “Nile”); and “Dark Necessity” (7:35) - which takes the Oriental hook on the synth solo, but has somber vocals and more aggressiveness on the hammering guitar riffs (like “Iced Earth”, “Megadeth”). Finally, “Phase III” is the most Progressive part, represented by a couple of tracks: “Saying Goodbye” (5:06) – the most interesting song regarding the style, mixing elements of Jazz, Classic strings, Broadway drama, and film Noir fatalism (underlined by the guest vocals of a lady); and “Flash of Clarity” (9:53) – the most aggressive composition, regarding bass and drums, but also the most complex, regarding the guitar & synths interplay and the number of different riffs in succession, being adorned with arabesques (like music for the Pharaohs) and bringing a surprising symphonic interlude with strings, pianos and epic vocals (so congregating influences of “Symphony X”, “Dream Theater”, “Queensrÿche”, “Nile”, and “Kamelot”. Rite of Passage is really a band allied to the Metal Forces, and their debut album “Angels & Demons” has solidity, strength, and power, being specially recommended for fans of “Dream Theater”, “Symphony X”, “Queensrÿche”, “Fates Warning” (with “Ray Alder”), “Redemption”, “Warlord”, “Megadeth”, “Iced Earth”, “Karl Sanders” (“Nile”), and “Kamelot”. Band members and collaborators involved in Rite of Passage are: Bill Quigley – Vocals and Keyboards; Kurt Spranger – 6 & 12 Acoustic, Nylon and Electric Guitars; Justin Valente – Piano and Keyboards; Jon Martin – 5 String Bass, Upright Bass, Arp, and Moog; Robert Barton - Studio Drummer, Congas, and Percussion. Special Guest Vocalists: – Stefanie Dillard & Mike Leslie. Produced by Jon Martin. Engineered by Kurt Spranger & Jon Martin; Recorded at Cabin Music Studio and Coon Creek Studio; Mastered, Manufactured and Printed at Disk Makers (Pennsauken, N.J., USA)... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/31/2015............................Want to learn everything about the band and its members? Visit RITE OF PASSAGE HOME PAGE...
. TAYLOR’S UNIVERSE - "From Scratch"
Taylors’s Universe is back to PR&PM after a long time! Taylor’s Universe is a musical project headed by Robin C. Taylor - a Danish multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, and producer from Copenhagen, who started to play the guitar back in 1968, then at the age of 12. In 1988 he settled a partnership with keyboardist Jan Marsfeldt and in 1993 the duo gathered the first line-up of Taylor’s Universe: Mads Hansen (drums), Jakob Mygind (sax), Hugh Steinmetz (trumpet), and guitarists Henning Plannthin and Henrik Andersen. They released the albums “Taylor's Universe” (1994) and “Pork” (1996). Marsfeldt gave up from music, but Taylor went on, dividing his time among three different projects: Robin Taylor (solo); Taylor’s Free Universe (side-project with “Secret Oyster’s” saxophonist Karsten Vogel and violinist Pierre Tassone); and the original Taylor’s Universe. Taylor’s Universe was centered then on “the trio” Taylor, K. Vogel & Rasmus Grosell (drums), but had contributions of other Danish musicians (e.g. “Hugh Steinmetz”, “Carsten Dahl”, “Kim Menze”). Taylor’s Universe then released: “Experimental Health” (1998); “Once Again” (2004); “Oyster Apprentice” (2005); “Certain Undiscoveries” (2006, MALS); “Terra Nova” (2007, MALS); and “Soundwall” (2007). The later marked the last appearance of "the trio", but had participation of guitarist Michael Denner (“Mercyful Fate”, “King Diamond”, “Force of Evil”). The partnership with Denner was extended to another project: Art Cinema. On Taylor’s Universe’s album “Return to Whatever” (2009, MALS), the line-up was mostly composed of members of “Art Cinema”, including Denner. “Return to Whatever” was reviewed at PR&PM in 2009: it offered a blend of Progressive, Canterbury-Prog, Jazz-Rock, Blues, and Avant-garde music that could delight both Prog and Jazz fans. Taylor’s Universe has walked a long way since its last appearance on PR&PM, and its discography enlarged with: “Artificial Joy” (2009, last with Denner), “Two Pack” (2010), “Kind of Red” (2012), “Worn Out” (2013), and “Evidence” (2013), all released via Taylor’s own label, Marvel of Beauty Records (MOB). Taylor’s Universe newest release is titled “From Scratch” (January 2015, MOB Records/Record Heaven). As usual, Robin Taylor is helped by his friends and other musicians of the Danish Jazz scene, offering a tasty blend of Progressive and Jazz-Rock, with elements of Canterbury Rock, Experimental, and Avant-garde Music, most inspired on bands like “Secret Oyster”, “Midnight Sun”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Return to Forever”, “Bo Hansson”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Camel”, “Caravan”, “Hatfield and the North”, “Soft Machine”, “King Crimson”, “Gong”, and “Pink Floyd”. “From Scratch” brings seven instrumental pieces (vocal parts have no lyrics). The music has many passages with guitars, sax, clarinets, Moogs; arranged in mid-tempo cadences that give time for the melodies to grow – without recurring too much to Jazzy improvisations, but having the freedom and sensibility of Progressive Rock, and the experimental spirit of the ‘70s. The compositions may explore either cosmic or psychedelic ambiences, instigating the listener to enter another universe: Taylor’s Universe. “From Scratch” begins with “Other Meetings” (5:17) – a Prog-Rock piece arranged according to the Canterbury style, having Space-Rock bass, flutes that recall “Camel”, and long solos of guitar and Minimoog. Other two tracks also run in this vein: “Balcony People” (7:25) and “Für Louise” (5:09). Both begin with Stravinsky-sounding saxophones, surrounded in auras of mystery that are soon dissipated with the coming of other instruments. “Balcony People” leans to the Canterbury style, having groovy riffs anchored to the organ, bluesy solos of guitars, and Fusion Moogs; while “Für Louise” dribbles the listener with the sound of a Classic piano, but soon changes to an exciting Jazz-Rock with dazzling interplay of guitars, clarinets, sax-sopranos, and Minimoogs (an excellent choice for fans of “Blue Oyster”, “KC”, “Mahavishnu”, and “Soft Machine”). Mostly experimental are “Beta X” (7:32) and “Interrail” (9:17). “Beta X” is driven by heavy keyboards with 70’s Space-Rock textures (recalling “King Crimson” and Krautrock bands like “Ash Ra Tempel”), and has psychedelic female vocals and soprano sax that recall “Gong”; while “Interrail” is a frightening Avant-garde piece that shows how to defeat creepy growling monsters with lively female vocals. The album still brings the soothing “Laura's Lullaby” (2:56) - a soft-Jazz with angelical vocalizations and gorgeous soprano sax (reminiscent of “Hatfield and the North”); and the contemplative “Autumn River” (6:57) – made of relaxing E-Bowed guitar loops and soaring guitars referable to “Pink Floyd” (“Wish You Were Here”). Taylor’s Universe’s “From Scratch” is really an amazing and surprising album due to the variety of tunes, sounds, and styles offered to the listener, being highly recommended for fans of Progressive and Jazz-Rock who appreciate “Secret Oyster”, “Midnight Sun”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Bo Hansson”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Camel”, “Caravan”, “Hatfield and the North”, “Soft Machine”, “King Crimson”, “Gong”, “Pink Floyd”, “Return to Forever”, “Marbin”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Taylor’s Universe are: Robin C. Taylor - Guitars, E-Bow & Lesley Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Vocoder, Percussion; Karsten Vogel – Alto and Soprano Saxophones, Bass Clarinet; Claus Bohling – Electric Guitar; Thomas Ulstrup – Minimoog; Klaus Thrane – Drums. Additional Musicians: Finn Olafsson – Electric Guitar; Jakob Mygind – Soprano Saxophone; Carsten Sindvald – Baritone Saxophone (all three on “Für Louise”); Jytte Lindberg – Voice; Louise Nipper – Voice; Jan Fischer – Voice. Recorded & Engineered by Louise Nipper (Soundscape Studio) & Klaus Thrane (Thrane Studio). Mixed & Edited by R.C. Taylor & L. Nipper at Soundscape Studio; Mastered by Udi Koomran at Ginger’s Studio... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/31/2015............................Interested to know more about the Band and Musician? Visit TAYLOR’S UNIVERSE HOME PAGE...
. EYESBERG - "Blue"
Eyesberg is a British-German Prog-Rock-project consisting of Malcolm Shuttleworth (vocals), Norbert Podien (keyboards) and Georg Alfter (guitar, bass), having guest drummer Ulf Jacobs (from “Argos” and “Yacobs”) completing the line-up. Eyesberg was active during the late ‘70s to the early ‘80s. At that time Eyesberg was a quintet, and Shuttleworth, Podien, and Alfter were accompanied by Michael Buchner and Thomas Klarmann (now in “Argos” and “Superdrama”). The five musicians were influenced by the melodic Progressive and Art-Rock bands of the ‘70s, but, although Eyesberg had a repertory of its own, the band did never record an album, and had to wait for a long time for a new opportunity to do so. After more than 30 years later, Eyesberg finally found their chance by means of prestigious German Progressive Label Progressive Promotion Records. The compositions that dated back to that time were taken up again and reunited on a debut album, entitled “Blue” (2014). “Blue” features 12 tracks which, at different degrees, reflect the Rock and Pop style played around the late ‘70s to early ‘80s – the period of time when Eyesberg was in activity. Their sonority therefore oscillates among the 80’s Progressive Rock, the Neo-Prog, the Synthpop, and the Romantic Rock styles, with strong resemblance with “Genesis”, “Phil Collins”, “Marillion” (with “Fish”) and trace influences of “Peter Gabriel”, “GTR”, “Alphaville", “Asia”, “Yes” (with “Trevor Rabin”), “Jethro Tull”, “Emerson Lake and Powell”, “3”, and “Kansas” – walking on the same line of bands like “Argos”, “Silhouette”, “Comedy of Errors”, and “Seasons of Time”. The vocals are identical to “Phil Collins” – in tune and intonation. The instrumentation resembles “Marillion” (albums “Fugazi” and “Clutching at Straws”), and the commercial phase of “Genesis” (e.g. “Duke” and “Abacab”). Some songs, however, have so complex arrangements, are so abundant in synths, and so delicate on the mellowness of the guitars, that approach the Progressive atmospheres of albums like “A Trick of the Tail”, “Wind and Wuthering”, “… And Then There Were Three”. Some flutes arise sporadically, recalling “Genesis" with "Gabriel” and “Jethro Tull”. A number of tracks on “Blue” are harmful short songs that bring within that cheerful, danceable pulse of the ‘80s, driven by fast simple beats and adorned with playful Synthpop motifs and innocent “just for fun” melodies, such as “Child’s Play” (4:34), “Porcelain” (3:33), and “Inquisitive” (3:32) (this one with festive flutes that bring a World Music flavor, maybe influenced by “Peter Gabriel’s” work). Also “Closed Until The Resurrection” (6:35) begins with contagious rhythms, but has guitar and keyboards that stand high above the average – like “Genesis” on “Duke” and “Abacab”. But the best songs are the “longs”, which are comparable in melodicism and technique to the style of “Genesis” depurated between the albums “A Trick of the Tail” and “Duke”: “Epitaph” (5:25) and “If I Told You The Truth” (5:46) are fairish ballads that trespass dreamy atmospheres, being divided by long interludes embellished with blazing solos of synths and guitars; “Feed Yourself” (8:23) is a dramatic Neo-Progressive standard that also congregates influences of “Marillion” with “Fish” on the bittersweet vocal tunes, and on the soaring “Rothery”-like solo; and “Faces On My Wall” (5:22) resembles the classic “Genesis” with “Peter Gabriel”, combining expressive vocals, flutes, pianos, and an awesome instrumental final sequence. The remaining tracks, albeit Progressive in nature, diverge from the “Genesis” pattern, searching for inspiration in other sources: “Winter Gone” (5:06) is a beautiful lullaby with romantic vocals, calm guitars,  and pastoral flutes that recall “Camel”; and the instrumental “4-2-F” (1:25) inserts folky flutes (like “Jethro Tull”) into 80’s techno-pulses. Two explosive rocky tracks were left to the end to close the album at high energetic levels: “S II” (3:07), with its hard textures on guitars and organs, recalled me of “Yes” (with “Trevor Rabin”) “GTR”, and “Asia”; and  “Detachment And Replacement” (5:33), with its powerful 80’s-Prog groovy bass, majestic synths, and gritty organs, recalled me of “Asia”, “Kansas”, “EL&Powell”, and “3”. Eyesberg must have had difficult to compete among the Neo-Prog scene of their time, but after having listened to their well-crafted songs, I just wondered: how did “Marillion” get there and this band didn’t? Thanks to PPR Label, Eyesberg was spared from oblivion and had a chance to show their amazing music to the Progressive audiences! Eyesberg is highly recommendable for fans of “Genesis” of “Phil Collins” Era, Neo-Prog bands like “Marillion”, “Pendragon”, “Pallas”, “Red Jasper”, Synthpop, and 80’s Progressive Rock acts such as “Yes” (with “Trevor Rabin”), “GTR”, “Asia”, “EL & Powell”, “Alphaville”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Eyesberg are: Malcolm Shuttleworth - Lead and Backing Vocals, All Lyrics; Georg Alfter – Guitar, Bass; Norbert Podien – Keyboards, Backing Vocals, and Additional Drum Programming. Guest Musician: Ulf Jacobs – Drums. Original music written by Alfter, Buchner, Klarmann & Podien; re-written and re-arranged by Alfter & Podien. Recorded & Mixed by N. Podien, Wiesbaden, Germany. Drums Recorded by Rico Florczak, Greifswald, Germany. Mastered by Frank Motnik, FMO Audiovision, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Published by Oliver Wenzler, Progressive Promotion Records, Flöhrsheim, Germany... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/31/2015........................................Want to learn everything about the band and its members? Visit EYESBERG HOME PAGE...
. SYNTAGMA - "Apophenia"
Syntagma is an experimental trio from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, consisting of Ricardo Petrone (bass, vocals & keyboards), Lyndon Storch (synth guitars, 6 & 12 strings) and Elias Pereira (drums and electronic percussion). Syntagma was founded in December 2009 by members of a previous band called “IndexScentis”, which had terrorized the neighbors with their noisy sound all along the ‘80s. Syntagma gathered together again in the new century under this new moniker. It comes from the Greek word “” – which has two possible meanings, according to the form of language that is being used (from the oldest to the most modern): either “items of the Greek Constitution” or “the smallest part of an army”. Syntagma prefers the last meaning, for the trio feels like being soldiers struggling on a daily battle to keep their band in activity. Syntagma’s noble efforts were rewarded with the release of their first independent album, titled “Apophenia” (2012). “Apophenia” features 11 instrumental tracks that oscillate through different genres and styles, including Experimental, Fusion, Jazz-Rock, Psychedelic, Progressive Rock, and Krautrock, having influences of bands like “Rush”, “Pink Floyd”, “Novalis”, “Triumvirat”, “King Crimson”, “Sturm & Drang”, to which I shall add: “Violeta de Outono”, “A Chave do Sol”, “Os Mutantes”, “Chelpa Ferro”, and “Uakti”. But Syntagma’s musicians play in a very relaxed way, slowly and softly, never pushing their technical abilities to the limits, like being on a space-psychedelic jam-session on which they are just willing to make some sound with their instruments, feeling the timbres and experiencing the textures, neither complicating their arrangements, nor overburdening their dynamic flow. In general, Syntagma’s sonority recalled me of some Post-Rock standards, like “Tortoise” and “Russian Circles”, but without following their rigid compositional method. Some of Syntagma’s pieces are pretty basic, such as: “Horizonte dos Eventos” (“Event Horizon” - 5:40) and “O Templo dos Ratos” (“Temple of the Mice” - 6:18) - two soaring Prog-Rocks with bass drives and cosmic synths that recall “Rush” and “Violeta de Outono”; “A Marcha da Insensatez” (“March for the Lack of Common Sense” - 3:57) – a Surf-Rock with clean guitars (like “The Ventures”), effects and mad-man laughs; and “J.W. Bass” (4:14) – which comes in echoing waves entwined in an 80’s New-Wave sonic texture. But the best tracks reveal higher levels of musical elaboration and maturity: “Central Station” (4:00) is a groovy Jazz-Rock with a “wah-wah” guitar solo superposed to the whole song; “Jazz Rock Mulek” (4:04) has bass, keyboards, and odd arrangements with a touch of “King Crimson”; and “Psycosamba” (7:50) is an experimental track that includes groovy bass and percussion reminiscent of “Uakti”. On the hybrid track “O Silêncio é o Último” (“The Silence is the Last” - 4:39), Syntagma tries to make a blend of “Triumvirat”, “Rush”, and “Novalis”, finishing it with Hindu sounds and mantras. The preference for Hindu Ragas is confirmed on “Tomorrow Never Knows” (4:13) – an interesting version of this famous “The Beatles” song; and amplified on “Ainda Eram Nove Horas a Dez Mil Anos Atrás” (“It Was Still Nine O’clock Ten Thousand Years Before” - 10:38) – a lysergic Raga-Rock recalling the 60’s psychedelic band “Quintessence” and the Krautrock act “Yatha Sidhra”. “Apophenia” ends with “Telejornal Transcendental” (“Transcendental Video News” 10:45) an experimental Acid-Jazz that is gradually decomposed to micro-psychedelic atoms inside barometric chambers. While being an accomplished trio, Syntagma could had improved their sound by getting more committed to technical issues, and should also launch themselves into bolder and complex arrangements. For now, Syntagma may attract fans of the Psychedelic, Krautrock, Jazz-Rock, and Post-Rock tribes, being specially recommended for fans of “Rush”, “Novalis”, “Sturm & Drang”, “Violeta de Outono”, “A Chave do Sol”, “Tortoise”, “Russian Circles”, “King Crimson”, “Quintessence”, “Yatha Sidhra”. Band members and collaborators involved in Syntagma are: Ricardo Petrone - Bass, Vocals & Keyboards; Lyndon Storch - Synth Guitars, 6 & 12 Strings; Elias Pereira - Drums, Electronic Percussion. Recorded December 2011 at Ship Room Studio; Mixed & Mastered between January and April 2012 at ZHS Homestudio, all by Claudio Cuoco (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). If you want listen some songs from this great Brazilian band please check out here... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/31/2015............................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit SYNTAGMA HOME PAGE...
. STATE URGE - "Confrontation"
State Urge is an emergent Progressive and Art Rock band from Gdynia, Poland, that consists of Marcin Cieslik (guitars, vocals), Krystian Papiernik (bass guitar), Michal Tarkowski (keyboards and synthesizers), and Marcin Bochenski (drums). The quartet plays a blend of Rock strains that they call “White Rock” – an original genre with roots on the Classic Rock sound, but being fresh, emotionally honest, and unpretentiously performed, with less complexity than the Orthodox Prog-Rock. State Urge began their career by releasing two self-produced EPs: “Underground Heart” (2011) and “What Comes Next?” (2012), which received positive reviews that motivated the band to move forwards. State Urge then began to be aired on Radio Stations of Poland (Radios Gdansk, PiK, Alfa, MORS, SAR, MEGATON), and successfully attended several festivals and competitions (winning the FAMA festival in Tricity), sometimes sharing the stage with bands such as “Cochise”, “Dianoya”, and “Votum”. In the turn of the year 2012 State Urge settled a co-operation with Lynx Music, a publisher from Krakow, which resulted in the release of the band’s first full-length album, titled “White Rock Experience” (2013, Lynx Music). “White Rock …” contained a mix of new and old material of the band, and was awarded the prestigious “Robert ‘Ro-Ro’ Roszak Award” for “Best Polish Progressive Album of 2013”, extending State Urge’s fame outside Poland. After a sold-out premiere concert held on April 13th 2013 at Atelier Theatre in Sopot that impressed the audience with enhanced 3D visual effects, State Urge went on tour around Poland, reaching almost 100 live shows. In March 2014 State Urge released the Single “Before The Dawn”, which had its premiere transmitted live on Radio Gdansk. The CD version included a cover-song of legendary Polish band “Republika” (“Halucynacje”). In October 2014 State Urge entered the studio to record their second full-length album: “Confrontation” (2015, Lynx Music). “Confrontation” was presented first time live on Radio Gdansk on November 30th 2014, just before its release on digital and physical formats (respectively on December 19th and January 5th 2015). Since then, the album has received intense airplay in Poland (mainly on Radio Channel 3) and abroad. A deserved honor, for “Confrontation” is really an amazing Progressive Rock/Art Rock album that impresses the listener with its classic musicianship and the maturity of its themes. “Confrontation” is a concept album about a man who tries to solve the inner dilemmas that arise when he must confront his own personality against the responsibilities of real life. This conflicting story is told with meaningful lyrics (in English) on 8 tracks, which are all chained to each other, forming a continuous piece that recalls the most emotional and introspective side of bands like “Porcupine Tree”, “RPWL”, “Marillion” (“Hogarth” Era), “Pendragon”, “IQ”, “Pallas”, “Twelfth Night”, “Pink Floyd”, “Rush”, “Eloy”, “Riverside”, “Osada Vida”, “Mindfields”, “Collage”, “Satellite”, “Believe”, “Sylvan”, “Airbag”, and “Radiohead”. State Urge’s musicians pay more attention to the wholeness of their songs than to individuality, showing great ability when they use music to convey emotion. The vocal tunes follow the British Neo-Progressive standard, and the instrumentation has the pulsing base and atmospheric mood of “Porcupine Tree”, “RPWL”, “Airbag”, and the Polish bands, but never attains the same scale of heaviness, remaining within most melodic and sensitive boundaries. The guitars float on well-elaborated, soulful solos; keyboards are more orchestral than bombastic and come in a variety of textures; the bass meanders between guitars and keyboards, holding then together in great Progressive arrangements; and all is driven by mild-mannered rocky drumming. The album opens with two vigorous and fast-paced songs that bring the turbulence of inner conflicts embedded in their arrangements: the title track, “Confrontation” (3:59), is driven by pulsing bass and riffs like “Rush” and “Riverside”; while “Revival” (4:26) completes it with a long instrumental sequence decorated with Hard-Prog keyboards and jazzy pianos, finishing with soaring vocals and guitars. “Liquid Disease” (7:10) is powerful and impressive, like a blend of “Porcupine Tree”, and “IQ”, and gives continuation to the drama with vehement vocals, disarming guitar solo, oneiric pianos, and great synths! State Urge then slows down to introspective moods on the majestic tracks “Cold As A Lie” (5:47) and “Midnight Mistress” (8:31), both impregnated with an spiritual aura that irradiates from church organs, angelical choirs, bells, all being driven by ample guitar chords. The first has gorgeous vocal tunes; the second concentrates emotion and drama on an epic progression, being crowned with magnificent guitar solo. From introspection, State Urge rises to melancholic beauty on the ballad “New Season” (5:12), a song with classic acoustic guitars that grows on the guitar solo, bittersweet, but with a note of hope; and begins to exorcize demons on “Before the Dawn” (4:00), a psychedelic ballad with a steer to the Alternative Rock. The saga is concluded with “More” (10:12) – a levitating song that brings the final redemption on its melodies. As a whole, “Confrontation” is an outstanding Progressive album that marks the listener with an emotionally memorable experience, being indispensable for fans of “Porcupine Tree”, “Pink Floyd”, “Marillion” (“Hogarth” Era), “RPWL”, “Pendragon”, “IQ”, “Pallas”, “Twelfth Night”, “Eloy”, “Riverside”, “Osada Vida”, “Mindfields”, “Collage”, “Satellite”, “Believe”, “Sylvan”, “Airbag”, and “Radiohead”. Band members and collaborators involved in State Urge are: Marcin Cieslik – Guitars and Vocals; Krystian Papiernik – Bass; Michal Tarkowski - Keyboards and Synthesizers; Marcin Bochenski - Drums. All songs written and produced by State Urge; Lyrics by Marcin Cieslik & Krystian Papiernik. Album Recored at Velur Studio, Gdansk, Poland; Engineered by Lukasz Sieradzki & Marcin Makowiec; Mixed by Lukasz Sieradzki; Mastered by Jack Braglia, Vital Mastering Studio, New York City, USA. Cover and booklet photos by Adrian Chudek; Booklet design by Adrian Chudek & Marcin Cieslik... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/31/2015....................Want to learn everything about the musicians and their fantastic band, visit STATE URGE HOME PAGE...
. ANNOTRHÜL - "Leviathan"
Annot Rhül is the pseudonym for Sigurd Lühr Tonna, a Norwegian musician who conducts this unorthodox project since its inception in 1998. Annot Rhül plays guitar, keyboards, some bass, and other peculiar instruments, being also responsible for the arrangements and special sound effects. Whenever inspiration comes to him, he makes demos on his laptop, and later he asks his numerous friends to join him in the studio to play additional instruments. Annot Rhül released an album titled “Lost in the Woods” (2007, Sulatron Records, Austria), which was a compilation of two previous releases: “Who Needs Planes or Time Machines, When There’s Music and Daydreams?” and the “Lost in the Woods” EP itself, which was mostly inspired on horror films and Psychedelic Rock. The record had participation of several guest musicians from other bands from Norway. After a long hiatus, Annot Rhül recently returned with a new album, titled “Leviathan” (October 2014, Black Widow Records, Italy), which comes on both CD and Vinyl editions. “Leviathan” is inspired on the literary work of “H.P. Lovecraft” and focuses on the Cthulu mythos – which describes aliens that live in our planet and, whenever they appear before humans, cause destructive effects on our body and mind. The record has participation of occasional drummer Halvor William Sanden and musicians of many Norwegian bands, such as: Organ Morgan (ex-“Seid”), Burt Rocket and Jürgen Kosmos (“Seid”); Lars Fredrik Frøislie (“Wobbler”), Sven Arne Skarvik and Ingrid Velle (“Love Revolt”), Allessandro Elide (“Manifest”/“Hoist”), Erlend Naalsund (“Asiago”), and others (listed below). The sound of Annot Rhül is inspired by music spanning from the ‘60s to the present days, mainly of the Psychedelic, Progressive, and Space-Rock branches, with a pinch of Surf Rock. All is delivered with a retro-sounding instrumentation (mostly represented by a large collection of vintage keyboards and synths), enveloped in Space-rock textures and propelled by lysergic bass lines; being also adorned with melodic floating guitars and psychedelic male/female vocals. The combination of sonorities is hoped to induce the listener to travel mentally to surreal places, in both inner and outer space. The basic influences come from late 60’s to early 70’s bands like “Manfred Mann”, “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”, “Deep Purple”, “Nektar”, “Hawkwind”, “Gandalf” (Psychedelic band), “H.P. Lovecraft”, “Bram Stoker”, “Ultimate Spinach”, and assorted “Krautrock” bands (“Novalis”, “Grobschnitt”, “Ash Ra Tempel”, “Osiris”, “Amon Düül”); following a parallel to bands like “Ozric Tentacles”, “Arabs in Aspic”, “Wobbler”, “Seid”, “Jellyfish”, etc. “Leviathan” contains 6 tracks, including two long suites that open and close the album: the “Leviathan Suite” (13:54) and “R’lyeh” (12:04). The “Leviathan Suite” is a trippy composition on which many kinds of keyboards are employed in different parts of the music to tell a 7-chapeters story: “I. The Traveller Pt.1” introduces gloomy noises to settle an atmosphere of horror; “II. The Sailors Pt.1” comes with dynamic bass and drums under the lead of male/female vocals that recalled me of “Manfred Mann”; “III. In Limbo at 5000 Fathoms” soars on hypnotic clouds, blown on by ghostly vocals (like “H.P. Lovecraft”); “IV. Maybe they Sailed out too far?” impresses with its melancholic mood; “V. Between Scylla and Charibdis” is an awesome instrumental section tinted with Neo-Prog synths – later arising to total “Lovecraftian” madness; “VI. The Sailors Pt.2” revisits the vocals; and “VII. Interstellar Foe” ends with a furious Hammond solo (reminiscent of “Jon Lord”). The second suite, “R’lyeh”, is an instrumental piece divided in 5 parts: the fairish intro “I. Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn” contrasts strongly with the vigor and heaviness of the following segments, “II. 47°9 S 126°43 W” and “IV. In the Wake of Cthulhu”, which are marked by violent guitar chords (recalling “Rush”), desperate keyboards, and anguished choirs conveyed on military pace, having only the calm string arrangements of “III. Every Man For Him Self” separating them; and “V. The Traveller Pt. 2” falls down into a dark abyss of sounds (recalling me of “Ozric Tentacles”, “Wobbler”, and “KC”). Those startling compositions are not the only features of “Leviathan”, however. There are two awesome instrumental tracks: “The Color Out of Space” (7:03), full of cosmic sound effects, melodic guitars, and long solos of Moogs (as a mix of “Hawkwind” and “Ozric”); and the Space-Rock “Distant Star” (3:27), influenced by early “Floyd”, “Nektar”, and Krautrock bands (heard on the bobble-sounding synths). In addition, there are two songs more: the epic and frightening “The Mountain of Madness” (7:17), which combines apocalyptical vocals in a strong chorus (like “H.P. Lovecraft”, “Bram Stoker”, “Floyd”) with distorted organs and psychedelic guitars; and “Surya” (4:46), a mix of noisy cymbals and oriental percussion that support an extraterrestrial male/female chanting. Really an outstanding album by Annot Rhül – diversified, instigating, hallucinogenic, and addicting - “Leviathan” is brilliant and indispensable for fans of Psychedelic Progressive Rock, Space Rock and Krautrock who love “Manfred Mann”, “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”, “Deep Purple”, “Nektar”, “Hawkwind”, “Gandalf” (Psychedelic band), “Bram Stoker”, “H.P. Lovecraft”, “Ultimate Spinach”, “Novalis”, “Grobschnitt”, “Ash Ra Tempel”, “Osiris”, “Amon Düül”, “Ozric Tentacles”, “Arabs in Aspic”, “Wobbler”, “Jellyfish”, “Seid”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Annot Rhül are: Annot Rhül – Keyboards, Synths, Mellotron Samples, Electric Sitar, Fender Guitars; Halvor William Sanden – Drums, Cover Design and Illustrations; Burt Rocket – Music Man Stingray, Moog Prodigy, Mellotron Samples, Vocals; Jürgen Kosmos (a.k.a. Jørgen Yri) - Vocals; Organ Morgan – Korg MS20, MiniMoog, Organ, Mellotron M400 (Strings); Lars Fredrik Frøislie – Mellotron M400 (Brass & Female Choir); Sven Arne Skarvik – Vocals, Gretsch Lapsteel; Ingrid Velle - Vocals;  Allessandro Elide - Percussion; Erlend Naalsund – Bass, Fender and Les Paul Guitars, Ebow; Lars Hyldmo – Hammond Organ, Fender Rhodes, MiniMoog; Torfinn Belbo – Percussion; Asgeir Engan – Vocals; Jackob Tonna-Stadsnes - Synthmonsters; Kjartan Nystad – Vocals; Stian Gjelvold – Creative eqing. Recorded at G60, Nautilus, The Moon Module Barn, Das Boot, Volklang, Krakereiret, and various living rooms & home studios; Mixed at Volklang by Burt Rocket & K. Nystad; Mastered by Eroc... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/31/2015.........................................Interested to know more about the Musician and Band? Visit ANNOT RHÜL HOME PAGE...
. MISCONDUCTERS - "Boundless"
Misconducters are a Hard-Rock & Punk-Metal trio hailing from Brazil. Misconducters originated in 2008 in London, after founder Den (guitar, vocals) decided to form a band to play songs that he had written in the early nineties and had continued ever since, until accumulating over 20 years of material. Much of those songs were recorded on a series of albums that comprises Misconducters’ discography: The EPs “You Are Asking For It” (2008), “Braindead” (2009), “New Blood” (2010), and “Reset” (2012); and the full-lengths “It’s All Yours” (2010) and “Hypnopaedia” (2014). Worth of mentioning is the Misconducters’ participation on the compilation “Fallen Souls” (2009), of the independent Scottish label Fall of Eden Records, which featured the first song of band “M Inc”, of “Rick Rozz” (ex-“Death”/“Massacre”). Their extensive discography and their traditionally loud and powerful live performances led Misconducters to share the stage with legendary bands such as “Discharge”, “English Dogs”, “Broken Bones” and “Disorder”, among others. But Den’s ample selection of musical influences, combined with his lack of interest in following new trends, have put him in conflict with other band members, so changes in Misconducters’ line-up became frequent. Nevertheless, Den has always regarded it as a positive influence to the music of the band, because each musician imprinted something of his own experience on the songs that were being recorded, increasing the diversity of styles. A Misconducters’ new album – titled “Boundless” (17th February 2015) - is finally available, and comes in Digital, CD and 12" LP formats. “Boundless” brings seven songs with lyrics in English, and is the outcome of a collective effort involving four Brazilian labels: Bagaça Records, Terceiro Mundo Chaos, Metal Reunion and Denfire Music. Besides Den on the lead vocals and guitar, the record counts with Brisa (bass) and Vitão (drums). Den is a wild and cruel soloist who is also a specialist in making Heavy Metal guitar riffs loaded with a contagious 80’s groove. Brisa is the pulsing heart of the band, and dominates everything, from “NWOBHM” licks, to Thrash-Metal drives. Vitão is an incredible monster behind the drum-kit, an unstoppable power-plant the runs in a fast Punk-Metal rhythm, adding gallops and heavy thunderous chops at the same time. Together, the trio makes true Metal music that goes straight to the point, combining energy and power with a spontaneous and rebellious spirit! Above the solid wall made of igneous iron and impenetrable concrete that strengthen the instrumental matrix, Den spits off his vocals, in ironic and scornful tones, as the furious backing vocals shout out words that demand a new order. The sonic package has nothing of Progressive in it, but assaults the listener with the crudeness and brutality typical of bands like “Motörhead”, “Artillery” (album “Fear of Tomorrow”), “Nuclear Assault”, “Tank”, “Killer” (Belgium), “Paledriver”, “Forbidden”, “Abattoir”, “Vendetta”, “Blessed Death”, “Exciter”, “Bad Religion”, “English Dogs”, “Exploited”, “D.R.I.”, “Discharge”, “Holocaust”, and “Ratos do Porão”; still having a pinch of “Iron Maiden” of the “Paul Di’Anno” Era! Misconducters attack bravely, starting the album by the fast-paced “The Game” (04:30) – which includes a surprising middle section with rumbling bass and drums; and the dirty-Punk “Class Of '84” (03:39) – which, in spite of its short duration, is stuffed with numerous guitar solos that travel at light-speed. Those two tracks act like a drink prepared with the waters of the Fountain of Youth, liberating adrenalin instantaneously in the listener’s blood current, rejuvenating any elder headbanger back to the Age of Glorious 80’s Metal. “Pave The Way” (04:46) and “Hunter And Prey” (04:36) are more elaborated songs, however, and include complex and killer riffs, and a rhythmic base akin to the “NWOBHM” movement (like “Iron Maiden” with “Di’Anno”, and “Angel Witch”, “Satan”, and the pre-Pirate phase of German “Running Wild”), but still showing the spontaneity of Punk-Metal on vocals. The apex of Misconducters’ technical prowess shows off on the bombastic instrumental track “Boundless” (06:41), which was chosen with justice to name this album! “Boundless” is followed by “Plain Conditioning” (05:03), which begins with slow riffs reminiscent of old “Black Sabbath”, accelerating later with groovy riffs and vocals that recalled me of “Tank”, delving into a Thrash-Metal binary pace on some passages. Due to the changes of rhythm, this song recalled me of bands like “Vendetta” and “Blessed Death”. The album ends with “Lurch” (03:30), a cathartic Punk-Metal that reveals how Misconducters – a voracious band from Brazil – are ready to conquer the subterranean world of Metal, being highly recommended for fans of “Motörhead”, “Artillery”, “Nuclear Assault”, “Tank”, “Killer” (Belgium), “Paledriver”, “Forbidden”, “Abattoir”, “Vendetta”, “Blessed Death”, “Exciter”, “Bad Religion”, “English Dogs”, “Exploited”, “D.R.I.”, “Discharge”, “Holocaust”, “Ratos do Porão”, “Iron Maiden” (“Paul Di’Anno” Era), and other “NWOBHM” and Thrash-Metal bands with an aggressive punch! Band members and collaborators involved in Misconducters are: Den – Vocals, Guitar; Brisa – Bass; Vitão – Drums. Recorded in November 2014 at O Beco Studio in Santos, Brazil, by Ivan Pellicciotti; Mixed and Mastered by I. Pellicciotti & Den. Artwork by Nejron... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/30/2015..................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit MISCONDUCTERS HOME PAGE...
Sweet Crystal is back to PR&PM once more! Sweet Crystal was formed back in the winter of ‘71/’72 by Marq Speck (lead vocals, keyboards), Bill Blatter (guitars, vocals), and Steve Wieser (drums), and has remained in activity since then, featuring the same line-up. Presently, Sweet Crystal is the leading band around Michigan, U.S.A. that plays the Christian Rock style (which they played even before it was recognized as a style). Along the ‘80s, Sweet Crystal opened shows for several bands (“Bob Seger”, “Nazareth”, “Steppenwolf”, “Foghat”, “Rare Earth”, and “Stryper”). In 1985 Sweet Crystal released a debut EP, “Power-N-Glory” (1985, Nightcrier Music), which was produced by Henry Weck (“Blackfoot”). The EP was followed by the full-lengths “Still Standing” (2003) and “III” (2010, Tate Music). “III” received positive responses from all around the world (also from PR&PM, in March, 2014) and opened doors for Sweet Crystal to spread out the blessing words of God. Sweet Crystal has recently released a new EP, titled “Quad” (2015, Nightcrier Music), which guaranteed to the band two coveted Detroit Music Awards: “2015 DMA Outstanding Gospel / Christian Act” and “2015 DMA Outstanding Gospel / Christian Recording” (for the single "Foot Of The Cross"). “Quad” features 5 original tracks plus the bonus “WCSX Interview” (14:15), a radio interview with Marq Speck, who tells about the band and the new EP. The music of “Quad” represents an advance in respect to the music that had been presented on Sweet Crystal’s last release – “III” – an uplifting combination of AOR, Classic & Hard Rock, with a melodic Progressive orientation, and featuring nice vocals, catchy hooks, and grooves. The sound is still very accessible and easy-listening, but as vibrant and faithful as it ever was along the band’s 40 years of career – thanks to our Lord’s mercy and holly will! In spite of that, the compositions have grown powerful and sturdier, with the arrangements getting even more orchestrated, and the instrumental parts, more complex. The most Progression orientation that was restricted to some of the previous songs has spread out and became a predominant trait on much of the songs of “Quad”, placing Sweet Crystal in the same team of bands like “Deep Purple”, “Boston”, “Asia”, “Rush”, “Rainbow”, “Whitesnake”, “Styx”, “Journey”, “Kansas”, “Yes”, “Status Quo”, “Saga”, “Genesis”, “Marillion”, “Twelfth Night”, “Van Halen”, “Stryper”, “Queensrÿche”, “Magnum”, and “Pretty Maids” - capable of taking large Christian (and Pagan) audiences to total delirium! “Quad” begins with “Fanfare” (1:21), a bombastic instrumental intro for the awarded “Foot of the Cross” (3:32), a Hard-Rock that comes enveloped with modern electronic beats, driven by pulsing bass, pounding drums, and organs reminiscent of “Deep Purple” and “Rainbow”, led by dramatic vocals and having really rocky guitar solos. “Foot…” is followed by the melodic and uplifting “Some People May Ask” (3:42) – a beautiful song that has brilliant participation of sweet singer Amy Susan Heard making a great duo with Speck. The gorgeous “Anthem” (3:47) follows on, combining the piano and a melodic guitar solo (Classic-Rock styled) with a layer of Symphonic-Prog synths on a long instrumental intro, being briefly interrupted by a vocal segment that is accompanied by angelical backing choirs, finishing with an outstanding and soaring guitar solo that ascends to the heavens! “Quad” ends with the vibrant, swinging and religiously inspiring “Him Alone” (3:57) – an Arena-Rock that transmits the celestial message of the Cross inserted on its lyrics. In sum, “Quad” is a reunion of the most powerful songs composed by Sweet Crystal so far, showing the band’s strong determination for “Reaching The World, One Song At A Time”. Sweet Crystal is greatly recommended for both Christian and Pagan rockers who are fans of bands like “Boston”, “Asia”, “Rush”, “Magnum”, “Whitesnake”, “Journey”, “Kansas”, “Yes”, “Status Quo”, “Saga”, “Styx”, “Twelfth Night”, “Van Halen”, “Stryper”, “Pretty Maids”, 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. Guest musicians: Amy Susan Heard – Lead and Harmony Vocals on “Some People May Ask”; David Perez – Lead Vocals on “Him Alone” (music and lyrics by D. Perez, arranged by Sweet Crystal). Track 6 – Special thanks to Doug “The Doc of Rock” Podell and 94.7 FM WCSX Radio in Detroit for the use of the podcast (11/21/2014). Produced by Sweet Crystal, Recorded by “Q” at Nightcrier Studios, Canton, MI. Mixed and Edited by Chuck Alkazian at Pearl Sound Studios, Canton, MI; Assistant Engineers: Josh Karpowicz and Andrew Hammerstein; Mastered by Scott Hull at Masterdisk, New York, NY... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/30/2015...................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit SWEET CRYSTAL HOME PAGE...
The Scott Allen Project is an instrumental trio led by guitarist Scott Allen. Inspired by “Eddie Van Halen”, Scott began to play the guitar at the age of 11, continued throughout teenage, and upon graduating high school he went to Hollywood to attend the famous Musician's Institute, GIT, where he studied under the guidance of “Keith Wyatt”, “Paul Hansen”, “Scott Henderson”, “Brett Garsed”, “Danny Gill”, “Steve Trovato”, “Frank Gambale”, and “Jennifer Batten”. Upon graduation Scott headed to Sacramento, Northern California and founded his own trio, recruiting Tom Frost (drums) and Brian Kinney (bass) for the line-up. The trio hit the club scene and had opportunity to open shows for “Gary Hoey”, “Eric Martin” (“Mr. Big”), “Dave Meniketti” (“Y&T”), “Planet X”, and specially for “Frank Hannon” (“Tesla”), who produced Scott Allen Project’s first album, “What Lies Beyond Words” (featured at PR&PM in May, 2007). This album received rave reviews from the media, and opened doors for Allen: he appeared in Mike Varney’s column on “Guitar Player Magazine”; North Carolina’s Radio “98 Rock” played tracks of the album; and Allen received endorsements of guitar and equipment manufacturers. Scott Allen Project's second album, “From the Blindside” (2010), went the same way: it received airplay on “Metal Express Radio”, and Allen appeared on the “Steve Vai's Guitar TV” show, “Fresh Talent”. In the meantime, Allen released an instructional DVD, titled “The Art of Rock Guitar” (Chops From Hell); began to write columns for guitar websites (“Guitar Nine”, “Guitarz-4-ever”, “Shredaholic.com”, “Chops From Hell”); took part in CD compilations (“Mad Guitar Records”, “Melodic Soloists”, “Vigier Guitars Artist Compilation”, with “Roger Glover”, “Shawn Lane” and others); and conducted guitar clinics in Northern California. Meanwhile, the Scott Allen Project opened shows for “UFO”, “Steve Morse”, “Michael Schenker”, “Gary Hoey”, “Eric Gales”, “Montrose”, “Lynch Mob”, and the “Aristocrats”. In 2012 Allen became partner of Truefire Guitar Media, which resulted in his introduction on online classroom and workshops; and the release of his second instructional DVD, titled “50 Rock Virtuoso Licks You Must Know” (2013, Truefire). The Scott Allen Project has just released a third independent album, titled “III” (2015). “III” features 10 guitar-driven, all-instrumental tracks, covering the styles of Hard-Rock, Rock-Fusion, Heavy-Metal, and Neo-Classical, with influences of Allen’s favorite players: “Van Halen”, “Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, “Reb Beach”, “Ronni Le Tekrø”, “Criss Oliva”, “John Petrucci”, “Jake E. Lee”, “Jeff Loomis”, “Marty Friedman”, “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Alex Lifeson”, “John Sykes”, “Dave Mustaine”, “Neal Schon”, “Vito Bratta”, “Warren Demartini”, “Jim Matheos”; and also “Jason Becker”, “Paul Gilbert”, “Vinnie Moore”, “Tony MacAlpine”, “Glen Drover”, “Montrose”, “Steve Morse”, “Alex Skolnick”, and others. Allen is a very technical and eclectic guitar player that has precise domain of his instrument, which he may either maneuver with furious Neo-classical complexity, or just play with soften sensibility. He also may add some hellish Hard-Rock grooves or highly-inspired Fusion-Rock swings to his riffs. Allen is closely followed by his band mates, who domain all licks and tricks of Hard, Fusion, and Metal, giving perfect support to the guitar solos, at the same time adding spice, embellishments, and more swing to the sonic mixture. The tightly engaged trio performs excellent compositions – vibrant and dynamic – which, mostly important, are held in tight and neat arrangements, with each musician having his own share of importance inside the music. My favorite tracks are those endowed with a Heavy-Metal power, richly adorned with Neo-Classical guitar brocades, such as the furious “What Lies Beneath” (4:12), which opens the album with a verve reminiscent of the duo “Marty Friedman” & “Jason Becker” (and their project “Cacophony”); “Shake It” (5:30) – a stable guitar-rock cathedral built on a series of rocky Metal riffs, and windowed with stained-glass guitar solos in neo-classical style; and “My Aching Head” (3:47) – an aggressive Thrash-Metal-Fusion (that recalled me of the works of “Jeff Loomis”, the heaviest Metal stuff of “M. Friedman” & “J. Becker”, and “Testament” with “Alex Skolnick”). Equally catchy are the Hard-Rock/Fusion tracks “5th Street Strut” (4:14) and “Into the Light” (4:49), which combine electric energy, groovy riffs, and eclectic free-flowing guitar solos propelled by pulsing bass lines and sturdy rocky drumming, recalling the sound of “Satriani”. Highlights for the swinging bass lines of “5th Street …”, from which Allen decollates with his flying solos. Also following a Hard-Rock line, but verging the heritage of Blues-Rock (so approaching his idols “Van Halen”, “Le Tekrø”, “Sykes”, etc.), there are the uplifting “Inside Out” (5:34), driven by an adventurous pace; and “The Texas Way” (3:12), a 70’s Rock with a modern rhythmics way. For those inclined to lighter and most melodic dispositions, there are “River of Time” (4:10) (lively and groovy Fusion); and the half-acoustic ballads “Dreaming” (4:44) and “Echoes of Eternity” (5:10), both enlightened by soaring, sensitive solos. Full of Hard-Rocky punch, Metal initiative, and guitar acrobatics typical of the Fusion and Neo-classical styles, Scott Allen Project’s third album takes this amazing trio to a higher threshold in their career, being highly recommended for fans of “Van Halen”, “Joe Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, “Marty Friedman”, and all other monster-guitarists mentioned above. Band members and collaborators involved in Scott Allen Project are: Scott Allen – All 6 & 7 String Electric Guitars, Acoustic Guitar; Brian Kinney – Bass; Tom Frost – Drums, Percussion. Produced by Tom Frost & Scott Allen. Recorded, Mixed & Engineered by Tom Frost. Allens is endorsed by Vigier Guitars, Dimarzio Pickups, Morley Pedals, SIT Strings, George L Cables, and Peavey Amps. Also you can visit the Scott Allen Project at their facebook page... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/3/2015...............................................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit SCOTT ALLEN PROJECT HOME PAGE...
