.......A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF FEATURED ARTIST AND CD REVIEWS - 2016
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LAST UPDATE 12/31/2016....
. MINUTIAN - "Inwards"
Minutian is a Progressive-inclined Rock and Metal quintet based in Helsinki, Finland. Minutian aims to experiment with odd time signatures, in an attempt to modernize the rhythmic pace of traditional Rock.  Their influences are therefore drawn from various bands, the main ones being “King Crimson”, “Tool”, “Mastodon” and “Oceansize”. Minutian originated from a three-song demo recorded by drummer Antti Ruokola, which he employed to attract other musicians with the same musical vision of his. Minutian then managed to record a debut album, titled “Repercussions” (2011, self-released). Positive reviews and gigs in Finland signaled to a promising start for Minutian to gain recognition of the local audiences. But in February 2012, a tragic accident seized the life of Minutian’s guitarist, Jaakko Jernberg. Minutian almost dissolved because of that shocking event, but after serious consideration, the remaining members of the band decided to go on, making music together. Minutian retook their routine of live presentations, calling other guitarists in replacement to Jernberg. In September 2013, touring guitarist Pekka Loponen joined Minutian as a full-time member, and Minutian's line-up stabilized with: Mikko Heino (vocals), Jesper Johnson (guitars), Pekka Loponen (guitars), Jouni Mikkola (bass), and Antti Ruokola (drums). After recuperation, Minutian recorded, finished, and released a second album, titled “Inwards” (January 2015, Secret Entertainment). “Inwards” has 9 tracks, which, altogether, showcase a powerful, cohesive and solid musical group. Minutian’s style is a well-balanced mix of Post-Metal, Math-Metal, and Heavy Prog, containing soothing moments of Post Rock, in alternation with emotionally deep atmospheres, resembling bands like “A Perfect Circle”, “Tool”, “Deftones”, “Oceansize”, “Mastodon”, “The Mars Volta”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Black Noodle Project”, “Swallow The Sun”; having a seminal inspiration coming from Progressive bands such as: “King Crimson” and “Anekdoten”. Most interesting in the instrumentation of Minutian, is the action of drummer Ruokola – an aesthetician of the drum-kit, which he maneuvers with the experimental curiosity of an adventurous musician, without forgetting the primeval essence of making rhythms. Ruokola’s interaction with the other instrumentalists – Mikkola on the deep sober bass, and guitar players Johnson and Loponen – create polyrhythmic arrangements that surprise and mesmerize the listener with their power, heaviness, and dynamics, pushing the music ever forwards, to new ambiences and atmospheres. As a counterbalance for this strongly mathematical song-approach, rise the highly emotional vocals of Mikko Heino, a singer that knows how to convey basic feelings with his voice, restraining the most explosive outbursts of anger with hopelessly inflections of melancholy. The outcome may be sometimes entrancing, other times epic, but always shockingly intense! At first, Minutian mercilessly attacks the listener with the concentrated firepower of songs like “Hollow Heroics” (5:51) – an appetize for fans of the “Tool + A Perfect Circle” combo; “Manifest” (4:32) – a grinding and full-of-wrath Heavy Metal song, charged with corrosive riffs, thunderous bass, and thrashing drumming, finished with melting-face guitar solo (like “Mastodon”); and “The Crust of the Earth” (6:20) – on which the band probes into the deepest layers of Earth’s geological past, riding on fervent lava flows and incandescent guitars (reminiscent of “The Ocean”). Tending to the Post-Rock and Metal styles, as played by bands like “Oceansize”, “Explosions In The Sky”, “Mogwai”, and “Bring Me The Horizon”, the songs “On Derelict Sidings” (7:18) and “Void Within” (7:04) grow slowly, as their melodic instrumentation create unreal atmospheres that are broken up by heavy riffs and raging vocals. Also following this line, but being more atmospheric and psychedelic, are “Onus” (1:20) (piano intro) and “Burning Bright” (6:48) – the hypnotical drumming and melancholic guitar melodies recalling something of “The Mars Volta”. But Minutian delivers the final strike with the magnum opus, “Aphelion” (10:11) – a Progressive-structured track, which starts on a psychedelic sonic mattress, instilled with bittersweet melodies that grow in intensity, drama, and epic feeling, until its final conclusion on “Redeemer” (5:56) – the magnificent Post-Metal ballad that closes the album. A really solid and experienced band, Minutian has shown on their sophomore album some pieces of music that are placing this band on the right way to conquer fans of Post-Metal, Post-Rock and Heavy Prog, from the cohorts of admirers of bands such as: “A Perfect Circle”, “Tool”, “Deftones”, “Oceansize”, “Mastodon”, “The Mars Volta”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Black Noodle Project”, “Swallow The Sun”, “Explosions In The Sky”, “Mogwai”, “Bring Me The Horizon”, “The Ocean”, “Anekdoten”, and so on, to whom Minutian is highly recommended. Band members and collaborators involved in Minutian are: Mikko Heino – Vocals; Jesper Johnson – Guitars; Pekka Loponen – Guitars; Jouni Mikkola – Bass; Antti Ruokola – Drums. Additional Musician: Elias Patrikainen – Piano (Arrangements & Performance). Former Members: Jaakko Jernberg (R.I.P.) – Guitar (2009-2012); Teemu Kokkonen – Touring Guitarist (2012). Produced by Minutian; Music by Antti Ruokola & Jaakko Jernberg; Lyrics by Minutian & Jaakko Jernberg; Arranged by Minutian. Engineered by Jesper Johnson; Mixed by Toni Kimpimäki; Mastered by Ronan Chris Murphy at Veneto West Studios, CA. Cover art and layout by Juuso Joutsi. Recorded at Redfive Studios & Burned Land Studio during May - October 2014... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/30/2016..............................Would like to know more about the band and their history, please visit MINUTIAN HOME PAGE...
. BILLY SHERWOOD - "Divided By One"
Billy Sherwood is back to PR&PM once more! William Wyman Sherwood was born on March 14, 1965, in Las Vegas. Sherwood became a very respect multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, composer, sound engineer and independent record producer, and has dozens of musical works accumulated on his career. He is mostly known, however, for his close collaboration with iconic Progressive band “Yes” and some of its members. After the passing of legendary bassist “Chris Squire” in June 2015, Sherwood was announced as the new bassist of “Yes”. Billy Sherwood's career started with “Lodgic”, formed by his brother “Michael Sherwood”. Soon Sherwood formed his own band, “World Trade”, which included guitarist “Bruce Gowdy”. Sherwood and “Gowdy” were approached by “Yes” members “Chris Squire”, “Alan White”, and “Tony Kaye”, to replace “Jon Anderson” and “Trevor Rabin”, who had left “Yes”. But “Rabin’s” return to “Yes”, and their merge with “Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe” frustrated that plan. A small contribution of Sherwood in that time was registered on the “Yes” album “Union” (1991). Nevertheless, Sherwood started a friendship with “Chis Squire” and other members of “Yes” that would fructify in the following years. Sherwood would return to “Yes” as a support musician on the tour of their album “Talk” (1994). He became an effective member of “Yes” in 1997, and took part on their studio albums “Open Your Eyes” (1997) and “The Ladder” (1999). In 2000 Sherwood left “Yes”, but did not cut his bonds with its other members. He worked with “Chris Squire” on his project “Conspiracy”, with three releases, including “Conspiracy Live” (2006, reviewed at PR&PM in 2013). In 2007, he formed “Circa:” with “Alan White” and “Tony Kaye” of “Yes”, plus “Jimmy Haun”. “Circa:” had many releases, including “Circa HQ” (2009), which was reviewed at PR&PM in 2013. From “Circa:” spawned “Yoso”, a short-lived project headed by Sherwood and former “Toto” singer, “Bobby Kimball”, featuring “Tony Kaye” and “Jimmy Haun”. In the meantime, Sherwood worked as a musician, producer and engineer for important artists, such as “Deep Purple”, “Toto”, “Paul Rodgers”, “Carmine Appice”, “Asia”, “John Wetton”, “Nektar”, just to name a few. He also worked on tributes for “Genesis”, “Pink Floyd”, “Yes”, “Queen”, “Journey”, “Led Zeppelin”, “The Beatles”, “Rush”, and others. Somehow, Sherwood also found time to work on his solo career. He had released six studio albums until 2012: “The Big Peace” (1999), “No Comment” (2003), “At the Speed of Life” (2008), “Oneirology” (2010), “What Was the Question?” (2011), “The Art of Survival” (2012). In 2012, Sherwood interrupted his solo career to stand ahead of “The Prog Collective”, a project featuring contributions of other Prog-Rock artists. He went back to “Yes” to mix and co-produce their album “Heaven & Earth” (2014) and two DVD’s. Sherwood returned to his solo career with his seventh studio album, titled “Divided By One” (2014, Cherry Red). The CD features 10 original songs, all produced, recorded, mixed, written, and performed by Sherwood. By listening to “Divided By One” (and Sherwood’s previous solo albums), it is easy to realize why this talented musicians had developed his career in parallel with that of “Yes”. Sherwood’s songwriting and great musicianship are very influenced by the style of “Yes”. His bass playing is reminiscent of “Chris Squire”, but equals other greats of the style, namely “John Wetton” and “Greg Lake”. His guitar has absorbed much of “Steve Howe’s” acrobatic manners, but it also moves on its own way. His lead voice may not reach the same high notes of “Jon Anderson’s”, but it is soft and tuneful, and his soaring harmony vocals instantly bring “Yes” to mind. His orchestral arrangements on keyboards keep a safe distance from the Progressive excess, laying on a symphonic threshold that will satisfy fans of both 70’s and 80’s Prog. And Sherwood employs his great talent and extensive experience to balance and blend those Progressive key elements on songs that are melodic and emotional, but also defiant and instrumentally complex. The affinities with the sonority of “Yes” are sensed on the first tracks, “On Impact” (7:59), which has transcendental harmony vocals and symphonic keyboard arrangements; and “The Scene Comes Alive” (4:17), which is conveyed on a pulse that matches the heart-beat of “Yes”. The rocking “No Stone Unturned” (4:59) and “Divided By One” (4:21) emanate joyful vibes and mild-mannered bass grooves adequate for a live show, being soothed by the tranquility of the ballads “Between Us” (4:24) – which combines heavenly acoustic and electric guitars with synths; and “Here for You” (5:44), which bends to a non-“Yes” style with the coming of three bluesy guitar solos! Sherwood keeps a hybrid style on the great track “Sequence of Events” (6:15) – the beginning of which even recalls the “Yes-song”, “Owner of a Lonely Heart” – but as the song descends to a lower key, its atmosphere grows darker. On “Sphere of Influence” (5:00), bass lines with the “Squire” signature are underlined with vigorous intricate drumming, finishing on an incredible guitar solo! But fans of Classic-Prog will really rejoice with “Constellation Codex” (5:18) – a cosmic song with sparse vocals and enduring instrumentation, full of soaring solos of guitars and synths; and “End of an Era” (8:10) – a vigorous Prog-Rock having twists and turns, the closest to the 70’s “Yes”. Really a nice and well-crafted album, full of musicianship and Progressive vibes, “Divided By One” is highly recommendable for fans of “Yes”, “Asia”, “Circa:”, “Yoso”, “Conspiracy”, “The Prog Collective”, “Icon”, “GTR”, “Druid”, and so on. Read more about Billy Sherwood below. Band members and collaborators involved in Billy Sherwood are: Billy Sherwood – Vocals, Backing Harmony Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards, Bass, Drums, and Compositions. Recorded & Mixed at CircaHQ Studios, CA, USA, Backyard Levitation (ASCAP). Mastered by Maor Appelbaum at Maor Appelbaum Mastering, CA, USA. Artwork & Photography by Michi Sherwood... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/30/2016..........................If you want know more about this great musician, you must visit BILLY SHERWOOD HOME PAGE...
. GREG LAKE & GEOFF DOWNES - "Ride The Tiger"
PR&PM is hosting some Progressive luminaries this month! We welcome now the duo Greg Lake & Geoff Downes – two heavy-weights of Progressive Rock. Greg Lake is a singer, bassist, guitar player, and producer who has been founder member of two of the most influential bands of the 70’s Progressive scene – “King Crimson” and “Emerson, Lake and Palmer” – with which he recorded a number of albums that became classics of the style: “In The Court Of The Crimson King” (1969), “Tarkus” (1971), “Trilogy” (1972), “Brain Salad Surgery” (1973), “Works, Volumes 1 & 2” (1977). Lake also trailed a successful career along the ‘80s, by releasing either solo albums – “Greg Lake” (1981) and “Manoeuvres” (1983) – or with “Keith Emerson” and “Cozy Powell” (“Emerson, Lake & Powell”, 1986). The ‘90s were time for Lake to rejoin “ELP” in a series of tours, new albums, and special releases (via his label, Manticore Records); and to take part on “King Crimson’s” album “Epitaph” (1997). During this century, Greg Lake has still been an active musician. He worked on the compilation of a bootleg series of “ELP’s” shows, and collaborated with artists such as: “Ringo Starr”, “Robert Plant” (“Led Zeppelin”); “Roger Daltrey” (“The Who”), “Gary Moore”, “Gary Brooker” (“Procol Harum”), “Ian Anderson” (“Jethro Tull”), “Trans-Siberian Orchestra” and “David Arch”. Greg Lake’s song “I Believe in Father Christmas” has been covered by “U2”, “Sarah Brightman”, and “Jordan Rudess” (“Dream Theater”). Keyboardist and producer Geoff Downes is another legend of the Progressive-World. After his graduation in the Leeds School of Music in 1975, Downes went to London to pursue a musical career. In 1976 he met musician and producer “Trevor Horn”, and in 1979, as “The Buggles”, they produced the hit “Video Killed The Radio Star”. Soon they were both invited to join “Yes” in replacement to “Rick Wakeman” and “Jon Anderson”, to record the album “Drama” (1980). As “Yes” disbanded, Downes joined with “Steve Howe”, “John Wetton” and “Carl Palmer” to form the super-group “Asia”. The success of “Asia” placed Downes in evidence. Even when the original members departed or came back, Downes kept “Asia” alive, with help of several other musicians (like John Payne and Guthrie Govan). Amidst retreats and resurrections of “Asia”, Downes produced “GTR” (80’s group uniting “Steve Howe” and “Steve Hackett” of “Genesis”); released his albums, “Vox Humana” (1992), “Evolution” (1993), “The Work Tapes” (1998), “World Service” (1999); and shared a partnership with “John Wetton” in the duo “Icon”, with three studio releases (2005, 2006, 2009). Downes is still a very active musician. Recent highlights of his career include the release of more albums (either solo or with other artists), and new reunions with “Asia”, “Buggles”, and “Yes”. The first meeting of Greg Lake with Geoff Downes happened in 1983, during a brief Japanese tour with “Asia”, when Lake was replacing John Wetton. Lake and Downes then realized that they shared similar musical tastes and decided to try a songwriting partnership. Due to their busy schedules, the two musicians could only get together during a short period (September 1989 to April 1990), at Lake’s studio in London. The project was called “Ride The Tiger”, hinting at the difficulty confronted by the musicians when trying to fit their different backgrounds harmoniously. “Ride The Tiger” (November 2015, Manticore Records) is a collection of 6 songs and an alternate version, some of which would later appear on albums of “Asia” and “ELP”, in a re-recorded form. On this new release, the material is presented for the first time in its original form. Besides Greg Lake (vocals, guitars, bass) and Geoff Downes (keyboards, programming), “Ride The Tiger” features Michael Giles – the original drummer of “King Crimson”. “Ride The Tiger” has important historical value for the fans of Lake & Downes, first because it registers, in a rough format, a few songs that have been recorded and produced later on their careers, consisting in worthy comparative material, regarding their creative process and choice of style. Second, because all those songs retain the original voice of Lake - one of the most praised Progressive singers – a feature that will be specially appreciated by his fans. The music follows on the style of 80’s Prog-Rock, sometimes lustered with a modern popish texture that anticipated the sound of the ‘90s. “Ride The Tiger” starts with “Money Talks” (3:36) – a bombastic and powerful AOR-Prog, supported by dramatic symphonic keyboards; and goes on with “Love Under Fire” (5:22), in a more contemplative version than that recorded by “Asia” on the album “Aqua” (giving us a chance to compare Lake’s with Payne’s vocals). The two following tracks are known by fans of “ELP”, ‘90s Era: “Affairs Of The Heart” (4:05) runs slow, and has no acoustic guitars, which were replaced by New Age keyboards; and “Street War” (5:26) had slightly different lyrics, driven by hammered bass and tribal drumming that instilled more power in it than on “ELP’s” 1994 version. Completing the album, “Check It Out” (4:44) is an 80’s Electro-pop, driven by groovy bass and World Music’s electronic percussion; and “Blue Light” (4:08) is a Synth-Pop ballad. The last track is “Love Under Fire - Alternate Mix” (4:57), which is a softened version including more piano and smooth drumming. “Ride The Tiger” is an historical album that aims to fill in a gap in Greg Lake and Geoff Downes’s vast discography, being specially recommendable for their fans, and for fans of 80’s Prog-Rock and AOR who love bands like “Asia”, “EL&Powell”, “GTR”, “3”, “Yes”, “Toto”, “Saga”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Boston”, “Journey”, “Buggles”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Greg Lake & Geoff Downes are: Greg Lake – Vocals, Guitars, Basses; Geoff Downes – Keyboards, Programming; Michael Giles – Drums and Percussion. All songs composed by Greg Lake & Geoff Downes, Recorded at Greg Lake’s studio in Putney Bridge, London, from September 1989 to April 19901989-1990; Produced by Greg Lake & Geoff Downes. Remastered by Alberto Callegari at Elfo Recording Studios, Tavernago, Italy. Cover concept by Daniel Earnshaw... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/30/2016.........................Interested to know more about the Musicians? Visit GREG LAKE & GEOFF DOWNES HOME PAGES...
. SYLVAN - "Home"
Sylvan is back to PR&PM once more! Hailing from Hamburg, Germany, Sylvan is one of the most talented and solid bands in activity since the turn of the century. In 15 years of career, Sylvan has accumulated an extensive discography, which took them to make shows in Germany, England, the Netherlands, Poland, France, Spain, Sweden, USA, and Mexico, also counting with appearances at PR&PM! Sylvan’s third album, “Artificial Paradise” (2002), was praised in a 2003 review, and its follow-up, “X-Rayed”, chosen “Album of the Month” in June 2004. The next release, “Posthumous Silence” (2006), was a masterpiece, and placed Sylvan on a successful ascending path, continued with “Presets” (2007), “Leaving Backstage” (Live CD, 2008), “Posthumous Silence – The Show” (Live DVD, 2008), “Force of Gravity” (2009, also reviewed at PR&PM), and the impressive Double-CD titled “Sceneries” (2012). From album to album, Sylvan has gradually evolved, forging a sound of their own and leaving behind the similarity with their basic influences (“Marillion”, “Genesis”, “Pink Floyd”, “IQ”, “Yes”). Sylvan’s new album – “Home” (2015, Gentle Art of Music) – is the epitome of their musical journey. Conducted by four musicians of Sylvan’s classic line-up – Marco Glühmann (vocals), Volker Söhl (keyboards), Sebastian Harnack (bass), Matthias Harder (drums); joined in by new guitarist Jonathan Beck – “Home” is a concept album that lyrically deals with a woman’s quest in search of that place, we use to call “home” – a secure environment that shelters us from the violence of the outside world. The theme is thoroughly explored along the 12 songs of “Home”. Stylistically diverse, melodically catchy, and highly complex in the arrangements, the music of “Home” flows unrivaled, well-balanced between moments of sublime vocal sensitiveness coupled to sophisticated individual performances, opposed to instrumental passages of symphonic grandeur, interrupted by dramatic moments of doubt, frustration, fear, and fury. The sound matches most Art Rock and long-lasting Progressive bands of modern days – “RPWL”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Gazpacho”, “Riverside”, “Sigur Rós”, “Muse”, “Dream Theater”, “Arena”, “Radiohead”, “Osada Vida” – as Sylvan also delivers a refined dish composed of Symphonic Rock, Neo-Prog, and Classical Rock, with touches of Post-Rock and Progressive Metal. “Home” opens with “Not Far From The Sky” (6:30), which starts slowly, driven by Glühmann’s outstanding voice (he sustains high notes and surprises the listener with unexpected melodic inflections), gaining in proportion, until reaching the grandest scale of Symphonic-Prog with the coming of bombastic orchestral strings. “Shaped Out Of Clouds” (6:02) unfolds from an acoustic base, conveying a sweet and calm vocal tune that guides the song towards the first guitar solo of the album – outstanding, showing that Jonathan Beck was perfectly chosen for the task! From the celestial spheres, Sylvan goes straight down-to-earth on the heaviest song, “In Between” (10:50): by concentrating all energy on powerful guitars, bass and drums, this song summons anguish, fear, and frustration, resulting in an explosion of anger that borders the extremes of Prog-Metal, drifting later on an extended instrumental sequence marked by the furious exchange of solos of guitar and synths! From this peak of rage, Sylvan descends to calmer sonic plains on “With The Eyes Of A Child” (4:19) – a melancholic and nostalgic ballad; and on “Black And White” (7:14) – which is more accessible and romantic, alternating melodramatic orchestral moments with soaring Progressive parts. The album becomes intense again with the epic guitar riffs and bombastic instrumentation of the amazing “The Sound Of Her World” (9:23), which sprout out from a layer of relaxing synths, as the song expands in concentric waves, echoing in infinity. Also a highlight is “Sleep Tight” (5:31), which begins like a lullaby written for piano and whispering voice, but later enters the mysterious realms of the night-time, suggested by dreamy symphonic moments underlined by heavy riffs. The nightmarish sensation passed on by “Sleep…” makes an ingenious contrast with the delicacy of “Off Her Hands” (3:42), which evokes the gentle breeze of the morning being caressed by mellow vocal tunes. “Home’s” second moment of upheaval comes up on “Shine” (6:18) – which departs from a sophisticated coolness to be broken unexpectedly on an impressive dynamic sequence, in Prog-Metal style, being finished with awesome guitars in Neo-Prog style, and being immediately chained to the paranoia of “Point Of No Return” (5:25) – a darkened Prog-Metal  song, defeated by an angelic chorus (both nearing the magnitude of “Dream Theater”, “Porcupine Tree”, and “Riverside”). The dramatic syncopation of “All These Years” (5:40) precedes the climax: the emotional atmosphere grows denser and introspective, storming in moments of true Progressive reverie, flying on the wings of dreamy string arrangements to fall on the conclusive soundscapes of the title-track “Home” (6:05), which repeats the theme of the first song, crowned with a magnificent guitar solo that inspires future hope! An outstanding album, “Home” defines Sylvan in the Prog-Dictionary as: deeply emotional and dramatic music, embraced by bombastic symphonic amplitude, driven by sensitive vocal performance! An indispensable record, which corroborates the placement of Sylvan among other great bands, such as: “RPWL”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Gazpacho”, “Riverside”, “Muse”, “Sigur Rós”, “Dream Theater”, “Arena”, “Radiohead”, “Airbag”, “Osada Vida”, “Marillion”, “Pink Floyd”, “Genesis”, “Silhouette”, “Mindfields”, “Light Damage”, “Airbag”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Sylvan are: Marco Glühmann – Voice; Jonathan Beck – Guitars; Volker Söhl – Keyboards; Sebastian Harnack – Bass; Matthias Harder – Drums. Ex-member: Jan Petersen - Guitars. Album Produced by Sylvan and The Gentle Art of Music / Soulfood Music... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/30/2016.................................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit SYLVAN HOME PAGE...
. JOHN WETTON - "Live Via Satellite"
The legendary bassist, singer and songwriter John Wetton is really in evidence at PR&PM! As one of the most successful musicians of both Progressive and Classic Rock scenes, Wetton has taken active part in writing the history of Progressive Rock, by playing in bands such as “Mogul Thrash”, “Family”, “King Crimson”, “U.K.”, “Asia”, “Qango”, and “Icon” – some of which he has been also a founder member. In addition, Wetton has worked with several other Classic and Pop-Rock groups, ranging from “Uriah Heep” and “Wishbone Ash” to “Roxy Music”; and developed a solid career as a solo artist. During the new century, he continued to contribute with other Progressive Rock projects headed by musicians like “Billy Sherwood”, “Eddie Jobson”, “Steve Hackett” (“Genesis Revisited”), “Daniele Liverani” (“Genius Rock Opera"), and “Arjen Lucassen” (“The Theory of Everything”). Wetton’s enduring career has therefore generated an extensive discography, including both studio and live albums, too long to be mentioned here. To celebrate his successful career, John Wetton released two special albums in 2015, which are both being featured at PR&PM: the compilation “Anthology, The Studio Recordings – Vol. 1” and the live double-album “Live Via Satellite – Stockholm, Sweden, 1998 / XM Studios, Washington DC, 2002”. “Live Via Satellite” was released on 9th October 2015 under Wetton’s own label, Primary Purpose, working in collaboration with Cherry Red. “Live Via Satellite” collects together two of Wetton’s acoustic solo concerts, which received radio broadcasting. The XM Radio broadcast was only available for sale via Wetton’s website over 10 years ago and had never had a commercial release. The record concerning the Swedish broadcast had been lost in a fire, but a long and tireless search made by Wetton’s fans resulted in the finding of a duplicated master tape of that show, which is being officially recorded on CD for the very first time. Although separated by a time-span of 4 years and a half, Wetton regards both shows as belonging to the same musical period, since the repertoires were very similar to each other. However, Wetton pointed out that they represented totally different experiences for him, because the venue in Stockholm was just like a circus tent, set up in a funfair; while in Washington, he had available to him all the facilities provided by one of the most modern radio studios in the U.S.A. This difference had no effect on the final sound production of the shows, which are excellent on both, consisting in an important document of Wetton’s musical career. The uniqueness of those two shows dwells on the fact that they were both performed by Wetton alone, playing on an unplugged format consisting only of his voice, his acoustic guitar, and the occasional appearance of piano and keyboards. This format is quite compatible with Wetton’s solo style, one that he has extensively employed on his career to write sensitive and memorable song-ballads. But the format revealed to be particularly interesting when applied to other songs of the repertoire, which had been composed in partnership with members of “King Crimson”, “UK”, and “Asia”, when Wetton was playing in those bands. Wetton’s oldest fans will really get surprised, when they start to listen to their dearest songs, brilliantly wrapped up in Wetton’s original acoustic arrangements, driven by his softened voice. “Live Via Satellite” consists of two shows divided on CD-1 (“Grona Lund, Stockholm, Sweden – 2nd June 1998”) and CD-2 (“XM Radio Studio One, Washington DC – 5th December 2002”). Aside from minor differences in the repertoire, both presentations were composed of a number of songs taken from Wetton’s two most acclaimed albums: Battle Lines” (1994) and “Arkangel” (1997) – namely, “The Circle of St. Giles”, “Battle Lines”, “Arkangel”, “Emma”, “Hold Me Now”, and “You’re Not the Only One” (this one, only on the Stockholm Show) – summed to two songs by the super-group “U.K.” (“30 Years” and “Rendezvous 6:02”). Wetton’s performances were also busted up by a few of “Asia’s” mega-hits: “Heat of the Moment”, “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes”, and “Sole Survivor” (the latter, only in Washington). The rest of the repertoire was alternatively spiced with some of “King Crimson’s” most favorite Classics: “Book of Saturday”, “Starless”, “Easy Money”, and “The Night Watch” (the last two, only in Stockholm). In addition, CD-2 also features Wetton’s songs “The Celtic Cross” (of album “Arkangel”) and “Mondrago” (which would be released only on his 2003 album, “Rock of Faith”); and “The Water is Wide” (Celtic traditional, arranged by Wetton). “Live Via Satellite” is an interesting overview of Wetton’s career, featuring excellent songs in acoustic format, being the ideal companion album for “Anthology – Vol 1”. “Live Via Satellite” is therefore a must have item for fans of John Wetton, who also have appreciated his passage by iconic bands like “King Crimson”, “UK”, and “Asia”. Band members and collaborators involved in John Wetton are: John Wetton himself – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Occasional Piano and Keyboards. Album Produced by John Wetton; Re-mastered by Mike Pietrini; Managed by Martin Darvill. “Live Via Satellite” Complete Tracklist: Disc One (Stockholm, Sweden, 1998): 1. “The Circle of St. Giles”; 2. “Heat of the Moment”; 3. “Book of Saturday”; 4. “Battle Lines”; 5. “Arkangel”; 6. “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes”; 7. “Easy Money”; 8. “Emma”; 9. “30 Years”; 10. “Hold Me Now”; 11. “Rendezvous 6:02”; 12. “The Night Watch”; 13. “You’re Not the Only One”; 14. “Starless”. Disc Two (XM Studios, Washington DC, 2002): 1. “Introduction”; 2. “The Circle of St. Giles”; 3. “Heat of the Moment”; 4. “Mondrago / Book of Saturday”; 5. “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes”; 6. “30 Years”; 7. “Hold Me Now”; 8. “Arkangel”; 9. “Emma”; 10. “Sole Survivor”; 11. “Rendezvous 6:02”; 12. “The Water is Wide”; 13. “Starless”; 14. “Battle Lines”; 15. “The Celtic Cross”... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/30/2016.......................................Interested to know more about this frantastic Musician? Visit JOHN WETTON HOME PAGE...
. DEWOLFF - "Strange Fruits and Undiscovered Plants"
DeWolff is back to PR&PM! DeWolff was founded in 2007 in southern Holland by three teenagers: the brothers Pablo van de Poel (16, vocals, guitars) and Luka van de Poel (14, drums), plus Robin Piso (17, keyboards). They were strongly influenced by bands of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s (“Led Zeppelin”, “T. Rex”, “The Doors”, "Iron Butterfly"), but also by recent bands with a Retro-Rock sound, like the “Black Crowes” and the “Black Keys”. DeWolff debuted with an eponymous EP, “DeWolff” (2008), which was followed by the full-length album “Strange Fruits and Undiscovered Plants” (2009). “Strange Fruits …” received positive reviews and gave visibility to DeWolff. Their reputation grew fast, leading to an extensive 2010 live tour that culminated with a show at the “Pinkpop” Festival (Holland) and an appearance at the German TV-show “Rockpalast”. DeWolff’s second album, “Orchards/Lupine” (2011) reached number 11 in the Dutch charts and sparkled a 2012 European tour that included presentations in Belgium, France, Hungary, Germany, Italy and Spain, reaching out as far as Australia and New Zealand. DeWolff even signed a deal with Australian label GoSet Music for distribution in the Oceanian countries. “Orchards/Lupine” was reviewed at PR&PM and chosen “Best Album of the Month” in January/2011. The review had foreseen that DeWolff would grow in importance around the Alternative Rock scene. And that became true, because DeWolff continued to release albums, namely “DeWolff IV” (2012), “Grand Southern Electric” (2014), and “Live & Outta Sight” (2015), conquering fans of all ages worldwide with their own brand of Retro-Rock music instilled with the spirit of the 21st century. The album on focus here is DeWolff’s first full-length – “Strange Fruits And Undiscovered Plants” (2009, REMusic Records) – which was released on both Vinyl and CD (deluxe digipack edition). In spite of being an early album performed by very young musicians, “Strange Fruits And Undiscovered Plants” was already an impressive and mature musical work, showcasing the basic guidelines that would orient DeWolff’s style forever – a visceral mix of 60’s to early 70’s Southern Psychedelic Rock, Classic Hard Rock, seminal Space Rock, and Proto-Progressive Rock with a Krautrock touch. The instrumentation includes “drunken” fuzzy guitars, lysergic groovy bass (well-entwined in the harmony of the arrangements, intervening on selected moments of each song), slow-stoned drumming (with occasional bursts of contagious swings), and a faithful warship to vintage keyboards (an omnipresent Hammond organ, a surreal Mellotron, and an imposing Rhodes piano) – all driven by stoned and soulful vocals. The music of DeWolff is written with a retro-rock alphabet that recalls iconic bands such as: “Iron Butterfly”, “The Doors”, “13th Floor Elevators”, “Jefferson Airplane”, “Love”, “Gandalf”, “Ultimate Spinach”, “Amboy Dukes”, “Blodwyn Pig”, “Richie Havens”, “Canned Heat”, “Grand Funk Railroad”, “Allman Brothers”, “Jimi Hendrix”, “Yardbirds”, “Cream”, “Mountain”, very early “Pink Floyd”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Black Sabbath”, “Deep Purple”, “Uriah Heep”, “Atomic Rooster”, “Edgar Broughton Band”, “Joseph”, “Birth Control”, “Faithful Breath”, “Krokodil”, “Steel Mill”, “Frumpy”, “Cornucopia”, “Bröselmaschine”, and others. “Strange Fruits And Undiscovered Plants” contains 11 tracks. The album opens with the warning sound of sirens introducing the alarming “Mountain” (4:29) – a slow-heavy Rock driven by stoned vocals and vintage keyboards (like “Sabbath”, “Purple”, and “Atomic Rooster”); followed by “Medicine” (4:34), a “rootsy” Blues that impresses the listener with the maturity of the vocal melody and the manipulation of sad emotions. Equally impressive are the tracks “Birth Of The Ninth Sun” (7:41) – a Psychedelic Blues, mixing a poignant classic piano with early “Floyd” sounds, narrations à la “Jim Morrison”, and Krautrock experimentation; and “Silver Lovemachine” (10:11), which is a dark-psychedelic song cursed by sinister witchcraft, to be listened to in a kind of obscure ritual (recalling “Black Widow”). Join to this strange brew the “LSD-dripping” “Parloscope” (4:58) (driven by hypnotic jives, falsetto vocals, and a pinch of psychedelic-funk); “Fire Fills The Sky” (4:08) (a Psychedelic-Space ballad with fuzzy vocals and bursts of thundering bass, organ and drums); and the songs “Desert Night” (2:53) and “Wicked Moon” (3:17) (slightly recalling “The Doors”); and the listener will get an outstanding collection of Dark-Psychedelic standards! To clear off the smoky clouds, nothing better than the energy-drive of “Don't You Go Up The Sky” (4:18) (a lively Classic Hard Rock); and “Red Sparks Of The Morning Dusk” (3:27) (a mix of Blues, Hard, Psychedelia, warmed up with a crazy saxophone!); or the primitive drumming of “Leather God” (1:51), the song that closes the album. Really an impressive work, “Strange Fruits And Undiscovered Plants” was the harbinger of what DeWolff’s precocious musicians could bring to the world. DeWolff cannot be ignored by fans of 60’s to early 70’s Southern Psychedelic Rock, Classic Hard Rock, Space Rock, Progressive Rock, and Krautrock, being highly recommendable for fans of “Iron Butterfly”, “The Doors”, “13th Floor Elevators”, “Love”, “Jefferson Airplane”, “Ultimate Spinach”, “Amboy Dukes”, “Blodwyn Pig”, “Richie Havens”, “Grand Funk Railroad”, “Canned Heat”, “Allman Brothers”, “Jimi Hendrix”, “Yardbirds”, “Cream”, “Mountain”, early “Pink Floyd”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Black Sabbath”, “Deep Purple”, “Uriah Heep”, “Edgar Broughton Band”, “Joseph”, “Birth Control”, “Faithful Breath”, “Krokodil”, “Steel Mill”, “Frumpy”, “Bröselmaschine”, “Cornucopia”, “Emtidi”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in DeWolff are: Pablo van de Poel – Lead Vocals, Guitars; Luka van de Poel - Drums, Percussion, Siren, Backing Vocals; Robin Piso - Hammond Organ, Rhodes, Piano, Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals. Recorded at ArtSound Studio, Belgium; Mixed by Rob Vanspauwen and DeWolff; Mastered by Fred Kevorkian, Kevorkian Mastering INC, New York. Produced by DeWolff and Rob Vanspauwen; Executive Production by Ron Engelen. All Songs Published by REMusic Records... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/30/2016.........................,.....If you want know more about this amazing band and its members, visit DEWOLFF HOME PAGE...
. LITTLE KING - "Virus Divine"
Little King is a Rock band with a slightly Progressive orientation. Little King was formed in 1996 by Ryan Rosoff (guitar, vocals, and compositions) in El Paso, Texas. Rosoff had been playing on a band called “Tweed Quickly”, until he gathered songs enough to begin a new project: Little King (a translation of his name, “Ryan”, to Gaelic). Little King's first demo CD, titled “Transmountain”, was released in May on 1997, and featured bassist Mike Esparza and drummer Alex Lizarazo. In September of 1997, Rosoff moved back to his hometown, Seattle (Washington), where he signed with the independent label Shade Records. He went back to Texas in August of 1998 to record another CD, called “Time Extension”, with bassist Shannon Brady (a member of “Tweed Quickly”) and drummer Jim Hargrave. “Time Extension” gave some visibility to the band, but as Shade Records dissolved in 2000, the band was forced to enter a long hiatus. Rosoff focused his energy on his own company, Little King Productions, but kept on writing songs. In September 2003, Rosoff and drummer Wes Kahalekulu began to record a new Little King album, titled “Virus Divine”. The new material was engineered by Eddy Garcia (bass player for “Ministry”), and after the guitars and drums had been completed, Shannon Brady added bass lines in studio. In the summer of 2004 Rosoff took the completed sessions of “Virus Divine” to Toronto, Canada, to be mixed by the famous Terry Brown (“Rush”). “Virus Divine” was released in 2005 via Unicorn Records and sold about 3,500 copies over 20 countries; received airplay by over 250 college and commercial radio stations, and collected positive reviews in Progressive and Independent Rock media. A tour around the Western United States followed the album’s release. After “Virus Divine”, Little King would still release a fourth album, titled “Legacy Of Fools” (2008, Unicorn Records). That album counted with Eddy Garcia on drums and Michael Esparza on bass, and featured artwork by Jonas Ekman and mastering by the legendary Don Grossinger. But Little King’s album on focus here is “Virus Divine”. It is a concept album based on the story of a man who feels that he can change the world after watching news about the tragedy at Columbine High School, realizing the positive impact that one righteous person can impose on the world around him. The album has 8 tracks and stylistically is a blend of bands like “Rush” (a strong influence, indeed), “Boston”, “Peter Frampton”, but with a Rockier basic pulse and a more down-to-earth harmonic lean; also having influences of Alternative Rock bands like “The Tea Party”, “Soundgarden”, “Pearl Jam”, and “Tiles”. Over a tripod made of guitar-bass-and-drums, Little King goes on balancing electric and acoustic moments; and opposing powerful Rocky riffs against Rosoff’s melodic vocals - sometimes very sweet, a few times more aggressive. Rosoff’s guitar harmonies recall the arrangements of “Rush”, but his guitar soloing is different from “Alex Lifeson’s”, being more melodic, leaning to the Alternative stylistics. The rhythmic duo formed by Wes Kahalekulu and Shannon Brady is integrated and dynamic, endowing most songs with energetic drives, fluidal passages, and vibrant atmospheres. “Virus Divine” starts with “All I Need” (4:49) which has tribal beats that invite to rock soothed by the sweetness of vocal tunes and melodic guitars and bass – the whole song has influences of “Boston”, “Rush”, and “Frampton”. The second song is “Narcissus and Echo” (3:49), which recalled me of “Rush’s” song “Closer to the Heart”, but with a less dramatic, and more vivid, mood. That same joyful energy, the listener will find on the next track, “Peacemaker” (5:37) – grounded by an electro-acoustic arrangement; and later on “Antibodies” (4:07) – adorned with experimental solos of guitars. But the highlights of the album are: “Second Wind” (5:09) – which goes on alternating Melodic Rock passages with others in Oriental style (recalling “The Tea Party”), growing in strength near the end, when a second voice rises with the aggressiveness of “Soundgarden”; “Virus Divine” (6:03) – the title track, which has a kind of Progressive structure, with the first part having more acoustic instrumentation and mellow vocals, being sometimes trespassed by abrupt incursions of heavy-Grunge riffs and furious vocals, finally taking the song to an instrumental sequence that parallels the complexity of “Rush”; and also the two last tracks – “Paso Del Norte” (5:01) and “Horsefeathers” (1:24) – which are linked to each other. “Paso …” is predominantly a Folk-Rock, driven by layers of acoustic guitars and soft vocals, but grows later on sequences propelled by groovy and bouncing bass and drums – finishing with a chord sequence that stretches over “Horsefeathers”. Not aimed to the Orthodox Prog-head, Little King’s “Virus Divine” is however a solid album that will please fans of Alternative Melodic Rock with a Progressive Orientation, being specially recommended for fans of less-bombastic “Rush”, “The Tea Party”, “Boston”, folky-“Pearl Jam”, folky-“Yes”, and not-so-heavy “Tiles” and “Enchant”. Band members and collaborators involved in Little King are: Ryan Rosoff – Vocals, Guitars; Shannon Brady – Bass; Wes Kahalekulu – Drums and Percussion; Heather Coley – Backing Vocals on “All I Need” and “Virus Divine”. Album Produced by Ryan Rosoff; Recorded at Krank Studios in El Paso, Texas; Engineered by Eddy Garcia; Mixed by Terry Brown... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/30/2016................................................       ...,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit LITTLE KING HOME PAGE...
. FAMILY FREE ROCK - "A Day of Wrath"
Family Free Rock is a Hard Progressive band from the city of São Paulo, Brazil. It was founded in 2004 by two ex-“Lei Seca" and ex-“Tarkus" members: Valdir “Doctor" Zamboni (voice, guitars and mandolin) and Cesar Fazollo (drums). The most recent line-up is completed with Guilherme Marcelo Coré (keyboards and electric bass), Tiago (electric guitar), Raphael Evangelista (violoncello) and Lucas Francis da Silva Ong (guitar). The main musical influences from Family Free Rock stem from the Progressive and Hard Rock of the 70’s, also including Blues and Jazz Fusion. The band has already released 4 CDs and 2 DVD’s – all are available for download at their website. The last album, entitled “A Day of Wrath" (2008, Doll Records), is a tribute to Mario Panciera, arguably the true name of Mr. Doctor, the man behind the legendary band “Devil Doll". The number of copies released - only 30 - is evidently part of the homage, since Devil Doll was known for releasing very limited editions of their albums. The record brings a single track - “A Day of Wrath“- with a total time of 37:38. The music is based on “Mr. Doctor/Devil Doll" music, with arrangements by Family Free Rock, and counts with participation of special guest musician and sound engineer Alex Nasser (percussion). The music of “A Day of Wrath" is really impressive, with a quality that stands above the regular standards. The sonority is a hybridization of Devil Doll with the Traditional Progressive Rock of the seventies, represented by bands like “Pink Floyd", “PFM", “Le Orme", “Banco del Mutuo Socorso", “Reale Accademia di Musica", “Corte dei Miracoli “and “Metamorfosi". The main characteristics of “Devil Doll" are present on the voice of Zamboni, who sings with the same interpretative and theatrical verve of Mr. Doctor. Also the occasional parts with cello; a lean to Classic Music; and the overall terror-movie atmosphere are reminiscent of that band. Those sections are interspersed, however, with instrumental segments of acoustic guitars, mandolins, piano and vintage keyboards that are largely influenced by the aforementioned Italian bands. Those segments are enriched by long guitar solos that are inspired by “Pink Floyd". Also the rhythm section follows the tripping pattern of “Pink Floyd", being reinforced, on the most dramatic moments, with percussion by Alex Nasser, who adds some soft Brazilian flavors to the sonority. The result sounds like “Devil Doll" with a less macabre atmosphere, but with the same large doses of virtuosity and artistic commitment of the musicians. Family Free Rock’s “A Day of Wrath" is an excellent tribute from a really a surprising band, which dignifies the original work of Mr. Doctor. It is definitely destined to be a cult. Band members and collaborators involved in Family Free Rock are: Doctor Zamboni – voice, lead electric guitar, acoustic guitar, mandolin; Guilherme Marcelo Coré – keyboards and electric bass; Cesar Fazollo – drums; Tiago – electric guitar; Raphael Evangelista – violoncello. Special guest: Alex Nasser – percussion. Lucas Francis da Silva Ong - guitar... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/30/2016...............................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit FAMILY FREE ROCK HOME PAGE...
. SPALTKLANG - "In Between"
Spaltklang - the project led by Swiss saxophonist Markus Stauss - is back to the PR&PM webzine! Stauss conceived Spaltklang to work as a modern version of the “broken consort” – a medieval ensemble composed of wind and pluck instruments, strings, and a percussion unit. The group originally formed with Stauss (tenor & soprano sax), Olivier Vogt (viola, violin), Stephan Brunner (electric bass) and Rémy Sträuli (drums, keyboards). At first, Spaltklang (which means “broken sound” in German) would play material from other projects of Stauss (“Überfall”, “Echoes” and “Ulterior Lux”), but as the musicians realized that each single piece could be re-worked and split up in numerous other versions, Spaltklang grew up, achieving an independent band status. Spaltklang released four albums, all by Fazzul Music: “Alpenglühen” (2002), “Surprise” (2004), “Lontano” (2006), and “En Suite” (2009, reviewed at PR&PM in 2010). “In Between” (2013) is Spaltklang’s fifth album. Differently from the previous releases, “In Between” was produced by Marcello Marinone & the independent Italian label AltrOck Productions. And the line-up suffered severe changes, as the Spaltklang quartet turned out to a quintet, forming now with the two original members - Markus Stauss (saxophones) and Rémy Sträuli (drums) - accompanied by Richard Koch (trumpet), Francesco Zago (electric guitar), and Christian Weber (double bass). The three new members are experienced musicians with respectful careers in the European Jazz & Jazz Rock scenes – and guitarist Francesco Zago has been a regular partner of Stauss in projects like “Neolithicum Duo", “Yugen", “Kurai", and “Zauss” (reviewed at PR&PM in 2013). In spite of that profound change, Spaltklang’s music remains as fresh and intellectually defiant as it ever was. By incorporating elements of Modern and Avant-garde Jazz under the rigorous scope of Academic Contemporaneous Music, but allowing moments of release into the Improvisational & Experimental Jazz, Saltklang’s musicians produce an atypical and stimulating blend of Chamber Jazz-Rock with a touch of R.I.O. that shares a resemblance with “Zappa”, “King Crimson”, “Henry Cow”, “Univers Zéro”, “Art Zoyd”, “John Zorn”, “John Cage”, and “Edgard Varèse”. “In Between” features 5 long instrumental tracks. The opening track “Look For…” (12:56) is shockingly discrepant in the beginning, with Stauss producing elephantine sounds with his sax, being supported by a standard, albeit dynamic, jazzy rhythmic line. The piece follows a sequence driven by a weird theme on the trumpet and sax (recalling “Zappa”), and later enters a phase of deconstruction, being resurrected later by playful solos of an interlocked guitar-trumpet-sax trio. As the music is decomposed and reconstructed continuously, the listener is instigated to “look for” the main theme. The second track - “In Between” (9:32) - begins more energetic, with a rocky guitar riff guiding the sax and trumpet harmonies, but slows down to somber tones and creepy sounds – underlined by tribal drums that evoke images of old terror-movies (people walking alone in the streets at night, with an assassin stalking them). Mechanically plucked guitars, melancholic trumpet and mysterious sax are the main soloists on this enigmatic piece, which recalls “Art Zoyd”. The third track - “4 Elements” (12:54) - is my favorite. It is less jazzy and more R.I.O. aligned, driven by an adventurous theme on sax and a vigorous rhythmic line (strongly recalling “Zappa”). The guitars are more aggressive and distorted on this piece, and announce lively improvisational parts for trumpet, and for sax & trumpet duos that repeat the main theme. A “Stravinskyan” part follows on, bringing in elephantine sax resonations and melancholic trumpets, calling back the main theme that is renovated in joyful bouncing form. I also liked track four - “A Suite (In Memory of Cleo)” (10:03) – which, in spite of the sad emotions and sorrowful sensations that it encloses, is really a beautiful piece. Fragments of sounds converge to create a medieval, solemn ambience, giving opportunity for the slow sprouting of free solos of saxophones and mournful trumpets that join together later in a duo of poignant farewell. The last track is “Ural Fragment” (13:15), an experimental piece that covers the music of the ancient Renaissance with a cloak of Avant-garde modernity. It is divided in two parts: the first is marked by a calm pace similar to the waves of a placid lake, occasionally broken by the sensual sounds of the sax and bass, finishing with noisy sax and guitars; the second part is delivered to the solo improvisations of the musicians, including drums and bass. In sum, by making cerebral music that is difficult to digest at the first hearing, Spaltklang still remains a highly recommendable band to fans of “Zappa”, “Henry Cow”, “Univers Zéro”, “Art Zoyd”, “John Zorn”, “John Cage”, “Edgard Varèse”, “Miriodor”, “Gargantua”, “Finnegans Wake”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Spaltklang are: Markus Stauss - Tenor & Soprano Saxophones; Richard Koch - Trumpet; Francesco Zago - Electric Guitars, Loops; Christian Weber - Double Bass; Rémy Sträuli - Drums. Pit Kayser – a contribution on “A Suite”. All compositions by M. Stauss; Recorded on February 13 & 14, 2013; Mixed & Mastered during Spring 2013 by Benno Hofer at Ton-Art Studio, Basel, Switzerland; Produced by Marcello Marinone & AltrOck Productions... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/30/2016........................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit SPALTKLANG HOME PAGE...
. RENDEZVOUS POINT - "Solar Storm"
Rendezvous Point is a Progressive Rock and Metal quintet from Kristiansand, Southern Norway. The musicians of Rendezvous Point gathered together when all of them were studying rhythmical music at the University of Agder. In 2012 Rendezvous Point gave a concert with the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra, revealing to be one of the most talented, exciting, and promising bands from Norway. Not a big surprise, given the fact that Rendezvous Point’s line-up consisted of musicians who had gained some experience playing in other bands and projects: singer Geirmund Hansen was known for his brilliant appearances on the Norwegian edition of “The Voice” show; guitarist Petter Hallaråker played for “ICS Vortex” and “Solefald”; keyboardist Nicolai Tangen Svennæs played with “Emilie Nicolas”; requested drummer Baard Kolstad won the “Roland V-Drums World Championship” held in California in 2012 and plays in known bands (“Leprous”, “Borknagar”, “ICS Vortex”, “Abbath”, “God Seed”); and female bassist Gunn-Hilde Erstad received academic training. The repertoire of Rendezvous Point includes the digital singles of the original songs “Implode” and “The World Goes On”; a cover-video of “Dream Theater’s” song “In The Presence of Enemies”; and their full-length debut album, titled “Solar Storm” (2015, Karisma Records, Norway), the release of which was followed by an European tour in support to the band “Leprous”. Rendezvous Point was quite a surprise for me! Their music is a combination of Melodic Progressive Metal with elements of Progressive Rock and the Djent movement, emphasizing the complexity of rhythms, the orchestration of the arrangements, the heaviness of the guitar riffs, and the epic scale of the vocal tunes (performed by a “mean” G. Hansen). The wholeness of their music has a strong resemblance with iconic bands of this style, such as: “Dream Theater”, “Symphony X”, “Redemption”, “Animals As Leaders”, “Fates Warning”, “OSI”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Threshold”, “Lemur Voice”, “Sieges Even”, “Everon”, “Superior”, “Circus Maximus”, “Empty Tremor”, “Narnia”, and “Queensrÿche”, to name a few. But there is a kind of secret ingredient in their recipe, a spice that makes them to sound with a cosmic reverberation, like a Space-Metal drive, at the same time surrounded with an emotional and heroic aura. “Solar Storm” features seven tracks. The opening song – “Through The Solar Storm” (4:50) – is introduced by a long instrumental sequence that exemplifies what I have just written. If the guitar keeps echoing in the eternity of the universe in Space-Metal mode, the intonation of the vocals go back to the ancient past to gaze at the galaxy from a distant point in space-time. The slow cadence followed by the song and the addition of epic keyboards cooperate to create a Babylonian scene. Rendezvous Point accelerates the rhythmic pulse on the next songs, “Wasteland” (4:58) and “Para” (6:23). The first is driven by fleeing bass and drums, fortified by ascending vocals that deliver a fantastic melody, disrupting “Dream Theater”-like guitar coupled to sensational orchestral arrangements. The second is darker, driven by anguished vocals and dramatic heavy sequences, which are warped by the combined weight of bass, guitars and keyboards – recalling me of “Fates Warning”, “OSI” and “Arch/Matheos”. “The Hunger” (7:15) is the most aggressive track, conveyed on a sequence of paranoid-mathematical riffs that recall “Animals As Leaders”, as Hansen’s voice reaches a peak of outrageous anger – highlighted by a cruel double-solo of synths and guitar! The band compensates that discharge of adrenaline on the coolness of “Mirrors” (10:18) – the most Progressive and elaborated song, which ranges from celestial keyboard-driven moments to groovy down-to-earth guitar riffs, having a slight Funky intonation on the vocal tune. From the middle part to the end, the song spirals upwards, resembling a mix of “Redemption” and “Dream Theater”. Finally, the album reaches “The Conclusion Pt. 1” (4:48) and “The Conclusion Pt. 2” (5:54) – twin songs characterized by the most emotional vocal parts, with “Pt. 1” having moments of wrath and anger, and “Pt. 2” being more soaring, melodic, and epic! Rendezvous Point has really a great potential to grow in the Progressive-Metal scene. My only critic to the band is that they are still shy, regarding their individual performances. If they could add more solos to their well-arranged songs, they would drag towards them many fans from “Dream Theater”, “Symphony X”, “Redemption”, “Animals As Leaders”, “Fates Warning”, “OSI”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Threshold”, “Lemur Voice”, “Sieges Even”, “Everon”, “Superior”, “Circus Maximus”, “Empty Tremor”, “Narnia”, “Queensrÿche”, “Arch/Matheos”, and so on, to whom Rendezvous Point is greatly recommended! Band members and collaborators involved in Rendezvous Point are: Geirmund Hansen – Vocals; Nicolay Tangen Svennæs – Keyboards; Petter Hallaråker – Guitars; Gunn-Hilde Erstad – Bass; Baard Kolstad – Drums. Released by Karisma Records, Norway. If you want to check their music visit Soundcloud Page... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/30/2016....................................................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit RENDEZVOUS POINT HOME PAGE...
. MALLORY - "2"
Mallory is a Rock and Roll quartet based in Paris, France. Mallory was formed in 2012 by Phil (vocals), Jé (guitar), Mat (bass), and Twist (drums). They debuted with the eponymous “Mallory” (EP, 2012), and released a full-length album, titled “Honey Moon” (2013). “2” (November 2014, Dooweet Records) came out on limited edition Digipack CD and Vinyl, and is also available for download at the band’s site. “2” is the second full-length album by Mallory – which happens to be also the name of a fictitious female character. Mallory leaves the man she was supposed to marry and takes the road alone, without noticing that her life will be turned upside down forever. As she rides through the USA and arrives at the Mexican border, there begins for her an inner voyage, into which love, violence and death will play important roles. Mallory realizes that, in our world, freedom is something very expensive to pay for. At age 47, she meets in a Parisian pub four musicians (Phil, Jé, Mat, and Twist) with whom she starts a friendship. Together, they will write a musical biography narrating her life. Just as in a “Quentin Tarantino’s” plot, which could be shortened as: “a girl on the road, a gun in her hand, and music in her ears”; Mallory – the band – delivers to the listener their delicious brand of Honest and Authentic Rock and Roll – firmly rooted on late 60’s to early 70’s Rock, and branching to our modern times. On the menu, a mix of Blues Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Hard Rock, Traditional Metal, and Desert Rock, with influences ranging from “The Doors”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Steppenwolf”, “Hendrix”, “Black Sabbath”, and “Motörhead”, to “Queens of the Stone Age”, “Pearl Jam”, “Nirvana”, and “Nerves”. “2” features nine gutsy tracks. The opening song “Awake” (3:16) drives the listener back in time with a good dose of Psychedelic Rock in the vein of “The Doors”, but the potential energy of “Big Nails” (2:59) is released all at once, catapulting the listener back to the late ‘70s, when Punk Rock crossed with the noisy Metal of “Motörhead”, giving birth to an offspring of ferocious sounds. But soon “Ready” (5:26) plunges slowly again into the dark Psychedelia of “The Doors” – driven by long hypnotic solos with wah-wah guitars – echoing through the dry sands of the Desert Rock of “Queens of the Stone Age”. We taste more of this strange brew by listening to “Bad Monkeys” (4:55), a tasteful song with a “Mexican-Tarantino” flavor – offered on tortilla plates as an incentive to the spirit of “Jim Morrison” to come down and sing among the living again! The instrumental intermission “Somewhere” (1:27) introduces the French-spoken “Summer Rain” (4:35) – a Psychedelic Stoner Rock blended with groovy Hard Rock that initiates an upheaval of aggression that culminates on the contagious guitar riffs of “Heavy” (3:29) – a fuzzy Heavy-Metal in the vein of early “Black Sabbath”, including great stoned guitar solo. Mallory escapes to live another day thanks to the fast drumming pulse of “Runnin" (3:21), a Motorcycle-Rock propelled by the explosive gasoline stolen from “Steppenwolf’s” favorite gas-station. Mallory finally find safeness on the melodic chords of “Something” (3:16) – an acoustic ballad crowned with a bluesy guitar solo that promises – through Mallory’s own statement – that this story has “to be continued…”  A band that do what they do because of love, passion, and belief, Mallory is an authentic Rock band, being specially recommended for fans of “The Doors”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Steppenwolf”, “Hendrix”, “Black Sabbath”, “Motörhead”, “Queens of the Stone Age”, “Pearl Jam”, “Nirvana”, “Nerves”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Mallory are: Phil – Vocals; – Guitar; Mat – Bass; Twist – Drums. Audra Lambert – Mallory’s Voice on “Awake”, “Heavy”, “Something”. Album Produced by Mallory. Recorded by Vincent-Marie Bouvot and Olivier Falavier at Unreal World Studio; Mixed by Mathias Villaman at Figure 8 Studio; Mastered by Simon Capony at Basalt Studio. Also you must visit Mallory's Facebook Site, and at BandcampSite... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/30/2016..............................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit MALLORY  HOME PAGE...
. D.F.A. (DUTY FREE AREA) - "Kaleidoscope"
The Italian band Duty Free Area (D.F.A.) was founded in Verona, in 1991. The stable line-up consists of Alberto de Grandis (drums, vocals, and compositions), Luca Baldassari (bass), Silvio Minella (guitar) and Alberto Bonomi (keyboards, flute, vocals and compositions). The debut album “Lavori in Corso" (1996 - Scolopendra Records) was produced by Alberto Piras (Deus Ex Machina). The album caused a positive repercussion on reviewers, which regarded D.F.A. as one of the most promising bands of the new wave of Italian progressive rock, comparable to "Banco", "Gentle Giant", "National Health", "Gong", and "Weather Report". The band’s growing popularity among progressive enthusiasts led to the release of a second album - “Duty Free Area" (1999 – Mellow Records) - acclaimed as even better then the first. In the following year, D.F.A. took part in NEARfest-2000, and the live performance was released on CD (“Work in Progress Live" - 2001 - MoonJune Records). The band has already recorded a new album, simply called “4th" (2008, Moonjune Records), which was elected “Best of the month" here at this site (see under Reviews 2008). The album reviewed now - “Kaleidoscope"(2007, Moonjune Records) - is a double CD set including remastered editions of the first two studio albums plus 3 bonus tracks recorded live in 2003. Listening to the first chords, one realizes immediately that D.F.A. exhibits a high quality musicianship, representing the point of convergence of the primeval ingenuity of traditional Italian bands like Arti & Mestieri, l’Uovo di Colombo, Corte dei Miracoli, Deus Ex Machina, PFM and Banco, with the phlegmatic jazz-rock sophistication of Gentle Giant, King Crimson, National Health, Gong, Bruford, Soft Machine, Allan Holdsworth, Pat Metheny, Frank Zappa, Lyle Mays, Return To Forever, Jean-Luc Ponty and Mahavishnu Orchestra. The compositions are long, containing well-elaborated instrumental parts that blend jazz-rock with a strong progressive orientation. The songs follow a coiling line through complex and intricate arrangements, among which subtle changes of pace, inspiring bass phrasing, sensitive keyboards, and abusive use of guitar solos are never casual, but important contributors for the overall harmonic frame. The musical themes of each song are gradually introduced, and the way they bounce from one instrument to another, sometimes disappearing for a while, just to reappear later, is particularly distinguishing in this band. The most amazing feature is, however, the style of De Grandis on drums. By producing percussive phrases that have a life of their own, he achieves something very rare among drummers – the gift of being harmonic and melodic with an instrument that is frequently constrained to rhythmic deeds. The vocal melodies approach other Italian bands such as Arti & Mestieri, Deus Ex Machina, and, sometimes, l’Uovo di Colombo and Corte dei Miracoli. The most evident influences from those bands are concentrated in CD 1 (“Lavori in Corso"), on tracks like “Work Machine" (like King Crimson, by the use of a machine-like sound); “Collage" (with hard guitar riffs), “Trip on Metró" (with some rhythmical parts like Gentle Giant) and “Pantera" (with strong presence of organ and synthesizers). But the greatest tracks are "Space Ace Man" (an instrumental piece with amazing spatial-like introduction) and "La Via" - a 16-minutes long marvelous and mature masterpiece which already pointed the direction to be followed by D.F.A. on the next release. CD 2 ("Duty Free Area") happens to be even better then the first. If you ever find your way out from the labyrinth of complex instrumental sounds of "Escher", you might enjoy the vigor of "Caleidoscopio". The voice of Alberto Piras is perfect for "Esperanto", a song that reminds the style of his own band Deus Ex Machina. The zodiacal "Ascendente Scorpione" is a short instrumental introduction for the excellent  "Ragno" – a dramatic piece on which the rhythmic section moves like the walking legs of a lurking spider hidden inside a psychotic atmosphere, similar to that created by bands like King Crimson and Corte dei Miracoli. The delightful musical journey finishes with the angelical voice of Giorgia Gallo singing the delicate melodies of "Malia" – the most progressive track of the record. “Kaleidoscope" still brings live versions of "Work Machine", "Space Ace Man" and "Collage". These are performed with the same perfection of the studio versions – proving that D.F.A. is a band whose musical skills go far beyond the regularity – one of those rare magical groups that make the listener willing to learn music. D.F.A. is an indispensable item for any Jazz-Rock or Progressive Rock fan. Don’t miss it! Band members and collaborators involved in D.F.A. are Silvio Minella – Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Alberto Bonomo – Keyboards, Flute, Vocals, Luca Baldassari – Bass and Alberto de Grandis – Drums, Percussion and Lead Vocals. Guest vocalists: Alberto Piras and Giorgia Gallo... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/30/2016............................................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit D.F.A. (DUTY FREE AREA) HOME PAGE...