. PAIN LOVE N’ WAR - "Over Looking Back"
Pain Love n’ War is a new Modern Rock act hailing from California. Pain Love n’ War was formed in 2012 by vocalist Rob Sandoval and guitarist Hoyt Binder. Rob Sandoval resides in San Diego, where he is better known as the front-man for future pop-band “Electrovot”. He brings old school and modern vocal influences to the band, ranging from Grunge to Electronica. Hoyt Binder lives in Orange County, where he is a renowned musician. Binder is also a composer/songwriter, whose influences range from Jazz and Rock to Pop, Folk, and Progressive Rock. Binder is a very active musician, taking part in several projects at the same time: he is a member of Prog-Rock band “Primitive Overflow” (featured at PR&PM in 2012), and his talents as a guitar-hero were commented recently at PR&PM in a review about his outstanding solo album, called “Prayrie Go Round” (April 2014). Sandoval and Binder aim to create a kind of Modern Rock with elements of Electronica that will sound fresh, at the same time keeping the influence of traditional Rock as a fertile base for their music. Their self-produced debut album, “Over Looking Back” (June 6th, 2015), consists of 12 songs that go around the eternal theme of finding, losing and regaining love. The duo shared all songwriting duties and invited drummer Bobby Albright and Electronica artists Andrew Casciato and Chris Reynolds to play on the record. The resulting music is original and fresh, unexpected at times, being based on the combination of heavy riffs with industrial electronic sounds and melodic vocals with sticky choruses. The main influences are: “Soundgarden”, “Alice In Chains”, “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Nine Inch Nails”, “Incubus”, “Korn”, “Disturbed”, “Staind”, and “Linkin' Park”; but also “Savatage”, “Sanctuary”, “Jane’s Addiction”, “Exodus”, “Megadeth”, “Mudvayne”, “Steve Vai”, “Crimson Glory”, “Breaking Benjamin”, and “Avenged Sevenfold” may have a place here. Binder is a very technical and versatile guitarist whose eclecticism ranges from the most modern trends of Heavy Metal to a past line of Hard Rock and 80’s Metal. Binder is a master of the lost art of crafting riffs (recalling me of “Criss Oliva” and “Chastain”), and he can be quite unpredictable on his solos! As a bassist, Binder is as solid as a rock, and knows how to attain great grooves from four strings. Rob Sandoval is the typical front-man, with capacity for making different kinds of voices, tones and moods, following his instincts when making tunes and choruses. With Albright’s skilled drumsticks, and the innovative use of Electronica – courtesy of specialists A. Casciato and C. Reynolds – Pain Love n’ War recorded a powerful album, featuring 12 tracks that cover a broad spectrum of Heavy Rock styles, including Hard Rock, Metal, Grunge, Nu-Metal, and Post-Metal. All compositions are excellent, and, in general, avoid following a single line, combining different styles in the same song. Each track will therefore hit each listener’s preference according to his/her taste. Head-bangers who like the heaviest sounds of Metal will prefer the power of “Pain In Love And War” (4:04), a compact and low-tuned Nu-Metal that charges with the force of a “Mudvayne”; “Grind” (3:50), a Thrashing song driven by obese bass, crunching guitars, and locomotive drumming, but having a bluesy solo; and “Taste My Religion” (3:47), which has interwoven guitars and a break for electronic sounds. Fans of “Soundgarden” and Grunge will prefer “Over Looking Back” (4:31) and “Strange Morning Light” (4:00); appreciators of “Tool” and “A Perfect Circle” will love “Psycho X” (4:53) and “Crystal Ball” (4:16), both surrounded by somber and psychedelic atmospheres, driven by hypnotic vocals and ghostly guitars, standing as the album’s best! Also favorites are “Blind Me” (5:08), which binds together “Tool”-like orientalism with Grunge riffs by means of melodic vocals; and “Torn” (4:28), busted by 70’s groovy riffs and stoned vocals. Other interesting tracks are the hybrids “Only Time Will Tell” (4:30) (almost a Prog-Metal) and “Eyes Never Lie” (4:31) (a half-Thrash Metal), which showcase Sandoval’s ability to transform a song into another style, by employing contrasting kinds of melodic vocals. The album ends with the impeccable ballad “Never In This Life” (4:14). As a whole, “Over Looking Back” is a consistent, powerful, and diversified album that presents a fresh musical proposal by Pain Love n’ War, one that will appeal strongly to the many different cohorts of the Metal legions, being highly recommended for fans of Hard Rock, Metal, Grunge, Nu-Metal, and Post-Metal who like band such as “Soundgarden”, “Alice In Chains”, “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Nine Inch Nails”, “Incubus”, “Korn”, “Disturbed”, “Linkin' Park”, “Staind”, “Mudvayne”, “Savatage”, “Steel Prophet”, “Sanctuary”, “Exodus”, “Megadeth”, “Crimson Glory”, “Jane’s Addiction”, “Avenged Sevenfold”, “Breaking Benjamin”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Pain Love n’ War are: Rob Sandoval – Vocals; Hoyt Binder – Guitars, Bass; Bobby Albright – Drums. Additional Musicians: Andrew Casciato – Electronica; Chris Reynolds – Additional Electronica (on tracks 1, 3, 5, 8, 12). Present Drummer: Kaspars Grinbergs. Engineered by Mike Disarro and Pain Love n’ War; Mixed and Mastered by Mario Quintero; Produced by Pain Love n’ War; Artwork and Layout by Orlando Urizar. All songs written and arranged by Rob Sandoval and Hoyt Binder, with additional lyrics by Ron Magee... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/30/2015......................................................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit PAIN LOVE N’ WAR HOME PAGE...
. YUKA & CHRONOSHIP - "Dino Rocket Oxygen"
Yuka & Chronoship is a Japanese Progressive Rock band formed in 2009 by Yuka Funakoshi (keyboards, vocals, compositions) along with three requested studio musicians of Japan: Takashi Miyazawa (guitars), Shun Taguchi (bass, keyboards), and Ikko Tanaka (drums). The sound of Yuka & Chronoship impresses for the philosophical depth, the lyrical brilliance, and the technical virtuosity showcased by all musicians. The musical inspiration for Yuka & Chronoship comes from the 70’s Progressive Rock, mainly from British and Italian acts such as: “Genesis”, “King Crimson”, “ELP”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Balletto di Bronzo”, “Banco del Mutuo Soccorso”, “Area”, and “Il Rovescio della Medaglia”; rivaling in quality and musicianship to many iconic Japanese acts, such as “Teru’s Symphonia”, “Ain Soph”, “Ars Nova”, “Gerard”, “Novela”, “Mr. Sirius”, “Kenso”, “Vienna”, “Fromage”, “Motoi Sakuraba”, “Phantasmagoria”, “Magdalena”, “Tomita”, “Stomu Yamashta”, and “Kitaro”. Their sonority is both keyboard and guitar-oriented, sustained by a very talented rhythmic duo, having intricate complexity, surprising dynamics, majestic opulence, and symphonic grandeur. The high-edged Progressive Rock practiced by Yuka & Chronoship led the band to have their debut album, titled “Water Reincarnation”, to be released in 2011 under the prestigious labels Muséa Records, in France, and Disk Union, in Japan. Yuka & Chronoship’s second album, titled “Dino Rocket Oxygen” (2013, Muséa Parallèle/Disk Union), gave continuity to the career of this amazing band, and had its cover illustrated with a logo designed by the famous Roger Dean (“Yes”). “Dino Rocket Oxygen” brings 11 tracks distributed in three suites, presenting wonderful music that goes beyond the limits of Progressive Rock, striding over other styles and rhythms, such as Jazz-Rock, New-Age, and Ethnic Music. The arrangements are really fantastic, tasty, unpredictable, modern, and impregnated with an avant-garde panache. Due to their multi-layered nature, they require several auditions to be properly absorbed. The music is richly adorned with an arsenal of keyboards and imposing grand pianos that Yuka maneuvers with the talent of the masters, balanced by blazing guitar passages that go from Classical to Prog-Metal, propelled by awesome bass, outstanding drums, and ingenious percussion. “Dino Rocket Oxygen” begins with the “DINOSAURS” Suite – an all-instrumental piece divided in three parts, which are strongly influenced by 70’s Symphonic-Prog. The intro “Which Came First, The Dinosaur Or The Egg?” (2:13) causes an immediate impact on the listener, starting with Mellotrons that precede the main theme, presented on a double guitar/piano attack; “Dance With Dinosaurs” (7:32) is a sophisticated Jazz-Rock with a progressive verve over which Yuka and Miyazawa battle against each other, as superb soloists; and “Ruler Of The Earth” (4:16) departs from waving synths to reach the main theme again, floating on a stream of watery pianos, Fusion soaring guitars, and perfectly arranged bass and drums. The second suite is “R is for ROCKET”, which consists of 5 tracks that surprise the listener with an eclecticism that congregates old, modern, and divergent musical trends in the mix, and also a few vocals. “Cutting Gravity” (7:04) combines Prog-Metal guitars with avant-garde pianos on a mechanical rhythmic pattern, having electronic voices; “Skygazer” (6:17) shows a bright disposition on its vivid melodies and on the jovial vocalizations driven by soft ethnical beats; “An Arrow Of Glittering Music” (1:48) is an acoustic guitar interlude settled in the Renaissance epoch that catapults the listener straight to the contemporaneity of “Blue Astronaut Helicopter” (3:49) – a electronic piece driven by a lounge swing and frantic beats, sung by robotic vocals deformed by synths, but loaded with waving Moogs; and “Beyond The Fence” (5:45) is a dreamy song made of ethereal vocals and floating pianos that are conveyed on a martial cadence. The third suite is “OXYGEN”. Composed of three pieces, it has influences of World Music, Symphonic-Prog and Pop-Music. “O” (5:03) begins with vibraphones and percussion playing relaxing traditional Japanese tunes, interspersed with a double attack of synths, dramatic guitar staccatos, and rocky rhythms; “O2” (6:23) - which impressed me most – has tranquil New-Age pianos, echoing vocalizations, and windy sounds that alternate with epic guitar riffs riding on majestic Progressive andantes, reaching a climax with church organs and celestial guitars; and “O3” (7:30) displays strong climatic changes, beginning shrouded by heavy Post-Metal riffs and cacophonic pianos, but turning brighter with Yuka’s solar vocals energized by pop-chic Electronica. With a fantastic brand of Progressive Rock firmly rooted in the fertile soil of the ‘70s, powered by the energy of the ‘80s, marked by the pulse of the ‘90s, and envisioning the worldwide amplitude of the new century, the music of Yuka & Chronoship deserves to be listened, appreciated and enjoyed, consisting in a must-have band for fans of Progressive Rock in general, especially those with a preference for Japanese Progressive Rock. Yuka & Chronoship are about to release a third album in the U.K. soon. Stay tuned! Band members and collaborators involved in Yuka & Chronoship are: Yuka Funakoshi - Keyboards & Vocals; Takashi Miyazawa – Guitars; Shun Taguchi - Bass, Keyboards; Ikko Tanaka – Drums... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/30/2015...........................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit YUKA & CHRONOSHIP HOME PAGE...
. DALI’S WATCH - "Breakfast Serial"
Dali’s Watch is an American Heavy Rock band based in Rockville, Maryland. Dali’s Watch spawned from another band called Disease Within in 2012, when members began to work on a sequel for their Thrash/Prog-Metal album titled “Killing Time” (2009), which was featured at PR&PM in August 2009. As Disease Within’s line-up suffered changes during the process, their musical proposal shifted directions and found a new identity, so Dali’s Watch was born. Dali’s Watch is presently the collaboration of Diesase Within’s remaining member, Mic Wynne (vocals, guitars, keyboards, lyrics), with Mike Galway (bass) and Gary Veneble (drums, percussion). All of them are veteran musicians who have already taken part in many bands, projects, sessions, CDs and tours, playing in styles as diverse as Rock, Fusion, Jazz, Country, Blues, and Classical. Dali’s Watch debut album, “Breakfast Serial” (December 2014, Ravenhurst Records), is a thematic album with lyrics centered on the obsession of the media with tragedy, crime, and sensationalized death; transformed into banal casualties because of their overexposure on the daily news. Their music is an experimental blend of dark Hard Rock, Grunge, Thrash-Metal, Alternative Rock/Metal, Stoner Rock/Metal and Sludge Metal with touches of Psychedelic Heavy Rock and Punk, having as main influences bands like “Alice in Chains”, “Nirvana”, “Helmet”, “Corrosion of Conformity”, “Tool”, “Deftones”, “Prong”, “Savatage”, “Trouble”, “Saint Vitus”, “Voivod”, “Novembers Doom”, and “Nick Cave”. The music is immersed in somber atmospheres that are predominantly creepy, gloomy and melancholic; made even denser with the employment of sounds of live broadcasts of murders and screams of the victims that stay on the background. Guitars are heavy, distorted, slow; bass and drum are substantial and diversified, but walk through the compasses with the sluggish pace of a prehistoric pachyderm, making the music to sound still more frightening. Vocals make an important role in the story, being depressed, melancholic, fatalistic, and loaded with anguish and grief. To bring some relief to the otherwise gray colors of their sonic panorama, Dali’s Watch embellishes the music with decorative passages of acoustic guitars, keyboards, icy pianos and strings – but they sometimes strengthen the aura of terrorizing surrealism that pervades the stories narrated on the lyrics. “Breakfast Serial” has 12 tracks – 11 originals and one cover of “Duran Duran”. The album begins wildly well with the instrumental intro “Pandemic” (03:12), decorated with Spanish acoustic guitars and guitar riffs plagued by madness; slumbering rolling into “Blissful Ignorance” (3:22) – a Grungy and Psychic Stoner-Rock with influences of “Alice in Chains” and “COC”. But the power of Dali’s Watch idiosyncratic sound is better felt on “Without a Whisper” (3:53) – a melancholic song with surprising string arrangements and psychedelic guitar solo; and on “Little Man Angry” (4:41) – an experimental song with many heavy parts, machine-gun drumming, thundering deep bass, many kinds of insane vocals (from monstrous to aggressive and desperate, congregating influences of “Trouble”, “Voivod”, “Nirvana”, “Novembers Doom”), and interspersions of a Bluegrass mandolin that I found to be very unique. Other highlights of the album include the pair made of the psychotic and fatalistic “Moonlight Weeps” (2:15) and “Breakfast Serial” (4:40), the later having best vocal tunes and psychedelic guitars that dance madly backwards; and “Ordinary World” (6:23) - an 80’s classic by “Duran Duran” presented in an original Grunge version. The album still brings the weird “Price of Freedom” (4:28) – an ultra-heavy track with nightmarish hypnotic vocals and political lyrics; and the Grungy “Don't Miss California” (4:38), driven by haunting guitars. In an attempt to make the album less grievous, Dali’s Watch added a few melancholic ballads, such as the Grunge “Ray of Light” (4:57), the Stoner “Bleak” (5:05), with outstanding guitar solo; and the dark Psychedelic “Ghosts of the Past” (4:10), with anguished vocals and a cathartic end. Dali’s Watch’s debut album impresses by the courageous new approach of the band, which dares to experiment with new ways of making Heavy Rock, so forging a sound and style of their own. Dali’s Watch will find their audience among fans of somber and psychedelic Heavy Rock, Grunge, Stoner Rock and Metal who love bands like “Alice in Chains”, “Nirvana”, “Helmet”, “Corrosion of Conformity”, “Deftones”, “Tool”, “Prong”, “Saint Vitus”, “Voivod”, “Novembers Doom”, “Melvins”, “Savatage”, “Trouble”; to whom they are specially recommended. Band members and collaborators involved in Dali’s Watch are: Michael D. Wynne - Vocals, Guitars, Mandolin, Keyboards, Music, Lyrics; Michael Galway - Bass; Gary Veneble - Drums. Album Recorded in 2013/2014 at Drew Mazurek Studios and Dogland Studios; Mixed and Mastered by Drew Mazurek... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/30/2015......................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit DALI’S WATCH HOME PAGE...
. SYZYGY - "Cosmos & Chaos – 20th Anniversary Compendium"
Syzygy is a Progressive Rock band hailing from Northern Cleveland, Ohio, the U.S.A. The line-up forms with Carl Baldassarre (guitars), Sam Giunta (keyboards), and Paul Mihacevich (drums) –a.k.a. the “Witsend Trio” – and Al Rolik (bass); sometimes featuring Mark Boals as guest singer! Syzygy’s discography includes the full-length albums “Cosmos & Chaos” (1993), “The Allegory of Light” (2003), “Realms of Eternity” (2010, with Boals); and the Double DVD + CD, “A Glorious Disturbance” (2012), all released on their label Syzygymusic LLC. The word “syzygy” means “an alignment of three celestial bodies in a gravitational pull.” In Syzygy’s vision, those bodies are “Pitch, Pulse & Purpose” – the trinity of elements that are necessary to gather energy and harmony together, in order to create inspiring, glorious, and unforgettable Music that will make listeners feel a heavenly experience. Syzygy is faithful to their principle: their music obeys the standards of old-school Progressive-Rock, being majestically symphonic and powerfully rocky at the same time – it will speak deeply to your mind and soul, but will also make your body shake to the impact of power chords, “cathedralesque” keyboards, “thunderbolting” bass, and avalanching drums. Baldassarre’s acoustic guitars may have the same smoothness and classical refinement of players like “Anthony Phillips”, “Steve Hackett”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Steve Howe”, and “Gordon Giltrap”, but when in frontal attack, his guitars may have an aggressive Hard-Rock approach or a dynamic Jazz-Rock drive, still guarding a melodic Classic accent of his own. Sam Giunta on keyboards may be as profound and bombastic as “Rick Wakeman”, or playful like “Keith Emerson”, but as heavy as “Steve Walsh” and “Jon Lord”. Drummer Paul Mihacevich flies and fights like a “Collins + Palmer + Bonham” combo. And bassist Al Rolik is said to balance rhythm and harmony with perfection. Syzygy’s sound is the confluence of many British bands, such as “Sky”, “Clearlight”, “Gryphon”, “Mandalaband”, “Illusion”, “Camel”, “Genesis”, “Yes”, “ELP”, “Deep Purple”; also honoring the American-Prog leg, represented by bands like “Kansas”, “Cathedral”, “Starcastle”, and “Yezda Urfa”. Syzygy’s first album, “Cosmos & Chaos”, was originally released in 1993. This reissued edition, titled “Cosmos & Chaos – 20th Anniversary Compendium” (2014), contains re-mastered versions of all the 12 original tracks, plus 4 bonus tracks. The 16 tracks are organized in four thematic blocks. Block one is “Miniatures” (solo works for guitar and piano), comprising “Cosmos (guitar prelude in E major)” (1:18); “Poetry in B Minor (for solo piano)” (1:15); “Guitar Etude No. 1 (D major)” (2:21); and “Guitar Etude No. 2 (G major)” (4:10) – a collection of acoustic guitar works and one piece for piano that make the listener go back in time to the Renaissance and Romantic epochs, also including a Folk dance. Block two, “Duets”, takes the listener ahead to the 20th century, to the turn of the ‘60s to the ‘70s, when proto-Progressive experimentalism was joining acoustic/traditional with electric/modern sounds, mirrored in pieces like “Tautology (for guitar & bass)” (3:55) and “The Tone Row (for keyboard & guitar)” (2:15). Blocks 1 and 2 are appetizes for block three, “Ensemble Works”: a sensational series of 6 tracks performed by the “Witsend Trio” (Syzygy’s core members acting as a full-fledged band, with Giunta emulating the bass on his Moog). These tracks are mostly-instrumental Prog-Rock pieces, delivered with energy and awesome musicianship that contrast with the serenity and accuracy of the tracks on the first block! The greatest transformation is felt on Baldassarre’s guitars, which are covered with tougher textures, running wild with a powerful Hard-Rock drive, being counterbalanced by Giunta’s opulent keyboards and gritty organs (the sound recalling me of “Keith Emerson Band”). After the flying solos of the trippy-rock “Voyager” (5:23), Baldassarre tries his vocals on “Circadian Rhythm” (3:36), a Psychedelic Rock song in the style of the late 60’s. In instrumental mode again, Syzygy fires out three amazing pieces that show the band’s importance to the Progressive scene: “Closure” (7:14) runs over vibrant rhythmic lines, being adorned with baroque guitars; “Strange Loop II” (6:22) has a “live-action” pulse driven by powerful Hard-Rock guitars, thunderous drums, slicing synths, and impressive percussion; and the imposing “Mount Ethereal” (7:34), propelled by howling instrumentation, goes through changes of pace and atmosphere, being crowned with killer guitar solo! Block three closes with “Chaos” (Fantasia on drums)” (1:47), an incredible drum solo carrying excerpts of the previous pieces on its back (a kind of Syzygy’s Los Endos”). Finally, block four – “Bonus Tracks” – contains 26 minutes of worthy previously unreleased material, including: “Opus No. 1” (5:46) and “Opus No. 3” (6:01) – two excellent instrumental pieces recorded in 1984 by the “Witsend Quartet” (Baldassarre and Giunta, accompanied by another rhythm section, well influenced by “Yes” and “Cathedral”); and two tracks of “C&C”, recorded by Syzygy Live in 2010 - “Strange Loop II” (6:38) and “Mount Ethereal” (8:03), both presented in fabulous non-instrumental versions all sung by Mark Boals! Awesome and brilliant, Syzygy’s album “Cosmos & Chaos” is a masterpiece of Progressive Rock art, and this re-mastered, enhanced edition is an indispensable item for fans of 70’s Progressive Rock with strong affinities with the British and American Schools. Band members and collaborators involved in Syzygy are: Carl Baldassarre – Guitars, Vocals, Compositions; Sam Giunta – Keyboards, Piano, Compositions; Al Rolik – Bass (on “Tautology”); Paul Mihacevich – Drums, Percussion. Additional Musicians: Mark Boals - Vocals (on “Strange Loop II” & “Mount Ethereal” Live 2010); Gary Prieb – Bass; Roman Zmudzinski - Drums (both on “Opus No. 1 & No. 3”). Produced by C. E. Baldassarre; Re-mastered and Engineered by Chris Keffer at Magnetic North Mastering. The “Witsend Trio” = Baldassarre + Giunta + Mihacevich. The “Witsend Quartet” = Baldassarre + Giunta + Prieb + Zmudzinski... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/30/2015...............................Want to learn everything about the band and its members, you must visit SYZYGY HOME PAGE...
. PROGRESSION BY FAILURE - "Sonic Travelogue"
Progression By Failure is back to PR&PM! Progression By Failure is an instrumental project created by French multi-instrumentalist Nicolas Piveteau (mainly keyboards, but also guitars and drums). Piveteau is a very talented and skilled musician who feels comfortable playing any kind of music, but his preferences fall over modern Symphonic Progressive Rock, with contaminations from Prog-Fusion and Prog-Metal. Piveteau conceived Progressive By Failure as a vehicle for a kind of music that would combine power and emotion, perfectly balancing heaviness and melody. In search for his goal Piveteau composed and recorded alone a self-titled album, titled “Progressive by Failure” (2009, Muséa Parallèle). The music was influenced by bands of the Progressive, Fusion, and Prog-Metal universe, such as “Yes”, “Genesis”, “ELP”, “Gentle Giant”, “King Crimson”, “Spock's Beard”, “Transatlantic”, “Planet X”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Niacin”, “Dream Theater”, “Pain Of Salvation”, “Panzerballett”, “Opeth”, “Meshuggah”, “Therion”, “Blink Nebula”, and “Radiohead”; and showcased Piveteau’s eclectic style, which congregated influences of keyboardists like “Jon Lord”, “Derek Sherinian”, “Jordan Rudess”, “Neal Morse”, “Erik Norlander”, “Tomas Bodin”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Jean Michel Jarre”, “Keith Jarret”, “Ryo Okumoto”, and “Michael Pinnella”. The album had positive reviews from several specialized websites – including PR&PM! (March 2011). After a long hiatus, Pivetau finally composed, recorded, and released his sophomore album, titled “Sonic Travelogue” (January 29, 2015, Muséa Parallèle/Muséa). On this new release, Nicolas Piveteau has played only keyboards, living the other instruments for two guest musicians: Mike Saccoman (drums) and Drayen Labie (guitars, bass). Labie is a qualified guitarist who unites a solid knowledge of musical theory with a large on-stage experience, being influenced by: “Shawn Lane”, “Allan Holdsworth”, “George Benson”, and “Pat Martino”. “Sonic Travelogue” features 9 great tracks, consisting in an enhanced extension of “Progression by Failure”, unless that Piveteau is not alone anymore. He has found in Labie’s guitar expertise and precise bass playing the perfect match for his untamed keyboard playing. And with the drums left in the hands of a specialist such as Saccoman, the line-up works now as an integrated trio, exploring all musical possibilities. The guitars are compacted in heavy riffs or expanded in soulful solos, the piano passages are tasty; the synths share complicity with bass and drums, and the Progressive modes are wonderfully symphonic. Exuding even more sophistication and flare, Piveteau’s new compositions have gone far beyond the Progressive Rock and Prog-Metal standards, advancing to the domains of Classical Music, Jazz-Fusion, Post-Rock, and other genres. Progression By Failure wastes no time and opens the album with two lengthy compositions: the shocking “The Pyramid & The Sphere” (10:05) attacks the listener from all sides with an alternation of Prog-Metal riffs, Dark-Prog passages and Jazzy interludes, having so many changes of rhythm and temperature that it becomes as unpredictable as “Panzerballett”, “Planet X” or “LTE”; while “Sparkles” (10:34) has relaxing melodies entwined in a soaring orchestral structure, ascending through layers of synths towards an epic plateau, briefly flying like “DT”! The longs are followed by tracks 3 to 7, which are reunited under the title of “Journey of a Poulpikan”. The most energetic and exciting are tracks 3 and 6, respectively, “Once Upon a Time” (3:45) (a Medieval Prog-Metal introduced by lute sounds that presents two adventurous main themes); and “Escaping the Ankou” (6:52) (an awesome and dynamic Heavy-Prog loaded with dense and gritty keyboards and Caribbean grooves, haunted by ghostly synths that rise to confront a destroying guitar solo! Those contrast with the highly Progressive parts 4, 5, and 7: “A Day in the Swamp” (5:14), which is bouncing and playful like a mix of “Gentle Giant” and “The Dregs”; “Forest of Doubt” (4:49), which is immersed in a fairish atmosphere that recalls the unique signature of “Genesis”; and “The Sidh's Gate” (6:27) – a gorgeous Symphonic-Prog piece that irradiates levitating melodies from its synths, having an interlude like a “Chopin’s” piano nocturne, fading on inspiring strings and majestic chords! Then Piveteau practices the minimalism of the masters on “Autumn Mood” (5:45), an introspective piano piece blown by synths that capture the emotional impression of a rainy day of autumn; and he indicates future musical directions on “The End of Sonic Vibrations” (10:21) - a masterpiece that begins with a Post-Rock and Ambient approach (like the soundscapes of “God Is An Astronaut”), continues on a soaring segment dominated by a soulful Fusion-styled guitar solo, and explodes in an epic Prog-Metal sequence that finishes with “Opeth-Meshuggah” doomsday-like riffs! “Sonic Travelogue” is a sensational sophomore album – even more bombastic, surprising, and memorable than its predecessor - being an indispensable item for any lover of keyboard-oriented Progressive Rock and Prog-Metal! Ultra-highly recommended for fans of keyboardists like “Jon Lord”, “Derek Sherinian”, “Jordan Rudess”, “Neal Morse”, “Erik Norlander”, “Tomas Bodin”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Jean Michel Jarre”, “Keith Jarret”, “Ryo Okumoto”, “Michael Pinnella”; and bands like “Planet X”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Dream Theater”, “Panzerballett”, “Pain Of Salvation”, “Niacin”, “Genesis”, “ELP”, “Gentle Giant”, “King Crimson”, “Greenslade”, “Spock's Beard”, “Transatlantic”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Progression by Failure are: Nicolas Piveteau – Keyboards, Backing Vocals, Compositions; Drayen Labie – Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Bass; Mike Saccoman – Drums, Percussion. Duncan Storr – Artwork and Paintings. Drums Recorded at Wildman Studio by Karl Dallara; Mixed and Mastered at Drudenhaus Studio by Xort... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/30/2015..................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit PROGRESSION BY FAILURE HOME PAGE...
. LUNATIC SOUL - "Walking On A Flashlight Beam"
Lunatic Soul is the personal project of Mariusz Duda – mostly known before the Progressive audiences for being a member of Polish Heavy-Prog band Riverside. Duda has developed Lunatic Soul as a parallel project to experiment with other musical trends that would not fit into Riverside’s style, and at the same time to refine his talents as a multi-instrumentalist and composer, and also to expose the introspective aspects of his personality. As Lunatic Soul, he has released four albums so far: “Lunatic Soul” (2008), “Lunatic Soul II” (2010), “Impressions” (2011), and “Walking on a Flashlight Beam” (2014, Kscope), which is on focus here. Duda often writes, sings, and performs all music by himself, having a few guest musicians participating on his albums. On “Walking …” it is no different, as Duda plays all instruments, except drums, which he left in charge of Wawrzyniec Dramowicz. “Walking on a Flashlight Beam” comes in a deluxe digipack edition containing one CD and one bonus DVD that contains interviews and a “making of”. Lunatic Soul’s music consists of an intriguing and intertemporal blend of different musical styles that include Electronica, Ambient, and Psychedelic Trip-Hop wrapped up in Progressive textures and having Post-Rock affinities. Most songs are conveyed on a slow, waving pulse that trespasses ambient-electronic soundscapes that have a predominance of introspective moods and melancholic atmospheres, largely differing from the outbursts of energy, heaviness and anger that are frequent in Duda’s mother band “Riverside”. Even the electric guitar – a central instrument on “Riverside” – appears with parsimony on Duda’s authorial songs. He prefers to use his favorite instrument – the bass – accompanied by layers of synths and acoustic guitars, to create long-lasting instrumental sequences marked by chords that propagate in quasi-eternity. Vocals show up sporadically, albeit ever with dramatic importance; and drums are instilled with a natural atavism that reminds us of the music of ancient civilizations. In general, Lunatic Soul’s sonority has relics of some of Duda’s favorite groups and artists, such as: “Tangerine Dream”, “Vangelis”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Michel Jarre”, “Dead Can Dance”, “Hedningarna”, “Hooverphonic”, “Genesis”, “King Crimson”, “Yes”, “UK”, “Marillion”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Rush”, “Led Zeppelin”, and “Faith No More”. “Walking on a Flashlight Beam” brings 9 top-quality tracks, consistent in uniformity, regarding the characteristics of Duda’s compositional style. The album opens with the somber “Shutting Out The Sun” (08:40), which is like a pagan ritual of some ancient tribe – dictated by a single drum beat and deepened with profound layers of synths. This song is almost entirely instrumental, unless for some echoing voices that suddenly arise, as ghosts of an extinct civilization, causing a creepy effect on the listener’s spine (more or less like the choir of “Koyaanisqatsi”, by “Philip Glass”). Also delving into the unfathomed past, and unveiling the secret rites of old Mesopotamia on the contagious rhythmic lines, “Gutter” (08:42), one of the best tracks, soars on fantastic bass drives and outstanding vocal tunes that, given their dynamics, share a similarity with the original sound of “Riverside”. Other album’s highlights are the lengthy “Pygmalion’s Ladder” (12:02) – which alternates Arabian modes with Occidental modes, growing as a true Progressive song, as bass, drums, guitars and vocals converge towards an ascending curve crowned with weightless synths (vaguely recalling “Genesis”), having interludes filled up with dreamy acoustic guitars and fairish keyboards, and a “grand finale” flooded in heavy Electronica –; and the groovy title track, “Walking on a Flashlight Beam” (08:11), on which a thick layer of synths slides slowly on a glassy symphonic surface, having  fast dribbling drums running in the counter-current that create a curious relaxing effect. The album also brings three great ballads, all driven by acoustic guitars, slow-pulsing hypnotic bass, and slumbering vocals, the best ones being “Sky Drawn in Crayon” (04:58) (which has flutes) and “Cold” (06:58) (that runs over a distorted mattress of Electronica); completed by “Treehouse” (05:31) - an introspective Post-Rock that recalled me of “Radiohead”. In the field of Experimental Ambient Music, the album offers an instrumental set made of the relaxing “Stars Sellotaped” (01:34) and “The Fear Within” (07:10), a mosaic of superposed sounds of bells, chimes, blips, beats, claps, snaps, and other peculiar percussive noises. Exposing the inner core of an important Progressive artist such as Mariusz Duda, Lunatic Soul’s new album “Walking on a Flashlight Beam” is highly recommendable for lovers of Somber and Atmospheric Progressive Music, Ambient, Electronic, Post-Rock, and Trip-Hop, who are also fond of “Dead Can Dance”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Tangerine Dream”, “Vangelis”, “Jean Michel Jarre”, “Genesis”, “King Crimson”, “UK”, “Marillion” (“Hogarth” Era), “Porcupine Tree”, “Hedningarna”, “Hooverphonic”, “Ole Lukkoye”, “Pink Floyd”, “NoSound”, “Radiohead”, “Riverside”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Lunatic Soul are: Mariusz Duda - Vocals, Bass, Acoustic Guitars, Ukulele, Keyboards, Percussion, Music, Lyrics; Wawrzyniec Dramowicz – Drums. Recorded and Mastered by Magda and Robert Srzedniccy at Serakos Studio, Warsaw, Poland in October 2013 - June 2014; Mixed by Magda and Robert Srzedniccy, Mariusz Duda; Produced by Mariusz Duda, Magda and Robert Srzedniccy; Illustration, Design and Layout by Travis Smith; Back Cover Photo by Tomasz Pulsakowski... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/30/2015.........................Interested to know more about this musician and his projcts? Please visit LUNATIC SOUL HOME PAGE...
Kaoll is an Instrumental Jazz-Rock trio from Brazil formed by Bruno Moscatiello (guitars), Yuri Garfunkel (flutes, Brazilian 10-strings guitar), and Dokter Leo (drums, effects). Kaoll was born in the mid-2008 and debuted with the album “Kaoll 04” (2008, Spanto Records/Sinewave). From 2008 to 2012, Kaoll developed a live musical project that featured Lanny Gordin, a famous guitar player who had participated in the Brazilian musical movement known as “Tropicália”, playing for musicians like “Caetano Veloso” and “Gilberto Gil”. The partnership between Kaoll and Gordin resulted in more than a hundred concerts around Brazil, promoting music that had been recorded on Kaoll’s second album, titled “Auto-Hipnose” (2010, Baratos & Afins). In 2012 Kaoll began a new live project, called “In the Flesh: Kaoll interprets Pink Floyd”, on which the trio performed classics of “Pink Floyd”, but on their own special way. The direct contact that Kaoll had with the audiences around Brazil inspired the trio to release a third album, titled “Odd” (2014, independent). “Odd” is instilled with a road-trip vein, drawing influences directly from 70’s Classic Rock, including “Jimi Hendrix”, “Marco Antônio Araújo”, “Led Zeppelin”, “King Crimson”, “Jethro Tull”, and “Black Sabbath”. On the recording sessions, Kaoll counted with help of many special guests, notably Billy Cox – the legendary bassist who played side by side with “Jimi Hendrix” – who appears on Kaoll’s track, “Aquiles Barbecue”. Other guests included Brazilian luminaries such as: percussionist João Parahyba (“Trio Mocotó”), clarinetist Paulo Garfunkel (songwriter for “Elis Regina”, “Zizi Possi”, “Maria Rita”), Brazilian Guitar expert Ricardo Vignini (“Moda de Rock”), bassists Gabriel Costa (“Violeta de Outono”) and Ney Haddad (“Mobilis Stabilis”), and keyboard and piano player Fábio Ribeiro (“Blezqi Zatsaz”, “Angra”, “Shaman”), among others. “Odd” features 9 tracks and a 70’s sonority that is sure to please lovers of vintage Hard-Rock, Psychedelic Rock and Progressive Rock. The main characteristic of Kaoll’s instrumental music is the duel between guitars and flutes that happens all time and dominates the musical space, being always balanced by Dokter’s classic rock drumming. The number of bassists collaborating in the project help to increase the diversity of styles and amplify the rhythmic and melodic frame of the pieces, but they always keep a groovy sway. Keyboards and other instruments enrich the set, participating on elaborated arrangements, but never compete for space against the guitar and flute. By mixing hard guitars with an aggressive approach of the flute, Kaoll makes a parallel to the instrumentation of many old bands, like “Jethro Tull”, “Golden Earring”, “Gravy Train”, “Black Widow”, “Blodwyn Pig”, “Gong”; some Italian Bands like “I Dalton”, “Biglietto Per L’Inferno”, “Raccomandata con Ricevuta di Ritorno”, “Osana”, “Jumbo”; and Brazilians “Bacamarte” and “Vlad V”; but is still able to staple their music with a fresh flavor and an original signature. The music on “Odd” strolls around diverse Rock styles – including 70’s Hard, Folk, Psychedelic and Progressive – mixed to Brazilian Traditional and Fusion Music. The 9 tracks are disposed in two groups: A: Odd and B: Even. A: Odd includes 5 tracks that vary from Brazilian styled sounds and rhythms to Rocky textures that will be familiar to listeners abroad. Beginning with the title track, “Odd” (4:25), a groovy 70’s Hard-Rock stuffed with several solos of flutes and guitars, and extending to “Aquiles Barbecue” (5:36), a Folk-Rock with bluesy guitar solos, “Jethro Tull”-like flutes, and the marking presence of Billy Cox on bass, Kaoll arrives at an intertidal musical zone where they present their lively and outstanding Brazilian-Psychedelic-Fusion, “Gigalópolis Drive” (4:15), and the amazing electro-acoustic piece “Balada Para o Sr. Bodão” (4:44) – which begins with a sentimental tune on flute (like a traditional Brazilian “Modinha”), includes pianos, and grows with an awesome guitar solo that blends technique with aggressive vigor; until laying to rest on the transcendental “O Retorno de Bonsucesso” (1:55), a Hindu piece with sounds of sitar. B: Even contains 4 tracks which are ambitious and mostly interesting, viewed from a Progressive standpoint.  “Even” (7:23) is slow and slightly somber, congregating several influences on its stretched duration: Bluesy cadences and riffs akin to “Black Sabbath” supporting mysterious flutes, ghostly keyboards, and hallucinogenic guitars. “Rastero” (4:31) also recalls “Sabbath”, but is stiffened with Hard-Rock Hammonds and additional bass clarinets that reveal influences of “Deep Purple”, “VdGG”, and “King Crimson”. The pastoral “Astropulse: O Interlocutor Cósmico” (2:52) is a Psychedelic-Folk that introduces the trippy “Névoa de Vinagre” (“Vinegar Mist”) (4:33), a lysergic Psychedelic-Prog track that has cosmic amplitudes. I found Kaoll to be a solid, brilliant, and original band that released a great new album, highly recommendable for fans of 70’s Hard, Psychedelic, and Progressive Rock, who are especially fond of flutes meeting guitars, as it happens on bands like “Jethro Tull”, “Golden Earring”, “Gravy Train”, “Black Widow”, “Blodwyn Pig”, “Gong”, “I Dalton”, “Delirium”, “Biglietto Per L’Inferno”, “Raccomandata con Ricevuta di Ritorno”, “Osana”, “Jumbo”, “Bacamarte”, and “Vlad V”. Band members and collaborators involved in Kaoll are: Bruno Moscatiello – Electric Guitars; Yuri Garfunkel – Transverse Flute, Brazilian 10-Strings Guitar; Dokter Leo – Drums, Effects. Special Guests: Billy Cox - Bass (on “Aquiles Barbecue”), João Parahyba - Percussion; Paulo Garfunkel - Bass Clarinet & Clarinet (on “Rastero”); Ricardo Vignini – Electric Brazilian 10-Strings Guitar (on “Aquiles…”), Lap Steel & Cabasitar (on “O Retorno de Bonsucesso”). Collaborators: Ney Haddad – Bass; Gabriel Costa – Bass; Gabriel Catanzaro – Bass; Fábio Ribeiro – Piano & Keyboards (on “Balada…” & “Even”); Fábio Leandro - Keyboards. Recorded in March and April 2014 in different studios in São Paulo, Brazil; Produced and Mixed by Kaoll; Engineered by Marvin Vinícius; Mastered at Studio Tolkki (Helsinki, Finland)... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/30/2015..............................Want to learn everything about this Brazilian band and its members? Visit KAOLL HOME PAGE...