. JOHN WETTON - "Anthology – The Studio Recordings – Vol. 1"
The English bassist, singer and songwriter John Kenneth Wetton is one of the most successful musicians of the Progressive and Classic Rock scenes. When the matter concerns the principles of Prog-Rock, John Wetton is cited as one of the most important references, as much as “Chris Squire”, “Greg Lake”, “Jon Camp”, and “Geddy Lee”. During his career, Wetton played in numerous bands and cooperated with many projects, either as band-member, or as session musician, besides sustaining a prolific career as solo artist. From 1971, when he appeared on the only record of band “Mogul Thrash”, to the very now, Wetton has played with many bands and musicians: “Family”, “King Crimson”, “Brian Eno”, “Peter Banks” (ex-“Yes”), “Uriah Heep”, “Ken Hensley”, “Roxy Music”, “Bryan Ferry”, “Phil Manzanera”, “Wishbone Ash”, and others. Most important to Wetton’s career as a respected singer and bassist of Progressive Rock were the albums that he recorded with “King Crimson”: “Larks' Tongues in Aspic” (1973); “Starless and Bible Black” (1974); and “Red” (1974). After “KC’s” disbanding, Wetton discovered a new gift: the one of founding extraordinary super-groups. In 1978 he founded “UK” (with “Bill Bruford”, “Allan Holdsworth” and “Eddie Jobson”). In 1980 he founded “Asia” (with “Steve Howe”, “Geoff Downes”, and “Carl Palmer”), which turned to be Wetton’s biggest commercial endeavor. Wetton released three albums with “Asia” – “Asia” (1982), “Alpha” (1983), and “Astra” (1985) – and left the band. However, he would return to “Asia” in the future. During the ‘90s, Wetton focused on his solo career, but in 1999 he formed “Qango” (with “Carl Palmer”, “John Young”, and “Dave Kilminster”) to performed live around the UK. The 21st century was a busy time for Wetton: besides continuing his solo career, he released three albums with “Geoff Downes” in the duo “Icon” (2000-2009); and reunited with the original line-up of “Asia” to release the albums “Phoenix” (2008), “Omega” (2010), “XXX” (2012) and “Gravitas” (2014) (the later without “Steve Howe”). Recently, Wetton has worked in projects with “Billy Sherwood”, “Eddie Jobson”, “Steve Hackett” (“Genesis Revisited”), “Renaissance” (“Grandine il Vento”), and with a new generation of Prog-musicians, such as “Daniele Liverani” (“Genius Rock Opera”) and “Ayreon” (“The Theory of Everything”). During his career, Wetton amassed a gigantic discography, which included studio and live albums, registering shows in Europe, the USA, Japan, and Argentina. As a solo artist, Wetton released the following studio albums: “Caught in the Crossfire” (1980), “Battle Lines” (1994), “Arkangel” (1997), “Sinister” (2000), “Rock of Faith” (2003), “Raised in Captivity” (2011). To celebrate his long-lasting career, Wetton prepared two special releases for 2015: the compilation “Anthology, The Studio Recordings – Vol. 1” and the live album “Live Via Satellite”, which are being featured at PR&PM. “Anthology – Vol. 1” (2015, Primary Purpose) is a double-CD containing 32 tracks, selected from Wetton’s six albums. The songs were mastered by Mike Pietrini, and feature a stellar cast of performing musicians who have accompanied Wetton in his career (see list below). “Anthology” showcases Wetton’s famous versatility and eclecticism as a musician, singer and songwriter. The selection offers a panorama of styles into which Wetton has ventured himself in order to take Progressive Rock into a more commercial trend, which could keep a high level of musical quality and performance, but avoiding the complexity that marked the genre (which Wetton felt that would not survive into the ‘80s). “Anthology” brings a number of Wetton’s standards, like the esoteric “The Circle of St. Giles” – a single instrumental piece that opens the album – and some bombastic AOR-oriented hits, such as “Heart of Darkness”; “Another Twist of the Knife”, and “Lost For Words” – all emanating powerful energetic pulses, capable to conquer the audiences. Wetton’s ability to insert funky and groovy bass lines into Jazz-Fusion drives is represented on “Raised in Captivity”, “Right Where I Want to Be” (with “Steve Lukather”), and on the emblematic “Caught in the Crossfire” (an 80’s song that already featured the seminal sound of “Asia”, heated by a sax). A number of ballads expose Wetton’s talent to compose sensitive songs: the piano-driven “Hold Me Now” and “I’ve Come to Take You Home”; the famous “Battle Lines” (also in acoustic version); the somber “Arkangel” (with “Robert Fripp”); the Folk-Medieval “Steffi’s Ring”; the classic “Women” (with “Martin Barre”); the acoustic “Emma” (with “Misha Calvin”) and “Real World” (an Americana, with “Steve Hackett” on the harmonica). And Wetton’s Progressive roots do show up on the Symphonic-Rock songs: the experimental “Rock of Faith” (with a modern combination of classic music and ethno-beats); the dreamy “Take Me to the Waterline”; and the fairish “Who Will Light a Candle?”. “Anthology” is finished with a series of songs that are openly popish, like the mellow “Nothing’s Gonna Stand in our Way”; the romantic “After All”; and others (see below). Anyway, “Anthology – Vol. 1” is not aimed only to fans of John Wetton. The album is also the ideal vehicle for those who want to know more about this legendary musician, who has been an influential model to 80’s Classic, AOR, and Progressive Rock. Highly recommendable for fans of “Asia”, “Icon”, “UK”, “80’s Yes”, “Journey”, “Boston”, “EL&Powell”, “3”, “GTR”, “Saga”, “Toto”, “Billy Sherwood”, “Unitopia”, and other Prog-bands with a more accessible sound. Band members and collaborators involved in John Wetton are: John Wetton – Vocals, Harmony Vocals, Bass, Acoustic Guitars, very occasional Electric Guitars and Keyboards, Monk. Additional Musicians: Sue Shifrin & David Cassidy – Harmony Vocals; Mike Stobbie – Digital Orchestra; Claude Gaudette – Digital Samples; Paul Buckmaster – Orchestral Arrangements. Electric & Acoustic Guitars: Billy Liesegang (also Copeland Digital Drums); Michael Landau; John Mitchell; Richard Wagner; Billy Sherwood – Guitars (also Drums, Percussion, Bass on “Steffi’s Ring”); Steve Morse; Robert Fripp; Steve Lukather; Ron Komie; Martin Barre; Gary Chandler; Misha Calvin – Acoustic Guitar Solo on “Emma”. Keyboards & Keyboards Programming: Bob Marlette; Geoff Downes; John Young; Clive Nolan (also Monk); Guy Roche; Martin Orford. Drums & Percussion: Michael Cartellone; Jim Vallance (also Keyboards); Greg Bisonette; Steve Christey; Thomas Lang; Simon Kirke. Additional Instruments: Malcolm Duncan – Saxophone; Steve Hackett – Harmonica on Real World; Hugh McDowell – Cello; Steve Gee – Fretless Bass. Compilation Produced by John Wetton; Mastered by Mike Pietrini; Managed by Martin Darvill. “Anthology- The Studio Recordings - Vol. 1” Complete Track-list: CD-1: 1. “The Circle of St. Giles”; 2. “The Last Thing on My Mind”; 3. “Hold Me Now”; 4. “Where Do We Go From Here?”; 5. “Another Twist of the Knife”; 6. “I’ve Come to Take You Home”; 7. “I Can’t Lie Anymore”; 8. “Lost For Words”; 9. “Battle Lines”; 10. “Caught in the Crossfire”; 11. “Arkangel”; 12. “Right Where I Want to Be”; 13. “Nothing’s Gonna Stand in our Way”; 14. “Second Best”; 15. “Women”; 16. “Real World”. CD-2: 1. “Heart of Darkness”; 2. “Say it Ain’t So”; 3. “Cold in the Night”; 4. “You’re Not the Only One”; 5. “Raised in Captivity”; 6. “Steffi’s Ring”; 7. “Walking on Air”; 8. “Take Me to the Waterline”; 9. “Silently”; 10. “Battle Line” (acoustic); 11. “I Lay Down”; 12. “Rock of Faith”; 13. “Who Will Light a Candle?”; 14. “You Against the World”; 15. “Emma”; 16. “After All”... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/30/2016..............................Want to learn everything about the musician and his history, go to JOHN WETTON HOME PAGE...
. MARTIN TURNER - "Written In The Stars"
PR&PM is proud to host Martin Turner - one of the founder members of legendary Classic Rock band Wishbone Ash! Martin Turner was born in Torquay, Devon, in 1947. He began to play the guitar as a teenager, but later switched to the bass. In 1963, Martin and his brother Glenn formed a band called “The Torinoes”. In 1966, with arrival of drummer Steve Upton, they changed for “Empty Vessels”. In 1969 “Empty Vessels” moved to London, changed their name for “Tanglewood”, and began to work with manager Miles Copeland. But Glenn’s departure from “Tanglewood” left Martin and Upton in need of a guitar player. Copeland advertised for a guitarist, and Andy Powell and Ted Turner (not a relative of the Turner brothers) answered to the call. Unable to choose between one and another, Martin and Upton decided to keep both in the band, which became Wishbone Ash. Wishbone Ash began to release albums, which became classics of Rock: “Wishbone Ash” (1970), “Pilgrimage” (1971), “Argus” (1972), and “Four” (1973). In 1974, Ted left Wishbone Ash and was replaced by Laurie Wisefield. The band then released “There's The Rub” (1974), “Locked In” (1976), “New England” (1976), “Front Page News” (1977), “No Smoke Without Fire” (1978), “Just Testing” (1980), and live albums. In that time, Wishbone Ash achieved commercial success and assembled a huge fan base, lured by their mix of Blues, Rhythm & Blues, and Folk, with a dash of Prog-Rock. Their perfect twin-guitar work, the tuneful harmony vocals, and Martin’s unique approach on bass –  rhythmic and melodic, working as a third guitar – were the trademarks of Wishbone’s sound, one that still attracts listeners nowadays! In 1980, internal disagreements led Martin Turner to resign from Wishbone Ash. He went on a career in record production, and also played with a band called Wolf Gang. Powell and Upton kept Wishbone Ash on the road, but to replace Martin on bass and vocals they had to call upon stellar musicians such as: “John Wetton”, “Trevor Bolder”, and “Andy Pyle”. In 1987, Wishbone’s original line-up – Martin, Ted, Powell and Upton – reunited for the release of “Nouveau Calls” (1987) – an instrumental album that was part of the No Speak series on Miles Copeland's IRS label. This successful reunion of Wishbone Ash resulted in the release of “Here To Hear” (1989) and “Strange Affair” (1991). By the end of 1990, Martin had left Wishbone Ash again. He settled a deal with Powell and produced a re-mastered series of Wishbone's albums, including the famous “Argus”. In 1994, Andy Powell became the only original member of Wishbone Ash, being ahead of it until today. Martin continued to record and produce albums. In 1996, he released a solo album, “Walking the Reeperbahn”. From 1998 to 2006, he toured with “The Blue Bishops”, for whom he produced the album “Deep” (2002). In 2005, Martin formed Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash, which toured extensively in the U.K. and Europe, playing classics of Wishbone Ash. Some of the UK presentations were registered on the albums “New Live Dates Vol. 1” (2006), “New Live Dates Vol. 2” (2007), and “Life Begins” (2011). Martin also produced a studio re-recording of “Argus”, titled “Argus Through the Looking Glass” (2008). A legal dispute confronting Martin and Andy Powell forced Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash to turn into Martin Turner Plays The Music Of Wishbone Ash. This moniker appears on “The Garden Party - Live” (2014), an album featuring a private show, recorded on August 31st, 2012 at Liscombe Park, Buckinghamshire, on which Martin, his band, and guests Ted Turner and Laurie Wisefield played songs of Wishbone Ash. In September 2015, Martin Turner released a new studio album, titled “Written In The Stars” (Dirty Dog Discs/Cherry Red). This album features 11 original songs, which are amazingly faithful to the spirit of old Wishbone Ash. And this means: soulful guitar solos entangled in superb twin-guitar work, wonderful bass, soaring harmony vocals, and loyalty to Blues-Rock traditional rhythms. The album opens with the intro “The Big Bang” (1:20), followed by “The Beauty of Chaos” (3:40) – an instrumental Rock with Western-Spaghetti flavor. They are followed by a series of superb songs, that will surely be appreciated by all fans of Wishbone’s Classic Era: “Written in the Stars” (4:25) – a 70’s Hard-Rock, with stamina, good vibes, and equivalent quality on guitars and harmony vocals; “Vapour Trail” (5:50) – which has solos, solos, and more solos; the instrumental “The Lonely Star” (4:05) – which charms the listener with the magic of its twin guitars; “Falling Sands” (6:00) – a beautiful ballad with a Fusion luster; and “Mystify Me” (5:20) – driven by a joyful rocky pulse on bass and nice harmony vocals. Those tracks are all excellent, and dignify the original Wishbone Ash sound with Martin Turner. They are balanced by a few songs that irradiate joyful vibes: the sweet ballad “Lovers” (4:30); the hybrid “For My Lady” (4:15) – which transmutes 80’s New-Wave to 70’s Wishbone standards; and “Pretty Little Girls” (4:55) – a danceable Rock, marked by an irresistible pulsing bass. The album ends with “Interstellar Rockstar” (7:00) – a Progressive-Blues blending magnificent orchestrations, soaring solos, classic acoustic guitars, and elaborated choirs, in the vein of old “Argus”! “Written In The Stars” is a brilliant album, a must-have item for fans of Martin Turner and Wishbone Ash, also highly recommendable for fans of “Allman Brothers”, “Savoy Brown”, “Eric Clapton”, “Rory Gallagher”, “Lynyrd Skynyrd”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Martin Turner are: Martin Turner – Bass and Lead Vocals; Danny Willson – Lead Guitars, Harmony Vocals; Tim Brown – Drums, Harmony Vocals; Misha Nicolic – Guitars on “Pretty Little Girls”, Classical Guitar on “Interstellar Rockstar” (inspired on “Capricho Arabe”, by Francisco Tarrega); Ray Hatfield – Additional Guitars and Harmony Vocals. Additional Musicians on “Interstellar Rockstar”: Ivan Jewel – Orchestral & Choir Arrangements; Jennifer Rhys-Williams & Ivan Jewel – Choir Vocals; Harriet James – Recorders; Ree De Lacey – Ad-Lib Female Vocals. Spoken Words on “The Lonely Star” by Austin Willson. Ex Collaborators: Keith Buck – Guitar; Rob Hewins– Drums; Dave Wagstaffe – Drums. Album produced by Martin Turner, assisted by Mark Emery. Recorded at Liscombe Park Studios, Buckinghamshire, July 2014-July 2015... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/30/2016...................Would like to know more about this musician and his history, then visit MARTIN TURNER HOME PAGE...
. IAN DANTER - "Prove You Wrong"
Ian Danter is a multimedia professional: he has been the presenter of talkSPORT Radio, and works for Television, writes comedy sketches, makes comments on sports, and is a voiceover artist. Danter is also a musician and songwriter, and has been working either on original material or playing drums or guitars in several tribute bands since 1985. At the age of 16 he began to play and write songs for the college band “Dangerous Games”; then spent 6 years in “Shotgun Wedding” (LA Metal style) before its splitting in 1994. Then played drums with “Sons Of God”, a Cardiff-based glam rock act who were signed to independent label MGL Records in 1995, but that did not manage to release an album and splintered in 1997. As a drummer, he joined some ex-“Shotgun Wedding” band mates to form “New Jersey” (a “Bon Jovi” tribute). He also played rock covers in “The Three Amoebas” (a band that played humorous versions of songs of “Motorhead”, “Macc Lads” and “AC/DC” around Birmingham & Solihull); and in “Americana” (formed with ex-members of “New Jersey” & “Dangerous Games”). Over the last decade, Danter has also played either guitars or drums for the cover bands “Dizzy Lizzy”, “Toxic Twins” (“Aerosmith” cover) “Foreigner 4”, “Keep The Faith” (“Jovi” tribute), and “Being Paul Stanley”. Once he got the chance to play drums for “Steve Gibbons Band”, and from 1997 to 2008 he played in “Ian The Goat Sings Black Sabbath”, a funny mixture of tribute band and pantomime. More recently, Danter has been playing in a “Kiss” tribute band called “Dressed to Kill”. All this accumulated experience led Ian Danter to release a debut album, titled “Prove You Wrong” (2012, self-produced): a serious musical work presenting 15 tracks combining the styles of Classic, Glam, Hard, & Party Rock, with influences of bands like “Kiss”, “AC/DC”, “Bad Company”, “Whitesnake”, “Thin Lizzy”, “Van Halen”, “Deep Purple”, “UFO”, “Nazareth”, “Queen”, “Boston”, “Def Leppard”, “Aerosmith”, “Cheap Trick”, “Bon Jovi”, “Guns n’ Roses”, “Pretty Maids”, “The Who”, “Blue Öyster Cult”, “Triumph”, “Peter Frampton”, “Foreigner”, “Journey”, and the likes. All instruments were performed by Ian Danter and his special guests (see below), while talented singer Lee Small took the lead on most of the songs. The music is rocky, cheerful, melodic and accessible, and the songs are all formatted as instant Rock hits. My favorite tracks are those with more energy, following the Classic Rock style of the ‘70s, and reminiscent of “Bad Company”, “Whitesnake”, “AC/DC”, “Nazareth”, and the most rocky and non-operatic facet of “Queen” (mainly on the melodic sound of the guitars). They are: the first track, “Soulmate” (5:13); the title track “Prove You Wrong” (3:36) – with an AC/DC style on the guitars, and great bass and vocals by Danter; the two southern-rock songs “Forget About Me” (4:11) & “Whiskey In A Wine Glass” (3:57); the impressive “I'll Drag You Down” (3:44) – which combines strong guitars with a malevolent groovy rhythmic part; “I'll Get Around To It” (4:08) - a Hard Rock with great bass lines recalling “Thin Lizzy” and “Bad Company”; “Overflow” (3:07) – a fast Heavy-Metal like “UFO” and “Saxon”, with intricate guitar solo; and “Crocodile Tears” (5:13), crowned with an epic guitar solo (recalling “Queen”). There are also some ballads on the album: my favorite - “Stronger Than That” (3:43) - is sweet and bluesy, being driven by pianos and harmony vocals, and has a beautiful guitar solo; while “Stay In My Heart” (4:27) (an attempt to do a “Bryan Adams” kind of song) & “I Cried Tonight” (4:38) are soft love songs. For those who are fans of the Party Rock style of bands like “Kiss”, “Aerosmith”, “Cheap Trick”, and even “Queen”, but with some ironic lyrics, there are “She's From A Different Solar System” (4:25) (very like “Kiss”); “Cloud 9” (3:07) – a cheerful Rock with harmony backing vocals; “Brilliant” (2:57) – inspired on “The Who” & “Cheap Trick”; and the closing track “I Wanna Be A Has-Been” (3:45), reminiscent of “Queen”. Although being nothing of a Progressive act, Ian Danter performs his music with sincerity, competence, and professionalism, focusing on the basic aspects of Classic Rock, being specially recommended for fans of “Kiss”, “AC/DC”, “Bad Company”, “Whitesnake”, “Thin Lizzy”, “Van Halen”, “Nazareth”, “UFO”, “Queen”, “Boston”, “Def Leppard”, “Aerosmith”, “Cheap Trick”, “Bon Jovi”, “Guns n’ Roses”, “Pretty Maids”, “The Who”, “Blue Öyster Cult”, “Triumph”, “Peter Frampton”, “Foreigner”, “Journey”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Ian Danter are: Ian Danter – Lead & Rhythmic Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Piano, Drums & Percussion, Backing Vocals, Lead Vocals (on “Prove You Wrong”, “Overflow” and “I Wanna Be A Has-Been”); Lee Small – Lead and Backing Vocals; Keith Laurent – Lead Guitar on “Stay In My Heart”; Phil Danter – Lead Guitar on “Forget About Me”; Greg Platt Lake – Lead Guitar on “I’ll Drag You Down” and “Crocodile Tears”; Richard Oxland – Lead Guitar on “I’ll Get Around to It” and “Overflow”; Gary Morris – Lead Guitar on “Whiskey in a Wine Glass”. Produced, Engineered and Mixed by Alex Cooper at Arkham Studios, Birmingham; Co-produced by Ian Danter; Mastered by Tim Debney at Fluid Studios, London... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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02/28/2016....................................................,.....Interested to know more about this Musician? Visit IAN DANTER HOME PAGE...
. SAM COULSON - "Electric Classical"
Sam Coulson is a British guitar player who was born in February 1987 and plays Rock, Metal, Blues and Progressive Rock. Coulson is mostly known for being a member of Progressive Rock band “Asia” since 2013. His career started up when he shared videos of himself playing the electric guitar on YouTube. American guitarist “Paul Gilbert” took notice of Coulson and invited him to be a guest instructor for his “Great Guitar Escape” workshops. Later, Coulson played on stage with American blues musician “Walter Trout”. In 2013, Coulson was recommended for replacing “Steve Howe” on “Asia”. He recorded the band’s last album, titled “Gravitas” (2014), and appeared on the following tour. Coulson’s visibility brought him endorsements from Fender Guitars, Charvel Guitars, Yamaha Acoustics, and Rotosound Strings. In 2015, Coulson recorded and released a solo album, titled “Electric Classical” (November, 2015). In spite of having been influenced by guitarists as diverse as “Walter Trout”, “Richie Faulkner”, “Paul Gilbert”, “Guthrie Govan”, “Gary Moore”, “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Eric Johnson”, “Zakk Wylde”, “Gus G”, “Joe Bonamassa”, “Joe Satriani”, “Eddie Van Halen”, “Jimi Hendrix”, and “Steve Lukather”, Coulson focused his solo album in the Neo-Classical style. The repertoire of “Electric Classical” consists of erudite pieces written by famous composers (“Bach”, “Gounod”, “Beethoven”, “Fernando Sor”, “Antonio Lauro”, “Francisco Tárrega”), transposed to the electric guitar. “Electric Classical” therefore follows on a musical parallel to the early works of “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Tony MacAlpine”, “Jason Becker”, “Marty Friedman”, and “Vinnie Moore”. However, due to its full-solo format (Coulson plays his guitars alone and there is no participation of bass, drums, or any other instrument in the music), and because of Coulson’s more light, sensitive approach to the instrument, “Electric Classical” offers to the listener a softer and relaxing sonority, which is prone to be rather appreciated by fans of Progressive Rock than by Metal enthusiasts. “Electric Classical” contains 10 short instrumental tracks. The classical tessiture of Baroque pieces like “Ave Maria” (“Bach/Gounod”) (2:42) and “BWV ANH 114” (“Bach”) (1:07) shine like translucent crystal, thanks to Coulson’s clean rendition of this most-famous Classical favorites. And the listener will levitate to the auction of his interpretation of “BWV 1007 Prelude” (“Bach”) (2:33). Coulson’s ability as a guitar player is better sensed, though, on his magnificent transpositions, for the electric mode, of pieces originally written for the classical acoustic guitar. This happens on his renditions of works of the Spanish masters, “Fernando Sor”, represented by three of his compositions – “Op. 35 No. 22” (1:55), “Op. 6 No. 11” (4:39) and “Op. 35 No. 17” (1:21) – and “Francisco Tárrega”, privileged with an amazing Progressive version of “Recuerdos De La Alhambra” (3:09), played on a soaring electric guitar. Coulson’s expertise when the matter is “guitar composers” is evident when he travels down to South America and finds the Venezuelan “Antonio Lauro”, to honor him with a vivid version of his “Vals Venezolano No. 2” (1:48). But Coulson’s touch of genius appears on his “Moonlight Sonata Blues” (3:03) – an original and creative version of “Beethoven’s” “Moonlight Sonata”, brilliantly executed in Blues style! The album ends on “Romance” (Anonymous) (1:47), a contemplative piece that provokes a nostalgic feeling on the listener. Really a sensitive and gifted guitar player, Sam Coulson is one of the most promising young musicians of today. We hope to listen more from him in the near future. Sam Coulson and his album, “Electric Classical”, are highly recommendable for fans of the Neo-Classical facet of “Paul Gilbert”, “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Tony MacAlpine”, “Jason Becker”, “Marty Friedman”, “Vinnie Moore”, “Gary Moore”, “Steve Vai”, “Joe Bonamassa”, “Joe Satriani”, “Eddie Van Halen”, “Steve Lukather”, “Guthrie Govan”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Sam Coulson are: Sam Coulson – Electric Guitars and Arrangements. Produced by Sam Coulson... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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02/28/2016.............................................Interested to know more about this great Musician? Visit SAM COULSON HOME PAGE...
. THE HOUNDS OF HASSELVANDER - "Midnight Howler"
The Hounds of Hasselvander is a Doom-Metal band created and spearheaded by veteran Metal Rocker Joe Hasselvander (vocals, guitars, bass, and drums). Hasselvander began to play Metal in the early 80’s in “The Boyz” (a cover band). Then he took part on USA’s “Death Row” and on cult Doom-Metal outfit “Pentagram”. After living “Pentagram” in 1984, Hasselvander started his solo career, releasing the albums: “Lady-Killer” (1984, Dutch East Records, NY) and “RoadKill” (1986). In 1987, he went to play drums for famous NWOBHM band “Raven”, touring and recording albums with them until 2007. In different times of his career, Hasselvander has also contributed with many other bands, such as “Phantom Lord”, “Jack Starr”, “Cathedral”, “Blue Cheer”, “Reactor”, “Overlord”, and “White Lion”. In 2007, Hasselvander revamped his solo career under the moniker The Hounds Of Hasselvander, releasing the eponymous album “The Hounds of Hasselvander”, via German label Rock Saviour Records. It was followed by the EP “Further Torments Of The SG” (2008), which was released exclusively on vinyl, for collectors. The Hounds Of Hasselvander’s second full-length album was titled “The Ninth Hour” (2011, Black Widow & Bloodrock Records, Italy). “The Ninth …” was released on both CD and Vinyl formats, and featured bassists Martin Swaney (ex-“Pentagram”) and Eric Cabana (former HOH’s bassist), and Italian keyboardist Paolo Negri (“Wicked Minds”). The Hounds of Hasselvander’s most recent album is “Midnight Howler” (2015, Rock Saviour). The album was totally written, recorded and produced by Joe Hasselvander, who sings and plays all instruments alone. “Midnight Howler” contains 7 tracks. The sonority is Metallic, raw, slow, heavy, funeral-paced, and fuzzy, driven by powerful drums, somber bass, and distorted guitars. The atmosphere is claustrophobic, and the ambience is as lightless as the most profound catacombs of insanity. The sensations passed on are mind-disturbing, including depression, horror and solitude. Just like a good damned Doom-Metal band should sound! Hasselvander’s throaty voice recalls “John Garner” (singer on band “Sir Lord Baltimore”), but sometimes it also sounds like a slow-drunken “Lemmy” (r.i.p.), after consuming two bottles of Jack Daniel’s! As he spits off lyrics full of drama, horror and despair, he also feels the empty spaces with noises and effects of guitar that aim to form gloomy images inside the listener’s mind, an expressionist trick also employed by a few soundtrack composers, such as “Egisto Macchi”, “Camille Sauvage”, and “Bernard Herrmann”, from whom Hasselvander draws musical inspiration. But The Hounds of Hasselvander’s sound resembles many bands that like to play with the dark occult forces, such as: “Black Sabbath”, “Sir Lord Baltimore”, “Pentagram”, “Saint Vitus”, “Trouble” (first two albums), “Witchfinder General”, “Solitude Aeturnus”, and “Doomraiser”. But it is not epic, as on “Candlemass” and “Cathedral”, for it rather focuses on the most primitive aspects of Doom-Metal music. “Midnight Howler” opens up with “Phantom Childe” (5:08), which transmits a sensation of loneliness on the initial guitar notes, but then starts to walk with the behemoth steps of a 80’s Doom Metal, in the vein of “Pentagram”, “Trouble”, and “Saint Vitus”, accelerating later to a “NWOBHM” speed. The 80’s “Doom-NWOBHM” combo is successfully employed again on “Winds of Tyranny” (4:20), which combines oppressive riffs and tribal drumming to support a really great guitar solo. Two songs will appeal to the darkest hearts of fans of old-time “Black Sabbath” (I mean, from albums “BS” to “Vol. IV”): “Wicked” (3:56) intersperses gloomy riffs and pounding bass to dynamic drumming in the style of “Bill Ward”; and “Doctor Orloff” (5:30) slides slowly on crawling riffs and sinister vocals, shedding molten-metal drips of mega-density and exhaling clouds of heavy-psychedelia. But the album’s most impressive songs are: “Appalachia Witch” (9:05) and “Multi Vortex (Rise from the Wreckage)” (12:18). The first begins with a black-magic fiddle, going through essential “Doomic” riffs instilled with macabre grooves, as a mocking voice tells a terrifying story. After reaching a desolated landscape, where gloomy effects and drunken guitars collide, the song finishes with a wicked laughter! “Multi Vortex” is awakened by thrilling sounds of sirens and guitars, and alternates fast instrumental parts with slower ones, driven by vocals. After a demented twin-guitar attack, the song has a surprising coda on which martial drums and guitar solos take us to another dimension! The awesome instrumental track “Vesuvius” (4:33) completes the album with an electro-acoustic Pagan-Metal lean, growing in drama with the coming of exotic howling guitars. Matching the darkest tastes of Doom-Metal Head-bangers, The Hounds of Hasselvander’s album, “Midnight Howler”, is highly recommended for fans of “Black Sabbath”, “Pentagram”, “Saint Vitus”, “Trouble”, “Sir Lord Baltimore”, “Black Widow”, “Solitude Aeturnus”, “Witchfinder General”, “Desolation Angels”, “Doomraiser”, “Candlemass”, “Cathedral”, “The Black”, “L’Impero Delle Ombre”, and others of the style. Band members and collaborators involved in The Hounds of Hasselvander are: Joe Hasselvander - Guitars, Bass, Drums, Vocals, Compositions. Past Collaborators: Martin Swaney - Bass; Paolo Negri - Keyboards; Russ Strahan - Guitars; Eric Cabana - Bass; T.C. Tolliver - Drums. Recorded by J. Hasselvander at Old Schoolhouse Studios, Hadley, Massachusetts, USA. Produced by J. Hasselvander & Jim Matus; Executive Production by Costas Stoyas & Marc Kimmage... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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02/28/2016.........................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE HOUNDS OF HASSELVANDER HOME PAGE...
. ANDY GUNN - "Miracle Of Healing"
Andy Gunn is a Blues guitar player, singer and songwriter, presently based in the Scottish city of Inverness, the U.K. Andy Gunn was born a hemophiliac. This condition did not allow him to behave as other children do – running, climbing trees, playing football – for any injury suffered could cause him a severe bleeding, placing his life in risk. So, when Andy Gunn was still in his early infancy, his parents gave him a guitar, as a distraction for his lonesome childhood. Soon, Gunn was listening to his mother’s records, and became mostly attracted by the Blues masters “Lightning Hopkins” and “Muddy Waters”. At the same time he assimilated the folk music of the Scottish Highlands. Gunn perfected his talents as a musician and when he reached teenage, he and his band “Jumpin' The Gunn” signed a contract with Point Blank label (Virgin Records). Andy Gunn and his band travelled to Memphis (USA), where they exchanged riffs with “Al Green’s” rhythm section and “Pops Staples”. When Point Blank showed no interest in keeping the contract, Gunn went back to Britain to release his album via Provogue Records. Gunn has also played with “The Sensational Alex Harvey Band”, members of “Gary Moore's Midnight Blues Band”, “Martin Stephenson”, “Errol Linton”. He has also supported “Buddy Guy” at the Queen's Hall (Edinburgh) and “Geno Washington” at the Tartan Heart Festival, and jammed with “Albert Collins” in London. In America, Gunn has also met and jammed with musicians in New York, Chicago, Memphis, Nashville and New Orleans. Along his career, Andy Gunn released four albums, all via Barbaraville label: “Flip Flop Kinetics” (2001), “Bonar Bridge Sessions” (2005), “Regional Variations” (2009), and “Miracle Of Healing” (2015), under Barbaraville & Marquet Square Records, with co-production of “Martin Stephenson”.  The title of this new album, “Miracle Of Healing”, must be linked to Gunn’s health problems (because of the hemophilia, he has contracted hepatitis and HIV viruses via blood transfusion, fought cancer twice, and survived a heart-attack). But surviving all these adversities, Andy Gunn was able to drive his energy for the music he loves to play – a mix of Blues, Rock and Folk that carries Gunn’s signature – a soft and tranquil mood on the guitar playing, pervaded by a faithful feeling of hope. Along the 11 tracks of “Miracle Of Healing”, it is easy to spot Gunn’s fears, sensitiveness, and bluesy feelings, present on some wonderfully sad songs, such as “Freedom Reality” (6:14); and specially on two of the album’s highlights – “Hold On” (4:11) and the title track “Miracle of Healing” (4:09) – which are both underlined by magnificent soaring organ and nostalgic backing vocals. I will also add to this package the outstanding “Beyond The Open Door” (6:06) – the song that gets much closer to a “Progressive Blues” style. Most of the time, however, Andy Gunn’s music is warm, lively, and full of good vibes. His strong will of living and his enduring strength to fight against the adversities of life, are transmitted to the strings of his guitar, and are sensed on the most spirited songs, such as “Are We Thru?” (3:42) – an uplifting rhythm ‘n’ blues – and “Black Heart” (3:52), colored with the joyful sounds of a saloon piano. Much more is given on “Planting The Seeds” (4:23) – a modern Blues on which Gunn’s guitar shares a sonic resemblance with that of “Mark Knopfler”; and the sensual “Trouble Woman” (3:34), bringing a brilliant dueling solo of guitar against harmonica! Tending to a more contemplative style, the songs “Brighter Days” (4:26) – a Country-Blues with an important contribution of backing vocals and the harmonica, and “Harmony Of One” (4:12), with its tranquil, bittersweet mood, will elevate the listener to an new threshold of spiritual understanding. This sonic experience will prepare the listener to travel along the “Road That Leads Back Home” (5:18) – a profound final song, instilled with sadness, that rides on the back of a sensitive tune played on the piano, and floats on a breeze of soaring backing vocals, bringing a note of hope on the guitar. I can say that Andy Gunn has a deep comprehension about the sad side of life, but he is also owner of the resilient faith and hope that keep us humans going on – and he has total domain over this complex mixture of feelings, which are nothing more than the essence of Blues. Andy Gunn and his album “Miracle Of Healing” are strongly recommended for fans of old-fashioned Blues, Rhythm ‘n’ Blues, and Folk, who like “Lightning Hopkins”, “Muddy Waters”, “BB King”, “Ray Charles”, “Eric Clapton”, “Robert Johnson”, “John Lee Hooker”, “Stevie Ray Vaughan”, “James Taylor”, “Allman Brothers”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Andy Gunn are: Andy Gunn – Electric Lead and Rhythm Guitars, Lead Vocals; Neil Harland – Electric Bass; John Steel – Keyboards; Kate Stephenson – Drums; Jo Hamilton, Susanna Wolf, and Miriam Campbell – Backing Vocals; Martin Stephenson – Acoustic Guitars and Percussion; Stevie Smith – Electric and Acoustic Blues Harmonica; Jim Hornsby – Dobro; Malcolm McMaster – Pedal Steel. Produced by Martin Stephenson at Barbaraville Studios; Cover Artwork by Mary Frembgen... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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02/28/2016.....................................................,.....Interested to know more about this Musician? Visit ANDY GUNN HOME PAGE...
. IAN DANTER - "Second Time Around"
Ian Danter is a multimedia professional: besides working for radio and television, he is also a musician and songwriter. Since 1997, Ian Danter has been playing drums or guitars in tribute bands that play covers of “Bon Jovi”, “Motorhead”, “AC/DC”, “Thin Lizzy”, “Aerosmith”, “Foreigner”, “Paul Stanley”, “Black Sabbath”, and “Kiss”. In 2012, Ian Danter released his first independent album, titled “Prove You Wrong” (which has been just featured at PR&PM – see above). “Prove You Wrong” featured Danter’s original songs, covering the styles of Classic, Glam, Hard, & Party Rock, influenced by “Kiss”, “AC/DC”, “Bad Company”, “Whitesnake”, “Thin Lizzy”, “Van Halen”, “Deep Purple”, “UFO”, “Nazareth”, “Queen” (non-operatic), “Boston”, “Def Leppard”, “Aerosmith”,  “Cheap Trick”, “Guns n’ Roses”, “Pretty Maids”, “The Who”, “Blue Öyster Cult”, “Triumph”, “Peter Frampton”, “Foreigner”, and “Journey”. Ian Danter’s second album is titled “Second Time Around” (2015, self-produced). At this time, Danter sings and plays all instruments alone, just having a small contribution of Jane Gillard on some backing vocals. On this new album, Ian Danter offers to the listener a selection of excellent Rock standards again, in the same style of his previous album. But the sonority is more visceral, tending rather to the Hard and Classic than to the Glam Rock. Most songs are vibrant, groovy, and rocky, emphasizing the chorus and containing ironic lyrics. Fans of the rocky energy and straightforward attitude of bands like “Bad Company”, “Whitesnake”, “AC/DC”, “Nazareth”, “UFO”, non-operatic “Queen”, and the most serious sides of “Kiss” and “Cheap Trick” will be rewarded by tracks such as: “If My Truth Is A Lie” (4:52) (with remnants of a party rock, this song has a real swing that blends perfectly with a melodic “Queen” accent); “It All Comes Back To Rock” (4:22) (which transposes that swing to the drum beat and groovy guitar riffs); and the “Kiss”-influenced “Mr Poison” (3:41) (really malevolent and ironic) and “Better Off Out Of It (Than Worse Off Dead)” (4:01) (which rises from the Hard-Rock to the Metal level, pushed by contagious guitar riffs and “hay!” backing vocals). Include in the list the “back to basics” “Love Fatigue” (2:56) and “Simple As That” (4:25) (introduced on a typical “AC/DC” tempo, but following on with more melodic vocals and guitars) and “I Didn't Get Where I Am Today” (3:42) (which pulses and burns with a Metal flare that recalls “UFO”), and the average Rock listener will have an excellent collection of songs to have fun with! To bring balance to the record, Danter has included a few softer songs and ballads on the track-list. The melodic “Chinese Whispers” (3:40) is like a blend of AOR and Prog, while “We Believed” (4:00) brings back the romantic airs of the ‘50s. But the best ballads are the title track – “Second Time Around” (4:52) – which hovers on sophisticated melodies, agreeable harmony vocals, and sensitive guitar solos (with a “Steve Lukather” influence, according to Danter); and “I Love You More” (3:34) a classic piano-ballad supported on beautiful orchestrations, which Danter sings with a surprising soft voice. Ian Danter is still performing his own music with sincerity, competence, and professionalism, focusing on Classic Rock and Hard Rock, with deviations for AOR and Glam This musician must assemble a band quickly, and start doing shows around, for the Rock audiences are in need of talents like him. Ian Danter and his album “Second Time Around” are highly recommendable for fans of “Kiss”, “AC/DC”, “Bad Company”, “Whitesnake”, “Thin Lizzy”, “Van Halen”, “Nazareth”, “UFO”, “Queen”, “Boston”, “Def Leppard”, “Aerosmith”, “Cheap Trick”, “Bon Jovi”, “Guns n’ Roses”, “Pretty Maids”, “The Who”, “Blue Öyster Cult”, “Triumph”, “Peter Frampton”, “Foreigner”, “Journey”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Ian Danter are: Ian Danter – All Lead & Backing Vocals; Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Piano, Drums & Percussion, Music & Lyrics (except for “It All Comes Back to Rock”, by Danter & Greg Hart); Jane Gillard – Additional Backing Vocals on “Second Time Around” and “Simple As That”. Produced, Mixed, and Mastered by Alex Cooper at Arkham Studios, Hockley, Birmingham, UK... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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02/28/2016....................................................,.....Interested to know more about this Musician? Visit IAN DANTER HOME PAGE...
. CUTTING CREW - "Add To Favourites"
Cutting Crew are a famous 80’s Rock band from Sussex, the U.K. Cutting Crew were formed in 1985 by singer Nick Van Eede (ex-“The Drivers”) and guitarist Kevin Macmichael (ex-“Fast Forward”). In 1986 they were joined by Colin Farley (bass) and Martin Beedle (drums). In their first phase, Cutting Crew released three studio albums via Virgin Records – “Broadcast” (1986), “The Scattering” (1989), and “Compus Mentus” (1992). The first two contained a series of songs that became hits of the 80’s, such as: “(I Just) Died in Your Arms”, “I've Been in Love Before”, “One for the Mockingbird”, and “Everything But My Pride”. The third was released without Farley and Beedle (who had left Cutting Crew in 1991) and did not repeat the success of the previous albums. Cutting Crew then disbanded in 1993. Macmichael went to play for “Robert Plant” on his album “Fate of Nations”, and later in 2002 he died of cancer. It belonged to Van Eede – the only original member left – the task of starting Cutting Crew’s second phase. In 2003, he had formed a group called “Grinning Souls”, which in 2005 released the independent album “Capture”. “Capture” was re-released under the new title of “Grinning Souls” (2005, Hypertension Records), but had the name Cutting Crew on the cover. This reflected Van Eede’s decision of continuing the legacy of Cutting Crew. With a line-up formed with “ex-Grinning Souls” members, Gareth Moulton (guitar), Sam Flynn (keyboards), Dominic Finley (bass), and Tom Arnold (drums), the new Cutting Crew toured extensively in Europe and North America until 2008, when it entered a new hiatus. In 2015, Cutting Crew was reborn for their third phase. The hallmark was the release of Cutting Crew’s fifth studio album, titled “Add To Favourites” (October, 2015, Cherry Red). Besides Van Eede (vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards), Gareth Moulton (guitars), and Tom Arnold (percussion, accordion, few keyboards, backing vocals) – all from the last line-up – the album features Joolz Dunkley (guitars), Jono Harrison (keyboards), Nick Kay (bass), Martyn Barker (drums), and additional musicians. “Add To Favourites” has 10 tracks that cover different musical styles, like Rock, Rhythm n’ Blues, Soul, Gospel, British and American Folk, Jazz-Pop, and World, sounding different from the typical sonority made in the ‘80s by Cutting Crew and contemporary bands. The album is a collection of classic ballads, accessible and danceable songs, made to convey Van Eede’s eclectic vocals. The music is performed by a group of experienced musicians, accompanied by a hot brass ensemble and a duo of nice harmony singers, who know how to make the music swing and groove, either in joyful, or in soulful tones! Nevertheless, the strong commercial appeal of the album forces me to advise the readers of this webzine – passionate fans of Progressive Rock and Metal – that “Add To Favourites” has nothing of Progressive on it. That does not mean that the album lacks musical quality. On the contrary, when I was listening to it, the songs brought to my mind a lot of artists, such as “Joe Cocker”, “Fleetwood Mac”, “Belle & Sebastian”, “James Taylor”, “Roy Orbison”, “Elvis Costello”, “Peter Gabriel”, “George Michael”, “Simply Red”, “Bryan Adams”, who were successful in the musical industry. “Add To Favourites” starts with the good vibes of “Till the Money Runs Out” (3:30) – which was released as a single prior to the album; and follows on with the happy groove of “Looking For a Friend” (4:58), until reaching a explosion of joy on “Biggest Mistake of My Life” (6:49), an unmistakable hit, which blends Soul, Gospel, and amuses the listener as he/she was watching some imaginary musical-movie. But the songs that I liked most were: “Berlin in Winter” (4:31) – dramatic and sometimes epic; and “Kept On Lovin' You” (6:42) – a soulful bluesy ballad with a “Joe Cocker’s” accent on the vocal melody, and a great guitar solo. The albums also brings more ballads, such as the sophisticated and bittersweet “As Far as I Can See” (6:06), with piano, strings, and guitar solo, and “Only For You” (6:27), which has a sensitive solo of sax. Both of them are contrasted with the sweet simplicity of “San Ferian” (3:24), a Folk ballad; and “Already Gone” (3:42), a nostalgic song instilled with the romantic feeling of the ‘50s, rocked to the sound of a slide guitar, in the vein of “Roy Orbison”. The album ends with “(She Just Happened to Be) Beautiful” (5:14), an American Folk that recalled me of “James Taylor”. Consisting in a collection of tasteful songs, Cutting Crew’s “Add To Favourites” is a serious candidate to hit the charts and make a huge commercial success, especially among fans of “Joe Cocker”, “Fleetwood Mac”, “Belle & Sebastian”, “James Taylor”, “Roy Orbison”, “George Michael”, “Simply Red”, “Bryan Adams”, “Peter Gabriel”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Cutting Crew are: Nick Van Eede - Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Keyboards; Gareth Moulton – Guitar; Joolz Dunkley - Guitar, Keyboards; Jono Harrison – Keyboards; Tom Arnold – Percussion, Accordion, Keyboards, Backing Vocals; Martyn Barker – Drums; Nick Kay – Bass; Mak Norman – Bass; TJ Davis & Angela Brooks - Backing Vocals.  “Blackjack Horns”: Gary Barnacle – Tenor, Soprano Saxophones; Nik Carter – Alto, Tenor, Baritone Saxophones; Jack Birchwood – Trumpet, Flugelhorn; Steven Fuller – Trombone. “The Sturcz Quartet of Budapest”: Gábor Csonka – 1st Violin; Péter Szilágyi – 2nd Violin; Gyula Benkö – Viola; András Sturcz – Cello. Produced by Nick Eede. Engineered by Ian Caple at Yellowfish Studios, UK; Brian Marshall at Shoestring Studios, Barbados; Daniel Hovik at Mollenparken Studios, Oslo, Norway. Mixed by Nick Eede & Ian Caple... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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02/28/2016......................If you want know more about this amazing band and its members, visit CUTTING CREW HOME PAGE...
. BILLY SHERWOOD - "Collection"
Billy Sherwood is in evidence at PR&PM! William Sherwood – a.k.a. Billy Sherwood – is a North American multi-instrumentalist, sound engineer and record producer, who is mostly known for his participation on Progressive super-group “Yes”. Sherwood is a very respect professional within the Classic Rock and Progressive scenes, and has dozens of musical works accumulated in his career. His professional duties were demanded by artists like “Deep Purple”, “Toto”, “Air Supply”, “Paul Rodgers”, “Dangerous Toys”, “Carmine Appice”, “Todd Rundgren”, “Asia”, “John Wetton”, “Nektar”, to name a few. Sherwood also took part on several tribute albums (e.g. “Genesis”, “Pink Floyd”, “Yes”, “Steve Ray Vaughan”, “Queen”, “AC/DC”, “Journey”, “UFO”, “Lynyrd Skynyrd”, “Thin Lizzy”, “Led Zeppelin”, “The Beatles”, “Rush”, “Supertramp”). As a musician, Sherwood has played on several bands: “Lodgic” (with his brother “Michael Sherwood”), which released the album “Nomadic Sands” (1985); “World Trade”, which released the albums “World Trade” (1989) and “Euphoria” (1995); and also “Yes”, “Circa:”, “Yoso”, and “Conspiracy”. After losing an opportunity to become a member of “Yes” in the early ‘90s, Sherwood stablished a friendship with “Yes” members, specially “Chris Squire”, “Tony Kaye”, and “Alan White”. Sherwood eventually made his way into “Yes” as a support musician on their “Talk” tour (1994). He stayed and recorded the “Yes” albums “Open Your Eyes” (1997) and “The Ladder” (1999). In 2000 Sherwood left “Yes”, but continued to work with his friends of “Yes” on other projects. With “Chris Squire”, he formed “Conspiracy” and released the albums: “Conspiracy” (2000), “The Unknown” (2003), and “Conspiracy Live” (2006, reviewed at PR&PM in October 2013). With “Alan White” and “Tony Kaye”, Sherwood formed the band “Circa:”, with several releases: “Circa” (2007), “Circa Live” (2009), “Circa HQ” (2009, reviewed at PR&PM in 2013), “Overflow” (2009), “And So On” (2011), “Live From Here There & Everywhere” (2013). With “Kaye” and “Bobby Kimball” (“Toto”), he formed “Yoso”, which released “Elements” (2010). In the meantime, Sherwood also focused on a solo career. He had produced, recorded and released six studio albums – “The Big Peace” (1999), “No Comment” (2003), “At the Speed of Life” (2008), “Oneirology” (2010), “What Was the Question?” (2011), and “The Art of Survival” (2012) – when he stopped to take care of “The Prog Collective”, a project with various Progressive artists, which released the albums “The Prog Collective” (2012) and “Epilogue” (2013). Sherwood also worked as engineer and producer on “Yes” album “Heaven & Earth” (2014) and on the DVD’s “Like It Is: Yes at the Bristol Hippodrome” (2014) and “Like It Is: Yes at the Mesa Arts Center” (2015). Sherwood finally returned to his solo career releasing “Divided By One” (2014), his seventh studio album, and “Collection” (2015). “Divided By One” has been just reviewed at PR&PM (see above). “Collection” is a compilation that was released in conjunction with “Divided …” via Cherry Red Records, on 30th October 2015. “Collection” features seven tracks, each one picked from one of Sherwood’s seven solo albums, plus two exclusive, previously unreleased tracks. “Collection” is the ideal introduction to Sherwood’s solo career, showcasing an ample musical panorama into which Sherwood likes to get niched. In spite of Sherwood’s strongest influences being “Yes” and “Chris Squire”, “Collection” brings a selection of songs that deviate from that norm, tending more to a crossover of 80’s Pop with Progressive sounds, that recalls the most accessible works of “Yes”, “Genesis”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Toto”, and “Sting”. This impression is left by songs like the electro-pop “Call” (5:51), the joyful “Dying Breed” (4:13), and the soaring song “The Recurring Dream” (7:26), driven by a mild swing, relaxing vocals, and sweet melodies. But most fans of “Yes” will greatly appreciate the initial songs of the album: the soaring “Drone Decipher” (6:00), which hovers on a mattress created by relaxing lines of bass, having a surprise in the middle; the symphonic “On Impact” (7:57), and the very best, “Seeing Through the Walls” (10:54) – the most “Yes”-like one. Another highlight is “What Was the Question?” (7:07), which is supported by funky bass lines and compatible groovy drums. My suspicion that “Collection” was aimed to be a much more accessible album than Sherwood’s previous ones is confirmed by the strong Pop vein of the bonus tracks: “I Hung My Head” (5:14) – a cover of “Sting”; and “Dark To Light” (4:49) – a sweet ballad. In June 2015, Sherwood was announced as the new bassist of “Yes”. This sudden event did not hinder the release of his last album, titled “Citizen” (Nov. 2015) – a concept work featuring Progressive Rock legends. He also promised the album “Archived" for 2016. For now, Sherwood’s fans will have much fun by hearing “Collection”, which is greatly recommended for fans of 80’s “Yes”, “Genesis”, “Asia”, “Sting”, “Toto”, “Lodgic”, “World Trade”, and the most recent “Circa:” and “Conspiracy”. Band members and collaborators involved in Billy Sherwood are: Willian ‘Billy’ Sherwood – All Instruments and Vocals, with the exception of “Call” (Drums by Jay Schellen). All songs written by Billy Sherwood, with the exception of “Call”, by Sherwood & Gowdy; and “I Hung My Head”, by Sting. Produced, Recorded and Mixed by Billy Sherwood at 4Tune Studios. Mastered by Maor Appelbaum at Maor Appelbaum Mastering, CA. Cover Artwork and Design by Michi Sherwood... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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02/28/2016.................................Interested to know more about the musician and band? Visit BILLY SHERWOOD HOME PAGE...
. THE KEITH EMERSON TRIO - "The Keith Emerson Trio"
PR&PM is hosting some Progressive legends this month! We open our halls for Keith Emerson – one of the most influential keyboardists of Progressive Rock, and an integrant of 70’s super-group Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Keith Noel Emerson was born 2 November 1944 in Todmorden, Yorkshire, and grew up in Worthing, West Sussex. He began to learn piano in his childhood, playing Classical Music, Jazz, and Rock. He began to play collectively with his own Keith Emerson Trio, and later on other bands. It was in late ‘60s that Emerson became known as a musician, when he joined “Lee Jackson” and “Brian Davison” in legendary band “The Nice”. From 1967 to 1969, “The Nice” released important albums, such as “The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack” (1967), “Ars Longa Vita Brevis” (1968), and “Nice” (1969), whilst some live material was released in the 2000s. After “The Nice”, Keith Emerson joined forces with bassist “Greg Lake” and drummer “Carl Palmer” to form the super-group Emerson, Lake and Palmer (aka “ELP”). “ELP” released many successful albums that became classics of Progressive Rock: “Emerson Lake & Palmer” (1970), “Pictures at an Exhibition” (1971), “Tarkus” (1971), “Trilogy” (1972), “Brain Salad Surgery” (1973), “Works Volumes 1 & 2” (1977), and the live albums “Welcome Back, My Friends, To The Show That Never Ends” (1974) and “ELP in Concert” (1979). “ELP’s” music – a powerful mix of Rock, Jazz, and Classical (and influenced by composers like: “Bach”, “Mussorgsky”, “Béla Bartók”, “Janácek”, “Holst”, “Aaron Copland” and “Ginastera”) – cemented the foundations of Progressive Rock forever, turning the trio into one of the most praised icons of the subgenre. With “ELP”, Emerson reached stardom. He was famous for being an enthusiast of new keyboard technologies, which he employed in conjunction with his arsenal of Hammond organs and Moog synthesizers. On stage, Emerson was a show-man: besides impressing the audiences with his technical prowess, he also adopted a theatrical posture (which included stabbing his Hammonds and playing the keys upside down). That took his fans to total delirium! After the dissolution of “ELP”, Emerson spent the ‘80s and early ‘90s writing soundtracks, working on a solo career, and playing in short-lived projects. Some of his most famous soundtracks are “Dario Argento's Inferno” (1980) and “Nighthawks” (1981), followed by his solo albums “Honky” (1982), “The Christmas Album” (1988), and “Changing States” (1995). In 1986 Emerson and “Greg Lake” formed “Emerson, Lake & Powell” (with “Cozy Powell”), and released an eponymous album. In 1988, Emerson, “Palmer”, and “Robert Berry” formed the band “3”, which released “To The Power of Three” (1988). The ‘90s were marked by a reunion of the original “ELP” line-up, resulting in the release of albums “Black Moon” (1992), “In The Hot Seat” (1994), and “Live at the Royal Albert Hall” (1993). In the 2000s, Emerson toured with “The Nice” (2002), released a solo album, “Emerson Plays Emerson” (2002), and published an autobiography entitled “Pictures of an Exhibitionist” (2004). He appeared on Billy Sherwood’s tributes for “Pink Floyd” (2005) and “Led Zeppelin” (2008). In 2008, Emerson assembled a band with “Marc Bonilla” (vocals, guitar), “Travis Davis” (bass), and “Tony Pia” (drums), and released “Keith Emerson Band Featuring Marc Bonilla” (2008), “Live in Moscow” (2010), and “The Three Fates Project” (2012). In 2014, Emerson released “Live From Manticore Hall” (with “Greg Lake”), and was inducted into the “Hammond Hall of Fame”. Recently, Emerson has gained recognition from the academic world, as his works are also being performed by renowned conductors and orchestras. After reading about Emerson’s successful career, one may wonder: how did he make it? To answer to this question, one must listen to Keith Emerson’s last album: “The Keith Emerson Trio” (2015, Cherry Red). The Keith Emerson Trio was Emerson’s group of Jazz, and consisted of: himself on the piano, Godfrey Sheppard on bass, and David Keene on drums. They were teenagers that used to seat in the living room of the house of Emerson’s parents, to jam and play their Jazz and Blues favorites. One of those performances happened in December 1963, and was registered on acetate, which had been cut from a Phillips Reel to Reel recording on one plastic microphone machine. There were only four acetates made: one for each member of the trio, and a spare copy. This acetate was intended to remain private (Emerson still has his), but somehow, the spare copy came to the hands of the record collector David Gaylor; and the music it contained ended on a 10’’ Vinyl LP, issued as an exact replica of the original acetate. This recovered record of The Keith Emerson Trio was also made available on CD format via Cherry Red. The album features 7 tracks. The music, of course, has nothing to do with the posterior Progressive works of Keith Emerson, consisting in a selection of Jazz standards (arranged by Emerson) completed with two original songs of his authorship. The importance of this release, however, is that it offers a rare opportunity to listen to the young Keith Emerson, armed only with a piano! And with this opportunity, comes the confirmation of Emerson’s awesome talent! As a teenager, Emerson was already a precocious musician that played with the verve of a veteran, and as it is clear from these recordings, dominated more than a basic alphabet of chords, keys, and rhythms. He was already proficient in sophisticated Jazz and matured enough to play anything with Classic refinement. His vein of composer and arranger was also starting to show off, exuded from his fingertips. The listener will instantly understand that, when hearing to the tracks: “You Say You Care” (Leon Robin/Jule Styne) (4:51); “There Will Never Be Another You” (Harry Warren/Mack Gordon) (3:51); “Teenies Blues” (Oliver Nelson) (3:21); “Winkle Picker Stamp” (Emerson) (2:31); “56 Blues” (Emerson) (3:06); “You Came A Long Way From Saint Louis” (Bob Russell) (2:06); and “Soul Station” (Hank Mobley) (4:54). The young Emerson is so brilliant on this historical record, that after listening to his performance, I stumbled on the answer to the question above: Keith Emerson made it, because he was born a genius! “The Keith Emerson Trio” is a historical record, specially recommended for fans of Classic Jazz, Emerson’s solo career, collectors, and researchers interested in the legends of Rock. Band members and collaborators involved in The Keith Emerson Trio are: Keith Emerson – Piano and all Arrangements; Godfrey Sheppard – Bass; David Keene – Drums. Album Recorded December 1963, in Worthing; Remastered by Tim Debney at Fluid Mastering... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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02/28/2016....................Interested to know more about this Musician and band? Visit THE KEITH EMERSON TRIO HOME PAGE...