. MAZE OF SOUND - "Sunray"
Maze of Sound is a new Progressive Rock band hailing from Poland. Maze of Sound was founded in February 2012 in the city of Lódz, and has a current line-up consisting of: Kuba Olejnik (vocals), Piotr Majewski (keyboards, violin), Maciej Kuliberda (guitars, mandolin, zither, bouzouki), Rafal Galus (electric and acoustic guitars), Bartek Sapota (bass, fretless), and Grzegorz Sliwka (drums, percussion). Maze of Sound plays regularly in their hometown, Warsaw, Wroclaw, and in other places and festivals around Poland. In 2013 they shared stage with the band “Tune” playing at the “Wytwornia” (one of the most prestigious musical clubs in Poland). Maze of Sound has also been featured in many radios (e.g. “Stafford”, “Zlote Przeboje Golden Hits”, “Lodz”, “Planeta”, “Parada”, “ZAK”, “UL”) and Internet stations and portals, and on “Promok” (local Polish TV). On stage, Maze of Sound’s concerts are also theatrical happenings, on which band members wear special clothes and masks, and employ gadgets to enact fantastic stories where realism borders surrealism, and seriousness confronts the grotesque. The music of Maze of Sound is therefore like a labyrinth of sounds on which each composition represents a story that includes both real and fantasy elements, being largely influenced by “Genesis” of “Peter Gabriel” Era, “Marillion” of “Fish” Era, “Porcupine Tree”, and also “INXS”. Maze of Sound‘s discography includes the EP “Man In The Balloon” (Jan. 2013), and their first full-length album, titled “Sunray” (November 7th, 2014), which was nominated for “Album of the Year” by Polish Radio Station “Trójka Polskiego Radia”. “Sunray” has 9 tracks and a sonic resemblance with most Neo-Progressive bands from Britain and Poland, like “Marillion”, “IQ” “Pallas”, “Twelfth Night”, “Fish”, “Comedy of Errors”, “Red Jasper”, “Jadis”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Iris”, “Frost*”, “Kino”, “Collage”, “Satellite”, “Believe”, “Quidam”; and others following the style worldwide (e.g. “Silhouette”, “RPWL”, “Argos”, “Airbag”, and “Flamborough Head”). Maze of Sound’s brand of Progressive-Rock is soft, very melodic, and full of nuances, having a thin popish luster covering it. The predominant atmospheres are emotional, intimate, ethereal, and surreal, transposed to typical Neo-Prog soundscapes. Vocals and guitars are the strongest points of this band. Olejnik’s vocals are loaded with deep feelings, revealing sensibility, romantic kindness, and bittersweet sadness. He is perfect when telling fantastic stories, with meaningful lyrics in English, about imaginary characters that are as real as you and I. His exposure on the music is counterbalanced by an overload of guitar solos - which are mellow, soaring, weightless, and soulful, stretching over a long period of time on each song. The vocal and guitar melodies are conveyed by a gentle and chic rhythmic section that, most of the time, keeps a mid-tempo to slow cadence that fits adequately into the band’s emotive style. Sometime bass and drums may pulse with an invitational 80’s Rock swing, which I regard as an influence from bands like “INXS” and “Simple Minds”, for instance. Instead of spoiling Maze of Sound’s sonority, however, those beats provide their music with a fundamental “deluxe” popish base that facilitates the development of a straight link between the band and the largest audiences. That happens with the first song, “Rain Charmer” (6:05), which comes as an equilibrated mix of melodic Neo-Progressive themes and 80’s Rock mid-tempo cadences, smoothened by vocals and adorned with velvet-texturized guitars - a combination of sounds that Maze of Sound intends to be recognized as their sonic signature. Nevertheless, the band also spares much energy for their most powerful, “rocky” performances, such as on the second song, “Reflection” (5:34), which begins with gloomy pianos, but explodes vibrantly, running with adventurous rhythms, finishing with crying guitar solo; and also “Animal” (5:04), a groovy song lavishly adorned with vivid solos of guitar! After hearing to those songs, listeners will be promptly connected to Maze of Sound and ready to absorb the most significant material of their first album, which comes on three superb Neo-Prog standards: the symphonic “Trick of the Witch” (5:54) – a majestic, atmospheric, and mysterious instrumental track that brings in imposing pianos and guitars that float over the extension of the entire piece; the theatrical “Mad Hatter” (7:09); and the oneiric “Last Sunray” (7:54) – two impeccable songs that flow with progressive momentum, having different parts, paces, and moods, being stiffened by harder guitar riffs and acrobatic bass lines, and having massive participation of synths on the solos, side by side with several guitar parts. Finally, the introspective focus that Maze of Sound imprints on their music is showcased on the emblematic “Man In The Balloon” (5:54), a song that hovers on sonic waves that grow progressively, telling a story; on the fairish “Forest” (4:36), pervaded by truly artistic melancholy that arises from its questioning vocals; and on the last ballad, “Memory” (4:01). As a whole, I found Maze of Sound to be an outstanding Neo-Progressive act arising from Poland, ready to conquer the world; and their debut album, “Sunray”, is highly recommendable for fans of “Marillion”, “Pallas”, “IQ”, “Twelfth Night”, “Fish”, “Comedy of Errors”, “Red Jasper”, “Jadis”, “Frost*”, “Kino”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Collage”, “Satellite”, “Believe”, “Quidam”, “Silhouette”, “RPWL”, “Argos”, “Airbag”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Maze of Sound are: Kuba Olejnik – Vocals; Piotr Majewski – Piano, Synthesizers, Violin; Maciej Kuliberda – Electric and Acoustic Guitars, 12 String Guitar, Mandolin, Zither, Bouzouki; Rafal Galus - Electric and Acoustic Guitars; Bartek Sapota – Bass, Fretless; Grzegorz Sliwka – Drums, Percussion. Album Recorded by Przemek Kuczynski and Robert Polus between April-September 2014 at FF Studio in Lodz, Poland; Mixed and Mastered by Przemek Kuczynski; Produced by Piotr Majewski... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/3/201......................Interested to know more about this new Poland prog Rrock Band? Visit MAZE OF SOUND HOME PAGE...
. DREAMER - "Forever"
Dreamer is a Classic-Rock power-trio formed by the Californian musicians Bill Sedat (vocals and guitars), multi-instrumentalist Darrell Harvey (bass, keyboards, backing vocals, engineering), and Randy Ratkowski (drums). Bill Sedat is responsible for most of the original repertoire of the band, while Darrell Harvey – who has engineered for artists such as “Blink 182”, “Patti LaBelle”, “Jars of Clay”, “Joan Osbourne” – provided the technical support. By means of the combining efforts of band members, Dreamer released one CD, entitled “Forever” (2004). The initial recording of “Forever” began at Studio West in San Diego, California, and was completed at Bill Sedat's personal studio called Electric Blue, in Omaha, Nebraska (where Sedat had moved to). The sound of Dreamer is a fusion of Hard Rock and Power Pop that create a familiar sound, infused with solid guitar work, melodic solos, catchy tunes and effective vocal arrangements. By contrasting power with nuance, Dreamer produces orchestrated accessible music that will enjoy Pop & Rock fans of all ages. The CD “Forever” contains 11 tracks, and features special guest Bobby Berge, drummer of original “Tommy Bolin” band, playing on a remake of song "Lotus" (of “Tommy Bolin’s” album "Teaser"). Along the other 10 tracks that comprise this album, the listener will listen to music that will remind him/her of bands and acts like “Tommy Bolin”, “Peter Frampton”, “Cheap Trick”, “Queen”, “The Doobie Brothers”, “Journey”, “Survivor”, “Triumph”, “Toto”, “Asia”, “Moody Blues”, “Boston”, “10cc”, “Three Dog Night”, “Badfinger”, “The Cars”, “Styx”, “Blue Öyster Cult”, “ELO”, “A-ha”, “Duran Duran”, “Tears for Fears”, “U2”, “GTR”, and their kind. My favorite tracks are those featuring a 70’s Classic Rock punch, and also the one with more complex and orchestral arrangements, with a stronger “Progressive” approach. This include the opening track “Out Of My Head” (3:36) – a typical Classic Rock, with a sequence for almost Spanish guitars; “Waiting” (3:07) – a swinging Hard Rock & Fusion driven by pulsing bass and great guitar solo; and the excellent “Lotus” (5:36), bringing another amazing guitar solo that levels up with “Tommy Bolin’s” original. Under a Prog-Rock point of view, the soaring sad ballad “Early Morning Rain” (6:34) and the pair “Forever Intro” (1:01) & “Forever” (5:53) - with classical piano intro, symphonic string arrangements and long guitar solo – are both outstanding songs that will please fans of “Moody Blues”, “Toto”, and “Asia”. The “Forever” CD still brings a number of ballads and more accessible dancing songs. Among the ballads, the most beautiful are the acoustic “Distance” (3:39) and “Care” (2:21) – the later with tuneful harmony vocals. There are also “Ariel” (6:00), with a Romantic approach that may please fans of the 80’s Rock (of “A-ha” and “Duran Duran”, for instance); and “Shine It On” (3:50) – a Rock ballad with the sound of the ‘70s. The album still brings the accessible song “Make It All Right” (2:26), which is a hybrid of the 70’s & 80’s Pop-Rock. Although aiming the large audiences, “Forever” is a very good album that equals in quality many of the works of those bands mentioned above. Nevertheless, Dreamer members disbanded after the release of “Forever”, and we do not know if the musicians involved have any plans to make a comeback. For now, I shall recommend Dreamer’s album “Forever” for fans of Classic Rock and Pop-Rock of the 70’s to 80’s, and for appreciators of “Tommy Bolin”, “Peter Frampton”, “Cheap Trick”, “Queen”, “Journey”, “Survivor”, “Triumph”, “Toto”, “Asia”, “Moody Blues”, “Boston”, “10cc”, “Badfinger”, “Styx”, “Blue Öyster Cult”, “ELO”, “Tears For Fears”, “Duran Duran”, “GTR”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Dreamer are: Bill Sedat – Lead and Harmony Vocals, Lead Guitars, Rhythm & Synth Guitars; Darrell Harvey - Bass, Electric & Grand Piano, Keyboards, Linear & Chime Guitars, Backing Vocals, Occasional Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitars and Flutes; Randy Ratkowski - Drums. Special guests: Bobby Berge – Drums; & Bob Moore - Percussion, Rainstick, Chimes, Viboflex (both on "Lotus"). Produced, Engineered & Mixed by D. Harvey & B. Sedat; Mastered by Bob Katz – Digital Domain. Manufactured and printed by Disc Makers, Pennsauken, NJ, USA... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
07/31/2015..............................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit DREAMER HOME PAGE...
. GRAND BATON - "Carnal Carnival"
Grand Baton (a.k.a. Le Grand Baton) is back to PR&PM after a long time! Grand Baton is an Electronic-World Music-Rock project conducted by French, native Caribbean, musician Jean-Christophe Maillard (vocals, guitars, compositions), who is presently living in the U.S.A. With Grand Baton, Maillard’s intends to fuse modern Electronic Music and Bit-crushed Guitars with Dubstep tempos using the Caribbean rhythms as a primary source, more specifically the beats derived from the traditional Gwo'ka drums from Guadeloupe, in the French West Indies. According to Maillard, those original drum beats sprouted out a variety of Caribbean styles that are known to the rest of the World, including the Latin music of Cuba, Santo Domingo, Puerto Rico, Trinidad; the Reggae, the Zouk and Socca, the Calypso, the Kompa, and all their most modern branches (e.g. Reggaeton, Dancehall, Dubstep). His vision was first recorded on the eponymous album “Le Grand Baton” (reviewed at PR&PM in 2008). After a long hiatus, Grand Baton has returned with a second album, titled “Carnal Carnival” (2014). The music of Grand Baton is a balanced mix of Maillard’s influences, which congregate doses of groovy Hard-Rock (“Jimi Hendrix”, “Led Zeppelin”, “AC/DC”), a pinch of Psychedelia (“Pink Floyd” and “King Crimson”); World Music exponents (like “Fela Kuti”, “Kassav”, “Eugene Mona”, “Gerard Lockel”, “Milton Nascimento”, “Burundi Drummers”); some Jazz-Fusion heavy-weights (“Miles Davis”, “Weather Report”, “Mahavishnu”, “John Coltrane”); a few swinging Funk and Soul mega-artists (such as “Stevie Wonder”, “James Brown”, “Earth Wind and Fire”); Electronic Music highlights (“Radiohead”, “Prodigy”, “Deadmau5”, “Venetian Snares”, “Daft Punk”, “Squarepusher”, “Skrillex”, “Excision”); and assorted heavy-noisy bands, like “NIN”, “Korn”, and “Slipknot”. The sound is overall vibrant, hectic, and sturdy, marked by aggressive electronic-texturized guitars (sometimes reaching Metal heaviness), syncopated powerful ethnical drumming; and groovy vocals. All is inserted in a thick layer of impacting, fast-beating Electronic sounds that hit the listener mercilessly (nothing like “Moby”, “Vangelis”, or “Tangerine Dream”). In sum, listening to Grand Baton is like experiencing an original organic-electronic sound, which, for my senses, is like insert “Exuma” in a “21st century schizoid” House-Music context. “Carnal Carnival” features 8 tracks. The album begins with an exciting invitation for dancing on the “Welcome to the Carnival” (1:35) – full of vibrant drums; continuing on the slower, groovy, guitar-infused “Caribbean Raider” (4:53) – two tracks that will please lovers of Electronic Lounge music with World-Music inflexions. My favorites, however, are a number of tracks on which Le Grand Baton absolutely fulfills its main musical goal: fusing tradition with modernity. Those tracks are the voodoo song “Hands Up” (6:25) – immersed in a gloomy “I-will-put-a-spell-on-you” kind of atmosphere; the psychedelic “Tired of Myself” (4:10), which trespasses electronic hallucinogenic soundscapes driven by an interesting “call-and-answer” interaction between two melodic lines of lead and backing vocals; and the emblematic “Pa Di Mwen” (4:51), which inserts ritualistic Caribbean chants in a cyber-electronic context. I also liked “Drop Off Your Bags” (5:16), which follows on a more “Progressive” evolution, regarding the fact that it begins as a soaring and melodic piece of Ambient style, changes in the middle for a lounge chill-out pace, and gains in drama close to the end. The album still offers the most experimental tracks “L.O.V.E.L.F.O.” (5:32) – a weird one, trespassed by sonic interferences and statics; and “Idemdito” (7:54) – an awesome closing track that didactically concentrates lots of beats, sounds, rhythms, tempos, and moods that represent a diversity of sub-styles of Electronic music that I am not even aware of! Although not being a truly Progressive act, Grand Baton offers to worldwide listeners a kind of hybrid music that is not totally devoid of a Progressive focus, and its new work, “Carnal Carnival”, is a lively, solid, and stimulating album, prone to be enjoyed by fans of Electronic-Caribbean Music who love “Fela Kuti”, “Kassav”, “Eugene Mona”, “Gerard Lockel”, “Herbie Hancock”, “Radiohead”, “Prodigy”, “Deadmau5”, “Venetian Snares”, “Squarepusher”, “Daft Punk”, “Skrillex”, “Excision”, “Tomita”, “Kraftwerk”, “Presets”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in (Le) Grand Baton are: JC Maillard - Lead Vocals, Guitar, Compositions; Thierry Arpino – Drums; Arno Dolmen - Ka Drum. With occasional help of: Didier Juste, Sonny Troupe, and Olivier Juste - Ka Drums. Album Recorded at various studios in France and in the USA. Mixed and Mastered by Fabrice Dupont at Flux Studios, NYC... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
07/31/2015.......................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit GRAND BATON HOME PAGE...
. J.C. BOSCO - "Being in the Energy Funnel"
Josh Charles Bosco is a New York City musician and songwriter that since the age of 14 has been preparing his own material. J.C. has played with “The Harptones”, “3rd Rail” and other groups, and has also performed some gigs with a few cover bands (“ELP” and “Led Zeppelin” tributes, among others), mainly as a bassist and singer, and occasionally playing acoustic guitars. Two casual encounters in musical stores with some of J.C.’s favorite musicians – “Frank Zappa” and “Jaco Pastorius” – led him to exchange some words and chords with his idols, and worked as a powerful incentive for him to start his own musical project. Under the moniker of J.C. Bosco, he managed to release the independent albums “A Positive Flow” (2004), “Being in the Energy Funnel” (2006), and “Time X3” (2012). With influences ranging from late 60’s “Beatles”, early “King Crimson”, “Pink Floyd”, and “The Moody Blues” to “Frank Zappa”, “Captain Beefheart”, and “Weather Report”; and blending styles that go from Rock and Pop, to Jazz and Classical, J.C. Bosco produces his own brand of original music, which he has tagged as “Progressive Experimental Pop” (or “PEP”). “Being in the Energy Funnel” (2006, Carealot Productions) is J.C. Bosco’s album that we received only now for reviewing. On this album, Josh Charles sings, plays bass, and handles other instruments, having assistance of some guest musicians: Aaron Moment (guitars), Rob Benson (drums, some keyboards), sax players David Lewis and Chuck Hancock; Dave Clive (congas, percussion), and Stacey Williams (female dialogue voice). The album has 13 tracks. It opens with the groovy American Jazz-Rock “Jigsaw Lady” (03:47), which comes in song-format with spirited saxophones and a good guitar solo. Some Progressive tints come on the following “In Some Laughs/Energy” (07:48) with a “Jetho Tull”-like accent on vocals, some “King Crimson”-like widy-synths, Mellotrons, and melodic mannerism, a good line of bass, and some controlled “Zappa”-like craziness. The instrumental “Take Flight” (04:59), mainly driven by bass, guitars, and drums, contains a higher dose of Progressive musical elements that tend to the Canterbury style. Still looking for hints of Prog on J.C. Bosco, the listener might find them on the bass playing of “Passing the Time” (04:43) – a song that recalled me of very early “Yes”. Yet another instrumental track, “Mofungo” (05:07), is like a late 60’s Proto-Fusion arising from the past, driven by congas and percussion, saxophone and an synchronic guitar solo that recalls a blend of “Zappa” and “Santana”. Speaking of “Zappa”, a series of tracks is largely influenced by his humorous style, also recalling the idiosyncratic theatrical side of  “Captain Beefheart”, such as: the funny “Can or Crat??” (01:51); the playful “Rubberella Stella” (04:38) (a pun with “Barbarella”?); the jovial “They Danced” (03:38); and the experimental “Out Some Laughs/That's a Wrap” (01:53). Interspersed among the mentioned tracks there are some ballads that recall the 60’s pop-rock and the songs of  “The Beatles”, early “Moody Blues”, and even “The Beach Boys”, such as “For Cecille” (02:36), “Hear, Pt. 2” (03:26), and “Now” (03:56); the exception being “Bees 'N Chocolate” (04:03) which brings experimental bee-sounding synths mixed to acoustic guitars, bearing a greater resemblance with the ballads of a very early “Pink Floyd”. Summing all up, what a may tell about J.C. Bosco’s album “Being in the Energy Tunnel” is that it sounds much like a retro-blend of the Psychedelic, Fusion and Proto-Progressive kinds of music that were being composed and recorded around the early 60’s to very early 70’s, mainly for bands like “The Beatles”, “Beach Boys”, “Family”, “Santana”, “Frank Zappa & Mothers of Invention”, “Captain Beefheart”, “Moody Blues”, “Jethro Tull”, “The Fugs”, “Pearls Before Swine”, “Traffic”, “The Zodiac”, “Yardbirds”, and others. J.C. Bosco is specially recommended for nostalgic fans of Rock that praise that creative and seminal Era. Band members and collaborators involved in J.C. Bosco are: Josh Charles Bosco - Bass, Lead & Harmony Vocals, Dialogue Voice, Acoustic Guitars, Keyboards, Some Percussion; Aaron Moment - Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Triangle; Rob Benson - Drums, Percussion, Keyboards; David Lewis - Tenor Saxophone on “Jigsaw Lady”; Chuck Hancock - Alto Saxophone on “Jigsaw Lady” & “Mofungo”; Dave Clive - Congas & Percussion on “Mofungo”; Stacey Williams - Dialogue Female Voice on “Rubberella Stella”. Most of the Record was made in 2006 on a Korg Mobile System; but songs 8 to 11 were previously recorded in 2004... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
07/31/2015....................................Interested to know more about this musician and his music? Visit J.C. BOSCO HOME PAGE...
. OBSIDIAN KEY - "Loud!"
Obsidian Key is a Progressive-Rock and Metal project that was founded in 2010 in Brighton (UK) by multi-instrumentalist Paolo Zaino (a.k.a. Sonic V – the “V” standing for Zaino’s predilection for collectable V-shaped guitars). Sonic’s musical career began at his teenage in Abruzzo (Italy), when he started to play keyboards, and later guitar, in a band called “Mynerva”. “Mynerva” released a demo-tape with songs that were influenced by “Deep Purple”, “Scorpions”, “Michael Schenker”, and by Italian Rock. But “Mynerva” (then renamed to “Antarctika”) dissolved soon, because members were busy at University. Sonic had to attend Military Service, and afterwards he dedicated all his time to his job in the software industry. That could have been the end of Sonic’s musical career, but at another time and another place he decided to record a CD containing old material. Obsidian Key was born then, as Sonic V’s solo project, on which he sings, plays guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, and has collaboration of other artists (see below). The name Obsidian Key refers to the obsidian stone, a kind of rock employed in jewelry which is generally black, but may have multiple colors, depending on its mineral content. In ancient times, obsidian was also believed to be a key element, capable of opening doors for “the other world”. Connecting the two concepts, the idea is that the music of Obsidian Key may assume multiple styles (akin to Progressive Rock), being also a key to open new musical worlds. That’s what Sonic calls “Free-Rock”: a combination of a wide range of sounds that go from Classic Hard Rock, Progressive Rock, and Metal, to Pop Ballads, Jazz-Fusion, and Opera, influenced by his favorite bands: “Deep Purple” (specially “Jon Lord”), “Led Zeppelin”, “Uriah Heep”, “Black Sabbath”, “Blue Oyster Cult”, “Scorpions”, “Michael Schenker”, “Iron Maiden”, “Judas Priest”, “Meat Loaf”, “Jim Steinman”, “Queen”, early “Fleetwood Mac”, “Pink Floyd”, “Yes”, “King Crimson”, “Jethro Tull”, “Genesis”, “ELP”, “Rush”, “Marillion”, “Ayreon”, “PFM”, “Area”, “Banco del Mutuo Soccorso”, “Santana”, “Al Di Meola”, “Paco De Lucia”, “John McLaughlin”, “Chick Corea”, “Satriani”, “Mike Batio”, “John Patitucci”, “Metallica”, “Megadeth”, “Annihilator”, “Accept”, “Hellowen”, “Paradise Lost”, “Nightwish”, “Dream Theater”, “Symphony X”, and more! Obsidian Key's debut album, titled “Loud!” (2014), is an independent release featuring 10 tracks. The recording has been limited by the lack of resources of Sonic’s home-studio, but this flaw has been compensated by his creativeness, touch for melodicism, and his effort for achieving the same level of musical complexity and technical quality as his beloved bands. Sonic’s compositions are greatly varied, reflecting his eclectic taste; his songs have nice tunes and arrangements that are instantaneously enjoyable by any regular listener who has been exposed to 70’s Classic Rock and 80’s Traditional Metal, besides having a coverture of keyboards with an 80’s Prog texture. Sonic’s is the lead singer, and his voice is soft and melodic, sounding better on the ballads. A number of back singers show up, contributing with more aggressiveness; and a pair of female singers oscillate from Gospel to Opera. Most of Sonic’s musical references appear on his experiments, generating unpredictable sonic-hybrids. For instance, the opening tracks “Intro” (1:07) + “Empire of Madness” (8:00) sound as “Judas Priest” adorned with Gothic-Progressive keyboards, bringing occasional Death-Metal and operatic vocals, and finishing with a duel of guitars and keyboards (recalling “Al Di Meola” and “Jon Lord”), which fly over a Thrash-Metal binary pace. Other songs instilled with 80’s Metal vibes are: the fast and rocky “Videotomized” (6:54) and the groovy Hard-Rock “Time” (3:32) – influenced by “Satriani”, driven by pounding bass, and sliced in two by a Progressive solo of synth. Still better are the two Prog-Metal pieces, “The Key of Netherworld, Pt. 1: Overture” (2:49) + “Pt. 2: Through the Darkness, For a New Hope” (9:02), which combine Italian-Prog (on flutes), Flamenco (on acoustic guitars like “Paco de Lucia”), Neo-Prog (on interludes like “Marillion”), and a reference to “Tom Sawyer” (“Rush”) on synths; and “Bleeding Romance” (9:27) – a thrilling Vampire-Rock-Opera including oriental violins and male-female duets. Another highpoint is Sonic’s talent for writing and singing beautiful ballads, expressing emotions by means of meaningful lyrics: “Where Are You Now” (4:56) has soulful guitar solo (like “Scorpions”, “Michael Schenker”); “A Gift of Wings” (6:37) has Gospel female vocals and recalls “Pink Floyd”; and “It Will Never Fade” (3:30) has classical guitars, strings, and sweet female singing. In spite of its highs and lows, “Loud!” is a very decent debut, and I am sure that, with better studio facilities, an improved rhythmic section, and focus on a professional level, Obsidian Key will develop all its potential. For now, Obsidian Key is specially recommended for fans of Cross-Over Progressive Rock who also listen to Classic Rock, 80’s Metal, and like surprises in the music. Band members and collaborators involved in Obsidian Key are: Sonic V – Lead Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Drums, and Keyboards. Featured Singers: Paul Andrews – 2nd Lead Vocals on "The Key…", Backing Vocals on other tracks; Hauron Kherty - Death Metal Voice on "Empire…", Backing Vocals on "The Key…”; Glo Harmonee – 2nd Lead Vocals, Opera Vocals, Backing Vocals, “Mina” Voice on "Bleeding Romance"; Martin Kurgan – “Van Helsing” Voice on "Bleeding…"; Stef Coburn – “Renfield” Voice on "Bleeding…"; Hebe Morwenna - Gospel Lead Vocals and Backing Vocals on "A Gift of Wings". Featured Musicians: Marco Avellone – Classic Guitar on "It Will Never Fade"; Tom Wright - 2nd Guitar Solo on “Videotomized”; Cello and “Johnathan” Voice on “Bleeding Romance”. Recorded & Produced by Sonic V at HyperSonic City Studios... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
07/31/2015.......................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit OBSIDIAN KEY HOME PAGE...
. ANTHROPIA - "Non-Euclidean Spaces"
Anthropia is an amazing Progressive-Metal band from Nice, France. Anthropia was founded in 2003 by Hugues Lefebvre (vocals, guitars), and evolved as a solo project from 2004 to 2006, when the debut album “The Ereyn Chronicles, Part 1” was released by prestigious U.S.A. label Magna Carta. “The Ereyn Chronicles” was featured as “Album of the Month - Dec.” on the French issue of “Rock Hard” magazine, stimulating Lefebvre to gather a line-up – consisting of Damien Rainaud (drums), Nathalie Olmi (vocals), Yann Mouhad (guitars), and Julien Negro (bass) - to perform the album live, in concerts. In 2009 Anthropia founded their own record company – Adarca Records – and released their second album, titled “The Chain Reaction”. The record was mixed by “François Merle” (guitarist of “Manigance”); mastered by “Tommy Hansen” (“Helloween”, “Pretty Maids”); had guest appearance of keyboardist “Kevin Codfert” (“Adagio”); and was chosen “Album of the Month – April” on French “Rock Hard” magazine. In 2010, Anthropia released an unplugged album, titled “Acoustic Reactions”. Following on a successful career, Anthropia has just released a third studio album, titled “Non-Euclidean Spaces” (2015, Adarca Records). The record was engineered at Logan Mader’s studio (“Machine Head”, “Soulfly”), and the artwork was drawn by David Demaret. The concept is inspired on the literary work of “H.P. Lovecraft” and his “Cthulhu Mythos”, telling the story of Randolph Carter – a man who is able to travel through time and space inside his dreams. Besides Anthropia’s line-up, the record features some guest musicians, with highlights for Arjen Lucassen (“Ayreon”, “Star One”), who plays the hole of Narrator; and Edu Falaschi (“Almah”, ex-“Angra”), who sings on the track “The Snake Den”. Anthropia’s music is a thrilling blend of different Metal styles, mainly Prog-Metal and Symphonic Power-Metal, interspersed with elements of Gothic, Operatic, Folk, and Traditional Metal. The compositions are long, each one having several changes of pace and atmosphere, marked by Lucassen’s expressive narration. Although unbounded by any rigid formula, Anthropia instills in their sound influences of several iconic bands. While the vocal parts are most of the time fronted by the omnipresent Nathalie Olmi (reminiscent of “Epica”, “Elis”, “Nemesea”, and even “Heart”), an important contribution is also given by Lefebvre and his vocals (sometimes aggressive, but never guttural); and both singers engage in duets (verging the Operatic style of “Ayreon”, “Star One”, and “Aina”), which are backed by Gothic ghostly choirs (reminiscent of “Nightwish”, “After Forever”, “Epica”, and “Within Temptation”). The haunting chants are superposed to hellish guitar riffs (like “Symphony X”, “Dream Theater”, “Megadeth”), and conveyed on groovy, thrashing, and unpredictable rhythmic bases (like “Pain Of Salvation”); adorned with dazzling solos of guitar and synths, and counterbalanced by cinematographic symphonic passages (like “Angra”, “Stratovarius”, “Kamelot”, “Blind Guardian”, “Wuthering Heights”). A unique flavor was achieved with the employment of the classical acoustic guitar, which appears either in preludes and interludes, or combined to the electric guitar (recalling me of “Helstar” and “Annihilator”), having the main role on two tracks: “Silver Twilight Lodge” (based on the “Etude 11”, by Brazilian composer “Heitor Villa-Lobos”) and “Fuoco” (by “Roland Dyens”), which are presented in awesome Metal-styled versions. With a perfect amalgamation of those elements within opulent arrangements, Anthropia’s music is creative, imposing, and really epic – rivaling (and even surpassing, sometimes) the music of their fellows of “Adagio”, “Syrens Call”, and “Amartia” - being able to take any Prog-Metal appreciator up to a state of Nirvana. “Non-Euclidean Spaces” has 12 impeccable tracks, leaving the listener in a suspenseful state, waiting for what will come up next. The CD opens with “Strange Aeons” (00:55), an acoustic prelude to the bombastic and thrilling “The Melancholy Of R.C.” (07:32); followed by the nightmarish “Silver Twilight Lodge” (07:29) (an impressive adaptation of “Etude 11”, by “Villa-Lobos”); and by the titanic ballad “The Part Of Them In Me” (09:45) – exuding drama from its many vocals parts, interspersed with awesome solos of guitar and having great participation of Laurent Tardy on the piano. Still more powerful are the pair “Unknown Kadath” (02:55) – a magnificent and portentous instrumental Prog-Metal piece; and “Seeds Of Decay” (05:52) – an adventurous song that transposes dimensions on the back of killer guitars and slicing synths. Still keeping an operatic mode, “When The Stars Come Right” (07:35) amazes the listener with its succeeding instrumental sonic waves, including ascending orchestrations and furious neo-classical guitars; preceding two “reptilian” tracks: the devouring “Crawling Chaos” (06:22); and the deadly-poisonous “The Snake Den” (06:35); the later with brilliant participation of the duo Edu Falaschi and Nathalie, singing amidst stormy riffs and thrashing instrumentation. Finally, “Lost In Time And Space” (06:02) is a Gregorian Kyrie eleison that is consumed by the igneous “Fuoco” (04:00); just before the mega-hit “Credits” (05:24) – the groovy of which will leave the listener crying for more! Anthropia is one of the best bands that I have recently listened to in their style, and their new album “Non-Euclidean Spaces” is absolutely necessary to fans of Female-Fronted Prog-Metal & Symphonic Power-Metal, who love “Symphony X”, “Dream Theater”, “Pain Of Salvation”, “Angra”, “Stratovarius”, “Kamelot”, “Blind Guardian”, “Wuthering Heights”, “Adagio”, “Therion”, “Nightwish”, “Epica”, “Elis”, “Nemesea”, “After Forever”, “Epica”, “Within Temptation”, “Ayreon”, “Star One”, “Aina”, “Syrens Call”, “Forgotten Tales”, “Delain”, “Xandria”, “ReVamp”, “Lacuna Coil”, “Deva”, “Flaming Row”, “Serenity”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Anthropia are: Hugues Lefebvre - Vocals, Acoustic and Electric Guitars; Nathalie Olmi - Vocals; Yann Mouhad - Guitars; Julien Negro - Bass; Damien Rainaud - Drums. Special Guests: Arjen Anthony Lucassen - Narration on All Tracks; Edu Falaschi – Vocals; Pascal Allaigre - Guitar Solo (both on “The Snake Den”); Laurent Tardy - Piano (on “The Part of Them In Me”). Mixed and Mastered by Damien Rainaud, at Darth Mader Music, Los Angeles, CA; Artwork by David Demaret; Produced by Anthropia-Adarca Records)... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
07/31/2015.........................Want to learn everything about the band and its members, you must visit ANTHROPIA HOME PAGE...
. MARGIN - "Psychedelic Teatime"
Margin is a German Psychedelic-Prog band that was founded in 2012 as a studio project by Lutz Meinert. Meinert is a singer, multi-instrumentalist and composer who gained experience by singing and playing keyboards and drums in a few Progressive Rock bands in Berlin, from 1979 to 2002. As a member of the band called “For Your Pleasure”, he published two CDs: “Scattered Pages” (1993) and “Timeless” (2000), both released by Madvedge Records. With Margin, Lutz Meinert intended to merge the Psychedelic-Rock and Psychedelic-Progressive trends in the style of the late ‘60s to mid-‘70s, wrapping the music up with a modern production that would emphasize the charm of that timeless sound, but bringing at the same time something new to it. After an extensive studio work, during which some songs were developed and recorded, Meinert finally came up with Margin’s first album, titled “Psychedelic Teatime” (June, 2014, Madvedge Records). The line-up counts almost exclusively with Lutz Meinert (vocals and all other instruments), having a little help of Arne Spekat (ex-“For Your Pleasure”), on the acoustic guitar, and of Carola Meinert on female backing vocals. “Psychedelic Teatime” is an impressive record that immediately catches the listener with its great musicianship, multilayered arrangements, and sophisticated harmonic structures, all delivered with top-quality sound production. Meinert is an experimented and sensitive guitarist who conducts his instrument with softness, freedom, and emotion, valuing each note produced by the strings. What surprised me is that Meinert is also very fluent on bass and drums (from which he extracts intricate rhythmic patterns), as well as a solid keyboard arranger, able to embellish his music with elaborated passages of vintage-keyboards that keep the sound instilled with a typical lysergic atmosphere. The instrumental passages are long, trippy, and time-travelling, oscillating from slow-cadenced moments of dreamy Psychedelia to wonderful peaks of classical Progressive magnitude. Although the music of Margin sounds quite original, a number of influences are realized along album, the most evident being “Pink Floyd”; but many other bands that are mainly guitar-oriented and leave keyboards for a supporting, or secondary, role (responsible for creating the psychedelic background and cosmic effects) are recalled sometimes, such as “The Moody Blues”, “Camel”, “Manfred Mann”, “Sebastian Hardie”; the Germans “Eloy”, “Anyone’s Daughter”, “Novalis”, “Jane”, “Grobschnitt”; Psychedelic-Folk acts like “Donovan” and “Pentangle”, and the most rocky “Jefferson Airplane”; also recalling the approach of contemporaneous musicians such as “Rick Miller” and “David Minasian”. “Psychedelic Teatime” features 9 tracks. The first five comprise the ambitious suite “A Mysterious Cup of Tea – Parts 1 to 5” – a fascinating Psychedelic-Prog piece that enthralls the listener from beginning to end, alternating long instrumental sequences with short parts that feature vocals. The intro “Part 1” (6:33) is conveyed in a slow pulse, being dominated by soaring guitars that float on a mattress of psychedelic keyboards; “Part 2” (4:50) is an acoustic song that presents a main theme on Meinert’s bittersweet voice, trespassing cosmic dimensions and dissolving into dreamy soundscapes, until arriving at “Part 3” (6:50), another instrumental segment conducted by jazzy bass and drums; having decorative pianos, flutes, and great central guitar solo. “Part 4” (2:16) is a song that retakes the theme of “Part 2”, but begins an emotional escalation towards “Part 5” (2:59) – the climax of the entire piece, which congregates all instrumental tunes played before, in a cosmic concordance that fulgurates with synths, completing the cycle started on “Part 1”. A different mood is perceived on the following track, “Psychedelic Underground - the Short Trip” (3:36), a fast-paced shaking song painted with the vivid colors of the 60’s Psychedelic Rock. Also lingering in the ‘60s, “Landscapes on the Sky” (8:05) is a beautiful Psychedelic-Folk song, mostly driven by acoustic guitars and male-female melancholic vocals that recall the medieval style of “Donovan” and “Pentangle”, lustered with the surreal sounds of a Farfisa-sounding organ. From the outer limits of our atmosphere, Margins departs in a celestial journey to the cosmos, looking for the “Last Exit to Pluto” (10:41) – a gloomy Krautrock and Space-Rock instrumental piece propelled by slow bass and piano that explodes with dramatic guitars, containing groovy tribal drums, mellotron-simulated choirs, and creepy keyboard effects, finishing with a stellar-shining guitar solo. This album ends really high with the vibrations of “Psychedelic Underground - the Long Trip” (10:38), an expanded version of that song, including two outstanding instrumental interludes.  In sum, I found Margin’s “Psychedelic Teatime” to be an impeccable and triumphant album, both musically and technically; written, performed and executed by a relevant artist (Lutz Meinert), being indispensable for fans of Psychedelic-Progressive Rock, who love “Pink Floyd”, “The Moody Blues”, “Camel”, “Manfred Mann”, “Sebastian Hardie”, “Eloy”, “Anyone’s Daughter”, “Novalis”, “Jane”, “Grobschnitt”, “Donovan”, “Pentangle”, “Jefferson Airplane”, “Rick Miller”, “David Minasian”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Margin are: Lutz Meinert – Lead and Backing Vocals and All Other Instruments (mainly Guitar, Bass, Piano, Keyboards, and Drums); Carola Meinert - Female Backing Vocals (on "Psychedelic Underground" and "Landscapes on the Sky"); Arne Spekat - Acoustic Guitar (on "A Mysterious Cup of Tea" and "Landscapes on the Sky"). Music written, arranged, and produced by Lutz Meinert. Recorded and mixed by Lutz Meinert at Imago Studio Berlin, Germany; Mastered by Stefan Noltemeyer at CD-Premaster Berlin; Album design and paintings by Lutz Meinert... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
07/31/2015.................If you want know more about this amazing musical project and its members, visit MARGIN HOME PAGE...
. PATHOS - "Elixir"
The Pathos band emerged in 2012 with "Patos do Espaço” (Space Ducks) name. The first show of the Space Ducks, was in the old "Galeria Arte em Bar" (Art Gallery in Bar), now extinct (now Route 66), in Juiz de Fora - Minas Gerais - Brazil. After the changing the name to Pathos, it came with the change in sound proposal. A repertoire full of classic the "prog blues", a term that emerged in an attempt to classify the original work of the group. Pathos is Greek for passion, excess, catastrophe, passage, etc. It is used in philosophy to categorize the persuasion method that uses the feelings of the listener. Influenced from the bloody crossroads of blues, rock of British pubs by the sweat of the great modern metal festivals, that's exactly what they want to do. "Elixir", this album from Pathos is simply sensational. With a footprint on the best for the Stoner Rock style, the band still has multiple bids on the psychedelia genre. Going through "Kyuss", and the most influential name Stoner at least the Early 70's stage, Black Sabbath, and vocal strongly reminiscent of the System of a Down as well. The album "Elixir" stirs both the mind that still has something with Jazz passages, that enters your mind, as well as in some choruses, is a melody-there Jim Morrison; simply sensational!!!! As a first album, it has a repertoire full of passages that back the classic seventies rock to "prog blues," a term that emerged in an attempt to classify the original work. Influenced from the blues, the rock of the English pubs and even some heavy metal passages. "Elixir" contains seven tracks, and the first one is "Portal" - Starting with an entry in the style of the old prog groups of the 70s, with flutes reminiscent of Camel. With a bass line and guitar riffs with distortion "A la Sabbath." An amazing instrumental. "The Haunted Vision" - you can listen the heavy rhythm of a raw rock, in the style of the 70s, with fuzz distortion on the guitar, recalling the "First Base” (American band). With vocal passages in a higher tone, ending with guitar solo with Wah-wah and tremolo. "Sophie" - has an introduction and in style Planet Caravan’s Sabbath, but as seems Serj Tankian singing well in Aerials SOAD style, dotted by a magnificent of flute's arrangement and keyboards sounds, at the end, making this a very interesting combination. "Untitled (formerly known the The God)" - Exciting by heavy bass line and drums first, perhaps this is the music of the album where the musicians show their skills in more conventions, breaksand rhythmic variations with keyboards too. These create passages that change the mood of the music. Ending with bongos and effects in the style of the Spanish group Mezquita. The next song "Ankh" - show that, this band has a memory of Blues at first, following by a fingering, in the style "One journey" this cut by a distorted guitar followed by the exciting letter metrics. "The Wanderer" – Climate of fascination and discovery at first, generates an expectation and suddenly cut by a guitar "Ska". Following around a jazz rock in the line of brazilian band "A Cor do Som" in his presentation in Montreux."Sequel" - Surprising, starting in the jazzy style, with blowing and a guitar with wah-wah slowing down for lysergic climate, punctuated by a Baião, a brazilian rhythmic style, mainly in the style of the bass lines, declamations and a heavy instrumental in the style "Budgie" enclosing this excellent work. This album manages to please lovers of the Blues, Jazz, Rock and Psyche Heavy Rock specially to the seventies fans and even the demanding audience of actual Progressive Rock heavier. Pathos are: Hugo Moutinho - Drums; João Pedro Vieira - Vocals; Lucas Guida - Bass and Ricardo Marliere - Guitars. Recorded live @ Estúdio Verde, Belo Horizonte, February 21st and 22nd, 2015. Recording engineer Arthur Damásio. Flute recordings by Vinícius Faza @ Estúdio Immaginaria, Juiz de Fora, July 2nd, 2015. Mixed by Arthur Damásio. Mastered by César Santos. Musical production by Arthur Damásio and Pathos. Executive producer Ricardo Marliere... (Comments by Ricardo Petrone)
08/31/2015.......................................................Interested to know more about this brazilian Band? Visit PATHOS HOME PAGE...
. ROZ VITALIS - "Lavoro D’Amore"
Roz Vitalis is back to PR&PM once more! Roz Vitalis was founded in St. Petersburg (Russia) in 2001 by keyboardist and composer Ivan V. Rozmainsky. Since then, the band has been a leading Progressive act in Russia, frequently unfolding in “Live” and “Studio” line-ups consisting of several members and guest musicians. The most recent releases by Roz Vitalis - the albums “Revelator” (2011, MALS Ltd.) and “Patience of Hope” (2012, MALS Ltd.) – were reviewed at PR&PM in 2011 and 2013, respectively. The music of Roz Vitalis is all-instrumental, characterized by a multilayered assemblage of different instruments – folkloric, orchestral, and electric – organized in a kind of Chamber Rock style that combines R.I.O., Avant-garde, Jazz, Russian Folk & Classical music. The resulting sound shares a resemblance with “King Crimson”, “Gentle Giant”, “Gryphon”, “Caravan”, “Camel”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Gong”, “Clearlight”, “Colosseum”, “Henry Cow”, “Pink Floyd”, “Jethro Tull”, “ELP”, “Univers Zéro”, “Art Zoyd”, “Delirium”, “Miriodor”, and so on. Roz Vitalis has just released their fifth studio album, titled “Lavoro D’Amore” (2015, Lizard Records, Italy). “Lavoro D’Amore” (“Labor Of Love”) is a concept album – a metaphor, regarding a human’s path towards the highest spirituality; and gives continuation to the band’s movement in direction of a more delicate, sensitive, and deeper sonority. “Lavoro D’Amore” was performed by the Roz Vitalis ensemble (see below), conducted by the maestro Rozmainsky. The music is half-way between what has been called the “Symphonic” and “Avant-garde” Progressive styles. On this album, the main conductive instruments are the pulsing bass, the jazz-rock drums, and the resounding Steinway piano - which is the most classic-academic element of the Symphonic-Prog facet of Roz Vitalis. The main solo instruments are the humming-sounding synths and the vintage guitars (Gibson and Fender) – which endow the sound of Roz Vitalis with a typical 70’s Prog-Rock texture. Those electric instruments are used in alternation with the blowing instruments – the flute and the trumpet. Flutes are massively employed in substitution to the customary string ensemble (present on previous albums of Roz Vitalis) and make some pieces to sound more tranquil and pastoral. The trumpet, however, has a Jazz warmth and Avant-Gard accent, and in combination with the Metallophone, envelope the sound in a dreamy and mysterious atmosphere (recalling R.I.O. bands). The sonic opulence of Roz Vitalis is ordered in original and surprising arrangements, which oscillate from well-grounded academic brilliance to true-Progressive experimentalism. “Lavoro D’Amore” consists of 11 instrumental pieces that reflect different spiritual moods. The fastest, rockiest and most vibrant are “The Acknowledgement Day” (4:31), which opens the album with joyful flutes that are violently attacked by a crazy “Fripp”-kind of guitar; the thrilling “Il Vento Ritorna” (4:03), which intercalates fleeing flutes with vigorous trumpet and keyboards (recalling Italian band “Delirium”); and the favorite “Need For Someone Else” (6:44) – a heavy track, driven by groovy guitars and flutes (yes, flutes can be groovy, too!), that rivals to 70’s “King Crimson”. The slowest tracks, “Unanticipated” (5:42) and “There Are The Workers of Iniquity Fallen” (5:21), are marked by deep lines of bass, dreamy jazzy trumpet, creepy sound of Metallophone, and shadowing Gothic keyboards that envelope those pieces in a kind of mysterious aura of “film-noir”. Both contrast with the peaceful mood irradiated by “Lavoro D’Amore” (4:32) - which combines only light instruments (acoustic guitar, flute, harpsichord); and the chamber-pieces “Every Branch That Beareth Fruit” (4:37), which has introspective themes on the piano, flute and trumpet; and “Ascension Dream” (3:45), which ascends to a higher spiritual platitude when the piano, bass and trumpet exchange joyful inspiring tunes. The human desire for experiencing what is new is represented on the waving sound of futuristic synths that push “Invisible Animals” (5:11) to the Electronic style. The ascension to the outermost spheres of spirituality happens on “What Are You Thinking About?” (8:25) – another favorite, which goes from psychedelic chaos delivered with clockwork rhythms and hypnotic pulsing bass to amazing Progressive themes crowned with an exciting guitar solo. The arrival to the Heaven – which in Roz Vitalis’ vision is like the pleasure of being in a Mexican party – is represented on the last track, “Ending” (3:09). “Lavoro D’Amore” is another outstanding and original album by Roz Vitalis, one that deserves to be listened thoroughly, to be totally understood in its musical complexity and variety. A superb blend of Avant-garde, R.I.O., Folk, Jazz, and Russian Classical Music under a Progressive focus, “Lavoro D’Amore” is plentiful of brilliant musicianship, being essential for fans of unique bands such as “King Crimson”, “Gentle Giant”, “Gryphon”, “Caravan”, “Camel”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Gong”, “Clearlight”, “Colosseum”, “Henry Cow”, “Pink Floyd”, “Jethro Tull”, “ELP”, “Univers Zéro”, “Art Zoyd”, “Delirium”, “Miriodor”, “Samla Mammas Manna”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Roz Vitalis are: Ivan Rozmainsky – Grand Steinway Piano, Harpsichord, Hammond RT-3 Organ, Tesla Delicia mini 2, Elka Rhapsody 490, assorted keyboards, Metallophone; Vladimir Efimov – Electric Gibson Guitar; Yury Khomonenko – Drums, Percussion (on “There Are The Workers…”), Some Drums (on “Unanticipated”); Ruslan Kirillov – Bass, Ukulele (on “The Acknowledgement Day”); Alexey Gorshkov – Trumpet; Vladislav Korotkikh – Flute, Low Whistle (on “Every Branch…”); Philip Semenov – Drums and Percussion; Vladimir Semenov-Tyan-Shansky – Electric Fender Guitar, Acoustic Guitars, Bass (on “Invisible Animals”). Recorded 2013-2014 by Alexey Barashkin (Petersburg Recording Studio), Dmitry Roze (RP Studio), Vladimir Ivanov (Vid Studio), Ivan Rozmainsky (Ad Lucem Studios); Mixed and Mastered by Georg Ubel in 2014...