. THE OPEN SPACE QUARTET - "Claude Bolling: Suite nº 2 For Flute And Jazz Piano Trio"
The Open Space Quartet is an Italian Jazz quartet that aims to perform and record the music of Claude Bolling – an internationally famous French pianist and composer, born in 1930 and still in activity today. Claude Bolling is a precursor of the “Crossover Music”, for his musical pieces show a perfect blend of Jazz and Classical Music (mainly influenced by “J.S. Bach”). His most important pieces are suites, written for a standard Jazz trio (piano, bass, drums), accompanied by a traditional instrument (a cello, violin, trumpet, or flute), which provides the solo part. On this line, Bolling has worked in collaboration with soloists such “Yo-Yo Ma” (cello) and “Pinchas Zukerman” (violin). His suites, however, allowed space for the performing pianist to improvise. The Open Space Quartet consists of a core jazz-trio formed by Cinzia Gizzi (piano), Pino Sallusti (contrabass), and Carlo Bordini (drums), with the fourth member being a special guest soloist - in the present case, Iolanda Zignani (flute). The musicians involved in the project have a solid background in Jazz and Music: Cinzia Gizzi is an established jazz pianist and professor of piano jazz at the Conservatorio of Latina (and formerly of L’Aquila); Pino Sallusti has played together with eminent jazz musicians, including “George Coleman”, “Gary Bartz”, “Jimmy Owens”, and with the symphony orchestras of Lazio and Molise; Carlo Bordini combines the experience in jazz and in classical music as a percussionist in the Orchestra of Rome Opera; Iolanda Zignani, flautist and teacher, earned her musical education in Rome (Santa Cecilia), Pescara and Siena (Accademia Chigiana), and she dedicated part of her thesis and the recital of graduation to Claude Bolling. From all components of The Open Space Quartet, two of them – drummer Carlo Bordini and bassist Pino Sallusti – are also known to fans of Italian Progressive Rock for having taken part on the “Cherry Five” album, “Il Pozzo dei Giganti”, featured at PR&PM as “Best Album of the Month”, August 2015. A previous and embryonic version of The Open Space Quartet, featuring Gizzi and Bordini accompanied by Mauro Battisti (bass) and Massimo Bastetti (cello), had recorded and released “Claude Bolling Suite For Cello & Jazz Piano Trio” (2000, Isma Records) – which was originally recorded by Bolling and eminent cellist “Yo-Yo Ma”. The album on focus here features the present line-up of The Open Space Quartet performing Bolling’s “Suite nº 2 For Flute & Jazz Piano Trio” (2015, Breezy Records & Black Widow Records). This is the second of the two suites composed by Bolling for flute, which were recorded with legendary flutist “Jean-Pierre Rampal” in 1975 and 1984, respectively, and achieved a “platinum” success in the U.S.A. “Suite nº 2 For Flute …” is divided in eight movements, typifying Bolling’s compositional method: rhythmic fleetness and modern jazz drives baroquely combined to Classical melodic scales, alternating with calmer musical interludes, and tempered by a chromatic palette of moods ranging from the vivacious and spirited to the bittersweet and introspective. This piece is superbly executed by the members of The Open Space Quartet, with highlights for Cinzia Gizzi’s sensitiveness and brilliance on the piano, Iolanda Zignani’s impressive acrobatic ability on the flute, Pino Sallusti’s immense intelligence and expertise to change from the Jazzy language to the Classic formality on his bass, and Carlo Bordini’s vast experience on drums, and his authentic communion with the Jazz spirit of improvisation. As I am neither an expert in Jazz, nor a consumer of this musical genre, all what I can leave on this lines is my impression as a musical appreciator. “Suite nº 2 For Flute And Jazz Piano Trio” by The Open Space Quartet is a worthy companion for the original recording by Bolling & Rampal. The music is elegant, fluidal, complex, colorful, festive, warm, romantic, amusing, and extraordinary melodic, regarding its Jazzy roots. This unique metamorphosing piece may be consumed by a wide audience, whose tastes may include Modern Jazz, Contemporaneous Chamber Music, Classical Music (raging from the Baroque of “Bach” to the Impressionism of “Debussy”), soft Progressive Rock with emphasis on pastoral flutes (e.g. “Camel”, “PFM”), Jazz-Rock acts ( “Soft Machine”, “Colosseum”, “Jean-Luc Ponty”), and Brazilian Traditional “Choro” (e.g. “Ernesto Nazaré”, “Chiquinha Gonzaga”, “Patápio Silva”, “Pixinguinha”, and “Altamiro Carrilho”). The title for each movement reflects a particular mood or characteristic imprinted to the music. “Espiègle” (11:27) is fast, playful, and dynamic; “Amoureuse” (7:30) is softer and romantic; “Entr'amis” (6:32) evokes the harmonic partnership and mutual understanding of the musicians; “Vagabonde” (4:44) is an amusing Baroque fugue; “Pastorale” (7:26) is fairish, dreamy, folkish; “Affectueuse” (4:51) is warm and nostalgic; “Intime” (6:41) is slow, mellow, and Classic on the beginning, twisting later for a vibrant jazz swing, driven on piano; and “Jazzy” (9:26), having an exciting intro on bass, liberates energy for free improvisations in a typical “anything goes” attitude! The Open Space Quartet is a Jazz group in essence, but their ability to deliver grand music with preciseness, sophistication, and emotion, makes them hyper-highly recommendable for enthusiasts of the flute and the piano, appreciators of academic music is general, and fans of “Camel”, “PFM”, “Focus”, “Soft Machine”, “Colosseum”, “Jethro Tull”, “Duke Ellington”, “Keith Jarrett”, “J.S. Bach”, “Debussy”, “Rampal”, “Gershwin”, “Ernesto Nazaré”, “Patápio Silva”, “Altamiro Carrilho”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in The Open Space Quartet are: Cinzia Gizzi – Piano; Pino Sallusti – Contrabass; Carlo Bordini – Drums; Iolanda Zignani – Flute. Recorded, Mixed, and Mastered by Giuseppe Valdalá, at Nuccia Studio, Roma, Italy... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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02/28/2016........................................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE OPEN SPACE QUARTET HOME PAGE...
. DOWNES BRAIDE ASSOCIATION - "Suburban Ghosts"
PR&PM is hosting some heavy-weight musicians this month! We welcome now the duo Downes & Braide Association (DBA) – formed by keyboardist and producer Geoff Downes (“The Buggles”, “Yes”, “Asia”, “Icon”) and British singer, songwriter, and producer Chris Braide. Geoff Downes is a well-known musician in the Progressive Rock circles. In 1979, Downes and “Trevor Horn” formed a band called “The Buggles”, which quaked the London scene with their hit “Video Killed The Radio Star”. The success led them to be invited by Progressive band “Yes” to replace “Rick Wakeman” and “Jon Anderson” on the recording of the album “Drama” (1980). After his passage by “Yes”, Downes joined forces with “Steve Howe”, “John Wetton”, and “Carl Palmer” to form the successful super-group “Asia”. In the ‘90s, Downes produced and released his solo albums: “Vox Humana” (1992), “Evolution” (1993), “The Work Tapes” (1998), “World Service” (1999). In the next century, Downes formed “Icon” with “John Wetton” and released “Icon” (2005), “Icon II Rubicon” (2006), and “ICon 3” (2009). He continued on his solo work, with the albums “Shadows & Reflections” (2003), “The Bridge” (2006) and “Electronica” (2010), with singer “Anne-Marie Helder”. Downes and Greg Lake (“ELP”) have recently released an album, titled “Ride The Tiger” (2015), which has been reviewed at PR&PM (see above). Chris Braide is a British singer, songwriter, and producer based in Los Angeles, CA. His career began in 1993, with the release of his first album, "Chapter One - Chris Braide" (Polydor). In 2006, Braide, “Trevor Horn”, and “Steve Lipson” formed the band “Producers”. But Braide’s main work was done for the major record labels (Warner, Atlantic, East West, and Polydor), writing and producing music for artists like “Sia”, “Lana Del Rey”, “Afrojack”, “David Guetta”, “Marc Almond”, “Yuna”, “Britney Spears”, “Beyoncé”, “Christina Aguilera”. Braide has been awarded from ASCAP and Billboard. In 2012, Chris Braide and Geoff Downes joined in a project called Downes Braide Association (DBA). They released a full-length album, “Pictures of You” (2012, Cherry Red Records), which was acclaimed by the critics. The second album, titled “Suburban Ghosts”, was released in November, 2015, also via Cheery Red. Given the bonds that keep Downes and Braide linked to the most commercial side of the musical industry, their reunion in the DBA project is more like a celebration of the Pop genre than a Progressive endeavor. It is a way to make music that can be at the same time rewarding for the musicians, and easily grasped by the largest audiences. For that reason, I cannot state that DBA is recommendable for the orthodox Prog-head. Their style is more like a blend of Techno-Pop, Synth-Pop, and Dream-Pop, mixing 80’s to 90’s trends, covered with a Progressive luster, neatly engineered and wrapped up in an excellent sound production. The highlights go for the synth arrangements (although pop, they are far beyond the average reached by any other pop band of nowadays, in both quality and sophistication) and for Braide’s tuneful vocals, sensitive interpretation, and meaningful lyrics. As a whole, DBA’s sonic signature shares a resemblance with “A-Ha”, “Duran Duran”, “Depeche Mode”, “Spandau Ballet”, “Soft Cell”, “Simply Red”, “Human League”, “Japan”, and “Cutting Crew”, blended to “Yes” (“Trevor Rabin” Era), “Asia”, “GTR”, and “Toto”. “Suburban Ghosts” has 12 tracks. Most songs are frankly accessible, vibrant and danceable, representing the most commercial side of DBA. “Machinery Of Fate” (5:12), and “Number One” (4:20), for instance, are driven by the same frantic techno-beat that brings stamina and drama to the music. The pair “Interlude” (1:13) + “North Sea” (5:14) have the same sensual swing of “Simply Red”; while “Time Goes Fast” (4:05) is melodic, uplifting, and ends with a synth solo that recalls “Yes”. But the best songs are “Suburban Ghosts – Parts 1 and 2” (6:45) and “Suburban Ghosts – Part 3” (6:00), which may be regarded as a “Techno-Pop-Prog” suite, an effect caused by its symphonic string arrangements and long guitar solo; and also “Vanity” (4:14) and “One Of The Few” (4:03) – two extraordinary beautiful bittersweet ballads. “Live Twice” (3:52), a piano ballad with a nostalgic feeling, could also belong in here. Finally, the album finishes with “Dreaming Of England” (5:54) – an outstanding epic-romantic song that is topped by Braide’s wonderful vocals, and crowned with a soaring guitar solo, fading into “Finale” (1:44). By no means a standard Progressive album, but rather a brilliant Pop-Rock album, “Suburban Ghosts”, by DBA - Downes Braide Association – is specially recommendable for fans of 80’s Pop-Rock, with an 80’s Progressive luster, who love bands like “A-Ha”, “Duran Duran”, “Depeche Mode”, “Spandau Ballet”, “Soft Cell”, “Simply Red”, “Human League”, “Japan”, “Cutting Crew”, “Yes” (“Trevor Rabin” Era), “Asia”, “GTR”, “Toto”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Downes Braide Association are: Geoffrey Downes – Synths, Piano, Programming; Christopher Braide – Lead Vocals, Synths, Piano, Programming. Additional Musicians on “Dreaming of England”: Lee Pomeroy – Bass; Dave Gregory – Electric Guitar Solo. Vocals on “Life Boat” by Elijah Braide. All songs written by C. Braide & G. Downes, Recorded & Mixed at Magical Thinking Studios, Los Angeles, CA, Jan-Feb 2015; Mastered by Mike Pietrini... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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02/28/2016......................Interested to know more about the Band please? Visit DOWNES BRAIDE ASSOCIATION HOME PAGE...
. JULIUS PAOLO LAZZERI - "Gothic Power"
Julius Paolo Lazzeri is an Italian organist and composer, mostly known for being a member of Arezzo-based band “Three Monks”. Julius Paolo Lazzeri is a master of the Pipe Organ, on which he often performs Gothic and Baroque pieces written by the great composers of the past, namely “Bach”, “Reubke”, “Händel”, ”Liszt”, “Mendelssohn”, “Pachelbel”, “Buxtehude”, and “Bruckner”. In 2010, Lazzeri and bassist “Maurizio Bozzi” (a.k.a. “Bozorius”), assisted by drummers “Roberto Bichi” (a.k.a. “Placidus”) and “Claudio Cuseri” (a.k.a. “Ursinius”), formed the Neo-Gothic Progressive band called “Three Monks”. “Three Monks” released two albums via “Bozzi’s” record label, Drycastle Records, with distribution of Black Widow Records: “Neogothic Progressive Toccatas” (2010), which was reviewed at PR&PM, and “The Legend Of The Holy Circle” (2013). As a solo artist, Julius Paolo Lazzeri released two albums: “Furor Organisticus” (2012) and the most recent “Gothic Power” (2015), also with support of Drycastle and Black Widow. On “Gothic Power”, Lazzeri plays ancient and modern kinds of keyboards (including the Neo-gothic organ, the Harpsichord, and the Arp synthesizer) and drums. The style is based on the massive employment of Pipe Organ sounds and on a predominance of the Gothic and Baroque scales and modes on the compositions (like “Three Monks”). But the addition of electronic synthesizers, coupled to a line of drums, creates a sonic resemblance to many keyboard-dominated Progressive Rock acts, such as: “Emerson, Lake & Palmer”, “Triumvirat”, “Trace”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Pär Lindh Project”, “Il Balletto di Bronzo”, “Goblin”, and “Van Der Graaf Generator”. “Gothic Power” features 8 instrumental tracks that pay homage to the Gothic style in music, which resists bravely against time, retaining forever its power to astonish and inspire listeners everywhere. The music evokes the image of an imaginary Cathedral, sustained on granitic stones and gigantic columns, erected along centuries, spanning an architectural era that starts on the eternal solemnity of the Gothic, and culminates on the hyperbolic grandeur of the Baroque. The Cathedral is alive, and breaths through the organ pipes. The sunlight trespasses the stained glass windows, illuminating the frescos, ornaments, and sculptures that decorate the carved walls. Staircases lead to tall pinnacles, on which secular gargoyles dance in a creepy trance. Lazzeri’s organ playing is vibrant, delirious and dynamic, strengthened by bombastic sounds of synthesizers and potent thunderous drums. His music is born from the antagonism that exists between the academic rigors of the Classical music and the indulgent liberty of Rock – an antagonism that Lazzeri mediates with perfection, in a true Progressive way! Most compositions of the album – namely, “Gothic Power” (7:12), “St. Bavo” (5:04), “Stralsund” (5:17), “Vdgg” (3:57), “Laon” (6:17), and “The Sacred Fire” (6:23) – fly on the tormented winds and resounding chords expelled by the organ pipes. The double attack of church organs and bombastic Progressive synths is splendid and epic, reaching the apex on glorious passages of beatitude and heroic moments of courage, sometimes resting on placid sonic interludes dominated by a religious Gothic aura. On this line, “Gothic Power”, “Laon”, and “The Sacred Fire” are the compositions that profit most from the combined employment of synths and organs; with “The Sacred …” having a slightly predomination of synths on it. Two of my favorites are “St. Bavo” and “Stralsund”, which are shocking and epic, holding furious keyboard firepower and martial drumming, like an apocalyptical announcement for the Armageddon battle (recalling me of the “War March of the Priests”, by “F. Mendelssohn”). Two pieces – “Vdgg” and the already cited “Laon” – have also a contamination of other contemporary musical sources, revealing Lazzeri’s passion and interest for the Progressive mannerism. The first, dedicated to “Hugh Banton” (keyboardist of “Van Der Graaf Generator”), is inspired on the music of “VdGG” and throws the listener into an entrancing vertigo (the same feeling that I experience, when listening to “VdGG”). The second, propelled by quasi-Metal binary drums and marked by a vigorous approach to the church organ, has also a jazzy twist in the middle and several deviations to modern Classic-Contemporaneous stylistics, consisting in a feast for fans of “Keith Emerson”! To break the continuity of such a luxurious album and give the listener a moment to breath, Lazzeri included two calmer pieces on “Gothic Power”. “La Vecchia Torre” (5:05), on a tower-clock rhythm, drifts on a beautiful melody, instilled with religious feelings. And “Mysterious Dark Lady” (3:38), played on the harpsichord, evokes the romantic vision of a gracious, but mysterious lady, passing by (recalling me of “J.S. Bach’s” piece, “Air on the G String”). An astounding and magnificent album, Julius Paolo Lazzeri’s “Gothic Power” is an indispensable item for fans of Gothic Progressive Rock, and “ELP”, “Triumvirat”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Trace”, “Goblin”, “Il Balletto di Bronzo”, “Deluge Grander”, “Pär Lindh Project”, “Gerard”, “Ars Nova”, “VdGG”, “Il Segno del Comando”, and any band with a church organ on its instrumentation. Band members and collaborators involved in Julius Paolo Lazzeri are: Julius Paolo Lazzeri – Neo-gothic Organ, Dark Arp Synthesizer, Clavicembalo (Harpsichord) mod. Landowska, Organ Positivo, and Epic Drums. “Stralsund” dedicated to organist “F.A. Mehmel” (1827-1888), builder of St. Jakobi Kirche’s Neo-gothic Organ (Stralsund, Germany); “Vdgg” dedicated to “Hugh Banton” (“VdGG”); “Laon” dedicated to “Lidia Ksiazkiewicz”, organist of Laon Cathedral (France). Recorded and Produced by J.P. Lazzeri, distributed by Black Widow Records... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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02/28/2016.........................If you want know more about this musician and songwriter, visit JULIUS PAOLO LAZZERI HOME PAGE...
. IL BALLO DELLE CASTAGNE - "Soundtrack For An Unreleased Herzog Movie"
The Italian project Il Ballo Delle CastagneThe Chestnuts Ball”) is back to PR&PM once more! Il Ballo Delle Castagne was formed in 2008 by vocalist Vinz Aquarian (from “Calle della Morte”), and multi-instrumentalist Marco Garegnani (from “The Green Man”). The line-up often counts with bassist Diego Banchero (“Egida Aurea”, “Malombra”, “Segno del Comando”, “ZEUSS”), drummer Jo Jo, and guest musicians. Il Ballo Delle Castagne’s discography comprises a conceptual trilogy consisting of the 10’’ single, “108” (2009), plus two full-length albums, “Kalachakra” (2011) and “Surpassing All Other Kings” (2012). Those albums were distributed via Black Widow Records, and were reviewed at PR&PM in 2011 and 2013, respectively. They had a blend of musical styles, covering 60’s to 70’s Psychedelic Rock, Space Rock, Krautrock, Dark-Prog, and Zeuhl-Gothic. In 2015, Il Ballo Delle Castagne released a new album, titled “Soundtrack For An Unreleased Herzog Movie” (HR!SPQR Records/Black Widow), which came out in limited editions on both Vinyl (100 copies) and Digipack-CD (300 copies, with two extra tracks). The music of Il Ballo Delle Castagne has been always surrounded by a mystic aura that invited the listener to travel in a kind of inner spiritual journey, exploring the subconscious levels of the mind. On “Soundtrack For An Unreleased Herzog Movie” it is no different, but this album reveals a stronger will of the band in moving towards the Oriental side of the world to search for new exotic sonorities, which have been incorporated to their music. The album is therefore flooded with sounds of sitars and zithers, Hindu ragas, bamboo-made flutes, Middle Eastern rhythms, ethnical percussion and primeval drumming, which are experimentally combined to psychedelic soaring guitars and space-cosmic synthesizers. This trend places Il Ballo Delle Castagne’s music closer to the Krautrock style than before, aligned to bands such as: “Popol Vuh” (which has really recorded soundtracks for “Herzog’s” movies) – in special their albums, “In Den Garten Pharaos” and “Hosianna Mantra”; “Amon Düül II” (albums “Yeti”, “Phallus Dei”), “Agitation Free” (“Malesch”), “Ash Ra Tempel”, “Yatha Sidhra”, “Kalacakra”, “Man”, and “Faust“. But Vinz Aquarian’s mysterious vocal narrative, either coupled to angelical female choirs, or having occasional support of ethereal electronic synths, a Gothic church-organ, or a lonesome grand piano, still keeps Il Ballo’s music immersed in a surreal and exoteric ambience that approaches it to “Jacula”, “Antonius Rex”, “Magma”, “Runaway Totem”, “Tangerine Dream”, early “Pink Floyd”, and even the Minimalism of “Philip Glass” (“Qatsi” trilogy). “Soundtrack For An Unreleased Herzog Movie” features 7 impressive tracks, and most of them have references to Krautrock bands. “Soundtrack …” starts appropriately with “In The Garden Of Popol Vuh” (4:56) – which pays homage to “Popol Vuh”. The music has angelic choirs and sounds of harps that levitate in an idyllic ambience, emulating the movement of a gentle breeze. The second track, “Lentus In Umbra” (7:04), profits from the temporal collision of neo-synths against ancient Middle-East drums and traditional acoustic string instruments. Tracks 6 and 7, respectively, “Il Sole Muore” (7:06) and “6:35 Minuten Vor Dem Ende Der Zeit Explodiert Die Erde” (6:35), also trail the Krautrock path. “Il Sole Muore”, is spite of the title in Italian, is an original version of song “Deutsch Nepal” (“Amon Düül II”), played on impressive Gothic organ and grand piano, including a psychedelic guitar solo and the declamation of the original German lyrics. And “6:35 Minuten Vor Dem Ende Der Zeit Explodiert Die Erde” (6:35) (or, “6:35 Minutes Before The End of Time, The Earth Explodes”) forecasts an astrophysical apocalypse amidst waves of cosmic synths, ethno beats and flutes, and ancient deep voices (recalling the “Koyaanisqatsi” soundtrack, by “Philip Glass”), sounding like a Proto-Trip-Hop. The central track, “Profumi Di Oriente” (4:43), is a hybrid song that links together two domains of Progressive Rock – the German Krautrock (represented by Middle-Eastern rhythms, cosmic synths and psychedelic guitars) and the Italian Gothic (represented by Vinz’s hypnotical voice and the mysterious ambience that it creates). Finally, the Italian style predominates on the tracks: “Il Pianto Di Cristo Su Gerusalemme” (8:33) – a dark piece, on which a biblical panorama is described by Vinz’s dramatic narrative, driven by hypnotic bass and mechanic piano, topped by bewitching female choirs; and “Sicut In Caelo” (10:38) – a sinister narrative followed by a concert for melancholic piano that takes the listener to an occult dimension, recalling the music of “Antonius Rex” and “Jacula”. I found “Soundtrack For An Unreleased Herzog Movie” to be Il Ballo Delle Castagne’s best album so far – because of its melodic musicianship, oneiric ambience, and desire to migrate to the Orient – being highly recommendable for fans of Krautrock, Psychedelic, and Gothic Progressive Rock who love “Popol Vuh”, “Amon Düül II”, “Ash Ra Tempel”, “Yatha Sidhra”, “Faust”, “Kalacakra”, “Man”, “Ya How Ha 13”, early “Pink Floyd”, “Runaway Totem”, “Presence”, “Antonius Rex”, “Jacula”, “Goblin”, “Malombra”, “Segno del Comando”, “Finisterre Project”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Il Ballo Delle Castagne are: Vinz Aquarian – Voice, Electronics, Synthesizer, Bass (on “6:35…”); Marco Garegnani - Acoustic Guitar, Grand Piano, Harpsichord, Sitar, Electric Guitar, Percussion. Additional Musicians: Roberto Lucanato – Acoustic Guitar (on “Profumi…”). Maethelyiah  – Vocals; Diego Banchero – Bass; Jo Jo – Drums (all three on “Il Pianto…”). Mixed by Diego Banchero; Mastered by Thomas Ranosz. Artwork by Gianni Caldararo. “Il Sole Muore” by “L. Meid” & “O. Kübler” - “Amon Düül II”... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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02/28/2016.......................................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit IL BALLO DELLE CASTAGNE HOME PAGE...
. THE PYRAMIDIS PROJECT - "Emotional Distances"
The Pyramidis Project is a musical project spearheaded by Austrian musician, sound engineer, and producer Mario Buchinger (also known as Mario Kuduz), who has more than 20 years of experience in the field. Mario Buchinger created The Pyramidis Project to deliver a new genre of music, which does not fit into any category and for which he has coined the name “Soundscaping”. The “Soundscaping” combines layers of synthetic sounds (created electronically, with synths and keyboards) with real instruments – like the electric guitar, acoustic drums, wind instruments – and vocals. It draws sonic references from several musical genres, including Progressive Rock (with a Symphonic-Electronic verve), Ambient, Lounge, and Jazz, recombining them inside new harmonic structures. Aiming to create music at the highest level, The Pyramidis Project acts also carefully, when the matter concerns the quality of production. The Pyramidis Project is also a collective network instalment that receives collaborations of musicians from all over the world (even Brazil). Although functioning as a studio project, The Pyramidis Project may be brought onto stage in the future. The Pyramidis Project released three albums so far: the full-length “Space and Emotion” (April, 2013, available on CD and for Download/Streaming); the maxi-single “Lost Music” (June, 2013, only available for Download/Streaming); and “Emotional Distances” (October, 2015, The Pyramidis Audio), available on CD and for Download/Streaming. According to Mario Buchinger, “Emotional Distances” sets a new milestone for The Pyramidis Project, by featuring music that contains exciting tunes that promise to take listeners into the next “Essential Dimension of Sound”! Besides Mario Buchinger (keyboards, music programming), the record has further collaboration of: Marcus Krüger (drums), Thomas Grahl (guitars), Jonas Grahl (guitars, vocals), Loreno Buss (saxophone), and guest presentations of singers Moni Francis and Simon Schaller. And Marlene Buchinger contributed, by writing some lyrics. “Emotional Distances” has 11 tracks which are all immersed in a synthetic Electronic ambience, covering a wide range of electronic styles, in time and space. They are distributed between instrumental pieces (sometimes containing few robotic voices) and songs, performed by “organic” lead singers. I have spotted points of resemblance with several other bands, such as “Pink Floyd”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Alan Parsons”, “Jean-Michel Jarre”, “Tangerine Dream”, “Brian Eno”, “Kitaro”, “Yanni”, “Clearlight”, “Kraftwerk”, “Daft Punk”, “Portishead”, “Massive Attack”, “Björk”, “Moby”, “Presets”, “The Gak Omek”, “Passport”, “Beatles”, “Beach Boys”, “Moody Blues”, and “Snovi". Regarding the instrumental tracks, my preferences fell on: “Emotions” (6:49) – a beautiful and levitating opening track in Symphonic-Electronic Progressive style, introduced by ample New-Age chords, punctuated by robotic voices; “Secrets of Ocean Life, Pt. 1” (5:16) & “Pt. 2” (2:33) – the first, in Lounge style, combining aqueous sounds, chimes, tribal beats, and robotized underwater vocals inside a waving harmonic structure (recalling “Daft Punk”), the second, evoking the abyssal plains of the sea, tending to the Ambient style; and “Örnsköldsvik” (5:15), which is a chill-out piece featuring a warm jazzy saxophone (recorded by “Loreno Buss” in Brazil) in sensitive dialogue with an acoustic guitar (recalling the elegant style of “Passport”). Those four pieces are tranquil and relaxing, and make a great contrast when opposed to two vibrant guitar-driven tracks: the pulsing “Distances” (4:59), which flies on the super-sonic wings of a dynamic guitar solo; and the joyful “Crossing Bosporus” (5:03), a pull of synthetic sounds trespassed by a strident guitar. The songs featuring “organic” singers are also very nice, and the highlights go for: the entrancing “Treachery” (5:06) and the jazzy piano-ballad “Mistreated” (3:28) – both with great participation of German singer Moni Francis, who sings the first with malevolent sensuality, and the second, with expressive emotion. Finally, we feel a nostalgic sensation when listening to songs “Far from Home” (4:16) – a jovial and innocent slide-guitar Rock in 60’s style; and “White Swan” (4:59) – a romantic Surf-Rock that surfs on cosmic vibes and skips later to the instrumental “Coda” (1:34), which marks the end of the album. “Emotional Distances” is an outstanding album by The Pyramidis Project, containing a mix of Electronic and Organic Music that will please fans of: “Alan Parsons”, “Jean-Michel Jarre”, “Tangerine Dream”, “Kraftwerk”, “Brian Eno”, “Pink Floyd”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Kitaro”, “Yanni”, “Daft Punk”, “Portishead”, “Massive Attack”, “Björk”, “Moby”, “Presets”, “The Gak Omek”, “Passport”, “Clearlight”, “Beach Boys”, “Moody Blues”, to whom this project is highly recommended. Band members and collaborators involved in The Pyramidis Project are: Mario Buchinger –Keyboards, Guitars, Drums and Drum Programming, Sound Programming, Music, Voice; Marlene Buchinger – Lyrics; Marcus Krüger – Drums. Guest Musicians: Moni Francis – Lead Vocals (on “Treachery” and “Mistreated”); Simon Schaller – Lead Vocals (on “Far from Home”); Thomas "Grallo" Grahl – Guitars (on “Distances”, “Crossing Bosporus”); Jonas Grahl – Guitars, Vocals (on “White Swan”); Loreno Buss – Saxophone (on “Örnsköldsvik”). Markus Ising – Linguistic advice on “Örnsköldsvik”. Album Recorded at the Pyramidis Audio Studio, Achenkirch, Austria, except the sax (recorded in Pomerode, Brazil), and Moni Francis’ vocals, recorded in Rottenburg, Germany. Produced, Engineered and Mixed by Mario Buchinger... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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02/28/2016...........................................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE PYRAMIDIS PROJECT HOME PAGE...
. LANDSKAP - "II"
Landskap is a London-based Heavy Rock project that was formed by the end of 2012. Landskap’s line-up features musicians with experience in the Hard Rock, Heavy Psychic Rock, Doom Metal, and NWOBHM scenes: on vocals, Jake Harding (“Dead Existence”, “The Death Letter”); on guitar, George Pan (“Father Sun”, “Dead Man's Band”); on bass, Frederic Caure (“SerpentCult”, “Thee Plague Of Gentlemen”); on organ and keyboards, Kostas Panagiotou (“Pantheist”); and on drums, Paul Westwood (“Fen”, “Skaldic Curse”). Landskap means “landscape” in West Flemish, the place of origin of bassist Frederic Caure. Landskap’s debut album, titled "I", was released in January 2014 via Black Widow Records. Their second album, titled “II”, was released in October, 2015, on CD and Vinyl, also with support of Black Widow. The musical style of Landskap is a combination of Heavy Psychedelic Rock of the late ‘60s to early ‘70s, including 80’s Doom Metal guitar riffs and sparse elements of “NWOBHM” on the fastest parts. The instrumentation is fuzzy and distorted, texturized as in the “Stoner Doom” style. The predominant atmosphere is gloomy and lysergic, and the overall sonority recalls a crossover between “Black Sabbath” (from albums “Black Sabbath” to “Vol. IV”), with vocals, lyrics, and organs reminiscent of “Jim Morrison” and “The Doors”. Landskap is therefore on the same line as old and modern bands like “Cream”, “Black Widow”, “Egypt”, “Saint Vitus”, “Witchfinder General”, “Desolation Angels”, “Trouble”, “Samsara Blues Experiment”, “Colour Haze”, “Electric Wizard”, “Radio Moscow”, “Kadavar”, “Stoned Jesus”, “Doomraiser”, “Northwinds”, “Arcade Messiah”, and others. Landskap’s “II” brings six tracks. The heaviest and most powerful are “Leave It All Behind” (10:53) and “Through The Ash” (06:48). “Leave It …” opens the album attacking the listener with merciless Doom Metal riffing and traumatic Heavy Psychedelic pulses. Amidst the machine-gun drumming, hypnotic bass, grave organs, and doped out-of-control vocals, the sonic wave goes forwards, storming everything on its way and literally “leaving it all behind”! Yet “Through The Ash” is faster and dynamic, driven by a groovy riff and a late 60’s swing on bass and drums (recalling “Black Sabbath’s” seminal eponymous album). The organ follows on with the same vibes of “Deep Purple” and “Atomic Rooster”, but at the end the song evolves to an original Psychic-NWOBHM mode. Landskap continues to surprise the listener by falling into the deepest abyss of Heavy Psychedelic Rock, first on the slow and gloomy “South Of No North” (06:09), which brings a strong influence of “Jim Morrison/The Doors” on the stoned vocals and on the transcendental sound of the instrumental passages, including a long, trippy, guitar solo, and an Acid-Jazz twist on the final part. Then, on “Tomorrow's Ghost” (09:45), the band plays in communion to transform the anguish and fear for an unknown future into a masterpiece of modern Psychedelic-Rock, driven by incisive emotional vocals, perennial guitar solo, and lysergic soundscapes, which grow darker and darker as Landskap approaches “the only friend, the end”! The album is completed with two instrumental tracks. “Landskap Theme” (03:01), centralized on the record, is vibrant and tightly arranged, and works as a vehicle for band members to show off with their superior technical abilities. On the other hand, “Lazy Sundae” (6:50), which is the “farewell” track, is free like an experimental acid-jazz piece, on which the musicians keep on jamming and improvising together, amidst clouds of fuzzy sounds and trippy effects. Landskap’s “II” is a solid and impressive album, highly recommendable for fans of Heavy Psychedelic Rock of the late ‘60s to early ‘70s, Doom Metal, Stoner Doom, and Stoner Rock, with a preference for “Black Sabbath”, “The Doors”, “Cream”, “Black Widow”, “Atomic Rooster”, “Egypt”, “Saint Vitus”, “Witchfinder General”, “Desolation Angels”, “Trouble”, “Samsara Blues Experiment”, “Colour Haze”, “Electric Wizard”, “Radio Moscow”, “Kadavar”, “Stoned Jesus”, “Doomraiser”, “Northwinds”, “Arcade Messiah”, and others like them. Band members and collaborators involved in Landskap are: Jake Harding – Vocals; George Pan – Lead Guitar; Frederic Caure – Bass; Kostas Panagiotou – Organ, Keyboards; Paul Westwood – Drums. New Member: Chris West - Bass. Recorded, Mixed and Mastered by Greg Chandler at Priory Recording Studio, “Lazy Sundae” CD Mastering by M’3 at 322 Studio. Cover picture "Yosemite" by Frederic Caure. Also you must visit Landskap's BandCamp Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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02/28/2016.............................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit LANDSKAP HOME PAGE...
. ARABS IN ASPIC - "Victim of Your Father’s Agony"
Arabs in Aspic are back to PR&PM! Arabs in Aspic are a Retro-Rock band that was founded in 1997 in Trondheim, Norway, by Jostein Smeby (guitar, vocals) and Tommy Ingebrigtsen (guitar, Theremin). They were joined by brothers Terje Nyhus (bass) and Eskil Nyhus (drums), and by Magnar Krutvik (Hammond organ). They were later joined by Stig Arve Jørgensen (Hammond, backing vocals), and Magnar was relocated for acoustic guitars and synths. After the releases of the EP “Progeria” (2003) and the album “Aradabia” (2004), Arabs in Aspic ceased activities. In 2006, they regrouped with a reformulated line-up, consisting of original members Jostein Smeby (guitars, vocals), Stig A. Jørgensen (keyboards, acoustic guitar, vocals), and Eskil Nyhus (drums, percussion), joined by Erik Paulsen (bass, vocals). They briefly used the moniker “Arabs in Aspic II”, with the “II” being abandoned prior to the release of the album “Strange Frame of Mind” (2009). In 2013, Arabs in Aspic released their outstanding album, “Pictures in a Dream” (Black Widow Records), which was reviewed at PR&PM in October 2013. In 2015, Arabs in Aspic returned with another amazing album, titled “Victim of Your Father’s Agony” (2015, Black Widow Records). “Victim of Your Father’s Agony” showcases a mature Arabs in Aspic, the members of which have made their homework thoroughly, digging deep into a musical past that spans from the end of the ‘60s to the start of the ‘70s – one of the most prolific eras of Rock. Arabs in Aspic helped themselves from a vast musical menu composed of Psychedelic & Acid Rock, Heavy, Hard & Blues Rock, Proto-Metal & Proto-Prog, and Early Progressive Rock, with influences coming from a long list of bands, including “Titanic”, “Andromeda”, “Nektar”, “The Nice”, “Cream”, “Vanilla Fudge”, “The Moody Blues”, “The Doors”, “Iron Butterfly”, “Mountain”, “Grand Funk”, “Argent”, “Jane”, “King Crimson”, “Black Sabbath”, “Deep Purple”, “Uriah Heep”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Atomic Rooster”, “Captain Beyond”, “Budgie”, “Fuzzy Duck”, “Armageddon”, and others, to which a shall add “Black Widow”, “H.P. Lovecraft”, “Bram Stoker”, “Coven”, “Blodwyn Pig”, “Hawkwind”, “Gandalf”, “Gypsy”, “Jefferson Airplane”, and so on. The dorsal spine of Arabs’ music comes from Eric Paulsen’s unbelievable lines of bass. Like a machine, he provides dynamic rhythms, contagious grooves, and regulates the band’s temperature, playing either vertiginously, or slow-stoned. Paulsen is matched by Nyhus on the drums, as he beats and swings with extraordinary precision, keeping the pace running free. A firm anchorage to the music is furnished by Jørgensen’s gritty Hammond organ and his improvised solos. And Smeby weaves a complex fabric of guitar threads – his performance is always fluent, creative, original, and intuitive, but never devoid of refined technique. This fervent mix of sounds is further improved with vintage keyboards – Mellotrons, Moogs – which add to the Arabs’ sound the typical Psychedelic texture and the right Proto-Prog sonority. Topped with groovy lead vocals, nice harmony vocals, and occasional acoustic guitars, their music shines with all colors of Psychedelia. “Victim of Your Father’s Agony” features 9 tracks. There are three Psychedelic Rock standards: the protest-song “You Can Prove Them Wrong” (3:56) keeps the rebellious attitude of the ‘60s on the emphatic vocals and sticky chorus, and concentrates the discontentment of a generation on its heavy guitar riffs and Hammonds; the folk-love song “Sad Without You” (3:25) has sweet harmony vocals in the vein of “The Beatles”; and “TV 3” (1:39) is groovy, vibrant and colorful. But when the matter concerns instrumental complexity, Arabs in Aspic show that they have already achieved telepathic level on songs like: “One” (6:12) – a Heavy-Rock with alternation of thrilling adventurous passages and climatic vocal interludes that ends with exciting solos of Hammonds, bass, and synths; “The Turk And The Italian Restaurant” (2:42), with awesome interlocking of bass, guitars and keyboards, delivered with swing; and “Flight of the Halibut” (4:08) – an instrumental tour-de-force conveyed on up-and-down dynamic bass, hovering guitars, and Mellotrons that forge unreal atmospheres. When acting in communion, Arabs in Aspic transpose the frontiers of the occult on “God Requires Insanity” (8:21) – a slow tribal song with gloomy influences of “Black Sabbath”, “Black Widow”, “H.P. Lovecraft”, “Bram Stoker”, and “Coven” – and have their coronation as “Kings of Psychedelia” on “Saint-Palais-sur-Mer, pt. 2” (1:04) + “Victim of Your Father's Agony” (5:58) – respectively an acoustic intro and a Psychedelic-Prog masterpiece that starts with trippy passages of acoustic guitars and vocals and, after an awesome Moog solo, twists to rise up vertiginously in acid-jazz spirals! Another brilliant album by Arabs in Aspic, “Victim of Your Father’s Agony” is an essential item for fans of Psychedelic, Heavy Rock and Early Progressive Rock, as played from the late ‘60s to early ‘70s; and Stoner Rock, being highly recommendable for fans of “King Crimson”, “Jane”, “Nektar”, “Cream”, “Vanilla Fudge”, “Moody Blues”, “The Doors”, “Iron Butterfly”, “Mountain”, “Grand Funk”, “Argent”, “Black Sabbath”, “Budgie”, “Deep Purple”, “Atomic Rooster”, “Uriah Heep”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Captain Beyond”, “Fuzzy Duck”, “Armageddon”, “Black Widow”, “H.P. Lovecraft”, “Bram Stoker”, “Coven”, “Blodwyn Pig”, “Gypsy”, “Hawkwind”, “Gandalf”, “Colour Haze”, “Orange Goblin”, “Hypnos 69”, “Spiritual Beggars”, “Electric Wizard”, “Ozric Tentacles”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Arabs In Aspic are: Jostein Smeby – Guitar, Vocals; Stig Arve Kvam-Jørgensen – Keyboards, Acoustic Guitars, Vocals; Erik Paulsen – Bass, Vocals; Eskil Nyhus – Drums, Percussion. Recorded & Mixed at Borse Studio, Trondheim, in 2014-2015 by Jostein Smeby & Arabs In Aspic; Mastered by Morten Stendhal at Redroom Studio, Trondheim, 2015. Cover Art by Julia Proszowska Lund... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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02/28/2016....................If you want know more about this amazing band and its members, visit ARABS IN ASPIC HOME PAGE...
. SILVER HUNTER - "Chapter 1: Mad Moonlighters"
Silver Hunter is an Anglo/French Progressive Rock project founded by British guitarist, singer and songwriter Tim Hunter and vocalist Thierry Sportouche, of French band “Silver Lining”. After a meeting in the ProgYes Festival in 2012, the duo decided to start the project, focusing on 70’s Prog, Pop, Rock and Electronic Music, and blending accessible melodies with progressive theatrical rock. Silver Hunter then combines both Tim Hunter and Thierry Sportouche’s experiences in the field of Prog-Rock. Tim started to play guitar and write songs in the early ‘70s, influenced by bands such as “Wishbone Ash”, “Deep Purple”, “Be-Bop Deluxe”, “Led Zeppelin”, “The Beatles”, “Steely Dan”, “Genesis”, “Procol Harum”, “Mike Oldfield”, and “Jean Michel Jarre”. In 1979 he formed “Everyone Else”, a New-Wave band that released a 7” vinyl single. In 1991, Tim discovered computer-based music using MIDI and sequencers, and began to release albums: “Tim Hunter CD” (1998), “Life in a Traffic Jam”, “On The Right Track”, “An English Voice” (2008), “Uncharted Territory” (2010); and the instrumentals “Northern Soundscapes” (2000) and “Music For Guitar and Synthesizer” (2005). Since 2010 Tim plays live around the U.K., and his posterior albums became even more Prog-oriented: “The Pathway of Light” (2011), “The Aura” (2012), and “Ascension” (2013). Tim’s most recent CD is the EP “Journeys: Captain James Cook” (2015), featuring songs composed for an eponymous musical play, written by “Frederick McKinnon”. Tim has other parallel projects: “Tim and The Technicians” (a techno/synth-pop studio project featuring session singers and musicians) and “KingTimZone” (instrumental project with influences of “Mike Oldfield” and “Jean Michel Jarre”). Thierry Sportouche is an adept of the “Theatrical Progressive Rock” style, which he performs on stage when accompanying the French violin-oriented Progressive Rock band “Silver Lining”, which released one studio album, “The Inner Dragon” (2004, Musea), and the live DVD “Lyon Hearted” (2006). Sportouche uses masks, make-up, and outfits on his performances, as he interprets the characters described on the lyrics of the songs, showing a strong influence of “Christian Décamps” (“Ange”) and “Peter Gabriel” (“Genesis”). In 2013 and 2014, Tim Hunter and Thierry Sportouche made a few presentations of their new project Silver Hunter in London and in the vicinities of Lyon (France). The first Silver Hunter’s release is the independent 4-track EP, titled “Chapter 1: Mad Moonlighters” (2015), which is intended to be the first of a trilogy. The four songs of the EP cover different styles, but all of them show a well-balanced combination of organic-electronic elements, distributed on melodic and accessible arrangements that do not surrender to cheap commercialism. The resulting music is reminiscent of 70’s to 80’s Pop-Rock, sometimes with the sophistication and coolness of the Techno-pop and Synth-pop stylistics; other times exposing a Progressive vein, with influences of “Genesis”, “Ange”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Jean Michel Jarre”, “Steely Dan”, “Marillion” (with “Fish”), and “Peter Gabriel”. “Mad Moonlighters” starts with “Ascension” (4:39) - a danceable song with political lyrics that mixes techno-pop beats with slightly progressive synth-pop tunes, bottomed with groovy bass sounds. It is followed by “Mad Laughter” (5:21) – a slow lounge-song marked by the sound of clapping hands and electronic sounds, driven by a charming swing and “Motown-like” vocals, but also bordered by an organic guitar solo, recalling “Steely Dan” and “Stevie Wonder”. The most Progressive song is “Drive Out The Demons” (7:19) – with theatrical vocal chorus spoken in different languages (French, English, Latin, Spanish) in alternation with long guitar solos, which are supported by organic drums and surrealistic Mellotrons (like a mix of “Genesis”, “Ange”, and “Mona Lisa”). The last song is “The Man In The Moon” (3:16) – a Progressive ballad, cradled in a dreamy ambience, which runs softly on the back of waving synths and relaxing soaring guitars, recalling a bit of “Genesis” of the ‘80s. Although not a full-fledged Progressive Rock act, Silver Hunter offers us an interesting musical proposal that hints at multiple possibilities and further explorations in the future. Their fans must be found amidst enthusiasts of Crossover Progressive Rock, whose tastes include Techno-Pop, Synth Pop, Electronica and Melodic Progressive Rock with a Theatrical vein, being specially recommended for fans of “Ange”, “Mona Lisa”, “Genesis”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Jean Michel Jarre”, “Steely Dan”. Band members and collaborators involved in Silver Hunter are: Tim Hunter – Guitars, Vocals, Synthesizer, some Lyrics; Thierry Sportouche – Vocals, Mellotron, Flute, most Lyrics. Pascal Lachaize – co-author of “The Man In The Moon”. Produced by T. Hunter and T. Sportouche. Recorded and Mastered at Northern Soundscapes Studios in Yorkshire; Additional Recording and Drum Programming (tr. 2-4) at Smokehouse Studios, London, with engineer Rohan Budd... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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03/31/2016...........................,.....Interested to know more about the Project and Musicians? Visit SILVER HUNTER HOME PAGE...
. TOXIC SMILE - "Farewell"
Toxic Smile is welcomed to PR&PM once more! Toxic Smile is a German Progressive-Metal band that was founded in Leipzig in 1996 by keyboardist & saxophonist Marek Arnold (of “Seven Steps to the Green Door”) and drummer Daniel Zehe. The line-up was completed with Uwe Reinholz (guitars), Larry B. (vocals), and Robert Brenner (bass). In 2004, drummer Daniel Zehe left Toxic Smile. He was replaced by Antonius Gruetzner (2004-2008), and later by Robert Eisfeldt. Toxic Smile’s initial discography includes the full-length albums “Madness and Despair” (2000, F.act-Records, remixed and reissued with bonus tracks in 2001 by BMG South Korea) and “RetroTox Forte” (2004, Famous Kitchen), and the DVDs “Live at the Progparade V” (2004) and “Toxic Smile in Classic Extension” (2006). Since 2009, Toxic Smile has been supported by Oliver Wenzler’s label, Progressive Promotion Records. Under PPR, Toxic Smile released the EP “Overdue Visit” (2009) and the full-length albums “I'm Your Saviour” (2011) and “7” (2013), which were reviewed at PR&PM in 2012 and 2014, respectively. After the release of “7”, the band started to work on an ambitious project: a single concept prog-song lasting more than 42 minutes! This song, titled “Farewell” (42:11), was released on an eponymous album in December, 2015, also via Progressive Promotion. Containing only the title track, “Farewell” features guest musician Martin Schnella (“Flaming Row”, “Seven Steps to the Green Door”) doing backing vocals, and a string quartet. The music of Toxic Smile has been continuously evolving from album to album, and on the last one, “7”, the songs were still more free-flowing, cohesive and equilibrated. The “Farewell” song represents the apex of Toxic Smile’s evolution towards an unbounded and most inclusive style of Progressive Metal – one that incorporates elements of Jazz, Pop, and Funk to the arrangements, interspersing those elements in a powerful Metal frame. The resulting sonority has a signature of its own, even though sharing a resemblance with bands like “Dream Theater”, “Queensrÿche”, “Fates Warning”, “Symphony X”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Redemption”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Niacin”, “OSI”, “CAB”, “Planet X”, “Presto Ballet”, and “Weather Report”. The “Farewell” song-album retains all of Toxic Smile’s trademarks: Reinholz’s powerful guitar riffs and dilacerating solos join forces with Breener’s pulsing groovy bass and Eisfeldt’s pounding drumming on a heavy-metal forefront that supports Marek Arnold’s original keyboard approach and his remarkable jazzy saxophone; the quartet being synchronized to the expressive vocals of Larry B. – a visceral singer who combines qualities of “Peter Gabriel” and “David Sylvian”. “Farewell” (42:11) has been developed like a suite, with the vocal parts being spaced along superb instrumental sequences, nevertheless dictating the changes of pace and mood that will prevail on each sequence unfolded. As a novelty, “Farewell” is introduced by a poignant tune executed by a chamber string quartet that strengthens the symphonic nature of the music. The super-song then progresses from soft climates, driven by acoustic guitars bittersweet vocals, and orchestral keyboards, to stormy horizons, on which heavy riffs and powerful thrashing rhythms accumulate. Toxic Smile’s dynamism takes the song on the first quarter through Hard-Prog grooves and magnificent Neo-Prog soaring moments. The second quarter has Thrash-Prog riffs underlined by vivid Latin percussion, kicking organ, and dramatic/celestial orchestrations coming from the string quartet. The third quarter initiates with Space-Psychedelic soundscapes – constructed with soulful bass and cosmic-sounding synths – that are bombarded later with raging vocals, heavy groovy riffs, slicing guitar solos, and hammering keyboards, gradually transmuting to a Fusion sequence that congregates funky bass and drums, swinging piano, and frantic jazzy sax. The coming of epic vocals makes the song to hover up to breathtaking Prog-Metal altitudes, pushed by amazing guitar solos that bridge the third and fourth quarters together. Finally, sophisticated Art-Rock vocals and vivid sax tunes take the listener to “Farewell’s” epic conclusion! Under my point of view, “Farewell” is a brilliant work by Toxic Smile – a modern Progressive opus, that has the same magnitude of masterpieces such as: “Tarkus” (“ELP”), “Echoes” (“Pink Floyd”), “Supper’s Ready” (“Genesis”), “Thick As a Brick” (“Jethro Tull”), “Close To The Edge” and “The Gates of Delirium” (“Yes”), “2112” (“Rush”), and “Octavarium” (“Dream Theater”). Unfortunately, “Farewell” has also marked the departure of guitarist Uwe Reinholz from Toxic Smile (he needed time to run his own music school and to be with his family). He was replaced by Stephan Pankow (of “Divine X”), who is already working with Toxic Smile on upcoming material. In the meantime, Toxic Smile and their song-album “Farewell” stay as highly recommendable items for Progressive Metal & Fusion Metal fans who love “Dream Theater”, “Fates Warning”, “Symphony X”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Queensrÿche”, “Redemption”, “OSI”, “Niacin”, “CAB”, “Planet X”, “Presto Ballet”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Tiles”, “Dillinger Scape Plan”, “Coheed & Cambria”, and others like them. Band members and collaborators involved in Toxic Smile are: Larry B. – Lead & Backing Vocals; Marek Arnold – Keyboards, Saxophone; Uwe Reinholz – Guitars; Robert Brenner – Basses; Robert Eisfeldt – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals. Guest musician: Martin Schnella – Backing Vocals. Concerto Bellotto String Quartet (Dresden): Cornelia Pfeil – Violin; Angelika Grünert – Violin; Susanne Goerlich – Viola; Uta Schröder – Cello. Recordings: Drums & Strings by Niklas Wenzel (Virtouse Vibes Studio); Basses by Robert Brenner; Guitars by Uwe Reinholz, reamping by Martin Schnella; Vocals, Keyboards & Sax, by Marek Arnold; Editing by Marek Arnold (B’side-Music); Mixing & Mastering by Martin Schnella (Overlodge Recording Studio). Painting “Sleeping Elf” and Cover by Robert Brenner... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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03/31/2016..........................Would like to know more about the band and their history, please visit TOXIC SMILE HOME PAGE...
. THE GROUP 309 - "The Keeper Of An Hourglass"
The Group 309 is back to PR&PM! The Group 309 is a Russian band that plays an eclectic mix of Progressive Rock, Art-Rock and AOR music propelled by powerful Rock and Hard Rock vibes. The group was conceived by Andrey Pishchulov (keyboards, vocals, music) to convey music inspired on the poetic lyrics written by Darya Yashenko. With a line-up consisting of lgor Inshakov (guitar), Nikita Simonov (bass), and Ruslan Dzhigkayty (drums), and with support of Russian Progressive Label MALS Ltd. The Group 309 released an excellent debut album in 2010, titled “Dreams of Sea” (reviewed at PR&PM in 2011). The music was driven by powerful Hard Rock riffs combined to Symphonic keyboards, topped by melodic guitar solos and Art-Rock vocals sung in Russian, being influenced by bands ranging from “Autograph” and “Little Tragedies”, to “Rush”, “Asia”, “Magnum”, “Triumph”, “Journey”, “Toto”, “Queen”, and “IQ”. The Group 309 is now presenting their second album, titled “The Keeper of an Hourglass” (2014, Mals Ltd.). Spearheaded by Andrey Pishchulov on keyboards and vocals, the line-up of the new record is basically the same, featuring lIgor Inshakov on guitar and Ruslan Dzhigkayty on drums. Nikita Simonov (the bassist on the first album) played only three songs, being replaced on the others by new bassist Andrey Travkin. Two guest singers, Irina Surina and Nikolay Vengrzhanovich, sang a few songs. The Russian lyrics were written by poet Darya Yashenko and translated to English on the CD’s booklet. The artwork was again left in charge of Yuri Tolstov. Realizing that Group 309 had a lean to accessible Art-Rock, I ended my review on their first album questioning which direction the band would take in the future. Would they stay in the realms of Pop-Art-Rock or plunge deeper into Prog? The answer came out and loud from all 11 tracks of “The Keeper …” This album really surprised me with its selection of exciting Prog-songs that cover an eclectic range of styles – from the ultimately Symphonic Prog to the finest Neo-Prog – blended to teasing moments of Classic Hard-Rock, Heavy Prog, and melodic Prog-Metal. Pishchulov is ahead of the band, singing and playing the grand piano with the style and sensibility inherited from the Russian masters, and composing epic orchestral arrangements with his synths. His panoramic keyboards share the sonic space with the fantastic guitarist lIgor Inshakov, whose harmonic interventions evolved monstrously from the first to the second album, and whose amazing solos come straight from his heart. On the rhythmic base, drummer Ruslan Dzhigkayty has grown to the proportions of a savage animal, without losing his skill for playing the most refined parts. And new bassist Andrey Travkin showcases a superb talent for harmonizing the music, instilling groove and power to the new songs. This evolved musical orientation of Group 309 has brought to mind a lot of other bands, including “Genesis”, “UK”, “Rick Wakeman”, and “Renaissance”, but retaining an original signature, firmly rooted on the folkloric and academic music of Russia. The 10 songs and 1 instrumental piece that comprise “The Keeper …” are all outstanding and will impact each listener differently, according to his/her particular tastes. The most symphonic, cadenced, and oneiric songs featuring classic piano, romantic strings, a few acoustic passages, and epic guitar riffs are: “The Autumn Evening” (7:33) – a beautiful palatial song; “May I Draw Wings for Myself?” (6:54) – a formidable mix of Progressive andantes and Metal allegros, crowned with a magnificent Neo-Prog guitar; and “One under The Umbrella” (4:42) – a ballad driven by amazing bass that grows in a typical Progressive way. The tracks sung by the impressive Irina Surina are also outstanding. Her bewitching voice, coupled to a powerful instrumentation, has set the ideal dark-folk atmosphere on “The Confession of a Witch” (6:54); and then turned to joyful, matching the vivid arrangements of “Tranquilly and Uneasily” (3:50). A peak of dynamic complexity is reached on “The Wheel of our Fate” (5:02) – a breathtaking instrumental piece. And a huge amount of energy is concentrated on the Prog-AOR songs “The Keeper of an Hourglass” (4:56) and “Everything Has Been Thought Up So Well” (4:28), which combine bombastic synths and memorable guitars with pulsing rhythms that recall the best of “Asia” and “Magnum”. The heat increases on the Hard-Rock “The Shades of the Past” (5:45) (with riffs like “Deep Purple”), and on the Prog-Metal “You Sleep” (5:19), which ironically awakens the listener with exploding drums, awesome guitars, and merciless duels of bass and keyboards! Both songs are passionately conducted by singer Nikolay Vengrzhanovich and madly performed by bassist Andrey Travkin. The song “Follow the Way of Birds” (4:30) finishes the album with mixed male/female vocals and celebratory symphonic arrangements! In sum, The Group 309’s “The Keeper of an Hourglass” is well superior to its predecessor, offering to listeners a collection of dynamic Progressive songs embellished with real musicianship, which deserve to be listened for many times! Highly recommendable for fans of Symphonic Progressive Rock, Heavy Prog, Hard-Rock and Prog-Metal who like “Autograph”, “Little Tragedies”, “Azazello”, “Quorum”, “Rush”, “Asia”, “IQ”, “Genesis”, “Renaissance”, “Rick Wakeman”, “UK”, “Deep Purple”, and others. Band members and collaborators involved in The Group 309 are: Andrey Pishchulov – Vocals, Keyboards; lIgor Inshakov – Guitar; Andrey Travkin – Bass; Ruslan Dzhigkayty – Drums and Percussion. Additional Musicians: Nikita Simonov – Bass (on “The Autumn…”, “The Keeper…” and “Everything…”); Irina Surina – Vocals (on “The Confession…” and “Tranquilly…”); Nikolay Vengrzhanovich – Vocals (on “You Sleep” and “The Shades…”). Darya (a.k.a. Dasha) Yashenko – Lyrics; Alek Vagapov – Translation; Yuri Tolstov – Artwork; Nikolay Vengrzhanovich – Sound Producer. Recorded and Engineered at Light Temple Records... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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03/31/2016.....................If you want know more about this amazing band and its members, visit THE GROUP 309 HOME PAGE...
. ERRATA CORRIGE - "Siegfried, Il Drago e Altre Storie-2015 version"
The Italian band Errata Corrige is much welcomed to PR&PM! With a line-up consisting of Mike Abate (acoustic and electric guitars, vocals), Marco Cimino (keyboards, flute, vocals), Gianni Cremona (bass, acoustic guitar, vocals), and Guido Giovine (drums, percussion, vocals), Errata Corrige was active in Turin from 1974 to 1975. After a last concert at Teatro Carignano in Turin, in June 1975, Errata Corrige dissolved, because band members had different prospects for the future. In 1976 they decided to record the music that they had composed together, as a document of their past activity. They entered an 8-track studio for a few days to produce 5 tracks, which were published on a vinyl LP titled “Siegfried, Il Drago e Altre Storie” (1976, EC Label). As a privately pressed album, “Siegfried …” became a rare and coveted item of Italian Prog-Rock, particularly in Asia. Other songs by Errata Corrige were released on a CD titled “Mappamondo” (1991, Mellow Records), and one early song, “Saturday il Cavaliere”, was included as a bonus track on the CD version of “Siegfried …” released under Vinyl Magic in 2002. Almost 40 years after the release of the original edition of “Siegfried …” the four members of Errata Corrige met up again at the studio to re-record those 5 original songs with the budget, experience, and technical facilities that were not available at the time. The core music was superposed to new parts, originally intended for French horn, oboe, sax, trumpet and cello, which were performed by excellent professional players (see list below). The result was registered on a new digipack version of “Siegfried, Il Drago e Altre Storie”, released in 2015 under initiative of Black Widow Records. The album consists of a CD containing the 5 original tracks plus a DVD featuring the live-at-studio recording and a bonus video (“Cadence and Cascade”, a cover of “King Crimson”). Besides this special edition, Black Widow has officially reissued the LP on vinyl, including a 12-page book with rare footage, for collectors. The music of Errata Corrige is characterized by a balanced mix of Folk and Symphonic Progressive Rock, with lyrics inspired on medieval themes. The folky parts are guided by a predominantly pastoral flute, accompanied by the placid plucking of acoustic guitars and smooth lead and harmony vocals. The provincial softness of those moments is often replaced by the symphonic interludes, which are very melodic and orchestrated. Multi-layered arrangements having delicate electric guitars, gentle bass, poignant cello, and mild drums concur with keyboards (ranging from the piano to an atmospheric Mellotron) to create a kind of dreamy, fairy-tale background on which adventurous melodies gallop fearlessly amidst the listener’s imagination. The additional blowing instruments gave new life to the instrumental parts, enhancing the textural palette of Errata Corrige’s music and increasing the intricacy of the arrangements. The listener will realize a sonic resemblance with bands of the Italian Prog-Rock pantheon, such as “Celeste”, “Pierrot Lunaire”, “Apoteosi”, “Premiata Forneria Marconi”, “Le Orme”, “Delirium”, “Quella Vecchia Locanda”, “Locanda Delle Fate”, “Alusa Fallax”, “Consorzio Acqua Potabile”, “Maxophone”, “Il Castello di Atlante”; coupled to influences of British bands, such as “King Crimson”, “Genesis”, “Camel”, “Gryphon”, and “Jethro Tull”. “Siegfried …” starts with the overture “Viaggio di Saggezza” (2:50), which recalls “PFM” and “Jethro Tull”; and soon amazes the listener with the main suite, “Del Cavaliere Citadel e del Drago della Foresta di Lucanor” (11:25). Divided in five parts – a) “Il Richiamo”; b) “Nella Foresta”; c) “Il Drago”; d) “Fuggi Citadel”; and e) “Ritorno al Villaggio” – this magnificent piece exemplifies the story-telling style of Errata Corrige, containing the elements that are so important for Prog-fans: lyrics inspired on fantasy themes; a balanced alternation of vocals and superb instrumental parts; changes on the cadence and rhythm that correspond to the different levels of emotion, drama and action present on each moment of the story; and exciting hooks binding everything together! “Del Cavaliere …” competes for the listener’s preference against “Siegfried (Leggenda)” (8:30) and “Siegfried (Mito)” (4:58) - two songs having the same legendary theme, but distinct sonic signatures: “Leggenda” is an outstanding Medieval-Prog piece; while “Mito” has an accessible lean that recalled me of “Genesis”, circa 1976. The final track, “Dal Libro di Bordo della ‘Adventure’” (9:01), begins with playful melodies of cello chasing the flute, grows in drama with the piano, and surprises the listener with a Jazzy swerve on the organ and sax. The DVD registers Errata Corrige’s live-at-studio recording activity, showing in fullness all five compositions of the CD, each one preceded by a brief comment made by a band member. The DVD still brings the bonus cover-song “Cadence and Cascade” (“King Crimson”), with Italian lyrics! In sum, this Black Widow’s re-release of Errata Corrige’s debut album unites a masterpiece of the Italian Prog with an extra DVD and bonus, offering quality of sound and image in a de-luxe digipack edition that shall figure in any collection of Folk and Symphonic Progressive Rock, also consisting in a must-have item for fans of Italian Progressive Rock who like “Celeste”, “Pierrot Lunaire”, “Locanda Delle Fate”, “Premiata Forneria Marconi”, “Quella Vecchia Locanda”, “Apoteosi”, “Delirium”, “Alusa Fallax”, “Consorzio Acqua Potabile”, “Le Orme”, “Maxophone”, “Il Castello di Atlante”, “Jethro Tull”, “Camel”, “Genesis”, “Gryphon”, and “King Crimson”. Band members and collaborators involved in Errata Corrige are: Mike Abate - Acoustic & Electric Guitars, Vocals; Marco Cimino - All Keyboards, Flute, Vocals; Gianni Cremona - Bass Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals; Guido Giovine - Drums, Percussion & Vocals. Guest Musicians: Manuel Zigante - Cello; Martin Mayes - French Horn; Federico Forla – Oboe; Ivan Bert – Trumpet; Diego Mascherpa - Alto Sax, Clarinet. Recorded at Officina Sonora Studios, Turin, Italy; Engineered by Davide Turbino; Produced by Marco Cimino. DVD track-list: 1. “Viaggio di Saggezza” (3:09); 2. “Del Cavaliere Citadel ...” (11:54); 3. “Siegfried (Leggenda)” (8:48); 4. “Siegfried (Mito)” (5:24); 5. “Dal libro di bordo della ‘Adventure” (5:06); 6. “Cadence and Cascade” (“Fripp – Sinfield”)... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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03/31/2016....................................Interested to know more about this great Italian Band? Visit ERRATA CORRIGE HOME PAGE...