08/31/2015..........................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit ROZ VITALIS HOME PAGE...
. LIGHT DAMAGE - "Light Damage"
Light Damage is a modern Progressive Rock band from Luxembourg that was formed in 2005 by Stéphane Lecocq (guitars) and Sébastien De Landtsheer (drums) after a meeting at the Prog convention “Spirit of 66” (Belgium). They were joined by Nicholas-John (vocals, guitars), Fréderik Hardy (bass), and Sébastien ‘Chavy’ Chavériat (keyboards), and began to play covers of “Pink Floyd” and “Genesis”. In April 2008 the group made a presentation at the Tribute Festival d’Arlon, dedicated to “Pink Floyd”. In the same year, keyboardist Chavy left the band and was replaced by Christophe Pietquin, a keyboardist with a lean to the Metal style. In 2009, Light Damage recorded a demo – “Acronym” – featuring 5 tracks. The sound of the band was then in plain evolution, but in 2011 drummer Sébastien left Light Damage to pursue a career in foreign countries. Thibaut ‘Titi’ Grappin arrived in replacement to him, bringing in a new rhythmic style that improved the music of Light Damage. By the end of 2012, keyboardist Christophe left Light Damage, and was replaced in 2013 by multi-instrumentalist Sébastien Pérignon (member of “Ban de Chevigny”), who brought again a Progressive orientation to Light Damage’s sound. In 2013 the renovated line-up began to rearrange the songs of the demo “Acronym” and to prepare new material for Light Damage’s self-produced first album, titled “Light Damage” (October 2014, available via Progressive Promotion Records). The music of Light Damage is rooted in the Neo-Progressive ground, but, by including elements of Post-Rock, Heavy-Prog, Alternative Rock, and Prog-Metal in their arrangements, this band achieves an original and diversified palette of sounds that makes it distinct from the typical Neo-Prog sonority of the ‘80s, at the same time being accessible to the audiences of this century. Light Damage stands then on the meeting point between a few enduring bands, like “Genesis”, “Marillion”, “IQ”, “Rush”, and “Pink Floyd”; and other bands that belong to an expanded Progressive universe, such as “Radiohead”, “Muse”, “Sylvan”, “Dream Theater”, “Frost*”, “It Bites”, “Airbag”, “Osada Vida”, “Haken”, “Crystal Palace”, “State Urge”, “Comedy of Errors”, “Silhouette”, and so on. “Light Damage” – the album - features six long-lasting tracks, including exciting new versions of three songs of “Acronym” (“Eden”, “Heaven”, and “Touched”). “Eden” (9:38) is the opening song that introduces Light Damage’s musical credentials to the listener. It begins with a hypnotic bass (reminiscent of “Roger Waters’”) that leads to an impressive instrumental sequence, opulent in dramatic guitars, soaring synths, layers of sensitive pianos and great keyboard tunes that interplay in perfect harmonization. Stéphane in especial, is one of those guitar players who like to keep on soloing during all time, having a steady dialogue with Sébastien Pérignon on keyboards. The duo is driven by a pulsing and fluidal rhythmic section that equilibrates the music between softness and heaviness: Frédérik’s bass is groovy and elegant (sometimes recalling “Pete Trewavas”), while Thibaut’s drumming is sophisticated far beyond the Neo-Prog standard, although it can get quite rocky and heavy on selected parts. These four musicians conduct the instrumental sequences with good vibes, uplifting moods, and great professional competence - all in behalf of Nicholas-John’s delightful mellow vocals, which exude sensibility and emotion. The two following songs belong to Light Damage’s recent repertoire and show how this group has evolved in the meantime. “Empty” (6:07) is a half-ballad that has its climax on the powerful chorus backed by Space-Prog riffs and portentous organs, congregating influences of “Marillion”, “IQ”, and “Muse”; and the impressive “The Supper Of Cyprianus” (9:07) is definitely the album’s masterpiece. Beginning slowly, like a ballad, this amazing song follows on a typical Progressive path, growing in intensity as each different part is added, bringing in vocal narratives, guitars blended to vocals, sturdy riffs, synths, “Marillion”-like bass drives, and an amazing final sequence with guitars and keyboards. From this point on, the CD goes back to the “Acronym” era, presenting the hovering “Heaven” (8:38), which, like song “Eden”, is introduced by a long instrumental part having angelical choirs, delicate guitars, and a long piano strengthened by rhythmic Space-Rock riffs (reminiscent of “Rush”). Vocals show up at the middle, followed by sticky backing vocals, and point at a dreamy guitar solo. Finally, we get to “F.H.B. (For Helpful Buddies)” (2:36) – an instrumental piece in Post-Rock style that introduces the energetic “Touched” (6:32), which was transplanted from “Acronym” to close “Light Damage” with the raw energy and punch of a Heavy-Prog outfit, including suspenseful epic riffs, wonderful solos of guitar, and aggressive Prog-Metal hooks. Light Damage is presently promoting their great and impressive debut, helped by keyboardist Sébastien ‘Chavy’, who has returned to play in live concerts. Light Damage’s fresh Neo-Progressive style is highly recommended for fans of “Genesis”, “Marillion”, “IQ”, “Rush”, “Pink Floyd”, “Radiohead”, “Muse”, “Sylvan”, “Dream Theater”, “Frost*”, “It Bites”, “Airbag”, “Osada Vida”, “Crystal Palace”, “Haken”, “State Urge”, “Maze of Sound”, “Comedy of Errors”, “Silhouette”, “Hamadryad”, “Mindfields”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Light Damage are: Nicholas-John – Lead Vocals, Guitars, E-bow; Stéphane Lecocq - Lead Guitars; Sébastien Pérignon – Keyboards, Percussion, Tubular Bells; Frédérik Hardy - Bass, Bass Pedals, Backing Vocals; Thibaut Grappin (a.k.a. Titi) - Drums, Percussion; Sébastien ‘Chavy’ Chavériat – Keyboards (Live). Ex-members: Sébastien De Landtsheer – Drums; Christophe Pietquin – Keyboards. Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by François Dediste at Ear We Go Recording Studio (Aubange, Belgium). Album Artwork & Design by Stéphane Lecocq & Nicholas-John; Produced by Frédérik Hardy. Also you must visit Light Damage's Facebook Site...(Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/31/2015.........................More information about the band? Better check it out for yourself at: LIGHT DAMAGE HOME PAGE...
. SUB ROSA - "The Gigsaw"
Sub Rosa is a Progressive Rock band hailing from the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Sub Rosa was founded in 2006 by musicians who were very influenced by “Pink Floyd”, “Genesis”, “Marillion”, and “The Beatles”. The expression Sub Rosa (“under the rose”) means “secrecy” or “confidentially”, and comes from the Middle-Age, when a rose, suspended from the ceiling of a room, indicated that what was said “under the rose” was to be kept in secrecy. The practice originated from Greek mythology: as Aphrodite gave a rose to her son Eros, he, in turn, gave it to Harpocrates, the God of Silence, to assure that his mother's indiscretions would not be disclosed. Sub Rosa’s first stable line-up had Reinaldo José (bass, vocals), Vinicius Mendes (guitar, keyboards, flute, vocals), Junior Mansur (keyboards, guitar, vocals) and Romulo Cesar (drums, vocals). They released a demo, “Sub Rosa” (2007), featuring three songs. The same musicians began to record a full-length album in 2008, but during the process, the line-up became unstable, as members went away and new members came in. Sub Rosa’s first full-length album, titled “The Gigsaw” (2009), was finally released with a totally renewed line-up consisting of founding member Reinaldo José (bass, vocals) and: Marcia Cristina (vocals), Glaydston Friederich (vocals), Al Duarte (synths, vocals), Barbara Laranjeira (drums, vocals), and Igor Souza (guitars, who left the band in 2010). “The Gigsaw” – a pun joining the English words “Gig” and “Jigsaw” – mesmerized Progressive fans in Brazil and in the USA (with distribution of Syn-Phonic Records), and took Sub Rosa to embark on a live tour around the East Coast of the USA in 2012, playing in Miami, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Pittsburgh, Newark and New York. Back to Brazil, keyboardist Alexandre Salgueiro joined Sub Rosa, and the band followed on in a live career, with presentations at “Rio Prog Festival II” (sharing stage with Prog-icon “Focus” and other Brazilian bands) and at “Camping Rock” (largest Rock festival in Minas Gerais). In 2015 the label Progressive Rock Worldwide released a digipack version of “The Gigsaw”, containing the 14 original tracks plus three bonuses, and renewed artwork. The booklet features images of artistic panels painted in the Middle-Age and symbols linked to the song themes. The cover artwork is also new, and has a stick that says “more than 15.000 copies sold in the USA and Europe” (until July 2014 – quite unexpected for an independent artist!). “The Gigsaw” is a concept album about life and afterlife. The music is a blend of Psychedelic Progressive Rock with elements of Medieval and Renaissance Music, Folk, and Neo-Prog, slowly delivered on hypnotic-relaxing tempos, and enveloped in a dreamy atmosphere. Sub Rosa’s strongest feature is the electro-acoustic nature of their arrangements (featuring acoustic guitars, cellos and violins) that house beautiful vocals tunes and harmonic male-female vocals, sometimes instilled with a bittersweet melancholy, interspersed with trippy solos of guitar, and underlined by soft lines of bass, minimalist drums, and a unhurried psychedelic-sounding organ. A few other kinds of keyboards - a piano, a Moog-sounding synth - are employed on selected tracks. The lyrics – in English - are mysterious and symbolic, reflecting a kind of cryptographic meaning. In spite of being strongly influenced by “Pink Floyd” and “Marillion”, Sub Rosa has a musical signature of its own, captivating the listener with their lightness, serenity, and keen melodic sense. “Gigsaw” begins with the (too much long) “Symptoms Of Life” (10:37), which begins for real only at the middle after the coming of a “Floyd”-accented guitar solo that precedes a short vocal line in Medieval style. The following group of tracks makes far better, being based on a main theme that is replicated in different forms, beginning with the energy of male lead vocals on “Igneous Vortex Dancer” (1:39); slowing down on the wonderful “Enslavement Of Beauty” (5:57) – a really addicting and favorite track, on which mysterious female vocals and psychedelic guitars share the lead ahead of classic cellos and keyboards; being dispersed on the numb and echoing “Equinox” (6:02); and returning on the sadness of the piano and strings of the instrumental “Amok” (5:22). The ritualistic “Your Eyes” (1:44) introduces a new sequence of tracks, most of which obey Sub Rosa’s original song-format and electro-acoustic sonority, such as the ballads: “The Order” (4:37), “Widow´s Daughter” (4:23), and “The Last Ride - Part 1” (4:32) and “The Last Ride - Part 2” (1:56) – all driven by harmonic vocal duos and a peaceful Psychedelic-Folky mood. Deviating of the pattern, the instrumental “Zeitgeist” (4:31) has pulsing bass and a stronger presence of Moog-synths that recall German bands “Eloy” and “Novalis”; while the burlesque “The Mirror” (5:22) and the ballad “Fatality Show” (4:21) are respectively influenced by British “Marillion” and “Pink Floyd”. “Symptoms Of Life” (Reprise) (1:02) closes the album. The bonus tracks are instrumental samples of “Waiting for the Sun - pt.1 & pt.2” (1:57-2:30); and the appetize “11:11” (1:15) – a preview of Sub Rosa’s next double album. The 15.000 and 1 (me) fans of the band are really eager to listen to it! Sub Rosa is a fascinating new band emerging from Brazil, being highly recommendable for fans of Psychedelic Progressive Rock and Folk Rock with a Medieval-Renaissance touch, who love bands like “Pink Floyd”, “Marillion”, “Pentangle”, “The Morrigan”, “Willowglass”, “Mr. So & So”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Sub Rosa are: Márcia Cristina – Lead and Backing Vocals; Glaydston Friederich – Lead and Backing Vocals (2008-2011); Reinaldo José – Bass, Double Bass, Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals; Alexandre Salgueiro – Piano, Organ, Synths, Vocals; Sergio William – Guitars, Vocals; Bárbara Laranjeira – Drums, Percussion, Vocals; Vinícius Mendes – Second Guitar; Katia Moura – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar (2015). Additional Musicians on “Gigsaw”: Daniel Leão – Violins; Abraão Portes – Cello; Valner Casitta – Synths, Piano, Organ; Ratão – Guitars; Les Paul – Drums; Toninho – Harpsichord; Marcelo Miranda – Voice; Werlei Santos – Synth Drums, Hidden Voice. Past Members: Al Duarte – Keyboards, Synths, Vocals; Thiago Barrez – Guitars, Vocals; Vagner Pereira – Saxophone, Percussion, Vocals; Júnior Mansur – Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals; Rômulo César – Drums, Vocals; Wallace Mansur – Guitars, Sax, Harmonica, Vocals. Songs, Production, Cover Concept, Digital Art by Reinaldo José (with panels from “A Book of Hours” by the Limbourgh Brothers). Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by Rodrigo Ratão & Werlei Santos (Audio Track Studio); Vocals Recorded by Alessandro Bié (Triade Studio) & Reinaldo José (RB Studio). Also you must visit Sub Rosa's Facebook Site...(Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/31/2015............................IIf you want know more about this brazilian band and its members, visit SUB ROSA HOME PAGE...
. WITCHFIELD - "Sabbatai Zevi"
Witchfield is a Psychedelic-Doom-Metal project created by drummer Thomas Hand Chaste, of “Death SS” fame, who has also collaborated in other Doom and Psychedelic projects made in Italy (e.g. “Paul Chain Violet Theatre”, “Sancta Sanctorum”). Witchfield’s discography includes only two albums: the debut “Sleepless” (2009, Black Widow Records) and the newly released album, titled “Sabbatai Zevi” (2015, Black Widow – available on CD and LP versions). “Sabbatai Zevi” is a concept album inspired on the historical figure of Sabbatai Zevi (1626-1676), a Sephardic Rabbi and Kabbalist who claimed to be the long-awaited Jewish Messiah. Zevi founded the Sabbatean movement, and still has importance for the students of the Occult. On this Witchfield’s sophomore album, Thomas Chaste sings and plays several instruments, including drums, bass, synths and Hammond organ, being helped by some guests that bonded together a fellowship to shelter him during his new journey towards the mysterious darkness: Pietro Pellegrini (“Alphataurus”), Tiziana Radis (“Secret Tales”), Nicola Rossi (“Doomraiser”), John Goldfinch (“L’Impero delle Ombre”), and others (see below). Witchfield’s music sounds as if all Psychedelic Rock bands of the late ‘60s had been dissolved in an extremely acid medium to brew slowly together with a few retorted “roots of Doom Metal”. Smelling this bubbling and vaporous ooze, it is possible to feel remnants of bands like “The Doors”, “Iron Butterfly”, “Coven”, “Epitaph”, “Ultimate Spinach”, emulsified with distorted crawling guitars that recall “Black Sabbath”, “Trouble”, “Electric Wizard”, and “Orange Goblin”, and thickened with vintage keyboards reminiscent of “Deep Purple”, “The Doors”, “Vanilla Fudge”, and “Arthur Brown”. This last meal is served on unfathomed dishes with accompaniment of sinister riffs, ghostly vocals, hypnotic bass, and gloomy drums, delivered on slow-doped cadences surrounded by eerie atmospheres. The Kabbalistic issues and the primitive texture of the instruments team up Witchfield with other Italian Dark-Rock bands (e.g. “Doomraiser”, “L’Impero delle Ombre”, “Spettri”, “Malombra”, “The Black”, “Presence”, “Goblin”, “Jacula”, “Antonius Rex”, “Il Segno del Comando”). The album “Sabbatai Zevi” features 9 tracks plus a bonus video. “Vertigo” (0:53) is a sinister foreword that introduces us to the heavy and slow-stoned primitiveness of “Living on Trees” (5:47) – on which crawling guitars and organs with a touch of finitude join in with Nicolla Rossi’s drowsy vocals, shocking us with the impression of how “Black Sabbath” would have sounded, if their lead vocalist was “Jim Morrison”. This association is taken beyond on “Heart of Soldier” (7:01) – an awesome song introduced by imposing church organ, driven by stoned-Gothic vocals, and tribal drums, having psychedelic-raga solos of guitar and keyboards! But before arriving there, we hear to Chaste’s insane vocals sliding as sluggishly as geological time, trespassing granitic walls of Doom-Metal riffs, and transposing trenches of doomsday choirs, to drive the title track, “Sabbatai Zevi” (6:42) to total madness, and to siege “I Feel the Pain” (4:39) with distortion and desperation. But the songs that I liked most were: “Walk” (5:31) – a Desert-Rock driven by mysterious singer Runal, who rises from melancholy to anger, fronting an impressive Heavy-Psychic guitar solo; “Make Up Your Mind” (7:25), which begins cheerful as a harmful 60’s Psychedelic Rock, under the lead of John Goldfinch’s melodic vocals, but changes completely after the eruption of drums, opening way for an extended instrumental segment on which marble-perforating Hammonds battle against solos of bass over groovy drums (like “Deep Purple”); and the aforementioned “Heart of Soldier”. Two other tracks (4 and 9) are equally outstanding: “Continent” (4:48) and “Falling Star” (7:18). Both are sung by Tiziana Radis, whose bewitching voice floats so unreal, recalling the sound of bands like “Ultimate Spinach”, “Coven”, and “Presence”, taking the listener to a parallel world. “Continent”, having a slightly Medieval-Progressive touch, is magnificent; while “Falling Star” (7:18) is dreamy, immersed in a lysergic atmosphere and crowned with outstanding guitar solo – the perfect song to close “Sabbatai Zevi”. The album has also a bonus video – “La Metamorfosi dell’Anima” (15:05), which features bizarre footage scored by an instrumental Symphonic Dark-Prog piece. Witchfield’s new album may cause damage to those fond of more mellowing and crystalline Progressive Rock, but I am sure that fans of Psychedelic Doom Metal, Stoner Metal, and Dark-Progressive Rock that deals with themes of the Occult, will eagerly absorb each sound of it. Witchfield’s “Sabbatai Zevi” is highly recommended for fans of “Black Sabbath”, “Trouble”, “Electric Wizard”, “Orange Goblin”, “Deep Purple”, “Arthur Brown”, “Doomraiser”, “L’Impero delle Ombre”, “Spettri”, “Malombra”, “The Black”, “Presence”, “Goblin”, “Jacula”, “Antonius Rex”, “Il Segno del Comando”, “The Doors”, “Iron Butterfly”, “Coven”, “Epitaph”, “Ultimate Spinach”, “Black Widow”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Witchfield are: Thomas Hand Chaste – Vocals, Bass, Synths, Hammonds, Drums, and other instruments. Guest Musicians: Pietro Pellegrini – Solo Organ on “Make Up Your Mind”; Tiziana Radis – Vocals on “Continent” and “Falling Star”; Nicola Rossi – Vocals on “Living on Trees” and “Heart of Soldier”; John Goldfinch – Vocals on “Make Up Your Mind”. Additional Musicians: Romolo Scoldavolpe – Lyrics & Voice on “Vertigo”; Red Crotalo – Solo Guitar on “Living on Trees”; Fredrick Dope – Solo Guitar on “Sabbatai Zevi”, “Walk”, and Guitar on “I Feel the Pain”; Felis Catus – Guitars & Bass on “Continent”, Solo Guitar on “I Feel the Pain”; Ture – Keyboards & Synth on “Continent”; “Syrus” – Drums on “Continent”; Runal – Vocals on “Walk”; Raffaeli Magi – Bass on “Make Up Your Mind”; Psico – Second Drum on “Make Up Your Mind”; Omar Bologna – Solo Guitar on “Heart of Soldier”; Faro – Solo Guitar on “Falling Star”; Camilla Muccioli – Video Making. All Lyrics and Music by A. Vianelli, except on “Continent” (Lyrics & Music by A. Vianelli & Mendes); and “Make Up Your Mind” (Lyrics & Music by S. Hammond). Recorded and Mixed by Thomas Chaste at Four Sticks Studio; Mastered by Guido Keller & Thomas Chaste at Vertigo Music Factory...(Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/31/2015..........................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit WITCHFIELD HOME PAGE...
. RIPPER - "Third Witness"
Ripper is a veteran Heavy Metal band based in Houston, Texas (U.S.A.). Ripper was formed in 1977, released their first album, “...and the Dead Shall Rise”, only in 1986, and split up in 1990. A central figure in Ripper’s line-up was Rob Graves – a precocious guitar player who began to play guitar in 1967 (then at the age of 9) and officially joined the band in 1980. As a musician and guitar player, Rob Graves has been mostly influenced by “Black Sabbath”, “Deep Purple”, “Kiss”, “Judas Priest”, “Alice Cooper”, “Jimi Hendrix”, “Robin Trower”, “Ritchie Blackmore”, “Ronnie Montrose”, “Ace Frehley”, and “Glenn Tipton”. In 2003, Graves signed a contract with Italian label Black Widow Records to write, record, and release albums with a resurrected and reformulated Ripper, from which Rob Graves is currently the only original member. Ripper’s discography under Black Widow includes the reissue of “And the Dead Shall Rise” (2003); the release of the second, full-length album, “The Dead Have Rizen” (2009); and Ripper’s newest album, titled “Third Witness” (2015), released on both CD and LP formats. Besides Rob Graves on the electric and bass guitars, the record features: Rus Gib (vocals), Stephen Bogle (synths), Robert Bogle (drums on tracks 1-4), Don Ramirez (drums on tracks 5-8); and a special guest appearance by the legendary Steve Sylvester (“Death SS”), singing nothing less than a cover of the macabre song “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” (by “Black Sabbath”)! Ripper’s moto is “to make the best Heavy Metal possible”. The lyrics lean to the Horror Metal style, going around twisted themes centered on the total annihilation of mankind in an apocalyptical world war, but also deal with “genetic mutations, nightmares, spiritual seekers, dreary addictions, and morbid fascinations” – all themes that attract the Metal aficionados. On the 7 original tracks that make the bulge of “Third Witness”, Ripper resurrects the true Heavy Metal sound of the late ‘70s to mid-‘80s – as it was played by several important bands of that time period, such as “Black Sabbath” (of “Ozzy” and ‘Dio” Eras), “Judas Priest”, “Saxon” (the true Metal good stuff), “Dio”, “Witchfynde”, “Angel Witch”, “Witchfinder General”, “Trouble”, “Savatage”, “Metal Church”, “Savage Grace”, “Riot”, “Armored Saint”, “Savage”, “Running Wild” (pre-Pirate phase), and a few others (read ahead). Ripper’s style is branded by guitars that sound like Classic Metal guitars (I mean, not having that low-tuned sonority of ‘90s Grunge or New-Metal), arranged in elaborated, well-defined and well-engendered riffs (mainly of the “Black Sabbath-Judas Priest” kind), sustained on a solid, powerful, pounding, and energized rhythmic section – not fast like Thrash or NWOBHM, but sturdy, cadenced, and groovy enough to make any headbanger to “head-bang” his head during a whole gig! Sometimes, the rhythm may slow down to a Doom metal pace, recalling most macabre songs of “Black Sabbath”, “Trouble”, “Witchfinder General”, and so on. Vocals are never instilled with exaggerated aggression, but alternate from a kind of melodic “Halford”-standard to the stoned “Ozzy”-like paranoia. The adornments are kept in charge of Graves, whose ability for crafting outstanding solos combine his veteran knowledge of all guitar licks and tricks with his experience of long years practicing the Metal-Method. Some synths are occasionally added to envelope the songs in a kind of Psychedelic atmosphere. With this metallic formula, Ripper salute us with songs charged with electricity, such as “Dead Dreams” (04:04) – a speeded first song with instigating riffs and vocal tunes that recalled me of British bands like “Judas Priest”, “Saxon”, and “Grim Reaper”; or hellish groovy songs, driven by fatty bass, pulsing drums, malevolent guitar solos, and placing more emphasis on the chorus, such as: “Into the Realm” (06:37) and “Cryptonite” (05:09) – the later recalling me of “Judas Priest”, “Kiss”, and even early “Running Wild”. But some of my favorite songs were those that leaned to the style of “Black Sabbath” (and their cohort of acolyte bands such as: “Trouble”, “Witchfynde”, “Witchfinder General”, “Solitude Aeturnus”) – including slow-tempo Metal riffs, fuzzy guitar solos, and vocal tunes that recall a doped “Ozzy”. Those songs are: “Fragrant Earth” (04:45), which is adorned with psychedelic-spiraling synths (reminiscent of those employed on the “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” album, performed by “Rick Wakeman”); the tribal and gloomy “Morphinia” (06:43) – really heavy, slow and “Sabbatical” to the core; and the “Epicus-Doomicus” “Geneticide” (05:25), erected on a superb guitar riff backed by a Gothic choir that will make fans of “Candlemass” scream for more! “Third Witness” finishes with the doomsday thematic of “Goin’ Green” (04:15), driven by robotic vocals and a quasi-Prog-Metal instrumentation that brings seminal bands “Fates Warning” and “Helstar” to mind; and a sturdy version of the classic “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” (05:49) – busted by Steve Sylvester on vocals, righteously chosen to end this exciting album! Ripper is highly recommendable for headbangers of all ages, but will specially fascinate those who have witnessed the Golden Era of 80’s Metal, listening first-hand to bands like “Black Sabbath”, “Judas Priest”, “Saxon”, “Dio”, “Witchfinder General”, “Witchfynde”, “Angel Witch”, “Grim Reaper”, “Trouble”, “Savatage”, “Metal Church”, “Savage Grace”, “Riot”, “Armored Saint”, “Savage”, “Candlemass”, “Solitude Aeturnus”, “Obsession”, “Desolation Angels”, “Running Wild”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Ripper are: Rob Graves – Guitars, Bass; Rus Gib – Vocals; Stephen Bogle – Synths, Effects; Robert Bogle - Drums (on tracks 1-4); Don Ramirez - Drums (on tracks 5-8). Special Guest: Steve Sylvester – Vocals on “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”. Other songs written by Graves & Gib. Album Recorded at Control Voltage Studios, Houston, TX; Produced and Engineered by Stephen Bogle; Mastered at Crystal Clear Sound, Dallas, TX. In memory of Jim Marshall, Ronnie Montrose, Ronnie James Dio, Jon Lord...(Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/31/2015..................................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit RIPPER HOME PAGE...
. DELIRIUM - "L’Era Della Menzogna"
Delirium – the legendary Progressive Rock band from Italy - is back to PR&PM! Delirium was born in Genoa, 1970, from a band called “I Saggitari”. The first line-up featured Ivano Fossati (vocals, flute), Mimmo Di Martino (acoustic guitar), Ettore Vigo (keyboards), Marcello Reale (bass), and Pino Di Santo (drums, vocals). Their first album, "Dolce Acqua" (1971), had an electro-acoustic sonority that was accentuated by Fossati's flute, and earned comparisons to “Jethro Tull”. Gaining notoriety after an appearance at the Sanremo Music Festival (with the song "Jesahel"), Delirium saw Fossati’s departure, and welcomed in replacement the English musician Martin Grice (flute, saxophone). Delirium released then a second album, "Lo Scemo e il Villaggio" (1972) - which had a Progressive sound with a Jazzy lean; and reached a level of Progressive perfection on their third and mostly acclaimed album, “Delirium 3 - Viaggio negli Arcipelaghi del Tempo” (1974) – which was marked by the employment of the electric guitar for the first time. Delirium disbanded in 1975, but regrouped in 2003 with a reformulated line-up featuring original members Di Santo, Vigo and Grice, and new members Fabio Chighini (bass) and Roberto Solinas (guitar, vocals). The band’s comeback was marked by the release of two albums under Black Widow Records: the live album “Vibrazioni Notturne” (2007, reviewed at PR&PM in 2009); and the fourth studio album, “Il Nome del Vento” (2009) – a masterpiece, chosen as PR&PM’s “Album of the Month” of February, 2009! Delirium has just released a new album, titled “L’Era Della Menzogna” (2015, Black Widow). The line-up was reformulated once more, and presently counts with Ettore Vigo, Martin Grice, Fabio Chighini (from the previous line-up), joined by the requested musicians Michele Cusato (guitars) and Alfredo Vandresi (drums), and strengthened by the presence of singer Alessandro Corvaglia (“La Maschera di Cera”). Delirium’s sound has always been characterized by a Progressive fusion of Folk, Jazz, and Rock elements, marked by vigorous flute playing (either by Fossati, or by Grice), alternated with a willing sax, elaborated guitars, and multi-layered keyboards; all being harmonized in memorable arrangements and underlined by passionate vocals – garnering to the band eligible comparisons to “Jethro Tull”, “King Crimson”, “Colosseum”, and “Van der Graaf Generator”. On this new album it is no different! Veterans Vigo and Grice found a perfect counterpoint on new member Cusato (whose magnificent guitar matches Grice’s jazzy saxophone) and a stable support on Vandresi’s precise drumming. He easily dialogues with Chighini’s elegant bass, both guaranteeing a modern, extra-class, rhythmic section to Delirium. Vigo’s arsenal of keyboards add a necessary symphonic stuffing, while Corvaglia’s impressive vocals - at the same time potent and melodically emotional – have fitted perfectly into Delirium’s sonority: a balanced blend of Folk, Jazz and Rock elements, combined within a 70’s-Prog frame, stamped with their trademark – the sensitive flutes! “L'Era della Menzogna” features 9 tracks, The first two are: the bombastic “L’Inganno del Potere” (6:28) – which begins with a powerful riff uniting heavy guitars, sax, and keyboards, stiffened by thunderous vocals, synths and flutes, contrasting with a second part dominated by ethereal bass, dreamy piano, and pastoral flutes; and “Il Nodo” (6:35) – a song based on a perfect understanding between drums and bass, interlocked with typical elements of Prog-Rock “made in Italy” (on vocals and flutes), bonded by groovy Jazz-Rock guitars and wonderful floating synths! The middle of the album was spared for more easy-listening songs, such as the ballad “L’Angelo del Fango” (3:45) – highlighted by angelical female vocals; and “Fuorilegge” (4:16) – with a popish cheerful mood that is ironically opposed to the seriousness of its lyrics. Track 7, “La Voce Dell’Anima” (3:33), featuring a jazz-pop beat and juvenile backing choirs, could also belong here. But the best tracks have been concentrated closer to the album’s end, disposed on a scale of crescent Progressiveness: levitating on the echoing saxophones of the instrumental “La Deriva” (3:54), the listener is taken to “L’Era della Menzogna” (6:57) – an impacting song that alternates energetic Jazz-Fusion sax with tasteful Progressive moments, sensitive guitar solos, and epic vocals; following on with the protest-song “Basta” (5:19), driven by groovy bass and chic Moogs, divided by surprising Gregorian chants and slicing solos of sax and guitars; finishing on “Il Castello del Mago Merlino” (11:29) – a conceptual super-Progressive song that brings expressionist sax, medieval flutes, and epic vocals wrapped up in symphonic harmonies, plentiful of soaring guitars and classic keyboards. Under the guidance of Vigo and Grice, and help of musicians who have contributed enormously with their talent, “L’Era della Menzogna” resulted in a new masterpiece by Delirium – a must-have item for their fans, and an indispensable album for lovers of Italian Progressive Rock and Progressive Rock in general, who have a penchant for flutes and saxophones, as on “Jethro Tull”, “King Crimson”, “Colosseum”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Soft Machine”, “Camel”, “Area”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Delirium are: Ettore Vigo – Keyboards, Backing Vocals; Martin Grice – Saxophone, Flute, Backing Vocals; Fabio Chighini – Bass, Ukulele, Backing Vocals; Michele Cusato – Electric Guitar; Alfredo Vandresi – Drums, Percussion, Synth; Alessandro Corvaglia – Lead Vocals. Additional Musicians: Roberto Solinas – Acoustic Guitar on “La Voce dell’Anima”; Alice Vigo – Voice on “L’Angello del Fango”; Fiorella Zito – Triangle, Backing Vocals on “Basta”; Andrea Anzaldi – Acoustic Guitar on “Il Castello del Mago Merlino”; Fiorella Zito, Adriana Rombolà, Roberto Solinas, Serena Vandresi – Backing Vocals on “La Vocce dell’Anima”. Delirium’s Former Members: Ivano Fossati – Vocals, Flute; Mimmo Di Martino – Acoustic & Electric Guitars; Marcello  Reale - Bass; Peppino Di Santo – Drums, Vocals; Rino Dimopoli – Vocals, Keyboards; Roberto Solinas – Guitar, Vocals. Produced by Alfredo Vandresi, Executive Production by Black Widow Records. Recorded & Mixed by Alfredo Vandresi; Mastered by Marco Canepa; Assistant Engineer: Jonathan Grice. Cover by Silvana Zago; Photos & Layout by Zia Mildred & Pino Pintabona. Album Available on CD & LP on Black Widow Records...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/31/2015...........................................Interested to know more about this amazing Italian Band? Visit DELIRIUM HOME PAGE...
. SPETTRI - "2973 – La Nemica dei Ricordi"
Spettri is a legendary, but rather obscure Heavy Prog group from Florence, Italy. The band was formed by brothers Ugo and Raffaele Ponticiello in 1964, and released several singles. Although the band had recorded enough material for a full-length album in 1972, this album – the eponymous “Spettri”, did never come out. It was only four decades later that the Italian Progressive Rock label Black Widow Records released a remastered version of “Spettri” (2011), on CD and LP. Spettri’s music was then dark, raw and heavy, similar to a blend of “Black Sabbath” and “Deep Purple”, and after so much time, it still is! For Spettri regrouped again, to proudly offer to their gray-haired fans a brand new album, titled “2973 – La Nemica dei Ricordi” (2015, Black Widow Records). “2973” features most of Spettri’s 1972 line-up, consisting of brothers Ugo (vocals), Raffaele (guitars) and Vincenzo Ponticiello (bass), and Stefano Melani (keyboards). Drummer Giorgio Di Ruvo was replaced by Mauro Sarti (of “Campo di Marte”, who had played in Spettri’s early formations). Also taking part on this endeavor are: Matteo Biancalani (saxophones), and guests Elisa Montaldo (“Il Tempio delle Clessidre”) on few vocals; and Stefano Corsi (“Whisky Trail”), on the Celtic harp and harmonica. The musicians employed the same instruments and analog equipment used on the 70’s recording, and the album is available on “ADD” CD, or Stereo and Mono Vinyl editions. “2973 – La Nemica dei Ricordi” is a concept album that gives continuation to the story started on the first album. A magic ship will take us through a journey downwards to the deepest abyss of our fears, before finally docking at a new island of peace. The CD version has 8 tracks + 3 bonus. The music retains the style of Spettri’s previous work, but improved. Cloaked on a macabre Dark-Gothic kind of atmosphere, heavy and sinister guitar riffs – emulating those of “Black Sabbath” – are compacted with an omnipresent and powerful Hammond Organ inside a smothering space. The gritty and solid sonic walls are sustained on a strong, albeit dynamic, rhythmic platform, onto which a frantic sax (as schizoid as “King Crimson’s”) reverberates in madness – sometimes battling against drums! All those elements compose a dense Gothic-Baroque musical architecture that is reinforced by vintage keyboards – a Mellotron, an Arp Odyssey – and a magnificent Classical piano (sometimes recalling the earliest and boldest works of “ELP”). The adornments include Gargoyle-choirs, ritualistic chants, and primeval flutes guided by Ugo’s coarse, but expressive voice (cursing like a captain of a pirate ship). As a whole, Spettri’s sound is outstanding, resembling the darkest songs of “Black Sabbath”, “Deep Purple”, “Uriah Heep”, “ELP”, “Atomic Rooster”, “Black Widow”, and “King Crimson”, trailing the same path of other Italian bands with a sympathy for the Horror, the Mystery, and the Occult, such as: “Il Segno del Comando”, “Goblin”, “Presence”, “Jacula”, “Antonius Rex”, “Metamorfosi”, “Malombra”, “Finisterre”, “Goad”, “Syndone”, etc. The songs have long instrumental passages, and include waves of wild solos. “Il Lamento dei Gabbiani” (5:37) opens the album with a “Purple-Sabbath” hard punch, sinister vocals, Hammonds, and machine-gun sax-drumming, penetrating into the eerie “La Nave” (7:24) – marked by thunderous chords, dramatic cascading pianos, and battling drums and sax. The following sequence rises to a peak in the Heavy-Dark Prog style: the powerful and stormy “La Profezia” (7:07) is surprisingly slowed down at the middle by a sensitive organ, soft acoustic guitars, flutes, and a mild-mannered sax that precedes a religious chanting; the tsunamic “Onda di Fuoco” (6:05) is conveyed on rumbling drums and organs, rising epically with the coming of a gloomy piano that plays an emotive tune on the right side of the keyboard, and a devil’s bolero on the left side, later sliced by the sax; and the title-track “La Nemica dei Ricordi” (7:17) has gritty Hammonds perforating the soul, trespassing guitar solo, portentous church organs, creepy ritualistic choirs, and amazing sax budding out from all this – crumbling down with cascading instrumentation! Allowing the listener to take a breath, the aqueous “Il Delfino Bianco” (4:05) comes next, bringing pastoral flutes, acoustic guitars, atmospheric keyboards, and the beautiful voice of Elisa Montaldo escorted by sirens’ backing vocals. Spettri grows heavy again on the igneous “La Stiva” (5:50), charging with hellish keyboards, groovy riffs, malevolent icy-frozen pianos, jazzy sax, and syllabic vocals, in a delirious frenzy that finds peace on the relaxing “L'Approdo” (4:55) – an instrumental piece that conjugates piano, harp, strings, flutes, and harmonica in an adventurous medieval theme that goes on a crescendo until the very end. The CD offers the mono versions of three tracks: “Il Lamento dei Gabbiani”, “La Profezia”, and “La Stiva”, passing the idea of how the LP sounds like. Not aimed to the feeble-hearted listeners, this highly recommendable album by Spettri will make a huge success among fans of Heavy and Dark Progressive Rock, who like the obscure side of bands like “Black Sabbath”, “Deep Purple”, “Uriah Heep”, “ELP”, “Atomic Rooster”, “Black Widow”, “King Crimson”, “Il Segno del Comando”, “Goblin”, “Malombra”, “Presence”, “Jacula”, “Antonius Rex”, “Metamorfosi”, “Finisterre”, “Goad”, “Syndone”, “La Maschera di Cera”, “Il Tempio delle Clessidre”. Band members and collaborators involved in Spettri are: Ugo Ponticiello - Lead Vocals; Raffaele Ponticiello - Guitars Gibson, Yamaha; Vincenzo Ponticiello - Bass; Stefano Melani - Hammond, Leslie GRS, Arp Odyssey, Piano, Mellotron, Wurlitzer; Mauro Sarti - Drums, Flute, Gong; Matteo Biancalani - Saxophone. Special Guests: Elisa Montaldo - Vocals on “Il Delfino Bianco”; Stefano Corsi - Celtic Harp and Harmonica on “L’Approdo”. Choruses on “La Profezia” & “La Nemica dei Ricordi”: Valeria Ponticiello, Belinda Sciclone, Roberto Buoni, Franco Ghezzi, with Spettri. Former member: Giorgio Di Ruvo – Drums on the “Spettri” Album. Recorded analogically through Neve 1976 desk on a 2“24 track tape recorder, in 2014 at Larione-10, Firenze, Italy; Mixed by Francesco Landi & Stefano Melani; Mastered by Tommy Bianchi. Cover Artwork by Mattia Sarti...(Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/31/2015........................................Want to learn everything about the band and its members, goes to SPETTRI HOME PAGE...
. HEAVY AMERICA - "Heavy AmericA"
Heavy AmericA (with two big “As”) is a Hard Rock trio based in Boston, Massachusetts, that was formed in 2013 by  Mike Seguin (guitars, lead vocals, keyboards), Budd Lapham (bass, vocals), and Dan Fried (drums, percussion, vocals). Heavy AmericA aims to combine different strains of Heavy Rock – Hard, Desert, Stoner, Alternative, Indy, Grunge – to create original songs that may resound as gritty as the Boston streets that have inspired those musicians; and capable of driving the present Rock scene out from its boredom and shortage of ideas. Heavy AmericA relies on their “keep it simple” kind of formula and “guerrilla strategy” to instill bursting-out energy and contrasting emotions onto their songs. With that kind of “do-it-yourself” attitude, Heavy AmericA has already managed to release a debut EP – the eponymous “Heavy AmericA” (2015, independent) – which contains six explosive rocking tracks that are on rotation on over 100 college, indie, and online radio stations. The sound of Heavy AmericA is a heavy aggregation of Heavy Rock elements that are cemented together as hard-stoned bricks, forming solid and impervious sonic walls. The music is driven by stoned distorted guitar riffs, punchy bass lines, and aggressive drum beats, supporting vocals that recall the Grunge style, alternating from slightly melodic and depressed to the most anguished and aggressive patterns. The main influences are bands like “Queens of the Stone Age”, “Foo Fighters”, “Royal Blood”, “Kings X”, “The Melvins”, “Nirvana”, “NIN”, and so on. By listening to this EP’s songs, I suppose that the energetic and explosive “Sad Dog” (2:56), the pragmatic and depressive “Daddy” (3:20), and the whirlwind riffs of “Motor Honey” (2:48) will attract fans of “Queens of the Stone Age” to this EP like honey would do to flies. Meanwhile, the spontaneity of the guitar riffs, the fast drumming, and the minimalist synths on the background of “Headlights” (2:57) will appeal to fans of 80’s Alternative Post-Punk Rock. But the songs that I liked most were: “Under Glass” (4:57) – which has an eerie beginning driven by cool bass and drums, grows on the guitar riffs, and is crowned with a swerving and oriental guitar solo; and “Sharp Corners” (3:56), which combines psychedelic bass with depressed vocals, alternating that pattern with some aggressive monochord riffs and frantic binary drumming, sparing some moments for a rocky guitar solo – both songs recalling me of a blend of “Queens of the Stone Age” with “Melvins”. Neither a Progressive Rock act, nor a typical Prog-Metal outfit, Heavy AmericA is however a solid band that makes heavy-sounding music with a truly Rock and Protest attitude, being specially recommended for fans of  Grunge, Punk-Rock, Heavy Alternative Rock and Modern Heavy Rock, who love “Queens of the Stone Age”, “Foo Fighters”, “Royal Blood”, “Kings X”, “The Melvins”, “Nirvana”, “NIN”, “The White Stripes”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Heavy AmericA are: Mike Seguin – Lead Guitars, Lead Vocals, Keyboards; Budd Lapham - Bass, Vocals; Dan Fried - Drums, Percussion, Vocals. All songs writteb by Mike Seguin; Recorded at Room 19 Studio, Billerica, MA; Produced and Engineered by Mike Seguin; Mastering by The SoundLab. Also you must visit Heavy AmericA's Facebook Site...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/30/2015.........,,.........................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit HEAVY AMERICA HOME PAGE...
. ANAGRAMMA - "Anagramma"
Anagramma is a Fusion trio from Italy consisting of Daniele Iacono (drums, percussion, and keyboards), Stefano Pontani (guitar), and Fabio Lelli (guitar). Other musicians are generally invited to play with Anagramma, mainly bassists, flutists, and saxophonists. Anagramma’s main components are top-quality professional musicians with large experience in the Italian Jazz-Rock and Pop scenes. Daniele Iacono learned drums from “Jack DeJohnette”, “Steve Gadd”, “Dennis Chambers”, “Gary Chaffee”, and “Vinnie Colaiuta”; and played with artists in Italy (“Niccolò Fabi”, “Biagio Antonacci”, “Enrico Capuano”, “Federico Salvatore”, “Andrea Ra”, “Amalia Grè”, “Massimo Nunzi”) and Denmark (“Playtime Jazz Quartet”, “Frank Bidstrup Trio”). Fabiano Lelli collaborated with several artists, including “Gianni Davoli”, “Grazia Di Michele”, “Rossana Casale”, “Steve Gadd”, “Franz di Cioccio” (“PFM”), “Paolo Meneguzzi”, “Mario Biondi”, “Massimo Ranieri”. Stefano Pontani is guitar player for “Vu Meters” (formed by members of “Nodo Gordiano” and “Balletto di Bronzo”), “Ezra Winston” (80’s Italian Neo-Prog outfit); and “Matilda Mothers Project” (devoted to soundtrack composition). Under the moniker of Anagramma, this trio has already recorded and released two albums: the eponymous “Anagramma” (2008) and the sophomore “Nibiru” (2011), both released via independent Italian label Terre Sommerse. The music of Anagramma resembles the kind of Fusion that was played from late ‘70s to early ‘80s, being very reminiscent of “Allan Holdsworth”, “Chick Corea”, “Return to Forever”, “Weather Report”, “Jeff Beck”, “Passport”, “Jan Akerman”, “Bill Bruford”, “The Dregs”, “Pat Metheny”, “Jaco Pastorius”, “Al Di Meola”, “John McLaughlin”, “Spyro Gyra”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Soft Machine”, the Japanese “Casiopea” and “Kenso”, including a dash of “King Crimson”. Anagramma’s compositions are totally instrumental - highly sophisticated and elaborated in its arrangements - and delivered with a dynamics that allows the music to evolve and flow free – specially the longest ones. The individual performances of the main trio, and of their guests, compare in excellence to those of the masters of the Fusion style, but what really counts is the synergetic communion shared by all musicians involved with Anagramma – valuing the whole above the individuality. The sonority of Anagramma combines solos of clean guitars with a vibrant rhythmic section supported by a groovy bass, being often embellished with sax, flutes, vivid pianos, and neat synths – jazzy enough to please most Fusion fans, and melodic enough to attract attention of Progressive lovers alike. “Anagramma” (2008, Terre Sommerse) features 8 instrumental tracks, which vary mostly in mood and atmosphere. The album starts with the vibrantly energetic “Peggio di un Blues” (4:36), which combines rocky vigor with groovy bass – including solo improvisations, recalling a combination of “Allan Holdsworth” with “Jaco Pastorius”. “Savana” (8:15) – a highlight of the album – lowers the temperature to a jazzy coolness, departing from contemplative soundscapes plentiful of flutes, but heating up on the second part, with the coming of dancing Latin beats and  lively pianos. “Sabbia” (8:21) is slow, calm, and introspective, conveying a long and sensitive solo on the guitar, and contrasts with the mysterious ambience of “Uragano” (4:25). Anagramma’s most experimental facet shows off on the crooked guitars of “Broadway Uptown” (4:16) – having a dash of “King Crimson” – followed by a gentle and melodic solo of saxophone that dominates the piece, which brings “Passport” to mind. The next track is the cheerful “Chiuso Per Ferie” (7:55) (“Closed for Vacation”), led by joyful guitars that instill in the listener the sunny sensation and adventurous disposition of being on vocation, being reminiscent of “The Dregs” and “Metheny”. Its relaxing mood contrasts with the formal elegance and technical sophistication of the guitar solos on “Alghe” (7:08), on a promenade cadence, embroidered with magnificent bass lines. The album ends with the most Progressive track, “Algarve” (4:48) – surrounded by a mysterious aura created by the opposition of gloomy guitars to exotic percussion – congregating influences of “King Crimson”, “Mahavishnu” and “Steve Vai”. The only regretful fact concerning Anagramma, is that this amazing trio seems not to be much known outside Italy. I hope that this review might change this situation, bringing some light upon Anagramma, for this band is really brilliant and musically instigating, highly recommendable for fans of Guitar-Driven Melodic Fusion, who love “Allan Holdsworth”, “Chick Corea”, “Return To Forever”, “Weather Report”, “Jeff Beck”, “Passport”, “Jan Akerman”, “Bill Bruford”, “The Dregs”, “Pat Metheny”, “Jaco Pastorius”, “Al Di Meola”, “John McLaughlin”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Spyro Gyra”, “Soft Machine”, “Marbin”, “Steve Vai”, “Greg Howe”, “Casiopea”, “Kenso”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Anagramma are: Daniele Iacono - Drums, Percussion, Keyboards, Vibes, Electronic Drums (tr. 8); Fabiano Lelli – Guitar; Stefano Pontani – Guitar. Guest Bassists: Matteo Esposito (tr. 1), Fabrizio Fabiano (tr. 2, 5), Luca Pirozzi (tr. 3), Paolo Graziani (tr. 4), Gianni Colaiacomo (tr. 6, 7). Additional Guest Musicians: Gianluca Verrengio – Guitar (tr. 2); Paolo Lucini - Flutes (tr. 2); Andrea Rongioletti – Keyboards (tr. 2); Pino Iodice – Piano Solo (tr. 2); Paolo Innarella – Saxophone (tr. 5); Vito Laruccia – Computer (tr. 8). Recorded and Mixed at 3Fates Recording Studio by Stefano Pontani...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/30/2015.........................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit ANAGRAMMA HOME PAGE...
. DEEP STARE - "Triplet"
Deep Stare is a new and exciting Progressive Metal trio hailing from the Czech Republic. Deep Stare was formed in Prague in 2013 by ex-members of a Prog-Metal band called “ClayFeeders”: the Czech Michal Popelár (guitars) and Luboš Pavlík (drums), and the Slovakian TomᚠMonok (bass). Deep Stare is presently promoting their self-released EP, titled “Triplet” (2015). The sound of Deep Stare is predominantly instrumental, having few passages with vocals that are not sung, but narratives of slogans with a sci-fi content. The spinal column of Deep Stare’s music consists of powerful bass and drums that support destroying guitar riffs, which combine Thrash-Metal energy and aggressiveness with Prog-Metal bombastic complexity and groovy Metal-Fusion technique, including surprising solos, twists, turns, changes of pace and atmosphere. Although a keyboardist has not been credited, Deep Stare’s music is covered with layers of synths in Prog-Metal style, with a symphonic edge. The influences come from iconic bands of the Metal world, such as: “Metallica”, “Megadeth”, “Testament”, “Annihilator”, “Overkill”, “Flotsam and Jetsam”, “Iron Maiden”, “Savatage”, “Crimson Glory”, “Planet X”, “Derek Sherinian”, “Symphony X”, “Dream Theater”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Niacin”, “Steve Vai”, “Primus”, and so on. “Triplet” brings three great tracks, which are very different from each other. The aggressive “Eternal Sense” (7:09) opens the EP, attacking the listener mercilessly with fast and thrilling Thrash-Metal riffs superposed to tsunamic waves of synths and choirs. This massive locomotive of metallic sounds is surprisingly soothed down with a Progressive sequence driven by classic acoustic guitars and soft tunes of bass and synths, coming back for the final blow on the next sequence – in Metal-Fusion style, crowned with jazzy pianos and superb guitar solo. The amazing “Words of Wisdom” (7:44) comes next, and is the most Progressive track of the album. Starting with a dark atmosphere from which an Oriental guitar solo rises, this piece goes on in a full-fledged Metal style conveyed on a pounding mid-tempo cadence that recalled me of bands like “Savatage” and “Crimson Glory”. This is the only track featuring some vocals – which are more like a narrative of the doomsday. It is also the piece on which the band shows off with their technical prowess and ability to forge arrangements for guitar-bass-and-drums that are really intricate and awesome! Finally, “Obsession” (6:07) closes the EP with a strong Metal-Fusion lean, interspersing carnivorous Thrashing riffs and fast machine-gun drumming with groovy interludes of bass and guitars, including more complex passages that recall “Iron Maiden”, and outstanding guitar solo that recalls guitarists like “Steve Vai” and his kin. In sum, the “Triplet” EP showcases some really impressive and extraordinary Prog-Metal music that unveils a great new band rising on the horizon. Deep Stare is therefore highly recommendable for fans of Prog-Metal with a Thrash-Metal lean and Metal-Fusion lovers, who are used to listen to bands such as: “Iron Maiden”, “Metallica”, “Megadeth”, “Testament”, “Annihilator”, “Overkill”, “Flotsam and Jetsam”, “Savatage”, “Crimson Glory”, “Planet X”, “Derek Sherinian”, “Symphony X”, “Dream Theater”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Niacin”, “Steve Vai”, “Primus”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Deep Stare are: Michal Popelár – Guitars; TomᚠMonok – Bass; Luboš Pavlík – Drums. Keyboards and Voice have been not credited. EP recorded and produced by Deep Stare. Also you must visit Deep Stare's Facebook Site...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/30/2015..........................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit DEEP STARE HOME PAGE...
. THE SYN - "Live Rosfest"
The Syn is a British Rock band that is mostly known for being a precursor of the iconic Progressive Rock act “Yes”. The Syn was formed in 1965, and one of its line-ups included Steve Nardelli (lead vocals and only founding member left), Peter Banks (guitars), and Chris Squire (bass). The Syn played mainly Psychedelic Rock and released two singles. In 1967 The Syn dissolved, and Squire and Banks went on a different musical way, which would ultimately result in the foundation of “Yes”. The Syn could have been condemned to total oblivion, unless by the effort of Steve Nardelli, who in the 21st century gathered together a line-up consisting of Paul Stacey (guitars), Gerard Johnson (keyboards), Jeremy Stacey (drums) and “Yesman” Chris Squire (bass, backing vocals) to release “Syndestructible” (2005) - The Syn’s first studio album! The release was soon followed by a tour, registered on the DVD “Syndestructible Tour 2006” (2006). A few years later, Nardelli stablished a core line-up for The Syn, consisting of: himself, guitarist Francis Dunnery (“It Bites” and “Robert Plant”), and keyboardist Tom Brislin (“Camel” and “Yes”). With contributions of guests Brett Kull (guitars) and Paul Ramsey (drums) – both from “Echolyn” – and Dorie Jackson (backing vocals), the group released The Syn’s second studio album, titled “Big Sky” (2009). “Big Sky” was voted the best Progressive album of 2009 by USA Progressive Music magazine, igniting a promotion tour that culminated on a memorable presentation at the 2009 edition of the “Rites of Spring Festival” (a.k.a. “Rosfest”) in Philadelphia. That historical moment of The Syn’s musical career was recorded live and released on a special CD/DVD edition under the title “The Syn - Live Rosfest” (April, 2015, Umbrello Records, with distribution by NOVA/Universal). The CD contains 12 tracks, comprising The Syn’s whole presentation (77:33), while the bonus DVD features two documentary films: “The Syn in the 21st Century” (20:12) and “The Making of Big Sky” (23:00). As a band that was born during the musical effervescence of the middle 60’s and resurrected only in the 21st century, The Syn has witnessed the rise and fall of different musical styles in time. It is natural that the sonority of The Syn would embrace a diversion of trends. Mostly present are the vibrant Rhythm and Blues, the cheerful Psychedelic Rock, the electro-acoustic Folk-Rock, and the tentative Proto-Progressive Rock that leads to moments of soft and mellow full-fledged Progressive Rock. By listening to The Syn playing live, one may recall bands as diverse as “Yes”, “Camel”, “Caravan”, “Barclay James Harvest”, “The Moody Blues”, “Conspiracy”, “Moon Safari”, “The Flower Kings”, “The Beatles”, “The Beach Boys”, “The Kinks”, “John Mayall”, “Eric Clapton”, “Allman Brothers”, and others. A central element in The Syn is Nardelli – whose voice may be not as firm as it was in the past, but whose talent for songwriting and ability to transmit emotions are just like wine: they improve with aging. Nardelli is therefore the element of cohesiveness and lyricism that pulls The Syn’s music together, keeping it so alive. On the “Big Sky” tour, he was supported by excellent musicians, most of which had taken part on the recording of that album (see below). The set-list of “Live Rosfest” included all songs of “Big Sky”, completed with three songs belonging to the band’s 60’s repertoire. The show starts with one of them, “14 Hour Technicolour Dream” (5:58), a lively song, driven by solid bass and drums, with emphasis on the chorus, that received a Progressive treatment with the addition of passages of delicate synths. Other remnants of The Syn’s past are “Grounded” (3:12), a vigorous song driven by groovy bass and hard-rocking keyboards; and “Flowerman” (5:04), a psychedelic song with an amusing story behind it! But before getting there, the listener enjoys “Running Out Of Time” (6:23) – an American Southern Rock with banjo and saloon piano; “Devils And Demons” (6:41) – a ballad with nice harmony vocals and poignant tunes on the organ; “New Reality” (7:48) – which follows a modern pulse on synths and guitars, having echoes of “Yes” on bass and harmony vocals; and “Universal Witness” (4:51) – another joyful psychedelic rock. But my favorites of this show are: “Milo” (5:36) – a beautiful sad ballad; “Madonna and Child” (5:27) – a fairish lullaby; and “The Reason” (5:53) – a blend of classical pianos, sensitive bass, and soaring harmony vocals that push forwards a “Yes”-like romantic theme; and “Big Sky” (7:00) – a bittersweet ballad that ascends directly to the sky. But the best of all is “Kings, Clowns, Cardinals” (13:33), which is introduced by Dunnery’s entrancing solo on the acoustic guitar, and goes on, interspersing vocals with amazing instrumental parts, reaching a sequence on which The Syn unveils all of its Progressive power, by allowing each instrumentalist to take his time on amazing solos! Besides having great importance for the history of Prog-Rock, “The Syn – Live Rosfest” is a precious item that will satisfy fans of 60’s to 70’s Rock, and soft and mellow Progressive Rock, whose tastes include “Yes”, “Chris Squire”, “Camel”, “Caravan”, “The Beatles”, “John Mayall”, “Barclay James Harvest”, “The Moody Blues”, “Cat Stevens”, “Gordon Giltrap”, “Conspiracy”, “Moon Safari”, “The Flower Kings”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in The Syn are: Steve Nardelli – Lead Vocals, Lyrics, Guitar; Francis Dunnery – Guitars, Bass, Vocals; Tom Brislin - Keyboards, Vocals; Brett Kull – Guitars, Banjo; Paul Ramsey – Drums; James Bishop – Bass; Erica Brilhart – Keyboard Sampling. Early line-ups included: John Painter – Guitar; Andrew Jackman – Keyboards; Martyn Adelman – Drums; Chris Squire – Bass; Peter Banks – Guitars; Gunnar Hákonarson - Drums. Album Recorded by Michael Comstock, INDRE Recording and Production, Philadelphia; Mixed by Stefan Ingles at Antennae Studio, London; Mastered by Jeremy Paul Carroll, Precision Mastering UK, Cropredy...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/30/2015................................If you want know more about this amazing band and its members, visit THE SYN HOME PAGE...
. SAELIG OYA - "Chaos - Chaos"
Saelig Oya is a Modern Progressive Rock quintet hailing from Le Mans, France. The line-up consists of Hélène Péan (vocals), Nicolas Fournier (guitar), Dimitri Even (guitar), Florent Sicard (recording bassist), and Elie Chéron (drums). Saelig Oya is also a member of the organization called AMMD – a collective of artists that propose their artistic works licensed under “Art Libre”. Saelig Oya has just released their first independent album, titled “Chaos – Chaos” (18 May, 2015), which is being distributed by prestigious French Label Muséa Records. “Chaos – Chaos” contains 6 tracks – 3 sung in French, 3 sung in English – and themes that deal with the moral dilapidation of our modern world – our lack of time, our forgetting about true necessities of humans, the violence that waits for the right moment to invade our inner self – taking us to the ultimately chaotic explosion that will make mankind to start all over again. With such themes in perspective, the music of Saelig Oya is expected to sound really impressive, darkened, and apocalyptical. And it really does! Saelig Oya’s style makes a cross-over of Post-Rock, Post-Metal, and Dark Progressive strains, blended with elements of Atmospheric and Prog-Metal, also including a few moments of heavy Psychedelia. The predominance of dark ambiences; the eternal war upheld between contemplative soundscapes and the abyssal plains dominated by primeval guitars – they are what Saelig Oya intends to be the band’s sonic, and unique, signature. And the oneiric voice of Hélène Péan is our guide and key to explore and decipher the world of Saelig Oya: with a very emotional style, she goes from a sensual and soft whispering to the deepest chasms of anguish and despair, unveiling the secrets that hide behind each wall of riffs that Fournier and Even build up with their nightmarish guitars. At the same time, Sicard keeps, on his thunderous bass, that post-metallic pulse that echoes and vibrates on the background, as drummer Chéron exercises all the pressure he can do, attacking his drums and cymbals with brute rocky force. The atmosphere is completed with a few synths and a double-bass intro. By listening to Saelig Oya’s long, metamorphic, and surprising compositions, a great number of influential bands have gone straight through my head. The vocal talents of Hélène stand halfway between the Icelandic sensibility of “Björk” and the ethnic accent of “Gaya Arutyunyan” (of Armenian band “Deti Picasso”). Her voice is like a cosmopolitan spice, which combined to the dark ambiences and heavy instrumentation that make the spine of Saelig Oya’s sonority, has brought to my mind a series of bands such as: “The Gathering” (The Netherlands), “Lacuna Coil” (Italy); “Deti Picasso” and “Dogma” (Armenia); “Artrosis” and “Travellers” (Poland); the Norwegian “White Willow”, “Tactile Gemma”, and “Dismal Euphony” (without the reptilian male vocals). Also domestic bands, such as “Amartia” and “Ange” (because of the story-telling attitude), have been recalled. The double attack of guitars, joining forces in powerful riffs, recalled me of the Post-Metal magnitude of “Deftones”, “Tool”, and “A Perfect Circle”; of the Prog-Metal cadence of “Dream Theater”; or of the Alternative-Metal stiffness and groove of “Soundgarden” and “Audioslave”. At the same time, the interspersed layers of guitars that float and reverberate in eternity - typical of the Post-Rock style – were instantly reminiscent of bands like “Tortoise”, “Mogwai”, and “God Is An Astronaut”. To close the package, even the Psychedelia of “Pink Floyd” has been perceived on one track. My favorite tracks of “Chaos – Chaos” are those with lyrics in French: “Visceral” (6:21) is the opening song, introduced by the sinister vibration of a double-bass string and anguished vocals, both preceding the atmospheric change that happens when heavy-metal riffs are poured in, trading places with contrasting Post-Rock instrumentation and psychedelic-oriental vocal-exotics. The other two French-spoken songs are placed at the album’s end: the fantastic “La Vieille Au Pas Lent” (6:21) is a fairish Progressive rock that sprouts out in different forms of rock – from Post-Rock to Psychedelic – combining the theatrical and emotional focus of “Ange” on the melodic vocal tunes with the rhythmic cadences and psychedelic soundscapes that are vaguely reminiscent of “Pink Floyd”; and “Chaos Chaos” (8:13) – the title track that closes the album – is composed of a solid and melancholic Post-Metal substrate on which Hélène’s voice hovers and dance, growing in intensity with the coming of great bass lines, and being crowned with an impressive guitar solo. Two English-spoken songs are mostly Rock and Metal in nature, and more influenced by the American bands cited above: “He Walks” (6:47) is driven by a typical “Dream Theater” riff, albeit the vocals are fluidal and groovy, and a rhythmic Rap-Metal part with male-female voices introduces an element of surprise on the song; and “Remember Each Day” (6:37) begins with acoustic and sliding guitars, whispering and introspective vocals, and explodes later with power chords, groovy Metal riffs, and sensational chorus (like a “Soundgarden”-“Deftones” combo). Finally, “Dancing Queen” (3:42) is the album’s ballad, marked by a softness that makes an ironic contrast with its lyrics. Saelig Oya offers us a mature debut album, a reunion of impressive and surprising songs that cover a broad emotional panorama, hinting at a promising future. Saelig Oya is highly recommendable for eclectic fans of Post-Rock, Post-Metal, and Heavy-Prog, whose tastes include “Björk”, “The Gathering”, “Lacuna Coil”, “Deti Picasso”, “Dogma”, “Artrosis”, “White Willow”, “Tactile Gemma”, “Amartia”, “Ange”, “Deftones”, “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Soundgarden”, “Audioslave”, “Tortoise”, “Mogwai”, “God Is An Astronaut”, “Pink Floyd”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Saelig Oya are: Hélène Péan – Vocals; Nicolas Fournier – Guitars; Dimitri Even – Guitars; Florent Sicard – Bass; Elie Chéron – Drums. Adrien Rogowski – Present Bassist; Additional Musician: Samuel Foucault – Double Bass. Artwork by Michael Rahmani. Recorded in 2014 at Le Silo, Le Mans, France; Engineered by Jérémy Cabaret; Mastered by Benoît Courribet...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/30/2015..........................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit SAELIG OYA HOME PAGE...
. ARGOS - "A Seasonal Affair"
Argos – a Progressive Rock band hailing from Mainz, Germany – is back to PR&PM again! Argos was founded in 2005 as a side project of multi-instrumentalist and composer Thomas Klarmann and Robert Gozon (keyboards, vocals), two members of the band “Superdrama”, in reaction to the Progressive Rock revival of the mid 90's. Drummer Ulf Jacobs joined them, and the trio released the debut album “Argos” (2009, Muséa Records). With the arrival of guitarist Rico Florczak to the line-up, two new albums came to light: “Circles” (2010, Muséa) and “Cruel Symmetry” (2012, Progressive Promotion Records, which was reviewed at PR&PM in 2013). “A Seasonal Affair” (2015, Progressive Promotion Records) is the fourth album by Argos. Besides Argos original line-up, the record features guest musicians Andy Tillison (“The Tangent”), Marek Arnold (“Seven Steps To The Green Door”, “Toxic Smile”, ‘Flaming Row”, “United Progressive Fraternity”, “Cyril”), and Thilo Brauss (“Cirqles”). “A Seasonal Affair” features 9 original tracks plus two worthy bonus tracks that really improve the CD. The music of Argos is inspired on 70’s Progressive Rock with a lean to the Canterbury scene, including Jazz-Fusion and Neo-Prog passages, having influences of “Genesis”, “Gentle Giant”, “Camel”, “Caravan”, “National Health”, “Hatfield and the North”, “Richard Sinclair”, “Robert Wyatt”, “Soft Machine”, “England”, “Stackridge”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Peter Hamill”, “Fruupp”, “King Crimson”, “IQ”, “Bo Hansson”, “The Flower Kings”, “The Tangent”, “Paatos”, “Kraan”, “Klaatu”, “XTC”, and others. The musicians involved in Argos are able to blend all those familiar Progressive sonorities inside well-arranged songs, featuring extraordinary musicianship and insightful lyrics (in English). The instrumentation is clean and neat, irradiating tuneful melodies that unfold in tranquil soundscapes, albeit driven with great vigor and dynamism by an elaborated and skillful rhythmic section. Guitars and synths contribute with magnificent solos, and often equilibrate the songs with melodic adornments. Flutes are selected for decorative moments. Vocals are soft, natural and minimalist, mostly like “Camel”, “Caravan”, “Hatfield and the North”, and “Stackridge”, but sometimes like “Genesis”. “A Seasonal Affair” starts, however, with songs that bring innovation in relation to “Cruel Symmetry” – their previous work. “Vanishing” (3:39), for instance, is a kind of “Techno-Canterbury” song that opens the album with dark tones. It is followed by the energetic “Divergence” (4:04) and, not so far, by the hard and exciting “Silver And Gold” (4:26) – which are both delivered with an extra dose of swing, propelled by vigorous guitars, groovy Jazz-Fusion bass, fast-paced “crooked” drums, and demanding vocals; glowing with vigorous rocky solos of synths and guitars. Those powerful songs were strategically placed in the beginning of the album, probably to shock the listener from the very start and, at the same time, to showcase Argos’ new, amplified musical panorama. But as I kept on listening to the rest of the album, I rediscovered the old Argos hidden inside several tracks. With their typical lean to the Canterbury style, there are: the tranquil and dreamy “Silent Corner” (6:32) – featuring fantastic accompaniment of saxophone and flutes; and the outstanding suite “Not In This Picture” (12:33), which includes from peaceful acoustic folky moments to gloomy parts, delivered with bouncing bass, and playful guitars and keyboards. Other songs of “Seasonal…”, however, follow the most Classic Progressive trend, being delicate, mellow and fairish, revealing strong influences of “Camel” and “Genesis” (mainly of their discography from 1976 until 1979), and a dash of “Gentle Giant”, such as: the deep and beautiful “Lifeboats” (6:02) – having great vocal tunes, synths, and one of the best guitar solos; and the title track, “A Seasonal Affair” (4:18) – which evolves slowly from a classical intro, with piano and flute, being gradually incremented with gentle vocals and subtle sounds of guitars and synths. The bonus track, “Killer” (including intro – “The Backward Diary”) (5:18), also belongs in here, for it recalls me of the playful style of “Genesis” (on album “A Trick of the Tail”). That group of magnificent songs points the way out for Argos to surprises us again, by reaching the extremes of “Progressiveness” on the two final, and outstanding tracks: “Forbidden City” (5:21) – an instrumental piece abundantly embellished with synths, flutes, guitars, and more; and “Stormland” (6:21) – a solemn and contemplative song plunged in mystery, driven by great vocal tunes, ethnical beats, imposing organs, and finishing with an amazing guitar solo. “A Seasonal Affair” ends on “Black Cat” (3:37), a bonus-song influenced by “Gentle Giant” (the noise of a coin falling on the floor makes it undisputable!). I have regarded “A Seasonal Affair” as one of the best releases of 2015 - a sparkling work by Argos, and a must-have item for fans of “Genesis”, “Gentle Giant”, “Camel”, “Fruupp”, “Caravan”, “Hatfield and the North”, “Richard Sinclair”, “Stackridge”, “England”, “National Health”, “Bo Hansson”, “Marillion”, “The Flower Kings”, “The Tangent”, “Paatos”, “Moon Safari”, “Kaipa”, “Agents of Mercy”, “Druckfarben”, “Unitopia”. Band members and collaborators involved in Argos are: Thomas Klarmann – Vocals, Bass, Flute, Acoustic Guitars, Keyboards, Soundscapes; Robert Gozon – Keyboards, Vocals; Enrico Florczak – Electric Guitar, Sounds, Vocals; Ulf Jacobs – Drums, Percussion, Vocals. Special Guests: Andy Tillison – Keyboards; Thilo Brauss – Keyboards; Marek Arnold – Saxophone. Premix (2014) by Thomas Klarmann & Enrico Florczak. Endmix & Mastering (2015) by Enrico Florczak. Produced by Argos and Oliver Wenzler (Progressive Promotion Records)...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
03/31/2015......................................More information about the band? Better check it out for yourself at: ARGOS HOME PAGE...
. NORTHWINDS - "Eternal Winter"
Northwinds is a Doom-Metal band formed in 1990 in Paris, France. The present line-up consists of Sylvain Auvé (vocals, drums, flute) – the only founder member that remained in the band – joined by Thomas Bastide (guitars), Thomas Boivin (bass), and Emmanuel Peyraud (keyboards). The embryonic cell of Northwinds was a band called “R.I.P.”, which featured Auvé, Sébastien Thuriez (guitars), and Remy Rateau (bass). With the arrival of Vincent Niclas (guitars, vocals) in 1990 – a musician with a preferences for bands like “Trouble”, “Saint Vitus”, “Candlemass”, “Ange” and “Alan Stivell” - “R.I.P.” produced a series of songs that were later released on a demo, titled “Northwinds” (1995). The band changed its moniker for Northwinds and released a promo, titled “Le grand Dieu Pan” (1996). This promo led to a contract with Italian label Black Widow Records, resulting in the releases, on CD and LP, of Northwind’s albums “Great God Pan” (1998), “Masters Of Magic” (2001), and “Chimères” (2006), besides their participation in several of BWR’s compilations. Along that period, changes in the line-up were always happening, with guitarists and bassists going and coming. In 2006 Vincent Niclas departed from Northwinds, leaving Sylvain Auvé as only original member. The present musicians Bastide (guitars), Boivin (bass), and Peyraud (keyboards) were already in the line-up, and the quartet released Northwind’s fourth album, “Winter” (2012, Black Widow).  The band kept on in activity, appearing on the compilation “Long Live Metal” (2012) and participating in the festival “Doom Over Paris V”. Northwinds fuel is far from being exhausted, as the band has just released their fifth studio album - “Eternal Winter” (2015, Black Widow) - on LP and CD. “Eternal Winter” is the continuation of the concept that began on “Winter”, and contains 8 ice-freezing tracks. Northwinds is a true Doom-Metal band with a Progressive attitude and musical influences ranging from 70’s Heavy Rock to 80’s NWOBHM and Doom Metal. They share a sonic resemblance with iconic bands, such as “Black Sabbath”, “Black Widow”, “Trouble”, “Saint Vitus”, “Witchfinder General”, “Cathedral”, “The Obsessed”, “Candlemass”, “Memento Mori”, “Veni Domini”, “Count Raven”, “Desolation Angels”, “Nemesis”, “Doomraiser”, and “Electric Wizard”, but have a signature of their own. The guitars are heavy, pounding, slow, and crawling – following the pace of a funeral march – emanating a retro-texture that recalls early “Black Sabbath” (from Volumes “I” to “IV”) – and constructing sensational Doom-riffs, the kind of which the appreciators of the style like to listen to, over and over again. Vocals are hypnotic and hallucinated, recalling the timbre of “Ozzy Osbourne”, but some tunes have a dash of epic grief. The bass exudes sadness and melancholy, strengthening the riffs with low chords. Drums maintain that tribal and minimalist beat that is typical in Doom Metal bands, but a few times dares to flee with a jazzy elegance (recalling the style of “Bill Ward”). Keyboards are omnipresent, albeit employed on the background, and create a palette of atmospheres that range from dark-symphonic to heavy-psychedelic. Flutes are a frequent article of embellishment, endowing the music with the pagan vibes of ancient rituals. Northwinds makes use of those elements to compose long tracks that have a “Progressive” approach, meaning that each song has unexpected turns of direction, rhythmic twists, atmospheric changes, and a few deviations of the Doom-Metal rigid standard. And the ability of Northwinds to place everything in balanced arrangements is what makes their music to be so appealing to fans of Doom-Metal. The lyrics are in English, except for one song (“Chiméres”), which is sung in French. The title-track “Eternal Winter” (6:04) opens the album with a typical Doom-Metal cadence delivering a combination of Doom-riffs, Gothic keyboards, Pan-flutes, and morbid vocals that have the unique signature of Northwinds. At the same time, “Crossroads” (6:01) and “From The Cradle To The Grave” (3:46) have a stronger “sabbatical” vein, and are instilled with a retro-sonority reminiscent of early “Black Sabbath” (“Vols. 1 to 4”). “Crossroads” steps on psychedelic-blues soundscapes until arriving at an awesome guitar solo that dominates the song’s last third; while “From The Cradle …” has questioning lyrics merged to diabolical riffs and waltzing flutes. Another song, “Under Your Spell” (8:44), plunges deep into late 60’s Heavy Rock, being like a “Sabbath”-“Cream” combo, featuring malevolent groovy riffs and nervous drums interspersed to quiet interludes filled with emotional vocals. But Northwinds reveal their most Progressive side on the “Epic-Doomic” tracks “Chiméres” (7:06) – sung in French, with a melodic approach that recalls “Ange” – treading on plains of atmospheric desolation, accelerating madly on the final (in the style of “Saint Vitus”); and “A Light For The Blind” (10:46) - driven by adventurous guitars and vocal tunes accompanied by flutes, interspersed to NWOBHM galloping bass and drums and magnificent middle sequence with imposing keyboards, ending on great vocal emotiveness, crowned with a perennial guitar solo. Finally, Northwinds breaks the Doom protocol on the instrumental interlude “No Peace At Last” (02:38) that descends to “Inferno” (05:30) – a fast Thrash-Doom that closes the album with a punchy “hocus-pocus” riff. Trespassing the frontiers of Doom-Metal, Northwinds is an amazing band for fans of 60’s to 70’s Heavy Rock to delve into; and an indispensable item for fans of Doom-Metal who love “Black Sabbath”, “Black Widow”, “Trouble”, “Saint Vitus”, “Witchfinder General”, “Cathedral”, “Candlemass”, “The Obsessed”, “Memento Mori”, “Veni Domini”, “Count Raven”, “Desolation Angels”, “Nemesis”, “Doomraiser”, and “Electric Wizard”. Band members and collaborators involved in Northwinds are: Sylvain Auvé – Vocals, Drums, Flute; Thomas Bastide - Guitar; Thomas Boivin – Bass; Emmanuel Peyraud – Keyboards. Vincent Niclas – Guitar, Flanger (on “Crossroads” and “Under Your Spell”). Former members: Sébastien Thuriez – Guitars; Remy Rateau - Bass; David Marcos – Guitars; Benjamin Leclere – Bass. Recorded Apri-Jun. 2009 at Studio Zebra Ten, completed until 2014 at various studios. Executive Producers: Black Widow and Northwinds...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/30/2015........................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit NORTHWINDS HOME PAGE...
. MERRY GO ROUND - "Merry Go Round"
Merry Go Round is an Italian Psychedelic and Hard Progressive Rock band hailing from the town of Pontedera (Pisa province, Tuscany). Merry Go Round is another of those amazing Italian bands that could have been relegated to oblivion, were not for the efforts of Italian Label Black Widow Records, which released Merry Go Round’s first album – the eponymous “Merry Go Round” - in 2015. Merry Go Round was born as “Storks” in 1985, and used to play Psychedelic Progressive Rock with a strong lean to Rhythm and Blues. A demo-tape, titled “Feeling Crawly”, gave visibility to the band, which then played several concerts, including a supporting show for “Pretty Things” in Florence, in 1988. The band disbanded in 1990, when two of their members (Michele Profeti and Stefano Gabbani) joined Daniele Caputo to form legendary band “Standarte”. In 2012 “Storks” members Renzo Belli (guitar), Michele Profeti (keyboards), Stefano Gabbani (bass), and Sandro Maccheroni (drums) reunited again, and with the addition of new members Sandro Vitolo (second guitar) and Martina Vivaldi (vocals), they changed their moniker for Merry Go Round. Their album “Merry Go Round” (2015) was released on Black Widow on both CD and Vinyl LP. The CD has 11 destroying tracks (with lyrics in English), including three covers (one of which was included only on the CD, as a bonus-track). The music of Merry Go Round is a groovy, vibrant and exciting mix of Psychedelic Rock and keyboard-dominated 60’s-70’s Heavy Rock wildly and brilliantly performed by a group of outstanding instrumentalists who are fronted by a stupendous female singer. Martina Vivaldi has an entrancing voice, tailored for singing Rock, Blues, Rhythm & Blues, Soul, Jazz, and more, being as powerful, sensual, and passionate  as “Julie Driscoll”, “Janis Joplin”, “Ann Wilson”, “Aretha Franklin”, “Tina Turner”, and “Lynda Hoyle”. Veteran keyboardist Michele Profeti appears as the second element of sustenance of Merry Go Round’s sound, standing on the instrumental forefront, piloting an arsenal of vintage keyboards (including thick layers of Hammond Organs, extra doses of Mellotrons, and a few Moogs), and leading the duo of electric guitarists Belli & Vitolo, who engage in awesome riffs and guitar solos in Psychedelic-Blues-Rock style. The lysergic panorama engendered by the trio is conveyed on a vivid boogie-groovy rhythmic support, with highlights for Gabbani’s swinging bass and Maccheroni’s psychedelic-acrobatic drums, both instilling Merry Go Round’s music with a nostalgic Psychedelic atmosphere that was typical of the turn of the ‘60s to the ‘70s. In sum, Merry Go Round has a sonic resemblance with bands like “Deep Purple”, “Atomic Rooster”, “Uriah Heep”, “Heart”, “Wildwood”, “Manfred Mann”, “The Doors”, “Beggars Opera”, “Still Life”, “Indian Summer”, “Affinity”, “Fuzzy Duck”, “Coven”, “Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & The Trinity”. The album starts extraordinary well with “Dora's Dreams” (5:17) – driven by bombastic waves of galloping keys, bass, and drums, flying adventurous guitars, and all the malevolence of Martina’s voice, singing as if she was possessed by some evil spirits of the past – the song passing the idea of how “Deep Purple” could have sounded like, if “Julie Driscoll” had traded places with “Ian Gillan”. But Merry Go Round continues its merciless sonic attack on the Psychedelic song “Autumn Days” (4:18) – with a sensational riff pulled off by bass, eerie Mellotrons, acid organs, and completed by a swinging instrumental middle part; on the fast and groovy vibes of “Poison Ivy” (4:13) – full of up and down keyboard scales; and on the fairy-against-witchcraft battle that happens on “Changeling” (5:34), on which a main primitive riff (reminiscent of “Uriah Heep’s” song, “Gipsy”) joins forces with Martina’s untamed vocals to face off a “merry-go-round” organ tune strengthened by melodic guitar solos. Merry Go Round keeps the same stamina and rushed attitude on two fantastic cover songs. The first is “Free Ride” (4:12) (by Californian Psychedelic Rock band “Wildwood”) – a true Desert Rock driven by sticky 70’s guitar riff, lysergic keyboards, and sung by Martina with ironic sensuality. The second is “Indian Rope Man” (3:23) (of a 1969 album by “Richie Havens”), which has been covered with renovated energy and groove! All those songs crush down the listener like a bulldozer, proving that Merry Goes Round’s musicians are real masters of sonic-whirlwind Psychedelic Rock. But the band is also very effective when doing slower, cadenced songs, such as “After” (6:00) – which has long instrumental solos; “To Die of Fear” (5:00) – surrounded in a clouded atmosphere, driven by cosmic keyboards, fuzzy guitars, and nightmarish vocals; “In Search of Lost Time” (4:40) – having surprising interspersion of apocalyptical vocals in moments of serenity; and “Mesmerized Worlds” (5:39) – an inspiring ballad sung by Martina with deep feeling. The CD version of “Merry Go Round” still offers a precious bonus: an amazing cover of “Friday The 13th” (3:27), originally composed by “Vincent Crane” (“Atomic Rooster”). An impeccable album having zero seconds of trivial music, “Merry Go Round” is another gigantic release by Black Widow, dedicated to lovers of Psychedelic Rock of the ‘60s to ‘70s. A must-have item for fans of “Deep Purple”, “Atomic Rooster”, “Uriah Heep”, “Heart”, “Wildwood”, “Manfred Mann”, “The Doors”, “Beggars Opera”, “Still Life”, “Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & The Trinity”, “Indian Summer”, “Affinity”, “Fuzzy Duck”, “Coven”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Merry Go Round are: Martina Vivaldi – Vocals; Renzo Belli – Guitars, Backing Vocals; Sandro Vitolo – Guitars; Michele Profeti – Hammond Organ, Mellotron, Moog; Stefano Gabbani – Bass, Backing Vocals; Sandro Maccheroni – Drums. All songs by Merry Go Round, except “Free Ride” (“F. Colli” & “J. Turner”); “Indian Rope Man” (“R. Havens”, “J. Price”, “M. Roth”); and “Friday the 13th” (“Vincent Crane”). Lyrics of “After” & “Poison Ivy” by Alessandro Bruni. Live Studio Recording at Music Street, Lugnano (Pisa). Recorded & Engineered by Carlo Ghezzani. Mixed & Mastered by Federico “Delirio” Pedichini at FP Recording Studio, Capannori, (Lucca), Italy; except tracks “Free Ride”, “Indian Rope Man”, “Changeling”, and “Mesmerized Worlds”, Mixed & Mastered by Carlo Ghezzani & Stefano Gabbani at Music Street...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/30/2015................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit MERRY GO ROUND HOME PAGE...
. BONEDOME - "Thinktankubator"
Bonedome is a Rock band hailing from Dallas (U.S.A.). The line-up consists of Allan Hayslip (bass, guitar, vocals, songwriting, and production); Gerald Iragorri (drums, percussion), Ed McMahon (guitar), Paul Williams (guitar, vocals), and Dave Mabry (live bass). They work in collaboration with Chad Stockslager (keyboards), Jonathan Lacey (guitar), Gregg Prickett (guitar), and Colin Boyd (guitar). Bonedome is not the kind of band that fits into this webzine. Their music lacks everything that should be present on a Progressive Rock band – I mean: influence from Classical music, complex arrangements, long solos, changes of cadence and rhythm, intense instrumental interplay, or epic and dreamy atmospheres, etc. Instead of that, Bonedome plays just plain and honest Rock, with a good dose of humor on lyrics. They follow the lines of Indie-Rock, Garage-Rock, Blues-Rock, Pop-Rock, Punk-Rock, and Post-Punk. Their influences are wide, including bands and bad habits: coffee, cigarettes, insomnia, presence of alcohol, absence of alcohol, low self-esteem, vanity, liberal guilt, hormones, marriage, ex-girlfriends, bad genes, good genes, both nature and nurture, bad love, good lust. Musically, they have been influence by dozens of bands: Classic Rock Acts ("The Who", "Tom Petty", "AC/DC", "13th Floor Elevators", "The Beatles", "The Byrds"); 70’s Glitter Rock ("David Bowie", "ELO", "Tom Waits", "Queen"), many Punk and Post-Punk bands ("The Sex Pistols", "The Clash", "The Jam", "Peter Murphy & Bauhaus", "Adam Ant", "Dead Kennedys", "Sonic Youth", "Echo & The Bunnymen", "The Cure", "Siouxsie & The Banshees", "Bob Mould" ("Hüsker Dü", "Sugar"), "The Hives", "Gang Of Four", "Love and Rockets", "Crackbox", "The Nervebreakers"); New Wave and Rock of the 80’s ("XTC", "REM"); Alternative Rock ("The Skunks", "Floor Thirteen", "The Big Guns", "Frightened Rabbit"); Alternative Folk & Country ("Sixty-Six", "Crash Test Dummies", "Darren Kozelsky", "Rhett Miller", "Trey Johnson", "Kim Pendleton"); assorted Texan artists (Jazz guitarist "Bill Longhorse" and bassist "Mike Daane"); and even the Musical Theatrical Play "Hedwig & The Angry Inch" (by "Stephen Trask & John Cameron Mitchell"). Bonedome’s debut album has the weird and almost unpronounceable title of "Thinktankubator", and was released in 2011 under independent Label Summer Break Records. The album contains 12 short tracks. My favorites are the opening track "Sandman" (an energized British-Punk with influences of "Siouxie", "Adam Ant", "The Clash" and "Bowie") together with some songs that have influences of Classic and Hard Rock, recalling bands like "AC/DC", "Tom Petty", and "The Who": "Fade Away" and "Better" (the later has some guitars recalling "Rush"). A few tracks that appear in the beginning of the record make an interesting blend of Alternative Rock with American Folk Blues and Country Rock: "Girl One" (my favorite, with funny lyrics); "I Can Lose You"; and the ironic "Slow Jesus Xing". "Thinktankubator" also brings some ballads, which are marked by sad vocals and bluesy moods, like the acoustic "Eraser"; and my favorites: the melancholic "Easy" (a slow blues ballad with "Bowie"-like vocals) and the soft "Custody Lullabye" (which combines acoustic guitars, smooth harmony vocals and light keyboards that slightly recall me of "Pink Floyd"). Tending to the Punk, Post-Punk and Alternative, the sequence "Red Flags R Trouble" (with heavier guitars); "The Other One" (a little gothic), and the fast "Steven" are marked by fat pulsing bass, and will satisfy the fans of "Bowie", "Bauhaus", "Sonic Youth", "Echo & The Bunnymen", "Siouxsie & The Banshees", and "The Cure". All in all, Bonedome has made a consistent record, with good simple songs that can face any Alternative Rock act appearing in the mainstream. Bonedome is only recommended for those Prog fans that also like to – sometimes – make an escape to more uncompromised Basic-Rock, Indie-Rock or Punk-Rock.  Band members and collaborators involved in Bonedome are: Allan Hayslip - bass, guitar, vocals, songwriting, and production; Gerald Iragorri - drums, percussion; Ed McMahon - guitar; Paul Williams - guitar, vocals; Dave Mabry - live bass. Additional musicians: Chad Stockslager - keyboards; Jonathan Lacey - guitar; co-writer of "Steven"; Gregg Prickett - guitar and Colin Boyd - guitar...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
10/30/2015............................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit BONEDOME HOME PAGE...