. CLAY GREEN’S POLYSORBATE MASQUERADE BAND - "Chronicles of Bubbledroid – Collector’s Edition"
Clay Green is an independent artist from California who plays electric and acoustic guitar (including 12-string and classical). He composes and records his own music, which is purely instrumental and mainly acoustic. As solo-artist, Clay Green released two self-produced CD’s: “Twilight’s Haze” (2005) and “Voyage to Gondwanaland” (2006). The Clay Green’s Polysorbate Masquerade Band was a previous Prog-Rock project in course during the ‘90s, that counted with Clay Green (acoustic & electric guitars, digital transmutations); Edward Richard (bass, organ, keyboards); and the machine known as The Bubbledroid (drums & percussion, arrangements, DNA sequencing). From 1994-2010, this “trio” recorded 23 instrumental compositions, a number enough to complete two albums. A first set of 12 compositions were recorded 1994-2004, and mastered and released in 2005 under the title “Chronicles of Bubbledroid”. The same set of compositions were re-mastered in 2012 and, together with the remaining 11 (which were recorded 1994-2010, but mastered only in 2012), were released on the new CD “Chronicles of Bubbledroid – Collector’s Edition” (2012, ClayLabs). The sound of Clay Green’s Polysorbate Masquerade Band is defined by Clay Green himself, as “Heavy Instrumental Progressive Rock” in the style of the Early 70’s, featuring gritty organs, “wah-wah” guitars, intricate arrangements, and differing time signatures. The influences are “Argent”, “Atomic Rooster”, “Bloodrock”, “Arthur Brown's Kingdom Come”, “Camel”, “Caravan”, “Colosseum II”, “Deep Purple”, “Emerson, Lake & Palmer”, “Focus”, “Fuzzy Duck”, “Gentle Giant”, “Greenslade”, “PFM”, “The Nice”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Yes”, and “Frank Zappa”. This 23-track version of “Chronicles of Bubbledroid” has a total running time of 79:40. The sonority is pleasantly vintage, with sculptured arrangements, intense bass and keyboards interplay (recalling “Fuzzy Duck”, “Zappa”), and effusive guitars, sometimes tending to the Rocky signatures of “Atomic Rooster” and “Argent”. Colorful symphonic patterns with a touch of Classical music (recalling “The Nice”, early “ELP”, and “Greenslade”) are blended with psychedelic-gothic atmospheres of “Arthur Brown” amidst Jazz-Rock interludes. Vigorous parts may dissolve into melodic guitar tunes, like “Argent” and “Focus”, but if melded with acoustic guitars may recall “PFM”. The time signatures may recall “Gentle Giant”, “King Crimson” and “VdGG”. All is driven by such a vibrant drumming, that is hard to believe that the Bubbledroid is a machine. The first 12 tracks comprise the original “Chronicles …” album. Some of them are short, and seem to be just initial roughs containing ideas for still incomplete compositions. But “Saturn’s Orbit” (5:57) (with the energy and style of “Fuzzy Duck”, with a Classical guitar interlude); “Time Sun (Intro)” (0:40) & “Time Sun” (5:11) (recalling the music of “Camel”, “PFM”, and “Caravan”, and having a “Steve Howe”-styled guitar); “Dry Suites 94” (7:07) (on which symphonic classical pianos and majestic organs turn out to a Jazz-Rock like “Zappa” and “PFM”, and later to a hard-rock like “Atomic Rooster”); “Pusso” (3:33) (with groovy pianos and keyboards); and “Beeple on Top of a Bridge” (3:09) (a Progressive brocade of guitars, bass, keyboards, and sax sounds influenced by “King Crimson”), are amazing indeed, and capture the spirit of a great musical time. The remaining pieces are the groovy “Shuffle Butt’s Slow Down” (1:19); the electronic “Sixty-Eigth” (2:14); “Broken Mirror With Sand” (2:40) (a crossing of “Gentle Giant” with “Atomic Rooster”); “Groovey Paste” (1:01) (reminiscent of “Arthur Brown”); and the scherzos “Frog Boy” (2:10) and “Rough Landing” (0:57) (both recalling “The Nice” & “ELP”). The subsequent set of 11 compositions on this version of “Chronicles …” are offered as bonus tracks. They have been recorded during a longer period of time, and sound even better than those of the previous set. The very best are “Piazz” (4:51) (a symphonic piece with bass progressions, sensitive classical piano, and beautiful guitar solo, like “Focus”, “VdGG” and “Crimson”); “Return of Episode Xanadu” (3:05) (with a “Greenslade” style and a great guitar solo that dominates half of the track); “Thanks!” (8:42) (which has everything from Jazz-Rock, Psychedelic, and Hard Rock moments to sounds of vibraphones, “phantom of the opera organs”, and wild solos of guitars and keyboards); “The Zoo” (4:39) (a Funky-Prog, recalling “Zappa”); “Looking Back” (4:03) (a Fusion); and the pair “Lost at Sea (Part I) [Edited]” (0:59) & “Lost at Sea (Part II)” (6:05), an amazing Progressive piece combining strings, organs, harpsichords, flutes, acoustic Spanish guitars, and heavier session for bass, organs, and epic guitar tunes! This bonus-set is completed with “Here” (1:57) and “Plan 2” (1:44) (both with the pompous style of “ELP” and “Greenslade”); the metamorphosing “Masp” (4:23) (which begins folkloric and grows to a frantic guitar solo); and the experimental “New Sheen” (2:13). I am very glad that Clay Green had the initiative of making all this material available, because his Polysorbate Masquerade Band was wonderfully nice, being highly recommendable for fans of “Argent”, “Atomic Rooster”, “Bloodrock”, “Arthur Brown's Kingdom Come”, “Camel”, “Caravan”, “Colosseum”, “Emerson, Lake & Palmer”, “Focus”, “Fuzzy Duck”, “Gentle Giant”, “Greenslade”, “PFM”, “The Nice”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Frank Zappa”, and other bands of the early ‘70s. Band members and collaborators involved in Clay Green’s Polysorbate Masquerade Band are: Clay Green - Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Organization of Digital Transmutations; Edward Richard - Bass, Organ, Keyboards; The Bubbledroid – Coordination of Drums & Percussion, Arrangements, and DNA sequencing. Tracks 1-12: Recorded 1994-2004; Mastered 2005 (Claylabs, USA), Remastered 2012 (ClayLabs, USA) Bonus Tracks 13-23: Recorded 1994-2010; Mastered 2012 (ClayLabs, USA)... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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04/30/2016...............................More about the Band? Visit CLAY GREEN’S POLYSORBATE MASQUERADE BAND HOME PAGE...
. ODIN’S COURT - "Deathanity (R3)"
Odin’s Court is a Progressive Rock and Metal band based in Baltimore, Maryland (USA). Odin’s Court was formed in 2001 around the multi-instrumentalist and composer Matt Brookins (vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, percussion, sound engineering and production). The present line-up also counts with Dimetrius LaFavors (vocals), Rick Pierpont (guitar, backing vocals), Jason Pierpont (bass), and Gary Raub (drums, percussion). At first Odin’s Court released a demo, “Odin’s Court” (2002); two independent albums, “Driven by Fate” (2003) and “ReDriven by Fate” (2005); and the DVD “Court is Now in Session” (2006). In 2008, the band signed with ProgRock Records, which released four titles: “Deathanity” (2008), “Human Life in Motion” (2011), “Appalachian Court” (2012), and “The Warmth of Mediocrity” (2013). In 2015, Odin’s Court released “Turtles All The Way Down” via Brookin’s own label, D2C Studios. Odin’s Court has performed several shows in the USA, sharing the stage with “Symphony X”, “Spock’s Beard”, “King’s X’, “Sonata Arctica”, “Jon Oliva’s Pain”, “Circle II Circle”, “Helloween”, “Crimson Glory”, “Devin Townsend”, “Kamelot”, “Circa”, “Enchant”, and more. Most of those bands have been influential to Odin’s Court’s sound, together with “Journey”, “Queen”, “Boston”, “HIM”, “Iron Maiden”, “Metallica”, “Dream Theater”, “OSI”, “Tool”, “Type O Negative”, “Fear Factory”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Pink Floyd”, and “Yanni”. For those who think that blending those divergent sonorities in one single album is impossible, I invite them to listen to Odin’s Court’s new release: “Deathanity (R3)” (March, 2016, D2C Studios). “Deathanity (R3)” is a “reboot” of the original 2008 “Deathanity” – an ambitious and still up-to-date concept-album that analyzed the hazardous effect of mankind on our planet. As it ever was Odin’s Court best-selling album, the band decided to revisit it, improving the quality of the record. The “R3” of the title stands for a Re-mix of the original music; a Re-recording of additional instruments and vocals by LaFavors (he entered the band in 2013); and a Re-mastering of the material. “Deathanity (R3)” also features guest singers Tom Englund (“Evergrey”) and Tony Kakko (“Sonata Arctica”). The sound of Odin’s Court blends Progressive and Classic Rock with Metal and Prog-Metal, also expanding the limits to Folk and Fusion. With LaFavors and Brookins sharing the role of lead singer, the vocal parts may recall a mix of “Devin Townsend”, “Journey”, “Kansas”, or “HIM”. With help of harmony and female backing vocals, the vocalizations are more “operatic”, resembling “Symphony X”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Blind Guardian”, “Ayreon”, “Roswell Six”, and “Queen”. The instrumentation is opulent, tending to a melodic Prog-Metal, resembling “Shadow Gallery”, “Dream Theater”, “Enchant”, “Cairo”, “Explorers’ Club”, “Threshold”, “Royal Hunt”, and “Evergrey”. The guitars are outstanding, dominating the songs with long passages of face-melting solos, taking the highest point when Rick Pierpont’s aggressive Metal verve is confronted to Brookins’ most soaring Progressive style. Powerful drums go from the pounding Metal way to the swinging beat of Classic Rock, but some passages are so interlocked to the bass lines, that the complexity verges the Fusion-Prog-Metal style. Synths provide a symphonic covering and deliver blazing solos; some thrilling lines of piano tend to the Classic and Jazz, and an occasional gritty organ shifts the music to 70’s Hard-Rock (like “Kansas” or “Uriah Heep”). The alien presence of a sax is distinguishing on the album. And interview clips and other sound effects create the conceptual ambience. “Deathanity (R3)” has 12 exceptional multi-layered tracks, instilled with a sonic diversity that covers many styles and offers surprises. The intro “Terracide” (5:43) juxtaposes interview clips to dramatic Metal parts, setting the right catastrophic atmosphere. The Prog-songs “Volatilestial” (7:25) – with an epic operatic vein, long solos of guitar, sax, and psychedelic organ – and “Animaulic” (7:06) – having atmospheric vocals contrasting with fast instrumental sequences – include much of Odin’s Court’s best qualities, described above. A pair of songs, “Obesite” (5:37) and “Cosmosera” (6:12), are semi-acoustic Prog-ballads that will fascinate fans of “Cairo”, “Circa”, “Kansas” and “Yes”. “Obesite” is the most outstanding, for having a Jazzy sax and sweet female vocals. Trailing the path of the most aggressive Prog-Metal, having contagious riffs and carnivorous solos of synths and guitars, the songs “Manifest Destiny” (5:12) and “Mammonific” (5:03) will drag fans of “Devin Townsend”, “DT” and “Evergrey”; while “Crownet” (4:24) with its furious Power-Metal galop, will attract fans of “Sonata Arctica”. In contrast to those heavy songs, Odin’s Court exposes an extraordinary Progressive vein on four superb instrumental pieces: “Oceanica Toxica” (5:58) (a Celtic-Folk driven by harmony guitars in “Iron Maiden’s” style); “Esoterica” (7:09) (a combination of magnificent guitar solos and hovering Metal riffs); “Ode to Joy” (3:46) (a bombastic Neo-Classical piece inspired on “Beethoven’s” 9th Symphony); and “Vastificant” (4:08) – a vibrant piece driven by Spanish guitars and sax. “Deathanity (R3)” is a brilliant new version of Odin’s Court’s most classic album, featuring expressive moments of Metal and Classic Rock pervaded by unique Progressive musicianship, being highly recommendable for fans of “Symphony X”, “Dream Theater”, “Enchant”, “Devin Townsend”, “King’s X”, “Journey”, “Queen”, “HIM”, “Iron Maiden”, “OSI”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Ayreon”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Royal Hunt”, “Ivanhoe”, “Threshold”, “Explorers’ Club”, “Roswell Six”, “Kamelot”, “Cairo”, “Evergrey”, “Blind Guardian”, “Tiles”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Odin’s Court are: Matt Brookins – Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards, Bass, Mandolin, Percussion, Sound Effects; Rick Pierpont – Guitar & Backing Vocals; Dimetrius LaFavors – Vocals; John Abella – Drums & Percussion; Savino Palumbo – Additional Keyboards & Piano Solos; Craig Jackson – Additional Bass; Nicki Brookins, Suzanne Warner & Elena Hall – Vocals; Bill Green – Saxophone. Guest Singers: Tom Englund (on “Mammonific”); Tony Kakko (on “Crownet”). OC’s Present Line-up: Matt Brookins – Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards, Additional Instruments; Dimetrius LaFavors – Vocals; Rick Pierpont – Guitar, Backing Vocals; Jason Pierpont – Bass; Gary Raub – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals. Produced, Recorded and Mixed by Matt Brookins at D2C Studios; Mastered by Nelson Starr. Track 10, “Ode to Joy”, by Ludwig Van Beethoven, arranged by M. Brookins. Also you must visit Odin’s Court's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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04/30/2016...................................................More information? Better check it out for yourself at: ODIN’S COURT HOME PAGE...
. VY (GABY VIDAL) - "Vy"
Gaby Vidal is a guitar player, producer, engineer, and composer from Guayanabo, Puerto Rico. A multi-task musician, Gaby Vidal is always involved in several projects, such as: “Bando”, “Ongo”, “The Odd John Hawkins Trio”, “Similar”, and “Vy”, all of which cover diverse styles that range from Alternative Rock to Experimental, Progressive and Heavy Metal. In the past, Gaby Vidal has also played on other projects (“Trili”, “Denario & The Whiskey Band”, and “La Mosca/Spanish Flies”). There is not much information about Gaby Vidal on the net, but his music speaks for him. His website and his count on Soundcloud have an expressive amount of his songs and samples of his albums, which are available for digital download or for free-share. Gaby Vidal’s project Vy has so far released two independent albums: “Vy” (2013) and “Vy2” (2015). Gaby Vidal plays all guitars, bass, keyboards, his iPad device, and additional instruments. His compositions usually count with several different drummers and singers (either male or female), and a few guest musicians (see list below). The songs feature Spanish lyrics. The music is born from the convergence of different genres and styles (Rock, Metal, Progressive, Jazz-Fusion, Experimental, Electronica), mixed to the Latin music of Puerto Rico. The influences are ample, and there are many points of contact with the music of bands such as: “King Crimson”, “Pink Floyd”, “The Mars Volta”, “Steve Vai”, “Joe Satriani”, “Buckethead”, “Metallica”, “Annihilator”, “WatchTower”, “Blotted Science”, “Primus”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Niacin”, “Psychotic Waltz”, “Iron Maiden”, “Black Sabbath”, “Santana”, “Fito Páez”, “El Trio”, “Queens of the Stone Age”, and others of the kind. The album “Vy” (2013) contains 11 tracks and immediately impresses the listener with its originality, great creativity, high musicianship, and high quality of sound. Gaby Vidal is an eclectic guitarist who is proficient in Heavy Rock and Metal-Fusion playing. He is not afraid of experimenting with odd-metrics and new modes; and also likes to explore new musical frontiers, by experimenting with Ambient-Electronic sounds that he extracts from his guitars, keyboards, and computer machines. The drummers are excellent, at a professional level. The singers that take part in the project bring a special mood and atmosphere to each song. The compositions of the “Vy” album are divided in instrumental pieces and songs. Tracks 1-“Intro” (3:38), 2-“Breed In” (2:26), 4-“Invisible” (5:01), and 8-“Un Paseo” (5:17) are sensational instrumental pieces that pour down on the listener many tons of guitar decibels coupled to powerful pounding drums. “Intro” has impacting drum solo and violent Metal guitars haunted by a ghostly violin; “Breed In” fuses odd-time signatures that recall a Metal version of “King Crimson”; “Invisible” is a “Progressive-NWOBHM” hybrid – fast, original and awesome; and “Un Paseo” records the duel of a solitary brave guitarist against five drummers, amidst soothing interludes with Spanish guitars! Tracks 3-“Tierra de Nadie” (4:58), 5-“Sueños” (6:40), 7-“Miedo a lo Desconocido” (6:30), 9-“Cada Miedo” (2:11), and 10-“A Donde Van?” (4:02) are the songs of the album. My favorites are “Sueños” – a slow bluesy song featuring sensual vocal performance by Lily Vidal, a lyrical chorus, and a sensitive guitar solo; and “Miedo a lo Desconocido” – which has somber lines of bass and compacted Thrashing riffs that recall “Metallica”, being surrounded by a gloomy atmosphere created by the intense performance of the singer-lyricist, Josué González. Agustín “Chito” Criollo is the incisive lead-singer and lyricist of the remaining three songs: “Tierra de Nadie” is a 70’s Hard-Rock driven by pulsing bass, gritty organs, and raging guitars; while the ballads “Cada Miedo” and “A Donde Van?” are outstanding for blending keyboards of the exogenous Psychedelic Rock with the domestic music of Puerto Rico, bringing in Latin rhythms, traditional percussion, acoustic guitars, and warm vocals. The album still brings the (mostly) instrumental experimental tracks 6-“El Eco de un Mundo Muerto” (9:33) and 11-“Digital Hoarder” (7:57). “El Eco …” is melancholic and creepy, composed of ambient sounds extracted from guitars and keyboards, like a mix of “Pink Floyd” and “Brian Eno”; and “Digital …” is an Electronic-Organic piece that undergoes a metamorphosis from beginning to end, combining sequences of synthetic noises that clash at random against aggressive guitar riffs and patches of Latin acoustic guitars, finishing with fairish female vocals (a process that recalls “King Crimson”). Overall, I became very impressed by Gaby Vidal – an original artist, well-tuned to the modern trends, but firmly rooted to his Latin heritage. Gaby Vidal and Vy are highly recommendable for fans of Experimental Rock, Heavy Metal, Progressive Metal, & Crossover Rock, who love “King Crimson”, “Pink Floyd”, “The Mars Volta”, “Steve Vai”, “Joe Satriani”, “Buckethead”, “Metallica”, “Annihilator”, “WatchTower”, “Blotted Science”, “Primus”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Niacin”, “Psychotic Waltz”, “Black Sabbath”, “Santana”, “Fito Páez”, “El Trio”, “QOTSA”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in GJV are: Gaby Vidal – Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, iPad, Violin (on “Intro”). Guest Musicians: Drummers: Carlos Benítez (1, 4); José Ruiz Márquez (2, 5; left drum solo on 8; electric drums on 11); Pablo Rivas (3; brushes on 8); Abey Vázquez (7); Quintin Roche (8); Ian Vidal (8, 9, 10); Eduardo Paniagua (right drum solo on 8); Daniel Sierra (noise drums on 11). Singers: Agustín “Chito” Criollo (3, also bass and lyrics; 9, 10, also lyrics); Lily Vidal (5); Jerry Rivera (backing vocals on 5); Josué González (7, also lyrics); BB Justo (backing vocals on 7, 10); Ana Cristina Muñoz (9); Liliana “Pinky” Vidal (11). Other Instruments: Tybaldo – Percussion (9, 10); Victor Ramos – Bass (10); Osvaldo Lopes – Left side guitar solo (11). Produced, Recorded & Mixed by G.Vidal at Ongolandia Studio. Also you must visit Gaby Vidal's SoundCloud Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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04/30/2016...................................Interested to know more about the Musician and Band? Visit VY (GABY VIDAL) HOME PAGE...
. URIAH HEEP - "Totally Driven"
The legendary Rock band Uriah Heep is welcomed to PR&PM!Uriah Heep was formed in London in 1969 and is still active today, recording and touring. Uriah Heep was an important band of the 70’s Hard Rock scene, as much as “Led Zeppelin”, “Deep Purple” and “Black Sabbath” were. Their style – a powerful blend of heavy guitar and Hammond-based riffs with melodic acoustic moments, topped by soulful lead vocals and nice harmony vocals – has dragged millions of fans around the world, and has been influential for hundreds of bands until present time. Some of their songs could even be said to fit into an embryonic Prog-Metal style. Uriah Heep began to form earlier in 1967, first as “The Stalkers”, and later as “Spice”. The moniker Uriah Heep (a character of Dicken’s novel, “David Copperfield”) appeared during the recording of the first album. At that time, Uriah Heep’s line-up consisted of founding members David Byron (vocals) and Mick Box (guitars), plus Paul Newton (bass) and Alex Napier (drums). Nigel Olsson replaced Napier still during the recordings (but he would leave UH soon). Ken Hensley (keyboards) entered as a fifth member. Uriah Heep then released the albums “...Very 'Eavy ...Very 'Umble” (1970), “Salisbury” (1971), and “Look at Yourself” (1971). In 1971, Uriah Heep’s classical line-up was formed, with Byron (vocals), Mick Box (guitars), Ken Hensley (keyboards), Gary Thain (bass), and Lee Kerslake (drums). They released the classic albums, “Demons and Wizards” (1972), “The Magician's Birthday” (1972), “Sweet Freedom” (1973), and “Uriah Heep Live” (1973). After the unsuccessful “Wonderworld” (1974), Uriah Heep underwent through changes. “Return to Fantasy” (1975) had bassist John Wetton replacing the late Gary Thain; “High and Mighty” (1976) was the last one with Byron, but bassist Trevor Bolder (ex-“David Bowie”) had been welcomed on board. From 1976 to 1979, John Lawton (“Lucifer’s Friend”) substituted Byron with brilliance, but the albums of his phase - “Firefly” (1977), “Innocent Victim” (1977) and “Fallen Angel” (1978) were not very successful. “Conquest” (1980) lacked Kerslake and was the last with Hensley. Trevor Bolder left later. In early ‘80s, Uriah Heep’s line-up had: the eternal Mick Box (guitar), the returning Lee Kerslake (drums), and Bob Daisley (bass), John Sinclair (keys), and Peter Goalby (vocals). They released “Abominog” (1982) and “Head First” (1983). “Equator” (1985) came next, marking the return of Trevor Bolder to the bass, but Goalby and Sinclair left afterwards. Meanwhile, David Byron died at the age of 38. Uriah Heep’s worst times finished in 1986, when a new line-up emerged, remaining stable until 2007: the founder Mick Box and veterans Lee Kerslake and Trevor Bolder were joined by Phil Lanzon (keyboards) and singer Bernie Shaw (ex-“Praying Mantis”). Shaw’s debut as Heep’s front-man was registered on the historical album “Live in Moscow” (1988) and marked the dawning of a bright new era for Uriah Heep! A period of intense live activity followed on, as Uriah Heep toured in Germany, Netherlands, Scandinavia, Japan, Russia, Poland, Brazil, and the UK, and continued to release studio albums: “Raging Silence” (1989), “Different World” (1991), “Sea Of Light” (1995), and “Sonic Origami” (1998). In 2007, Kerslake retired from the group due to health problems and was replaced by Russell Gilbrook. In 2013, Bolder died of a cancer and was replaced by Davey Rimmer on the album “Outsider” (2014). The record on focus here - “Totally Driven” (2015, Uriah Heep Records) - still features Uriah Heep’s longest running line-up, with Bernie Shaw (vocals), Mick Box (guitars), Phil Lanzon (keyboards), Lee Kerslake (drums), and the late Trevor Bolder (bass); joined by a string quartet, a female vocal trio, and a few additional musicians. The music on this album had been recorded live at studio in 2001, as a preparation for the “Acoustically Driven” and “Electrically Driven” concerts. As it had been just partially released before, under the title of “Remasters” (now out of print), Uriah Heep decided to re-release those recordings in their fullness, under the new title of “Totally Driven” - the first on the band’s own label. “Totally Driven” brings 27 of Uriah Heep’s classics, comprising two CDs, arranged in a de-luxe digipack edition having cover artwork by Igor Morski. “Totally Driven” brings to the listener all the synergetic vibes of the band’s second classic line-up, and the experience of being exposed to a real live-show atmosphere. CD 1 brings an anthology of Uriah Heep’s standards of the Byron Era. And Bernie Shaw’s voice is just perfect singing either the heavy songs, or the ballads. Most rewarding was to listen to new versions of songs, like the emblematic “Gypsy”, with orchestral arrangements; and also to eternal Hard-Rock hits, like “Bird of Prey”, “Look at Yourself”, and “Easy Livin'”, which have been mixed to ballads, like “Why Did You Go?”, “The Easy Road” (including flute and strings), and “Come Back to Me” (the only song of the Lawton Era, embellished with a female choir). This CD is still topped by the eternal hymns: “Traveller in Time”, “Sunrise”, “Sweet Freedom”, and a fantastic version of “July Morning”, with new keyboard arrangements. CD 2 is a mix of oldies and new songs, most of them from “Sonic Origami”, “Different World”, and “Sea of Light” – albums recorded by the performing line-up. The highlights go for the renovated Hard-Rocks “Between Two Worlds” and “Universal Wheels”, propelled by a vigorous Kerslake; and for new songs that retain Uriah Heep’s old spirit, like the psychedelic “Time of Revelation” and the symphonic “The Golden Palace”. Their energy and drama are dosed with the sensitiveness of new classic ballads, such as “Love in Silence” (with bass lines that explain why Bolder stayed in the band until his death); and “Cross That Line” (with brilliant orchestral strings). All has been completed with hits of the Byron Era, like “Wonderworld”, “Stealin'”, and the outstanding “Lady in Black” (featuring surprising Celtic instruments). A brilliant, wonderful, and magnificent album that crystalizes in time a worthy moment of Uriah Heep’s long career, “Totally Driven” is indispensable for fans of Classic Rock, “Led Zeppelin”, “Deep Purple”, “Black Sabbath”, “Rainbow”, “Whitesnake”, “UFO”, “Thin Lizzy”, “Atomic Rooster”, “Praying Mantis”; and a must-have item for fans of “Uriah Heep”, for sure!  “Totally Driven” complete track list: Disc one: 1.“Gypsy” (3:54); 2.“Traveller in Time” (2:50); 3.“Bird of Prey” (4:43); 4.“Sunrise” (4:06); 5.“Rain” (4:16); 6.“Come Away Melinda” (3:32); 7.“Return to Fantasy” (4:37); 8.“Look at Yourself” (3:22); 9.“Come Back to Me” (4:04); 10.“The Easy Road” (2:39); 11.“Sweet Freedom” (6:13); 12.“Why Did You Go?” (3:23); 13.“July Morning” (8:51); 14.“Easy Livin'” (2:40).Disc two: 1.“Between Two Worlds” (5:25); 2.“Only The Young” (4:33); 3.“Different World” (4:21); 4.“Love in Silence” (6:23); 5.“Blind Eye” (3:16); 6.“Wonderworld” (4:20); 7.“Stealin'” (4:42); 8.“Time of Revelation” (3:57); 9.“Cross That Line” (5:23); 10.“More Fool You” (3:11); 11.“Universal Wheels” (4:52); 12.“The Golden Palace” (7:57); 13.“Lady in Black” (5:41). Band members and collaborators involved in Uriah Heep are: Mick Box – Guitar, Vocals; Bernie Shaw – Lead Vocals; Phil Lanzon – Keyboards, Vocals; Trevor Bolder – Bass, Vocals (rip); Lee Kerslake – Drums, Vocals (retired). Replacing Members: Russell Gilbrook – Drums (since 2007); Davey Rimmer – Bass (since 2013). The Uriah Heep Classic Rock Music Ensemble: Liz Cheyen Liew – 1st Violin; Sarah Chi Liew – 2nd Violin; Saskia Tomkins – Viola; Pauline Kirke – Cello; Pip Williams & Phil Lanzon – String Arrangements; Stefan Hannigan – Uilleann Pipes, Percussion; Melvin Duffy – Pedal Steel, Slide Guitar; Kim Chandler – Flute (“The Easy Road”, “More Fool You”, “The Golden Palace”); Pip Williams – Additional Acoustic Guitar ( “Lady in Black”). Backing Vocalists: Emma Robbins; Kim Chandler; Billie Godfrey.  Remastered by Mike Pietrini; Artwork by Igor Morski; Produced by Pip Williams... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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04/30/2016..............................More information about the band? Better check it out for yourself at: URIAH HEEP HOME PAGE...
. KILLING TYRANNY - "Martyr"
Killing Tyranny is an American Heavy Metal project founded in 2013 by singer and songwriter George Gregory. After leaving his hometown of Detroit to chase his dream, Gregory arrived in Covina, California in 2000. There, he formed “Outraged”, with ex-members of “The Wicked” and other LA musicians, and released two CD's. In 2005, Gregory was contacted by former members of “Sanctuary” to form “Ironworks” – a band that had some prestige around San Diego until 2010. After a hiatus of four years, during which his studio material accumulated on a pile, Gregory contacted “Frank Kowalski” (ex-“Ironworks”) and the project Killing Tyranny was born. Killing Tyranny’s first album, titled “Martyr”, came out in May 2015, via Twisted Prophet/BMI. The CD contains 13 scary songs that are “based in today's world”. Besides Gregory (vocals), it features Daniel Waldrop (guitars), Kristopher Towne Hams (bass) and Chase Ehle (drums). The inner artwork is amazing, a portrait of “Jesus Christ’s Last Supper”, with the apostles being switched by U.S.A.’s presidents and politicians. This CD hits the listener right between the eyes! With a heavy and dynamic sound, the music has the necessary level of power, aggression and attitude to surprise and explode any Metalhead going around, and will also bring tears to the eyes of grown-up Headbangers missing the old 80’s Thrash-Metal style! Killing Tyranny is mainly characterized by the eclecticism of George Gregory’s vocals, which go from the deepest guttural to high-pitched shout, having the “aggressive thrashing” and “groovy Rock” stages in between. Waldrop on guitars is a malign force behind the face-punching riffs and the carnivore guitar solos – luxurious, slicing, slashing, and distorted to the tortured state – that stalk the listener and attack without warning! Kristopher Hams maneuvers his obese bass with groovy and pounding precision, and makes a formidable duo with drummer Chase Ehle – generating a dense rhythmic structure that has monolithic weight! Killing Tyranny’s sonic package is violent, bellicose, and lyrically ironic, drawing influences from many iconic Metal bands of the ‘80s and ‘90s. Vocals stay amidst “Metallica”, “Megadeth”, “Sanctuary”, “Jag Panzer”, and “Tyrant”. If some guitar riffs and rhythmic paces recall the Metal of “Judas Priest”, “Iron Maiden”, “Riot”, “Savatage”, “Iced Earth”, “Queensryche”, or “Pantera”, others may recall the complexity of “Fates Warning”, “Helstar”, or “WatchTower”. Thrashing parts may be as ferocious as on “Metallica”, “Megadeth”, “Exodus”, “Testament”, “Anthrax”, “Overkill”, “Artillery”, “Rage”, and “Toxic”, or reach the restless breathtaking speed of “Agent Steel”, “Helloween”, increasing violently to the fast levels of “Slayer”, “Nuclear Assault”, “Death Angel”, and “Onslaught”. This varied mix of metallic traits also makes Killing Tyranny to be as unpredictable as “Holy Terror”, “Hades”, “Blessed Death”, “Blind Illusion”, “Coroner”, and “Vendetta”; especially if they switch from Thrash and Punk to Funk Metal swings, like “Mordred”, “Jane’s Addiction”, “Suicidal Tendencies”, “Rage Against The Machine”, and “Living Colour”. Additionally, a few passages of Killing Tyranny’s songs oscillate from the compact New-Metal of “Slipknot”, to the relaxed Rocky attitude of “Dangerous Toys”. The listener of “Martyr” will at first be smashed by the primitiveness of the heavy, pounding songs: “Who I Am” (4:09), the grinding “Sleeper Cell” (3:01); and the ultra-aggressive “Rule the Monkeys” (3:19). Then he/she will be launched to locomotive speed on the super-Thrash-Metal songs “The One” (3:01), driven by commanding shouting vocals, and “Weight of the World” (4:14) – two tracks that will make the joy of fans of “Slayer”, “Exodus”, and “Megadeth”. Experiments with odd tempos and structures happen on the Funk-Metal songs, “You Can't Save Me” (4:19), which has a crooked middle part stuffed of shredded solos, like a blend of “Mordred” and “WatchTower”; and “Here We Come” (3:35), driven by a fatty and groovy bass. But my favorite songs (which will surely be the most commented among Headbangers) are: “Caged” (3:45) – a thrashing song containing classic Metal riffs and vocals that recall the dynamics of “Judas”, “Pantera”, “Savatage” and “Iced Earth”; “The Plague” (4:07), which runs madly on double-drumming machinery (like “Slayer”), but slows-down to a funeral Doom-Metal pace; “Control Freak” (4:41), a weird Terror-Metal song, controlled by tribal drums and psychotic gritty keyboards; the title-song “Martyr” (4:17), that confronts the listener with Punk-Metal’s energy and attitude, crossed to the Californian-Metal style (in the vein of “Jane’s Addiction”); and “Killing Tyranny” (3:17), the eponymous song that grooves like hell and delivers an impacting message on its lyrics! Finally, to show that this band is not all about adrenaline, the Metal ballad “God Bless the Child” (5:53) brings embellished moments of acoustic guitars and orchestral synths. In sum, Killing Tyranny is a powerful act rising on the Californian horizon, promising to grab fans with a tsunamic wave of “Headbanging Metal”! Highly recommendable for lovers of 80’s Metal, Thrash-Metal, and Funk-Metal, with a preference for “Metallica”, “Megadeth”, “Sanctuary”, “Judas Priest”, “Savatage”, “Pantera”, “Exodus”, “Testament”, “Anthrax”, “Overkill”, “Slayer”, and other bands cited in the text! Band members and collaborators involved in Killing Tyranny are: George Gregory – Vocals, Lyrics, Production, Arrangements; Daniel Waldrop – Guitars; Kristopher Towne Hams – Bass, Guitar on “God Bless the Child”; Chase Ehle – Drums and Percussion. Recorded, Engineered and Mixed by George Gregory at Capricorn Studios, San Diego California. Artwork Concept by George Gregory; Design by Tiffany Whipple, Skyfall Media. Also you must visit Killing Tyranny Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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04/30/2016.................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit KILLING TYRANNY HOME PAGE...
. ICHTHYANDER DAD’S ONLY DOLPHIN - "At One Music Fest - 2014"
Ichthyander Dad’s Only Dolphin is a Progressive and Art-Rock act from Ukraine that was born in 1994 in Kirovograd and is presently based in Kiev. Ichthyander initially gathered together as a trio, consisting of Dmitry Dorosh (guitar), Nikolai Dorosh (cello, percussion), and Anatoly Antonenko (keyboards). They were joined by Oleg Vorona (bass) and Viktor Sirotin (drums). The band’s first concert, on June 25 1994, was followed by a demo record. But Ichthyander struggled for the next five years with changes in the line-up, and the band was forced to split-up. After 15 years, some original members decided to revive Ichthyander. A new line-up was formed, consisting of veterans Dmitry Dorosh (guitar), Oleg Vorona (bass), and Viktor Sirotin (drums), joined by violinist Olena Yeremenko (“Burdon”, “Duo Duo”) and keyboardist Sergei Kadenko (“DZD”, “Rún”). Ichthyander Dad’s Only Dolphin’s renaissance was celebrated in a reunion concert in Kirovograd, on Dec. 6th, 2014. For that special occasion, new arrangements were written for the old material, and brand new compositions were added to the band’s repertoire. The presentation, featuring 9 guest musicians (including ex-members), was recorded and filmed, and later released on a double CD + DVD under the title of “At One Music Fest - 2014” (2015, self-produced). Ichthyander’s music is instrumental; a kind of vibrant, dynamic and sensational blend of Progressive styles, with a strong lean to Jazz-Rock, featuring intricate guitar solos, spirited violin tunes with Folk and Oriental touches, and solos of keyboards that come out in different styles and textures. The music is enriched with elements of RIO and Avant-garde Music, represented by upheavals of a hot saxophone, a peaceful transverse flute, an extra layer of percussion, and a string quartet. The influences are “King Crimson”, “Robert Fripp”, “Frank Zappa”, “Gentle Giant”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Genesis”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Pink Floyd”, and “Yes”; but Ichthyander also recalled me of “Soft Machine”, “Arti & Mestieri”, “Miriodor”, “Henry Cow”, “Moraine”, “The Living”, “Jean-Luc Ponty”, and “Kronos Quartet”. The CD and DVD of “At One Music Fest - 2014” feature the same 8 original compositions by Ichthyander, plus one cover-song each. The CD brings “Starless” (“King Crimson”), which was replaced on the DVD, by “The Boys in the Band” (“Gentle Giant”). The DVD is the main subject of this review. It offers an ample image of the stage, which is illuminated by colorful spot-lights and a LED-panel behind. The focus of the camera is either fixed on the band playing together, or on close-ups of the soloists. The performance of Ichthyander Dad’s Only Dolphin is energetic and contagious, showcasing a well-rehearsed and solid band, with top musicians that stay in tune to each other almost telepathically. The show starts with “Through the Gates of the Universe” (11:48) – an instigating piece that has bizarre structures and exchange of solos of guitar, sax and violin. Guitarist and composer Dmitry Dorosh commands the group with his Jazz-Rock style, akin to “John McLaughlin’s”. Bassist Oleg Vorona is apparently discrete, but his cool lines make the backbone of the music. Drummer Viktor Sirotin follows Oleg with a refined technique. This trio forms a rigid and safe structure upon which the other soloists can show off their abilities. But keyboardist Sergei Kadenko is not of the “show-off type”, and prefers to contribute to the arrangements adding tasty Prog-Fusion solos. The pace goes faster on the ethnical-jazz “Biometry” (5:18), which is marked by the presence of a gorgeous Olena and her gypsy violin, which also dominates the middle-eastern scales. “Opus 16” (4:35) is a dynamic blend of New-Wave and Jazz-Rock drives, and features the ex-member and unique cellist-percussionist Nikolai Dorosh conducting the string quartet. “Castles of Birmingham” (3:18) is an orchestral chamber-piece instilled with the majestic nobility of the Renaissance, including flutes by Denis Fedchenko. Then the temperature rises on stage, as the best tracks come on. The splendid “Unmeasured Spaces” (7:36) is a Jazz/Avant-garde hybrid having a second drummer (Nikolai again!) and the volcanic sax of Viatcheslav Burtniak. The frantic “Countdown” (2:39) has a playful confrontation of sax, guitars, keyboards, bass and drums, interrupted by Medieval harpsichords and Fedchenko’s folky flute, which brings a dash of “Jethro Tull” to the mix. The thrilling climax happens on “Epiphany” (8:07), which combines pulsing Electronica and Heavy-Prog (strengthened by two additional guitarists), intervened by a celestial string quartet that places the brave Olena in front of the band again, exchanging killer solos with Dmitry. Finally, these Ukrainians head to the Far-East to produce their most spiritual opus: “Comeback to Life” (8:17) – a Sino-Japanese symphony that features founding keyboardist Anatoly Antonenko and flutist Fedchenko, who elevates this music to the highest spheres, helped by Dmitry’s best solo! The curtain call is “The Boys in the Band” – a fabulous cover of “GG’s” classic, lacking only the coin! The CD brings instead the cover of “King Crimson’s” “Starless” (12:11), superbly executed by the whole band and nicely performed by guest singer Jason Offen. I am more than glad to witness the rebirth of this fantastic band from Ukraine, and hope to hear more of them in the near future! Ichthyander Dad’s Only Dolphin is a must-have Progressive act for fans of “King Crimson”, “Robert Fripp”, “Gentle Giant”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Frank Zappa”, “Pink Floyd”, “Yes”, “Soft Machine”, “Arti & Mestieri”, “Miriodor”, “Moraine”, “Henry Cow”, “The Living”, “Jean-Luc Ponty”, “From.Uz”, “Curved Air”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Ichthyander Dad’s Only Dolphin are: Dmitry Dorosh – Guitar, Oleg Vorona – Bass, Viktor Sirotin – Drums, Sergei Kadenko – Keyboards; Olena Yeremenko – Violin. Additional Musicians: Viatcheslav Burtniak – Saxophone; Denis Fedchenko – Flute; Anatoliy Antonenko – Keyboards; Ruslan Fedoseyev – Guitar; Anatoliy Don – Guitar; Nikolai Dorosh – Percussion & Cello; Elena Smotrenko – Violin; Vita Vereshchagina – Viola; Jason Offen – Vocals. Recorded Live in Kirovograd, Ukraine, December 6 2014; Engineered by Andrei Alekseyev & Oleg Vorona; Produced by Ichthyander... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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04/30/2016....,.....................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit ICHTHYANDER DAD’S ONLY DOLPHIN HOME PAGE...
. LE FOLLI ARIE - "Le Folli Arie"
Le Folli Arie are a new Rock band hailing from Milan, Italy. Le Folli Arie were formed in 2012 by Simone Corazzari (vocals, guitars, compositions, production), Massimiliano Masciari (bass, steel drum), Marco Antonio Cerioli (keyboards, backing vocals), and Francesco Meles (drums, percussion). The four musicians have ample live experience, developed in various musical projects covering Rock, Pop, Latin, Funk, Jazz, Heavy Metal and Grunge. Their most important references, however, come from 70's Classic Rock and Italian Progressive Rock. The list of Le Folli Arie’s favorite bands might include “Jeff Buckley”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Queen”, “Pink Floyd”, “Genesis”, “Yes”, “Santana”, “Traffic”, “Weather Report”, “Lucio Battisti”, “PFM”, “Banco del Mutuo Soccorso”, “Area”, “Procession”, “Gleemen”, “Osanna”, “Odissea”, and others. The convergence of those influences has forged Le Folli Arie’s unique sound – firmly rooted on the Classic Rock of the seventies, but also updated to our modern times. Le Folli Arie’s debut album is the self-produced and self-titled “Le Folli Arie” (2014), which took two years in the making. The record was also enhanced with the participation of several guest musicians (see below). The mixing and final mastering were left in charge of renowned Italian producer Lorenzo Cazzaniga (“Claudio Baglioni”, “Fabrizio De André”, “Lucio Dalla”, “Ray Charles”, “Sting”, “Mina”, “PFM”, “Pooh”, “Vasco Rossi”). The “Le Folli Arie” CD has a high-quality sound production, presented in magnificent digipack cover. The album contains 13 tracks: 10 original songs with lyrics in Italian, plus three of them presented in English versions. In spite of their influences, I would not classify Le Folli Arie as an authentic Progressive act. They are more comfortable holding the tags of “Classic Rock with a slightly Progressive orientation”, “Arena Rock”, or “Pop-Rock with a 70’s lean”. Le Folli Arie, they deliver wonderful ballads and melodic and spirited Rock and Pop songs that are born ready for being consumed by the large audiences. What count here are the talent and experience of the musicians involved in the project, who prove that a real band needs less than shocking instrumental performances and complex arrangements to come out with nice-sounding music that reunites quality, cohesiveness, originality, and emotion. Singer Simone Corazzari has a gifted voice, and takes the lead with passion and sensibility, accompanied by vigorous and contagious backing vocals, sometimes harmonized in heavenly Gospel choruses. On the instrumental parts, beautiful acoustic guitars are more important to sustain the arrangements than electric guitar riffs, but the stringed instruments are played with vigor and precision. When the electric guitars do show up, they do it on blazing solos that are always placed on the most intense moments of each song. The piano, organ and other keyboards are loyal companions of the vocal interludes, dressing the music in dimmed Progressive colors. The arrangements are high above the average of mainstream Rock bands, featuring a great variation of textures and instruments. Finally, speaking of rhythms and musical style, Le Folli Arie are a constant supply of surprises, as the versatility of band members may guide the listener through Folk, Soul, Gospel, Pop, Ballad, Rock, Prog, Latin, Jazz-Fusion, Country, and more! I have found all songs of “Le Folli Arie” really worthy. The most memorable to me are those that alternate melodic parts driven by acoustic guitars and soft vocals with other vigorous parts that concentrate great power on the chorus. Such songs are instant hits, and comprise: “Salto Nel Buio” (3:43) – an opening Rock marked by wah-wah effects on the guitar solo; “Quello Che Ho” (3:48) – more dramatic; and “Mentre Tu Cadi” (4:54) – an American Folk with vehement chorus that recalls “Pearl Jam”. The album also contains a number of beautiful ballads, such as the outstanding “Non è Facile” (4:54) – a soaring song having a Progressive blow on synths and inspiring Gospel vocals; the placid “Bellezza” (3:49), which drifts on acoustic guitars and piano; and the extraordinary half-ballads, “Il Giardino Della Mia Follia” (5:05) and “Il Giorno Mio Migliore” (3:51), which begin both like sensitive full-ballads, soon gaining in Hard-Rock power, as potent vocals and amazing guitars come to the scene! In spite of the harmonic resemblance, those two half-ballads carry distinctive marks: “Il Giardino…” has a bittersweet tone, imprinted by a poignant cello, and has a soulful guitar solo; while “Il Giorno…” starts with piano and vocals in a “Queen” style, being crowned with a bombastic guitar solo. The album still has a couple of swinging Latin-Fusion songs – the instrumental “On Da Bridge” (1:54) and the song “Fuori!” (3:30) – which are instilled with a joyful tropical mood, underlined by an extra layer of Latin-Caribbean percussion, a funky bass, and a jazzy saxophone. The album finishes with the World-Music piece “Alien's Trip” (4:07), which combines exotic Afro-choirs and didgeridoo with great bass and wonderful saxophone solo, in a kind of “Paul Simon’s Graceland” style. The album still has the songs “Shot In The Dark” (3:40), “A Better Day Tomorrow” (3:54), and “It's Not Easy” (4:52) – the English versions of “Salto Nel Buio”, “Il Giorno Mio Migliore”, and “Non è Facile” – which aim to insert Le Folli Arie in the international market. Although not directed to the orthodox Prog-head, “Le Folli Arie” is really an outstanding album, highly recommendable for fans of 70’s Classic Rock, 70’s Fusion, old and modern Arena Rock, “Queen”, “Santana”, “Triumph”, “Lucio Battisti”, “Area”, “Procession”, “Gleemen”, “Osanna”, “Odissea”, “Maná”, “Pearl Jam”, “Chicago”. Band members and collaborators involved in Le Folli Arie are: Simone Corazzari – Lead Vocals, Guitars; Massimiliano Masciari – Bass, Steel Drum; Marco Antonio Cerioli – Keyboards, Vocals; Francesco Meles – Drums, Percussion. Guests: Gianluca Del Fiol – Guitar Solo (“Il Giardino…”); Luca Pasqua – Guitar solo (“On Da Bridge”); Piergiorgio Elia - Sax solo (“Fuori!”); Maurizio Signorino – Sax (“On Da Bridge”, “Fuori!”, “Alien's Trip”); Edwin Della Torre – Percussion (“Quello Che Ho”, “On Da Bridge”, “Fuori!”); Serena Ferrara, Giorgia Ieluzzi & Alessandra Marina - Backing Vocals (“Non è Facile”/“It's Not Easy”, “Fuori!”, “Alien's Trip”); Annamaria Cristian - Cello (“Il Giardino…”); Silvio Centamore – Drums (“Alien's Trip”), Percussion (“Non è Facile”/“It's Not Easy”); Lorenzo Pierobon - Didgeridoo (“Alien's Trip”); Manuela Masciari – Castanets (“Bellezza”). Paolo Agrati wrote some Lyrics. Produced, Recorded & Edited by Simone Corazzari; Production consultant: Lorenzo Cazzaniga. Recorded at Alari Park Studio (Lorenzo Cazzaniga & Davide Nossa), Wardencliff Audio Recording Lab (Gigi De Martino) and SC Studio (Silvio Centamore). Mixed by Lorenzo Cazzaniga & Simone Corazzari; Mastered by Lorenzo Cazzaniga. Vocal coach: Paola Milzani; English consultant: Michele Denaro; Luthier: Paolo Lardera (Rash Guitar); Guitar tech: Gianluca Del Fiol. Artwork: Matteo Compagnoni; Logo and Web Design: Daniele Biraghi... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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04/30/2016........................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit LE FOLLI ARIE HOME PAGE...
. PROFUSION - "Phersu"
Profusion is a Progressive-Fusion-Rock band based in Siena, Italy. The moniker “Profusion” is a combination of the words “Progressive” and “Fusion”, and matches perfectly with the band’s musical direction. Profusion was born in 2002 from a trio called “Mardi Gras Experience”, which consisted of drummer Vladimer Sichinava and keyboardist Gionatan Caradonna (the only original members who have remained in Profusion so far), plus Marco Pieri (bass). They were joined by Alessandro Buzzo (vocals), Alberto Riggi (guitars), and Fabiano Biagini (flute); and this first line-up produced and released the album “One Piece Puzzle” (2006). Pieri and Biagini left the band afterwards, and were replaced by Luca Cambi (bass) and Sara Pianigiani (vocals & flute). In 2009, Irene Conforti occupied the place of Sara Pianigiani, and Profusion made important presentations in Siena: they shared the stage with “DGM” and “Vision Divine” at the “Most Rock Concert”; and performed with “Mauro Pagani” (“PFM”) at “La Città Aromatica 2009”, dedicated to “Demetrio Stratos” (“Area”). In the meantime, Thomas Laguzzi replaced Alberto Riggi on guitars. In 2012, Profusion released the second album, “RewoToweR” (ProgRock Records). Along the recordings, Alessandro Buzzo and Irene Conforti were replaced by Profusion’s present singer, the versatile Luca Latini. In September 2015, Profusion released their third album, titled “Phersu” (Progressive Promotion Records). “Phersu” (a word that means “mask” in Etruscan language) is available on digital and CD formats. The digipack CD contains a 16-page booklet featuring thematic artwork. Whoever buys it, will be supporting the AIMA – an Italian non-profit organization that helps bearers of Alzheimer's disease. “Phersu” features many guest musicians, including Mamuka Ghaghanidze and Zurab J. Gagnidze (of Ethnic-Fusion band “The Shin”), the accordionist Jakub Mietla, the mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili, and others (see below). The music of Profusion is an exciting, eclectic, and interplanetary blend of diverse musical genres and rhythms, covering Rock, Metal, Classic, Fusion, Jazz, Soul, Pop, Techno, Tango, and Ethno, treated with a genuine Progressive attitude, a melodic orientation, and “grand-music” sophistication. Profusion’s musicians are influenced by “Mozart”, “Beethoven”, “Arvo Pärt”, “Planet X”, “Metallica”, “Spock's Beard”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Pink Floyd”, “Queen”, “Chick Corea”, “Tigran Hamasyan”, and “Björk”. But on “Phersu”, the band leaned a bit to the Prog-Metal style. Dynamic moments featuring powerful guitars, thundering bass and drums, and flashing synths have a resemblance with the soaring and epic modes of “Dream Theater”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Magellan”, “Explorers’ Club”, and “Enchant”. The Metal frame is orchestrated, embellished with preludes and interludes played on a magnificent classic piano (like “Vanden Plas”, “Superior”, “Everon”), sometimes being enhanced with Theatrical-Operatic adornments (recalling “Nightwish”, “Diablo Swing Orchestra”, and “Kamelot”). The energy and opulence of the instrumental parts are balanced in intensity and time with the singing parts, interspersed to surprising ethnical upheavals or unexpected changes of mood and pace. What distinguishes Profusion from other bands are the extra doses of groove and swing irradiated from the rhythmic section, coupled to Latini’s amazing vocal interpretation – soulful, vibrant, and contagious –  a trait that will attract fans of bands such as “Pain of Salvation”, “Presto Ballet”, “Faith No More”, “Steve Wonder”, and “Simply Red”. The whole musical context will be also rewarding for fans of modern Progressive-Rock who love “Karmakanic”, “Unitopia”, “Agents of Mercy”, “Druckfarben”, “Seven Steps to the Green Door”, “Man on Fire”, etc. “Phersu” contains 10 tracks. “Free Fall” (6:00), “Forgetful Hero” (5:17), and “Veteran” (4:30) are awesome Prog-Metal standards, driven by soaring riffs and epic ascending momentum, having a strong influence of “Dream Theater”. Also belonging in here, “Vanity Fair” (4:13) is a Neo-Classical Metal, plentiful of symphonic brocades and theatrical drama (like “Kamelot”), confronted with irony by funky vocals. But Profusion’s most distinguishing characteristic – the one of making surprising musical experiments that fuse multi-genres together with a coherent Progressive vein – shows up in great style on: “Snooze” (5:44) – a vibrant opening track with Prog-Metal guitars sliced by swinging vocals and techno-beats (imagine “DT” gigging with “Stevie Wonder”!); “Nomen” (6:14) – a powerful song that counterbalances the heaviness of Prog-Metal guitars, bass, and drums with surprising passages of Ethno chants (courtesy of “The Shin’s” members) and a Folkloric accordion; “Wrinkled Maiden” (2:29) – a magical song led by outstanding mezzo-soprano vocals, having a Gothic slant in a kind of “Mozart” meets “Nightwish” fashion; and “Masquerade” (4:38) – a malevolent heavy Metal walking hand-in-hand with a swinging Jazz-Fusion trumpet-sax-trombone trio through breathtaking instrumentation. Finally, the ballads “Infinite” (3:59) – which floats on a mellow line of bass; and the melancholic “Forbidden” (4:37) – with piano and celestial harmony vocals, express Profusion’s refinement and sensitiveness. In sum, Profusion’s album “Phersu” is fantastic and amazingly well-performed, delivering to the listener an original brand of Progressive-Fusion-Metal, instilled with swing and groove, and presenting surprising musical tricks. Indispensable item for fans of “Pain of Salvation”, “Dream Theater”, “Planet X”, “The Dregs”, “Spock's Beard”, “Faith No More”, “Presto Ballet”, “Magellan”, “Explorers’ Club”, “Karmakanic”, “Unitopia”, “Druckfarben”, “Superior”, “Everon”, “Diablo Swing Orchestra”, “Agents of Mercy”, “Circus Maximus”, “SSTTGD”, “Man on Fire”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Profusion are: Luca Latini – Lead Vocals; Thomas Laguzzi – Guitars; Gionatan Caradonna – Keyboards; Luca Cambi – Bass; Vladimer Sichinava – Drums. New band members: Davide Pepi – Guitars; Jury Maccianti – Bass. Guest Musicians: Mamuka Ghaghanidze & Zurab J. Gagnidze – Vocals, Jakub Mietla – Accordion (on “Nomen”); Anita Rachvelishvili – Operatic Vocals (on “Wrinkled Maiden”); Marco Bacci – Trumpet;Tobia Bondesan – Sax; Massimo Testi – Trombone (all on “Masquerade”); Luca Latini & Gloria Mugelli – Lyrics; Antonella Cecchi – Art Concept & Design (Visiva Design, Siena, Italy); Mixed by Jacopo Jappo Pettini & Alessandro Guasconi at Virus Studio, Siena, Italy; Mastered by Alex Argento at MixFactory, Palermo, Italy. Produced by G. Caradonna & V. Sichinava... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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04/30/2016.....;,,,....Want to learn more about the band and their history, you need to visit PROFUSION HOME PAGE...
. QUANTUM FANTAY - "Dancing In Limbo"
Quantum Fantay – the foremost Space Rock band from Lokeren, Belgium – is welcome back to PR&PM! Quantum Fantay was formed in 2002 around Pete Mush (synths & programming), Jaro (bass), and Gino Bartolini (drums, percussion). When the trio began to play live, they were joined by Charles Sla (flute). Quantum Fantay soon released the first album, “Agapanthusterra” (2005), with guest participation of Dario Frodo (guitars), who ultimately became the band’s fifth member. Quantum Fantay took part in festivals and shared the stage with bands such as “Ozric Tentacles”, “Gong”, “Focus”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, and others. In the meantime, the band released studio and live albums. The titles “Ugisiunsi” (2007), “From Herzberg to Livingroom” (2008, Live), “Kaleidothrope” (2009), “Bridges of Kukuriku” (2010), and “Bridges Of The Old Fishingmine” (2011, Live) came out. With them, Quantum Fantay gradually gained space in the musical circuits, showcasing their so-called “Liquid Space Rock” style: a vigorous, dynamic, and unstoppable flow of metamorphosing instrumental music blending Space, Progressive & Psychedelic Rock, Electronic, Trance & Dub Music, driven by multi-cultural rhythms (Arabian, Turkish, Hindu, Chinese, Jamaican). Their influences were “Ozric Tentacles”, “Hidria Spacefolk”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Hawkwind”, “Pink Floyd”, “Gong”, “King Crimson” “Brian Eno”, “Jean Michel Jarre”, “Orbital”, “Massive Attack”, “Jethro Tull”, “Leftfield”, “Tangerine Dream”, “Genesis” and late “Marillion”. Quantum Fantay’s discography was enhanced with the release of “Terragaia” (2014, Progressive Promotion Records), reviewed at PR&PM in August 2014. “Terragaia” featured guest appearances by musicians of other bands (“Anima Mundi”, “Strograss”, “Gracerooms”), and especially by “Neo Prophet’s” guitarist, Tom Tas. When Dario Frodo moved to Belgium’s Metal band “Ostrogoth”, Tom Tas was chosen to integrate Quantum Fantay’s line-up on their newest album, titled “Dancing In Limbo” (2015, Progressive Promotion Records). “Terragaia” had conquered me with its torrent of Space-Rock drives, soaring Progressive melodies, vivid flutes, and exotic ethno-rhythms that streamed on a pulsing, entrancing Electronic panorama. “Dancing In Limbo” is less ethnical and eclectic than “Terragaia”, but to say that it is inferior to its predecessor in musical quality would be quite unfair. “Terragaia” resulted in a monumental album, mainly because of the large number of musicians that were involved on it. As the production of such an album is expensive, demanding, and hard to replicate, “Terragaia” might remain as Quantum Fantay’s magnum opus for a long time. To compensate minor disadvantages that “Dancing In Limbo” could have in relation to “Terragaia”, Quantum Fantay’s musicians have concentrated their focus on extraordinary Progressive themes and Space Rock modes, employing a massive amount of reverberating cosmic guitars, quasar-pulsing bass, and acrobatic polyrhythmic drums, soothed down by organic flutes, and propelled by the photonic thrust of millions of synths, to take the listener on a voyage beyond the outer limits of our solar system. “Dancing In Limbo” has resulted in another magnificent album, able to fend off bravely any risk of being doomed by a “post-Terragaia” syndrome. “Dancing In Limbo” has four extra-long instrumental tracks that deliver all of Quantum Fantay’s best in sonic originality, creative force, and impacting musicianship. Tracks 1 and 3 – “Nimbo” (11:11) and “Cacimbo” (11:13) – are vigorous, dynamic, and “liquid” pieces that make great profit from Jaro’s groovy “space-rocking” bass, Bartolini’s powerful, fluent drumming, and Tom Tas’ more muscular guitar playing. Those tracks grow faster, frantic, and entrancing from second to second, amplified to the magnitude of a space war of unpredictable consequences! The battle that follows on is the confrontation of solar-eruptive guitar solos and sturdy power-chords that clash against vibrating waves of synths and electronic bubbling effects launched from Pete Mush’s spacelab. The ethno-blowing flutes of Charles Sla stay on the role of breaking the intensity of this cosmic tour-de-force, delivering long and melodic soothing solos. If “Nimbo” hits the listener with straightforwardness, “Cacimbo” is more nuanced, having additional interspersions of soaring parts, lines of ethnical drumming, Reggae-Fusion guitars, and a Psychedelic swinging bass. “Rimboe” (11:12) comes in between them. This inspiring piece runs with less fluidity, leaping from the Space-Rock ambience to the Symphonic Progressive panache, but always keeping a warm heart-beating bass and swinging drums pacing it. The sonic space is dominated by soaring guitars with a Neo-Prog contamination (performed by ex-member Dario Frodo and guest Ed Wynne), and upheavals of Electronic synths and outstanding flutes are spared for the end. Finally, “Limbo” (11:14), which drifts on an extra layer of Middle-East percussion, is trippy, transcendental, and relaxing, having a kind of magical touch that keeps the listener completely mesmerized to the sound of Quantum Fantay! In sum, “Dancing In Limbo” is another phenomenal album by Quantum Fantay; a great release by Progressive Promotion Records, consisting in a must-have item for fans of Space and Progressive Rock, who love “Ozric Tentacles”, “Orbital”, “Hidria Spacefolk”, “Hawkwind”, “Gong”, “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”, “Jean Michel Jarre”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Djam Karet”, “Agitation Free”, “3rd Ear Experience”, “Acid Mothers Temple”, “Causa Sui”, “Oresund Space Collective”, “Tangerine Dream”, “Mahogany Frog”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Quantum Fantay are: Pete Mush – Synthesizers & Bubbles; Tom Tas – Guitars; Charles Sla – Flutes; Jaro – Bass; Gino Bartolini – Drums, Shizzle. Additional Musicians: Ed Wynne – Guitars & Glissando Guitars (on “Rimboe”); Dario Frodo – Guitar Solos (on “Rimboe”); Karel Baetens – Bongo, Konga, Darbuka. Album Recorded & Mixed by Pete Mush at Pete’s Mushroomland 2015, with exception of Ed’s Guitars, recorded in Colorado. Mastered by Frank Van Bogeart at A.C.E. Studio; Layout, Graphic Design and Production by Pete Mush... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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04/30/2016................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit QUANTUM FANTAY HOME PAGE...