. BLURRED VISION - "Organized Insanity"
Blurred Vision is a Psychedelic and Melodic Pop-Rock trio that is being produced by nobody else than Terry Brown (“Rush”, “Cutting Crew”). Blurred Vision formed in 2010 in Toronto, Canada, but is presently based in London, the U.K. The line-up consists of Iranian brothers Sepp Osley (vocals, guitars) and Sohl Osley (bass), joined by requested Canadian drummer Ben Riley (who performed with “Bruce Cockburn”, “Michael Burgess”, “Doug Riley”, “Jake Langley”, “Molly Johnson”, “Wynton Marsalis”, “Moe Koffman”, “Gary Burton”, and others). Blurred Vision debuted in 2010 with the cover-video of “Pink Floyd’s” “Another Brick In the Wall” – dubbed “Hey Ayatollah, Leave Those Kids Alone!” The video, popularized on YouTube, (Blurred Vision – “Another Brick In The Wall”, “Hey Ayatollah, Leave Those Kids Alone!”)  was endorsed by “Roger Waters” himself and became an anthem for Iranian youngsters taking part in the protests of the “Arabian Spring”. In 2012, Blurred Vision released a digital single dedicated to “John Lennon”, titled “Dear John”, to gather funds for the “Imagine There’s No Hunger” campaign held by the WhyHunger organization. In 2013 the band shot a video-clip of “Dear John” with contributions from fans around the world, including students from Hope North, a school in Uganda that helps to rehabilitate children soldiers. In 2014, Blurred Vision was invited to perform at “The Beatles 50th Anniversary Concerts” in New York, and was a matter of comment on the Canadian press. Blurred Vision has just released the debut album, titled “Organized Insanity” (2015, Cherry Red Records Ltd., UK). The album was recorded in Toronto, Canada, under the guidance of producer Terry Brown. Following the release of the album, Blurred Vision went on a tour around England as supporting-band for “Uriah Heep”. “Organized Insanity” is a collection of 11 songs that might have been regarded as “Progressive” in some circuits, but for me, they belong in the Neo-Psychedelic, Britpop, and Indie Rock styles, with influences of  “John Lennon”, “The Beatles”, “Pink Floyd” with “Roger Waters” (album “The Wall”), “Radiohead”, “Oasis”, “The Verve”, “Snow Patrol”, “Coldplay”, “Travis”, “Kasabian”, “My Chemical Romance”, “The Tea Party”, and others. Nevertheless, Blurred Vision is more than a trio of nice guys, who are engaged in helping people around the world. They are serious musicians that stand high above the average of most musicians in Indie and mainstream bands, regarding their ability to write and play meaningful Pop-Rock music with a British signature. Sepp is a tuneful singer and an accomplished and sensitive guitar player. His brother Sohl is very effective doing bass harmonies – and knows how to control the temperature of each song, going from cool and melodic swings to boiling rocky grooves. Ben Riley, whose long experience as a drummer in Canada and abroad made him the perfect man for the project, provides a sophisticated rhythmic background that flows free with great elegance, but he also knows how to discharge adrenaline in the band’s blood current when necessary. The three musicians balance their contributions to the arrangements, helped by some tasteful piano and keyboard passages provided by additional musician Joel Lightman. The production of Terry Brown guarantees a top-quality, clean, and neat sonority throughout the whole album. Most songs of “Organized Insanity” are protest-ballads and easy-listening modern Rocks disguised in old-fashioned Psychedelic colors, stuffed with elaborated melodies, smart hooks and sticky choruses, being at the same time of easy assimilation and memorable to the listener. The most vibrating songs are the opening track “No More War” (4:05) – an instant hit that begins with funny tribal vocals (recalling “The Residents”) leading to an uplifting tune in Britpop style that encourages people to congregate in a fight against war, having a Mexican trumpet in the middle; the pulsing “Promise” (4:08) – driven by a rhythmic swing that recalls “Radiohead” with the heavier guitars of “Kasabian”; and the joyful “All I Wanted” (3:21), which sounds like a modern version of “Beatles” with Moog synths. Most songs of the albums are really beautiful ballads, which come in diverse styles, like the aforementioned “Dear John” (4:26) – with a kind of “John Lennon’s” “Give Peace a Chance” mood; the folky piano-ballad “Tonight” (3:40), and my three favorites: “Wherever You Are” (3:48) – a soft, echoing and dreamy lullaby; “Long May You Run” (4:41) – a bittersweet song with a strong influence of “Pink Floyd”; and “Arms of Our World” (4:26) – a soaring song with piano and strings that recalls me of “Coldplay”, “Keane”, and “The Verve” – the last two featuring wonderful solos of guitar. But Blurred Vision shows still more musical consistency on the very best tracks “Rollin' On” (4:35) – a slow Psychedelic ballad having stoned vocals and impressive drums; “The Keeper” (5:11) – which joins Psychedelia with sounds of the Middle East (as “The Tea Party”); and the title track “Organized Insanity” (5:30) – offering epic harmony vocals and melodic guitar solo that recall “Queen”, wrapped up in arrangements of keyboards and bass having a dash of Progressiveness. Although I do not regard Blurred Vision as a true Progressive act, their album “Organized Insanity” is well-crafted and performed, and contains many songs with enormous hit-potential, being highly recommendable for fans of “John Lennon”, “The Beatles”, “Roger Waters”, “Pink Floyd”, “Radiohead”, “Oasis”, “The Verve”, “Snow Patrol”, “Coldplay”, “Kasabian”, “Keane”, “My Chemical Romance”, “The Tea Party”, “Perfect Beings”, “Simeon Soul Charger”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Blurred Vision are: Sepp Osley – Vocals, Guitars; Sohl Osley – Bass; Ben Riley – Drums. Joel Lightman – Keyboards, Vocals. Album Recorded at Blue Sound and Music, Toronto, Canada; Mixed at Vis-à-Vis Recorders, Muskoka, by Terry Brown. Produced by Terry Brown. Also you must visit Blurred Vision's Facebook Site...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
10/31/2015...................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit BLURRED VISION HOME PAGE...
. THE RAPTOR TRAIL - "The Raptor Trail"
The Raptor Trail is an American Rock trio, the members of which hail from Macon (Georgia) and Brevard (North Carolina). The line-up consists of Matthew Mayes (vocals, guijo, acoustic guitars and banjo), John Meyer (lead guitars, bass, backing vocals), and Gene Bass (drums, percussion). The three musicians share a long-time musical background. Gene Bass and John Meyer grew up together in Macon, and have played together in a number of bands since the 80’s. And Gene Bass and Matthew Mayes played for 12 years in the Jamrock band called “Jupiter Coyote” - coincidently, Mayes and Meyer were roommates in those days, and Meyer ultimately became the first sound technician of “Jupiter Coyote” (he was also responsible for creating the band’s moniker). Over the 25 following years, Meyer and Mayes were moved by the idea of recording music together, but always considered the difficulty of intermeshing their different styles: Meyer wanted to include in the music the use of harder and heavier guitars, highlighted by his customized “D” tuning; while Mayes, more used to the Progressive Bluegrass and Jamrock styles, wanted to use his “guijo” (a stringed instrument, half-strat, half-banjo) tuned in an open “G”. Finally in 2014, Meyer and Mayes entered the studio to write an experimental first song. For their surprise, their styles blended perfectly, and that song – titled “The Raptor Trail” – was the emblematic beginning of their eponymous musical project. For taking the drumsticks, Meyer and Mayes could not think in anybody else, unless their friend Gene Bass, and so The Raptor Trail was born. After writing and recording 11 more tracks, The Raptor Trail self-titled debut album was released in both digital and physical formats (June, 2015, Red Eye World Wide/MBM Entertainment distribution). The music of The Raptor Trail is a cross-over of genres, which include Bluegrass, Southern Rock, Country-Rock, and Folk, wrapped up in sonic textures typical of Progressive and Classic Rock, and solidified in a kind of “Progressive Bluegrass” new sound. The songs are performed at a professional level, being soft, melodic, and easy-listening, sounding like a blend of “Jupiter Coyote”, “Toolshed Ginger”, “The Allman Brothers”, “Lynyrd Skynyrd”, “Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young”, “ZZ Top”, “James Taylor”, “Status Quo”, “Blind Melon”, with the smoothest side of “Molly Hatchet”, “The Outlaws”; and the most provincial roots of “Dire Straits”, “Rush”, “Yes”, “Jadis”, “Triumph”, “Moody Blues”, and “Pink Floyd”. The arrangements are multilayered, balanced between acoustic strings (guitars, guijo and banjo) and electric strings (guitar and bass), supported by Gene’s solid rhythmic base. Songs are driven by the mellow voice of Mayes and harmony vocals. The bass keeps flowing free, and the solos performed by Meyer on the electric guitar are plentiful, well-crafted, and adorable – the highlights of the album. Most tracks of The Raptor Trail are offered on a Progressive Bluegrass dish, such as the title track, "The Raptor Trail” (7:20), and “Come & See” (6:45) – both delivered on an electro-acoustic mattress of Bluegrass and Country, stuffed with many outstanding guitar solos – and also “Gravity Times Ten” (7:22), which emanates relaxing vibes from its nice harmony guitars and elegant bass lines, making it a favorite song, regarding the approach of this band to the Bluegrass style. A number of tracks, however, are cross-overs that bring together elements of Bluegrass, Country and Southern Rock, arranging them inside elaborated harmonic frames and rhythmic patterns that parallel the sound of 80’s “Rush”, “Jadis”, and even “Yes”: “Truk” (6:05), “Look Outside” (7:07), and “Never” (5:57). But tending to a 80’s Pop-Rock melodicism and beat, “Smaller Than You” (4:32) and “Now” (8:38) are the two most easy-listening tracks of the album, contrasting in time with the Classic Rock orientation and cheerful mood of songs like “Pawn” (5:09) (recalling “Status Quo” and “Triumph”); “32” (4:44) (an uplifting Country Rock), and the impressive “Amorous” (7:19) – which is the most aggressive song on the album, being delivered by groovy vocals and conveying long, intricate instrumental  passages that are really Progressive. Finally, “Wilma” (3:52) – a beautiful ballad with a symphonic touch – has also gained space among my favorites. The Raptor Trail is a meaningful sonic project that celebrates the long lasting friendship of three individuals who share a unique musical chemistry and history – and that bondage is realized in their heartfelt music. Although not being the most typical Progressive Rock band, The Raptor Trail will be delightfully enjoyed by fans of Bluegrass, Southern and Country Rock, Classic Rock, and fans of bands such as: “Jupiter Coyote”, “Toolshed Ginger”, “The Allman Brothers”, “Lynyrd Skynyrd”, “Neil Young”, “ZZ Top”, “Status Quo”, “Blind Melon”, “Molly Hatchet”, “The Outlaws”, “Dire Straits”, “Rush”, “Jadis”, “Triumph”, “Moody Blues”. Band members and collaborators involved in The Raptor Trail are: Matthew Mayes – Vocals, Guijo, Acoustic Guitars, Acoustic Banjo; John Meyer – Lead, Slide, Fretless, and Acoustic Guitars, G-Strings, Bass, Weird Noises, Backing Vocals; Gene Bass – Drums and Percussion. Recorded in band member’s home studios; Produced and Mixed by John Meyer...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
10/30/2015...............................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE RAPTOR TRAIL HOME PAGE...
. MAYZE - "The Land of Lucid Feathers"
Mayze is a new Female-Fronted Progressive Metal band hailing from the city of Castrop Rauxel, in Germany. Mayze was founded by the end of 2012 by guitarist and songwriter Marcel Schiborr (ex-“Symbiontic”) and drummer Matt Bauer (ex “Everflow”, ex-“Scanner”). The line-up was completed by Maike Flüshöh (female vocals), Daniel Bauer (bass), and Arne Timm (keyboards, piano). The moniker Mayze was chosen as a reference to the band’s diversification of styles, which unfold on each song, as the corridors of an immense musical labyrinth. It also refers to the philosophic contents of the lyrics, which are inspired on the spiritual road that everyone must take, passing along all roundabouts and dead-ends, in order to achieve a state of self-knowledge. Mayze’s sound is therefore a complex congregation of musical genres and styles – mostly Progressive Metal and Rock, combined with elements of Psychedelic, Gothic, Trip-Hop, and Orientalism – resulting in a sonority that Mayze’s members have tagged as “Emotional Progressive Metal-Rock”. Mayze has already released a first studio album, featuring the poetic title of “The Land Of Lucid Feathers” (2015, Woodhouse Studio). The record was produced by Siggi Bemm (“The Gathering”, “Tiamat”, “Kreator”, “Caliban”), and released on the 13th of March, in Rahmen, during Mayze’s debut concert. The album brings a curious souvenir: a black feather! “The Land Of Lucid Feathers” contains 11 tracks, which altogether define Mayze’s “Emotional Progressive Metal-Rock” style – a substrate of pounding and solid Progressive Metal, delivered with mid-tempo cadences, adorned with elements of Psychedelic, Gothic, Trip-Hop, Orientalism, and fronted by an impressive female singer! Maike Flüshöh – whose voice and modulations recall me of “Sandra Schleret” (“Dreams of Sanity”, “Eyes of Eden”) – sings with preciseness, amplitude, emotion, and aggressive passion. The instrumental trio formed by Schiborr and the two Bauers, although following thoroughly the Metal Book, also adventure into the Progressive sphere, since non-Metallic guitar brakes, tasteful lines of bass, and ethnic rhythmic passages are often interspersed in Mayze’s musical frame, acting as unexpected elements of surprise. Arne Timm lapidates and embellishes the music with originality, by adding exquisite lines of keyboards and imposing passages of classic piano, also furnishing an original and trippy industrial-electronic background. Albeit citing as main influences bands such as “Katatonia”, “Steven Wilson”, and “Opeth”, and the most unusual “Depeche Mode” and “Portishead”, Mayze is for me like the female-fronted bands “Dreams of Sanity”, “Eyes of Eden”, “Todesbonden”, “Lacuna Coil”, “Xandria”, “Evanescence”, “Elis”, “Erben der Schöpfung”, “Edenbridge”, “Imperia”, “Serenity”, “Revamp”, “Artrosis”, “Without Face”, “Epica”; but with an instrumentation that recalls “Myrath”, and the Germanic “Deine Lakaien”, “Blutengel”, “Subway to Sally”, “Danse Macabre”, and many others. “The Land of Lucid Feathers” is a magnificent album, the solid compositions of which will hit each listener according to his or her tastes. The most progressive-trippy songs are the intro “Embracing Whispers” (1:09) + “Pounding Dead Heart” (9:26) – an amazing song with twist and turns, driven by fantastic vocals and pounding riffs, interspersed with Trip-Hop passages intermingled with an impressive classical piano; “Isolation” (5:36) – conveyed on a slow cadence that augments the epic dimension of Maike’s vocals, having climatic contribution of cool keyboards and a middle break with clean plucked guitars; “Exonerate Me” (5:51) – on which sinuous vocal tunes navigate along the meandering Nile, floating on a mattress of prog-ambient bass and pianos; “Grinning Faces” (6:37) – which vigorously blends modern and ancient influences inside a Heavy-Prog frame; and the title track “Lucid Feathers” (6:49) – which progresses from a cosmic Trip-Hop to a heavy Gothic-Prog, hovering on the shoulders of groovy guitar riffs, hypnotic bass and drums, psychedelic keys, and propelled by outstanding vocal melodies. Metal listeners, however, will feel instantly attracted by the galloping rhythms of “He” (5:45), and its theatrical Gothic-Metal style; and by the fast Oriental Metal “Secret Garden” (4:23), containing breathtaking Thrash-Metal moments with piano, and great vocal fire-power! Also prone to be elected as album’s hits, “As I Close My Eyes” (3:41) is a melodic Heavy-Rock ballad; while “Emperor Of My Heart” (5:27) and “The Forlorn Hope Company” (5:11) – both alternating fast aggressive moments with slow dreamy-psychedelic ones, flavored with jazzy swings and sensual vocals – will defy all tags, unless the one of “Germanic Cabaret-Gothic-Metal”! In sum, Mayze is an extraordinary band, which plays with mastery a variety of musical genres and styles: Progressive Metal, Rock, Psychedelic, Gothic, Trip-Hop. Their album, “The Land Of Lucid Feathers”, is a must-have item for fans of  “Anathema”, “Katatonia”, “Opeth”, “Steven Wilson”, “Eyes of Eden”, “Dreams of Sanity”, “Todesbonden”, “Xandria”, “Elis”, “Erben der Schöpfung”, “Lacuna Coil”, “Edenbridge”, “Imperia”, “Serenity”, “Revamp”, “Artrosis”, “Without Face”, “Epica”, “Myrath”, “Evanescence”, “Deine Lakaien”, “Blutengel”, “Subway to Sally”, “Danse Macabre”, “Tristania”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Mayze are: Maike Flüshöh – Vocals; Marcel Schiborr – Guitars; Daniel Bauer – Bass; Arne Timm – Keyboards, Piano; Matt Bauer – Drums. Album Produced, Recorded, Mixed, and Mastered at Woodhouse Studios (Hagen, Germany) by Siggi Bemm...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
10/30/2015.......................................More information about the band? Better check it out for yourself at: MAYZE HOME PAGE...
. LUCIFER’S FRIEND - "Awakening"
Lucifer’s Friend – the legendary Classic Rock band of the 70’s – is welcomed at PR&PM webzine! The story of this cult band started back in 1969 in Hamburg, Germany, when four members of the band called “The German Bonds” (Peter Hesslein, Dieter Horns, Peter Hecht, Addi Rietenbach) joined with the British-born John Lawton (who was the singer for a group called “Stonewall”, and years later became the front-man of “Uriah Heep”). The five musicians released one album under the moniker “Asterix” (1970) and afterwards changed their name for Lucifer’s Friend. Lucifer’s Friend released then a series of albums via the Vertigo label in Europe, which came out via small labels in the USA: “Lucifer’s Friend” (1970), “Where the Groupies Killed the Blues” (1972), “I'm Just a Rock & Roll Singer” (1973), “Banquet” (1974), “Mind Exploding” (1976), “Good Time Warrior” (1978) and “Sneak Me In” (1980). Along the career, Lucifer’s Friend achieved status of a cult-band, known for changing the musical style from album to album. From setting the foundations of early Heavy Metal on the first album, Lucifer’s Friend moved to Psychedelic and Progressive terrains on the second; went back to straightforward Rock on the third; and to Jazz-Fusion on the fourth. “Mind Exploding”, the last with Lawton before his departure to “Uriah Heep”, had a mix of Jazz and Garage Rock. With Mike Starrs (“Colosseum II”) on vocals, the next two albums leaned to a commercial sound. Lawton returned for the album “Mean Machine” (1981), which went back to Heavy Metal again. Lucifer’s Friend officially broke up in 1982, but reformed in the early 1990s to release one CD, titled “Sumo Grip”. Quite recently Lawton, Hesslein and Horns have decided to reactivate Lucifer’s Friend, inviting two new members for the line-up: Jogi Wichmann (keyboards) and Stephan Eggert (drums). The reason: new bands, enthralled by Lucifer’s Friend’s legendary aura, did not cease to cover classics of this cult band! To celebrate the enduring success, Lucifer’s Friend made a research on the Internet to spot their most popular songs. 10 of those fan’s favorites made their way to Lucifer’s Friend’s new CD, titled “Awakening” (2015, Lucifer’s Records). But “Awakening” is a double CD, and besides the compilation (identified as Cd-1), it offers a bonus CD containing four brand new tracks (Cd-2) – a wonderful gift for old and new fans of this great band! Cd-1 contains songs from most albums of the Lawton Era. It starts with the trumpeting “Ride the Sky” (2:56), one of the most emblematic songs of Lucifer’s Friend, driven by luring pulsing bass, pounding drums, gritty organs, magnificent guitar, and soulful vocals – a combination of explosive elements that leveled Lucifer’s Friend to the same threshold of “Deep Purple”, “Uriah Heep”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Black Sabbath”, “Grand Funk Railroad”, and “Rainbow” with “Dio”. And the parade of classics goes on, with the groovy “In the Time of Job” (4:04), the Hard-Prog “Keep Going” (5:26), and the gloomy and psychedelic “Toxic Shadows” (7:01). They are joined by the Jazz-Fusion vibes of “Fugitive” (4:55) and “Moonshine Rider” (4:47) – both in the vein of “Traffic” and “Chicago”. The ballads are represented by the beautiful “Burning Ships” (4:34) and “Dirty Old Town” (4:49); while “Fire and Rain” (4:42) and “Hey Driver” (4:16) follow the Glam-Rock trend of the late 70’s, albeit showcasing superior performances on guitar and bass. After reviving the past by listening to Cd-1, it is time to proceed with the degustation of Cd-2 – the one with Lucifer’s Friend new compositions! And they are awesome, brave dignitaries of the fantastic sound that Lucifer’s Friend has made in the early days, yet, pervaded with a freshness that tells how much this band still has to offer to the world! “Pray” (4:14) opens the disc powerfully, combining 70’s Rock vocals and instrumentation with bombastic symphonic synths in an awesome riff that heads straight to the future without forgetting the vibrating essence of the past! “Riding High” (5:00) is a majestic Hard-Prog song that combines Spanish-like guitars, tribal bass and drums, epic harmony vocals, malignant vocals, and oriental keyboards in thrilling adventurous themes. “Did You Ever” (4:16) slows down to a trippy cadence, floating on Progressive arrangements full of soaring keyboards, classic guitars, Arabian melodies and epic vocals that recall the song “Stargazer” (“Rainbow”). Finally, “This Road” (3:48) is a groovy Rock with sticky chorus and a mix of Celtic and Oriental embellishments, crowned with great guitar solo. Although consisting in just a few songs, the new material of Lucifer’s Friend is excellent and dignifies a band that will be forever loyal to the pulse, heart, and spirit of the 70’s Hard Rock! The combination of those new songs with the old classics compiled on Cd-1 turns “Awakening” into a must-have item for fans of Lucifer’s Friend, also indispensable for fans of “Deep Purple”, “Uriah Heep”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Black Sabbath”, “Rainbow”, “Dio”, “Atomic Rooster”, “UFO”,  “Whitesnake”, “Tigers of Pan Tang”, “Bad Company”, “Grand Funk Railroad”, “Wicked Minds”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Lucifer’s Friend are: John Lawton – Vocals; Peter Hesslein – Guitar, Keyboards (Cd-2); Peter Hecht – Keyboards (Cd-1); Dieter Horns – Bass; Addi Rietenbach (R.I.P.) – Drums (tr. 1-5). Other Musicians: Curt Cress – Drums (tr. 6-7); Herbert Bornholdt – Drums (tr. 8-10); Stephan Eggert – Drums on Cd-2. Jogi Wichmann – Present Keyboardist. All Tracks on Cd-1 Remastered by Mike Pietrini in Boston, USA. All Tracks on Cd-2 Recorded in Oct.-Nov. 2014 in Hamburg, Germany; Vocals Recorded at Liscombe Park Studios, Buckinghamshire, UK; Sound Engineer – Steve Rispin. Produced by Peter Hesslein; Mixed by Simon Hesslein, Broadway Studios, New York, USA; Mastered by Sascha “Busy” Bühren at Truebusyness Studios, Berlin, Germany. Also you must visit Lucifer’s Friend's Facebook Site...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
10/30/2015..........................................For more details and in the meantime please check out LUCIFER’S FRIEND HOME PAGE...
. THE DREAMING TREE - "Silverfade"
The Dreaming Tree is an original Progressive band of the United Kingdom, whose members come from Wolverhampton, Telford and London. The Dreaming Tree was formed around 2003-2004 by Chris Buckler (vocals), Dan Jones (guitar, backing vocals), Jim Peterson (original bassist), Steve Barratt (keyboards) and Neil Ablard (drums). Along a decade of hard work, during which The Dreaming Tree focused the career on live performances, the band has also recorded and released a few independent albums: the eponymous “The Dreaming Tree” (EP); the full-lengths “Grafting Lines and Spreading Rumors” (2007) and “Progress Has No Patience” (2010); and the acoustic “Unplugged One - How to Sound Good Naked”. Those full-length albums impressed listeners and reviewers around the Progressive world, helping the band to receive radio airplay and invitations for festivals. Meanwhile, Jim Peterson left The Dreaming Tree and was replaced by Neil Simpson on bass. Then The Dreaming Tree entered the studio to prepare and record a new independent, full-length album, titled “Silverfade” (2015). With 14 tracks, “Silverfade” is an explosive and surprising album that showcases an original band that refuses to fit into any pre-determined musical format, or to obey any single stylistic direction. The Dreaming Tree makes a very eclectic sound, and when listening to them, no one knows what will come up next. All musicians are masters in crossing-over sounds, incorporating styles that go from Pop-Chic and Jazz-Fusion to Heavy-Prog and Prog-Metal in the brew, spicing it with moments of Classic and Hard Rock, Space Rock, AOR, and Alternative Rock - a mixture that may be called “Modern Progressive Rock”. The common elements binding the compositions together are the energy and preciseness with which The Dreaming Tree’s members perform each song. Chris Buckler commands the band with his great voice, tailored for melodic and swinging Pop-Rock, but also for more aggressive Hard Rock. The guitar playing of Dan Jones is impressive and eclectic, going from Jazz-Fusion lightness and elegance to Psychedelic-Bluesy emotional soloing, being also capable of erecting solid walls of riffs that compare to the best Prog-Metal icons. Steve Barratt on keyboards embellishes the arrangements with incisive Progressive, Hard-Rock and Space Rock keyboards, and slicing synths in Prog-Metal mode. New bassist Neil Simpson is a master of the instrument who magnificently harmonizes his groovy bass with guitars and keyboards, and fits perfectly in the band. Finally, Neil Ablard’s powerful drumming provides the band with either frantic paces, or refined beats, acting as the firm ground from which the band departs to reach total musical liberty. As a matter of comparison, The Dreaming Tree sounds like a blend of “Threshold”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Panzerballett”, “Haken”, “Discipline”, “Pain Of Salvation”, “Dream Theater”, “Planet X”, “Pink Floyd”, “Rush”, “Spock’s Beard”, “Deep Purple”, “Muse”, “Ozric Tentacles”, “Unitopia”, “Steely Dan”, “Simply Red”, and more. “Silverfade” begins in a frenzy, with the muscular Pop-Chic “Yesterdays Tomorrow” (3:41), continuing with the same strength on the spanning “Heart Shaped Bruises” (5:24) – which hybridizes Pop vibes with sensational “Rush”-like riffs, slows down to “Floyd” passages with female vocals, and finishes with demented guitars. The next track, “Yours To Find” (3:22), brings a balanced combination of swinging Pop-Jazz and Hard Rock groove, driven by sensational bass that unveils a band that could easily follow the mainstream Pop professed by “Steely Dan” and “Simply Red” – as suggested by songs “Cherry Winters” (4:41) and “Loose It Off” (3:38); or hide into the subterraneous world of Classic Hard Rock as played by “Deep Purple” and “UFO” – as it becomes clear when the listener is attacked by an arsenal of 70’s keyboards on “Autumn Haze” (5:20), or feels the groovy vibes of the Heavy Metal “Jaded Summer Long” (1:39). But those songs only represent The Dreaming Tree’s aleatory choices, which could drive them to different possible futures. For the band showcases their most original signature in a number of astonishing compositions fitting in the Heavy-Prog and Prog-Metal styles: “Forever Not Forever” (8:05) has a slow climatic beginning that precedes its explosion in destroying guitars and synths, severed by unexpected piano; “Higgs” (3:51) is a Progressive Doom Metal driven by tribal drums and wah-wah guitars; “Every Minute Lost” (4:25) hovers with the alternation of soulful male and female vocals and aggressive parts (as a “Floyd”-“DT” combo), being crowned with original solo on guitar; “Kosovo” (5:44) begins as a ballad and gradually grows in tension, combining Post-Rock riffs with soaring keyboards; and “Zero To Type One” (7:39), with a Hard-Rock punch, mixes dark vocals, gritty organs, and amazing guitar solos with a middle sci-fi section stuffed with psychedelic effects. The heavy tones of those compositions are balanced by the soaring Prog-song “Song In 7” (5:11), and by the sensitive ballad “The Ocean” (3:16). I found The Dreaming Tree to be a really outstanding, original, and surprising band which, after the release of “Silverfade”, deserves to gain even more space in the modern Progressive scene. Highly recommendable for fans of “Threshold”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Dream Theater”, “Pain Of Salvation”, “Haken”, “Discipline”, “Panzerballett”, “Pink Floyd”, “Rush”, “Spock’s Beard”, “Deep Purple”, “Muse”, “Planet X”, “Ozric Tentacles”, “Unitopia”, “Red Bazar”, “Man On Fire”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in The Dreaming Tree are: Chris Buckler - Vocals; Dan Jones – Guitar, Backing Vocals; Neil Simpson - Bass; Stephen Barratt - Keyboards; Neil Ablard – Drums. Additional Musicians: Nigel Beer – Trumpet on “Yesterdays Tomorrow”; Rebecca Downes – Backing Vocals on most tracks; Helen Godfrey – Backing Vocals on “Cherry Winters”; Reuben Archer – Backing Vocals on “Zero To Type One”. Former member: Jim Peterson – Bass. Recorded at the Sinewave and Treehouse Studios, Mixed by Karl Groom at Thin Ice Studios; Mastered by Ade Emsley; Produced by The Dreaming Tree...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
10/30/2015.............................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE DREAMING TREE HOME PAGE...
. QUILL - "Brush With The Moon"
Quill is a 7-piece Celtic & Folk Rock band based in Birmingham, England. Quill (which shouldn’t be misled by USA middle 70’s Symphonic-Prog outfit of the same name) is a well-stablished band in the Folk Rock scene in the United Kingdom, where it has performed sell-out live shows along the years, mesmerizing the audiences with their vigorous presentations, combining sensitive music with contagious enthusiastic moods. Quill has developed a unique musical style that has captured many influences, mainly from old “Fleetwood Mac”, “Fairport Convention”, “Steeleye Span”, “Curved Air”, “Pentangle”, “Renaissance”, “Illusion”, “Joan Baez”; also resembling modern bands like “Clannad”, “Solstice” and “The Morrigan”. Quill proudly claims to have been playing Celtic-Rock even before “The Corrs” were invented! In spite of their long-lasting career, Quill debuted on a record only quite recently. Their first album is titled “Brush With The Moon” (2015, MMPS Ltd.). “Brush With The Moon” is a tribute to the late Ben Brain, who was Quill’s bassist, and husband to Quill’s lead singer Joy Strachan–Brain. Because Brain had left a legacy consisting of wonderful songs, Quill’s members – inspired by Jeff Lynne’s use of John Lennon’s demos on “Free As A Bird” – decided to use Brain’s recorded vocals and original demos to create this album. “Brush With The Moon” was recorded by Quill members – Joy Strachan-Brain (lead vocals), Kate McWilliam (violin, vocals), Dave Bailey (keyboards, acoustic guitar, vocals), Tim Tandler (drums, percussion), Matt Davies (bass, vocals), and Tony Kelsey (guitar, mandolin, vocals) – and features drummer Bev Bevan (“ELO”, “Black Sabbath”) and guitarist Brian Tatler (“Diamond Head”) as guest musicians. “Brush With The Moon” contains 10 tracks. All songs are formatted as soft, tranquil, and mellow folk ballads, composed of weightless arrangements on which violins, decorative pianos, and ethereal keyboards harmonize perfectly with the intermeshing acoustic guitars, forming a smooth sonic background that supports Joy’s sensitive vocals, and the band’s tuneful harmony vocals. Quill’s sound is really time-transporting, and the initial tracks, “Quicksilver” (3:47) (with floating harmony vocals), “Tumbling Years” (5:11) (with poignant piano and profound vocal melody), and “Schoolyard” (5:36) (with its candid strings and emotive theme) are all endowed with a nostalgic aura that takes the listener to the “old times”, when music was a conveyor of human bondage, more than a mere product of the industrial media. Even the modern romanticism of songs like “Poppy Fields” (4:24), and the slightly popish vein of “Wedding Dress” (5:22) – with mixed male-female vocals - will be greatly appreciated, especially by fans of “Fleetwood Mac”. People willing to listen to something closer to the ancient Celtic roots will prefer “Nine Mile Camp” (6:05) – which recalls “Renaissance” and “Clannad”, with addition of World-Music percussion; and “England” (5:19) – an ode to the epic Medieval times, nostalgically sung by Joy. Besides those songs, “Brush With The Moon” also includes two Country-ballads – “Hollywood Blue” (5:28) and “Twister” (5:11) – both sung by a male voice – probably Ben Brain’s, recovered from old demos. The album finishes with the protest-ballad “Man in White” (5:12), which combines deep political themes with a dramatic musical performance, including some incisive guitar playing. Really a mellow and delightful album, Quill’s “Brush With The Moon” will attract most fans of Celtic and Folk Rock, in special those who love bands and artists such as: “Fleetwood Mac”, “Fairport Convention”, “Steeleye Span”, “Curved Air”, “Pentangle”, “Renaissance”, “Illusion”, “Joan Baez”, “Peter, Paul and Mary”, “The Incredible String Band”, “The Mamas and The Papas”, “Clannad”, “Enya”, “Solstice”, “The Morrigan”, “Loreena McKennitt”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Quill are: Ben Brain – Bass, Vocals, Compositions; Joy Strachan-Brain - Lead Vocals; Kate McWilliam - Violin, Vocals; Dave Bailey – Keyboards, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals; Tim Tandler - Drums, Percussion; Matt Davies - Bass, Vocals; Tony Kelsey - Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals; Bev Bevan – Drums Percussion; Brian Tatler – Electric Guitar. Guest Musicians: Alan Caves, Perky Dudley, Paul Sargent, Jo Bates, Phil Bates, Joel Spencer, Erika Jones, Christian Nokes, Paul Sand,Corey Macri. Produced by Alan Caves; Illustrations by Ben Brain and Jenna Swann...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
10/30/2015......................................If you want know more about this amazing band and its members, visit QUILL HOME PAGE...
Seven Steps To The Green Door (SSTTGD) are back to PR&PM! SSTTGD was formed in 2006 in Germany by multi-tasked keyboardist-saxophonist Marek Arnold (“Toxic Smile”, “UPF”, “Flaming Row”, “Cyril”) and drummer Ulf Reinhardt. The band released three albums that were acclaimed by fans of Crossover Progressive Rock: “The Puzzle” (2006), “Step in 2 My World” (2008) and “The ? Book” (2011 – reviewed at PR&PM in April 2012). “The ? Book” was an impressive concept album that offered a sophisticated blend of Art-Rock with other different musical genres (Prog-Metal, Jazz, Rap, New-Metal, Mainstream Pop, Fusion, Sacred Music), also featuring complex vocal harmonies performed by top musicians and male/female singers. SSTTGD’s brilliance and originality are now back on their newest album, titled “Fetish” (2015, Progressive Promotion Records). Also a concept album, “Fetish” is regarded by the band as a convincing successor to “The ? Book”. The record features founding members Marek Arnold and Ulf Reinhardt, joined by multi-instrumentalist Martin Schnella (of Opera-Rock project “Flaming Row”). Schnella replaced the ex-members Eddie Gemeinhardt (guitar) and Heiko Rehm (bass) and contributed with the new vocal arrangements of “Fetish”, performed by SSTTGD’s line-up singers Lars Köhler and Anne Trautmann, and eight guest singers (including Arno Menses, of “Subsignal”). “Fetish” also counted with guest musicians Steve Unruh (“UPF”) and Daniel Mash (“UPF”, ex-“The Tangent”, “Maschine”). “Fetish” features nine amazing tracks, which retain SSTTGD’s main trademarks: lengthy compositions having twists and turns, showing eclecticism and variety of styles (from Classic and Jazz to Pop, Prog-Rock, and Metal); groovy and dynamic rhythmic section employing polyrhythmic structures; mix of modern and vintage sonic textures on keyboards and synths; thrilling instrumental interplay and abundance of solos; and melodic vocal tunes entangled in complex vocal harmonies. Apart from the predominant Space-Metal and Hard-Prog influences (recalling “Ayreon”, “Star One”), I found “Fetish” to be less heavier than “The ? Book”. Also the Progressive parts tend more to “old-school” 70’s Prog (having bands like “King Crimson”, “Zappa”, “Genesis”, and “Camel” as references). The coming of Martin Schnella to SSTTGD emphasized the “Operatic” vein of the band, introducing Medieval harmonic vocals (like “Steeleye Span”, “Gentle Giant”, “The Merlin Bird”), Epic choirs (as “Flaming Row”, “Star One”, “Ayreon”), or “Broadway style” singing (like “Queen”, “Barock Project”). Preserving the band’s imagination and fascination for Pop-swinging grooves and Jazz-Fusion sophistication, there are many moments referable to bands like “Weather Report”, “Steely Dan”, “Passport”, “Santana”, “The Dregs”, “Pain of Salvation”, and “Karmakanic”. “Fetish” starts with “Possible Delayed” (0:39) (intro in “Steeleye Span’s” style), followed by the crooked “PORN!” (8:50), on which the male-female duo sing amidst “Gentle Giant”-accented keyboards, frantic “Crimsonesque” sax, and “Zappalesque” paranoid logics. “Still Searching” (9:55) includes thousands of instrumental parts (piano, organs, guitars), a middle part with vocals acapella in “Gentle Giant” fashion, and a sensational mix of old and modern-styled vocal harmonies that flow towards a magnificent guitar solo! “Inferior” (7:03) will sound too much modern for most Prog-heads, but the absurd amount of styles that SSTTGD was able to compress in this song (Hip-Hop, Electro-Pop, Latin, Ragtime, Space-Rock) turned it into an outstanding track! Tracks 5 – “Imprisoned” (9:08) – and 7 – “Last Lullaby” (9:01) – are trembling heavy; endowed with hammer-Hammonds, Space-Metal guitars, enthralling pounding bass, and powerful drumming, which, combined with choirs liberated to cosmic-psychedelic ambiences, make those tracks to sound like “Star One”, “Flaming Row”, and “Ayreon”. Attention to the drumming and oriental guitars of the first; and to the interspersed funky parts and final sequence of solos (of flutes, jazzy pianos, guitars, Hammonds) of the second! In between, track 6 – “Bound In Chains” (8:53) – is like a sensitive farewell song that trespasses different Jazz-Fusion moods, waving with soaring sax and delicate synths, and strings that recall “Genesis” and “Camel”. “Set In Motion” (8:39) is a ritualistic “operatic zombie’s bolero”, on which pianos and saxophones bounce to Caribbean voodoo beats, as a singing Obeah-man mesmerizes the audience. Finally, “Ordinary Maniac” (16:10) is the masterpiece that closes the album, delivering a sequence of Folk, Heavy-Metal (with a well-defined riff linked to organs and grandiloquent choirs), groovy Jazz-Fusion, soaring Folk and Psychedelic-Rock vocal parts, stretched out with four minutes of orgasmic solos (of synths, organ, bass, violin, Neo-Classical guitar), closing the circle with the same choir of track 1! With “Fetish”, Seven Steps To The Green Door proved once more to be an extraordinary band, able to cross any musical border to discover new horizons of Progressive originality! Seven Steps To The Green Door and the album “Fetish” are indispensable for fans of “King Crimson”, “Gentle Giant”, “Zappa”, “Genesis”, “Camel”, “Ayreon”, “Star One”, “Flaming Row”, “Queen”, “Weather Report”, “Steely Dan”, “Dregs”, “Pain of Salvation”, “Karmakanic”, “Presto Ballet”, “Man on Fire”, “Majestic”, “Barock Project”, “The Merlin Bird”, “Anthropia”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Seven Steps To The Green Door are: Marek Arnold – Piano, Organ, Keyboards, Saxophones, Soprano Flute; Ulf Reinhardt – Drums, Spoken Words; Martin Schnella – Bass, Acoustic, Electric, Baritone Guitars, Vocals; Lars Köhler – Vocals; Anne Trautmann – Vocals. Guest Musicians: Justo Suarez – Percussion; Daniel Mash – Bass Guitar Solo (tr. 9); Steve Unruh – Violin Solo (tr.9); Luca Di Gennaro – Synth Solo (ending part tr. 9); Antonio Vittozzi – Synth Solo (1st solo, ending part tr. 9). Guest Singers: Arno Menses (tr. 8); Melanie Mau (tr. 1, 2, 3, 9); Sören Flechsig (tr. 5, 6, 9); Lars Begerow (tr. 5, 7); Elisabeth Markstein (tr. 9); Stephan Wegner (tr. 3); Annemarie Schmidt (tr. 5); Alicia Pfeiffer (tr. 7). Live Band: Heiko Rehm – Bass; Thomas Schulz – Vocals, Keyboards. Music written by M. Arnold & U. Reinhardt, or in partnership with M. Schnella. Lyrics written by M. Arnold, or in partnership with Guy Manning, M. Schnella, & Melli Mau. Arrangements by Arnold, Reinhardt & Schnella; Additional Vocal Arrangements by Schnella. Produced by M. Arnold & M. Schnella. Recorded at B`side-music (Thalheim/Waldenburg) by M. Arnold and at Overlodge Recording Studio by M. Schnella. Edited & Mixed by Arnold & Schnella; Final Mix & Mastering by Schnella...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
10/30/2015...........................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit SEVEN STEPS TO THE GREEN DOOR HOME PAGE...