. HEAVEN’S GUARDIAN - "Signs"
Heaven’s Guardian is a Brazilian Melodic Power-Metal band from the city of Goiânia, state of Goiás. Heaven’s Guardian was founded in 1997 by guitarists Ericsson Marin and Luiz Maurício and started activities by releasing a demo, called “Roll of Thunder” (1998). Later, with support of Brazilian label Megahard Records, Heaven’s Guardian released the full-length albums “Strava” (2001) and “D.O.L.L.” (2004), which were much acclaimed among Brazilian Headbangers. Those initial albums showcased a heavy and powerful instrumentation, based on Power and Thrash Metal, and on a visceral approach to Traditional Heavy Metal, sharing a sonic resemblance with bands like “Iced Earth”, “Sanctuary”, “Nevermore”, “Crimson Glory”, and “Jag Panzer” - mainly because of the presence of outstanding singer Carlos Zema (now on Texan Metal band “Immortal Guardian”). The DVD titled “X Years on the Road - Live at Gyn Arena” (2007) registered part of that musical era, and was the last release of Heaven’s Guardian for a long time. Quite recently, veterans Ericsson Marin (guitars), Luiz Maurício (guitars), and Murilo Ramos (bass) teamed up with new front-man Flávio Mendez (ex-“Terminator”, “Velvet Vex”), and Arthur Albuquerque (drums) to reactivate the band again. The reformulation of Heaven’s Guardian’s line-up had also the intention of extending their music to new Metal trends. To reach this goal, Heaven’s Guardian grew from a quintet to a septet, with the admission of two new musicians: the talented maestro Everton Marin (keyboards) and the gorgeous and gifted Olivia Bayer (female vocals). The new line-up was helped by producer Marcello Pompeu (“Korzus”) to record and release Heaven’s Guardian’s brand new album, titled “Signs” (February, 2016, Megahard Records). On “Signs”, Heaven’s Guardian has expanded its musical horizons, going outside the Power-Metal circle to flirt with the Gothic, Oriental, Symphonic, and Prog-Metal styles. As usual, the band delivers its Metal music with brute power and electrified energy! The bass and drums are solid, cemented together in a heavy harmonic structure that supports the speed, intricacy and cruelty of both guitar soloists. The addition of a keyboard-wizard to the instrumental ensemble has really enriched and improved the musical arrangements, which now oscillate from the Symphonic to the Progressive, with influences of “Stratovarius” and “Dream Theater”. The greatest novelty is the presence of mixed male-female vocals. Singer Flávio Mendez has a hoarse (but non-guttural), deep and aggressive voice, which, coupled to the epic passages, brings to mind bands like “Blind Guardian”, “Demons & Wizards”, “Grave Digger”, “Iced Earth”, and “Astral Doors”. His vocals make a huge contrast with those of Olivia Bayer, whose voice and style recall me of the following female singers and their bands: “Floor Jansen” (“Nightwish”, “ReVamp”, “After Forever”), “Tarja Turunen”, “Sandra Schleret” (“Eyes of Eden”, “Dreams of Sanity”), “Simone Simons” (“Epica”), and “Sabine Dünser” (“Elis”), extending the resemblance to other female-fronted acts (“Xandria”, “Syrens Call”, “Visions of Atlantis”, “Serenity”, “Leaves' Eyes”, “Delain”, “Forgotten Tales”). The combined vocals of Olivia Bayer and Flávio Mendez also places Heaven’s Guardian close to “Orphaned Land”, “Kamelot” (with “Simone Simons”), “Battlelore”, “Evanescence”, “Lacuna Coil”, “Siegfried”, “Anthropia”, and Brazilian “Ashtar”. “Signs” contains ten tracks. “Religion” (2:26) is a bombastic symphonic intro followed by the adrenaline of “Time” (5:42) – a track that mixes the styles of Power and Thrash Metal with moments of Oriental Metal, with the variation of tempers controlled by the two alternating vocalists. The whole band contributes to the energetic atmosphere, delivering slicing riffs, carnivorous guitar solos, and devastating bass and drums! Most of the best songs of the album are as heavy as “Time”, profiting from the confrontation of the two singers, with each one having moments of advantage upon the other. Such duels are replicated on the thrilling instrumental sequences, on which guitars clash against keyboards, or against more guitars! Most of those fierce combats happen on songs like: “Dream” (6:30), on which an aggressive Mendez takes an optimistic Olívia beyond a frontline of nightmarish gothic organs and blowing instrumentation, in a mix of “Iced Earth” and “Dream Theater”; “Change” (7:49), on which Olivia’s operatic voice and the cleaner voice of Mendez have an unstoppable dispute after a great solo of synth; “Passage” (5:50), which has a war between Thrash-Metal and Prog-Metal armies; and “Journey” (5:42), which has hellish riffs and Olivia’s vocals changing from malevolent to epic in the final victory. Amidst this extravagant Metal orgy, two songs are driven by simpler rocky beats and sticky choruses in the vein of “Nightwish”, “Elis”, and “Xandria”: “Strength” (5:49), on which Olivia delivers a Gothic-Romantic theme backed by extraordinary double guitar attack; and “Fantasy” (6:17), which has references to Arabian music and equal contribution of both singers (like “Kamelot”). The closing songs are: “War” (5:46), a beautiful ballad, on which Olivia’s mellow voice is backed by strings and classic piano (like “Epica”); and “Silence” (5:41), a furious and overcoming Power-Metal, full of instrumental brocades in Neo-Classical style! Heaven’s Guardian may have changed their sonic orientation a little, but the old and new musicians have quickly set up a tight musical bond. “Signs”, their first album together, is brilliant and amazing, being highly recommendable for fans of “Epica”, “Nightwish”, “Elis”, “After Forever”, “Xandria”, “Eyes of Eden”, “Battlelore”, “Evanescence”, “Orphaned Land”, “Lacuna Coil”, “Siegfried”, “Anthropia”, “ReVamp”, “Syrens Call”, “Visions of Atlantis”, “Serenity”, “Leaves' Eyes”, “Dreams of Sanity”, “Forgotten Tales”, “Imperia”, “Nemesea”, “Delain”, “Kamelot”, “Stratovarius”, “Blind Guardian”, “Demons & Wizards”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Heaven's Guardian are: Olívia Bayer – Female Vocals; Flávio Mendez – Male Vocals; Ericsson Marin – Guitars; Luiz Maurício – Guitars; Everton Marin – Keyboards; Murilo Ramos – Bass; Arthur Albuquerque – Drums. Ex-Members: Carlos Zema – Vocals; Paulo Paulera – Drums; Alexandre Kao Salino – Drums; Mario Linhares – Drums. Murilo Rassi – Bass; Jorge Sampaio – Bass. Special participation: Ericsson Marin – Cello on “War”; Marcello Pompeu – Additional Backing Vocals; Co-composer & Arrangements on “War”. Album Recorded and Produced by Marcello Pompeu at Mr. Som Studio (São Paulo-SP, Brazil). Mixed and Mastered by Heros Trench at Mr. Som Studio (São Paulo-SP, Brazil); Desig by Rogério Paulo Menezes. Also you must visit Heaven's Guardian's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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05/31/2016...................................Interested to know more about this Brazilian Band? Visit HEAVEN’S GUARDIAN HOME PAGE...
. SIMON MCKECHNIE - "From My Head To My Feet"
Simon McKechnie is a composer, arranger, and musician based in London, the U.K. McKechnie (pronounced Makeknee) has written arrangements for BBC television, for “Roberto Pla's Latin Jazz Orchestra”, and for classical ensembles “Golden Section” and “The Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments”. He was the leader of Jazz-Fusion group “Azul”, in a 2004 tour that was recommended by British newspaper The Guardian; and their music was played on BBC Radio3. McKechnie has also played guitar for “Nuno Silva” (Portuguese Fado singer), and co-wrote, with “Gary Waterman”, a play based on the life of the 18th century boxer Daniel Mendoza. Simon McKechnie has at first released an independent album, titled “London Reborn” (2011), which brought a collection of old London folk songs. Most recently, McKechnie has turned himself to a career in Progressive Rock, counting with three titles so far: “Clocks and Dark Clouds” (2013), “Newton's Alchemy” (2014), and the newest one, “From My Head to My Feet” (February, 2016). “From My Head to My Feet” contains 7 tracks: 5 songs + 2 instrumental pieces. The line-up features McKechnie (lead vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards and other instruments), Adam Riley (drums), Richard Exall (saxophones, clarinet), and Imogen Small (harmony vocals). Simon McKechnie’s music is flooded with the true spirit of 70’s British Progressive Rock, having the same creative and unpredictable approach, but sounding very fresh. There is a solid background coming from Jazz-Fusion, Classical, Medieval, and Folk music. First of all, McKechnie’s voice is really rare. He is a gifted singer with a preference for tasty tunes reminiscent of Cabaret and Jazz (recalling “Freddy Mercury” singing more emotional tunes), but the melodic singing styles of “Greg Lake” and “John Wetton”, and the harmony vocals of early “Yes” are also references here. “Lake” and “Wetton” may also have stretched their influences to McKechnie’s splendid harmonic bass playing, which is moreover instilled with the same vigor of “Chris Squire’s”, and with the elegant symphonic style of “Jon Camp”. The bass-driven orchestral moments and the most intricate passages of drums and bass hence recall “Renaissance”, “King Crimson”, “Yes”, “Cathedral”, “Flash”. The rest of the instrumentation is predominantly guitar-driven, having a retro-Prog sound. The electric guitars lean to the Canterbury Scene, recalling the freedom of “Steve Hillage”, “Khan”, “National Health”, “Caravan”, and others, like “Camel”, a mellower “King Crimson”, and “Finch”. Some passages of acoustic guitars are delicate and dreamy, recalling the Prog-phase of “Genesis”. Keyboards are employed with less intensity than guitars, being restricted to the embellishment of the arrangements, but the variation of textures is ample: a classical piano, a windy Mellotron, some passages of organ, and also synths may be heard on selected moments of each song or piece. Drummer Adam Riley is very professional, and shows his best, playing within the limits of traditional Progressive Rock, but also adding some superb jazzy lines to the music. A sax that recalls “King Crimson” and an old-styled Jazz clarinet are offered by Richard Exall. Some occasional flute sounds bring “Jethro Tull” to mind. The instrumentation is nicely arranged on all tracks, and tastefully harmonized with vocals on the songs. The record is a musical pleasure, from beginning to end, and contains a great variety of Progressive styles and cadences. “From My Head to My Feet” starts and ends with two great Symphonic Progressive songs. “Hymn of Apollo” (6:30) is introduced by McKechnie’s velvet-like voice, singing a poem written by “Percy Bysshe Shelley” with a cool jazzy style, the bass beat and overall orchestration recalling “Renaissance”, and later, in the presence of a sax, “King Crimson”. And “The Harpist's Song” (8:41), with lyrics based on a writ inscribed on the tomb of Pharaoh Intef I, strengthens this ancient theme with magnificent vocals, soaring backing choirs, dreamy guitars, and epic melodies. To make a contrast with the imposing cadence of those Prog-symphonies, McKechnie added three faster and more vivid songs to this record: “Jane Wenham's Trial” (6:28), which tells about Britain’s last trial for witchcraft in 1712, has rhythmic bass, drums and vocals akin to early “Yes”; “From My Head to My Feet” (4:06) dances with a crazy sax on Jazz-Funk swings and crooked harmonies; and “Melita” (6:41) pays tribute to the country of Malta (where McKechnie grew up), featuring traditional stringed instruments and native vocal tunes, mostly inspired on the Mediterranean folkloric music,. The instrumental tracks of the album are also amazing, real Prog-Rock reveries. “Year of Light” (7:45) is symphonic, having eclectic guitars and keyboards, and an oriental touch; “Once Upon a Time” (12:25) leans to the Canterbury style, having several solos of guitar, clarinet-driven parts, and jazzy drums. As a whole, “From My Head to My Feet” contains a powerful Progressive repertoire, capable of attracting and fascinating most orthodox Prog-heads. McKechnie should gather a band together now and start touring around circuits of 70’s Progressive Rock. Simon McKechnie and his unique Progressive Rock style are highly recommendable for fans of early “Yes” and “Genesis”, “Renaissance”, “King Crimson”, “Gentle Giant”, “Steve Hillage”, “Khan”, “National Health”, “Camel”, “Caravan”, “Flesh”; non-British bands like “Cathedral” and “Finch”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Simon McKechnie are: Simon McKechnie – Lead Vocals, All other Instruments; Adam Riley – Drums; Richard Exall – Saxes, Clarinet; Imogen Small – Harmony vocals. Gossiping villagers on “Jane Wenham’s Trial”: Imogen Small, Vaishali Londhe, Simon McKechnie. All Words and Music by Simon McKechnie except for the words on “Hymn of Apollo” (a poem by “Percy Bysshe Shelley”) and the “Harpist’s Song” (Anon.), a setting of lines written on the tomb of Intef I, Pharaoh of Egypt in c. 2100 B.C.) Produced by Simon McKechnie; Recorded at Full Range Studio, London. Mastered by Tom Waltz at Waltz Mastering, Boston, USA... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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05/31/2016................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit SIMON MCKECHNIE HOME PAGE...
. DANTE - "When We Were Beautiful"
Dante is a German Progressive Metal band from Augsburg and Munich that has been gathering an increasing fan-base, by playing convincing concerts around Germany and abroad. Dante was founded in 2006 by Markus Berger (guitars, bass) and Markus Maichel (keyboards, piano), soon joined by Alexander Göhs (vocals) and Christian Eichlinger (drums). The band produced a debut album, titled “The Inner Circle” (2008), which was influenced by Progressive Rock. With addition of bassist Dennis Neumeier to the line-up, Dante released their second album, “Saturnine” (2010), via ProgRock Records, America. “Saturnine” marked Dante’s trajectory from the studio onto the stage, as the band became a live-performing act. In 2011 bassist Neumeier left Dante. Founding member Markus Berger replaced him on bass, and newcomer Markus A. Bader stood as Dante’s guitar player. The third album, “November Red” (2013, Massacre Records), delivered a balanced blend of heavy, ambitious and emotional music, and became Dante’s most successful album so far. Unfortunately, “November …” was tragically followed by the death of co-founder Markus Berger. In spite of that, Dante toured intensely for two years divulging the album, sometimes supporting bands like “Lacrimas Profundere” and “Subsignal”, strengthening their reputation in the Prog-Metal scene. Recovered from the traumatic loss of Berger, Dante came back to life with their fourth studio album – “When We Were Beautiful”. The CD was released on March 18th 2016 via Gentle Art Of Music and has seven tracks. The line-up features veterans Göhs (vocals), Maichel (keyboards, piano), and Eichlinger (drums, vocals), joined by new guitar player Julian Kellner. “When We Were Beautiful” is an ambitious record, with which Dante aims to reach a higher threshold, as the group has the serious intention to fill in the gap between modern Prog-Metal and old-school Progressive Rock. Pursuing this goal, Dante’s songs flow on a powerful and uniform torrent of complex guitar riffs, propelled by brutal and tribal drumming and resounding pulsing bass. Waving synths with a contamination from Electronica and Industrial Metal contribute to squeeze this sonic mass into a dense amalgamate of heavy, condensed, and iron-saturated Prog-Metal. The primordial ocean of molten Metal is revolved by stormy winds that bring exciting sequences of fierce guitar solos and slicing synths – all in an overwhelming quantity. The instrumentation is intervened by doomsday dramatic vocals that rise from the havoc to conquer their space with demanding sticky choruses, but on the most melodic parts, the vocals may be melodic and emotional (recalling me of ex-“Kamelot” singer, “Roy Khan”). Dante’s sound may even be strongly influenced by bands like “Tool”, “Fates Warning”, “Rammstein”, “Porcupine Tree”, “OSI”, “Steven Wilson”, “Dream Theater”, “Symphony X”, “Redemption”, “Kamelot”, “Killswitch Engage” and “Dillinger Escape Plan”, but it has a distinguishing feature: the violence of their music is sometimes abruptly broken by, or soothed down to peaceful moments of Progressive euphony, which may come in the form of a classic or jazzy pianos, strings, or as more introspective vocals. On “When We Were Beautiful”, Dante’s efficient formula is mostly employed on songs like “Rearrangement of the Gods” (10:44) - a pounding and mind-blowing first track that brings heart-pumping bass, riffs that concentrate all rage of the word, malevolent vocals, and an amazing sequence of breathtaking guitar solos; and especially on “Ambitious” (9:10), which accumulates Tribal-Metal polyrhythms and Hard-Rock grooves on the first half, and thrilling creative instrumental passages with weird guitars and jazzy piano on the second. “Beautiful Again” (6:40) is frantic, heavy and powerful, and will be addicting for fans of “Dream Theater” and “Symphony X”, due to its Prog-Metallic dynamics – embellished with sounds of laser-rays, and a break for a lonely classical piano! “Until the Last Light Breaks In” (10:51) has an alternation of the opposites: Metal against Prog, heavy against melodic, fastness against slowness, aggressive vocals against somber vocals; and also has a rotation of styles (Thrash-Metal, Electronic, and Industrial). That alternation generates great tension in the music, released in a dazzling sequence of guitar and synth solos that are easily the album’s best! This song will greatly satisfy fans of “Kamelot”, “OSI”, “Fates Warning”, and “Dillinger Scape Plan”. “Let Me Down” (8:19) marks a return to the Hard-Rock sound of “Ambitious”, bringing a confrontation of groovy guitars against gritty organs, topped with a Melodic Rock voice chorus. And the melancholic ballad “Sad Today” (3:44) precedes “Finally” (14:11) – an epic closing track on which Dante throws all of their best musicianship, commencing by a tsunamic wave of adventurous instrumentation that combines Eletronica, Industrial, Oriental, and Prog-Metal. When vocals come (about the third minute), they bring a dramatic load to the song, being followed by a compatible guitar solo. This song is broken in the middle for strings, sobbing vocals, soaring synths, and a magnificent guitar solo to take off, flying on the wings of epic vocals, and leaving the astonished listener totally knocked out on the ground! Dante’s “When We Were Beautiful” is really a solid and convulsive album, which showcases a band that has much to offer to a new Prog-Metal Era. Dante is therefore highly recommended for fans of “Dream Theater”, “Kamelot”, “Symphony X”, “Tool”, “Fates Warning”, “Rammstein”, “Porcupine Tree”, “OSI”, “Steven Wilson”, “Redemption”, and “Dillinger Escape Plan”. Band members and collaborators involved in Dante are: Alexander Göhs – Vocals; Markus Maichel – Keyboards, Piano; Christian Eichlinger – Drums, Vocals; Julian Kellner – Guitars. Past Members: Markus Berger (r.i.p.) - Bass & Guitars (2005-2013); Dennis Neumeier - Bass (2008-2011); Markus A. Bader - Guitars (2010-2015). Produced by Dante & Gentle Art Of Music... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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05/31/2016....................................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit DANTE HOME PAGE...
. SUMMER BREEZE PROJECT - "Contact – Part Two"
Summer Breeze Project is back to PR&PM! Summer Breeze Project (a.k.a. SBP) is a Dutch Progressive Rock project that started in the spring of 2008 as a prospect for the upcoming summer – hence the moniker Summer Breeze Project. As the musicians involved in the project felt that their brand of Progressive Rock really sounded nicely, SBP began to perform live. The positive feedback SBP received from the audiences caused the project to turn into a full-time band. SBP released the independent mini CD, “Energy” (2009), followed by the full-length album, “Unusual Horizons” (2011), and a single, called “Hollow” (2012). With support of Dutch label Freia Music, and collaboration of specialized media, SBP was selected as one of 8 most promising Dutch Prog-bands that appeared on the compilation “Dutch Exposure Project” (2012, Freia Music). In 2014, SBP decided to raise their music to more ambitious levels, and began to prepare a magnum opus, titled “Contact Triptych”, divided on three EPs: “Contact - Part One”, “Contact - Part Two”, and “Contact - Part Three”. “Part One” was released in May 2014, and reviewed at PR&PM in October 2014. “Contact - Part Two” was released in 2015, with the same line-up, consisting of Gert Bruins (lead vocals, guitars), Gordon van Pelt (guitars, Theremin), Fons Panneman (keyboards, backing vocals), Jørgen de Jonge (bass, backing vocals), and Rene Troostheiden (drums, programming & percussion). SBP’s style is mostly Symphonic Neo-Progressive Rock, with occasional passages of Electronic Music and Heavy Metal. The music is melodic and catchy, flowing slowly over dreamy soundscapes. Their influences are: “Pink Floyd”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Steven Wilson”, “Blackfield”, “Rush”, “Taurus & Pisces”, “Marillion”, “Pallas”, “IQ”, “Twelfth Night”, “Arena”, “RPWL”, “No-Man”, “No Name”, “Alan Parsons”, “Klaatu”, “Kayak”, “Flamborough Head”, and “Ayreon”. “Contact - Part Two”, as the previous “Part One”, contains three tracks. But differently from “Part One”, “Part Two” is less emotional and delicate, being rather immersed in a darker and somber atmosphere, having also more density and stamina. The guitars are somewhat heavier, and the solos are more incisive. The rhythmic section is also more present and cohesive; and keyboards, more varied in textures. The vocals are also compatible with the gloomy atmosphere, being more sinister and grievous. The themes keep a close harmonic bond with the songs of first chapter, just like a good conceptual work should sound! “Contact – Part Two” opens with “Old” (5:10), which starts by surprising the listener with the new heaviness and metallic timbre of its guitar riffs and the presence of solid Hammonds on the background. This song still has a mix of dark and bright parts – the vocals and guitar solo, in special, are still luminous. “Grey” (6:09), on the contrary, descends to lower tones, dimming out the light, being propelled by Heavy-Prog riffs and pulsing lines of bass. This song is also immersed in a kind of cosmic-space ambience, strengthened by keyboard effects and the superb employment of the Theremin. Other highlights are the backing vocals (which recall “Ayreon’s” incursions to the sci-fi world), and a final guitar solo - soaring and epic. “Metropolis” (7:10) is still darker, and the overall instrumentation is minimalist. This song descends to the inner levels of the mind, guided by sinister vocals, psychedelic organ, and deep lysergic bass lines. The final instrumental sequence twists to a Symphonic-Dark-Neo-Prog that ascends to the outer limits of our galaxy, promising that the best of SBP’s opus is yet to come! As an enthralling and evolving “Prog-ject”, Summer Breeze Project is highly recommended for fans of “the dark side of the music”, as played by “Pink Floyd”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Steven Wilson”, “Blackfield”, “No-Man”, “Taurus & Pisces”, “RPWL”, “Alan Parsons Project”, “Marillion”, “Pallas”, “IQ”, “Twelfth Night”, and “Arena”. SBP is already working on “Contact – Part Three” – the third and final chapter of this emotional Progressive saga. Stay tuned! Band members and collaborators involved in Summer Breeze Project are: Gert Bruins – Lead Vocals, Guitars; Gordon van Pelt – Guitars; Fons Panneman – Keyboards, Piano, Hammond, Synths, Soundscapes, and Backing Vocals; Jørgen de Jonge – Bass and Backing Vocals; Rene Troostheiden – Drums, Drum Programming & Percussion. Lyrics by Bruins; Music by SBP. Album Recorded, Mixed & Produced by SBP & OINK-records, Mastered at Sonar Studios... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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05/31/2016....................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit SUMMER BREEZE PROJECT HOME PAGE...
. THE HOUNDS OF HASSELVANDER - "Ancient Rocks"
The Hounds of Hasselvander (or HOH) are back to PR&PM! The Hounds of Hasselvander are a Doom-Metal project spearheaded by veteran musician Joe Hasselvander (vocals, guitars, bass, and drums). He entered the Metal scene in early 80’s, first playing on the cover band “The Boyz”, an later, on USA’s “Death Row” and cult Doom-Metal outfit “Pentagram”. In 1984 Hasselvander started to release solo albums. From 1987 to 2007 he played drums for NWOBHM band “Raven”; and also contributed for many other bands (“Phantom Lord”, “Jack Starr”, “Cathedral”, “Blue Cheer”, “Reactor”, “Overlord”, “White Lion”). In 2007, Hasselvander revamped his solo career under the moniker The Hounds Of Hasselvander, and released a new series of albums. The last one, titled “Midnight Howler” (2015), was featured at PR&PM. HOH’s most recent release is an album of covers, called “Ancient Rocks” (2016, Black Widow Records). The CD showcases songs from some of Hasselvander’s favorite bands, which have influenced him strongly. The bands were from the mid-‘60s to mid-‘70s, belonging to the so-called “Proto-Metal” style. Hasselvander wrapped up their songs in retro-sonorities, preserving most of their original spirit and energy. They have been played with spontaneity and a loose funky feel, typical of that smoky-fuzzy Musical Era. On this task, Hasselvander was joined by bassist Martin Swaney (ex-“Death Row”/“Pentagram”), drummer T.C. Tolliver (ex-“Plasmatics”), keyboardist Paolo “Apollo” Negri (“Wicked Minds”) and other guests (see below). Hasselvander commands the creepy show with his throaty voice – a mix of “John Garner” (“Sir Lord Baltimore”) with “Lemmy” (R.I.P.) – and clubs everyone with troglodyte guitar riffs. But our favorite cave-man could not resist to the impulse of adding a few extra pounds to the already heavy tonnage of those songs, updating them to the late 70’s to early 80’s Metal context (like “Metallica’s” on “Garage Days”), also approaching the modern Stoner-Metal style. As a result, the sonority of “Ancient Rocks” reprises the fundamental principles of Metal, as compiled by “Black Sabbath”, combined to the wild attitude of “Motörhead”, having a “Deep Purple” vein on keyboards. “Ancient Rocks” has 12 tracks – 10 cover-songs plus two radio broadcasts that are used as intros. The repertoire is fantastic – a mix of Hard-Rock classics from well-known acts, rough Proto-Metal standards from legendary bands, and some surprises coming from obscured early 70’s bands that will wake up your inner-Cro-Magnon! The album starts with the freak-show announcement “Trial of the Dead” (0:34), which works as the perfect intro for “Strange Movies” (3:12), by “Troggs”, a song that comes with much more groovy, darkness, and heaviness than the original, underlined by Hasselvander’s baritone voice! A similar impacting contrast is felt by the listener on “Midnight to Six Man” (2:55), by 60’s U.K. band “The Pretty Things”, as HOH’s version replaces its innocence by malevolent riffs and an extra load of Metal! On the other extreme of the time axis, “I'm in Trouble Again” (3:49), by Canadian “Trooper”, pulls the listener to 1975, albeit slowing the song’s pace for a “sludge-stoner” cadence that highlights the tragic contents of the lyrics. The middle of the record is occupied by covers from groups that have reached a cult-status among Hard-Rock enthusiasts, and some obscured bands. The sluggish riffing and acid guitars of “Bang” (USA’s equivalent to “Black Sabbath”, and one of Doom-Metal precursors) are represented on “Idealist Realist” (4:29), from the album “Mother/Bow to the King” (1972). Another cult-song is “Cookbook” (3:01), from a 1972’s single by Psychic Heavy-Rock act “Damnation of Adam Blessing”, which on HOH’s version has the same doped vocals and lysergic guitar, but denser bass (played by Hasselvander) and much more awesome drums by T.C. Tolliver! Still more surprising are “Boomerang’s” “Juke It” (5:20), which is expelled from 1971’s obscurity via Stoner-Rock nuclear explosions; and “Primitive Man” (6:35) – a brute diamond recovered from “Jerusalem’s” 1972 eponymous album that became my favorite one! The last third of the CD features covers from famous names. “Teachin' Blues” (2:21) (“Bob Seger”) is exciting, including igneous keyboards and guitars that show that HOH have learned the lesson! The radio broadcast “Sex Machine” (1:01) introduces the nasty “Come and Get It” (3:28), by “Blue Cheer” – a bit slower and denser, but with the same dose of primitiveness and savagery! The album ends with a great rendition of “One Eyed Trouser Snake Rumba” (3:57), by “Humble Pie”, which was taken from HOH’s 2008 EP “Further Torments of the SG” (Vinyl) and features amazing lead vocals by Jimmy Kunes! “Ancient Rocks” is the greatest tribute of The Hounds Of Hasselvander and Black Widow Records to the Hard-Rock style, consisting in a must-have item for fans of 60’s to early 70’s Hard-Rock, Heavy Psychic Rock, Proto-Metal, Stoner-Rock and Stoner-Metal, with a preference for “Blue Cheer”, early “Black Sabbath”, “Motörhead”, “Black Widow”, “Message”, “Edgar Broughton”, “Bang”, “Troggs”, “Damnation of Adam Blessing”, “Jerusalem”, “Atomic Rooster”, “Electric Wizard”, “Pentagram”, “Trouble”, “Sir Lord Baltimore”, “Kadavar”, and others like them. Band members and collaborators involved in The Hounds of Hasselvander are: Joe Hasselvander – Vocals, Guitars, Bass (on “Cook Book”); Martin Swaney – Bass; T.C. Tolliver – Drums; Paolo “Apollo” Negri – Keyboards. Additional Musicians: Russ Strahan – Lead Guitar Solo on “Juke It”; Paulie Kraynak – Bass on “Primitive Man”; Jimmy Kunes – Lead Vocals on “One Eyed Trouser Snake Rumba”; Frankie Brando – Drums on “Come And Get It”; Recorded March-September 2011 at Old Schoolhouse Studios, Hadley, Massachusetts, USA. Produced by J. Hasselvander; Engineered by Jim Matus; Mastered by S.A. Adams, Long Island, NY... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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05/31/2016...............................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE HOUNDS OF HASSELVANDER HOME PAGE...
. CORVUS STONE - "Corvus Stone II"
Corvus Stone is a multinational Avant-garde Progressive Rock studio band, with a base settled in Jyväskylä, Finland. Corvus Stone began activities by releasing their eponymous album, “Corvus Stone”, in 2012. This one was followed by “Corvus Stone II” (2014) and “Unscrewed” (2015), all via Melodic Revolution Records. Corvus Stone’s line-up has four core members that have great experience in playing non-conventional music: guitarist Colin Tench has his “Colin Tench Project” and plays with “The Minstrel's Ghost”, “BunChakeze”, and “Oceans 5”; keyboardist Pasi Koivu had his “Psychedelic Eye” project; bassist Petri Lemmy Lindström (ex-“Lyijykomppania”) is a current member of “Saturn Twilight” and “Progeland”; drummer Robert Wolff was a member of 70's U.S.A. bands “Micah” and “Raven”. Singer Blake Carpenter has been of vital importance to the project, as he took part on the first two albums, but now he is running his “Minstrel's Ghost” project. The visual artist Sonia Mota is also regarded as a member of Corvus Stone. Special guest appearances on the project have been made by singers Sean Filkins (ex-“Big Big Train”), Phil Naro (“Druckfarben”, “Talas”, “DDrive”), German Vergara (“Aisles”), Stef Flaming (“Murky Red”), Timo Rautiainen (“Trio Niskalaukaus”), and Andres Guazzelli; and by drummer Victor Tassone (“Unified Past”) and guitarist John Culley (“Black Widow”). All those musicians appeared on Corvus Stone’s second album, titled “Corvus Stone II”, which is on focus herein. The CD comes in a digipak cover having a 16-page booklet that features outstanding artwork by Sonia Mota. The album contains 16 tracks, covering 80 minutes of music! The music produced by Corvus Stone does not belong to a single genre or style. Project members draw inspiration from any innovative band, focusing their interest on breakthrough acts, such as “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”, “Emerson Lake and Palmer”, “Focus”, “Yes”, “Camel”, “Deep Purple”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Frank Zappa”, “Jeff Beck”, “Peter Gabriel”, “David Bowie”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Steven Wilson”, “Riverside”, and “Pain of Salvation”; but the project also has a sonic resemblance to other Finnish bands (“Kalevala”, “Aardvark”, “Haikara”, “Overhead”). To me, Corvus Stone is a full-fledged Progressive Rock act, although a very eclectic one – even when one considers the wide parameters allowed for Progressive Music! The players are really excellent – skilled and creative; and the different guest singers add something of their own to each song. The resulting music is surprising and unpredictable, containing an ample variation of textures and styles, also trespassing ages, spanning from Folk-Medieval to futuristic Space Rock, with 70’s Psychedelic, Jazz-Fusion, and festive Hard-Rock in between. It also connects distant geographical regions with opposite moods – for instance, uniting the Scandinavian melancholy to the warmth of Latin rhythms. Each song will therefore hit each listener differently, according to his/her tastes and sensibility. The songs sung by Phil Naro - “The Simple Life” (1:59) and “Eternal Universe” (3:52) are soft and ethereal (like early “Yes”), making a huge contrast with the dark “Mystery Man” (6:37) – which has a sinister Blake Carpenter on vocals, followed by gritty organs, enigmatic percussion, and psychic guitars in the vein of “Kalevala” and “Uriah Heep” – or still to the Hard-Rock “Purple Stone” (3:21) (on which Carpenter and Guazzelli sing the chorus of “Deep Purple’s” “Highway Star”). Listeners searching for exotic and folkloric sounds will find both on the two songs having Finnish lyrics (sung by Timo): “Camelus Bactrianus (Tuolla Tuonnempana)” (8:42) (which starts slow, like a funeral march, accelerating later to a vibrant Space-Rock) and “Campfire (Tulen Luona)” (2:17), which is more traditional. Their introspection contrast against the heated Latin-Fusion grooves of the mostly instrumental “Scandinavians In Mexico” (5:06) (for fans of “Santana”); and to the warmth of the Flamenco-styled songs “Dark Tower” (1:48) (based on the “Aranjuez Concert”, sung by an inspired Blake Carpenter) and the magnificent “Moaning Lisa” (14:07) – based on a ghost story, which commences as a minstrel medieval song led by Filkins (English lyrics), and grows in Progressive stature, until finishing with Vergara’s vocals (Spanish lyrics). But leaping from Spain to Germany, “Boots for Hire” (8:58), driven by Stef Flaming’s deep voice, will please any Krautrock admirer! In spite of the brilliance of those singers, the core members of Corvus Stone will always emphasize that their skilled instrumentation is the strongest point of their project! They prove it, by offering to the listener some really amazing instrumental pieces, such as “Early Morning Call” (3:51) – a pure rejoice for the orthodox Symphonic-Prog consumer; “A Stoned Crow Meets The Rusty Wolff Rat” (7:37) (with a strong influence of “King Crimson”); the impressive “Mr. Cha Cha” (4:49), and “Uncle Schunkle” (4:37), which combine Space Blues, Jazzy grooves, and Psychedelic jams in amazing arrangements (recalling “Zappa”). A couple of interludes – “Sneaky Entrance In To Lisa” (0:30) and “Lisa Has A Cigar” (0:46) – complete the list. Corvus Stone’s “second” is an extraordinary album that ought to be listened carefully and unhurriedly, having many surprises to discover, being highly recommendable for fans of Progressive Music in general, from Symphonic or Folk-Medieval, to Avant-garde, Experimental, Krautrock, Psychedelic and Hard-Prog! Band members and collaborators involved in Corvus Stone are: Colin Tench – Guitar; Pasi Koivu – Keyboards; Petri Lemmy Lindström – Bass; Robert Wolff – Drums & Percussion. Sonia Mota – Artwork & Video. Special Guest Singers: Blake Carpenter; Sean Filkins (also some Percussion & Harmonica; Phil Naro; Timo Rautiainen; Stef Flaming; German Vergara; and Andres Guazzelli. Additional Guest Musicians: Victor Tassone – Percussion & Occasional Drums; John Culley – Guitar; Matti Kervinen (of  “Pax Romana”) – Lyrics for Timo. Digital Release on September 30th 2014; CD Release on October 20th 2014. Arranged, Mixed and Produced at Stoned Bun Studios, by Colin Tench; Drums Recorded and Engineered by Rusty Dimmett at Kennesound Studio, Kennesaw, Georgia, Atlanta. Timo Rautiainen’s Vocals Recorded by Juha-Matti Koppelomäki.Also you must visit Corvus Stone's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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05/31/2016......................Wants to learn more about the band and their music, you need to visit CORVUS STONE HOME PAGE...
. FENIX TALES - "The Abyss Eye"
Fenix Tales are an Italian Symphonic Gothic Metal band that was founded in Florence in 2008 by keyboardist and composer Marco. The other members are: Lucia Lucy Liù (vocals), Federico (violin), Niccolò (guitars), Alex (bass), and Simone (drums). The musicians involved in the project are either professional or experienced. Marcos approaches his keyboards with an orchestral and Progressive verve. Lucia is a professional lyric soprano: owner of a powerful and incisive voice, a bright vocal timbre and an elegant style, she has performed in Greece, USA, Spain, Germany, Argentina, Israel, and Japan. Federico is a First Violinist in important symphonic institutions in Italy and worldwide; he is also a Second Viola at the Scala Theatre String Quartet and has taken part in the recordings of 12 CDs. Niccolò has played in various Metal and non-Metal bands, and is a student of the classical guitar style. Alessandro has a preference for the 5-stringed bass, and a penchant for dark music. And Simone is a survivor of Florence’s underground environment, around which he has played drums vigorously on several Gothic-Rock, Gothic Metal, and Power Metal bands. Marco conceived Fenix Tales as a musical project capable of combining together elements of symphonic music with most contemporary Rock, featuring lyrics with existential contents. The band evolved from a strongly Gothic profile towards a plain Symphonic style with a cinematographic impact, profiting from the addition of Metal rhythms, choirs, and orchestral arrangements. The music of Fenix Tales thus seeks for the perfect balance among three pillars: 1) Classical Academic, from keyboards and vocals, 2) Folk and Celtic from the violin; and 3) a powerful and revitalizing energy of modern Gothic Rock and Metal, from the bass, guitars and drums – resulting in the original sonic signature that characterizes Fenix Tales! Fenix Tales have recently released a new independent album, titled, “The Abyss Eye” (2015), with distribution of Black Widow Records. “The Abyss Eye” contains 8 tracks. The sound is very influenced by bands like “Epica”, “Nightwish” (either with “Tarja” or “Floor Jansen”), “After Forever”, and “Dreams of Sanity”, having a strong operatic vein that also recalls “Aesma Daeva”, “Rain Fell Within”, “Uncreated Light”, “Diablo Swing Orchestra”, and “Therion”; with a slightly similitude to the Gothic instrumentation of “Lacrimosa”; paralleling the Italians “Sophya Baccini”, “Deva”, and “Magni Animi Viri”. The later, together with musical projects like “E.S. Posthumus” and “Two Steps From Hell”, represent an additional reference, regarding the epic-cinematographic nature of Fenix Tales’ sonority! “The Abyss Eye” starts up with the gargoyle-atmospheric intro “Once Upon a Time” (1:45), which outstretches its energy towards “Friendly Darkness” (5:15) – an impacting Symphonic-Metal piece with a strong operatic verve, on which the mesmerizing voice of Lucia is balanced by Baroque cellos, keyboards, and powerful guitar riffs, all which are carefully inserted in the musical frame and topped by neo-classic guitar solos. The power of this song recalls me of operatic bands like “After Forever”, “Aesma Daeva” and “Uncreated Light”. The following tracks – namely “Confutatis Maledictis” (7:31) and “War” (7:48), are mostly hued, epic and cinematographic in nature, having different atmospheric moments, Progressive interludes, and the superb performance of Lucia being perfectly supported by the Metal parts – recalling a hybridization of “Nightwish” and “Epica”. “Confutatis …” makes use of the Latin quotation on the magnificent chorus, and has a brake for inclusion of Oriental sounds; while “War” begins solemn like a Gothic funereal, grows with the coming of bombastic orchestral parts full of trumpets, cellos, strings, and epic choruses, rides on heavy guitars, metallic bass, and Power-Metal binary beats, finishing on Lucia’s farewell chanting. Some whispering voices and vertiginous Neo-classical instrumentation on “Paths” (1:31) introduce the slow – but majestic – title track, “The Abyss Eye” (7:05) – on which malevolent vocals make an expressive counterpoint to the violins, backed up by epic choirs instilled with the magnitude of “Giuseppe Verdi” (and that I wished to be played at my funeral), trespassed by Metal-styled guitar solo. The last two songs show a different orientation on their styles. “LCI” (3:57) is dreamy and ethereal, being predominantly driven by Lucia’s ghostly voice and Marco’s nocturnal grand piano. “Dolls” (4:50) is more Folk-Medieval on the vocal parts, which are supported predominantly by fiddle and violins, dividing the sonic space with fast Power-Metal sequences! Overall, I found Fenix Tales’s album a real fantastic work in the realm of “Female Fronted Symphonic Gothic-Metal”, being flooded with Italian operatic lyricism. The project needs just to improve the quality of the recordings, seeking for more defined sound on the Metal parts, and soon will be gaining their place in the hearts of fans of “Epica”, “Nightwish” (either with “Tarja” or “Floor Jansen”), “After Forever”, “Dreams of Sanity”, “Aesma Daeva”, “Rain Fell Within”, “Uncreated Light”, “Diablo Swing Orchestra”, “The 3rd And the Mortal”, “Todesbonden”, “Therion”, “Lacrimosa”, “Darkyra”, “Sophya Baccini”, “Deva”, “Magni Animi Viri”, “E.S. Posthumus”, and “Two Steps From Hell”, to whom Fenix Tales is more than highly recommendable! Band members and collaborators involved in Fenix Tales are: Lucia Lucy Liù - Vocals; Marco – Keyboards; Federico – Violin; Niccolò – Guitars; Alex – Bass; Simone – Drums. Guest Musicians: Jacopo Bertini – Chorus Vocalist; Paolo Paniconi – Voice, Violin studio takes; Riccardo De Paoli – Special Guest Guitar. Collaborators: Gabrella Scalamonti – Translations; Yuri Ferrara – Drums service; Franco La Cava – Consultant; Roberta Tozzi – Support; Fulvio Chiari, Corrado Frullani, Tommaso Santoponte – Photography; Andrea Sortino – Cover Artwork. Mixed at Orbit Studio by Alex Cinelli; Mastered at White Sound Mastering Studio by Tommy Bianchi. Produced by Fenix Tales, Distributed by Black Widow Records. Also you must visit Fenix Tales's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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05/31/2016..........................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit FENIX TALES HOME PAGE...
. DIFFERENT LIGHT - "The Burden Of Paradise"
Different Light is back to PR&PM! Different Light is a Progressive Rock band featuring musicians from the countries of Malta and the Czech Republic. Different Light was formed in Malta in 1994, having Trevor Tabone (lead vocals, keyboards, and guitars), Mark Agius Cesareo (lead guitar), Trevor Catania (bass) and Richie Rizzo (drums) in the line-up. In 1996 this formation released a debut album, titled “All About Yourself'”. In 1999, with David Cassar Torreggiani on guitars, the band released the EP “A Kind of Consolation” and split up afterwards. In 2008 – almost a decade after – Different Light’s second phase began to take form in Prague, Czech Republic. Founding member Trevor Tabone gathered around him a new line-up, consisting of Petr Lux (lead guitars), Hynek Kocourek (guitars), Premek Matejovic (bass), and Daniel Charron (drums); and together they released the album “Icons That Weep” (2009). In the following years, Tabone kept Different Light on the road with touring members Jirka Matoušek, Bill Etheridge and Brian Reagan. In 2011 the group released the compilation “Il Suono Della Luce”, containing the best songs of the three previous albums and a new one. The compilation was reviewed at PR&PM in the same year. In 2015 Different Light was reformulated once more: singer-keyboardist Trevor Tabone and bassist Jirka Matoušek were joined by Petr Matoušek (drums) and re-joined by Petr Lux (guitars, backing vocals). This formation immediately began to record a new album, titled “The Burden of Paradise”, which was released in February, 2016. “The Burden of Paradise” showcases a solid Progressive band, led by a mature singer-songwriter (Tabone), having an eclectic guitar player on the edge of his skills (Lux) and a consistent classic-Prog rhythmic duo (the two Matoušeks). The style of Different Light retains the pureness of early Neo-Prog, crossed to a British 70’s Pop-Rock influence, represented by a piano-oriented, song-ballad format. The music emphasizes melody, as beautiful tunes are superposed on the arrangements, backed up by opulent symphonic parts. Tabone’s favorite instrument is the piano, which he plays bouncily and rhythmically, with a mix of sensitiveness and drama, throughout each song. But he also adds some pristine solos of synths on the most bombastic orchestral passages. Tabone’s second instrument is his own voice – smooth, tuneful, and emotional, sometimes having a healthy popish approach. He divides the foreground with the extraordinary guitar work of Petr Lux, whose soulful and well-elaborated solos bring to my mind names like “David Gilmore”, “Steve Rothery” and “Steve Lukather”. Bass and drums transmit a mild groove to the music, oscillating between the Neo-Prog and Classic-Pop styles. On the music of Different Light, nothing is exaggerated: the sound is well balanced between vocal and instrumental parts; and between piano and guitar. Overall, the Neo-Prog facet of Different Light shares a sonic resemblance with bands like “Genesis” (the Prog-phase with “Phil Collins”), “Marillion” (“Fish” Era), “Pallas”, “Twelfth Night”, “IQ”, “Jadis”, “Red Jasper”, “Grey Lady Down”, “Mr. So & So”, “Clepsydra”, and “Rush”; while the classic piano tends more to “Illusion”, “Renaissance”, “Rick Wakeman” and “Kayak”. But when piano and vocals approach the 70’s Pop, the music recalls “Supertramp” with “Roger Hodgson” (lacking saxophones), “Styx” and “Klaatu”. “The Burden of Paradise” contains 8 compositions, two of which are long suites that stand under the spotlights: “In the Grand Scheme of Things” (22:20) and “Eternal Return” (14:10). The first one opens the album with a symphonic verve, being divided in 8 parts that include: the prelude “i-The Schemer Wakes”; the dreamy and innocent ballads “ii-Letters for Alice” and “vii-Together There”; the Power-Prog “iii-Happiness”; the electro-acoustic “v-Pascal's Wager” (with soaring strings, synths, and guitars); the instrumental interludes “iv-The Stalker Walks” (majestic) and “vi-Out of the Goldilocks Zone” (a Slavic dance); and the postlude “viii-The Schemer Sleeps”. The second suite, central on the CD, mixes drama and joy, being divided in 6 parts: the intro “i-New Promise” (a dramatic song); the joyful “iii-Nectar Junky” and “v-Default Setting Escape” (both with playful pianos and nice vocals/harmony vocals in “Supertramp” style); the instrumental interludes “ii-At First Light” and “iv-A Carpathian Day”; and the conclusion “vi-Waking Moment” (which alternates popish vocals and piano with awesome instrumentation, full of guitars). The two suites are separated from each other by the singles “Voice of Outside” (5:38) (a mostly acoustic and eerie Prog-ballad, featuring a second female voice); and the guitar-driven instrumental track “A St. Martin's Summer” (3:07), which is powered to a Heavy-Prog level. The song “Transient Dream” (5:25) – a vibrant crossover between Prog and Pop-Rock – leads to a great sequence made of the symphonic intro “Mare Ibrium” (1:17) and “In Love and War” (10:09) – an awesome Neo-Prog song, divided in two contrasting parts: “i-Love” (faster and more dynamic) and “ii-War” (somber and heavier, recalling “Arena”). The album finishes on “All for You” (4:25), an openly commercial song. Different Light’s album, “The Burden of Paradise”, is a consistent work that delivers uniformity of sound, texture, and musicianship from start to end, being highly recommendable for Progressive fans having a penchant for the classic piano, as well as fans of “Genesis” (early “Phil Collins” Era), “Marillion” (“Fish” Era), “Pallas”, “Twelfth Night”, “IQ”, “Arena”, “Pendragon”, “Jadis”, “Red Jasper”, “Grey Lady Down”, “Renaissance”, “Illusion”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Triumvirat”, “Kayak”, “Rush”, “Supertramp” (with “Roger Hodgson”), “Klaatu”, “Styx”, “Comedy of Errors”, “Phideaux”, “Silhouette”, “Clive Nolan”, “Mars Hollow”, “Parzivals Eye”, “Mangrove”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Different Light are: Trevor Tabone - Lead Vocals, Keyboards; Petr Lux - Lead & Rhythm Guitars, Backing Vocals; Jirka Matoušek - Bass; Petr Matoušek - Drums. Lucy Lux – Additional Backing Vocals. Lyrics and Music by Trevor Tabone, except for “A St. Martin’s Summer”, by Petr Lux; Arrangements by Different Light. Recorded at 3bees Studio and Chez DeLuxe through 2014-2015. Mixed and Mastered by Petr Lux. Produced by Different Light... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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05/31/2016...........................................For more details and in the meantime please check out DIFFERENT LIGHT HOME PAGE...
. GOAD - "The Silent Moonchild"
The Italian band Goad is back to this webzine once more! Goad was formed in Florence in 1974 by Brothers Maurilio Rossi (vocals, bass, keyboards, nylon and electric guitars, compositions, lyrics) and Gianni Rossi (guitars, backing vocals), and is still in plain activity! The brothers were helped along the years by several musicians, especially Francesco Diddi (flute, violin, guitars, sax), and by guest musicians from important bands of the Italian Prog-Rock scene. Since its beginning, Goad has performed alive, but the first record came out only in 1983. Since then, Goad has accumulated an extensive discography, comprising full-length albums, tributes and soundtracks, all released via different labels. In 2005 Goad signed with Black Widow Records, which released Goad’s albums, "Masquerade" (2011) and "In the House of the Dark Shining Dreams" (2006) – which included covers of “Van der Graaf Generator” and "King Crimson". Both albums were reviewed at PR&PM, in 2011 and 2009, respectively. “The Silent Moonchild” (2016, Black Widow) is Goad‘s most recent album. The line-up features the Rossi Brothers, Francesco Didi and Filippo Trentastasi (drums), and special guests Martin Grice (“Delirium”), Silvana Aliotta (“Circus 2000”), Guido Wassermann (“Alphataurus”), and keyboardist Freddy Delirio. Goad has been ever influenced by British bands, such as "Cream", "Procol Harum", "King Crimson", "Van Der Graaf Generator", "Genesis", "ELP", "Yes", and "Deep Purple"; and developed a sonic resemblance to Italian bands such as "Delirium", "Osanna", "Semiramis", "Biglietto per l"Inferno", "I Dalton", and "Goblin". “The Silent Moonchild” showcases a veteran band that is still capable of producing nice and impressive Progressive Music, focused on the pureness and authentic sound of a seminal Progressive Era. Maurilio Rossi stands as Goad’s most creative force, being responsible for the compositions and lyrics (in English), with themes inspired on cinema, theatre, or literature (e.g. “Edgar Lee Master”, “Edgar Alan Poe”, “H.P. Lovecraft”). The music follows a Hard-Progressive orientation, with layers of vintage keyboards and passages of powerful guitars riffs and solos. The symphonic texture has a rough retro-sonority, but the arrangements are opulent, with several instruments played together, mostly keyboards, flutes and violins. The soundscapes are dominated by eerie sounds of Mellotron, forging an unbreathable atmosphere that is darkened and condensed by the hoarse voice of Maurilio, whose interpretative inflections instill the songs with emotion, suffering, and heroism, imprinting an unfalsifiable signature to Goad’s music. “The Silent Moonchild” contains 11 tracks. Those that impressed me most were: “Except Hate” (5:23), which combines slashing Hammond and creepy flutes with Maurilio’s gritty voice, dissolving them on emotional plains marked by sax and piano, in an epic mix of “K. Crimson”, “VdGG”, and “Delirium”; “For You” (6:40) – an eerie, somber, and lysergic song that walks on a slow pace, sustained on solemn church organs (like early “ELP”); and “Clay Masks” (6:28) – which presents to the listener a fantastic musical progression, beginning folk-acoustic, with pastoral flutes, being slowly driven by anguished vocals that hover on a layer of Mellotrons, and growing in strength towards the end, with spectacular additions of bombastic guitars and synths! But the central piece of this album is the “Moonchild” concept-piece, represented by four tracks: “The Silent Moonchild - The Song” (4:28) – a poignant piano ballad intervened by lines of sax; “The Silent Moonchild - Instrumental” (2:44) – a symphonic piece crowned by double-guitar solo; “The Silent Moonchild - The End” (7:57) – the climax, introduced by angelical choirs that announce the coming of pulsing bass and drums, and soaring violins guitars and keyboards; and “Moonchild Sunrise” (3:44) – a farewell song for piano.  The album still offers two dark Progressive ballads: “Here With Me” (7:40), which turns from dreamy to nightmarish; and “Fading Under a Large Hat” (3:31) – a madrigal for piano that recalls the sound of “Carpet Crawlers” (by “Genesis”), but having slow-groovy bass and gritty vocals. The somber tones of those songs contrast with two surprisingly “unshaded” songs that have surpassed the overall darkness of Goad’s music: “The Book of Time” (4:10) – a mildly joyful song having playful keyboards, jovial flutes and violins; and “Ballad In The Moonlight” (3:28) – a festive Psychedelic Hard-Rock featuring superb appearance of singer Silvana Aliotta. "The Silent Moonchild" is an intense album that dignifies Goad’s long-lasting and perseverant career, being highly recommendable for fans of 70’s British Progressive Rock and Italian Progressive Rock, in special those who are fond of "King Crimson", "Van Der Graaf Generator", "Genesis", "ELP", "Yes", "Procol Harum", "Deep Purple", “Black Widow”, “Atomic Rooster”, "Delirium", "Osanna", "Biglietto per l"Inferno", "Semiramis", "I Dalton", "Goblin", “Circus 2000”, “New Trolls”, “Alphataurus”, “Museo Rosenbach”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Goad are: Maurilio Rossi - Vocals, Bass, Keyboards, Electric Nylon Guitars; Francesco Diddi - Guitars, Violin, Flute; Gianni Rossi - Electric Guitar; Filippo Trentastasi - Drums, Percussion. Special Guests: Alessandro Bruno - Slide Guitar, Violin, Flute; Silvana Aliotta - Backing Vocals; Guido Wasserman - Guitar; Martin Grice - Sax; Freddy ‘Delirio’ Pedichini - Keyboards; Paolo Carniani - Drums. The Staff: Luigi Magnanimo - Artistic Assistant & “For You” Lyrics; Martin Rush - Goad “Open Dead Eye” Member; Giampaolo Zecchi - Pre-Mix & Sound Assembling; Luca Leonello Rimbotti - Writer & Memory; Federico Pedichini - Sound Engineer & Artistic Producer; Pino Pintabona - Graphic Layout; Alice Rossi - Cover Art; Cristiana Peyla - Live Act Photography. Recorded at FP Studio Recording, Lammari (Lucca, Italy)... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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05/31/2016.....................................If you want know more about this amazing band and its members, visit GOAD HOME PAGE...
. TIME HORIZON - "Transitions"
Time Horizon is a Christian Progressive Rock group based out of Northern California (USA). The current line-up features Ralph Otteson (keyboards, backing vocals), Bruce Gaetke (lead vocals, drums), Allen White (bass), and Dave Miller (guitars, keyboards). They are veteran musicians who have already played on diverse Christian Rock bands. Allen White and Ralph Otteson had played together from 1983 to 1991 on Bay Area-based band “One-Eighty”. Some years after the break-up of “One-Eight”, Otteson moved to the Central Valley of California and there he joined with David Dickerson on church band called “Iron Clay Poets”. “Iron Clay Poets” had recorded some material for an album that had to be mixed and mastered. Otteson called drummer/sound engineer Bruce Gaetke to do it, but during the process “Iron Clay Poets” disbanded, and the album has never came out. Nevertheless, Otteson and Gaetke become friends, and decided to form a new band, along with Dickerson and bassist Steve Gourley. This quartet then became Time Horizon’s first line-up. Other musicians took part in the band later, and some ex-members are still collaborators of it. Being a Christian Rock band, Time Horizon is always concerned about the necessities of the poor people of the world. For that reason, Time Horizon supports Living Water International (LWI) – a non-profit organization dedicated to help people to get clean drinking water where it is a scarce resource. In 2011 Time Horizon released their first CD, titled “Living Water”. The second album, “Transitions”, was released in November 2015 by Melodic Revolution Records. “Transitions” was produced by Otteson and co-produced and mixed by Billy SherwoodYes”, “Circa:”) – who has played guitar on one song. The album also features guest participations of Tony KayeYes”), Lang BlissRick Cua”, “Michael W. Smith”), David WallimannGlass Hamer”), and Jake LivgrenProto Kaw”). The high quality of the production, and the excellence and experience of the musicians involved in the record are two indicative signs that Time Horizon deserves a close listening by Prog-fans. The music of Time Horizon is largely influenced by the 80’s Progressive Rock and AOR-Rock styles, joining the symphonic orchestrations of the first with the powerful rhythm and energy of the second. The resulting sound is melodic, refined, and catchy, well-balanced between vocal and instrumental parts, having tasteful passages of magnificent guitars, polished layers of classically-inspired synths, and nice vocal tunes, which are all driven by rocky and swinging bass and drums. As a whole, Time Horizon has a sonic resemblance to bands such as: “Saga”, “Asia”, “Magnum”, “Toto”, “Emerson Lake & Powell”, “U.K.”; 80’s “Kansas”, “Yes”, “Pink Floyd”, “Genesis”, “King Crimson”, “ELO”, “Styx”, and “Rush”, but the sophisticated guitar work (a collective performance of guests Jeff Garner, D. Wallimann and B. Sherwood) adds an extra attractiveness to the sonic mix. “Transitions” features 10 tracks. The album starts energetically with the “Only” Trilogy – “Only One Way” (6:56), “Only Through Faith” (2:10) and “Only Today” (6:59) – bringing the Christian message of hope and faith that Time Horizon aims to deliver to the world. “Only One …” is a pulsing AOR-Prog-Rock having extraordinary guitar work and crystalline synths supporting a powerful chorus, like a blend of “Asia”, “Saga”, “Toto”, “Magnum”, and “EL&Powell”; “Only Through …” is an angelical instrumental piece that makes the “transition” for “Only Today”, which has more keyboards than the first part, but also groovy bass and drums, all propelling duels of vocals and guitars towards a great climax that ends on a long solo of guitar. Still on this style, “You're All I Need” (5:38) has joyful harmony vocals that drive the song to a popish lean. Nevertheless, the amazing guitar work (which, I emphasize, is one of Time Horizon’s trademarks), guarantees extra quality to the song. But Time Horizon has much more to offer to the listener. “Prisoner” (8:53) is a bit somber and has a Hard-Prog sway (thanks to Tony Kaye’s Hammond organ), combined to a rhythmic section like “Rush”, vocals in 80’s British-Prog style, and extensive solos of guitar! Other highlights are the two instrumental tracks, on which the musicians show their prowess: “About Time” (5:09) starts with Hard-Rock riffs and progresses fast through a vivid and complex intermesh of Progressive instrumentation; and “Water Girl” (4:24) is softer, slower, and celestial; driven by a delicate piano. Very different, “River of Sorrows” (4:24) is a Prog-Blues featuring soulful vocals! Finally, the album has the “… is Here” couple of ballads: “The Moment is Here” (4:44) has the uplifting mood of 80’s “Yes” on the instruments and harmony vocals, being crowned with magnificent guitar solo (by Sherwood); while “Love is Here” (7:26) – a poignant Progressive ballad for piano and violin featuring Jake Livgren (Kerry Livgren’s nephew) on the lead vocals – closes the album magnificently, bringing a strong influence of classic “Kansas” to it! Time Horizon’s “Transitions” is really a remarkable album within the style of 80’s Progressive Rock, being indispensable for fans of “Kansas”, “Yes”, “U.K.”, “Saga”, “Toto”, “Asia”, “Emerson Lake and Powell”, “3”, “Star Castle”, “Rush”, “ELO”, “Styx”, “GTR”, “Genesis”, “Spock’s Beard”, “Neal Morse”, “Glass Hammer”, “Circa:”, “YoSo”, “Sweet Crystal”, “Magnum”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Time Horizon are: Ralph Otteson – Keyboards, Backing Vocals; Bruce Gaetke – Lead Vocals, Drums; Allen White – Electric 5-String & Fretless Bass, Upright Acoustic Bass, Bass Pedals; Dave Miller – Lead and Rhythms Guitars, Acoustic Guitars. Past Members: Steve Gourley - Bass; David Dickerson – Guitar. Contributing Musicians: Rich Reif – Vocals; Jeff Garner - Lead & Rhythm Guitars (on “Only One”, “You're All I Need”, “The Moment is Here”); Dan Eidem - Drums (on “River of Sorrows”); Michael Mullen - Violin (on “Love is Here”); Gary Gehman - Backing Vocals (on “Only One”). Guest Artists: David Wallimann - Lead, Rhythm & Acoustic Guitars (on “Prisoner”, “About Time”, “Only Today”, “Water Girl”, “River of Sorrows”, “Love is Here”); Lang Bliss - Drums & Percussion (on “Only Today” ,”Water Girl”, “Love is Here”); Tony Kaye - Hammond B3 Organ (on “Prisoner”); Billy Sherwood - Lead Guitar (on “The Moment is Here”); Jake Livgren - Vocals (on “Love is Here”). Album Cover Art: Ken Westphal. Recorded by Otteson & Gaetke; Additional Recording by Sherwood, Bliss & Wallimann; Engineered at Rundown Studios Topeka KS. Mixed by B. Sherwood; Mastered by Maor Appelbaum... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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05/31/2016...........More information about the band? Better check it out for yourself at: TIME HORIZON HOME PAGE...