. t (Thomas Thielen) - "Fragmentropy"
The German multi-instrumentalist, singer and producer Thomas Thielen (a.k.a. “t”) is back to PR&PM again! In the past, Thielen had been front man and guitarist of Prog-Rock band “Scythe”. After the split-up of “Scythe”, he went on a solo career under the pseudonym of “t”, and released the albums “Naïve” (2002), “Voices” (2006), “Anti-Matter Poetry” (2010), and “Psychoanorexia” (2013, Progressive Promotion Records). The last one was reviewed at PR&PM in June 2013. “Psychoanorexia” was a concept album written, performed and produced by “t” alone. The record featured four lengthy compositions that blended a vast array of Progressive Rock styles: Neo-Prog, Space, Psychedelic, and Symphonic, brilliantly fused to elements of other musical genres, such as Ambient, New Age, Electronic, and Post-Rock. Although sounding quite distinct from other bands, a heedful listener could spot influences of bands such as: “Pink Floyd”, “David Gilmour”, “Porcupine Tree”, “No-Man”, “King Crimson”, “Brian Eno”, “Genesis”, “Marillion” (and other Neo-Prog bands), “Sigur Rós”, “Sylvan”, “Gazpacho”, “Osada Vida”, “Ayreon”, and others. Following the great success of “Psychoanorexia”, “t” came up with his fifth studio album, titled “Fragmentropy” (September, 11, 2015, Progressive Promotion Records). As its predecessor, “Fragmentropy” is a concept album that brings three lengthy compositions, but includes a flyer for downloading of bonus material (alternative mix and live versions). On “Fragmentropy”, “t” does not abandon his style, although he dares to cross borders, to experiment further with other musical styles. His guitars, for instance, emanate more immaterial radiations and echoing effects than before, and craft typical Post-Rock sinuous patterns. His bittersweet voice has assumed more confessional tones, but has gained in ability to lapidate precious melodies, and to convey emotion with deeper sensitiveness (like singers “David Sylvian”, “Steve Hogarth”, and “Jón Birgisson”), a quality matched with his poetic lyrics. The album’s title seems to reflect the fragmental nature of “t’s” music, which follows on a fractal pattern, each repeating cycle coming with more power than the previous, increasing the dramatic panorama of each song. The arrangements are aesthetically harmonized between soaring sounds of guitars, strings, and imposing symphonic andantes that hover on pillows of clouds, so creating a dreamy, surreal atmosphere that is suddenly trespassed by brief discharges of thunderbolt-guitars, vigorous sky-lightning synths, or copious rain-falling notes of piano. As a consequence, the compositions are dynamic, multilayered, metamorphosing and surprising, resulting in a kind of Emotional Progressive Rock that flows as an uninterrupted current of inspiration, resounding in one’s soul like a profound religious experience. The paradoxical wholeness of the music on “Fragmentropy” approaches it to similar works of “Pink Floyd”, “David Gilmour”, “No-Man”, “Sigur Rós”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Marillion” (2000 to most recent works), “Brian Eno”, “RPWL”, “NoSound”, “David Sylvian”, “Mogwai”, “God Is An Astronaut”, “Echo Us”, and “Mike Oldfield”. The three main compositions of “Fragmentropy” are subdivided in parts. “Chapter One: Anisotropic Dances” (27:12) begins with “1) A Sky-High Pile of Anarchy”, which is introduced by somber sounds and haunting vocals, ambles for a while in the dark hues of dawn, and clears up with the first rays of the daybreak. The song suffers a surprising change when a redemptive vocal arises, leading a torrent of superposed choirs shining with hope, leaning to a poignant tune on the piano that hooks it to “2) Brand New Mornings”, which liberates vigor in the form of slicing synths, powerful guitars, hectic bass and drums, and robotized vocals in Space-Metal style, being pinpointed by concertinas, unusual choirs, and soaring moments crowned with epic Neo-Prog guitar solo. “Chapter Two: The Politics of Entropy” (30:53) is divided in three: the delicate “1) Uncertainty”  has levitating pianos, bouncing drums and a sweet sadness on vocals that recalls recent works of “Marillion”; “2) Entanglement” is a long “Symphonic Andante” that has the strongest contrasts between soaring moments (represented by fairish pianos, ethereal guitars, cellos, cymbals, and soft whispered vocals) and energetic ones (alternating heavy riffs, frantic sax, adventurous bass, and tribal drums); “3) Eigenstates” is a cosmic Post-Rock ballad that ascends to the highest spheres. “Chapter Three: The Art of Double Binding” (18:43) is divided in: “1) The Black of White” – the heaviest and fastest track, having guitar riffs that fly over pulsing bass and drums, omnipresent keyboards, and epic guitar solos, being underlined with humorous theatrical vocals; and “2) Shades of Silver” - which plunges into sensitive melancholy, driven by vocals that carry a note of anguish, being backed by sounds of war, which explodes on the last chords! The least that I can say about “Fragmentropy” is: purchase it, take a seat, hold down, and begin a long trip, through peaks of soaring celestial music and valleys of awesome sonic power, guided by the poetic sensibility of “t”! Highly recommendable for Progressive Rock fans who appreciate “Pink Floyd”, “David Gilmour”, “No-Man”, “Sigur Rós”, “Brian Eno”, “Genesis”, “Marillion” (recent works), “Porcupine Tree”, “Sylvan”, “Mindfields”, “Gazpacho”, “Osada Vida”, “Ayreon”, “Guilty Machine”, “NoSound”, “RPWL”, “David Sylvian”, “Mogwai”, “God Is An Astronaut”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Echo Us”. Band members and collaborators involved in “t” are: Thomas Thielen (a.k.a. “t”) – Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, and Drums; Music & Lyrics. Lyrics for “Shades of Silver” based on a poem by Verena Del Castello. Engineered, Recorded and Produced by “t” at Black Box Studios; Mastered by Jurgen Lusky at Hofa Studios; Artwork Concept by “t” and Katia Tangian. Album Released via Progressive Promotion Records...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
10/30/2015.................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit t (Thomas Thielen) HOME PAGE...
. SLEMLURK - "Eremitens Magiska Äfventyr"
Slemlurk is a Jazz-Punk duo from Askersund, Sweden, consisting of Tony Thorén (all instruments, some drums, voices) and Nils Jonsson (drums, occasional guitar). The duo has debuted with an independent EP, titled “Eremitens Magiska Afventyr” (March 22, 2015). The sound of Slemlurk is really weird and shocking – but under a positive point of view! Crooked rhythmic structures emanate from Jonsson’s frantic drumming. A swinging instrumental torrent flows from Thorén’s guitars and bass, which get entangled to each other forming unique and original riffs that approach the bizarre, defying the regular standards. Piano and brass instruments appear occasionally on some tracks, and vocals are reduced to ironic and cartoonish vocalizations. The music is anarchic and rebellious, delivered with extreme power and speed in very short tracks (less than 3 minutes). Those traits are the only thing that approach Slemlurk’s sonority to something that may be called Punk. Lovers of mostly hard-core Progressive Rock may, therefore, face Slemlurk without fear, for it sounds like a hybridization of “Frank Zappa”, “King Crimson”, “Samla Mammas Manna” and “Devo” with “Primus”, “The Dregs”, and “The Wrong Object”, thriving in a kind of R.I.O./Krautrock creative environment. “Eremitens Magiska Afventyr” is a short EP that offers five tracks. It begins with “Kanyl-Berras Orkester” (02:22) – a track that has no intro and goes straightforwardly to the point, falling over the listener with both Jazzy fury and groove. The arrangements have a kind of humorous evolution that recalls something that “Zappa” and “King Crimson” could have done together. “Doktor Shitzos Mekaniska Mackapär” (02:52) follows on, without a second for the listener to take a breath, and comes, with the same force and vertiginous speed, distributing distortions, nervous guitar solos, and gloomy sounds that recall a horror film that people watch for fun! Track 3, “Quasimodos Måndans” (03:12), is instilled with a childish joy, and we can imagine a naughty hunchback-boy playing with bell on the belfry, and mumbling something unintelligible. The whole track sounds like “The Dregs” meets “Samla Mannas Mamma” inside the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Track 4, “Eremitens Magiska Äfventyr” (06:22), deviates a little from Slemlurk’s pattern. Giving title to the album, this track is possibly regarded by the Slemlurk duo as their most ambitious Progressive work. It is the longest and more elaborated composition, being divided in different parts. The song goes through diverse atmospheric changes, beginning with a cadenced part, featuring riffs that recall “Rush”, then turning into a slower Psychedelic-Jazz sequence backed by funny vocals, finishing with a fast sequence of acrobatic riffs that vaguely recall the Punk hymn “London Calling” (“The Clash”), but complicated to a Progressive-Rock scale, however. The EP ends with “Mysk Och Svett, Brännvin Och Röda Nackar” (02:12) – a track that may be called “Slemlurk’s folky experiment”, because it has a mix of acoustic guitars and awkward instrumentation, and some “rodeo” vocals, recalling me of “Primus”. Although the hard-boiled “Jazz-Punk” sonority of Slemlurk may not be of instant assimilation for most sensitive listeners, it has an original and authentic Progressive approach! Slemlurk may be highly recommended for fans of Progressive Rock having a more experimental orientation, as in the R.I.O. and Krautrock styles, and should be checked out by fans of “Frank Zappa”, “King Crimson”, “Samla Mammas Manna”, “Devo”, “The Dregs”, “Primus”, “The Wrong Object”, “Kraan”, and so on.  Band members and collaborators involved in Slemlurk are: Tony Thorén – Instruments & Voices, Drums on track 5; Nils Jonsson - Drums, Guitar Solo on track 2. Background Art: "Utdøende urskog" by August Cappelen (1827-1852). Slemlurk Logo by Marcus Pettersson. Additional art by Tony Thorén. Music by Tony Thorén. Recorded, Mixed and Mastered on various occasions in 2014, in Lurkout Studios by Tony Thorén...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
11/3/2015...................................,................................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit SLEMLURK HOME PAGE...
The Maier Project is back to PR&PM once more! This project is since 2006 spearheaded by Hans Maier (vocals, guitars, music, lyrics), in collaboration with other musicians, mainly Ludwig Sander (bass, backing vocals) and Arthur Belovic (drums, percussion). The Maier Project began as an instrumental project that later was expanded to include vocals. This project released independent CDs from 2006 to 2013. Two of their previous albums – “States Of Aggregation” (2012) and “Crossroads” (2013) – were featured at PR&PM in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Now The Maier Project is returning to this webzine with a new album, titled “Paris” (June, 2015). This release was planned to have another title, featuring songs dealing just with issues like “love” and “our daily life”, completed with a few instrumental pieces. The concept switched after the attacks to the “Charlie Hebdo”, forcing The Maier Project to add songs related to actual political events, economical, and ecological problems. On “Paris”, the music of The Maier Project is still somber, melancholic and introspective. The songs are driven by Maier’s down-tuned baritone vocals (his trademark), as he declaims ironic and poetic lyrics. The style ranges from Alternative Rock to Blasé 80’s Pop-Rock, covered with a thin layer of Progressive guitar and keyboard sonorities, and driven by a slow and discrete rhythmic section. Band members are influenced by “Trent Reznor” & “Nine Inch Nails”, “Lloyd Cole Weblog”, “Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds”, “Peter Hammill” & “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Yes” (Indian phase), “Genesis” (“Peter Gabriel” Era), and “Steven Wilson & Porcupine Tree”; but the bittersweet nature of the music is also reminiscent of “Lou Reed”, “Roger Waters”, “The Smiths”, “David Sylvian”, “Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds”, “Nick Drake” and “Johnny Cash”. On the new album there was a significant line-up change: the previous duo of guitarists, Peter Monk and Willy Monk, have been replaced by Harold Miller (guitars, backing vocals); and keyboardist Paul Wallner left his place for Carl van der Keulen (keyboards, organ, piano, accordion). The new musicians have brought a new melodic input to The Maier Project: Miller’s guitar solos recall 80’s Rock (“U2”, “The Smiths” and the Neo-Prog style of early “Marillion”); van der Keulen’s keyboards have a touch of Classic Progressive and Psychedelic. The interaction between the old and new musicians of The Maier Project resulted in odd and enigmatic arrangements, underlined by Maier’s characteristic vocals. “Paris” features 17 tracks. The album opens with the somber “Train” (4:05), that runs slow like a Psychedelic-Doom rock, loaded with melancholy, like also do the tracks “My Heavy Wooden Door” (5:42) and “Watch The Dead Walking” (4:34) – this one having hilarious lyrics – presenting The Maier Project’s credentials to the listener. A point of grief is sensed on the incisive lyrics of a number of tracks that deal with political issues – more specifically, against terrorism and the attacks to Paris: the tribute-paying “Charlie” (2:50); the piano-ballad “Contrasts” (3:18); and the best of three, “Paris 2015” (3:24) – a spirited song that places the sadness of a piano tune in opposition to a playful guitar solo, passing the message that, “despite all terror, life goes on”. And life goes on, brighter and happier, on several tracks of “Paris”, whihc are delivered in Alternative, Post-Punk, and New-Wave rhythms and agreeable keyboard arrangements, highlighted by Harold Miller’s beautiful and delicate guitar work – a mix of styles rooted on 80’s Rock (think of “U2”, “Talking Heads”, “The Smiths”), melded with soaring textures and melodicism that recall “Steve Rothery” in “Marillion’s” earliest days. The songs belonging here are: the ballads “Happy Days” (4:35), “Paint Them Pink” (3:56), “Poison Over Endless Fields” (3:50), and “Favorite Place” (2:47); and the fast and rocking “Narcissists” (3:56) and “Love Song” (2:35) (both inspired on “NIN”). A couple of songs are more relaxing: the nostalgic “Town Of Mints” (4:13) and the piano-lullaby “Somnolent Eyes” (3:17), which turns out to be an anti-lullaby, when some noisy bass and guitars arrive in a “Floyd” style! But The Maier Project shows its best Progressive vein on these three tracks: “Valse” (3:56), which experiments with changes of musical tempos; “Look At The Mess” (6:29) – a lysergic retro-rock plunging deep into psychedelic times (recalling “Velvet Underground”); and “My Inward Eye” (6:41), which revolves nostalgic feelings and bittersweet moods amidst piano notes, and rhythmic guitars with an Irish-Rock pedigree, finishing with a Neo-Progressive guitar solo. Although dealing with some grievous issues, I found “Paris” to be a promising album to push The Maier Project towards a new musical future, capable of attracting to the band more than appreciators of melancholic and introspective Rock with poetical and ironic lyrics. The Maier Project is still recommendable for fans of “Peter Hammill”, “Trent Reznor” & “Nine Inch Nails”, “Lou Reed”, “Roger Waters”, “The Smiths”, “David Sylvian”, “Nick Cave”, “Pink Floyd”, “Nick Drake”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in The Maier Project are: Hans Maier – Vocals, Guitars, Music, Lyrics; Harold Miller – Electric Guitars, Backing Vocals; Carl van der Keulen – Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Accordion; Ludwig Sander - Bass, Backing Vocals; Arthur Belovic – Drums, Percussion. Additional Musicians: Gael Hemmings – Celtic Harp on “Train”; Peter Monk - Electric Guitar on “Paint Them Pink”. Additional String Quartet: Martha  Solder – Violin, Eva Dorniger – Cello, Martin Folderer – Contrabass, Ole Jundgaard – Contrabass (on “Contrasts” and “Valse”). Recorded & Mixed from Sep. 3014 to May 2015. Studio Crew: The Tendini Brothers; Mixed & Arranged by Hans Maier & Robert Parker. All Paris photographs courtesy by Bernd Sebastian Kamps and the photographers Georges Mion, Fabrice Bernardini, Françoise Bourcillier and Johanna Kamradt. “Valse” is dedicated to “Carla Bley” (American Jazz pianist and singer)...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
11/30/2015......................More information about the band? Better check it out for yourself at: THE MAIER PROJECT HOME PAGE...
. VESÂNIA - "The Dreams Must Go On"
Vesânia is a Brazilian Rock and Roll band residing in São Paulo, SP. But this band must not be mistaken by the Brazilian Prog-Rock outfit “Vesânia”, which released an eponymous CD in 1999. This Vesânia refers to another band - older, and totally different in style and composition. In fact, the inception of Vesânia happened back in 1969, when some youngsters were listening to “Led Zeppelin’s” song “Communication Breakdown”, and dreamed of having a Rock band of their own. The name Vesânia appeared in 1972, suggested by a school friend who explained the meaning of the word to some of the future members of Vesânia. But Vesânia was just officially formed in 1986, when the band began to rehearse and compose songs, with the intent of releasing an album, which never came out – forcing Vesânia to cease activities in 1989. But in December 2008, encouraged by musician Andria Busic, Vesânia got back to life and started to record their old songs. The work at studio was finally finished in October, 2010, and came to light, in the format of a CD, under the suggestive title of “The Dreams Must Go On” (2014). According to Vesânia, band members have no serious artistic ambitions nowadays, and have recorded the album just to fulfill their dreams of youth. “The Dreams Must Go On” features 10 tracks, with lyrics sung in Portuguese. To my understanding (based on the notes written on the album’s booklet), Mario Abud (rhythm guitar) and Rozana (lyrics, keyboards, melodica) are original members of Vesânia, and have been helped on the record by friends and other professional musicians: Andria Busic (vocals, bass, rhythm and lead guitar), Ivan Busic (drums), Átila Ardanuy (lead guitar, keyboards), and Faiska (lead guitar). As Vesânia’s songs were written in different times, they reflect the musical style and fashion of the correspondent time span. This makes the album to sound well varied, but most of the songs are not pretentious, although very professionally performed, consisting in a collection of honest and basic Rock and Roll standards. The two Busics form a solid rhythmic section and Andria in special is capable of entwining tasteful bass lines in the harmonic structure. The two main guitarists are also above the average, and have different styles: Átila is soft, melodic, and fusion-styled; Faiska is a hard-rocker, and bluesy in spirit. Mario Abud takes care of the substantial rhythmic riffing, while Rozana adorns the arrangements with nice tunes of keyboards and vivid sounds of the melodica. The mood is overall stimulating, vibrant, cheerful, and uplifting, resembling many bands of Brazilian Rock and Pop, such as “O Terço”, “Casa das Máquinas”, “Made In Brazil”, “Robertinho de Recife”, “Celso Blues Boy”, “14 Bis”, “Blues Etílicos”, “Sangue da Cidade”, “Barão Vermelho”, also having a contamination of foreign bands, like “Led Zeppelin”, “Deep Purple”, “Black Sabbath”, “Rainbow”, “Whitesnake”, “Peter Frampton”, “Lynyrd Skynyrd”, “Allman Brothers”, “Rush”, “Yes”, and “Marillion”. “The Dreams Must Go On” opens up with “Filho Meu” (“Son of Mine”) (4:40) – a strong song that combines 80’s Rock melodicism on the guitar and keyboard textures (slightly like “Marillion” and “Yes”), with a powerful Hard-Rock chorus; and follows on “Inspiração” (“Inspiration”) (4:25) – a Hard-Rock with some martial bass and drums (recalling “Rush”), adorned with great guitar solo. My favorites are, however, “Guerreiro” (“Warrior”) (4:10), a bass-driven song with elements of Southern Rock, with very good final guitar solo; the instrumental and sophisticated “Wintertime” (4:38), with a sensual Cabaret atmosphere; the Blues-ballad “Mágoas” (“Sorrows”) (3:52), with a sad mood, deep feelings, and accompanied by organ (like “Allman Brothers”); and the Heavy Metal track “Falso Profeta” (“False Prophet”) (2:50), introduced by sinister Gothic church-organ – the most aggressive song that you will hear from Vesânia. Listeners who are fans of Hard-Rock in the mode of bands like “Deep Purple”, “Rainbow”, “Whitesnake”, and “Peter Frampton” of the early days will really love “Navegar” (“Sail Away”) (3:34) – a song that begins softly, with gentle guitars and vocals resounding amidst sounds of waves and seagulls, that explodes with the coming of all other instruments; and “Vida” (“Life”) (5:53) – a pulsing and groovy Rock propelled by really outstanding bass lines. The album still offers “A Lenda” (“The Legend”) (4:05) – a typical Western-Rock, driven by a cheerful saloon piano and harmonica-sounding melodica; and finishes with “Vamos Embora” (“We Are Going Away”) (1:35) – a farewell song in Brazilian Folk-Rock style. Although modest in essence, “The Dreams Must Go On” is a solid album that conquers the listener with its message of simplicity, freedom, and love for music – all that Rock n’ Roll is about. Vesânia (which, by the way, means “madness”) is highly recommended for fans of 70’s to 80’s Classic Rock and Brazilian Rock. Band members and collaborators involved in Vesânia are: Mário Abud - Rhythm Guitar; Rozana - Lyrics, Keyboards, Melodica; Andria Busic – Lead Vocals, Bass, Rhythm and Occasional Lead Guitar; Átila Ardanuy – Lead Guitars; Keyboard Solo (on “Inspiração”); Faiska - Lead Guitar; Ivan Busic – Drums. Album Mixed and Mastered at Bavini Stufios, Busic Studios, Vesânia Studios, Ardanuy Studios, Sonata 84 Studios. Graphic Design by Michel Camporeze Téer...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
11/30/2015............................Want to learn everything about this Brazilian band and its members? Visit VESÂNIA HOME PAGE...
Darkyra Black is back to PR&PM! Darkyra Black (a.k.a. Gina Bafile) is an Australian singer who began her career with Perth-based band “Caprycon” (Reviewed at PR&PM in 2011), and later departed to Greece to pursue a solo career. In Athens she teamed up with George Boussounis (musician, owner of Online Recording Masters) and drummer Garry King (“Jeff Beck”, “Joe Lynn Turner”, “Ian Parry”, “Achillea”) to record Darkyra’s impressive first album, titled “Dragon Tears” (2014, reviewed at PR&PM in March of 2014). The music blended Symphonic Metal, Gothic Metal, and Progressive Rock with elements of traditional pentatonic music, a dramatic score-music feeling, and a distinguishing and innovative touch of Japanese Traditional music. Darkyra’s voice was in the center of the arrangements, irradiating the same mesmerizing power, and burning passion of other female singers such as “Sandra Schleret”, “Tarja Turunen”, “Sabine Dünser”, “Marcela Bovio”, “Manda Ophuis”, and “Kate Bush”. The sound resembled bands like “Dreams of Sanity”, “Eyes of Eden”, “Epica”, “Nightwish”, “Edenbridge”, “Within Temptation”, “Elis”, “Leave’s Eyes”, “Xandria”, “Artrosis”, “Nox Arcana”, “Evanescence”, “Erben der Schöpfung”, “Sirenia”, “Nemesea”, “Stream of Passion”, “Lacuna Coil”, “Syrens Call”, “Lacrimosa”, “Imperia”, “Todesbonden”, “Dead Can Dance”. “Fool” (2015) is the second full-length studio album by Darkyra Black. It is a concept album based on the lives of people who visited the “Fountain of Wishes”, and their foolish obsessions. To perform on the record, Darkyra counted with George Boussounis (keyboards, arrangements), Garry King (drums), Betovani Dinelli (guitars), Fab Jablonski (keyboards), Kostis Vichos (bass), the special guest bassist Tony Dolan (“M-Pire of Evil”, “ex-Venom”), and other musicians (see below). “Fool” follows the same musical line of “Dragon Tears”, featuring exciting songs that harmoniously blend Progressive Rock and Metal with Far Eastern influences, supported by powerful riffs, dazzling guitar solos, and epic Symphonic arrangements containing strings, grand piano and choirs. On the front, Darkyra’s enchanting voice drags the listener to a hidden world, described in her revealing lyrics. “Fool” brings 12 tracks divided in two thematic blocks. The first block is “Fools of the Past”, on which Darkyra figures out about the indiscretions committed by the queens and kings of the past. The songs on this block are more straightforward, rocky and thrilling, delivered with heavy galloping instrumentation, hard-rock grooves, and malevolent vocals – all packed in cohesive arrangements featuring the right dose of surprises. The displaced “Part 2. Behind Closed Doors” (5:47) opens the album with lethal doses of Oriental Metal (underlined by traditional percussion) combined to thundering Symphonic Gothic-Metal. “Who Are They To Judge You” (5:11) departs from pulsing Traditional Metal riffs, solos, and hard-rocking Hammonds to conquer the listener with Darkyra’s malign vocals and a commanding chorus. “Truth Or Dare” (4:56) brilliantly links the ancient roots of Oriental Metal with futuristic-sounding Progressive synths, and features Tony Dolan’s “demolition” bass. After this fast Metal assault (which will please fans of “Epica”), two songs arise to Epic Metal standards, recalling the sound of “Dreams of Sanity” and “Nightwish”: “Of Fools And Gold” (4:21) is dramatic and driven by majestic Symphonic arrangements; while “Where Will I Be” (3:57) walks with an adventurous Celtic pace, sounding like a mix of “Iron Maiden” and “Todesbonden”. The Romantic Gothic-Rock “Bleed” (3:58) finishes this block with an accessible male-female vocal duo. The second thematic block, “Faces By The Fountain”, is based on Darkyra’s observations made upon each visitor she has seen at the fountain. This block contains the most varied songs, marked by the alternation of Heavy Metal sequences with the most Symphonic moments. The aggressive ambience of each song is soothed down by dreamy or haunting atmospheres. Darkyra shows her best, extending her vocal range from low-tuned melodies to epic Operatic themes, and assuming multiple personalities, like the characters in a story. The bombastic “The Wish Never Fades” (4:51) starts the second block, driven by exciting riffs and rocky swings that align it with the songs of the first block. But Darkyra’s interpretation enhances its dramatic content, preparing the listener for the gloomy “Desperation” (5:05) – a song instilled with malice. The following tracks – “Flawless” (4:17) and “It Takes All Kinds Of Fools” (5:34) – are magnificent Symphonic-Metal pieces, on which Darkyra raises her voice to Operatic levels, backed by an imposing grand piano and by enthralling backing choirs, in the style of “Nightwish” with “Tarja”! Finally, “Fountain Of Frozen Dreams” (4:44) is a powerful and exclusive Darkyra-branded Japanese- Gothic- Metal that hovers on riffs like “Black Sabbath”, ending on the minaret chanting of “Part 1. Behind Closed Doors” (1:10). In sum, “Fool” is an outstanding sophomore album that endorses the placement of Darkyra Black among the best names of Female-Fronted Symphonic & Gothic Metal, being indispensable for fans of “Dreams of Sanity”, “Eyes of Eden”, “Epica”, “Nightwish”, “Tarja Turunen”, “Edenbridge”, “Within Temptation”, “Elis”, “Leave’s Eyes”, “Xandria”, “Artrosis”, “Nox Arcana”, “Evanescence”, “Erben der Schöpfung”, “Sirenia”, “Nemesea”, “Syrens Call”, “Amartia”, “Stream of Passion”, “Imperia”, “Dead Can Dance”, “Lacrimosa”, “Therion”, “Delain”, “After Forever”, “Visions of Atlantis”, “Lacuna Coil”, “Forgotten Tales”, “Doro Pesch & Warlock”, “Sinergy”, “Todesbonden”,  “Revamp”, “Tystnaden”, “Serenity”, “Mayze”, “Indica”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Darkyra Black are: Darkyra Black (a.k.a. Gina Bafile) - Lead & Backing Vocals; Betovani Dinelli – Guitar, Backing Vocals; George Boussounis - Keyboard Arrangements, Backing Vocals; Fab Jablonski – Keyboards; Kostis Vichos – Bass (except on “Truth or Dare”); Tony Dolan – Bass (on “Truth or Dare”); Garry King – Drums, Hand Held Percussion, Backing Vocals; Tigran Sargysan – Duduk, Vocal Intro (on “Where Will I Be”, “Behind Closed Doors Pts. 1 & 2”); George Ammos Ginis – Spoken Word (on “Who Are They To Judge You”). String Trio: Ilias Sdoukos – Viola; Laertis Kokolanis – Violin; Michael Porfyris – Cello (on “Behind Closed Doors”, “Flawless”, “Of Fools and Gold”, “Where Will I Be”). Choir: Evanthia Katsourou – Soprano; Antonis Batsakis – Tenor; Emmanouel Papadopoulos – Baritone (on “Flawless”). All Lyrics by Gina Bafile; Music by Gina Bafile in partnership with Garry King, Betovani Dinelli, and George Boussounis. Concept & Artwork by Gina Bafile. Recorded at Morph Flow Studios, Athens, by George Boussounis, except Drums & Guitar recorded at Garry’s Studio, France; Keyboards recorded at Fab’s Studio, Brazil. Preliminary Editing, Mixing & Mastering by Garry King; finished in March 2015 by G. Boussounis (Online Recording Masters, Athens, Greece)...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
11/30/2015............................................For more details and in the meantime please check out DARKYRA BLACK HOME PAGE...
. PROJECT PATCHWORK - "Tales From a Hidden Dream"
Project Patchwork is a sensational Crossover Progressive Project spearheaded by Gerd Albers (a.k.a. “The Brain”) and Peter Koll (a.k.a. “The Body”) – respectively drummer and guitarist for German Rock Band “GrooveFabrik”. Project Patchwork is Albers’ infancy dream that has finally come true. Being a multi-tasked musician (he also plays guitars, some keyboards, and writes music and lyrics), Albers spent eight years composing, performing, calling upon other musicians to play with him, and organizing all material, which was recorded, edited, pre-mixed, and pre-mastered by Koll with endless patience at his home-studio. After a song-by-song crafting process, the material was finally mixed and mastered by three different producers, in three different studios. The outcome was reunited on an independent CD, titled “Tales From A Hidden Dream” (2015). Albers realized that the word “patchwork” was ideal to define the project, given the years spent in the making, and the large number of musicians who got involved in the project: more than 40, from Germany, The Netherlands and Israel! Among them, Kalle Wallner (“RPWL”), Marek Arnold (“Seven Steps To The Green Door”, “Toxic Smile”), Martin Schnella (“Flaming Row”), Steven Mageney (“Chrystal Ball”), David M. Scholtz (“Orpheo”, “Eisenhower”), Yossi Sassi (“Orphaned Land”); and all other members of “GrooveFabrik” – Magdalena Sojka (vocals), Olaf Kobbe (vocals), Michael Ettema (guitar), Matthias Becker (bass), and Volker Wichmann (keyboards). “Tales From A Hidden Dream” is a fantastic album that contains 9 outstanding tracks that cover several styles. Essentially Celtic-Folk, Hard-Rock, Metal and Opera-Rock, the music also has opulent moments of Symphonic Progressive Rock, Classical and Sacred Music, and incursions into Pop, Funk, Fusion, and Ethnic Music. Everything is delivered with extraordinary class and good taste, in tight arrangements that unfold in spectacular themes, driven by acoustic guitars, pianos, and great guitar riffs that strike with variable intensities – going from soaring Progressive chords that match the amplitudes, to powerful and incisive Metallic modes, laboring the fertile ground from which will sprout the amazing individual performances, on vocals, electric guitars, synths, sax and flutes. As a whole, the sound of Project Patchwork recalls me of a mix of bands (“Pink Floyd”, “Solstice”, “Ayreon”, “Lana Lane”, “Roswell Six”, “Adventure”, “Iron Maiden”, “Scorpions”, “Symphony X”, “Weather Report”), sharing an eclectic musical approach with German bands such as: “Seven Steps To The Green Door”, “Flaming Row”, “RPWL”, and  “Blind Ego”. The album starts with the instrumental “Beginning” (3:58) – a sensitive piece that combines the grand piano with a beautiful tune on sax, in a deep Prog-Fusion ambience. The piano makes a bridge for “Oblivion” (13:24) – a song divided in four parts (“1-Intro”, “2-Always The Same”, “3-Focus Points”, “4-Oblivion Things”), which alternates powerful Space-Metal parts led by a male singer with Prog-Folk sequences led by a female singer, intercalated with a sublime piano, soulful guitar solos, and finding a climax on the Metal part sung by Lars Begerow’s grunting voice. The following song – “The Turning Point” (6:55) – rides on Prog-Metal riffs that run in a slow “Iron Maiden” adventurous gallop, having awesome guitars and synths, and Olaf Kobbe singing as a hero. A change of atmosphere happens on the next song, “Elysium” (0:51), a church-music song in the style of “Thomas Tallis”, performed by the Kreuz & Quer Choir, that introduces the amazing “Land Of Hope And Honour” (5:14) – a magnificent song driven by the poignant voice of Jessica Schmalle, who leaps from the ancient to future times, riding on a majestically “Floydian” guitar solo. The next song – “Not Yet” (5:10) – intrigues the listener with its perfect fusion of Funk groovy bass, Israeli bouzuki, Latin percussion, crooked guitar solo, and popish backing vocals, ordered under the command of Stefan Mageney’s Hard-Rock vocals (recalling “Bruce Dickinson”). “Every End Is A Beginning” (“Bau’ Dir Ein Schloss”) (6:16) is a sweet pop-ballad sung in German by Magdalena Sojka; and “Oblivion Things (reprise)” (3:25) presents the themes of “Oblivion, pt. 4” dressed up in grandiose orchestral arrangements, programmed by Andreas Wimmer. This should work as the cinematographic end of the album, but we still got the demo “Incomprehensible” (17:51), which is an impressive opus led by male-female vocals, divided in parts that gain in Progressive momentum, as the song evolves from basic Rock beats to soaring symphonic complexity, finishing with weeping guitar solo that lasts 3 minutes! Project Patchwork’s “Tales From a Hidden Dream” is a brilliant and valuable work of Art Rock, containing wonderful moments of Progressive, Folk, and Operatic Rock, interspersed to powerful Metal outbursts, and intermediated by Hard-Rock swings. Highly recommendable for fans of “Ayreon”, “Star One”, “Adventure”, “Iron Maiden”, “Roswell Six”, “Blind Ego”, “Seven Steps To The Green Door”, “Flaming Row”, “Anthropia”, “Lana Lane”, “RPWL”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Project Patchwork are: Gerd Albers – “The Brain” (Musical Director): Concept, Compositions, Lyrics, All Acoustic Guitars and Drums, Some Electric Guitars, Keyboards, and Percussion, Arrangements for Backing Vocals; Peter Koll – “The Body” (Technical Director): Recordings, Edition, Pre-Mixing, Pre-Mastering, Electric Guitars. Guest and Additional Musicians: Marek Arnold - Keyboards, Programming, Soprano Saxophone; Matthias Becker - Bass Guitar; Lars Begerow – Vocals; Kay Ernst - Rhythm Guitars; Michael Ettema - Lead Guitars; Frank Göbel - Lead Guitars; Johannes Hahn - Keyboards, Composition (track 1); Jost Halenta - Bass Guitar; Oliver Hanf - Lead Guitar; Claudia Kettler – Vocals; Olaf Kobbe – Vocals; Stefan Mageney – Vocals; André Müller – Vocals; Melanie Nocon – Vocals; Claudia Orth – Flutes; Thomas Orth - Grand Piano, Choir Setting; Yossi Sassi - Bouzukis, Lead Guitars; Jessica Schmalle – Vocals; Martin Schnella - Lead & Rhythm Guitars; David M. Scholtz - Lead Guitars; Markus Schüttler - Bass Guitar; Magdalena Sojka – Vocals; Kalle Wallner - Lead Guitars; Volker Wichmann – Keyboards; Andreas Wimmer - Orchestra Programming; The Kreuz & Quer Kirchenchor – Sopranos: Angela Götz, Claudia Orth, Dagmar Albers; Altos: Sylvia Hartmann, Dagmar Albers, Claudia Orth; Tenors: Frank Jung, Thomas Orth, Gerd Albers; Basses: Ingolf Fuss, Reinhard Hinz, Georg Pläcking, Thomas Orth, Gerd Albers. Technical Support: Frank Rausch (Audioworld) - Mix & Master (tracks 1, 4, 7, 8, 9), CD-premastering; Martin Schnella (Overlodge Recording  Studio) - Mix & Master (tracks 3, 6); Marek Arnold (B’side-Music) - Mix & Master (tracks 2, 5); Uli Brandt - Loan of mobile recording device & large-diaphragm microphones. Janine Roje - Artwork & Booklet Layout; Claudia Groß – Official Website. Also you must visit Project Patchwork's Youtube Site...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
11/30/2015................................................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit PROJECT PATCHWORK HOME PAGE...
Riders Of The Universe are a new Dutch band consisting of Ronald Louwsma (guitar, vocals), Arjan Hoekstra (guitar, bass, euphonium, flugelhorn, vocals), Gerard Keijsers (drums, percussion, vocals), Hans Crébas (vocals), Martien Keijsers (vocals), Bob Crébas (bass, bouzouki), and Robert Wardenier (several keyboards). Riders Of The Universe are inspired by the words of Lao Tzu: “A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent upon arriving.” With that moto, Riders Of The Universe travel to all corners of the musical universe – “sometimes as a rocket, other times as an airship” – searching for the most different styles to integrate their compositions. Riders Of The Universe are an omnivorous band, the members of which feel influenced by bands as diverse as: “Hawkwind”, “Golden Earring”, “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”, “Rare Bird”, “Neil Young”, “Wishbone Ash”, “The Doors”, “Iron Maiden”, “Opeth”, and a series of Alternative Rock bands such as “My Sad Captains”, “Alt- J”, “Half Moon Run”, “Arcade Fire”, “Elbow”, “The War on Drugs”, “The Good Hand”, and “Grumbling Fur”. Nevertheless, the sound of Riders Of The Universe is firmly rooted in Classic Rock grounds, experimenting with a variation of genres that includes Blues, Rhythm & Blues, 70’s Hard Rock, American Folk, Southern Rock, Space, Psychedelic, Proto-Progressive Rock; extending to Punk Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Folk, Grunge and Shoegaze. Besides employing the normal vocals and instrumental ensemble typical of bands of Rock, Riders Of The Universe also add exogenous instruments to their music, like tuba, flugelhorn, and bouzouki. Riders Of The Universe released a debut album so far. Titled “Amen Road” (2014, NetlMedia, the Netherlands), it has been produced in CD and Vinyl formats. “Amen Road” brings 12 tracks, representing a Rock salad of genres and styles, which, overall, sound like a blend of “Proto-Progressive” sonorities wrapped up in modern Alternative Rock outfits, stretching through a temporal span that goes from the late 60’s to just now. In spite of that variation of styles, each song follows a single musical line, and will hit each listener differently, according to his/her tastes. The sound of Riders Of The Universe is guaranteed to deliver Rock grooves and nostalgic sensations, featuring long solos of guitars, psychedelic bass, swinging drums, an arsenal of vintage keyboards, and different kinds of vocal styles – from Space Psychedelic to Hard Rock (like a blend of “Hawkwind” with “Golden Earring”). People searching for Space-Psychedelic Progressive sounds will praise the following tracks: “We Are Riders, Part I & II” (7.28), which opens the album, is divided in an astral intro with “Floydian” guitars, turning into a stormy Space-Rock that hovers on adventurous “Maiden-like” tempos strengthened by Hammonds, underlined by electronic voices in Church Music style; “Consolation” (5.25) – a typical Space-Rock driven by hypnotic bass that recalls “Hawkwind”; the outstanding “Lost Los Angeles” (5.19), a mix of Psychedelic and Big-Band Jazz delivered in slow-motion, with long trippy passages marked by the tuba, the organ, and extra-long solos of guitar; and the trippy “All That Is” (8.07), blurred with psychedelic atmospheres, cosmic ambiences, and acid instrumentation, having a pinch of modern Shoegaze and time-traveling guitar solos. Leaning to the Hard Rock of the verge of the ‘60s to the ‘70s, the song “Summarized” (2.13), with its fast drumming, typical guitar solo and noisy organs; and the title-track “Amen Road” (3.15), with groovy guitar riffs, pulsing bass, tribal drumming, and gritty organs, topped with a superb guitar solo, will really fascinate fans of “Golden Earring”, “Deep Purple”, “Vanilla Fudge”, and “Atomic Rooster”. The Folk-American side of Riders Of The Universe is showcased on “Time Is Time” (3.01), a Southern Rock ignited with cosmic rays; and “Old Song” (2.26), instilled with a cheerful Nashville mood. And their most profound Bluesy roots are unearthed on the exceptional “Wondering Man” (2.47), a kind of Mississippi Blues with soulful guitar solo and haunting vocals, but backed by psychedelic organs. Advancing beyond time and space, Riders Of The Universe grasp the quasi-modernity on the energy-splurging songs “In The Rain” (2.17) – a kind of “Iron Maiden-like” song with a Punk punch; and “Scattered Grounds” (4.07) – an energetic 80’s Gothic Punk-Rock with some melancholic vocals. The last track of the album is a total surprise: “Bovenkerk” (2.50) – it is an instrumental Baroque piece in “Johann S. Bach’s” style, played on an authentic Church Organ. Firing with their musical machine-gun around the whole galaxy, Riders Of The Universe is a kind of “Universal Rock Band” that really knows how to congregate many genres and styles in just one album – retaining total musical cohesiveness and logic. A band to be watched closely in the future, Riders Of The Universe are highly recommendable for people whose musical tastes orbit around “Hawkwind”, “Golden Earring”, “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”, “Rare Bird”, “Neil Young”, “Wishbone Ash”, “The Doors”, “Iron Maiden”, “My Sad Captains”, “Alt- J”, “Half Moon Run”, “Arcade Fire”, “Elbow”, “The War on Drugs”, “The Good Hand”, “Grumbling Fur”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Riders Of The Universe are: Ronald Louwsma - Guitar, Vocals; Arjan Hoekstra - Guitar, Euphonium, Flugelhorn, Bass, Vocals; Gerard Keijsers - Drums, Percussion, Vocals; Hans Crébas – Vocals; Martien Keijsers – Vocals; Bob Crébas - Bass, Bouzouki; Robert Wardenier - Hammond, Wurlitzer, Roland V-Synth, Minimoog Voyager, Roland RD-700, Openlabs Neko, Reil Organ. Produced by Robert Wardenier & Bob Crébas, Recorded and Mixed by Robert Wardenier, except life recording Bovenkerk by Joop van der Linden & Serge Aanstoot. Recorded at Netl Studio, except Reil Organ, in Bovenkerk, Kampen. Counselor – Joop van der Linden/Face Sound. Mastered by Sander van der Heide, Wisseloord Studios. Logo Riders by Olle Stolte/Netl. Artwork, graphic design by Maarten Kleyne...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
11/30/2015....................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit RIDERS OF THE UNIVERSE HOME PAGE...
. OPERA ROCK - "Starborn"
Opera Rock is an Opera Rock project that was created in 2010 in Italy by Marco ‘Mr. Faz’ Fazzini (bass, compositions). For this endeavor, Fazzini teamed up with singers Alessandro Formenti, Marco Scorletti, Daniela Laporta, Silvia Ciraudo; with guitar players Marco Longhi and Stefano ‘Leo’ Dall’Osto; and with keyboardist Giorgio Macchi. The most ambitious goal of Opera Rock is to blend Hard Rock, Power & Melodic Metal styles in such an accessible way, that the music could be appreciated by both Metal and non-Metal audiences. This goal has been materialized on Rock Opera’s debut album, titled “Starborn” (2013, self-produced). “Starborn” is a cinematic concept-album, meaning that each next track leads to the unfolding of a wider plot, holding the listener in a suspenseful state. Settled in a sci-fi world, “Starborn” tells the story of Isaac and Reika, two main characters that represent two different and distant worlds, but who are still similar and close to each other. The “Starborn” chronicles stretch over two CDs, comprising 14 tracks. The music shows influences of favorite bands of Opera Rock’s components (“Edguy”, “Blind Guardian”, “Rhapsody of Fire”, “Vision Divine”, “Iron Maiden”, “AC/DC”, “Bon Jovi”, “Mr. Big”, “Dream Theater”), resembling other Opera projects, such as “Avantasia” (also a band’s favorite), “Ayreon”, “Star One”, “Genius”, “Nikolo Kotzev's Nostradamus”, “Aina”, “Roswell Six”, “Flaming Row”, “Adventure”, “Anthropia”, and, to a less extent, “M.A.V.”, “Caamora”, and the Musicals of “Andrew Lloyd Webber”. The music of Opera Rock shows perfect equilibrium between voice and instruments. The main instrumentation is represented by solos of guitars in Melodic Metal and Neo-Classical styles, supported by Epic Metal riffs and conveyed on Power-Metal galloping bass and drums. Keyboards furnish a symphonic background, and alternate in the arrangements from a classic piano accompaniment to slicing solos of synths. The vocals and choirs come in Hard Rock and Epic Metal to Operatic Broadway fashion. The dramatic nature of the album is emphasized by the sinister voice that narrates the story, while the words spoken by the characters that play the main roles highlight the cinematic style that Opera Rock intends to imprint on their music. CD-1 (Part I) starts with “A Future to Come?” (3:17), the prelude of sounds and narrations that settles down the sci-fi plot. “Prologue: For Centuries Untold” (1:50) is a short symphonic overture that introduces the mains singers, preceding the two complementary songs “A Place Beyond Belief, Pt. 1: Isaac” (4:12) and “A Place Beyond Belief, Pt. 2: Reika” (5:52). Aiming to reflect the personalities of the two main characters, “Isaac” irradiates more Heavy Metal energy, being driven by adventurous riffs and a sticky chorus with a “Broadway” lean; while “Reika” is soothing, being more Folky and having soft melodies, strings, and sensitive guitar solo, being linked to the first by the same sticky chorus. They meet on “Under Starry Skies” (8:35), a Fusion-Metal/Melodic-Metal combo that alternates joyful accessible choirs and dramatic epic brakes, being crowned with synths and fast guitar solos (in “Maiden” style). The ballad “New World” (7:27), led by female vocals, represents a romantic pause before “Out in the Dark” (8:08) – a tremendous Symphonic Power-Metal loaded with killer solos of guitar! CD-2 (Part II) starts with “Interlude: Before the Storm” (5:13), having Progressive tunes and cinematic sounds that instigate the listener to follow the pulsing rocky beats of “Guardians of the Light” (8:02), and the thrilling interspersion of operatic and medieval Power-Metal moments. “Words Can't Say” (6:02) is the last resting ballad before the impressive tracks that close the opera. “Dawn of Rage” (5:49) blends Power-Metal with Mediterranean/Middle-East musical influences, being cut by amazing guitar solo that hovers over celestial choirs, and will delight fans of “Iron Maiden”, “Rhapsody of Fire”, “Blind Guardian”, and “M.A.V.”; “Veiled in Dusk” (9:05) begins gloomy, with haunting vocals smothered in a Gothic atmosphere, turning into a Prog-Metal piece that conveys demanding Power-Metal choirs, until ending with a twist of the plot that introduces the bombastic climax of “The Shadow You Cast” (13:52) – a galloping Symphonic Power-Metal song escorted by choirs of the Templar Knights going to war, leading sensational riffs, awesome vocal tunes, and tons of chained guitar solos, everything arranged with truly cinematic spirit! Finally, “Epilogue” (1:06) presents the final words, working as the teaser for the next Opera Rock album! Opera Rock, with its most accessible way of playing, will help to popularize and perhaps bring to mainstream music the Opera-Rock style. “Starborn” is an amazing debut album, highly recommendable for fans of “Edguy”, “Blind Guardian”, “Rhapsody of Fire”, “Vision Divine”, “Iron Maiden”, “Avantasia”, “Ayreon”, “Star One”, “Genius”, “Nikolo Kotzev's Nostradamus”, “Aina”, “Roswell Six”, “Adventure”, “Flaming Row”, “Anthropia”, “M.A.V.”, “Caamora”, “Andrew Lloyd Webber”, and other opera-rock projects. Band members and collaborators involved in Opera Rock are: Marco "Mr. Faz" Fazzini – Bass, Midi Drums, Rhythm Guitars, Keyboards, Lyrics, Cinematic Arrangements; Alessandro Formenti – Vocals (as Isaac); Marco Scorletti – Vocals (as Lutar and The Crimson King); Daniela Laporta – Vocals (as Reika); Silvia Ciraudo – Vocals (as The Natives); Giorgio Macchi – Piano, Keyboards, Backing Vocals; Marco Longhi – Rhythm and Lead Guitars; Stefano “Leo” Dall’Osto – Rhythm and Lead Guitars, Co-author. Additional Voices: Simone Crestani, Claudio Sergio Mattioni and Alession Inbriglio – Men Choirs; Marta Cavalli – Captain’s Voice (track 14); Agostino Subbachi – Male Narrator Voice; Federico Tesio – Editorial Assistant. “Starborn” was written by Leo & Mr. Faz. Produced by Larsen Premoli and Marco Fazzini at Reclab Studios. Also you must visit Opera Rock's Facebook Site...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
11/30/2015..................Want to learn everything about the musicians and their fantastic band, visit OPERA ROCK HOME PAGE...
. MARCO RAGNI - "Mother From The Sun"
Marco Ragni is an Italian multi-instrumentalist who began to play in 1975, then at the age of 6, when he asked for a Farfisa keyboard as a gift. He bagan to sing just later, fascinated by the vocal harmonies of “The Beatles”. At the age of 17 he discovered the California Hippie scene and fell in love with the Rock of the late ‘60s to early ‘70s period, and became mostly influenced by names such as: “Hendrix”, “Grateful Dead”, “Jefferson Airplane”, “Grand Funk Railroad”, “Quicksilver Messenger Service”, “Country Joe & The Fish”, and many others. By the end of the ‘80s, he was starting to record his first Psychedelic songs, and later he followed on to play in some bands in Italy: “Deshuesada” (1990-1998), “Quartafila” (which changed the name for “Heza”, and released three studio albums in the 2000s); and “Mokers” (2007-2008). In January 2009, Ragni decided to take a solo career, and by the Summer of 2009, he had already founded Crow Records, to release his albums independently. Ragni’s discography counts with several albums now, comprising the studio albums “In My Eyes” (2010), “1969” (2011), and “Lilac Days” (2012); the live albums “Live at the House of Thunder” (2011), with his band called “Velvet Cactus”, and “On Air” (2013); and the 20-years anniversary edition “Psychedelicious” (2013), featuring previous unreleased material. Marco Ragni’s last two releases were a double CD, entitled “Mother From The Sun” (December 2014, Melodic Revolution Records), and an special CD edition, called “Hidden Sun” (2015), containing alternative takes and demo versions taken from the “Mother From The Sun’s” recording sessions. “Mother From The Sun” is Ragni’s fourth studio album, having lyrics written by Alessandra Pirani. The record features guest singer Pamela Anna Polland (“Joe Cocker”) and other musicians (see below). “Mother…” is also a concept album that has the relatioship between Man and Nature as the main theme, which is explored on 14 tracks. The music of Marco Ragni inhabits inside the highest spheres of Psychedelic-Prog. His songs are trippy, nuanced, fluidal, and levitating. They convey a kind of transcendental experience, beating with a universal rhythmic pulse that reverberates slowly on the ether, forming cosmic vibrations that instill relaxing sensations in the listener. The soft and tuneful vocals are peaceful, while the instrumental sequences are long and loaded with extensive guitar solos, wonderfully crafted and dressed up in different textures. The background is stuffed with floating acoustic guitars, psychedelic bass lines, and colorful hallucinogenic keyboards, which are all gently harmonized with sounds of cosmic saxophones and pastoral flutes – producing melodies and arrangements that will hook fans of “Pink Floyd”, “David Gilmour”, “Quintessence”, “Manfred Mann”, “Moody Blues”, “Cream”, “Gong”, “Passport”, and other bands influenced by them. “Mother From The Sun” is divided in CDs 1 and 2, each one featuring 7 tracks. “CD 1 – The Rise and Fall of Human Heart” leans more to the Psychedelic and Folk-Psychedelic styles, and has three main compositions. “Into The Wheel of Time” (9:13) opens up the CD, showcasing a band that plays at a professional level. The song follows on a trippy slow cadence, propelled by cosmic guitar solo and solar vocals, finishing with long solo of sax. “Sea of Vibes” (15:15) slides on acoustic guitars, as an echoing guitar solo trespasses immaterial Folky-Hindu sounds. A sturdier rhythmic section takes the song to a void, slowly filled in, with inquiring existential vocals. Classic guitars lay on a mattress of sonic raindrops, preceding a showering rain of guitars and keyboards. “Haven Of Marble” (17:46) is instilled with a bittersweet melancholy, and has slow, groovy vocals. A guitar solo in the style of “Pink Floyd”, followed by pastoral flutes, throws the song into a sonic black-hole. The other songs of CD-1 are short folk-ballads - “Panting” (1:04), “The Light Is Burning” (2:23), “Get Out Of Here” (2:11), and “Faint Memory” (4:41) – the later reminiscent of “Fearless”, by “Pink Floyd”. “CD 2 - The Awakening Of Consciousness”, leans to the Psychedelic-Prog, with moments of Symphonic-Prog. It contains two main pieces: “Far Beyond The Line, Pts. 1-4” (22:06) – which is an ambitious suite that starts with the Folk-Psychedelic sonority of CD-1, metamorphosed later to a vigorous Psychedelic-Blues driven by stiffened guitar riffs and fuzzy guitars solos, including great passages of flutes and sax, angelic choirs, rocking harmony vocals, piano and keyboards that reverberate in eternity(!); and “Skies Painted By The Wind” (7:32), with aggressive flutes and soothing vocals in the beginning, finishing with piercing guitar solo. CD-2 also brings two ballads – “In the Air” (3:15) and “Northern Light” (4:00) – having the shiny participation of singer Pamela Polland; two short instrumental tracks – “The First Time I Saw The Sun” (1:20) and “Breathing” (1:19); and the title-track “Mother From The Sun” (2:13) – a transcendental keyboard-driven song that ends the album. Definitely one of the best musicians playing in the Psychedelic-Progressive style nowadays, Marco Ragni, and his impressive opus “Mother From The Sun” are highly recommended for fans of “Pink Floyd”, “David Gilmour”, “Manfred Mann”, “Moody Blues”, “Cream”, “Gong”, “Jefferson Airplane”, “Grateful Dead”, “Quintessence”, “Passport”, “Margin”, “Beyond-O-Matic”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Marco Ragni are: Marco Ragni - Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Lap Steel, Keyboards, Mellotron, String Arrangements, and Drum’s Programming; Enrico Cipollini - Electric Guitar; Giovanni Menarello - Acoustic Guitar; Davide Gazzi - Acoustic Guitar; Enrico Di Stefano – Sax; Luigi Iacobone – Flute; Alessandra Pirani – Lyrics, Backing Vocals; Pamela Anna Polland – Backing Vocals; Silvia Mazzetto – Backing Vocals; The Bizarre Talisman Choir – Folk’s Voices on “Haven of Marble”. Album Recorded at Sunflower Studios, Italy, Apr-Nov 2014; Produced by Marco Ragni & Crow Production...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
11/30/2015.......................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit MARCO RAGNI HOME PAGE...
. GENTLE KNIFE - "Gentle Knife"
Gentle Knife is a Norwegian Progressive Rock band that consists of 10 members: Melina Oz (lead vocals), Håkon Kavli (lead vocals, acoustic guitar), Eivind Lorentzen (guitars, synths), Ove Christian Owe (guitars), Pål Bjørseth (keyboards, vocals, trumpet), Astraea Antal (flute, winds, visual concept), Thomas Hylland Eriksen (tenor sax, woodwinds), Odd Grønvold (bass), Ole Martin Svendsen (drums, percussion), and Brian M. Talgo (samples, words, visions). They have additional help of guest guitar player Ole Michael Bjørndal (of “Oak”). Gentle Knife combines the sound of 70’s Progressive Rock with a modern touch. Gentle Knife released an eponymous debut album, “Gentle Knife” (May, 2015, Bajkal Records), which is available on both physical and digital formats. “Gentle Knife” is a concept album that recounts the tale of an unlucky adventurer who finds his demise in an alluring forest. The story is told in a long suite, divided in 8 tracks. The music of Gentle Knife is 100% Classic Progressive Rock, using instrumental timbres and textures of the ‘70s. The rhythm and pace are predominantly slow and cadenced, but a few moments of energy and vigor occasionally burst out. The atmosphere of the songs alternate from dreamy and trippy to mildly psychedelic, as it is typical of many Nordic bands. The two singers alternate their leading voices along each song, but sometimes they also sing in duo. Håkon Kavli has a “Medieval English Prog” accent instilled with a bittersweet melancholy; Melina Oz has a high-pitched voice, and when she sings softly, recalls me of “Annie Haslam”; but if she sings mysteriously, or malevolently, she recalls me of “Jinx Dawson” (“Coven”). The number of instrumentalists makes the arrangements to get real opulent. The most interesting trait of Gentle Knife is the band’s massive use of the blowing instruments, placing cool-jazzy trumpets and saxophones in harmonious counterpoint to Astraea Antal’s pastoral flutes. The keyboards are employed as elements of support of the arrangements, and appear in different forms: classical piano, psychedelic organs, ghostly-sounding synths, and an occasional Mellotron that covers some passages with a mysterious air. Everything is glued together by Odd Grønvold’s minimalist bass, and enhanced with outstanding guitar solos, provided by guest musician Ole Bjørndal. The sonority of Gentle Knife is just like their moniker suggests: it caresses you gently for much of the time, but it can also cut you deep without previous warning. As a whole, the music has influences of bands like “King Crimson”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Soft Machine”, “Camel”, “Gong”, “Renaissance”, “Kerrs Pink”, “White Willow”, “Wobbler”, “The Windmill”, and, to a less extent, of “Gazpacho”. “Gentle Knife”, the album, starts with the two longest songs: “Eventide” (10:05) and “Our Quiet Footsteps” (12:34). The first has a bombastic intro with synths preceding classical parts with piano and flutes. A soft theme played on bass keeps the song flowing on a slow pace, as the two singers alternate on the lead, and the blowing instruments hover around them. The emotional atmosphere of this song is broken by a great guitar solo. “Our Quiet…”, on the contrary, is more dramatic and energetic, conveyed on martial drums, heavier guitar riffs, and consistent sax in a kind of “King Crimson” mode. After a gloomy interlude with flutes, the singers take the song to an epic threshold, from which the instrumentalists plunge down into a raging sea, full of solos of sax and guitars. The core of the album is occupied by: “Remnants of Pride” (7:57) – which retakes the emotional mood and melodic vein of track 1; “Tear Away The Cords That Bind” (4:53) – a thrilling song that shocks the listener with a binary beat, loaded with frantic guitars, trumpet and sax, ending with haunting female vocals that putting a spell on you(!); “Beneath The Waning Moon” (4:34) – a trippy instrumental track driven by dreamy Mellotrons, flutes, sax, trumpet, and guitars; and the title-track, “The Gentle Knife” (5:17) – a beautiful song, on which Melina Oz sings bravely through dark-psychedelic Mellotron, creepy vocal duos, haunting guitars and sax, and spine-shivering synths. At last, the album ends on two instrumental tracks: “Epilogue: Locus Amoenus” (8:03) is an Ambient piece darkened by eerie synths and Gothic organs, marked by fragments of acoustic guitars, and a sentimental duo of sax and flutes; while “Coda: Impetus” (5:14) is based on a riff, with the style of “King Crimson”, supporting experimental modes of Jazz and crooked guitars. Overall, I have found Gentle Knife’s first album to be a very nice debut, showcasing a band that knows how to probe into deep-layered emotional music, and how to craft both surreal and mysterious soundscapes. Even though Gentle Knife may have a great potential still to grow, this band may be recommended for fans of authentic Progressive Rock with the flavor of ‘70s, who like bands such as “King Crimson”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Soft Machine”, “Camel”, “Gong”, “Renaissance”, and who love bands from the Nordic world, like “Kerrs Pink”, “White Willow”, “Wobbler”, “The Windmill”, “Gazpacho”. Band members and collaborators involved in Gentle Knife are: Melina Oz – Lead Vocals; Håkon Kavli – Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar; Eivind Lorentzen – Guitars, Synths; Ove Christian Owe – Guitars; Pål Bjørseth - Keyboards, Vocals, Trumpet; Astraea Antal - Flute, Winds, Visual Concept; Thomas Hylland Eriksen – Tenor Sax, Woodwinds; Odd Grønvold – Bass; Ole Martin Svendsen - Drums, Percussion; Brian M. Talgo - Samples, Words, Visions. Guest Musicians: Ole Michael Bjørndal - Additional Guitars on “Eventide”, “The Cords That Bind”, “Beneath The Waning Moon”, “The Gentle Knife”, “Coda: Impetus”; Øivind Hånes – Additional Organ on “Epilogue: Locus Amoenus”; Additional vocal production. Astrid Lenvik – Additional Lyrics on “Eventide”, “Remnants of Pride”. Recorded & Premixed by Øyvind Engebretsen at Sound Lab Studios, Norway; except “Coda: Impetus”, recorded & premixed at Sound Lab & Bark Studios by Øyvind Engebretsen & Per Øyvind Paulsen. Mixed by Neil Kernon; Mastered by Lunds Lyd. Produced by Gentle Knife & Bajikal Records...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
11/30/2015...............................Want to learn everything about the band and its members, goes to GENTLE KNIFE HOME PAGE...
. KYRBGRINDER - "Chronicles Of A Dark Machine"
Kyrbgrinder is a Hard Rock and Funk Metal trio formed in London in 2000. Kyrbgrinder is fronted by lead singer and drummer Johanne James (mostly known for being drummer of Prog-Metal band “Threshold”), joined by Aaron Waddingham (guitars) and Dave Lugay (bass). Johanne James officially joined “Threshold” in 2001 to record the album “Hypothetical”. He also became drummer for “Symphony of Pain”, and has been awarded “Best Drummer” by the “Classic Rock Society” five times (2004, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2014). Kyrbgrinder is a parallel project on which J. James can play with a groovy swing (differently from “Threshold”), besides showing off with his brilliant capacity for singing – a combination of talents that he shares with the legendary “Dan Beehler”, of “Exciter”! Their styles are different, though, for J.J. instils his vocal tunes with more melody and swing than “Beehler” does (recalling “Corey Glover”, of “Living Colour”), and plays drums more technically and with less savagery – albeit with equivalent energy and heaviness! J.J. is not alone in his endeavor, for his pounding-sledgehammer drumming shares space with two other prominent Metal players. Aaron Waddingham is the merciless axe-man who erects powerful riffs as solid as walls of granite, and whose lava-spilling solos sanctify the “Satriani-Vai-Vernon Reid” trinity. Dave Lugay unleashes snake-coiling grooves from his resounding bass, liberating destructive earthquake pulses and sending tsunamic waves against the listener. The combined power of the Kyrbgrinder trio results in a compacted and vibrating sound package that reverberates in eternity with metallic uniqueness, blending Funk with different strains of Metal – Nü, Thrash, Fusion, and Prog. The experience of listening to Kyrbgrinder is like listening to bands like “Living Colour”, “Suicidal Tendencies”, “Rage Against The Machine”, “Mordred”, and “Red Hot Chili Peppers”, combined to the Thrash-Metal of “Metallica”, “Megadeth”, “Annihilator”, “Testament”, “Overkill”, “Anthrax”, “Death Angel”, “Exciter”, and “Destruction”, concentrated to the compact state of “System Of A Down”, “Killswitch Engage”, “Dillinger Scape Plan”, and “Incubus”. With that mix of elements and influences, Kyrbgrinder has conquered live audiences, performing in important festivals around the UK and abroad, such as the “Hammerfest”, “Cambridge Rock”, “Bloodstock”, “Musicon in Den Haag” (Holland) and “Hard Rock Hell Ibiza”. Kyrbgrinder’s discography comprises three full-length albums: “Defiance” (2007), the acclaimed “Cold War Technology” (2010), and the brand new “Chronicles Of A Dark Machine” (2015). “Chronicles Of A Dark Machine” was produced by Karl Groom (“Dragonforce”, “Threshold”) and features 10 tracks that hit the listener straight between the eyes! Candidates for being band’s hits – prone to be played loud and live, or to receive ample airplay by the specialized Rock and Metal radio stations – are the straightforward and slaughtering “Slipping Away” (4:52); the emblematic “Captain America” (5:41) – which showcases Kyrbgrinder’s original sound when breaks a Thrash-Metal fast-pace with a funky and sticky vocal chorus; and the most inclusive song ever written, “Kill Them All” (3:33) – wishing death to everybody, and annihilating everyone with the killer guitar solo! Also belonging here, “Taking Control” (3:35) – with Hip Hop vocals, protesting chorus, psychotic guitars and metallic-sounding bass – will attract fans of “Red Hot Chili Peppers” and “Rage Against The Machine”. And “I Know Why” (1:41) – delivered with a misplaced sense of joy – should be regarded from the standpoint of irony. Apart from the alluring power of those songs, the tracks of “Chronicles …” that I have elected as favorites are those containing more complicated instrumental parts or having different atmospheres, leaning to the “Fusion-Metal” or “Thrash-Prog” styles. They are: the hybrid “Egocentric Suicide” (4:14) – which begins slow, resembling a kind of psychedelic version of “Living Colour”, and accelerates to Prog-Metal speeds propelled by machine-gun drumming and awesome guitar solo; and “Oxygen” (5:25) – which juxtaposes acoustic guitars to distorted thrashing riffs (recalling “Annihilator”, “Death Angel”), being crowned with “breathtaking” (!) guitar solo. Also included in this row are the last songs of the album: “I Feel Blue” (4:21) – which is depressively slow and dark, but instilled with a 70’s Hard-Rock groove that could only have been replicated on Lugay’s fatty bass; and “Take Your Soul” (4:58) – on which J.J. makes a duo with raging female vocals, amidst hellish riffs that advance over the listener like a locomotive! Lastly, the title-track, “Chronicles of a Dark Machine” (1:35), is an instrumental piece that closes the album with psychedelic sounds. Kyrbgrinder is a powerful band that promises to grind all the rivals down, when the matters are Rock power, Metal heaviness, and Funky groove! Indispensable for fans of “Living Colour”, “Suicidal Tendencies”, “Rage Against The Machine”, “Mordred”, “Red Hot Chili Peppers”, “Metallica”, “Megadeth”, “Annihilator”, “Anthrax”, “Testament”, “Overkill”, “Death Angel”, “Exciter”, “Destruction”, “System Of A Down”, “Killswitch Engage”, “Dillinger Scape Plan”, “Incubus”. Band members and collaborators involved in Kyrbgrinder are: Johanne James – Drums & Lead Vocals; Aaron Waddingham – Guitars; Dave Lugay – Bass. Additional Vocals: Vicky Johnson, Steve Johnson, Keith Waddingham. Produced & Engineered by Karl Groom for Kyrbgrinder Records. Recorded & Mixed at Thin Ice Studios...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
12/28/2015.......................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit KYRBGRINDER HOME PAGE...
Ordinary Brainwash is a one-man project headed by Rafal Zak (lyrics, music, and production). Zak is a 23-years old student attending the Warsaw School of Economics (Poland), but he is also a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, composer and producer. He founded Ordinary Brainwash as a vehicle to express his ideas and creativeness by means of music. Ordinary Brainwash had its official debut during the “Piotr Kaczkowski's Minimax” radio show on 23rd March 2008. Since then, the project has released the debut album entitled “Disorder in My Head” (December 7th 2009) and the conceptual album “Labeled Out Loud” (October 18th 2010), both via Lynx Music, with worldwide distribution by Rock-Serwis. Over the last few months, Ordinary Brainwash worked hard on a third concept album entitled “ME 2.0”, which was released on 2012 by prestigious Polish label Metal Mind Productions. The album was completely written and performed by Zak alone. The sound of Ordinary Brainwash is a combination of Post-Progressive Rock, Alternative Rock, Heavy Prog-Rock and Ambient, with influences of bands like “Porcupine Tree”," Riverside”, “No-Man”, “Chroma Key”, “Gazpacho”, “Osada Vida”, “Radiohead”, “Sylvan”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Sigur Rós” and “Pink Floyd”. The sonority includes tuneful melodies, melancholic passages, soaring guitars and floating pianos (sometimes recalling “Sylvan”), which alternate with sad vocals and some wild guitar passages that go from the Heavy-Prog style of “Porcupine Tree” and “Riverside” to the Post-Metal essence of “A Perfect Circle”. The arrangements are solid, and lyrics are meaningful. “ME 2.0” contains 8 tracks. On most of them, Zak likes to keep his voice in a melancholic tone, floating amid a slow frame made of minimalist guitars and keyboards, and a sonic layer of subtle electronic generated ambient beats and rhythms. On a few tracks, which are among my favorites, that melancholic and slow pace grows gradually to include later heavy and aggressive guitar riffs in Post-Progressive to Post-Metal style (recalling bands like “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “Osada Vida”, and “A Perfect Circle”). That happens on the opening track “Outdated" (6:08), on track 3 - “Unbirthday" (7:41) – which contains a long middle segment with symphonic keyboards, and experimental ambient sounds – and on the explosive “Critical Error“ (6:21). The alternation of melancholic/aggressive moments are balanced by the Post-Rock energy brought on the pragmatic sonority of the title track “ME 2.0“ (4:48) – which features a great piano intro; and on the lively disposition of “Stay Foolish“ (5:48) - a bass driven Indie-Rock immersed in an electronic ambience that recalls “Radiohead”. Those Progressive lovers that prefer a lighter sonority, with stronger emphasis on Ambient sounds, delicate tunes on piano and keyboards and minimalist guitar sounds – all approaching the work of bands like “No-Man”, “Sigur Rós”, “Chroma Key” and “Pink Floyd” - will really appreciate the beautiful tracks 6 and 8 - “Homesick“ (6:21) and “Something New“ (6:20). For those who prefer gothic atmospheres, I recommend the short ballad “Don’t Look Back“ (3:40) – on which the combination of somber pianos with soulful vocals is very reminiscent of band “Sylvan”. All in all, Ordinary Brainwash’s new album “ME 2.0”, although being a one-man effort, sounds really consistent and interesting, and Rafal Zak should recruit other musicians to start a live career for his personal project. For now, Ordinary Brainwash is specially recommended for fans of “Porcupine Tree”, “No-Man”, “Sigur Rós”, “Pink Floyd”, “Chroma Key”, “Gazpacho”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Sylvan”, “Radiohead”, and Polish Prog bands like “Riverside”, “Osada Vida”, “After…”,  and their likes. Only band member involved in Ordinary Brainwash is: Rafal Zak – all lyrics and music, performance and production, artwork and design...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
12/28/2015........................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit ORDINARY BRAINWASH HOME PAGE...
. THE GRAND SHEEP - "The Grand Sheep"
The Grand Sheep is an Alternative Heavy-Rock quartet hailing from the city of Aschaffenburg, Rhein-Main area, Germany. The line-up features Falk (guitar), Florian (keyboards, vocals), Alex (bass), and Chris (drums). The Grand Sheep gathered together in 2014, and managed to release an eponymous debut album just one year later – “The Grand Sheep” (2015, Landing Records). Available on both physical and downloadable formats, “The Grand Sheep” brings 8 long tracks. The music of The Grand Sheep is an interesting blend of styles and influences. Vocals are like 70’s Hard Rock and Metal, recalling “UFO”, “Led Zeppelin”, and “Birth Control”; but guitars cover a broad palette of sounds, going from groovy Hard Rock swings and Traditional Metal riffs (in style of “Black Sabbath”) to modern Alternative Rock and Post-Rock structures, sometimes reaching the heaviness of Post-Metal (with influences of “Tool”, “The Ocean”). The cadence kept by bass and drums is not fast, however, and parallels some Dark-Prog acts (e.g. “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “Gazpacho”). The musical flow is accompanied by a layer of soaring synths, set on the “orchestral strings mode”, that furnish a Symphonic-Prog background to the arrangements, creating a trippy atmosphere. A few Psychedelic-sounding guitars adorn the songs, and the solos are mostly soaring, strengthening the Progressive nature of The Grand Sheep. The balanced combination of those factors on each song makes this band to sound familiar and catchy to the regular listener of Heavy Rock, but also with a signature of its own. “The Grand Sheep” – the album – has 8 tracks. On most of them, The Grand Sheep – the band – showcases their predilection for playing slowly, hovering over trippy soundscapes. The opening song, “Rise My Darkness” (6:36), and the third one, “Drag Behind The Diamond” (6:13), have groovy riffs and detached vocals reminiscent of the Psychedelic Heavy Rock of the late ‘60s to the early ‘70’s, counterbalanced with symphonic synths that create soaring soundscapes on the background. Also sprouting from that musical epoch, the song “Shiny Teeth” (5:38) is a highlight of the album. Being mostly slow and trippy, this song is deeply pervaded by a bluesy feeling, underlined by the “drunken” guitar solos and by the blasé tunes of the electric piano, finishing with a lysergic Space-Jazz instrumental sequence – the whole piece sounding like a “Led Zeppelin” plus “The Doors” psychedelic-combo. But The Grand Sheep’s heart beats faster and with more vigor on three tracks – namely, “Something Different” (5:46), “Signals” (6:50), and “From The Roof Into The Drain” (5:49) – which incorporate modern stylistic elements taken from Heavy Prog, Metal, Post-Metal and Prog-Metal, blending them with the band’s most basic Rock sources. I am sure that fans of “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, and “Tool”, will be attracted by “Something…” (a task that will be facilitated by the sticky chorus, the layers of piano, and the guitar-bass-synths trio that rises up in a trippy instrumental sequence); and by “Signals” (on which the succeeding waves of Post-Rock riffs gain power until exploding in stormy Prog-Metallic tsunamis and dramatic symphonic keyboards, being crowned with a soaring guitar solo). Yet, “From The Roof…” will really instigate the listener with an enigmatic “Krautrock-styled” combination of Turkish percussion, Dark-Prog atmospheric instrumentation, and Doom-Metal riffs that bring to mind bands such as “Agitation Free”, “Riverside”, and “Black Sabbath”. At last, those listeners willing for ethereal and psychedelic music will be mesmerized by the two longest tracks of the record: “Rise To Shine” (9:00) and “Hovering Through Silence” (7:54). Both are slow songs, having a stronger lean to the Post-Rock style, as they are both propelled by waves of echoing guitars, hypnotic bass, rumbling drums, and soaring synths that propagate in cycles, hovering over trippy platitudes until reaching a peak of epic Progressiveness on the final chords. Overall, I found The Grand Sheep’s debut album to be a very promising record, featuring some musical ideas and associations that might serve as guidelines for this new band to follow on in the future, if they intend to occupy a musical niche of their own. The band has potential to enhance their music, by further elaborating and diversifying the arrangements. Also a fixed front-man, with a Hard-Rock voice, could be added to The Grand Sheep, for the singer and keyboardist Florian seems to be overburden with this double duty. In sum, The Grand Sheep has shown a great potential to grow as a band, and has made a very good debut album, which can be specially recommended for those listeners who have always imagined how would it like to be, listening to Heavy-Prog bands such as “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “Gazpacho”, and “Tool”, but having a Rock contamination coming from “Led Zeppelin”, “The Doors”, and “Black Sabbath”. Band members and collaborators involved in The Grand Sheep are: Falk – Guitar; Florian - Keyboards, Vocals; Alex – Bass; Chris – Drums. Album produced by The Grand Sheep and Landing Records. Also you must visit The Grand Sheep's Soundcloud Site...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
12/28/2015................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE GRAND SHEEP HOME PAGE...
Roland Bühlmann is a guitarist and composer from Switzerland. After years spent performing and recording with other artists and groups, he found his own voice with his solo debut, “Aineo” (2014), an instrumental album recorded at his home studio with different guitars and stringed instruments, as well as with various effects and sounds, instilled with diverse musical influences, ranging from Progressive Rock to Modal Jazz. “Aineo” comes in both digital and digipack CD formats. The cover artwork has been made by Bühlmann himself. “Aineo” was released in December 2014, and was produced and performed by Bühlmann alone, who played the electric, classical and bass guitars, and the mandola (a stringed instrument, ancestor to the mandolin). Drums and percussion were digitally obtained via “Loopmasters.com”. The mastering was left in charge of Matthias Heimlicher. The music of Roland Bühlmann is instrumental, blending elements of melodic Jazz-Fusion, World Music, and New-Age. The sound of his electric guitar is clean and neat, appearing as the main solo instrument. His bass is elegant and discrete, and an acoustic guitar base is added to some pieces, sometimes acting as an extra rhythmic instrument. A layer of soaring or echoing guitar effects is added to the background, giving a Progressive ambience to the music. The arrangements are multilayered, and contain tasteful melodies. The musical pieces have a relaxing effect on the listener, or invite him/her to a warm dance. By the sound of present on the record, I deduce that Bühlmann is an appreciator of guitarists like “Steve Lukather”, “Pat Metheny”, “Al Di Meola”, “John McLaughlin”, “Jeff Beck”, “Steve Howe”, “Victor Biglione”, and has absorbed the softest facets of “Joe Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, and “Tony MacAlpine”. To say that Bühlmann measures up with the aforementioned names would be an overestimation of his playing capacity, however, but at least he turns his focus to melody, sensitiveness and good taste, rather than to sophisticated techniques of performance. “Aineo” has 7 long tracks that vary in mood and temperature, from a mild mannered rocky pace to mostly relaxing slow drives. Those having a Rock affinity are: “Breakthrough” (6:23), which opens the album with a vibrant Hard-Rock guitar riff and a dynamic Jazz-Rock base, over which Bühlmann plays freely some improvised solos; and “Kenosis” (5:55) – one of my favorites – on which Bühlmann combines groove, “wah-wah” effects, and a Progressive melodic line on bass (with a delicate scent of “Yes”), making a substrate for a creative guitar solo. Also propelled by a sturdy beat, “Unexpressed” (7:04) stands as the most experimental track of the album, combining somber tones with a sensual and danceable House-Music drive, and being loaded with synthesized guitar sounds and cool psychedelic effects. Those aforementioned tracks make a contrast with the tracks “Ham’nagen” (7:04) and “Aineo” (6:00). Bühlmann has chosen ethnical rhythms and Latin percussion to drive them, so these tracks have a greater approach to the World-Music and Latin-Fusion styles, rather than to a Progressive orientation. “Ham’nagen” is marked by a luring ethno-beat performed on the acoustic guitar, and a delicate electric guitar melody that soars over all its extension; while “Aineo” – the track that gives name to the album – is driven by a “Latin-Brazilian Jazz” rhythmic line that evokes images of a nameless tropical paradise bathed in sunlight, as its placid and soft guitar melodies roll like the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. To have a chill-out moment, nothing better than the languid “Meldilorn” (8:19), a relaxing piece that employs loops and samples of guitars that echo on a distant soundscape, conveyed on electronic beats. Finally, in an attempt to reach the highest spheres, Bühlmann offers us the New-Age styled “Contemplation” (11:08) – a meditative piece formed by fragments of delicate guitars and melodies that reverberate on a layer of peaceful acoustic guitars. In sum, if you are willing to listen to a relaxing mix of guitar-driven World-Music, New-Age and Ambient sounds that have a parallel to the most transcendental facet of guitar players like “Pat Metheny”, “Al Di Meola”, “John McLaughlin”, “Victor Biglione”, “Steve Lukather”, “Allan Holdsworth”, “Steve Howe”, “Joe Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, “Vinnie Moore”, “Tony MacAlpine”, “Greg Howe”, or “Alex Frias”, then Roland Bühlmann’s “Aineo” is specially recommended for you. Band members and collaborators involved in Roland Bühlmann are: Roland Bühlmann – Electric & Classical Guitars, Mandola, Bass, Voice; Loopmasters.com – Drums & Percussion. Matthias Heimlicher – Mastering. Composed & Produced by R. Bühlmann. Also you must visit Roland Bühlmann's Bandcamp Site...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
12/28/2015.......................................,.....Interested to know more about the Musician? Visit ROLAND BÜHLMANN HOME PAGE...
. KONSTANTIN JAMBAZOV - "Matter In The Nothingness"
Konstantin Jambazov is back to PR&PM once more! Jambazov is a multi-instrumentalist and composer, who since 1986 has been very active in Bulgaria’s Rock scene (he played for “Hades”, “Odesos”, “Total”, “Jekyll Hyde”, “Ametist”, and “Phobos”). In 1994 he began to work as session musician with composer Nelko Kolarov. Along his career, Jambazov has accumulated a solid discography, concerning both solo and non-solo projects (e.g. “Otherwise”, “Clearland”, “VirtueL”), which covered styles ranging from Prog-Rock and Instrumental & Acoustic, to Metal, and Ethno-Rock. Some of Jambazov’s projects have been featured and detailed at PR&PM in 2014 and 2015 – all showcasing an extraordinary multi-styled musician, whose influences include “Astor Piazzolla”, “Richard Galliano”, “Al Di Meola”, “Kansas”, “Queen”, “Foreigner”, “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Stryper”, “Brian May”, “TNT”, “Europe”, “Triumph”, “Styx”, “Deep Purple”, “Rainbow”, “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Symphony X”, “Jason Becker”, “Adagio”, “Ayreon”, and “Trans-Siberian Orchestra”. Jambazov’s most recent release is titled “Matter In The Nothingness” (2015, Orphictone Records, Japan). It is a solo album on which Jambazov plays all instruments alone – mainly guitars, synthesizers, and the rhythmic section. The music on “Matter In The Nothingness” is 99% instrumental (except for a few vocals on one track) – and 100% oriented towards the most aggressively played Progressive-Metal style. The instrumentation is parted between a constant warfare of dazzling guitars against luxurious keyboards, lavishly adorned with the sounds of orchestral instruments – oboes, flutes, the piano, strings – and other symphonic brocades that are Classical to the core. The outcome is a fast, luxuriant, and violent brand of Prog-Metal that combines “roller-coaster” Neo-Classical Metal with mouth-opening Fusion-Metal and breathtaking Thrash Metal, crossing the frontiers of Tech-Metal, and reaching as far as the furor of Extreme Metal, enclosed in a dense Symphonic Metal panorama that was never heard before. In terms of comparison, it is like listening to a mix of “Ron Jarzombek”, “Jason Becker”, “Tony MacAlpine”, “Marty Friedman”, “Malmsteen”, “Dream Theater”, “Symphony X”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Explorers’ Club”, “Animals As Leaders”, “WatchTower”, “Spastic Ink”, “Blotted Science”, “Cynic” and “Meshuggah”, but guided by the immense creative perception of the masters of the Expressionism, such as “Schoenberg”, “Stravinsky”, “Scriabin”, “Debussy”, and “Bartók”, an inspiration that provides Jambazov’s music with a genial touch of originality. “Matter In The Nothingness” contains 11 tracks. The album starts with “Minute Before The Crash” (1:49) – a symphonic prelude written for carnivorous piano that introduces the stormy and delirious “Infernal Genesis” (5:45) – which organized the primeval universal chaos in hellish layers of guitars, synths, and orchestrations played in light-speeding Thrash-Prog mode. “Unbalanced Conclusion” (6:21) is the next surprise, sounding like “Stravinsky” being elevated to a powerful Prog-Metal exponential, in a context of wrath and fire; while “Musical Snobbery” (9:25) – the only track featuring a brief vocal line – will mesmerize the listener with Jambazov’s effervescent and un-human performance, as he attacks with a series of opulent solos of guitars and keyboards that surpass the boiling point of the extreme extravaganza. “Nereus” (5:01) is another impacting piece that knocks the listener out: by opposing ultra-academic piano playing against bellicose Fusion-Metal guitars conveyed on furious binary drum paces, it stands on the meeting point between Expressionism innovation and Extreme-Tech Metal execution! And if the scherzo-craziness of “Shoe On The Head” (1:24) is not enough to grab the listener forever, he/she will finally surrender to the Metal assault of “Why I Do, What I’m Going” (5:24) – a slowed down, heavy piece that alternates surreal guitar-driven Jazz-Fusion-Metal parts with unbelievable symphonic interludes marked by “Schoenberg-styled” pianos. They will fall on their knees, punch by punch received from the demolition force of “Escalation Of Idiocy” (5:40) – an ultra-fast piece that includes everything, from Neo-Classic guitars to violent flutes, frantic Latin-Fusion lines of piano, Heavy-Prog organ, and machine-gun drumming – the epitome of Jambazov’s Prog-Metal signature! And more of his Expressionist vein is exposed on the imaginative “Skeleton Without The Skull” (4:39) – mostly driven by “Meshuggah-bursting” drums and droning synths, it pauses for execution of creepy scales on the piano that evoke images of Head-banging skeletons! “Spider Or Kangaroo” (6:18) is another incredible track that fuses many styles, the only one having acoustic guitars that sound like “Al Di Meola”, elevated to a mega-Metal magnitude. The doomsday-announcing “Vegetarian With Hunting Rifle” (3:49) closes the album with sinister guitar riffs and creepy synths battling over Metal-plagued fields. To sum up, “Matter In The Nothingness” is one of the best Prog-Metal albums of 2015, released by an extraordinary musician, named Konstantin Jambazov – a man who makes alone what other bands can do only as a team! His new album is outstanding, awesome, and radical, consisting in an absolutely indispensable item for fans of “Ron Jarzombek”, “Jason Becker”, “Tony MacAlpine”, “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Marty Friedman”, “Dream Theater”, “Symphony X”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Explorers’ Club”, “WatchTower”, “Spastic Ink”, “Blotted Science”, “Cacophony”, “Animals As Leaders”, “The Fractured Dimension”, “Psychotic Waltz”, “Dillinger Escape Plan”, “Cynic”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Konstantin Jambazov are: Konstantin Jambazov – All Instruments and Compositions. Album Produced by Konstantin Jambazov; manufactured by Orphictone Records, Japan...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
12/28/2015.............................................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit KONSTANTIN JAMBAZOV HOME PAGE...
. APOGEE - "The Art Of Mind"
Apogee is welcomed back to PR&PM again! Apogee is the solo project of the multi-instrumentalist and composer Arne Schäfer, a founder member of the German Progressive Rock band Versus X. Apogee sprouted out of Versus X in 1995, when French label Musea Records became interested in Schäfer’s own songs (which had great affinity with the Symphonic Progressive Rock style) and began to release his music under the moniker Apogee. A series of albums came out under Musea, then: “The Border of Awareness” (1995), “Sisyphos” (1998), “The Garden of Delights” (2003), “Mystery Remains” (2009), and “Waiting for the Challenge” (2012). Apogee’s discography was augmented by some fan-dedicated albums that comprised Schäfer’s music that had been recorded in a pre-Apogee period (1986 to 1995): “Out of the Darkness” (2001), “On the Aftertaste” (2006, Mellow Records), and the double CD, “Apogee featuring Gerald Heimann: Die Gläserne Wand & Schleifen” (2012, Mals), which was reviewed at PR&PM in January 2013. Apogee is back now with a brand new album: “The Art Of Mind” (2015, Progressive Promotion Records, Germany). As on Apogee’s preceding records, Schäfer sings and plays all instruments, except drums (at this time, left in charge of Eberhard Graef). But differing from the 2012 album, which had a lean to the Krautrock and Gothic styles, “The Art Of Mind” retakes Schäfer’s orientation to 70’s Symphonic Progressive Rock – as inspired by important German and British bands, such as: “Eloy”, “Anyone’s Daughter”, “Novalis”, “Hoelderlin”, “Amenophis”, “Ramses”, “Stern-Combo Meissen”, “Wallenstein”, “Triumvirat”, “Grobschnitt”, “Jane”, “Tibet”, “Minotaurus”, “Neuschwanstein”, “Yes”, “Rick Wakeman”, “ELP”, “Gentle Giant”, “Genesis”, “Jethro Tull”, “King Crimson”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Camel“, “UK”, “England”, and others. On this new and amazing album, Apogee’s music is both complex and emotional, showing incursions to other styles (Folk, Heavy Rock, Jazz, Minimalist, and Academic Music of the Renaissance, Baroque, and Classic periods). The compositions are lengthy, combining vocal-driven melodic parts with extended instrumental parts based on odd rhythmic patterns and unusual harmonies – all carefully arranged before execution. The guitar solos are sensational and predominate on the compositions, but a substantial share of classic synths, dense organs, and an imposing piano hold their ground bravely on the most important and dramatic moments of each song. The atmospheres are mystical, adventurous, or epic, with the musical tension being sustained by means of strong contrasts – soft/heavy, quiet/loud, dense/spaced, slow/fast. “The Art Of Mind” is an amazing album that features five songs. It begins with the title-track, “The Art of Mind” (19:54) – a super-symphonic suite divided in five parts: a) “Psychocosmic Order”; b) “Across the Border” (instrumental); c) “The Dividing Point”; d) “The Ultimate Perception” (instrumental); and e) “Footprints”. Starting with “Beethovian” grandeur, Schäfer pours down on the listener a sequence of majestic chords juxtaposed to a symphonic layer of bombastic synths. The intense inflection of his voice is a harbinger of great things to come, as each part of the suite unfolds before the listener, revealing new surprises. The middle part is an oratory backed by celestial choirs, with the last part spared for the habitual Progressive grandiloquence, beginning with flutes and soft vocals, rising to a climax with wild solos of guitar, organ, and apocalyptical waves of synths, completing the circle with a dramatic vocal part. In spite of being the main piece of the album, “The Art …” is not the only excellent track of it. The listener will get more of some true Prog-Rock, by confronting the cerebral defiance imposed by “Inside The Wheel” (8:56) – an enigmatic song with mysterious airs, somber vocal tunes, flutes, and a thick layer of tightly interwoven keyboards and drums, adorned with guitar brocades. The next track, “The Games You Play” (9:31), is a punchy song that deviates a little from the symphonic pattern, by adding Hard-Rock guitar riffs and groovy bass to the arrangements. It profits greatly, however, from the contrast created by the most powerful parts being opposed to the soaring chorus; and from a surprising Renaissance-styled middle part and a last ghostly guitar solo. “The Price to Pay” (8:06) is a Folk-Medieval-Prog song featuring acoustic guitars, soft flutes, and bluesy guitar solo, being very reminiscent of “Jethro Tull” and “Hoelderlin”; while the closing track, “Sea of Dreams” (9:05) concentrates all dramatic tension on the memorable guitar riffs and on the demanding vocals, dissolving that drama with “Rick Wakeman-like” harmonies, fairish sounds (like “Genesis”), and dreamy strings, being finished with a levitating guitar solo. As a whole, Apogee’s “The Art Of Mind” is an impressive album of authentic Symphonic Progressive Rock, firmly rooted on both British and German traditions, being indispensable for fans of “Versus X”, “Eloy”, “Anyone’s Daughter”, “Novalis”, “Hoelderlin”, “Amenophis”, “Ramses”, “Stern-Combo Meissen”, “Wallenstein”, “Triumvirat”, “Grobschnitt”, “Jane”, “Tibet”, “Minotaurus”, “Neuschwanstein”, “Yes”, “Rick Wakeman”, “ELP”, “Gentle Giant”, “Genesis”, “Jethro Tull”, “King Crimson”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Camel“, “UK”, “England”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Apogee are: Arne Schäfer – Lead & Backing Vocals, Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Fretted and Fretless Bass, Keyboards, Lyrics, Compositions, Most Arrangements; Eberhard Graef – Drums & Percussion, Drum Arrangements. Past Drummers: Uwe Voellmar (2003-2006); Thomas Reiner (2006-2013). All Tracks Recorded between 2013 and 2015 in Mühlheim & Frankfurt, Germany, Produced, Mixed & Mastered by Arne Schäfer; with Executive Production by Oliver Wenzler at Progressive Promotion Records...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
12/28/2015.....................Want to learn everything about the musician and more about his history, go to APOGEE HOME PAGE...
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