. BELLATHRIX - "Orion"
Bellathrix is a Female-Fronted Heavy Metal band from Genova, Italy. The line-up forms with the ladies Stefy Prian (vocals), Lally Cretella (rhythmic and lead guitar), and Elisa Pilotti (drums); escorted by Marcello ‘Daisy’ Mazzone (rhythmic and lead guitar) and Steve Vawamas (bass). Pier Gonella has played guitars on the band’s first album. The moniker Bellathrix (with “th”) refers to Bellatrix (a.k.a. “The Amazon Star”) – one of the stars of the Constellation of Orion. The name means “female warrior” in Latin, and refers to the female members of the band. All musicians of Bellathrix have previous experience: Stefy and Lally started in the ‘80s, playing together on the Female-Metal band “Gunnar”. Stefy also sang on a Rock band called “Snake”. She spent a year in Canada to learn English, and when she came back to Genova, she sang for other bands. In 1999 she was called back to “Snake” (later renamed to “Rock.It”), to be the band’s lead singer. “Rock.It” toured all over Italy. From 2011 on, Stefy joined the bands “Stone In Love”, “Firedance” and “Blue Frontiers” (“Journey”, “Gotthard/Steve Lee” and “Gary Moore” tributes, respectively). Recently, she has collaborated with Canadian artists “Phil Whiting” and “Howzat”. Lally Cretella started on piano at age of 5. At 18, inspired by “Black Sabbath” and “Jimi Hendrix”, she moved to the electric guitar and started to play on “Gunnar” with Stefy. Later, Lally played on the female band “Steel Drama”; and presently she plays with Elisa on “Missbit”. Elisa is a professional drummer that runs a music school in Lavagna (“Centro Artistico Musicale”). She works as musician/producer for Metal and non-Metal artists. She is an endorser of CVL, UFIP, and EVANS. Elisa also plays with Steve Vawamas on “Eklettica”. Marcello Mazzone held his “Pornoshock” project for 10 years. In 2014 he released an album with his band “Daisy Is Dead” and now runs the theatrical project “Rocky Horror Musical”. Bellathrix started in 2015, when Stefi and Lally decided to form a band to play only Classic Metal. Lally brought in Elisa, and soon Steve Vawamas and Pier Gonella joined in. Bellathrix debuted on a show that featured “Cristina Scabbia” (“Lacuna Coil”) as special guest. After the release of the band’s debut album, titled “Orion” (2016, Black Widow Records), a busy Pier Gonella left his post on the guitar for Marcello Mazzone. “Orion” contains 8 tracks, including a cover of Italian Metal band “Strana Officina”. The sound of Bellathrix is a kind of “never-surrender” brand of Heavy Metal of the 80’s, combining impacting riffs and a solid rhythmic base with melodic virtuosity on solos and powerful and crystalline female vocals. The energy is unstoppable, the choruses are sticky, and the Metal deliverance is true and perfect! With its heavy, well-defined sonority and a rebellious attitude, Bellathrix represents a female version of bands like “Iron Maiden”, “Judas Priest”, “Saxon”, “Dio”, and “Armored Saint”. Thanks to Stefy’s non-operatic, but marking unique voice, Bellathrix stands on the side of bands like “Heart”, “Doro Pesch” & “Warlock”, “Girlschool”, “Acid”, “Chastain”, “Vixen”, “Bitch”, and “The Iron Maidens”. Neither aggressive as “Sacrilége” or “Plasmatics”, nor commercial as “Lee Aaron” or “Lita Ford”, Bellathrix shares a resemblance with other Italian Metal acts, such as “Morgana”, and the legends “Strana Officina” and “Astaroth”. “Orion” is an exciting album that immediately captivates the listener with a breathless collection of songs in 80’s Classic Metal and NWOBHM styles! The amazing tracks “The Road in the Night” (5:03) and “Orion” (4:30) will have the preference of NWOBHM’s fans. Both are introduced by soaring synths, but soon Vawamas and Elisa join together on a thrilling mid-tempo galloping rhythm, typical of the style. Stefy’s incisive voice, combined to harmony guitars in “Iron Maiden” style, help to drive those songs through Lally’s and Gonella’s torrents of spirited guitar solos! “Orion”, in special, is introduced by emotional vocals that instill a kind of “Alexander-the-Great” epic feeling into the song! The extraordinary rendition of “The Ritual” (4:38) (“Strana Officina”) also belongs here: with its awesome riffs, a strong NWOBHM influence, and citations to the Orion constellation on the lyrics, this song was the perfect choice for being covered on the CD! Fans of straightforward 80’s Metal will stick to “Before the Storm” (2:54) – which has a “Judas Priest”/”Armored Saint” drive and great guitar solos – and to “Fly in the Sky” (3:45), propelled by basic beats and lifting vocals. Still better are: “My Revenge” (3:22) – a groovy Hard-Rock that will take fans of “Heart” to total delirium (!); and the two amazing Folk-Metal ballads: “I Don’t Believe a Word” (4:33) and “King of Camelot” (4:20). The first has a poignant violin in duo with soulful vocals, and adventurous guitar solos (recalling a mix of “Dio”, “Rainbow”, “Heart”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Skyclad”); the second, less metallic, has beautiful double harmony vocals and medieval flutes (played by Martin Grice, of Prog-act “Delirium”). After the release of “Orion”, Bellathrix plans to tour around Italy and abroad. Meanwhile, a second album is in preparation, together with video-clips for “Road in the Night” and “My Revenge”. Bellathrix guarantees true Metal satisfaction for fans of “Heart”, “Doro”, “Warlock”, “Girlschool”, “Acid”, “Chastain”, “Vixen”, “Bitch”, “Morgana”, “The Iron Maidens”, “Iron Maiden”, “Judas Priest”, “Saxon”, “Dio”, “Armored Saint”, “Strana Officina”, and “Astaroth”, to whom Bellathrix is highly recommendable! Band members and collaborators involved in Bellathrix are: Stefania ‘Stefy’ Prian – Lead Vocals; Manuela Lally Cretella – Lead & Rhythmic Guitar; Marcello ‘Daisy’ Mazzone – Lead & Rhythmic Guitar; Steve Vawamas – Bass; Elisa Pilotti – Drums. Special Guest on “Orion”: Pier Gonella – Lead & Rhythmic Guitar. Additional Guest Musicians: Tommy MassaraExtrema”) – Solo on “The Ritual”; Martin Grice – Flute on “King of Camelot”; Federica Pelizzetti – Violin & Viola on “I Don’t Believe a Word” & “King of Camelot”; Dave Garbarino – Keyboard on “Intro” & “Orion”; Arthur Reeve – Narrator on “Intro”. Produced by Lally Cretella & Matteo Orlandini; Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by Pier Gonella at Music Art Studio... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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06/06/2016...........................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit BELLATHRIX HOME PAGE...
. APPLE SMELL COLOUR - "Unscrupulousness"
Apple Smell Colour is a Symphonic Progressive Rock band from Tarragona (Catalonia). Apple Smell Colour was founded in 2012 by Tarragona-based, veteran musician and composer Lluís Barceló (guitar), accompanied by: Uri Mas (vocals and guitar), Pep Espasa (saxophone and flute, guitar, lap steel, vocals), Mo Espasa (piano and keyboards), Àngel Arroyo 'Loti' (bass), and Marc Claramunt (drums). The band’s moniker comes from a verse by Catalonian poet “Gabriel Ferrater”: “Without yearning / the light is dying on us / which was honey-colored, and that now / has the apple smell color”. Lluis Barceló started his musical career in the ‘80s, making music influenced by the Symphonic Prog-Rock bands of the ‘70s – namely “King Crimson”, “Genesis”, “Pink Floyd”, “Steve Hackett”, “Jethro Tull”, and even “Queen” – sometimes with a lean to “Pat Metheny’s” Jazz-Fusion style. But he never forgot his Catalan roots, privileged by the local Progressive Movement known as “Ona Laietana”. After three years of composing, Apple Smell Colour recorded and released a debut album, titled “Unscrupulousness” (October 7, 2015). This first work was quickly followed by “Fireplace” (April, 2016) – an album that we hope to issue at PR&PM in the near future. Available on the band’s sites for digital download, “Unscrupulousness” is a concept album that discusses the lack of scrupulous on diverse situations, including social conflicts, love, Nature’s exploitation by men, the relentless passage of time, and the inevitable meeting with death. “Unscrupulousness” is an outstanding Progressive album that really captured me at the first chords! Besides having an excellent level of sound production and a crystalline mixing, “Unscrupulousness” features a line-up of professional-level performers, who know how to act in the most collective way, each musician contributing with his/her own part and converging to the synergetic climax – all incarnating the true spirit of 70’s Prog! “Unscrupulousness” is flooded with creativity and great musicianship, featuring sophisticated arrangements and having a relative tendency to modernity. Nice clean guitars, with a mild Jazz-Fusion inflexion, are joined to Progressive bass and expressive drumming in awesome instrumental parts that are tempered by 70’s texturized keyboards and have massive contribution of sax and flutes! To get better, the vocal tunes are reminiscent of the “Greg Lake/John Wetton” style during “King Crimson’s” 70’s Era. Other influences include “Genesis”, “Pink Floyd”, “Steve Hackett”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Camel”, “Pat Metheny”, “Passport”, “Frank Zappa”, “Delirium”, and also “Porcupine Tree”. “Unscrupulousness” contains 11 tracks. The album instantly impacts the listener with the first two tracks, “Strings Field” (1:38) and “I'm an Atom in the World” (8:44) – both having strong influences of “King Crimson”, with the “Lake-Wetton” vocal intonation that I mentioned above, highlighted by outstanding saxophone and “Mellotron-filled” soundscapes. This “Crimsonian” verve is farther stretched to the title-track, “Unscrupulousness” (6:03) – an instrumental piece enveloped  in darker shades, having gloomy Moogs intervened by amazingly dramatic sax, and a slow part with bass and guitars that sounds much like Catalonian folk – and to the imposing “Boss of Wizards” (10:22) – one of the album’s best – which combines church organ, sinister drum beats and guitars, double vocals with Gothic-Jazz intonation, and classical piano, followed by dynamic orchestrations and long solo of flute, concluding with bombastic organ and wicked laughter (traits that will please fans of “Van der Graaf Generator” and “Delirium”). Steering to most ironic, almost sarcastic moods, “Mary Monster” (4:26) has humorous lyrics that bring “Zappa” to mind, besides having groovy riffs, swinging bass, and surprising ghostly female-vocals at the middle; while “Oil Slick” (6:11) is a weird “groovy-bluesy-jazzy” song entangled in odd metrics, driven by “Texan-accented” vocals and having an interlude for wonderful classical piano and soft vocals, reaching its apex on the final guitar solo. The album also brings a number of excellent light songs. “Chris” (4:51) is the best: a Prog-ballad with acoustic strings, piano, flutes, and female harmony vocals that has many influences (e.g. “Greg Lake”, “Genesis” of “Gabriel” Era, “Camel”, “Mr. So & So”), topped with Barceló’s clear and clean guitar solos, which recall “Pat Metheny’s”. The same guitar timbres reverberate on “Landscape” (4:37) – an instrumental Latin-Jazz with cool sax that will also please fans of “Passport”. The album ends on the Prog-ballads “Blank Look” (4:19) and “Death in the Mirror” (3:51), both characterized by a predominant flute. “Blank…” is melancholic on the vocals, while “Death…” is brighter, more pastoral, and driven by gentle vocals that vanish on the short “outro” “Eleventh Dimension” (1:40). In sum, “Unscrupulousness” is a superb Progressive album – exciting, amazing, musically rich – that showcases a surprising new band, called Apple Smell Colour! Highly recommendable for fans of “King Crimson”, “Genesis”, “Pink Floyd”, “Steve Hackett”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Camel”, “Pat Metheny”, “Passport”, “Frank Zappa”, “Delirium”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Unitopia” and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Apple Smell Colour are: Lluís Barceló – Guitars, Compositions; Uri Mas – Vocals, Guitar; Pep Espasa – Tenor Saxophone, Flute, Guitar, Lap Steel, Vocals; Mo Espasa - Piano, Keyboards, Vocals; Àngel Arroyo 'Loti' – Bass; Marc Claramunt – Drums. Produced by Apple Smell Colour. Also you must visit Apple Smell Colour's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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06/30/2016.......................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit APPLE SMELL COLOUR  HOME PAGE...
. TRETTIOÅRIGA KRIGET - "Seaside Air"
Trettioåriga Kriget – the veteran Progressive Rock band from Sweden – is welcomed at PR&PM! Trettioåriga KrigetThe Thirty Years War”) was formed in 1970 by six high school students who lived in Saltsjöbaden, a seaside resort southeast of Stockholm. This first lineup consisted of Stefan Fredin (bass, vocals), Olle Thörnvall (harmonica, guitar), Pocke Öhrström (guitar, vocals), Dag Kronlund (piano), and two drummers: Dag Lundquist and Johan Gullberg. In 1971, Öhrström, Kronlund and Gullberg left the band, and Robert Zima (vocals, guitar) joined in. In 1972, Olle Thörnvall quitted playing harmonica to concentrate on the lyrics, and guitarist Christer Åkerberg was added to the line-up. The band developed a very unique style, and from 1974 on, they started to tour around Sweden, besides receiving airplay from the Swedish radio. A discography began to pile up: “Trettioåriga Kriget” (1974), “Krigssång” (1976), “Hej På Er” (1978), “Mot Alla Odds” (1979), and “Kriget” (1981). From those albums, “Krigssång” is regarded as TK’s masterpiece, and is said to have influenced other Swedish bands (e.g. “Änglagård”, “Anekdoten”, “Opeth”). The 3rd, 4th, and 5th albums were releases via a Swedish independent label called Mistlur, and featured new member Mats Lindberg on keyboards. But “Mot …” was the last album with Zima – Stefan Fredin was the lead singer on “Kriget”. By this time, Trettioåriga Kriget had spent 7 years touring around the UK, Scandinavia and Denmark, and feeling quite exhausted, the members decided to split up. After a long hiatus, Trettioåriga Kriget made two reunion concerts in Stockholm to mark the release of “Warmemories” (1996), a mostly-live album. In 2002, Trettioåriga Kriget’s classic line-up, consisting of Fredin, Lundquist, Åkerberg, Thörnvall, Zima, and Lindberg joined again, and started to release a new series of albums: “Elden Av År” (2004), “I Början Och Slutet” (2007), and “Efter Efter” (2011), permeated by “Glorious War” (2004, originally recorded in 1971) and the double live album, “War Years” (2008). In the meanwhile, the band made live shows all around: in 2004, in their hometown Saltsjöbaden (after 30 years) and at the Progday Festival (USA); in 2005, at Sweden Rock; in 2006, at the Baja Prog Festival (Mexico). In 2007, Trettioåriga Kriget came to Brazil, and from 2007 to 2008 played in France, Sweden, Spain, Norway, Japan, culminating with a presentation at the Nearfest Festival (USA, 2009). In 2011, the band played in Chile and Peru; in 2012, in Italy and at the “Sweden Prog Fest”; in 2013, in Tokyo and at the Melloboat Cruise. TK has re-issued their first three bums on CD with bonus tracks, and plans the same for the 4th and 5th. But before that, the band released their 9th studio album, entitled “Seaside Air” (2016, Mellotronen), on CD and Vinyl. “Seaside Air” contains seven songs, for the first time with lyrics in English. “Seaside Air” is an autobiographical record, as its title can either refer to the invigorating atmosphere of the band’s native Saltsjöbaden, or just mean “a melody by the sea”. “Seaside Air” offers a panorama of how TK’s music has evolved in time: from the visceral sound of early 70’s, featuring complex guitar work, progressive keyboards, acrobatic bass with a jazzy swerve, dynamic drums, and high-pitched vocals (equal to “Led Zeppelin”, “Deep Purple”, “Yes”, “King Crimson”, “Genesis”, “Van der Graaf”), to a kind of accessible song-format that privileges melody and emotion, but is never devoid of the serious musicianship and mature song-writing that turned Trettioåriga Kriget into a cult-band! TK’s recent music is warm, colorful, instilled with a feeling of innocence and an adorable nostalgic sense of youth that irradiates the solar disposition of 60’s Psychedelic Rock, as inspired by “Beatles”, “Beach Boys”, “Grateful Dead”, “Jefferson Airplane”, and “Pink Floyd” – some of TK’s favorites. On “Seaside Air”, the first four tracks form a suite that makes reference to the band’s home town: “The Photograph” (8:23) has adventurous guitars and bass that evoke images of riders galloping on the prairies, mixed to sweet flutes, eerie Mellotrons, poignant lead vocals and hopeful harmony vocals; the title-track, “Seaside Air” (6:43), takes that emotional hook, growing slowly with memories of the “Beatles” (what an impact for the young Krigets the fab-four might have had), reaching a climax on a soulful guitar solo; “Forgotten Garden” (6:06) slows that “walk by the seaside” mood down to a psychedelic pace, with the same approach of “The Doors” on vocals, but adding heavier guitar riffs, lysergic flutes and Mellotrons, and a slow-motion “Led Zeppelin-like” end; and “Snow” (4:35) is the fabulous conclusion of this suite, bringing in a portentous piano and dramatic lead vocals, vanishing into a cloud of atmospheric Mellotrons. The following two tracks have different moods: “Billy” (5:14) is a light song, driven by acrobatic bass, delicate guitars, and orchestral keyboards conveyed on relaxed drums and enveloped on fuzzy guitars; “Dreaming of Vermeer” (4:01) has an ancient air, introduced by a classical guitar; and progresses as a folk song embellished with violin and harmony vocals. And “Behold The Pilot” (8:05) is a majestic closing song on which the whole band recovers the vigor of early days, attacking with an instrumental blend of 70’s Hard Rock, proto-Prog, and acid Psychedelia hoisted on groovy vocals and wonderful harmony vocals! Although “Seaside Air” may sound a bit different from TK’s most classic material, the distance between now and then has been shortened by their honest and heartfelt songs, which dignify the memories and inner emotions of all members of this amazing and long-lasting band. Trettioåriga Kriget’s “Seaside Air” is therefore more than highly recommendable for their fans, and for appreciators of “Beatles”, “Beach Boys”, “Jefferson Airplane”, “Pink Floyd”, “Yes”, “Genesis”, “King Crimson”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Uriah Heep”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Trettioåriga Kriget are: Stefan Fredin – Lead Vocals (tr. 1, 3, 4), Bass, Acoustic Guitar; Dag Lundquist – Drums, Timpani, Violin, Percussion, Backing Vocals; Robert Zima – Lead Vocals (tr. 1, 2, 5, 6, 7), Acoustic Guitar; Christer Åkerberg – Lead Guitar; Mats Lindberg – Keyboards; Olle Thörnvall – Lyrics, Harmonica (in earlier times). Former Members: Pocke Öhrström - Guitar, Vocals (1970-71); Dag Kronlund - Piano, Organ (1970-72). Recorded at Soundtrade Studios, Stockholm, Jun. 2015; at Atlantis Studio, Stockholm, Sep. 2015. Engineered by Mats “Limpan” Lindfors; assisted by Henrik Gennert; Mixed by Dag Lundquist; Mastered by Peter In de Betou at Tailor Maid Productions, Stockholm; Cover Art, Design, Photos by Johan Gullberg (He played drums from 1970-71). Produced & Arranged by Trettioåriga Kriget... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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06/30/2016.........Would like to know more about the band and their history, please visit TRETTIOÅRIGA KRIGET HOME PAGE...
. SUSAN AQUILA - "Miss Conduct"
Susan Aquila is a singer and electric-violin player from New York, NY. She has performed and recorded with great icons of Rock and Pop (“Paul McCartney”, “Elton John”, “Billy Joel”, “Deep Purple”, “Beyoncé”, “Brittney Spears”, “Kanye West”, “Alicia Keys”, “John Mayer”, “Roger Daltry”, “Steven Tyler”, “Josh Groban”, “Busta Rhymes”, “Erykah Badu”, “Janelle Monae”, “Frank Sinatra Jr.”, “Jay Z”, “Johnny Mathis”, “Barry Manilow” and others), and now is following on a solo career. Susan is a double Grammy Nominee for “Best New Artist” and “Best Rock Album” of the year for her CD “Broken Angel” (2014), which highlighted her page at the ReverbNation site for six months – resulting in a successful tour from Maine to Florida in 2015, and a participation on the Broadway musical “Amazing Grace”. Susan Aquila has recently returned to the top at ReverbNation with the release of a new album, entitled “Miss Conduct” (March 2016, Original Kitchen Music). The line-up consists of Susan Aquila (lead vocals, electric violin), Rob Tomaro (guitar, all music and lyrics), Tony Wisniewski (bass), and Joel Baer (drums). Susan Aquila is currently working with producer Tony Battaglia (“Shinedown”, “Puddle of Mudd”, “NSYNC”, and “The Backstreet Boys”), with whom she intends to amplify her career to the level of a mega-star. Judging for Susan’s new CD, “Miss Conduct”, I think that her rise to stardom will not take so long. At first, looking at the pictures on the CD cover, I thought that Susan could be either a kind of “Vanessa Mae” with rock and roll spice; or that her music could resemble the Progressive acts “Curved Air” and “Kansas”. But in fact, Susan Aquila’s music was nothing of what I expected at all, and quite surprised me with a new proposal! That’s because she came up with an original idea, that nobody had had before: what about playing a blend of Modern Rock, Hard Rock, American Metal, Glam Metal, and Punk, but fronted by a talented woman, who, besides being a powerful Hard-Rock singer, can also play an electric violin with the same incendiary attitude of a Rock guitar-hero? These are the main attractive attributes of Susan Aquila’s music. Susan’s voice is rough and potent, oscillating from aggressive to sensual, and has an original style that places her in the same team of “Janis Joplin”, “Ann Wilson” (“Heart”), “Joan Jett”, “Pat Benatar”, “Lita Ford”, “Doro Pesch”, “Wendy O. Williams” (“Plasmatics”), the girls of “Girlschool”, and, on the most Pop-Rock moments, even of “Chrissie Hynde” (“The Pretenders”). Her violin playing is unique, and the sounds and distortions that Susan extracts from her instrument are equivalent to those that irradiate from an electric guitar – sometimes having a slightly Folk-Celtic lean that recalled me of Folk-Metal band “Skyclad”. In addition, Susan’s performance on stage is hot and impressive: her towering blonde figure is like a female version of “Dee Snider” (of “Twisted Sister”)! Susan is accompanied by a competent supporting band, with highlights for guitarist Rob Tomaro, who, besides being the main songwriter and lyricist, confronts Susan on some songs with his igneous guitar solos. The songs are short, pulsing and danceable, kept at a high energetic level. They deliver sticky vocal tunes and choruses, being driven by a groovy rhythmic section. The song-format will be magnetic to fans of “Kiss”, “Aerosmith”, “Van Halen”, “Poison”, “Twisted Sister”, “Quiet Riot”, and others like that. “Miss Conduct” includes 12 tracks. The hits of the album are the Hard-Rocks “Dirty Delicious” (2:43) – which opens the CD with malice on vocals and double solos of violin and guitar; and “Why?” (3:12) – which is a powerful song that emphasizes the chorus and has an aggressive violin attack. “Ugly” (2:47), with its ironic lyrics, also belongs to this list. Other best songs show a stronger tendency to Heavy Metal, having straightforward drum-beats, pulsing bass, and heavy guitar riffs: “Gris Gris Woman” (3:58) is my favorite, conjuring excellent British Metal modes in “Judas Priest” and “Saxon” style with the best violin solo – with a Celtic spice that brought “Skyclad” to my mind. Tending more to the American way of making Metal, the title-track “Miss Conduct” (2:52) and the sticky “Lightnin'” (3:45) are also great representatives of Susan Aquila’s style, and will bring satisfaction to fans of bands like “Twisted Sister” and “Quiet Riot”. But if the listener is just looking for fan, he/she will find it on the Party-Rocks “Twisted” (3:11), “Sooper Gurl” (3:28), and “Tell It To The Doctor” (3:21) – all driven by contagious rocking dancing beats. Adding diversity to the album, “I Can't Tell You” (2:46) is a Pop-Rock on which Susan mixes her personal vocals with some cleaner voice, also bringing a folky violin in; while “The Wall” (3:24) tends to the Post-Punk. The album finishes on “No Where” (3:28) – a joyful Glam-Metal highlighted by double violin and guitar solos! Although far from being a Progressive Rock act, Susan Aquila is a talented singer and violinist, who has discovered a new perspective for the violin in Rock. “Miss Conduct” is a solid album that is greatly recommended for fans of “Heart”, “Joan Jett”, “Lita Ford”, “Pat Benatar”, “Doro Pesch”, “Girlschool”, “Plasmatics”, “Kiss”, “Aerosmith”, “Van Halen”, “Poison”, “Twisted Sister”, “Quiet Riot”, “Def Leppard”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Susan Aquila are: Susan Aquila – Vocals and Viper 6-String Electric Violin; Rob Tomaro – Guitar, Backing Vocals, Music, Lyrics; Tony Wisniewski – Bass; Joel Baer – Drums. Recorded, Edited, Mixed & Mastered by Jason Zarnowski at T.V.R. Recording Studios, Rockford, Illinois, USA. Album Produced by Rob Tomaro & Jason Zarnowski... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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06/30/2016...............................,.....Interested to know more about this Musician and Band? Visit SUSAN AQUILA HOME PAGE...
. OUTRE MESURE - "La Ligne Perdue"
Outre Mesure is a Jazz-Avant-Garde and RIO quintet from the city of Lille, France. The present line-up features Jean-Louis Morais (guitar, compositions), Marc Dosière (trumpet), Jérôme Roselé (tenor sax), Olivier Verhaeghe (bass), and Charles Duytschaever (drums). Outre Mesure was born in 1999 with the goal of combining Dosière’s acoustic and jazzy trumpet with Morais’ electric-rock guitar. They were joined by Verhaeghe, Duytschaever and by their first saxophonist Alexandre Debeusscher. Since 2001 Outre Mesure has been doing presentations on several Jazz circuits and festivals around France, and in Belgium. In 2003, saxophonist A. Debeusscher left Outre Mesure and was replaced by Antoine Côme. The group then released a demo and made new presentations in the North of France and Belgium. In 2005, current tenor saxophonist Jérôme Roselé replaced A. Côme in the line-up. In 2009, Outre Mesure released their first album, titled “Abacadaë” (Great Winds/Muséa Records), and began to collaborate in the exhibitions of other artists, such as the painters/photographers “Thierry Derosier”, “Jérôme Coppin” and “Gilles Huc”. In 2014, Outre Mesure received a prize at the “Golden Jazz en Nord”. In the next year, the quintet released their second album, titled “La Ligne Perdue” (November 2015, Circum-Disc). The music of Outre Mesure is a kind of electric Jazz-Rock, with an Avant-Garde lean, that also includes some elements of Progressive Rock (mostly R.I.O.). The sound oscillates from cerebral and experimental to spontaneous and improvised. The mood is energetic or melancholic; sometimes charming and enigmatic, creating a cinematographic atmosphere of film-noir. The style has affinities with “Henry Cow”, “Soft Machine”, “Frank Zappa”, “Univers Zéro”, “Art Zoyd”, “The Wrong Object”, “Miriodor”, “Finnegans Wake”, the projects of “Markus Stauss” (“Spaltklang”, “Ulterior Lux”, “Yugen", “Zauss”), and an academic heritage from “John Zorn”, “Edgard Varèse”, and “Igor Stravinsky”. “La Ligne Perdue” contains 8 instrumental pieces, and starts with “Mingas” (7:21) – a somber and frightening piece that begins like a Dark-Jazz, and gradually grows in intensity to reach the potency of a Metal-Jazz, driven by a rebellious guitar solo. The two longest tracks – “Goulash Électrique” (10:19) and “Le Mal de Cadéras” (13:26) – are important pieces of the record, being only available on the physical CD. “Goulash …” is elaborated and orchestrated, repeating a cyclic theme that is passed on, from instrument to instrument, along variations of tempo. This piece also includes some Dark “Bossa-Nova” moments, frantic “anything-goes” Jazz, elephantine sax and trumpet, gloomy “Doom-Jazz” passages, and a drum solo. “Le Mal …”, on the contrary, is wilder, more energetic and taken by a feverous spirit, containing much more instrumental improvisations from the whole band. The title track – “La Ligne Perdue” (5:19) – is also worthy of mentioning: really emblematic when the matter concerns the impossible categorization of Outre Mesure’s Avant-Garde musical style, it is driven by exhaustive solos of bass and distorted guitar riffs – the fundamental units of standard Jazz-Rock – opposed to the musical academicism of “Varése” and “Stravinsky” on sax and trumpet. Such combination of sounds could have been only engendered inside Outre Mesure’s musical pot! In between, three shorter pieces drive the listener through different moods, vibes and ambiences: “La Promenade de Cléobule” (4:27) evokes a mythological philosopher strolling around a weird, nebulous and surrealistic landscape; “La Bascule” (4:14) is mysterious and creepy, moving like the legs of a spider; and “Les Soeurs Duvel” (1:37) is sweet and tranquil, driven by the innocent sound of plucked guitars and smooth bass. The closing track is “Faux Whammy” (4:54) – an intense and instigating Jazz-Rock piece that has a wild and free vibe, bringing together heavy guitars, tweeting sax and trumpets, and a tight entanglement of bass and drums – a song that will capture the fans of “Soft Machine” and “Zappa”. A group that defies the theoretical principles of musical understanding, Outre Mesure offers on their new album, “La Ligne Perdue”, some undecipherable riddles that will be howerve immediately understood by appreciators of Avant-Gard, Jazz-Rock and RIO-Prog, fans of “Henry Cow”, “Soft Machine”, “Frank Zappa”, “Univers Zéro”, “Art Zoyd”, “Miriodor”, “The Wrong Object”, “Finnegans Wake”, “Markus Stauss”, “Spaltklang”, “Ulterior Lux”, “Yugen", “Zauss”, “John Zorn”, “Edgard Varèse”, “Igor Stravinsky”, and the likes. Band members and collaborators involved in Outre Mesure are: Jean-Louis Morais - Guitar, Compositions; Marc Dosière – Trumpet; Jérôme Roselé – Tenor Sax; Olivier Verhaeghe – Bass; Charles Duytschaever – Drums. Ex-members: Alexandre Debeusscher – Saxophone (1999-2003); Antoine Côme – Saxophone (2003-2005). Recorded on 15-18 April 2013 by Peck and Marcos Cunat; Mixed by Marcos Cunat; Mastered by Arnaud Dervaux... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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06/30/2016....................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit OUTRE MESURE HOME PAGE...
. WITCHE’S BREW - "Against The Grain"
Witche’s Brew is back to PR&PM! Witche’s Brew was founded in 2008 in Como, Italy, by bassist Mirko Zonca (ex-“Nofuzz”) and guitarist Mirko Bosco (ex-“Disper-Azione”), who came out with the idea of forming a Power Trio that would play a mix of 70’s Heavy Psychedelic Rock, Hard Rock and Blues inspired on bands such as “Black Sabbath”, “Motörhead”, “Hawkwind”, “Blue Cheer”, “Lynyrd Skynyrd”, “Molly Hatchet”, “Mountain”, “Leaf Hound”, “Amboy Dukes”, “Humble Pie”, “ZZ Top”, “The Outlaws”, “Black Oak Arkansas”, “38 Special”, “Pentagram”, and “Deep Purple”. Several drummers have assisted Witche’s Brew since then: Yggy Leonetti (2009), Max Baxter (2009), Joseph Solci (2010-January 2011), and finally Frankie Brando, a visceral drummer that stays in the band until today. Along this time, Witche’s Brew had some successful underground releases: the mini-LP “Pentatonicspeedfreacks” (2009, Costa Ovest Records/Andromeda Dischi), and the full-lengths “White Trash Sideshow” (2010) and “Supersonicspeedfreaks” (2012), both via Black Widow Records. “Supersonicspeedfreaks” was a great album that featured guest appearances by Ricky Dal Pane (“Buttered Bacon Biscuits”), Nik Turner (“Hawkwind”), Steve Sylvester (“Death SS”, “Sancta Sanctorum”), Martin Grice (“Delirium”), Paolo “Apollo” Negri (“Wicked Minds”, “Link Quartet”), and J.C. Cinel (ex-“Wicked Minds”), and which was reviewed at PR&PM in June 2013. At about the end of 2013, Mirko Zonca left Witche’s Brew, being replaced by new front-man Demis Bianchi (vocals, bass). Downsized to a trio consisting of the three “B’s” – Bosco, Brando, Bianchi – Witche’s Brew came back to the road with a new album, entitled “Against The Grain” (2016, Black Widow Records), which is being divulged on a tour around the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland. “Against The Grain” (2016) has been defined by the trio as “Original Mammoth Rock and 100% Straight Rock 'n' Roll”. Indeed, counting only with guitars, bass, drums, and vocals – the fundamental units of Rock music, the album represents a “back-to-basics” orientation of Witche’s Brew, having the same raw, dirty, and crude sonority of the old 60’s to 70’s recordings. The music combines consistent guitar riffs, thundering fatty bass, and a groovy and powerful drive coming from drums with insolent rough vocals and authentic rock-spirited guitar solos and distortions. “Against The Grain” has 9 tracks. It starts with the impacting “Lord Depression” (4:30) – a memorable loud song that combines the raw energy of “Blue Cheer” on guitars and bass with demolition drumming and instinctive relaxed vocals, with that “I want to Rock, so what?” kind of attitude. The guitar solo is extra-long, showing that Witche’s Brew is a true saluting band for “those about to rock”! The band’s long-lasting vigor and never-ending energy are embodied on the two Motorcycle-Metal songs “Bad Moto Scooter” (6:23) and “Tattoo” (4:50) – both with 70’s flavors coming from the rocking guitars, groovy bass and basic beats; with “Bad Moto…” – a cover song of “Ronnie Montrose” and “Sammy Hagar” – being highlighted by a lengthy solo, the size of a long “highway to hell”. Listeners who love Southern Rock in the style of “Lynyrd Skynyrd” and “Molly Hatchet”, with a dash of “Humble Pie”, will be attracted by the bluesy vibes and classic-rock sonority of “Show Me The Way” (7:21); while those willing for the same sound, with heavier instrumentation, will find both on “The Farmer” (5:53) – which combines creative riffs and pulsing bass that are fastened to the ground by sledgehammer drums, propelled by demented vocals that recall a hybrid of “Motörhead” and “Black Oak Arkansas”. My favorite songs, however, are those which have summoned the dark forces of hell, materialized on malignant riffs (with “Tony Iommi’s” signature), satanic bass and doom-drums, such as: “Devil’s Bridge” (7:52) – which will make you bang your head to the death; “No Sweat” (5:19) – which is crawling, tribal and psychic, but contains a faster middle part driven by pulsing bass and Sabbatical guitar solo; and the masterpiece “Madness” (8:09) – which has a stop-n’-go groovy cadence sliced by interferences of fuzzy guitars, epic lead vocals supported by Aeolian backing vocals, hovering guitar solos, and a surprising final part that introduces the strongest “Black Sabbath-moment” of the record, including destroying drums in the style of “Bill Ward”! The influences of “Black Sabbath” and “Pentagram” are stretched to the final track – “Can You Dig It” (6:01) – the groovy riffs of which are instilled with the devilry of “Sabbath’s” first album, finishing with a sequence of frantic guitar solos! A great album in Witche’s Brew’s style, “Against The Grain” is highly recommended for fans of 70’s Hard Rock, 70’s Psychedelic Heavy Rock and Stoner Rock, who love “Black Sabbath”, “Hawkwind”, “Mountain”, “Leaf Hound”, “Humble Pie”, “Deep Purple”, “Atomic Rooster”, “Dust”, “Cactus”, “Molly Hatchet”, “Black Oak Arkansas”, “The Outlaws”, “Pentagram”, “Electric Wizard”, “Orange Goblin”. Band members and collaborators involved in Witche’s Brew are: Mirko Bosco – Guitars; Demis Bianchi – Bass and Vocals; Frankie Brando – Drums. Former Founding Member: Mirko Zonca – Bass (until 2013). Artwork by Matteo Bordogna. Album Recorded at DP Studios and RDNK Studio (2014/15); Mixed at DP Studios by Alessandro Colombo (2015); Mastered at FP Recording Studio by Freddy Delirio (2015); Produced by Witche’s Brew & Alessandro Colombo. Also you must visit Signal To Witche’s Brew's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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06/30/2016...................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit WITCHE’S BREW HOME PAGE...
. SIGNAL TO NOISE RATIO - "Work In Progress"
Signal To Noise Ratio is a Post-Psychedelic Rock band from Warsaw, Poland. Signal To Noise Ratio was formed in 2003 by Marysia Bialota (synthesizers, vocals), Przemek Pilacinski (guitar, vocals), Lukasz Foretek (guitar), Tomek Wilk (bass), and Adam “Izaak” Wasaznik (drums). Their first production, “Demo I”, was recorded and released in the same year. Foretek left the band prior to the release of their second demo, “Demo II" (2004). “Demo II” called the attention of several magazines and websites (including PR&PM, on which it was reviewed in November 2005). In 2006, Signal To Noise Ratio was downsized to a trio, consisting of remaining members: Marysia Bialota (synthesizers, vocals), Przemek Pilacinski (guitars, vocals, percussion, programming) and Adam “Izaak” Wasaznik (drums, percussion, programming, saxophone, vocal effects). The trio released the first official EP, titled as “Stan Nieustalony” (2006), which was reissued in 2008 by Russian Prog-Label MALS Ltd. in expanded version, containing tracks of “Demo II”. In 2010, the “Demo 2010” came out. Now, Signal To Noise Ratio’s long-time efforts have been materialized on a new album, entitled “Work In Progress” (March, 2016, Strange New Records). “Work In Progress” was self- produced by Signal To Noise Ratio, being available on both digital and physical formats; but the CD Digipack edition includes a 16-pages booklet and 2 tracks more than the downloadable version! The music of Signal To Noise Ratio is an experimental combination of styles and trends, mainly Psychedelic Progressive Rock, with addition of Electronic, Ambient, Ethno-Oriental, Trip-Hop, Noise Music and Space-Rock elements. Specifically on “Work In Progress”, the compositions are greatly instrumental in form, but the few vocal parts sung by Pilacinski in Polish rise up in beautiful and emotional tunes that bring to mind the Polish cult-band “SBB”. Other influence from Poland might have come from “Osjan” (a.k.a. “Ossian”): the employment of ethnical percussion, Middle-East and Far-East rhythms, and some vocal effects (provided by SNR’s drummer, Izaak). Nevertheless, the sonority of Signal To Noise Ratio differs from “Osjan’s” by being immersed in an ethereal layer of Electronic/Ambient sonic effects, which are provided by Marysia Bialota and her mixed arsenal of analog vintage synths and keyboards. The melodies are slow and trippy, hidden in a dark and gloomy Psychedelic atmosphere referable to very early “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”, “Brian Eno”, and to bands of the Russian Psychedelic/Trip-Hop scene (“Rainy Season”, “Ole Lukkoye”, “Disen Gage”, “Eastern Syndrome”, “Rada & Ternovnik”, “Deti Picasso“, “Vespero”, “Liompa”). Finally, the hypnotic sonic waves that irradiate from atmospheric guitars, eerie saxophones, and cosmic synths will be appealing to fans of Krautrock who like “Ash Ra Tempel”, “Amon Düül II”, “Guru Guru”, “Xhol Caravan”, “Popol Vuh”, “Kalacakra”, “Yatha Sidhra”, “Agitation Free”, “Can”, “Faust”; and to fans of Turkish “Nemrud” and “Siddhartha”. The CD version of “Work In Progress” has 7 tracks. SNR’s Oriental influence is well perceived on “Zanim” (3:37) – a short opening song driven by wonderful vocals tunes, mystically chanted by an inspired Pilacinski; and on the lengthy “Entropia” (15:26), which places the cosmic ambience of futuristic synths in confrontation to the primeval music of the ancient civilizations of Asia: the beginning is transcendental, combining sax and electronic sounds. Drums and percussion enter only at 4:45, adding dynamics to the music, as a torrent of keyboards comes like a sonic-pilgrimage in search of the nirvana. Vocals come briefly at 9:00, preceding the sax, and guitars become more present, accelerating the music to danceable pace! Also confronting old and new, the impressive “Ludzie-Muchomory” (11:35) starts with ritualistic throat-singing and a radio transmission, followed by soaring synths and tribal drumming that evoke an atavistic image of the future. Vocals, coming at 4:00, are like a prayer sent to the gods in cosmos. Then, a Trip-Hop ambience is settled with addition of hypnotic guitars, an electronic background, and waving sounds of synths and organ, which together induce the listener to an altered state of mind. Also impacting, the song “Duchy Elektrycznosci” (4:11) is an inventive and pulsing Gothic-Space Rock featuring church organ and a synthetic robotic voice that transmits an alien sensation of solitude, ending in a massive drum-explosion. “Körkarlen” (5:58) is a Progressive instrumental track that combines retro sonorities on keyboards with dark-jazzy tones, reminiscent of “King Crimson”. The physical version of “Work In Progress” has two extra tracks: “Droga Za Widnokres” (7:12) – an ethereal ballad that transmits a nostalgic feel on vocals; and “Odwodnienie, Omdlenie, Zacmienie” (7:14) – a closing instrumental track that spreads piano notes and solar rays on a cosmic soundscape. Owner of an instigating and outer-planetary unique sound, Signal To Noise Ratio and their album “Work In Progress” are essential items for Psychedelic, Trip-Hop, Electronic, and Krautrock appreciators, being highly recommendable for fans of early “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”, “Brian Eno”, “Rainy Season”, “Ole Lukkoye”, “Disen Gage”, “Eastern Syndrome”, “Rada & Ternovnik”, “Deti Picasso“, “Vespero”, “Liompa”, “Ash Ra Tempel”, “Amon Düül II”, “Guru Guru”, “Xhol Caravan”, “Popol Vuh”, “Kalacakra”, “Yatha Sidhra”, “Agitation Free”, “Can”, “Faust”, “Nemrud”, “Siddhartha”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Signal To Noise Ratio are: Maria Bialota - Analog Synthesizers, Combo Organ, Melodica; Przemyslaw Pilacinski – Vocals, Guitars, Harmonica, Percussion, Programming & Electronic Manipulation, Spoken Word; Adam "Izaak" Wasaznik - Drums, Drum Programming, Percussion, Alto Saxophone, Throat Singing, Screams, Voice Effects. Past Members and Collaborators: Lukasz Foretek – Guitars (2003); Tomek Wilk – Bass (2003-2006); Natalia Uzieblo – Flute (2004); Ola Jaromin – Oboe (2008); Ania Wojtych – Viola (2008); Marta Czyz – Vocals (2008). Produced, Engineered & Mixed by Przemyslaw Pilacinski at Strange New Sounds, Warsaw; Mastered by Piotr Nykiel. Also you must visit Signal To Noise Ratio's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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06/30/2016.......................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit SIGNAL TO NOISE RATIO HOME PAGE...
. YUKA & CHRONOSHIP - "The 3rd Planetary Chronicles"
Yuka & Chronoship – one of the most amazing Progressive Rock bands from Japan – are back to PR&PM! Yuka & Chronoship were formed in 2009 by Yuka Funakoshi (piano, keyboards, vocals, compositions) and three exceptional studio musicians: Takashi Miyazawa (guitars), Shun Taguchi (bass), and Ikko Tanaka (drums). The music of Yuka & Chronoship is mostly inspired on British, Italian and Japanese Progressive acts, mainly “Genesis”, “King Crimson”, “ELP”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Balletto di Bronzo”, “Banco del Mutuo Soccorso”, “Area”, “Il Rovescio della Medaglia”, “Ain Soph”, “Teru’s Symphonia”, “Ars Nova”, “Gerard”, “Novela”, “Kenso”, “Vienna”, “Fromage”, “Tomita”, “Mr. Sirius”, “Motoi Sakuraba”, “Phantasmagoria”, “Magdalena”, “Stomu Yamashta”, and “Kitaro”. Yuka & Chronoship released the CDs “Water Reincarnation” (2011, Muséa Records/Disk Union) and “Dino Rocket Oxygen” (2013, Muséa Parallèle/Disk Union). The later was reviewed at PR&PM in June, 2015. Yuka & Chronoship’s newest album is titled “The 3rd Planetary Chronicles” (2015, Cherry Red Records). It is a concept-album delving into the astronomical and geological history of planet Earth. The sound of Yuka & Chronoship astounds the listener with the virtuosity displayed by all musicians involved in the project. Yuka & Chronoship’s brand of Progressive Rock drinks from the glorious past, but also keeps an eye directed to the future. Very often, the compositions transpose stylistic and rhythmic barriers, advancing to Jazz-Rock, New-Age, Electronic and World Music genres. Mostly instrumental, the music is embellished with imposing passages of piano, eerie Mellotrons, and pulsating synths – all masterfully played by Yuka. The keyboards are matched by Miyazawa’s fantastic solos of guitar; and supported on an extraordinary rhythmic frame. Each band member contributes to the arrangements, which sometimes are superbly dynamic and bombastic, other times tranquil and introspective, but always endowed of symphonic majesty! The brief lyrics appear on scarce vocal parts; in fact, most vocals are decorative, simple “ah-ah” soaring tunes that Yuka sings on selected moments of each piece. “The 3rd Planetary Chronicles” brings 12 tracks, showcasing an outstanding band that is musically ascending from the level of “total excellence” to the threshold of “mythical Classic-Progressive icon”! “The 3rd Planetary …” starts with “Birth of the Earth – Collision” (1:28), a collection of erratic piano keys lost in the cosmos, that introduces “Stone Age” (8:26), which employs tribal percussions, primitive flutes, “ah-ah” vocals, Space-Prog synths and powerful guitars to celebrate Earth’s primeval birth! It is followed by the awesome twin tracks: “Galileo I – And Yet It Moves (E Pur Si Muove)” (2:52) – a piano & Mellotron piece that replicates Galileo’s claustrophobic feelings during his dramatic inquisitional trial; and “Galileo II – Copernican Theory” (5:52) – which brings a note of hope on the initial piano tune, pulling up an amazing instrumental sequence having great bass and drums, marking guitar riffs, and excellent progressions on synths with “astronomical amplitude” and “dreamy curiosity for the deep mysteries of outer-space”. On the interlude “Birth of the Earth – Merger” (1:20), the erratic piano notes begin to cluster in chords, introducing the two-parts track, “Age of Steam” (8:07): “I-Pastoral Garden” is the first song with lyrics, and has eerie Mellotron, pastoral flutes, and psychedelic colors, in a mix of “King Crimson” and “Camel”; “II-Machine City” is totally instrumental and more powerful, with gritty Hard-Prog Hammonds, absolutely amazing Classic-Rock guitar solo, and sophisticated Jazz-Fusion sequence that unrolls towards the end. “Wright Flyer 1903” (7:50) starts with echoing guitars that float like an ethereal silken plane. It takes off, to fly adventurously as high as human’s imagination, inspiration, and freedom can do! The encouraging mood of this piece is strengthened by a beautiful guitar solo, and by the “sylph-like” vocals! “On The Radio” (2:18) blends radio statics, introspective piano, and philosophical inquiries about God. “Birth of the Earth – Magma Ocean” (1:26) further develops the piano theme, combining it with igneous guitar chords. “E = c#m” (4:36) is a relativistic mathematical equation that cannot explain the complexity of Y&C’s sound – powerful, intricate, and exhilarating like a Mozart’s symphony! The cybernetic “I An Thee (Awakening of the Cloneroid)” (6:55) employs a layer of electronic sounds to create a futuristic laboratorial ambience, on which the band experiments and creates “science-fictional” textures and sonorities, including a robotic chorus, aggressive bass and drums, and vertiginous duels of keyboards and guitars! Finally, “Birth of the Earth – Embryonic Planet” (8:17) is a Classic piano piece created from the fragments of the other “Births”. Rare and beautiful like our own planet, it features majestic themes that converge superbly towards a synergetic end! Yuka & Chronoship are certainly one of the best Japanese Prog-Rock acts in activity today. Their album, “The 3rd Planetary Chronicles”, is impeccable from beginning to end, consisting in a must-have item for orthodox and modern Progressive Rock fans that love “ELP”,  “Genesis”, “King Crimson”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Balletto di Bronzo”, “Banco del Mutuo Soccorso”, “Il Rovescio della Medaglia”, “Area”, “Ain Soph”, “Teru’s Symphonia”, “Ars Nova”, “Gerard”, “Novela”, “Kenso”, “Vienna”, “Fromage”, “Tomita”, “Mr. Sirius”, “Motoi Sakuraba”, “Phantasmagoria”, “Stomu Yamashta”, “Magdalena”, “Kitaro”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Yuka & Chronoship are: Yuka Funakoshi – Piano, Keyboards, Vocals, Compositions; Takashi Miyazawa – Guitars; Shun Taguchi - Bass, Lyrics; Ikko Tanaka – Drums. All Music Arranged by Yuka & Chronoship. Produced by Shun Taguchi; Mix & Sound Production by Takashi Miyazawa; Record Engineer – Koki Onodera; Mastering Engineer – Mitsuo Koike (AST Mastering Studios). Design by Kazuko Mitsuhashi; Cover Art by Hideji Oda; Logo by Roger Dean (of “Yes” fame)... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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06/30/2016...................Want to learn everything about the band and its members, goes to YUKA & CHRONOSHIP HOME PAGE...
. ERIC BAULE - "Revelations Adrift"
Eric Baule is a Modern Progressive Rock project formed in 2010 in Barcelona, Spain, that features members of “Moonloop”, “Bauluna”, “Arborea”, “Zermeño”, and “Monsterholic”. The line-up consists of: Eric Baulenas (vocals, guitars), Dani Soto (bass), Alex Calero (keyboards, backing vocals), and Eric Rovira (drums, backing vocals). Keyboardist Isam Alegre (of “Obsidian Kingdom”) was a member from 2010 to 2014, and recorded the project’s first album, “Revelations Adrift” (2015, self-released). Eric Baule was created by Eric Baulenas to showcase part of his solo work that did not fit in his main group, “Moonloop”. Eric Baule entered studios in 2013 to record a debut album, titled “Revelations Adrift”, which was independently released in March 2015. The release was followed by presentations at the “Sala Bikini” (Barcelona) and at the “Sonicarte Festival” (Teruel). The sound of Eric Baule is powerful, dynamic, torrential, and sensational! The music is guitar-oriented, transits through several styles, and offers to the listener an impetuous crossover of Heavy Prog, Alternative Rock, Post-Rock, Prog-Metal, and more, having strong influences of “Pink Floyd”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Steven Wilson”, “Joe Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, “Steve Hackett”, and “Opeth” (the instrumental), also recalling me of: “Rush”, “Radiohead”, “Jadis”, “RPWL”, “Muse”, “Haken”, “Riverside”, “Osada Vida”, “The Tea Club”, “The Black Noodle Project”, just to mention a few. The sonic capsule travels around valleys of darkness and peaks of ethereal luminosity, guided by Baulena’s emotional and personal guitar style! His solos are beyond the trivial, being skillful, complex, melodic, rocking, progressive, and surprising! From his strings, anything may come out – from power chords to soaring notes; from bluesy emotions to aggressive metallic riffing; from ethereal textures to dense low frequencies. As above, so below, the other instrumentalists hover side by side with Baulenas! Having total liberty to contribute to the music with their own impressions, the other members add an extra-dose of awe to this already awesome music! Dani Soto is an incredible bassist, able to play just anything, and his fantastic bass lines are of ultimate importance to the music. He is the point of support, the pivot around which drummer Eric Rovira rotates as an unstoppable machine supplied by nuclear energy – he is wild, precise, and technical (a mix of “Neal Peart”, “Marco Minnemann”, “Bobby Jarzonbek”, and so on). Ex-keyboardist Isam Alegre, who recorded all tracks of the record, feels not diminished by the imposing presence of Baulenas on guitar. By adding extraordinary solos of synths and other keyboards, he improves the symphonic tessiture of the arrangements, creating the right atmosphere on each song. Finally, Baulenas’ vocals are soft, emotional, and introspective, sometimes backed by elaborated harmony vocals, and represent the Alternative-Rock facet of Eric Baule, consisting in an important element of connection between the band and the audiences. “Revelations Adrift” has 10 amazing tracks. The first cycle of songs starts up with the astral intro “Tidal Wave” (1:41) and “Redemption” (8:40), the last one being driven by jovial vocals and fast Alternative-Rock beats that later slow down to a trippy “Pink Floydian” cadence, including two different guitar solos – the first dynamic and melodic; the second, psychedelic and bluesy. The dreamy atmospheres is stretched out to “Back to Nature” (6:34), a shoegazing song that starts based on simple vocal chorus, grows in complexity and drama with the coming of great guitars, drums, and Space-Rock riffs, and ends abruptly on the heavy riffs of “Flying High” (8:31) – an amazing instrumental piece that oscillates from the Heavy-Prog dynamism to the Prog-Metal power, containing a number of solos of synths in duel with guitars. A new cycle starts on “Circle of Dead Eyes” (8:10), a Dark-Progressive piece painted by the guitar in somber tones; its slow cadence being dictated by melancholic vocals, and its depressive atmosphere being held by ghostly sounds of synths and psychotic guitars. The eerie and vibrant instrumental track “Touching The Earth” (4:15) makes the transition to “Release From Duality” (11:27) – a magnum opus that delivers different moods from beginning to end, starting pulsing and contagious, fronted by 80’s Rock vocals, relaxed guitars, and minimalist synths; then progressing on peaks of instrumental energy; finally dissipating on a “Floydian” sequence. The last cycle starts on “Undertow” (1:52) / “Far From Here” (9:50). “Far…” is the second magnum opus of the album. It trespasses dark-psychic ambiences, rising from depression to aggression, combining piano and an abundance of inspired guitar solos; being soothed down by the atmospheric amplitude of “Spring Disease” (8:17) – a song that begins with sad vocals, angelic choirs, and soulful guitars, that ascends to the sky on epic and ever faster riffs! Eric Baule was for me a pleasant surprise, and the project’s first album, “Revelations Adrift”, is awesome, brilliant, and ought to be checked out by Progressive Record labels. Eric Baule is highly recommendable for fans of “Pink Floyd”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Steven Wilson”, “Joe Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, “Steve Hackett”, “Opeth” (instrumental), “Rush”, “Radiohead”, “Jadis”, “RPWL”, “Muse”, “Haken”, “The Tea Club”, “Riverside”, “Osada Vida”, “The Black Noodle Project”, “Tesseract”, “Arena”, “Lunatic Soul”, “Aeon Zen”, and the likes. Band members and collaborators involved in Eric Baule are: Eric Baulenas – Vocals and Guitars; Dani Soto – Bass; Eric Rovira – Drums, Backing Vocals; Alex Calero – Keyboards, Backing Vocals. Ex-Member: Isam Alegre – Keyboards, Backing Vocals (2010-2014). Recorded by Eric Rovira at Soundprat Studios (Barcelona); Mixed & Mastered by Gorka Dresbaj at The Room (Barcelona). Pictures by RFH Photography, Layout & Design by Ideophony, Artwork by NadVisualArt. Also you must visit Eric Baule's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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06/30/2016.................Want to learn everything about this amazing musician and his projects, go to ERIC BAULE HOME PAGE...
. KIAMA - "Sign Of IV"
Kiama is a Progressive Rock super group from the U.K. The line-up features four luminaries of the Post-70’s Progressive Rock scene: Andy Edwards (“Frost*”, “IQ”) on drums; Luke Machin (“Maschine”, “The Tangent”) on guitars; Rob Reed (“Magenta”, “Kompendium”) on bass, keyboards and guitars; and Dylan Thompson (“Shadow Of The Sun”, “The Reasoning”) on the lead vocals and guitars. The creative convergence of those ingenious musicians has produced a brainstorm of gigantic Prog-clashing magnitude that was materialized on Kiama’s first album, titled “Sign Of IV” (2016, Tigermoth Records). “Sign Of IV” was released on three different limited editions, for the UK, Europe, and World. Each edition contains the “Sign Of IV” CD plus a Bonus CD and one DVD (featuring 5.1 mixes; promo videos and bonus tracks). A low-budget single CD version, containing 9 studio tracks, is also available. The idea behind the genesis of this super group was to create songs that could be as memorable as many rock anthems that had been written by the great Rock bands of the early ‘70s – e.g. “Stairway to Heaven” and “Kashmir” (by “Led Zeppelin”), “Stargazer” (by “Rainbow”), “Bohemian Rhapsody” (by “Queen”) – which marked a generation of future musicians – including Kiama’s members! Also influenced by “Pink Floyd”, “Genesis”, and “Kansas”, Kiama’s musicians have adopted the bold attitude of mixing every musical genre they could – 70's Classic Rock, Prog & Pop, Jazz, Folk, Blues – in order to sound differently from their original bands. Every single track brings within its own combination of atmospheres, styles, and surprises, consisting in a vast territory to be explored by the listener. Drummer Andy Edwards dictates the pace on each song, oscillating from the power and swing of “John Bonham” to the essential minimalism of “Nick Mason”; guitarist Luke Machin has absorbed much of “Gilmore” and “Page” lessons, and applies what he has learned on his well-crafted dazzling solos; Rob Reed embellishes the arrangements with astonishing interventions of keyboards and synths, blending nostalgic sounds of the 70’s with modern glassy textures. Also acting as Kiama’s bassist, Reed demonstrates how his sophisticated Prog style can be adjusted to really contagious Hard-Rock grooves! And singer Dylan Thompson is eclectic enough to combine “Robert Plant’s” blues-feeling, “Peter Gabriel’s” bittersweet inflection,  and “Steve Walsh’s” swing and emotion to deliver inspiring and catchy tunes, brightened by a back-up choir of soulful female voices. Kiama’s main goal is then fulfilled: neither Progressive Rock has sounded so groovy; nor Classic Hard-Rock has ever been so Prog! The single CD version of “Sign of IV” has 9 tracks. Fans of Classic Hard-Rock will be promptly attracted by the explosive energy, groovy riffs, and down-to-earth drumming of “Cold Black Heart” (4:35) and “To The Edge” (6:36) – two songs greatly influenced by “Led Zeppelin”. But if “Cold …” includes some modern Heavy-Rock moments on the passage for the chorus, “To The Edge” delves deep into 70’s madness, delivering some Arabian “Kashmir-like” elements, preponderant “Rainbow/Deep Purple-like” gritty organs, and a super-groovy line of backing vocals that turn the song into an instant hit! Echoes of modernity are also present on “Tears” (4:55) and “Slime” (8:32) – two songs that profit from the alternation of light and heavy moments, mixing old and new sonorities (as done by bands like “Presto Ballet”, “Flower Kings”, “Agents of Mercy”, “Karmakanic”, “Spock’s Beard”, “Transatlantic”, “Rocket Scientists”, and “Discipline”). “Tears” is straighter, being crowned by a breathless guitar solo; but “Slime” has many different levels of energy, controlled by distinct vocal moods – from poignant and subtle to epic and loud! Fans of euphonic mellowness will place the Progressive ballads “Muzzled” (7:06), “Beautiful World” (7:58), “Slip Away” (8:24), and “Free” (5:23) among their favorites! Conveyed on soft paces and trippy atmospheres, they combine sonic elements reminiscent of “Pink Floyd”, “Genesis”, and “Kansas”. “Muzzled” is an electro-acoustic track balanced by the vocals, which move the song from a dreamy Psychedelia to an emotional Blues, while it converges to a superb climax with awesome synths and translucent guitar solo; “Beautiful World” is initially eerie, and floats downstream, until the coming of bass and drums twist it to an unexpected aggressive end; “Slip Away” has a ghostly vibe instilled on keyboards (recalling “Genesis”); a psychedelic bass on the middle (not heard of since early “Pink Floyd”) and a swinging end, reminiscent of “Kansas”; and “Free” (5:23) is a placid closing song driven by gentle vocals, piano, and levitating guitar solo – inspiring and amazing! The album still offers “I Will Make It Up To You” (5:49) – a bluesy and most accessible song, which is, however, finished with amazing guitar solo that would make “David Gilmore” envious! Kiama was born to rule the Hard & Prog Universe, and their brilliant debut album, “Sign Of IV”, is absolutely indispensable for fans of “Kansas”, “Genesis”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Pink Floyd”, “Rainbow”, “Agents of Mercy”, “The Flower Kings”, “Kaipa”, “Karmakanic”, “Presto Ballet”, “Spock’s Beard”, “Transatlantic”, “Neal Morse”, “Rocket Scientists”, “Black Bonzo”, “Profusion”, “Frost*”, “The Tangent”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Kiama are: Andy Edwards – Drums; Luke Machin – Guitars; Rob Reed – Bass, Keyboards, Guitars; Dylan Thompson – Lead Vocals, Guitar & Most Lyrics; Tesni Jones; Lorraine King; Kirstie Roberts – Backing Vocals. Recorded at Real World Studios, Bath. Jan. 2015; Engineered by Tim Lewis; Additional Engineering by Rob Groucutt & Luke Machin; Produced & Mixed by Rob Reed; Additional Production of “Cold Black Heart” by Jem Godfrey; Artwork & Logo by Dylan Thompson. Also you must visit Kiama's Facebook Site. Also at TMR-WEB... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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06/30/2016..............................Want to learn everything about the band and their music, you need to visit KIAMA HOME PAGE...
. CHRONUS - "Subitamente"
Chronus is a veteran Progressive Rock band from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Chronus was formed in 1995 from the ashes of a previous band called “Contrato Social”, and was very active in Rio’s Rock scene until 2000, when it disbanded. After a 15-years hiatus, Chronus returned to activity in 2015. Although the line-up of Chronus has changed along this time, the two founding members Luciano Siqueira (vocals, keyboards, bass) and Marcelo Daguerre (vocals, guitars) have always remained as the band’s core members. Other musicians who have taken part in the line-up were: Alexandre Fon (vocals, drums), Rui Bezerra (bass), Max Alemano (vocals), Ivan Jr. (drums), and Christian Lobo (bass). The Chronus sound is influenced by 70’s and 80’s Progressive Rock, with a tendency to the Hard-Prog. Each member has brought his own background to the music, which has absorbed influences from Brazilian “Mutantes” and “O Terço”; from the Progressive acts “Pink Floyd”, “Rush”, “Marillion”, “Yes”, “Emerson, Lake & Palmer”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Genesis”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Eloy”; and from Hard-Rockers “Van Halen”, “Deep Purple”, “Rainbow”, “Led Zeppelin”, and “Uriah Heep”. Along the first phase, Chronus played in important festivals and venues in Rio de Janeiro: Festival de Música Universitária-UERJ (1995), Festival Mistura Jovem (1997), Moto Fest (2000); and at the nightclubs Mistura Fina, Black Night Blues Bar, Beco da Boemia, Armazén L&M and Maxambomba Moto Clube. The positive feedback received from the local audiences incited Chronus to start the recording of a debut album – “Cronológico” – which would have guest participation of David Paiva (“Caravela Escarlate”). However, the band decided to abort the project, and “Cronológico” remains unreleased until today. In June 2000, Chronus ceased activities. But with a new Progressive Rock movement growing in Rio de Janeiro’s underground scene, the reunion of Chronus was impending! In 2015 Chronus resurrected with a line-up consisting of founding members Luciano Siqueira (vocals, keyboards) and Marcelo Daguerre (vocals, guitars), plus Rui Bezerra (bassist of Chronus from 1995 to 1999), and drummer Hugo Freitas (who had played some shows in 1998). The band became a founding member of the so-called “Cena Carioca de Música Progressiva”: a fellowship of Prog-Rock bands from Rio de Janeiro that struggle to maintain a local Prog-Rock circuit, and which also counts with “Arcpelago”, “Anxtron”, “Caravela Escarlate”, “Panaceah”, “Syntagma”, “Únitri”, and “Eduardo Aguillar”. To mark the return of Chronus, the band recorded an independent EP, entitled “Subitamente”, which was released in 2016 as part of the preparation of the band’s first full-length album, which will be called “Escassez”. “Subitamente” (“Suddenly”) features 3 songs with lyrics in Portuguese, but that contain long instrumental passages written in universal Prog-language. One of those songs (“Nós”) has been played on the show “Progressive Rock Around The World” by Carlos Vaz, hosted on the web-radio RST Rádio Rock. “Subitamente” offers the solid and matured sound of Chronus to the listener, in the format of Hard Progressive Rock with influences of 70’s Symphonic Prog. The sonic package includes: 1) guitars with the accents of “David Gilmour”, “Steve Rothery”, and “Van Halen” – three players admired by Daguerre; 2) keyboards with influences of “Arnaldo Baptista”, “Wakeman”, and “Keith Emerson” – Siqueira’s main influences – combined to other instruments to create atmospheric soundscapes reminiscent of “Pink Floyd” and “Porcupine Tree”; 3) an imposing bass, played by Bezerra, whose range goes from “Chris Squire” and “Tony Levin” to “Geddy Lee” and “Steve Harris”; 4) an impressive rhythmic base provided by Freitas, who combines a confident rock drumming with the refined jazz technique of his favorites “Buddy Rich”, “Steve Gadd”, “Vinnie Colaiuta”, and “Dennis Chambers”. The band manages to instill all those influences in their music with the right dosage, creating a quite unique sound that reverberates with a signature of its own! The EP starts with the title track “Subitamente” (9:27) – a vigorous song that begins with a punchy 70’s Hard-Rock Hammond organ dictating the basic Rock pace, abundantly embellished with flying guitars and acute solos of synths that progress into an atmospheric sequence of soaring vocals and great bass, concluding on a double-attack of keyboards, sustained on destroying drums! It goes on with “Nós” (5:02) (a Portuguese word that means either “us” or “knots” – with both meanings being explored in the lyrics). “Nós” has a Space-Rock style on synths and bass, and soaring guitars that irradiate Neo-Prog waves before the vocals, concluding with a second guitar solo, more bluesy in style, and having great support of the bass. The EP ends on “Moinhos de Vento” (“Windmills”) (8:13) – the most Progressive song in format, being conveyed on a slower pace that strolls around lysergic soundscapes on the back of great vocal tunes, emotional synths, and mellow-melancholic Neo-Prog guitar solos, finishing with a psychedelic scent coming from a vintage organ that let the listener screaming for more! Chronus is really an impacting and amazing band that confirms the quality of the Progressive Rock that is being played in Brazil nowadays. The EP “Subitamente” is a brilliant sample of what the next album, “Escassez”, will bring! Chronus is highly recommendable for fans of Brazilian and International Prog, who love “Quaterna Requiem”, “Sagrado Coração da Terra”, “Bacamarte”, “Tempus Fugit”, “Violeta de Outono”, “Som Nosso de Cada Dia”, “O Terço”, “Mutantes”, “Banda do Sol”, “Blezqi Zatsaz”, “Apocalypse”, “Arcpelago”, “Únitri”, “Cartoon”, “Aether”, “Pink Floyd”, “Rush”, “Marillion”, “Yes”, “ELP”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Eloy”, “Deep Purple”, “Rainbow”. Band members and collaborators involved in Chronus are: Marcelo Daguerre – Vocals, Guitars; Luciano Siqueira – Vocals, Keyboards, occasional Bass; Rui Bezerra – Bass; Hugo Freitas – Drums. Former Members: Alexandre Fon – Vocals & Drums (1995), just Drums (1999-2000); Ivan Jr. – Drums (1996-1998); Max Alemano – Vocals (1996-2000); Christian Lobo – Bass (1999-2000); Rui Bezerra – Bass (1995-1998, 2015 on). Guest Musicians: André Costa – Cello (1997); David Paiva – Acoustic Guitars, Vocals (2000 unreleased album). Also you must visit Chronus's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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07/31/2016...............Would like to know more about this brazilian band and their history, please visit CHRONUS HOME PAGE...
. ZOMBIE PICNIC - "A Suburb Of Earth"
Zombie Picnic is a new instrumental Progressive and Post-Metal quartet hailing from Limerick, Ireland. Zombie Picnic was formed in 2012 and consists of Jim Griffin (guitars), Dave Tobin (guitars), Brian Fitzgerald (bass), and Brendan Miller (drums). Zombie Picnic’s debut album is entitled “A Suburb Of Earth”, which was independently released on May 20th, 2016, via Golden Shred Records. The album contains four lengthy instrumental compositions that take listeners through time, with inspiration that goes from the beatnik poets of 1950's America to the futuristic sci-fi visions of Arthur C. Clarke. Zombie Picnic’s members are influenced by bands as diverse as “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”, “Rush”, “Mogwai”, “Battles”, “Led Zeppelin”, and “Black Sabbath”. To me, Zombie Picnic moves around an ample musical circle that includes Post-Rock, Post-Metal, Heavy Prog, 70’s Hard-Rock and Experimental Rock, also resembling bands “Tool” (although not as violent), “A Perfect Circle”, “Russian Circles”, “Radiohead”, “Stereolab”, “Tortoise”, and “Porcupine Tree”. Zombie Picnic is a cohesive band that waited for the right time to release a first album. The chemistry among band members works nicely, and all musicians are real good players. Their music is framed in an instrumental harmonic structure that resembles that of “Battles”, unless by being less frantic and vertiginous. The band compensates this lack of aggressiveness introducing in their music some trippy soundscapes in Prog and Post-Rock styles, which recall “Pink Floyd”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Mogwai”, or “Radiohead”. Zombie Picnic’s music is also dynamic, the flow being propelled by omnipresent bass and bouncing drums. The introduction of Hard-Rock guitar riffs on selected moments of each piece is surprising and original. The solos of guitar are soaring and soulful, being a point of contact between the Zombie’s sonority and the one of “Pink Floyd” and “Porcupine Tree”. Although instrumental, the music has a background voice that makes references to the texts of the beatnik generation – and this kind of intervention recalls me of “King Crimson”. The four tracks on “A Suburb Of Earth” are metamorphosing pieces that are chained to each other, as in a concept album. The first one is “The B141 Frequency” (11:30), a piece that has changes of temperature and pressure. It starts with a basic Rock riff (as contagious as “AC/DC”), but soon changes for a Post-Metal mode, combining solid riffs, deep bass lines and tribal drums, descending on the middle part to trippy Post-Rock soundscapes, with delicate guitar plucking and the gentle drive of bass and drums. The last third experiments a rise in energy and disposition, driven by adventurous guitar solos that are stretched to the very end. The second track, “The Adamite Bomb” (08:23), is slow, trippy and hypnotic, having a background speech of beatnik inspiration, recalling an experimental influence of “King Crimson”. The middle part is stuffed with guitar effects, and the last third features a great guitar riff in Space-Metal style interspersed by groovy bass lines and vivid drumming. The subsequent guitar solo makes the transition to the most Progressive track, “The Cylindrical Sea” (07:43). This piece alternates eerie and atmospheric moments with repetitive looping structures and psychedelic effects that recall the style of “Battles”. With bass sounds filling in the sonic space, it progresses slowly, drifting on guitar solos that delve into “The Rama Committee” (10:46) – a track designed to be the conclusive main piece of this album. Its first half is waving and tranquil, growing in heaviness with the coming of more Space-Metal riffs (that are vaguely reminiscent of “Rush”) and a wall of aggressive guitars, that are more distorted on this piece than on the previous tracks of the album. From the middle part on, the band takes off with a dynamic instrumental interplay, making various harmonic experiments, as the voice on the background talks of an interplanetary future for mankind. As a whole, “A Suburb Of Earth” is a very solid debut album – impressive, mature, and well-performed; and Zombie Picnic’s proposal of aggregating retro-sounding Hard-Rock elements to the most modern and avant-garde Post-Rock and Post-Metal styles will make this band to step ahead on this competitive musical trend. Zombie Picnic is therefore highly recommendable for fans of “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”, “Rush”, “Mogwai”, “Battles”, “Russian Circles”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Tortoise”, “Radiohead”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Autumn Moonlight”, “Explosions In The Sky”, “Mono”, “Pelican”, “Long Distance Calling”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Zombie Picnic are: James “Jim” Griffin – Guitar; Dave Tobin – Guitar; Brian Fitzgerald – Bass; Brendan Miller – Drums. Recorded at GAF Studios, Tipperary, by Joe Gallagher; Mastered by Richard Dowling at WAV Mastering, Limerick; Cover image by Nick Bromfield; Inner sleeve photo by Brendan Gleeson. Also you must visit Zombie Picnic's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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07/31/2016......................If you want know more about this amazing band and its members, visit ZOMBIE PICNIC HOME PAGE...
. TWO PLACES AT ONCE - "Birdtraps"
Two Places At Once is back to PR&PM! Two Places At Once was formed in September 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The line-up consists of Renan Rocha (vocals and guitars), Rodrigo Soares (guitars), Juan Salinas (bass), and Victor Barbosa (drums). Two Places At Once plays a nice blend of Alternative Rock, Progressive Rock, and Heavy-Metal, with incursions to the Psychedelic, Post-Metal, & Stoner-Rock styles. The main influences are “Pink Floyd”, “Oasis”, “Black Sabbath”, “Deftones”, “Muse”, “Soundgarden”, “Porcupine Tree”, and “Riverside”. In March 2014 Two Places At Once released a debut EP, entitled “Different Selves”, via independent label Flames Records, with excellent production by Elton Bozza. “Different Selves” was reviewed at PR&PM in August 2014, and was really a great surprise! The EP showcased a solid band, capable of matching North American and European acts alike. Now, after two years, Two Places At Once has finally released a full-length album, entitled “Birdtraps” (2016, Flames Records), which has been also produced by Elton Bozza. “Birdtraps” is another great work of Two Places At Once that combines high-quality engineering of sound with the band’s top-notch musicianship, also featuring outstanding cover art-work. “Birdtraps” represents Two Places At Once’s consolidation as one of the best Rock acts in activity in Rio de Janeiro and Brazil nowadays, and gives a clear sign that this band has a serious intention of conquering audiences worldwide! The songs (with lyrics in English) are delicate, mature, and moving, interspersed by few aggressive moments. Both guitars are harmonized tightly together, giving sustenance to the arrangements. The excellent bass playing fits nicely either on the melodic and most tranquil parts, or on the heaviest and most aggressive explosions. Drums keep the energy and dynamics flowing free, the rhythms ranging from the basic compasses of Rock to the modern and most complex patterns of Indie Rock and Post-Metal. The soft and melodic vocals bring into the songs a sentiment of melancholic Neo-Psychedelia. With a balanced distribution of both vocal and instrumental parts, Two Places At Once privileges the wholeness of each song more than musical individuality, sending a sonic package that, on a musical-map, would be delivered on the right point where “Oasis” and “The Verve” cross their paths with “Porcupine Tree” and “Deftones”. “Birdtraps” has 11 songs divided in two conceptual blocks of five songs each, separated by an instrumental interlude. The first block contains a number of Britpop/Neo-Psychedelic-styled songs, characterized by having an acoustic guitar base mixed to the electric frame, and by having the energetic rocking flow interspersed by plentiful guitar solos, and by melodic vocals that instill on each song a different level of emotion. The songs form a gradation that starts with the good vibes and poignancy of “Your Lullaby” (4:14) and continues with a brighter disposition on the lovely “Charlotte” (3:34) – a short song plentiful of solos. The vivid mood drops slightly to sadness on “Rainy Days” (4:48) – one of the best songs though, which concentrates energy on the chorus and has a middle sequence driven by groovy Hard-Rock riffs. The emotional line is unexpectedly broken down with the coming of the darkened “Witched” (3:52) – a surprising song that revives “Black Sabbath’s” macabre guitar riffs, intervened by grievous bass and slow-heavy pachyderm drumming – its gloomy atmosphere more than welcomed for Stoner-Rock appreciators! The emotional line is retaken on “Gloves” (6:49) – an outstanding song picked out from the “Different Selves” EP – which consists in the final climax of the first block of songs. “Interlude” (1:56) is a trippy instrumental track that marks the switch from the Alternative/Neo-Psychedelic mode of Two Places At Once to the band’s heaviest Post-Metal and Heavy-Prog orientations. Starting with “Denial” (5:35), which has a depressive intro, the music grows in anxiety with the coming of sturdier guitars and more energetic rhythms, preparing the transition for the heaviest songs that will follow: “Wide-Eyed” (5:04) – also taken from the “Different Selves” EP; and “Hidden Soul” (4:41) – one of the highlights of “Birdtraps”! Both songs are really impacting, having a strong influence of the Post-Metal sound of “Deftones” on the instrumentation, with my preference falling on “Hidden Soul” – a powerful song on which all band members show their mastery in the Post-Metal method, alternating soft-numb vocal moments with furious Metal drives. The tempest is soothed down with the coming of “Untying The Knot” (4:44) – a melancholic ballad with a “Soundgarden” touch that brings a male-female vocal duo. The album ends amidst the soundscapes of “Young Passenger” (4:58), a great song that grows in power with the coming of heavy riffs and soaring guitars solos, concentrating influences of “Pink Floyd” and “Porcupine Tree”, but translated to Two Places At Once’s sonic-vocabulary. “Birdtraps” is another outstanding work by Two Places At Once – one that confirms the placement of this band among the best of Brazilian present Rock scene. Indispensable for fans of Alternative Rock, Britpop, Psychedelic Rock, Post-Rock, Post-Metal, and Heavy-Prog, whose tastes include “Pink Floyd”, “Oasis”, “Deftones”, “Muse”, “Radiohead”, “Soundgarden”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Anathema”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Two Places At Once are: Renan Rocha – Vocals & Guitars, Lyrics; Rodrigo Soares – Guitar; Juan Salinas – Bass; Victor Barbosa – Drums; Gardo Nooraai – Keyboards; Fellipe Mesquita – Backing Vocals; Priscilla Able – Additional Vocals on “Untying the Knot”. Album Produced & Engineered by Elton Bozza at Superfuzz Studio, except drums at Flames Records; Mixed by Gabriel Zander & Elton Bozza; Mastered by Gabriel Zander; Digital Edition by Gabriel Arbex; Engineering Assistance by Fellipe Mesquita & Ana Julia Braga; Artwork by Marcelo Vasco; Photography by Kiko Neves; All songs by Two Places At Once, Lyrics by Renan Rocha. Also you must visit Two Places At Once's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta
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07/31/2016....................,.....Interested to know more about the this Brazilian Band? Visit TWO PLACES AT ONCE HOME PAGE...
. PORT MAHADIA - "Quantum Space"
Port Mahadia is back to PR&PM at last! Port Mahadia is a Progressive Rock and Prog-Metal act from the U.S.A. that has been very influenced by bands such as “Dream Theater”, “ELP”, “Kansas”, “Rush”, and “Yes”. Port Mahadia was formed in 2004 by core members Erinn Waggoner (bass, vocals), Cameron Castle (guitars), Rusty Clutts (drums & percussion) and William O’Connell (keyboards). Port Mahadia’s debut album, called “Echoes In Time” (2007), featured some very special guests: singer Damian WilsonThreshold”), cellist Hugh McDowellELO”) and violinist David RagsdaleKansas”). The album was reviewed at PR&PM in 2008, and Port Mahadia was acclaimed as a promising Prog-band. But the band fell in a hiatus just afterwards, and although they worked hard on original material, 8 years just passed without any new release. Until now! For Port Mahadia has signed with American label Melodic Revolution Records and is now presenting to the world their second and most awaited work: “Quantum Space” (February 19, 2016, MRR). The new album, however, does not give much continuity to Port Mahadia’s music evolution. In fact, it is an album of cover-songs. “Quantum Space” represents Port Mahadia’s homage to some of their favorite and most influential groups, namely “Kansas”, “ELP”, “UK”, Rush”, “Dream Theater”, “Pink Floyd”, “Yes”, and “The Beatles”; whose songs have been all rearranged to bear Port Mahadia’s own musical signature. In addition to the 8 covers, the album contains two original tracks by Port MahadiaPrinciple of Disorder” and “Cannae”). “Quantum Space” also features a new line-up, consisting of original singer, songwriter and bassist Erinn Waggoner, joined by Johnny Anderson (guitars) and Justin Emmerson (drums & percussion). Like the previous one, the new album also features many special guests, including: keyboardist Kerry Shacklett (“Presto Ballet”), cellist Hugh McDowell (“Electric Light Orchestra”), singer Will Shaw (“Heir Apparent”), and others (see below). The tracks on “Quantum Space” belong in two opposite groups, in regard to their sonic orientation: one of the heavy-trended songs, the other, of the melodic/symphonic-progressive songs. The first group is represented by classics of the Hard-Prog and Prog-Metal styles, which have straight affinity to Port Mahadia’s own sonority – characterized by the combination of Johnny Anderson’s furious guitar approach and acute solos, Erinn Waggoner’s dense, but acrobatic bass and crude vocals, and Justin Emmerson’s surprisingly dynamic drums. “Quantum Space” begins with one of those: “Silhouettes in Disguise” (4:20), by “Kansas”, which comes in a more muscular version that brings punching Metal guitars, killer drums, and Will Shaw’s aggressive voice, which have turned it into a “NWOBHM” standard. This “search for heaviness” continues on a worthy version of the Hard-Rock “Working Man” (8:31), by “Rush”, which has been strengthened with more aggressive guitar solos; and is outstretched to Port Mahadia’s original, “Cannae” (4:04) – a Hard-Rock with great bass work and serial layers of guitar solos. The gradation rises up to the Metal level on “Dream Theater’s” classic, “I Walk Beside You” (4:02); and on another of Port Mahadia’s original tracks, “Principle Of Disorder” (3:08) – which represents the epitome of their powerful sound! The second group of songs is represented by the most melodic and tranquil ones. Some of them are very light, such as “Pink Floyd’s” “Wot’s … Uh The Deal” (6:32) – which is acoustic and driven by gentle vocals, just like the original; and a modern-sounding rendition of the “Beatles-song”, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (6:14), which conveys the same bluesy feeling. The others, which I regard the best within this group, have been originally recorded by some of the greatest icons of Progressive Rock – “UK”, “Yes”, “ELP” – and retain much of their symphonic verve, although being different from the originals: “Rendezvous” (5:11), by “UK”, has a melodic cello that has accentuated the poignancy of the song; “South Side Of The Sky” (9:51) – one of the best tracks on “Yes” album “Fragile” – has singer Sol Yamil on the lead, to match “Jon Anderson’s” soprano voice; and “A Time And A Place” (3:37), of “ELP’s” album “Tarkus”, stands up as the best rendition – a bombastic version featuring both heavy guitars and gritty Hammond organs, fronted by superb vocals that incarnate “Greg Lake’s” persona, and which finishes the album at a high Progressive edge! Whilst we are still waiting for a new album of Port Mahadia, the least we can do is to get delighted with the amazing cover-songs recorded on “Quantum Space”, and with the two original songs that come as appetizes for their future releases. If you are a fan of Progressive Rock of the 70’s, Hard-Prog and Prog-Metal, then this album has much to offer to you! Highly recommended for fans of “Kansas”, “ELP”, “UK”, “Rush”, “Yes”, “Dream Theater”, “Presto Ballet”, “Rocket Scientists”, “Tiles”, “Majestic”, “Unified Past”, “Shadow Circus”, “Druckfarben”, “Discipline”, “Magellan”, and other bands with a heavy Progressive sound! Band members and collaborators involved in Port Mahadia are: Erinn Waggoner - Bass & Vocals; Johnny Anderson – Guitars; Justin Emmerson - Drums & Percussion. Additional Musicians and Special Guests: Rusty Clutts – Drums & Percussion; Will Shaw – Vocals; Sol Yamil – Vocals; Kerry Shacklett – Keyboards; Jared Hill – Keyboards; Hugh McDowell – Cello; Riccardo Bacchi - Steel Guitar; Paul Cecchetti - Additional Effect & Choir; Grant Hill - Keys Arrangement on “South Side of The Sky”. Recorded by Jon Mattingly, assisted by Jayson Allen, Mixed by Jon Mattingly at American Recording Studio, Louisville, KY; Mastered by Tim Hall at iRock Studios, Nashville, TN. Additional recordings by Kevin Synan at Paradise Recording Studio, Paducah, KY; Steve Boaz at Breathing Rhythm Studio, Norman, OK; and Damion Hill at Damion Hill Recording Studio, Spencerport, NY. Produced By Don Kelsey and Melodic Revolution Records... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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07/31/2016..............Want to learn everything about the musicians and their fantastic band, go to PORT MAHADIA HOME PAGE...
. PAOLO SIANI FT. NUOVA IDEA - "Faces With No Traces"
Paolo Siani ft. Nuova Idea is back to PR&PM! Paulo Siani is an Italian drummer from Genova, mostly known for being a founder member of 70’s Italian Rock band Nuova Idea. Before starting his musical career, Siani learned Percussion at the Niccolò Paganini Conservatory, in Genova. In the late 60’s, he played on a band called Plep, together with Paolo Martinelli, Luciano Biasato, and Enrico Casagni. In 1970 Plep gave birth to Nuova Idea, with a line-up that included the ex-Plep’s members Paolo Siani (drums) and Enrico Casagni (bass, flute), plus Marco Zoccheddu (guitars), Claudio Ghiglino (guitars), and Giorgio Usai (keyboards). Nuova Idea released singles and three full-length albums via Ariston Music: “In The Beginning” (1971); “Mr. E. Jones” (1971), this one with Antonello Gabelli replacing Zoccheddu, who had gone to form “Osage Tribe”; and “Clowns” (1972), with Ricky Belloni on guitar. After “Clowns”, Nuova Idea disbanded, and Siani and Ricky Belloni formed the band “Track”, which released “Track Rock” (1974, Ariston). In 1974 Belloni departed to “New Trolls”, and Paolo Siani started to work as artistic director for Ariston, producing artists such as: “Ornella Vanoni”, “Gianni Magni”, “Julio Iglesias”, and “Matia Bazar”. Siani has also played for “Equipe 84” and “Opus Avantra”; and composed music for theater and dance companies, in artistic institutions in Lombardy, Veneto, and Piedmont. In 2008, Paolo Siani started a musical project to record an album and raise funds for the Pediatric Hospital G. Gaslini, in Genova. This project was called Paolo Siani and Friends – Featuring Nova Idea, and had collaboration of the Nuova Idea members Giorgio Usai, Ricky Belloni, and Marco Zoccheddu, together with guest musicians such as: Mauro Pagani (“PFM”), Joe Vescovi (“The Trip”, “Acqua Fragile”), Roberto Tiranti (“Labyrinth”), and others. Their album, entitled “Castles, Wings, Stories and Dreams”, was released in December 2010, via Black Widow Records, and featured at PR&PM in September of 2011. This CD was followed by the DVD “Nuova Idea - Live Anthology” (2014, BWR), and by this second studio album, “Faces With No Traces” (2016, Black Widow Records). Paolo Siani wrote all tracks, arrangements, and lyrics (except for a cover of the British band “Quartermass”), and the recordings had participation of many guest musicians, including Nuova Idea’s ex-components (see below). “Faces With No Traces” has 8 normal studio tracks and three bonus Cd-Rom tracks, which comprise two remixes and a Video clip. The songs cover different styles - Folk, Psychedelic, Prog, and Hard Rock, mixing both classic and modern sonorities. The album starts with the acoustic Folk ballad “No One’s Born a Hero” (5:51). After the poignant intro played on the Armenian duduk, the song proceeds with Paul Gordon Manners singing the theme, telling the legend of a farmer who defeated a giant with a magical sword (Blunderbuss). The traditional style of “No One’s …” (which recalled me of “Donovan”), makes a great contrast with the modernity of “Free The Borders” (6:35), a World-Music song that fuses Oriental flavors, electronic beats, atmospheric Mellotrons (played by Giangiusto Matiucci), and is driven by the voices of Siani and P. G. Manners, having contribution of the “Nuova Armonia” choir (with 40 women singers), and a superb sax solo (by Federico Buelli). The early 70’s Rock is greatly represented on the album by three songs, all fronted by “Labyrinth’s” singer Roberto Tiranti, who also plays a groovy bass on them: “Rockstar” (5:06) is a typical 70’s Hard-Rock with ironic lyrics, featuring Paolo Tognazzi on impressive organ intro, Ricky Belloni on amazing acrobatic guitars, and Siani on the “Deep-Purple-esque” Hammond organ; “Post War Saturday Echo” (7:25) – an original Blues-song by “Quartermass” – is brilliantly covered, with the soulful voice of Tiranti leading the Nuova Idea line-up formed by Siani on drums, Zoccheddu on the piano, and Usai on the powerful Hammond; and “Welcome Aboard” (4:09) is a contagious Psychedelic-Rock song that ought to be played alive! But for orthodox lovers of Progressive Rock, I strongly recommend the two outstanding tracks, “Black Angel’s Claws” (6:40) and “Three Things” (4:26). The first is a somber and impacting Space-Psychedelic Rock song that alternates echoing vocals with instrumental outbursts of energy, on which Siani sings the lyrics (about the inability to forgive the evil that people do onto others) and plays all instruments, except bass (played by Guido Guglielminetti) – everything recalling the modern sonority of “Ayreon”, “Star One”, and “Porcupine Tree”. The second is a 6/8 classically-inspired Progressive piece with autobiographical lyrics that combines emotive cello, sensitive flutes, bittersweet vocals and psychedelic synths, which emanate the most beautiful tunes of the album. The last original track is the instrumental piece “E’Riu” (6:22) (pronounced “Eirù”), dedicated to the Celtic music of Ireland, which starts with medieval flutes and orchestral arrangements that introduce a joyful folkloric dance, driven by a lively solo on accordion (by Zoccheddu). The following bonus tracks are two versions of “Black Angel’s Claws” – remixed by Lee Roy Thornhill (ex-“Prodigy”) and Alessandro Siani at the Abbey Road Studios, in London; and the official video clip of “Three Things”. In sum, this new album by Paolo Siani ft. Nuova Idea offers a great collection of songs that – although covering an eclectic range of styles – are all linked by the requisite of top-quality musicianship. “Faces With No Traces” is thus highly recommended for fans of “Nuova Idea”, “Delirium”, “Osanna”, “New Trolls”, “The Trip”, “P.F.M.”, “Quella Vecchia Locanda”, “Museo Rosenbach”, “Le Orme”, “Opus Avantra”, and for all fans of 70’s Rock in general. Band members and collaborators involved in Paolo Siani ft. Nuova Idea are: Paolo Siani – Drums & Additional Instruments, Vocals; Marco Abamo – Electric Guitar; Ricky Belloni – Electric Guitar; Marco Biggi – Percussion; Federico Buelli – Sax; Stefano Cabrera – String Arrangements; Andrea Calzoni – Flute; Gevorg Dabaghyan – Duduk; Diego & Fabio Gordi - Choir Arrangement; Guido Guglielminetti – Electric Bass; Paul Gordon Manners – Acoustic Guitars & Lead Vocals; Carlo Marrale – Acoustic & Electric Guitars; Giangiusto Mattiucci – Mellotron; Eva Feudo Shoo – Cello; Roberto Tiranti – Bass & Lead Vocals; Paolo Tognazzi – Hammond Organ; Giorgio Usai – Hammond Organ; Paolo Vacchelli – Electric Guitar Efx; Marco Zoccheddu – Electric Piano & Accordion. Nuova Armonia Choir conducted by Maurizio Ramera; Laura Capretti – Lead Singer. Mixed by Marco Biggi & Marco Abamo at BMA Studio – Genoa, except “No One’s Born a Hero”, recorded & mixed at Falcon Studio – Montefiore Conca. Mastered at Elettroformati, Milan, by Alessandro ‘Gengy’ Di Guglielmo, except “Black Angel’s Claws”, mastered at the Abbey Road Studios by Geoff Pesche. Cover design by Alberto Boldrini; Graphic Layout by Pino Pintabona. Executive Producer for Black Widow Records: Pino Pintabona. “Three Things” Video clip by Malaproduction87, Directed by Matteo Malatesta. “Black Angel’s Claws” Remix by Leeroy Thornhill & Alessandro Siani; Mixed at Fonologie Monzesi Studio, Monza, by Max Faggioni; Mastered at Abbey Road Studios, London, by Geoff Pesche. Artistic Supervision by Alessandro Siani... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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07/31/2016........,.....Interested to know more about the Musician and Band? Visit PAOLO SIANI FT. NUOVA IDEA HOME PAGE...
. LUIGI MILANESE - "Closer To Heaven"
Luigi Milanese is a guitarist, composer and performer from Genoa, Italy. His interests and musical experience include Classical, Rock, Folk, Acoustic, Jazz, Prog, and World Music. Milanese studied guitar and music composition at the “Antonio Vivaldi State Conservatory of Music” in Alessandria, and now teaches guitar in the state school of music in Santa Margherita Ligure, in Genoa. Milanese has written music for theater, and published original compositions for guitar and transcriptions from the Baroque Lute. He has played with “Satie Trio”, “Big Fat Mama Blues Band”, “Ensemble Janua Coeli”, holding concerts in Italy, France, Austria and Germany, and has shared the stage with “Pino Daniele”; with the USA jazzists “Max Roach” and “Steve Lacy”; and with the Rock bands “America” and “Los Lobos”. In 2013 he recorded an album by Rock band “Blue Dawn” (“Cycle of Pain”, Black Widow Records). Also in 2013, Milanese released his first acoustic album – entitled “Equinox” – on which he developed the concept that “music from extremely different genres (Classical, Rock, Folk, Jazz) can coexist in the same musical universe linked by an invisible thread that transcends the boundaries.” After three years, “Equinox” has been finally followed up by a Milanese’s second album, called “Closer To Heaven” (April 2016, distributed by Black Widow Records). “Closer To Heaven” is instrumentally performed by Luigi Milanese (acoustic and electric guitars), the famous John Hackett (flute), plus Bob Callero (electric bass), Luca Lamari (piano and synth), Federico Lagomarsino (drums), Adriano Mondini (oboe), and Marila Zingarelli (cello); having a couple of songs fronted by singer Claudia Sanguineti. “Closer To Heaven” offers an original blend of musical genres presented in a preponderant acoustic format. Milanese’s artistic view deviates from the norm of nowadays music: on his compositions, the centennial Classical instruments (e.g. the acoustic guitar, flute, oboe, cello, and the piano) predominate over the modern Electric Rock basic combo (guitar, bass and drums). And the shortage of keyboards and synthesizers – the emblematic instruments of Progressive Rock that have associated this style with novelty and futuristic progress – reveals Milanese’s preference for the traditional textures of an older epoch, also reflexed on his affinity with the Orchestral format. Because of that, the music of Milanese cannot be regarded as standard Progressive Rock. However, the experimental spirit instilled on his compositions and his taste and ability for merging different musical genres on a single piece are two attributes inspired on the basic rules of Progressive Rock. Therefore, the music of Luigi Milanese may fit into a category of its own: “Electro-Acoustic Music with a Progressive Orientation”. “Closer To Heaven” contains 10 tracks: 8 instrumental pieces plus two songs (with English lyrics). The compositions showcase a distinctive blend of Folk-Acoustic, Orchestral Chamber Music, and Jazz-Fusion elements, having a relaxing and tranquil mood, but being not too much introspective or melancholic. When listening to the album, a number of varied bands and artists have passed through my mind: “Pazzo Fanfano di Musica”, “Ataraxia”, “This Mortal Coil”; the guitarists “Steve Howe”, “Steve Hackett”, “Al di Meola”, “Anthony Phillips”, “Gordon Giltrap”, and “Paco de Lucía”; and others. The two songs of “Closer To Heaven” are really outstanding: “I Never Did” (4:42) and “As a Chill in the Golden Night” (4:08) have both an acoustic guitar base topped by the amazing voice of Claudia Sanguineti, who is like a softer version of singer “Julie Driscoll”. The songs share space with the 70’s Hard-Rock standard, “Riot House” (2:55) – an instrumental piece that is inspired on “Led Zeppelin” and “AC/DC”. Most interesting, however, are those pieces that lean to the Chamber Music format, consisting in great examples of how Milanese is capable of breaking down all musical barriers to create music that is original, innovative, and instigating: “All the Things I Never Said” (5:09), “Aurora” (4:11) and “Internal Dynamics” (6:17) are like classical pieces, bringing sensitive interplay of flute, oboe, cello, and classical guitar. “All the Things…” has operatic vocal solfeggio that have brought Italian Folk-group “Ataraxia” to my mind, and also the score music of “Ennio Morricone”; while “Aurora” has really surprised me, when the solemnity of the orchestral sequence was interrupted by passages of Jazzy electric guitars and psychedelic effects! And “Internal Dynamics” has taken the interferences even further, including some Fusion and World Music passages on the middle frame, and an eerie Progressive end. Also belonging in here, the two tracks “Visions From The Well Part I” (4:11) and “Visions From The Well Part II” (1:55) are complementary pieces on which the Classical-oriented first part is basically acoustic, and driven by a poignant cello; while the second counterpart presents its electric conclusion, combining guitar solo, dramatic bass, and a glassy piano. The album also features two acoustic guitar pieces reminiscent of the Folk pieces of the previous work, “Equinox”: the interlude “Acoustic Rules” (2:50), and the final “Epilogue” (1:26). With an original sound that blends old and modern, Classical and Jazz; Luigi Milanese is a surprising and unique artist, whose music must be appreciated deeply and carefully, being highly recommendable for fans of Acoustic and Classical Music, and Progressive Rock with a strong acoustic support. Band members and collaborators involved in Luigi Milanese are: Claudia Sanguineti – Vocals; Luigi Milanese – Acoustic & Electric Guitars; Luca Lamari – Piano & Synthesizers; Bob Callero – Electric Bass; Federico Lagomarsino – Drums; John Hackett – Flute; Adriano Mondini – Oboe; Marila Zingarelli – Cello; Tommaso Milanese – Lyrics & Artwork. Produced by Luigi Milanese; Co-produced by Francesco Sparla. Recorded at Studio Apollo, Genoa by Federico Logomarsino & Marco Canepa; Mastered by Marco Canepa. Distribution: Black Widow Records. Also you must visit Luigi Milanese's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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07/31/2016....................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit LUIGI MILANESE HOME PAGE...
. GOBLIN REBIRTH - "Alive"
Goblin Rebirth is an incarnation of Italian Progressive Rock outfit Goblin – the legendary band behind the soundtracks of famous horror movies, such as Dario Argento’s “Profondo Rosso” (1975), “Suspiria” (1977), “Tenebre” (1982), and “Sleepless” (2001); and George A. Romero's “Zombi”, a.k.a. “Dawn of the Dead” (1978). Goblin Rebirth’s line-up has two original members of 70’s Goblin – Fabio Pignatelli (bass) and Agostino Marangolo (drums, percussion) – joined by Giacomo Anselmi (guitars), Aidan Zammit (keyboards), and Danilo Cherni (keyboards). Goblin was formed from a split-off of another legendary Italian band – Cherry Five. Cherry Five featured Tony Tartarini (vocals), Massimo Morante (guitars), Claudio Simonetti (keyboards), Fabio Pignatelli (bass), and Carlo Bordini (drums). In the beginning of 1975, some of those musicians were called to cooperate with Giorgio Gaslini on the soundtrack of Dario Argento’s emblematic horror movie, called “Profondo Rosso”. The instrumental quartet involved in the project consisted of Morante (guitars), Simonetti (keyboards), Pignatelli (bass), and a new drummer, called Walter Martino. When Gaslini left the project, the quartet finished the soundtrack and soon released it, obtaining a golden mark for the selling. To make a distinction between the soundtrack of “Profondo Rosso” and Cherry Five’s own eponymous release, the band decided to change their name for Goblin. In 1976, new members Agostino Marangolo (drums) and Maurizio Guarini (keyboards) were officially admitted in Goblin. Goblin was successful scoring music for Argento’s subsequent movies, and became a cult-band for horror-movies enthusiasts. Goblin released studio albums too, the most famous being “Roller” (1976) and “Il Fantastico Viaggio Del Bagarozzo Mark” (1978), but disbanded in 1978. Reunions were made to score soundtracks of Argento’s movies “Tenebrae” (1982) and “Sleepless” (2001). Since then, Goblin has had some reincarnations, each one with its own name, as individual core members either attempted to regroup, or recruited other musicians to complete the line-up. In 2010 there were two active versions of Goblin. One, called New Goblin, consisted of original members Simonetti, Morante and Guarini, plus Bruno Previtali (bass) and Titta Tani (drums); the last two being members of Simonetti's own band, “Daemonia”. This version later became Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin, including only himself and members of “Daemonia”. The other version was Goblin Rebirth, which made a debut concert in Rome at the Crossroads on April 22nd, 2011. In 2013, New Goblin and Goblin Rebirth merged to reform Goblin. Four of Goblin’s original members – Morante, Guarini, Pignatelli, and Marangolo – were joined by keyboardist Aidan Zammit, and later by Steve Moore, to make a series of shows around the USA in 2013 and 2014. They also released the studio album “Four Of A Kind” (2015) and the live album “Austinato” (2016). In the meantime, Goblin Rebirth released the eponymous studio album “Goblin Rebirth” (2015, Relapse Records), which had been recorded in 2013. Goblin Rebirth’s 2011 debut concert in Rome had been also recorded and filmed, and with support of Italian Prog-label Black Widow Records, it was released in 2016, under the title of “Alive”, on double CD, Vinyl, and DVD editions. The double CD version of “Alive” contains 18 tracks. On stage, five top-notch musicians work in perfect harmony to deliver an exciting brand of Classic Symphonic Rock immersed in a dense cinematographic atmosphere that evokes the gloomy and thrilling images depicted on the creepiest horror films ever made! Monster-bassist Fabio Pignatelli towers on the forefront, playing his bass with the mastery of veterans, either sending reverberating Prog-andantes, or instilling an irresistible gothic-groove in the music! Agostino Marangolo maneuvers the drumsticks with the accumulated experience of 40 years, but his powerful rhythms and martial beats come over the audience with the enthusiastic vigor of a youngster who is playing alive for the first time! Guitarist Giacomo Anselmi feels not diminished by Morante’s shadow, and gives a show of his own! His blazing solos have the precision and flexibility of the Prog-masters, covering melodic sounds, soaring tunes, and vivid Jazz-Rock jams. And keyboardists Aidan Zammit and Danilo Cherni replace the duo Simonetti-Guarini with nobility, enriching the music with stereophonic synth-organ attacks, majestic orchestral passages, imposing gothic moments, and supersonic solos! The trembling tour-de-force delivered by the band offers: amazing Jazz-Rock-styled instrumental interplay; confrontation of deep droning bass against waving synths, ascending guitars, quaking drums and a grand piano; and employment of ghostly Mellotronic-choirs combined to orchestral percussion and eerie bass effects that congeal the audience! “Alive” brings most of Goblin’s classics (see complete track-list below). The Goblin Rebirth quintet starts with “Killer On The Train”, from the “Sleepless” soundtrack, performed with confidence and energy in a wide cinemascope perspective. The band goes on, interspersing pieces from Goblin’s studio albums – such as “Roller”, “Doctor Frankenstein”, “Goblin” (which contains brilliant drum solo) – with titles of other soundtracks, such as the madly bass-driven “Mad Puppet” and “Death Dies” (from “Profondo Rosso”); and the entrancing Gothic-Prog pieces: “La Chiesa” and “Tenebre”. The show reaches the climax, when the funeral cadence and macabre ambience of “L'Alba dei Morti Viventi” (from “Zombi”) prepare the terrified audience for the final trio: “Suspiria” – the pagan ritual that instills terror in your heart; “Zombi” – the voodoo obeah-man that chases the mind to eat; and “Profondo Rosso” – the nightmarish lullaby that petrifies your soul, depriving it of eternal rest! One of the greatest releases of Black Widow this year, Goblin Rebirth’s “Alive” is an indispensable album for fans of Symphonic Progressive Rock, Italian Progressive Rock, and Horror-Movies Soundtracks; and a must-have item for all fans of Goblin, of course! Band members and collaborators involved in Goblin Rebirth are: Fabio Pignatelli – Bass;Agostino Marangolo – Drums, Percussion; Giacomo Anselmi – Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Bouzouki; Aidan Zammit – Keyboards; Danilo Cherni – Keyboards. Produced by Goblin Rebirth; Live Sound & Recording by Marco Covaccioli; Mix & Post-Production by Fabio Pignatelli; Event Organized by Paolo Carnelli; Photography by Roberto Scorta; Layout by Pino Pintabona. “Alive” Complete Track-List: CD1: 1.“Killer On The Train” (6:35); 2.“Buio Omega” (4:33); 3.“Aquaman” (6:03); 4.“Mad Puppet” (4:20); 5.“Death Dies” (3:16); 6.“Roller” (5:03); 7.“Doctor Frankenstein” (6:03); 8.“La Chiesa” (7:04); 9.“Tenebre” (5:06). CD2: 10.“Goblin” (12:15); 11.“L'Alba dei Morti Viventi” (5:54); 12.“Magic Thriller” (5:13); 13.“Le Cascate Di Viridiana” (6:08); 14.“Connexion” (4:45); 15.“Witch” (2:37); 16.“Suspiria” (6:51); 17.“Zombi” (5:28); 18.“Profondo Rosso” (10:27). Also you must visit Goblin Rebirth's Facebook Site,  and on  Goblin Rebirth's BandCamp Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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07/31/2016.........If you want know more about this amazing Italian band and its members, visit GOBLIN REBIRTH HOME PAGE...
. WONDERWORLD - "Wonderworld II"
Wonderworld is a Hard-Rock Power-Trio formed by musicians from Norway and Italy! The line-up features the Italian Roberto Tiranti (vocals, bass) – mostly known for being the front-man of Metal band “Labyrinth” – plus the two Norwegians Ken Ingwersen (guitar) and Tom Fossheim (drums) – two members of Live Fire, the supporting band of the legendary Ken Hensley (of “Uriah Heep”). This trio of musicians has big credentials to show off. The Genovese Roberto Tiranti has been ahead of “Labyrinth” since 1997 and currently is also a singer for “The New Trolls”. He has shared stage or collaborated with musicians such as: “Glenn Hughes”, “Ian Paice”, “Martin Barre”, “John Anthony Helliwell”. In 2013 Tiranti was invited to sing and play bass on Hensley’s Live Fire. Ken Ingwersen comes from Oslo. He has played for “Evenrude”, “Rags”, “Speed”, “Street Legal”, and has a solo project (“Kens Dojo”). He is also a musical producer for Oslo Recordings, and along the years he has performed or worked with: “Glenn Hughes”, “TNT”, “John Lawton”, “Rick Springfield”, “Chesney Hawkes”, and others. He has been playing also in Live Fire since 2000. Tom Fossheim comes from Gjøvik, Norway. He has played for “Anita Hegerland's (“Mike Oldfield”) Starfish Band” and has also worked with the Norwegian artists “Ronni LeTekrø” (“TNT”), “Tore St. Moren” (“Jorn”), “Crest of Darkness”, “Vestlandsfanden” and “Øsekara”. Fossheim entered Live Fire in 2007. The story of Wonderworld began in March 2013, when Ken Hensley & Live Fire recorded an album in Alicante, Spain. In that opportunity, Ingwersen and Fossheim met Tiranti for the first time. In a few hours, the three musicians realized that they had a really powerful musical connection, and decided to form a trio – and Wonderworld was born! The band has released two full-length albums so far: “Wonderworld” (2014, Key Music) and “Wonderworld II” (March 2016, Key Music, distributed by Black Widow Records). As the Wonderworld trio has been influenced by bands of the ‘70s (e.g. “Led Zeppelin”, “Deep Purple”, “AC/DC”, “Rush”), they felt that is was important to go backwards in time and record their music just like those legendary bands did. So, “Wonderworld II” – the album on focus here – was recorded mostly live in studio, with a minimum of edition, in order to preserve the vibrating energy and savage rocking synergy produced by those three monster-musicians, when closed together inside the same studio room! The electrified atmosphere has been more than successfully captured by the Wonderworld trio, and totally transferred to the 10 tracks enlisted on “Wonderworld II”! The sound of Wonderworld reverberates like an explosive and addicting mix of 70’s Hard Rock, Classic Rock, Blues, and AOR, with just a pinch of modernity on it. Aside from “Led Zeppelin”, “Deep Purple”, “AC/DC” and “Rush”, Wonderworld shares a resemblance of sound with artists like “Cream”, “Uriah Heep”, “Lucifer’s Friend”, “Glenn Hughes”, “Whitesnake” (the good stuff), “Rainbow”, “Dio”, “Budgie”, “Humble Pie”, “Van Halen” (on the guitar solos), and others, following on the same line as “Jorn Lande”, “Ten”, “Talisman”, “Black Country Communion”, “The Winery Dogs”. It is not only the individual quality of each musician involved in the band that justifies the placement of Wonderworld in that hall of Rock legends, but also the way they act in unison, complementing each other and contributing for the achievement of a musical wholeness that is exceptional and rarely matched by Rock bands nowadays. Tiranti’s vocals are really awesome, as soulful as “Glenn Hughes” and “John Lawton”, and capable of equaling “Gillan”, “Byron”, and “Halford” in the matter of high-pitched screams! His bass playing is pulsing and groovy, having a perfect understanding with Fossheim’s powerful and thundering drumming. Together, they form a solid support on which Ingwersen shows all of his strength and panache on the guitar, impacting the listener with superb rocking riffs, and destroying the audience with breathtaking eruptive solos! From beginning to end, “II” is an excellent Hard-Rock album, having songs for all tastes and tribes. Would you like to follow the contagious swing of hit-formatted songs containing the right mix of groovy Hard-Rock and sticky AOR choruses? Start with “Forever Is a Lie” (5:40), which will hook you to the album; “Elements” (5:35), a Rock having a quasi-Jazzy instrumental end; and the malicious “Return To Life” (4:42). Do you rather listen to mind-blowing Classic Hard-Rock songs, energized with great soulful vocals, powerful pulsing bass, thundering groovy drums and volcanic guitar solos? Taste the stupendous “Remember My Words” (4:38) (driven by a diabolical rhythm and mad-killer guitar solos); the epic-apocalyptical “In The End” (4:51); the surprising “It's Not Over Yet” (5:59) (which blends Oriental Rock with Bluesy vocals, uprising chorus, and igneous  guitars); and the Heavy Metal song, “Evil In Disguise” (3:48) – propelled by the devilry of Tiranti’s bombastic screams! But if you prefer to listen to power-ballads, full of emotion and sensitiveness, try the beautiful “Echo Of My Thoughts” (4:33); the majestic “Memories” (5:45); and the half-acoustic “Down The Line” (5:54); all bringing a magic bass, memorable vocals, and unbelievable guitar solos that will let the listener screaming for more! Wonderworld is really one of the most amazing Hard-Rock trios in activity today, and is planning a third album for 2017! While I am eagerly awaiting for it, I shall strongly recommend Wonderworld as a must-have item for fans of 70’s Hard & Classic Rock who love: “Led Zeppelin”, “Deep Purple”, “AC/DC”, “Cream”, “Uriah Heep”, “Lucifer’s Friend”, “Glenn Hughes”, “Whitesnake”, “Dio”, “Budgie”, “Rainbow”, “Tygers Of Pan Tang”, “TNT”, “Fastway”, “Thin Lizzy”, “Van Halen”, “Boston”, “Humble Pie”, “Peter Frampton”, “Triumph”, “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Jorn Lande”, “Ten”, “Talisman”, “Black Country Communion”, “The Winery Dogs”, and others like them. Band members and collaborators involved in Wonderworld are: Roberto Tiranti – Vocals, Bass; Ken Ingwersen – Guitar, Keyboards, Backing Vocals; Tom Fossheim – Drums. Guest Musician: Uwe Mundschau – Hammond B3 on “Echo of My Thoughts”. All Songs Written by Tiranti & Ingwersen. Drums & Bass Recorded at Urban Sound Studio A, Oslo, Norway, Engineered by Jock Loveband; Guitars & Vocals Recorded by Ken & Rob; Mastered by Björn Engelmann at Cutting Room, Stockholm, Sweden. Produced & Mixed by K. Ingwersen. Also you must visit Wonderworld's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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08/17/2016...................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit WONDERWORLD HOME PAGE...
. PREACHER - "Aftermath"
Preacher is Melodic/Progressive Rock band from Glasgow/Ayrshire, in the United Kingdom. The line-up features Martin Murphy (vocals, guitar, and lyrics), Arnold ‘Arny’ Burgoyne (keyboards), Greg Murphy (lead guitar), Ron Rodgers (acoustic guitar), Gordon Munro (bass), Iain Duncan (drums), and the female singers Angela Bell and Kerry McWhinnie (backing vocals). Preacher has already released two independent albums – “Signals” (2014) and “Aftermath” (2016) – both produced, engineered, mixed and mastered by Larry Primrose. Band leaders Martin Murphy and Arny Burgoyne are two perfectionists, who are seriously concerned about how good Preacher will sound, both alive and at studio. Thanks to their obsession, Preacher has been conquering a fan base with their flawless live shows, performing is synchrony with stunning visual effects that create a hypnotic experience reminiscent of the shows of “Pink Floyd”. Preacher’s newest album, “Aftermath”, was successfully launched on April 27th on a sold-out Saturday show at the famous O2 ABC 1, in Glasgow. “Aftermath” is a concept-album – a classic Progressive format that is much valued by the band. On “Aftermath”, Preacher has matured its songwriting and also widened the scope of the sound, incorporating more different styles into their music. Overall, Preacher’s sound is a unique blend of Melodic Rock, Classic Rock, and Progressive Rock, with the Progressive component tending more to the Blues-Rock than to the Classically-infused Symphonic Progressive style. The Neo-Prog branch has a contribution, albeit discrete, on selected vocal parts, on some soaring instrumental parts, and on a few guitar solos. The music combines power, dynamics, deep meaningful lyrics, and great instrumental density. The main support comes from a tri-polar base that consists of singer Martin Murphy, guitarist Greg Murphy, and keyboardist Arny Burgoyne. Martin has a deep and marking voice, and knows how to convey emotions with it. He also knows how to front the band: singing on the right moments, and leaving space for the instrumental set to grow on the music. Greg is a stupendous guitarist, owner of a great technique that keeps him ahead of the band as the main soloist. Greg is proficient in the Classic Rock and Blues styles, and also capable of creating soaring Neo-Prog tunes. He congregates characteristic of both “David Gilmour” and “Steve Rothery”, and someone else, but his style is more muscular than “Gilmour’s”, and has more feeling than “Rothery’s”. Arny is an old-school keyboardist, who loves to play organ and piano, and employs synthesizers with planned parsimony. He fills the empty spaces of each song with his nice and elegant playing, sometimes sharing with Greg the task of executing solos. This trio makes the music of Preacher to sound amazingly memorable, having the perfect support of a rhythmic section composed of bassist Gordon Munro and drummer Iain Duncan – proficient in Bluesy paces, slow Progressive cadences, and modern Rock drives. The final harmonization of sounds is provided by Ron Rodgers’ humble and sensitive acoustic guitar, and by the soft and soaring voices of the two choral ladies, Bell and McWhinnie – who sing “ooh-ooh” backing vocals with a soulful Blues-Soul vein. The combination of those musical elements makes Preacher to sound like the Bluesy side of “Pink Floyd” – especially on albums such as “Dark Side of the Moon”, “Wish You Were Here”, and those of the post-“Roger Waters” Era. But Preacher is not a mere clone of “Floyd”, having a strong musical personality molded by many other references. There are, for instance influences of “Traffic”, “Bowie”, “Joe Cocker”, and “Peter Gabriel” interspersed on the arrangements, and something more of the Neo-Progers “Marillion” (mainly “Hogarth” Era) and “Arena”. To discover and experience all of the nuances that make Preacher to sound with uniqueness, the listener must pay attention to each one of the nine tracks present on “Aftermath”. The album unveils strong influences of “Pink Floyd” on the title track, “Aftermath” (6:12) – full of subtle piano and vocals, and bluesy soundscapes; and on “Welcome To The Fray” (4:39), which is driven by a Psychedelic pulse on bass and drums, and has solos of both old-textured organ and lysergic guitar! But Preacher begins to mix styles, first on the contagious “Vinyl” (4:51) – which swings on a powerful mix of Blues, Soul, Funk, rocking guitar and vocals that could fit in “Joe Cocker’s” repertoire; and later, on the extraordinary “Vision” (6:39) – one of the best songs, which starts with Neo-Prog vocals floating on a piano mattress, goes back to an eerie “Floyd”-emulative atmosphere, and twists for a Fusion mode on an extending sequence of jamming pianos and rocking guitars that goes from middle to end! Preacher gives its best on the rumbling “War” (4:11) and on “War Reprise” (5:51), a song plunged in a dark atmosphere (recalling the intro of “Shine on You Crazy Diamond”), having dramatic vocals and lyrics (like “Arena”), and an epic instrumental sequence topped by guitar solos full of grief! In between, there are the ballads: “Hold On” (5:16) – a poignant mix of bittersweet vocals/backing vocals, crowned with a soaring guitar solo, which makes a huge contrast with “Sleep” (5:37) – a Neo-Prog with hints to “Marillion’s” accessible stuff that takes off on a magnificent ascending solo, stretching its uplifting mood to the last song, “Always” (6:16) – driven by soft synths and 80’s Rock airs that recall a mix of “Bowie”, “Peter Gabriel”, and “Marillion”, unless by the final destroying guitar solo! Preacher is indeed one of the finest Melodic/Progressive Rock bands performing in the UK today; and “Aftermath” is a must-have album for any fan of British Classic, Melodic, and Progressive Rock having a special penchant for “Pink Floyd” and “Marillion”. Band members and collaborators involved in Preacher are: Martin Murphy – Lead Vocals, Electric & Acoustic Rhythm Guitars, Lyrics; Greg Murphy - Lead Guitar; Arnold ‘Arny’ Burgoyne – Piano, Organ, Synths; Gordon Munro – Bass; Iain Duncan – Drums, Percussion; Ron Rodger – Acoustic Guitar; Angela Bell & Kerry McWhinnie – Backing Vocals. Album Produced, Engineered, Mixed & Mastered by Larry Primrose. Artwork, Design & Layout by Stuart Ford... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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08/17/2016..........................You can find more information about the band and their music at PREACHER OFFICIAL WEBSITE...
. SIDHE - "Contenebrat"
Sidhe is a Female-Fronted Pagan Rock & Gothic Doom Metal band hailing from Somma Lombardo (Varese), Italy. Sidhe – a Gaelic word that means “people of the hills” or “enchanted people” – was founded in 2005 by Rob (guitars, bass, keyboards, drum machine) and his mate Tytanja (vocals). As the couple had embraced the Wicca faith and was also adept of the neo-Pagan practices, they though that the name Sidhe would place the band in the right context: one of a world inhabited by fairies, imps, creatures of the northern and Celtic mythology, and dominated by Magic, Witchcraft, Paganism, Occultism and Supernatural forces! At first, Rob and Tytanja produced their first demo – “Sidhe” (January, 2006) – which contained four tracks, recorded and mixed in 2005 at their home studio. From 2006 to 2007 Sidhe made shows in clubs and Celtic festivals, and also opened shows for bands “The Moon and the Nightspirit” and “Dunkelschön”. But by the end of 2008, Sidhe had become inactive. In the beginning of 2011, however, Rob and Tytanja reformulated Sidhe’s line-up and sonority, taking the decision of abandoning the use of synths and keyboards. With a heavier, guitar driven Pagan-Gothic-Doom sound, the band released the full-length album “She Is A Witch” (May 2012, self-produced). This album was promoted live, at the "16° Beltane Feast in Masserano (BI)", when Sidhe played in support to Italian band “MaterDea”, in a festival headlined by British Pagan Rockers “Inkubus Sukkubus”. Giving continuity to its career, Sidhe has just released a new album, entitled “Contenebrat” (2016, independent, but with distribution by Black Widow Records). The line-up features Tytanja (bewitching vocals), Rob (baritone heavy guitar riffs), Vins (ultrasonic bass lines), and Mike (explosive slow-tempo drumming rhythms), and a special guest appearance by Giovanni Cardellino (“L’Impero Delle Ombre”). “Contenebrat” brings 10 songs that showcase Sidhe’s particular way of mixing references from the Pagan, Gothic, and Doom Metal styles. Their music has influences and resemblances of bands such as: “Coven”, “Blood Ceremony”, “Black Sabbath”, “Black Widow”, “Witchfinder General”, “Trouble”, “Pentagram”, “Candlemass”, “Solitude Aeturnus”, “Krux”, “Northwinds”, “Paradise Lost”, “Cathedral”, “Moonspell”, “L’Impero Delle Ombre”, “Doomraiser”, “Jacula”, “Antonius Rex”, “Sophya Baccini”, “MaterDea”, and “Van Helsin’s Curse”. Rob is the driving force of the band. His experienced fingers move on the guitar strings in search for powerful chords, finding great “Doomic” riffs. And his melodic solos have the essence of the Pagan-Rock creed! Rob has a great support from Vins, whose deep bass lines could resurrect the dead buried “six feet under sacred ground”, and also from Mike, whose heavy and slow “Doomic” drums pulse with the atavistic beat of the rituals of the ancient Druids! This instrumental trio dares to enter the darkest woods, guided by Tytanja’s witchcraft-spelling voice, as she sings bewitching melodies the settle the right atmosphere – magical, mysterious, macabre – so valuable for the Pagan-Doom sound of Sidhe! Supernatural themes inspired on Celtic mythology, Wicca, witchcraft, and occultism are explored on the lyrics, which are mostly written in English, but also in Italian and Latin – adding an extra charm to Sidhe’s bewitching sound! The most powerful Wiccan vibes are perceived within the Italian-Latin circle of songs, which have stronger Pagan-Metal influence. The album starts with “Confessione” (5:48) – a claustrophobic song that revives the anguishing torture of the victims of the Inquisition – and goes on with the title-song, “Contenebrat” (5:17), which brings percussion typical of a Wicca ritual, celebrated in Latin. Later on, “Ceridwen” (6:40) brings macabre guitar riffs (in “Black Sabbath’s” style) to tell a folkloric dark tale; while “Calice di Sangue” (6:15) – one of the best tracks – mixes Celtic and Gothic musical influences with words in both English and Italian, and an amazing celebratory chorus in Latin! A pair of songs with English lyrics also concentrates strong Celtic influences: “The Land of the Young” (6:11) is an orchestrated song, introduced by the piano, which brings fiddles, epic riffs and an adventurous vocal tune; while “Leanan Sidhe” (5:19) – one of my big favorites – has an acoustic base supporting strings and keyboards, great melodies creating a ritualistic Wiccan atmosphere, and a solid wall of guitars protecting the final climax! The remaining songs with English lyrics are very heavy, and lean to the Gothic and Doom-Metal styles, probably to aim the audiences outside Italy. “Guardian Woods” (7:02) and “Hekate's Wheel” (5:22) are Gothic-Doom standards highlighted by Tytanja’s ability to harmonize her lead and backing vocals, creating an epic air. But the very best on this line are: “Seven Gates” (12:08) – an Epic Gothic-Doom having magnificent guitar riffs; and “The Spell of The Spider” (5:36) a slow-tempo, creeping song that will mesmerize any fan of Doom. Listening to Sidhe is like being in Stonehenge, taking part in a Pagan celebration, together with bands like “Coven”, “Blood Ceremony”, “Black Sabbath”, “Black Widow”, “Witchfinder General”, “Trouble”, “Desolation Angels”, “Pentagram”, “Candlemass”, “Krux”, “Solitude Aeturnus”, “Paradise Lost”, “Cathedral”, “Moonspell”, “L’Impero Delle Ombre”, “Jacula”, “Antonius Rex”, “Doomraiser”, “Sophya Baccini”, “MaterDea”, “Northwinds”, “The Moon And The Nightspirit”, “Van Helsin’s Curse”, “Inkubus Sukkubus”, “Dunkelschön”. If you are a fan of Gothic-Doom Metal & Pagan Metal, or love any of those bands, then Sidhe is definitely missing in your collection! Highly recommendable! Band members and collaborators involved in Sidhe are: Tytanja – Vocals; Rob – Guitars, Additional Synth Parts; Vins – Bass; Mike – Drums. Guest and Additional Musicians: Giovanni Cardellino – Male Vocals on “Confessione”; Elena Crolle – Orchestral Synth Parts on “Leanan Sidhe” and “The Land of the Young”; Mattia Stancioiu – Percussion and Bodhran on “Leanan Sidhe” and “Contenebrat”. Sidhe’s ex-members: Dervel – Second Female Voice; Enrico – Guitar; Teo – Bass; Bardo – Bass. All Music written by Rob, arranged by Sidhe. Recorded and Mixed by Rob, Varallo Pombia (NO), Drums Recorded by Mattia Stancioiu at Elnor Studio Recording (MI), G. Cardellino’s Vocals Recorded by Ilario “Piranha” Soppresso, Leverano (LE). Mastered by L. Munari at MSD Studio, Cerrione (BI). Also you can download free their first album at Gothicworld's BandCamp Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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08/17/2016.........................,.....Want to learn everything about the band and their music, you need to visit SIDHE HOME PAGE...
. STEVE HUGHES - "Once We Were – Part One"
Steve Hughes is known for being the ex-drummer of “Big Big Train” (1991-2003), “The Enid” (1994-1998) and “Kino” (2004). Steve Hughes is also a singer and multi-instrumentalist, and presently he runs a solo project. Steve Hughes was born in 1975 in the West London suburban area. At the age of 13 he began to play drums encouraged by his father Trevor, a drummer in his own right, from whom Hughes learned the fundamentals of the instrument by practicing 30’s to 40’s Jazz. In 1992 Hughes went on to study music at the London College, but dropped out after one year in favor of Rock. In 1991 Hughes became part of Progressive Rock band, “Big Big Train”, and recorded four of their albums – “The Infant Hercules” (1992) “Goodbye To The Age Of Steam” (1994), “English Boy Wonders” (1997), “Gathering Speed” (2004); and appeared on two tracks of “The Difference Machine” (2007). Hughes also made part of “The Enid”, with whom he toured in the U.K., Belgium and Holland; and recorded the albums “Tripping The Light Fantastic” (1994) and “Sundialer” (1996). Besides playing for those bands, Hughes accumulated a large musical experience touring and recording with several artists (“Maryen Cairns”, “Linus”, “The Serious Hat Band”, “Henry Smith’s Country Dreams”, “Angstrom”, and “Enid’s” guitarist, “Nick May”). In 2004, he played two shows in Holland and Germany with “Kino”. Later he joined “Meretto” (2007-2012), with whom he recorded the albums “Street Talking” (2009) and “Superiority Complex E.P.” (2012). After spending much time playing for others, Hughes felt it was time to begin his own solo project. He then released the album “Tales From The Silent Ocean” (2015), which is now being followed by “Once We Were – Part One” (May 2nd, 2016). With this second and most ambitious work, Steve Hughes became the first artist from the U.K. to sign with German label Progressive Promotion Records. “Once We Were – Part One” came out in a deluxe digipack edition having a 12-page booklet featuring artwork by Jim Trainer. Hughes sings and plays all drums and keyboards, most bass, and great part of guitars. Three guest guitarists contributed to the album: Keith Winter (ex-“Shakatak”), Dec Burke (ex-“Frost*”), & J.C. Strand. Bassist Alex Tsentides (ex-“The Enid”) played on one song; Angie Hughes and Katja Piel (female vocals); Maciej Zolnowski (violin), and Richie Phillips (sax) completed the line-up. The music of Steve Hughes is a hyperbolic kind of Progressive Rock that deserves a category of its own: “Drum-Oriented Prog-Rock”. The instrumentation is based on an aggressive interaction between atomic drumming with hardcore piano playing, coupled to powerful keyboards/guitars. Hughes plays like a muscular “Bill Bruford”, or an angry “Carl Palmer”, covering his explosive style with an arsenal of keyboards – not vintage, but diversified in textures and styles, recalling “Rick Wakeman” and “Keith Emerson”; at times employing electronic resources, as “ELO” and “Alan Parsons”. The vocals/harmony vocals have a lively mood reminiscent of “Yes”, propelled on a similar bass drive. Hughes and the guest guitarists ensure that guitars will sound in a diversity of Prog-styles – Fusion, Classic and Soaring. A sensitive violin is added on selected arrangements, which are inspired on the 70’s icons: “Yes”, “Genesis”, “UK” & “ELP”. “Once We Were – Part One” has 9 tracks. Hughes’ brand of “Drum-Oriented Prog-Aggressive Rock” shows up on “The Summer Soldier” (33:01) and “Was I Wrong” (4:34). The half-hour long “The Summer Soldier” is a super-progressive track that opens the album with power, speed, and dynamics, punching the listener with an astounding interaction between drums and piano – pressurized together to the near-explosion alarm point! The male-female vocals are trespassed by piercing solos of synths. The song is either embellished with violins and synth-orchestrations in “Wakeman’s” flamboyant style, or dominated by dramatic keyboard-organ sequences that recall “ELP”. The climax is the triple “guitar battle” among Hughes, Winter and J.C. Strand! The instrumental track “Propaganda Part 1” (2:12) introduces “Was I Wrong”, which brings more of that drum-piano interaction, mixing it with low-keyed vocals and superlative guitars in big-band arrangements. Those boiling songs are balanced on the album by the ballads: “A New Light” (3:06), “For Jay” (9:12), and “Kettering Road” (8:04), which recall “Yes” on the sweetness of the vocals/harmony vocals, on the delicacy of tunes, and on the dreamy ambience. But at least on “For Jay” and “Kettering…” the tranquility is occasionally disturbed by 70’s popish vibes (recalling “ELO”), outbursts of flashing guitars, bouncing bass, boiling drums; and codas of Fusion-styled guitar solos! “That Could've Been Us” (8:13) is a romantic 80’s Synth-Pop ballad with an unexpected end! The two closing tracks of the album – “Second Chances” (2:44) and “Saigo Ni Moichido” (5:55) – retrieve the Progressive vein of the album. “Second …” is driven by whispering male vocals/ethereal female vocals and guitar and violin that merge it to “Saigo …”, a song that combines a mild blow of “Yes” on vocals with an eerie influence of “Genesis” on synths, also having a “Japanese” mode mingled to sublime piano and violin orchestrations! “Once We Were – Part One” is an extraordinary, amazing, and unique album that represents a new trend of Progressive Rock! “Part Two” is already scheduled for release in next December! In the meantime, Steve Hughes and his amazing album are highly recommendable for fans of “Yes”, “ELP”, “Rick Wakeman”, “UK”, “Genesis”, “ELO”, “Alan Parsons”, “Big Big Train”, “Circa:”, “Conspiracy”, “Flower Kings”, “Tangent”, “Karmakanic”, “Agents of Mercy”, “Phideaux”, “Barock Project”, “Glass Hammer”, “Frost*”, “Kiama”, “Gerard”, “Argos”, “Martigan”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Steve Hughes are: Steve Hughes – Vocals, Drums, Percussion, Keyboards, Bass, Guitars (Electric, Rhythm & Acoustic), Harmonica, Programming, Music & Lyrics (except on “The Summer Soldier” – Additional Lyrics by Katja Piel; and “Second Chances” – Lyrics by Angie & Steve Hughes); Angie Hughes & Katja Piel – Additional Vocals; Keith Winter – Additional Electric, Rhythm & Acoustic Guitars; J.C. Strand  – Additional Guitar Solo on “The Summer Soldier”; Dec Burke – Guitar Solo on “Was I Wrong”; Alex Tsentides – Additional Bass on “The Summer Soldier”; Maciej Zolnowski – Violin; Richie Phillips – Sax. Jim Trainer – Artwork. Recorded between Oct. 2914-March 2016 at Tardis-X Studio; London. Acoustic Drums recorded at Nostradamus Studio, London, Engineered by Gordon Levin & Steve Hughes, assisted by Phyllis Abercrombie; J.C Strand –Technical guitar consultant. Produced, Engineered & Mixed by Steve Hughes; Mastered by Simon Hanhart... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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08/31/2016.......................Interested to know more about this great and amazing Musician? Visit STEVE HUGHES HOME PAGE...
. TICKET TO THE MOON - "Æ Sense Of Life"
Ticket To The Moon is a Progressive Metal band from Basel (Switzerland) that was formed in 2003 by Andrea ‘Andy’ Portapia (guitars, vocals) and Daniel ‘Danny’ Gosteli (drums, vocals). The band went through several changes until 2007, when the line-up was completed with the coming of Matthias ‘Matt’ Zwick (synths, piano) and Guillaume Carbonneau (bass). Ticket To The Moon played several shows around Switzerland and released their first independent album, “Dilemma On Earth”, in November, 2012. This album was perceived by the audience as a continuously evolving musical journey, with the sound being inspired by different bands (e.g. “Haken”, “Dream Theater”, “Enchant”), nevertheless retaining something of original within it. Three years later, Ticket To The Moon decided to release a new independent album, entitled “Æ Sense Of Life” (December, 2015). According to band members, “Æ Sense Of Life” resulted in a more personal album than their first one, because they wanted to reach deep into the listener’s heart. To fulfil their intent, they had to instill the music and lyrics with their innermost feelings, exposing to others their own experiences as human beings. After having listened to the album, I can say that Ticket To The Moon has brilliantly accomplished their task! The music is loaded with a dense emotional burden, driven by lyrics that explore the uncertainties of life: the doubt of being alive or dead; the state of being in fear, anguish, or despair; and our human need for hope. Ticket To The Moon’s blends melodic tunes and dreamy atmospheric ambiences that are violently confronted by powerful Metal forces, mostly represented by the Experimental Prog-Metal and Post-Metal styles. Ticket To The Moon is a distinct Prog-Metal band, however, in a sense that the musicians play rather slowly, showing a preference for the sonic definition of heavy riffs and atmospheric reverberations, avoiding the vertiginous and overburdened style of most Prog-Metal standards. The metalized instrumentation sends tsunamic bass waves that spread over sensitive guitars and keyboards – the smoothness of some parts almost bordering the Progressive spheres, just to be shattered by the potent sonic waves of guitars and bass, in double attacks that are fought-back by thundering drums – all feeding an action-reaction mechanism that will impress any listener to a deep emotional level. If this will not be enough, the emotional burden of vocals and lyrics will give him/her the final coup de grâce! The sound resembles a mix of bands like “Tool”, “Dream Theater”, “Haken”, “Oceansize”, “The Tea Club”, “The Black Noodle Project”, “Sylvan”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “Anathema”, “Battles”, “Enchant”, “Metallica”, and more, but instilled with Ticket To The Moon’s more personal, sensitive, approach. “Æ Sense Of Life” has 10 tracks, covering four main pieces and a special track that pays homage to “Charles Chaplin”. The album starts with “Intro” (2:03) and “The Call Within” (8:11), on which sinister oceanic sounds fade to hypnotic guitars and bass, being perforated by gritty organs and inquiring vocals asking about life and death. This song has great dynamics, getting faster and more complex until the final catharsis! The pair “Patient 730100: Conformism” (4:41) and “Patient 730100: Resurrection” (7:03) traps the listener in a claustrophobic atmosphere, forged by a compact bass reminiscent of “Tool”, Heavy-Psychedelic tunes, and howling synths, while a German-speaking voice compares ants to humans. On the second part, the listener receives an electroshock-Metal treatment – represented by pills of numb guitars, atmospheric keyboards, soaring solos, and weird percussion. “Father” (2:01) and “Foetus” (10:31) compose an impacting confessional piece that tells the tragedy of a child, whose father had fallen from a cliff; and when the child grew up, did not want to become father, either. This song recalls a mix of “Dream Theater” on guitars with “Porcupine Tree” on vocals, and includes a creepy sequence, plagued by a solitary bass that resounds like a metallic breath, being followed by rhythmic guitar chords, piano, drums; until finishing as a slow climatic Prog-Metal. “Perpetual, Pt. I” (7:22) and “Pt. II” (6:28) are powerful Post-Metal tracks that consist in the climax of the album: “Pt. I” places dramatic vocals and vibrating riffs that recall “Enchant” and “Metallica” in epic confrontation to amazing classic piano and beautiful symphonic strings; “Pt. II” has an impulsive aggressiveness that is marvelously soothed down by ascending clean guitars and harmonies, which descend back to earth on droning bass passages that open way for gorgeous angelic synths! Vocals come back with a defiant will, and the bass sends everything into oblivion! Finally, the strings on “Interlude” (1:56) introduce “Hynkel” (5:36) – the final piece that ingeniously superposes “Charles Chaplin’s” speech on “The Great Dictator” to gloomy synths, skeletal piano, and mechanic rhythms that fit all perfectly into the context. As the speech grows in drama, the song grows in epic feeling, conveying a sensation of hope! In 2016, after the release of this amazing “Æ Sense Of Life”, founder member Daniel Gosteli announced that he was leaving Ticket To The Moon to pursue a new career as an actor. As we wish him good luck, we also exhort this interesting band to go on, for Ticket To The Moon has a real original approach to the Progressive Metal style, being highly recommendable for fans of “Tool”, “Dream Theater”, “Haken”, “Oceansize”, “The Tea Club”, “The Black Noodle Project”, “Sylvan”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “Battles”, “Enchant”, “Anathema”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Ticket To The Moon are: Andrea Portapia – Guitars, Vocals; Matthias Zwick – Synthesizers, Piano; Guillaume Carbonneau – Bass; Daniel Gosteli – Drums, Vocals.  Recorded at Fist Studio, Mastered at Fascination Street Studios; Engineered by Brett Caldas-Lima. Artwork by Camille Scheidegger. Written and Produced by Ticket To The Moon. Lyrics on “Hynkel” by Charles Chaplin... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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08/31/2016...........................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit TICKET TO THE MOON HOME PAGE...
. ASIA - "Phoenix"
Asia – the Progressive Rock super group of the ‘80s – is welcomed at PR&PM!  Asia was formed in 1981 by four members from different Prog-Rock bands: singer and bassist John Wetton (“King Crimson” and “UK”, with passages through “Family”, “Roxy Music”, “Uriah Heep”, and “Wishbone Ash”); guitarist Steve Howe (“Yes”), keyboardist Geoff Downes (“The Buggles” and “Yes”) and drummer Carl Palmer (“Emerson, Lake & Palmer”, “The Crazy World of Arthur Brown”, and “Atomic Rooster”). Asia’s eponymous debut album was released in 1982 (Geffen Records); with logo and cover art created by Roger Dean (“Yes”, “Uriah Heep”). “Asia” was notable for bringing a new mix of refined-played Progressive Rock delivered in a bombastic AOR format. The album sold millions of copies in the USA, Europe and worldwide, and charted Number 1 in several countries, amassing a huge fan base that turned Asia into one of the most popular and successful Progressive Rock bands ever. Several of its songs became instant-hits: “Heat of the Moment”, “Only Time Will Tell”, and “Sole Survivor”. But Asia’s second album, “Alpha” (1983), was not as successful as “Asia”, and the line-up began to collapse. Wetton did not take part in a show at Tokyo’s Budokan, and was replaced for Greg Lake. Wetton returned in 1984 for the recording of “Astra” (1985), but Howe had left to join “Steve Hackett” on “GTR”, being replaced by Mandy Meyer (“Krokus”). After “Astra”, the remaining members of Asia went in other directions: Palmer regrouped with “Keith Emerson” and “Robert Berry” in “3”. Wetton started a musical project with “Phil Manzanera”, and Downes became involved in recording and producing other projects. In 1990, Wetton, Palmer and Downes reunited for a couple of years, having “Pat Thrall” as guitarist, to record new material and to tour. This brief reunion yielded “Then & Now” (1990), and a live show in Russia. Afterwards, Palmer went back to “ELP”; Wetton, to a solo career; and Downes decided to reformulate Asia with singer-bassist John Payne. In 1992, with Downes and Payne in the leadership, Asia began a new era, releasing a new series of albums: “Aqua” (1992); “Aria” (1994); “Arena” (1996); “Aura” (2001); and “Silent Nation” (2004). As Asia continued with Payne and Downes, the other original members were running their own agendas: Palmer and Wetton joined briefly in Qango; then Wetton got back to his solo career and Palmer assembled “The Carl Palmer Band”; Howe lingered with “Yes”, touring and recording with them. In 2005, Wetton and Downes joined in the ICON project. When they toured, they also played songs of Asia, always having a positive reaction from the audiences, what ignited their wish for assembling the original Asia again! The reunion was confirmed in 2006, when the four original members of Asia went on a mega world tour to celebrate the band’s 25th anniversary. It started in America, continued in the UK, Japan, and Latin America, and was extended to Europe in 2007. The set list included the execution of the whole “Asia” album, and songs from member’s previous bands (“King Crimson”, ‘ELP”, “Yes”, “Buggles”). The Japanese leg yielded the release of “Fantasia: Live in Tokyo” (2007). The next step was to record a new studio album, featuring Asia’s original line-up again. The album, entitled “Phoenix” (2008), focused on Asia’s old musical style, profiting from the dynamics, chemistry, and energy that came out when the four musicians worked together! Fans welcomed “Phoenix” enthusiastically, and the subsequent “Phoenix 2008-2009 Tour” covered the UK, North America, Japan and Europe – culminating in a number of presentations in partnership with “Yes”, featuring Steve Howe performing on stage with both bands! This tour was registered on “Spirit of the Night” (2010, CD/DVD). “Phoenix” started a new cycle of releases by Asia: “Omega” (2010); “Resonance” (2012, Live); and “XXX” (2012). In 2013, Howe retired from Asia to continue only with “Yes”. He was replaced by guitarist Sam Coulson, who took part on the album “Gravitas” (2014). To mark the year of 2016, Asia decided to make a special re-release of their emblematic “Phoenix” album: the first to feature all founding members – Wetton, Howe, Downes & Palmer – since 1983's “Alpha”. This re-release is also the first on the band’s own label, ASIA Music Ltd, with support of Cherry Red. The original “Phoenix” had been released in different days in April 2008, in Europe (Frontiers Records), North America (EMI America Records), and Japan (King Records). The American edition was different from the European, for having a different mix of the track “Never Again”, and a different mastering throughout the album. This new “Phoenix” Special Edition brings two CDs and unifies those previous differences. Disc-1 contains the whole European version of the album, plus two acoustic bonus tracks from other foreign editions (including “I Will Remember You” of the Japanese version); Disc-2 contains the whole American version of the album – a bonus for Asia’s fans in the USA! The double-CD edition is housed in a digipack that matches with the other releases of the reunion line-up; also featuring cover artwork by Roger Dean. “Phoenix” includes 12 tracks and two bonus tracks (acoustic remixes) that represent the best music made by the original Asia since the “Asia” album. The songs cover different styles and moods, ranging from the AOR-Prog bombastic drives to the Romantic & Pop formats, including bittersweet Ballads and several moments of real inspired Progressive Rock; showcasing memorable individual performances by all components. “Phoenix” has a number of AOR-Prog hits propelled by powerful rocking drives, sticky choruses, and orchestral arrangements, such as “Never Again” (4:54); “Nothing's Forever” (5:47); the tryptic “Sleeping Giant/No Way Back/Reprise” (8:10), on which the AOR “No Way …” is squeezed between Progressive intro and outro; and “An Extraordinary Life” (4:59) – a song that grows from a ballad to an uplifting AOR, being also represented by its lighter acoustic remix. A number of ballads share space with them: the sensitive “Heroine” (4:54) and “Shadow of a Doubt” (4:19); and the joyful “Alibis” (5:40) and “Over and Over” (3:34), both with Prog-styled codas. My favorites, however, are: “I Will Remember You” (5:12) – a ballad that shows why Wetton has been a request singer-bassist along the years; and its acoustic remix version, only with vocals, cello and piano that highlight its poignancy; “Parallel Worlds / Vortex / Déyà” (8:13) – a sophisticated Pop and romantic song that twists to a genuine Progressive instrumentation, with amazing performances of Howe and Palmer; “Wish I'd Known All Along” (4:07) – which mixes swinging percussion and medieval airs, crowned with piercing solos by Downes and Howe; and “Orchard of Mines” (5:12) – an epic ballad featuring majestic moments. A most important album belonging to the discography of a prominent Progressive Rock band that congregated four of the greatest luminaries of Prog-Rock, “Phoenix” – on its definitive 2016 version – is an indispensable item for fans of Asia; also highly recommendable for fans of 80’s Progressive Rock and AOR, and as played by 80’s “Yes”, “Rush”, “ELPowell”, “3”, “GTR”, “Icon”, “UK”, “Kansas”, “Journey”, “Boston”, “Styx”, “Alphaville”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Asia are: John Wetton – Lead Vocals, Bass; Steve Howe – Electric, Acoustic and Steel Guitars, Chorus; Geoff Downes – Keyboards, Chorus; Carl Palmer – Drums & Percussion. Additional musician: Hugh McDowell – Cello (“An Extraordinary Life” & “I Will Remember You”). Actual member: Sam Coulson – Lead Guitar (since 2013). Ex-member: John Payne – Vocals, Bass (1992-2006), presently he leads “Asia Featuring John Payne” and plays a repertoire belonging to the period when he was Asia’s front-man. Album Produced by Asia. Engineered & co-produced by Steve Rispin. Recorded Sep.2007 – Feb. 2008 at Liscombe Park Studios in Buckinghamshire; Mastered by John Dent at Loud Mastering, UK; Tracks 1, 3, 12 mixed by Simon Hanhart; Tracks 5, 8, 9, 11 mixed by Curtis Schwartz; Tracks 2, 4, 6, 7, 10 mixed by Steve Rispin; Cover logo and inside painting – Roger Dean; Computer work and cover design – Martyn Dean... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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08/31/2016.................................Want to learn everything about the band and their music, you need to visit ASIA HOME PAGE...
. BARI WATTS - "There Was A Time"
Bari Watts is a guitarist and singer from the U.K., mostly known for being an ex-member of Neo-Psychedelic band “The Bevis Frond”, and for his work with his present band, “The Outskirts Of Infinity”. With “The Outskirts Of Infinity”, Watts released several albums: “Lord Of The Dark Skies” (1987, Woronzow Records), “Stoned Crazy” (1989, Infinity Recordings), “Scenes From The Dreams Of Angels” (1989, Infinity Recordings), “The Altar Of The Elements” (1993, Dark Skies Music), and the live “Incident At Pilatus” (1994, Dark Skies). As a solo artist, Bari Watts released the studio album “Soulcatcher” (2007, Dark Skies Music) and the compilations “Lost And Found - Volumes One and Two”. Bari Watts’ most recent release is the CD entitled “There Was A Time” (2015, Dark Skies Music, with distribution of Black Widow Records). “There Was A Time” has 15 tracks that have been recorded by Bari Watts as a tribute to the music of “Marc Bolan” and “T-Rex” – which have been inspiring acts to his career as a musician. Besides Bari Watts on vocals, guitar and keyboards, the recording features some of his friends from “Bevis Frond”: Adrian Shaw (bass), Nick Saloman (sitar); and Jules Fenton (drums). “There Was A Time” brings a selection of songs that represent a picture of the Rock music from the late ‘60s to the early ‘70s, and captures the spirit of an important musical Era. Covering the styles of Psychedelic Rock and Folk, early Classic Rock and seminal Glitter Rock, those songs are offered in a simple song-format, being characterized by having 60’s retro-sounding textures, intuitive guitar playing, relaxed rhythmic playing, and a loose harmonic structure. They are delivered by soft and innocent lead vocals, having backing vocals that do “dah-dee-dah” or “uh-uh-la-la-la” falsettos, often having a line of cheerful snapping fingers and “come-together” clapping hands. A number of songs are adorned with Hindu melodies that emanate from a sitar – and instrument that was commonly employed by Psychedelic Raga-Rock bands. As a whole, the musical package emulates the sound of “Marc Bolan” and “T-Rex”, but fans of “Moody Blues”, “Quintessence”, “Donovan”, “Rolling Stones”, “Beatles”, “Kinks”, early “David Bowie”, and of their USA counterparts, such as “Grateful Dead”, “Country Joe”, “Bob Dylan”, “The Byrds”, and “Dr. John”, will find this album especially appealing and nostalgic. The title-track “There Was A Time” (1:58) opens up the album with a folky theme announced by a mythological voice; and goes on with the first “Bolan-T. Rex” standard – “Ratskull” (1:42) a cheerful song on which Bari Watts sings and plays guitar with the same manners of “Bolan”, including all that “dah-dee-dah” backing vocals, the snapping fingers and clapping hands, and the festive guitar solos. This spirit of the late 60’s is taken further on the fast “Kerenza (My Lady Love)” (2:09); on “The Queen Of The Marshes Call” (2:25) – which has some Farfisa-like organ; on the boogie “Motorcycle Ram” (2:23); and on the joyful “Fly With The Silver Swan” (2:48), which contains a reference to “Bolan’s” early successful song, “Ride a White Swan”. The good vibes are also present on the (mostly) acoustic ballads “Magical Myst” (2:22), a folk song; and “Crystal Pagoda” (2:53) – this one containing languid electric guitar sound and “uuuh-uh” backing vocals that evoke the image of a sunny Hawaiian beach. My favorites songs of this album are, however, those that have highlighted the sitar on the instrumental parts, what has brought an Hindu flavor to a number of songs that have thus fallen into the Psychedelic-Raga Rock category, such as: “Here There Be Dragons” (2:55) – which is half-folk, half-Raga; “The WIzard Of The Skies” (3:27); “Gypsy Girl” (3:04) – driven by vivid percussive beats; and the best on this style, the referential “Magic Hurdy Gurdy Man” (3:32). But the best candidates for hits are the two songs that lean to the early Hard-Rock style: “Demon Love” (2:35) – a dark Rock possessed by a voodoo spirit that distorts the guitar solos; and “Boogie Mama” (4:21) – a contagious boogie that sends happy waves from the guitars and clapping hands. The album ends on “Antediluvian Hop” (3:09) – a nostalgic 50’s Rockabilly. Although far from being a Progressive album, Bari Watts’ “There Was A Time” is specially recommended for fans of late ‘60s to early ‘70s Folk, Psychedelic, Hard Rock and Glitter Rock, as it was played by “Moody Blues”, “Quintessence”, “Donovan”, “Beatles”, “Rolling Stones”, “Kinks”, “Grateful Dead”, “Country Joe”, “Bob Dylan”, “The Byrds”, “Dr. John”, “Gandalf”, and others; and highly recommendable for fans of “Marc Bolan” and “T.Rex”, to whom it is aimed! Band members and collaborators involved in Bari Watts are: Bari Watts – All Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards, Moroccan Clay Drums, Bongos, African Talking Drum; Adrian Shaw – Bass, Clavinet; Jules Fenton – Drums; Nick Saloman – Sitar Guitar; Jeff Dexter – Spoken Words (on the title-track). Recorded at Dark Skies Studio (Harrow) and Rumbling Spires Studio (Kent). Engineered, Produced and Mastered by Bari Watts... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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08/22/2016..........................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit BARI WATTS HOME PAGE...
. MARTIGAN - "Distant Monsters"
Martigan is back to PR&PM! Martigan is a German Neo-Progressive Rock band from Cologne that was founded in 1994 by keyboardist Oliver Rebhan. Martigan’s early line-up also consisted of Kai Marckwordt (vocals), Jürgen Edlinger (guitars), Axel Schütze (bass), and Alex Bisch (drums). By the end of 1994 they had recorded a demo CD, which worked as a master-tape for Martigan’s debut album, “Stolzenbach” (1995), named after the village where the band rehearsed. Martigan met Cologne-based producer Rudolf Nepix, who encouraged them to record the second CD, called “Ciel Ouvert” (1996, Floh Dur) and the Maxi-CD “Simplicius” (1997). Martigan started to play live in Cologne, and a great achievement was to open a show for Canadian Prog-band “Saga”. In 1998 guitarist Jürgen Edlinger left the group and was replaced by Björn Bisch (brother of Alex Bisch). Björn’s impulsive guitar style boosted Martigan’s sound to a higher level. In 2000, bassist Axel Schütze also left Martigan. He was replaced by Peter Kindler, who had time to record Martigan’s third album: “Man Of The Moment” (2002). “Man Of The Moment” was highly recommended at PR&PM on a 2002 review; and placed Martigan on the wish-list of many fans of Progressive Rock! Later, the band released the DVD “Martigan Live In Köln” (2004). But Kindler also left Martigan, and his last contribution to the band was registered on the album “Vision” (2009). In 2012, new bassist Mario Koch came in. With him, Martigan released another studio album, entitled “Distant Monsters” (2015, Progressive Promotion Records), featuring eight tracks. “Distant Monsters” sounds a little different from its predecessors, revealing a band that wants to diversify their musical options, without giving up from a superior musicianship. The new compositions contain a balanced mix of Martigan’s vibrant Neo-Prog with an 80’s popish air breezing through; and also some joyful World Music vocals and rhythms inserted in – all destined to provide some songs with an accessible swing. However, the extraordinary melodies that irradiate from guitars and keyboards, intertwined to beautiful harmonies in refined arrangements, are a testimony that Martigan’s Progressive vein is pulsing still faster! The music is neat and embellished, resembling bands like “Marillion” (“Fish” and “Hogarth” Eras), “Pendragon”, “IQ”, “Arena”, “Jadis”, “Saga”, “Toto”, “Rush”, “Genesis” (“Phil Collins” Era), “Unitopia”, “Aisles”, “Enchant”, “Peter Gabriel”, and “Simple Minds”. The highlights go for the superb Björn Bisch – a complete guitarist who plays in a clean Neo-Prog style with a slant to Jazz-Fusion, resembling a mix of “Nick Barrett” (“Pendragon”), “Ian Crichton” (“Saga”), “Douglas A. Ott” (“Enchant”), “Steve Rothery” (“Marillion”), “Steve Hackett” (“Genesis”), and “Steve Lukather” (“Toto”). Björn receives great support from Rebhan’s keyboard arrangements (at the level of “Tony Banks”, “George Duke”, “Rupert Hine”). Rebhan’s crystalline-sounding synths are largely employed on extensive layers of waving harmonies and on elegant solos. The piano appears on some parts, executing Neo-Romantic tunes. Bass and drums tend to the Jazz-infused beats of the 80’s, but the rocking power coming from the drums rivals to the artillery employed by “Phil Collins”, “Neil Peart”, “Simon Phillips”, and “Dave Weckl”. Some lines of percussion tend to World Music; and the vocals follow the Neo-Prog standard, as established by “Peter Gabriel”, “Phil Collins”, and “Fish”. “Distant Monsters” starts with “Theodor’s Walls” (12:09) – an opening song that abstracts what this album is all about. Divided in diverse parts – each one with its own mood, atmosphere, and level of energy – it goes from joyful popish vocals to fast Metal riffs, also covering World Music guitar-plucking and outstanding Prog-Fusion solos. Most extraordinary on this line are “The Lake” (14:26) and “Fire On The Pier” (11:49). Both start with lively vocals that front either groovy rhythms or soft rocking drives, but taking the time for the arrangements to grow up and ripe, they have their instrumental structures switched for fascinating Neo-Prog/Prog-Fusion modes, on which delightful guitar solos last for long minutes, flying in direction to cloudy concentrations of brilliant synths! Conversely, “Lion” (9:32) and “Simplicius” (7:45) have nothing of festive on them, and share the podium as the most traditional Neo-Prog pieces of the album, each one being outstanding on its own way: “Lion” is vigorous and contains drama, adventurous-epic feeling, and ferocious solos of guitar and synths! “Simplicius” is a magnificent soaring ballad that conveys nostalgic moods on vocals, having a climax on a superb and sensitive solo of guitar! “Simplicius” is linked to a counterpart: “Complicius” (5:58), which has jester-styled vocals that bounce to the beat of ethnic percussion. The album has two ballads more: the melancholic “On Tiptoe” (5:33) – which has decorative piano and vocals exuding sadness; and “Take Me Or Leave Me” (7:49), which finishes the album with a Neo-Romantic mood coming from the piano. If you like some festive Neo-Prog music, with the right dose of (real good) Jazzy-infused Pop instilled to it, coupled to beautiful keyboard harmonies, memorable vocal tunes, and topped by extraordinary lavish guitar playing, Martigan’s new album must figure in your collection! Highly recommendable for fans of: “Saga”, “Toto”, “Rush”, “Genesis” (“Phil Collins” Era), “Peter Gabriel” (solo), “Marillion” (“Fish”/”Hogarth” Eras), “Pendragon”, “IQ”, “Arena”, “Sting”, “Unitopia”, “Aisles”, “Pymlico”, and fans of Martigan, of course! Band members and collaborators involved in Martigan are: Kai Marckwordt – Lead and Backing Vocals, Additional Guitars (Spanish Guitar and Additional Power Chords on track 1; 12-String Guitar on track 5; Guitar Solo, track 8); Björn Bisch – Guitars, E-bow; Oliver Rebhan – Keyboards, Backing Vocals; Mario Koch – Bass, Clarinet; Alex Bisch – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals. Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by Andy Muhlack at M!music, Sankt Augustin. Booklet concept, design, arwork & layout by Björn Bisch. Produced by Martigan... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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08/31/2016...........................For more information about the musicians and their history, visit MARTIGAN OFFICIAL WEBSITE...
. GADI CAPLAN - "Morning Sun"
Gadi Caplan is back to PR&PM! Gadi Caplan is an Israeli-born guitarist who now lives in the New York-Brooklyn area. Caplan’s music delivers a tasty blend of Progressive Fusion and World Music, containing elements of odd-metrical Jazz, Psychedelic drones, Israeli Folk, and Hindu modes. He has studied music in India, and later, in the USA, where he attended the Berklee College of Music. Along the years, Caplan accumulated great experience, by playing in groups of Rock, Jazz, Funk, Fusion, and World Music. At the same time, he also developed and matured his own compositional style. Caplan’s solo work was registered on two full-length albums: “Opposite Views” (2011) and “Look Back Step Forward” (2013, Muséa Parallèle). Both albums had great reception from critics and from the Jazz and Rock communities, achieving airplay on radio stations in the USA, England, Belgium, Germany, Japan and Israel. “Look Back Step Forward” was featured at PR&PM in May, 2014 and praised for its musical uniqueness, comparable to artists such as: “Frank Zappa”, “King Crimson”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Gong”, “Dixie Dregs”, “Hatfield and the North” “Caravan”, “Allan Holdsworth”, “Ian Akkerman”, and “Pink Floyd”. In 2014 Caplan joined New York City-based band “The Weeping Willards”. This resulted in an unexpected musical collaboration between Caplan and “Willards” singer/composer Danny Abowd. They worked on some of Caplan’s sketches and within a few months, had written five songs together. An extra collaboration came from Dylan Jackson – a former fellow from band “InnerCombustion”. With two more of his own compositions, Caplan had gathered enough material for his third album: “Morning Sun” (2016, Muséa Parallèle). The album was mixed by another “Willards” member, Jesse Gottlieb, and had participation of other musicians (see below). “Morning Sun” goes to an opposite direction in relation to “Look Back Step Forward” – an album that was almost entirely instrumental in format. “Morning Sun”, instead, has 6 songs and just 2 instrumental pieces – one of them being a 4-parted suite – comprising 11 tracks. The songs are soft melodic ballads, driven by electro-acoustic instrumentation, and having a minimum of distortion on the electric guitar (which sounds with a clean timbre typical of classic Jazz). They are fronted by the pleasant and tuneful voice of Danny Abowd – a really gifted singer capable of conveying the right doses of emotion, romanticism, and bitter-sweetness, without sounding cheesy or exaggerated. The two instrumental pieces – namely “Hemavati” and “Lili's Day (Parts 1 to 4)” – are strategically placed on the beginning and on the end of the record, respectively. They represent a stylistic linkage between “Morning Sun” and the previous album, “Look Back …”. “Hemavati” (3:42) is a Jazz-Fusion piece with a touch of Middle-Eastern music on the electric guitar solo, which grows slowly, as more tunes accumulate on the multi-layered arrangements. The four-parted suite “Lili's Day” is a modern Progressive-Rock piece on which Caplan fuses Rock, Jazz, and Classical elements to new trends, concentrating influences from his favorite bands, as follows: “Part One” (2:49) combines Canterbury Jazz with electronic beats, sound effects, and soaring synths, blurring with “Part Two” (2:28) – an energetic fragment supporting a distorted guitar solo in Jazz-Rock style that battles with saxophones, recalling a mix of “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Soft Machine”, and “King Crimson”; the later stretching an eccentric experimental influence to “Part Three” (1:50), on which a martial drum pace supports a tortuous guitar solo in cryptic Baroque style, dramatically anticipating the climax of “Part Four” (2:37) – a majestic gliding piece wrapped up in celestial strings. Cradled between those two instrumentals, the songs reveal a different facet of Caplan: he smoothed the electric distortion of his guitar, alternating it with cleaner and more delicate textures, and introduced acoustic guitars and a gentle plucking – changing for a song-format that headed to the late ‘60s to early ‘70s Psychedelic Folk and Psychedelic Rock. Those songs, however, represent the best proof that the partnership between Caplan and Abowd has been really worthy; for Abowd’s distinct light voice has matched perfectly with Caplan’s sensitive musicianship. On a few of those songs, we can sense influences of Caplan’s other favorite bands (“Beatles”, “Pink Floyd”, and “Led Zeppelin”), but stamped with his own seal of quality and originality. My favorites are: “Island” (5:33), which has an extensive instrumental section filled with synths and trippy guitars; “Vivadi Swara” (5:39), which has a “Zeppelin’s” folky influence; “Morning Sun” (4:14) and “La Morena” (5:46) (two acoustic songs driven by bittersweet vocals that recall “Beatles”, but being distinct – one, for being bathed in the transcendental sound of an exotic flute; the other, for having a violin trio ascending in a Progressive Classic structure); and “The Other Other Side” (5:14) – an amazing ballad exuding beauty from its harmonic vocals and soaring guitar solos. Add to this list the relaxing mood of “Good Afternoon” (2:25), and the result will be a varied, pleasant, and rewarding album, brilliantly prepared by Gadi Caplan – a talented musician who looks back, but is always stepping forwards! Caplan’s “Morning Sun” is highly recommendable for fans of Jazz-Rock, Prog-Fusion, Canterbury Progressive Rock, Psychedelic Rock & Folk, and fans of “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “King Crimson”, “Pink Floyd”, “Soft Machine”, “Caravan”, “Hatfield and the North”, “Frank Zappa”, “Gong”, “Allan Holdsworth”, “Dixie Dregs”, “Ian Akkerman”, “Led Zeppelin” (the folky side), “Beatles” (the bittersweet side) and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Gadi Caplan are: Gadi Caplan – Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Bass, Synths, Arrangements; Danny Abowd – Lead & Backing Vocals, Lyrics (except for “Island”), Vocal Arrangements, Trombone; Bruno Esrubilsky – Drums, Congas; Duncan Wickel – Violin, Viola, Cello; Jesse Gottlieb – Background Vocals, Trumpet; Jonathan Greenstein – Tenor Sax; Christian Li – Keyboard; Jay Gandhi – Bansuri Flute. All Music by Caplan & Abowd, except for “Island” (Dylan Jackson, Caplan, Abowd), “Hemavati” & “Lili’s Day’ (Caplan). Recorded at: From Hom Studios (Weehauken, NJ) by Giovanni Almonte; Might Toad Studios (Brooklyn, NY) by Craig Dreyer; AVAMSC Studios (Brooklyn, NY) by Kenji Añorve; BananAppeal Studios (Brooklyn, NY) by Jesse Gottlieb. Mixed by J. Gottlieb; Mastered by Kevin Blacker at Blacker Mastering in Brooklyn, NY. Design by Eytan Schiowitz. Produced by Gadi Caplan & Songs For Dessert... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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08/31/2016..................................,.....Interested to know more about the Musician and Band? Visit GADI CAPLAN HOME PAGE...
. CYRIL - "Paralyzed"
Cyril – an outstanding Progressive Rock project from Germany – is back to PR&PM! Cyril was formed in 2010 after the association of singer Larry B. (“Toxic Smile”, ex-“Stern Combo Meissen”) with members of Pop-Rock band “Gabria” – guitarist Ralf Dietsch (ex-“Hidden Timbre”), bassist Denis Strassburg, and drummer Clemens Litschko – having further collaboration of keyboardist, saxophonist and clarinetist extraordinaire, Marek Arnold (ex-“Stern Combo Meissen”, also playing for “Gabria” and, furthermore, for “Toxic Smile”, “Seven Steps To The Green Door”, “Flaming Row”, “UPF”, and “Damanek”). In 2015, Manuel Schmid (“Stern-Combo Meissen”), who had acted as a guest singer on Cyril’s debut album, “Gone Through Years”, was officially incorporated to Cyril’s line-up as a second vocalist. “Gone Through Years” had been released in 2013, via German label Progressive Promotion Records, and was reviewed at PR&PM in June 2013. The concept of the album was based on the book “The Time Machine”, by “H. G. Wells”; and the music comprised a mix of melodic and accessible Neo-Progressive Rock animated by pop-rocking rhythms, bombastic keyboards, precise guitar riffs, nice harmonic vocals, and jazzy-instilled arrangements intervened by saxophones and clarinets – two instruments not much employed on Neo-Prog instrumentation, that added freshness, elegancy and originality to Cyril’s sound. Nevertheless, Cyril also shared a sonic resemblance with bands such as: “Genesis” (“Peter Gabriel” & “Phil Collins”), “Marillion”, “Pallas”, “IQ”, “Pendragon”, “Arena”, “Galahad”, “Shadowland”, “Strangers on a Train”, “Rocket Scientists”, “Martigan”, “Unitopia”, “Jadis”, and “Toxic Smile”. Cyril has just released a second album, entitled “Paralyzed” (2016, Progressive Promotion Records). On “Paralyzed”, Cyril intends to show their best: an exciting brand of melodic Neo-Progressive Rock with focus on meaningful lyrics and gifted songwriting, wrapped up in intense arrangements and memorable melodies that will transport the listener to another world. “Paralyzed” has really paralyzed me, with its higher Progressive contents! Cyril has broadened the scope of its sound, abandoning much – but not all – of the popish lean of the first album, by replacing the most accessible parts for a kind of universal Progressive Rock that incorporates elements from many sources, uniting sophistication with modernity! “Paralyzed” has seven tracks. Aside from the short-lasting “Peal of Thunder” (3:16) – a joyful and commercial Pop-Rock that has a strong link with the sound of the previous album – all other tracks had their Prog potential enhanced manifold. Take, for instance, “Faded Snapshots” (8:20) – a song that brings to mind the first albums of “Genesis” fronted by “Phil Collins”, when that band produced hybrids of high quality commercial music injected with Prog-DNA. “Faded …” counterpoises tuneful vocals and nice guitar harmonies to cool synths and a groovy rhythmic section that are frankly Pop-Rock; but when the middle part brakes dramatically for the rising of a soaring sax that fades amidst explosions of heavy guitar riffs, the listener gets from Cyril a clear message that the band has chosen “the dark side of the Prog”! Undoubtedly, the most magnificent tracks are: “Scarlet Walking” (7:46), the song that opens the album; “Remember Me” (10:20); and “Secret Place Pt.1” (18:20) – a masterpiece that closes the album. They exude vigor and an adventurous feeling from the vocals and harmonic backing vocals; being loaded with Hard-Prog elements, such as: exciting guitar riffs, bold organ, pulsing bass, dynamic rocking drums, imposing passages of classical piano, and interventions of floating clarinets and sax. “Scarlet …” and “Remember Me” hit the listener more straightforwardly, driven by powerful rocking swings; while “Secret … Pt.1” (there will be a “Pt. 2”!) is a long-lasting super Symphonic piece that combines poignant string arrangements, piano and Oriental melodies on the beginning; then goes through layers of classic acoustic guitars, substantial guitar/keyboard riffs and an ethereal clarinet that announces the most orchestral moment of the album – beautiful, a true Progressive climax! The impact caused by those three commented tracks is counterbalanced on the album by the two Progressive ballads: the title track “Paralyzed” (4:48), which conveys sad emotions on the lead vocals, smoothed by harmony backing vocals, having a beautiful final guitar solo; and “Rainbow” (6:08) – a distinguishing song, driven by acoustic guitars and nice tunes on a mix of Spanish and other Latin rhythms, featuring their temporal transformation in Arabian modes that meet on a surprising guitar explosion on the end! Cyril has really made an outstanding album, better than the previous, stepping ahead in direction of a modern and universal kind of Prog-Rock, taking distance from the most accessible approach of their early music, but retaining the elements that made it original - saxophones and clarinets! Cyril is more than highly recommended for fans of bands like “Genesis” (“Peter Gabriel” & “Phil Collins” Eras), “Marillion” (“Fish” & “Hogarth” phases), “IQ”, “Pendragon”, “Arena”, “Pallas”, “Galahad”, “Twelfth Night” “Shadowland”, “Strangers on a Train”, “Rocket Scientists”, “Eric Norlander”, “Silhouette”, “Saga”, “Martigan”, “Unitopia”, “Jadis”, “Toxic Smile”, “Argos”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Cyril are: Larry B. – Vocals; Manuel Schmid – Vocals; Marek Arnold – Keyboards, Saxophone, Clarinet; Ralf Dietsch – Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals; Denis Strassburg – Bass, Programming; Clemens Litschko – Drums, Percussion. Guests: Susan Kammler – Oboe; Herman Schade – Viola; Dan Stein – Vocals. Recorded & Mixed at B’Side-Music & DSB-Music by Marek Arnold & Denis Strassburg; Drums recorded at Sonic Studio Chemnitz & B’Side-Music Thalheim by Carsten Zeise & Marek Arnold; Guitars and additional recordings by Martin Schnella, Adrian Lienig, Ralf Dietsch, Manuel Schmid; Mastered by Eroc at The Ranch. Artwork by Manuel Schmid. Music by Cyril; Arranged by Cyril. Lyrics by Guy Manning/Marek Arnold/Ralf Dietsch. Produced by M. Arnold & D. Strassburg... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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08/31/2016........................................More information about the band? Better check it out for yourself at: CYRIL HOME PAGE...
. VY (GABY VIDAL) - "Vy2"
The Puerto Rican guitarist and composer Gaby Vidal is in evidence at PR&PM! Gaby Vidal is a multi-instrumentalist and composer that also engineers and produces his albums. Gaby Vidal is always involved in different bands (e.g. “Bando”, “Ongo”, “The Odd John Hawkins Trio”, “Similar”), and his experimental musical project called Vy has been just featured at PR&PM (look above for the review about the eponymous album, “Vy”). On Vy, Gaby Vidal covers a wide range of styles, focusing on Alternative Rock, Progressive Rock, Heavy Metal, including elements of Electronica, and traditional rhythms of Puerto Rico. Gaby Vidal has already released two albums under the Vy moniker: “Vy” (2013, reviewed at PR&PM) and “Vy2” (2015). Differently from “Vy” – an album that featured songs and instrumental pieces – “Vy2” brings only instrumental pieces, in a total of 10. As on the previous album, Vidal plays all guitars, most keyboards and bass, and a few additional instruments, being helped by some guest drummers, a few additional bassists, and, specifically on this album, by keyboards, sax, and brass players (see below). “Vy2” also reveals another facet of Gaby Vidal – that of a non-conformed musician whose curiosity for music is never quenched, and therefore is always innovating and creating new music. Gaby Vidal has now chosen the freeway of Progressive Rock to expose his talents as a guitarist and composer, expanding his style to include Blues, Metal, Flamenco, Jazz-Fusion, and Oriental, causing a change of sonority on the Vy project. If the first “Vy” album was plentiful of Heavy Metal riffs and somber atmospheres, “Vy2” has turned a bit lighter, brighter, more melodic and complex, leaning to the Progressive Rock, Psychedelic and Space Rock, Jazz-Fusion, and even Krautrock. But the music has retained its power to surprise and captivate any listener immediately. The record will be appreciated by a large audience having a preference for bands such as: “King Crimson”, “Pink Floyd”, “Santana”, “Frank Zappa”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “The Mars Volta”, “Steve Vai”, “Joe Satriani”, “Buckethead”, “Primus”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Niacin”, “WatchTower”, “Blotted Science”, “Psychotic Waltz”, “Animals as Leaders”, and others like them. The album “Vy2” starts with “Intro” (5:05), which begins atmospheric, growing gradually in kind of crooked “King Crimson” pattern, being transmuted for a passage for a classic grand piano. In the sequence, soaring guitars with a “Floyd” accent introduce 2-“Bob Part 1” (4:05), the calmness of which is interrupted by guitar and bass arabesques, finishing on a floating tapestry of delicate guitar sounds that continue on track 6, “Bob Part 2” (2:50). A peak of Progressiveness is reached on: 4-“Asleep Or Dead” (7:12), which has relaxing arrangements of guitars and keyboards cradling a long guitar solo and vivid trumpets that come before an abrupt twist for total craziness; and on 7-“It Is What It Is...” (5:34), my  favorite, which blends Flamenco guitars with Psychedelic Mellotrons, Mexican keyboards, and Chapman Stick, as Vidal delivers his most sensitive solo. Still much groove and rocking vibes, coupled to complex rhythmic arrangements performed by talented drummers, bassists, and Chapman stick players, appear on the experimental track 5-“Tin Foil Hat” (4:12), and on the psychedelic 9-“Chemtrails” (2:57); reaching a peak of stamina and dynamics on the superb track 8-“Otro Paseo” (4:57), another favorite, which combines Space-Rock bass and lysergic guitar solo with a floating sax, in a real Krautrock verve! Finally, a point of similitude of “Vy-2” with the previous album is sensed on the Metal-Fusion tracks: 3-“Frank Is Real” (6:40) – an extraordinary and powerful combination of fast tempos juxtaposed to fuzzy guitars set in tandem with dreamy parts driven by soulful guitar solos; and 10-“Is Frank Dead?” (5:54) – a somber piece that hybridizes Metal and Electronica stylistics, having noisy sax, trumpet, and trombone acting as a support for “Floydian” guitar solo and minimalist piano. In sum, if you want to hear something really wild that follows rather the Metal trend, take “Vy”. If you prefer something more defiant, that leans to the Progressive and Fusion styles, take “Vy2”. Still in doubt? Take both, and you will never regret it! Gaby Vidal and his Vy project are original, surprising and outstanding; highly recommendable for fans of Experimental Guitar-driven Rock who love unique bands such as: “King Crimson”, “Frank Zappa”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Pink Floyd”, “Santana”, “The Mars Volta”, “Joe Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, “Buckethead”, “Primus”, “Niacin”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Psychotic Waltz”, “Blotted Science”, “WatchTower”, “Animals as Leaders”, “El Trio”, “Radiohead”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Gaby Vidal’s Vy2 are: Gaby Vidal – Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Synth Guitar & Programming, Copas & “Violin” (on “Intro”); Mandolin, “Mellotron” (on “It Is What It Is”). Additional Musicians: Drummers: Ian Vidal (1, 6, 9); José Ruiz Márquez (2, 3, 4, 7, 8); Francisco Ortiz (5); Eduardo Colón – Additional Drums (5) & Cajón (5, 9); Daniel Sierra (10). Bassists: Orlando R. Sanabria – Bass (3); Ruly Kuan – Chapman Stick (5; 7, also Bass); Juan Carlos Bermudo – Bass & Riffs (5, 9). Keyboardists: Oscar Siaca – Piano (1); Jorge Mills – Keys (7). Saxophones & Brass Instruments: Richard Colón – Sax (8); Ricardo Pacheco – Sax (10); Cuto Soto – Trumpet (10); Eduardo Fernández – Trombone (10). Produced, Recorded & Mixed by Gaby Vidal at Ongolandia Studios. Cover by Gilberto Salinas. Also you must visit Gaby Vidal's SoundCloud Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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09/30/2016.................More information about the Musician? Better check it out for yourself at: VY (GABY VIDAL) HOME PAGE...
. STARLIGHT BRIGADE - "Destination Eternity"
Starlight Brigade is a Progressive/Crossover/Melodic Rock band from Sweden. Starlight Brigade was formed in 2012 by songwriter and producer Anders Nilsson, who stands in the center of a shifting line-up. Starlight Brigade has already released three albums via Cadot Records: “Under the Velvet Sky” (2013), “Into the Light” (2014), and “Destination Eternity” (2016). “Destination Eternity” – the album on focus now – contains 15 tracks performed by a large group of musicians. Besides band leader Anders Nilsson (guitars, keyboards); Starlight Brigade features singer Peter Sundell (of “Steve Lukather’s” group, “Grand Illusion”) and an additional line-up counting on: Peter Hjalmarsson (lead vocals, saxophone); Micael Lilja (lead vocals); Lene Johansson and Karin Hallström (female backing vocals); Anders Landin (lead guitar); Jerry Grimaldi (bass) and Håkan Sandberg (drums). Gregg Thomas played some additional drums. Although the bulk of Starlight Brigade’s music is written by Nilsson, each member of the band has his/her own musical history, feeling free to contribute with his/her own experience. The result is a mix of influences materialized in a sonic cross-over that includes Melodic Rock/AOR of the 70’s and Progressive textures of two of the greatest acts of the same period: “Pink Floyd” and “Alan Parsons Project”. The songs are mainly guitar driven, tending more to melody than to the heavy timbres of Classic Hard-Rock (even though we can feel the spirit of “Hendrix”, “Led Zeppelin”, or “Bad Company” haunting a few of them). The orchestral arrangements are sensitive and beautiful, but not bombastic or exaggerated. Most songs go on a mid-tempo cadence, and there is a significant amount of ballads in the repertoire. Vocals are very important, and convey melody and emotion in a way that brings to mind the early albums of “Styx”, “Foreigner”, and “Journey”; but the diversity of lead male vocals combined to female backing vocals creates a parallel with the modern Opera-Rock style of “Ayreon”. The instrumental parts are conveyed on a rhythmic chain that lingers to the basic fundamentals of Rock; and surrounded by sounds of synths that create a crystalline ambience that recalls “Alan Parsons” and later works of “Barclay James Harvest”. Nilsson’s & Landin’s guitars appear all along the record, executing long solos that have a strong influence of “David Gilmour”. Hjalmarsson’s saxophone appears on a few songs – but with the same elegance of Fusion band “Passport”. Starlight Brigade’s “Destination Eternity” has an excellent quality of recording and production. After a pleasant listening, I found my favorites: with Peter Sundell on the lead, the Prog-Rock “Across The Milky Way” (6:07); the sad ballad “The Shadows Of Doubt” (5:48); and the Hard-Rock “The Final Sign” (4:30) conquered me instantaneously. The first two, by bringing an original mix of influences of “Ayreon” on vocals, “Alan Parsons” on the synth-ambience, and “Floyd” on guitars; the third, for having a pounding rhythmic swing that recalled me of “Led Zeppelin”, sturdier vocals, like “Bad Company”, extra passages of middle-East percussion, and a an amazing guitar solo! Yet, with P. Hjalmarsson on the lead, my preferences fell on “Painful” (4:33) – a powerful AOR-ballad driven by pulsing beats and hard guitar riffs (like “Saga”, “Journey”, “Foreigner”), covered with 80’s Rock synths and “Floydian” solos; and “Fading Star V2.0” (4:42) – a depressed Prog-ballad performed by male-female duos (in “Ayreon’s” style) that plunges into cosmic synths and piano (as “Alan Parsons”, “Saga”), and has a poignant sax melody! Lead singer Micael Lilja also gives an important contribution to the album. His voice is tailored for Blues, Jazz, and basic Rock, and appears on three tracks: “A Toss Of The Dice” (3:34), which has a soulful swing on bass; a blow of “Hendrix” on guitars; and Gospel-style backing vocals; “Silent Words” (3:35) – a Rock with an old “Styx” flare; and “Who Will You Turn To” (3:27) – the best one – sung with Blues devilry! Now speaking about the ballads, I can say that “She Can Be Forgiven” (4:09) and “Eternity” (3:46) – both led by Sundell – will please fans of “Scorpions”; while “The End Of All Innocence” (3:47) and “Since I Put My Trust In You” (2:28) – both with Peter Hjalmarsson on the lead vocals and sax – will attract fans of “Styx” and “Passport”. Hjalmarsson still sings the accessible “Take It Or Leave It” (4:08) (containing great “Floydian” guitars, though), leaving Sundell to sing the AOR “The Sign Of Life Keeps On Calling” (4:00) – a mix of “Journey” and “Foreigner” with wonderful guitar solo – and the ballad “Endlessly & Forever” (3:49). Starlight Brigade might not be what the orthodox Prog-Head is looking for, but I can assure that fans of 70’s Melodic Rock, AOR, and Soft Progressive Rock will greatly appreciate this band. “Destination Eternity” is highly recommendable for fans of “Pink Floyd”, “David Gilmour”, “Alan Parsons Project”; early “Styx”, “Foreigner”, and “Journey”; late 70’s “Barclay James Harvest”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Bad Company”, “Passport”, “Saga”, “Ayreon”, and “Scorpions”. Don’t miss it! Band members and collaborators involved in Starlight Brigade are: Anders Nilsson – Guitars, Keyboards, Music, Lyrics & Production; Anders Landin – Lead Guitar; Jerry Grimaldi – Bass; Håkan Sandberg – Drums; Gregg Thomas – Drums; Peter Sundell – Lead Vocals (1, 4, 6, 8, 10, 13, 14); Peter Hjalmarsson – Lead Vocals (2, 5, 9, 12, 15), Sax, Flute; Micael Lilja – Lead Vocals (3, 7, 11); Lene Johansson – Backing Vocals, Backing Vocals Arrangements; Karin Hallström – Backing Vocals, Backing Vocals Arrangements. Former Members: Magnus Lind – Lead Vocals; Peter Albertsson – Guitar Solos; Staffan Hagberg – Slide Guitar; Michael Svenningsson – Bass. Photography by Lanfranco De Luca Babbaro; Copyright Cadot Records 2016. Also you must visit Starlight Brigade's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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09/30/2016..................................................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit STARLIGHT BRIGADE HOME PAGE...
. DAYMOON - "Cruz Quebrada"
Daymoon – the Portuguese “Trans-Regressive” band led by Fred Lessing – is back to PR&PM! Daymoon began in the early 80’s, but members disbanded along the years and Lessing was left as the sole member. He proceeded alone, composing his “Trans-regressive Rock” songs until 2009, when he assembled a home studio in Lisbon and reactivated Daymoon! Since then, Daymoon released two albums: “All Tomorrows” (2011) and “Fabric Of Space Divine” (2013), both via Russian Progressive Label Mals Ltd. Those albums had a brand of 70’s “Retro-Progressive” sound delivered with English lyrics full of poetry and irony, and were reviewed at PR&PM in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Daymoon has just come up with a third studio album, entitled “Cruz Quebrada” (“Broken Cross”). “Cruz Quebrada” was released on CD on March 31st, 2016, via German Label Progressive Promotion Records. The core line-up features Fred Lessing (vocals, basses, flute, keyboards, percussion, etc.), André Marques (drums, assorted percussion, keyboards, vocals, and basses), Bruno Evangelista (vocals), and Adriano Pereira (clarinet), helped by guest musicians (see below). “Cruz Quebrada” is the name of a ruined suburb in Lisbon, located at the mouth of the Tagus River. The album is about an episode of Lessing’s personal life, when he lost his wife Inês, who passed away because of a colon cancer. The music represents Lessing’s way to deal with his own tragedy, as well as to thank all people that helped him in that difficult time. By writing cathartic autobiographical lyrics and music bearing a heavy emotional load, Lessing transformed his sorrow in art, and produced a rare collection of songs. “Cruz Quebrada” contains 16 tracks divided in two blocks – dubbed “Out” and “In”. “Out” comprises the seven first tracks, which were written in 2011, shortly before and in the months following Inês’ passing away. Lessing would not have recorded them, if he did not realize that telling the world his own story could help others to prevent suffering from the same fatal disease. “In” comprises the nine last tracks, which collectively form the suite “The River”. They were written between 2014 and 2015, and represent Lessing’s effort to restart a normal life with his new wife, Manuela. Musically speaking, “Cruz Quebrada” travels across many styles. The format of the songs is electro-acoustic, with important contributions of acoustic guitars, strings (violin, viola), blowing instruments (flutes, harmonica, clarinet, and trumpet), piano and other keyboards, and rhythmic lines of Middle Eastern percussion. The arrangements are less cerebral or experimental than of the previous albums, but compensate by their deep emotional contents. As on Daymoon’s previous albums, the sonority is influenced by “Pink Floyd”, “Genesis”, “King Crimson”, “The Moody Blues”, “Barclay James Harvest”, “Caravan”, “UK”, “Gentle Giant”, “Yes”, “Camel”, “Soft Machine”, “Jethro Tull”, “The Tangent”, “The Flower Kings”, “Queen”, “Klaatu”, “Dead Can Dance”, “Beatles”, “Beach Boys”, “Mispell Bellyful”, “Miosótis”, and “Tantra”. The first song-block, “Out”, has the most sorrowful songs. The sound of a car-crash on “Cruz Quebrada” (2:28) is the metaphor for the beginning of Lessing’s tragedy, described on “Fish Dissected” (5:45) – a symphonic song with a strong influence of 70’s “King Crimson”; and on “Where It Hurts Most” (3:38) – a poignant song with strings and melancholic vocals (like “Pink Floyd”), topped by a blazing solo of an electric violin (recalling “Eddie Jobson”). It plunges into deep depression on “Shipwreck” (8:26) – a somber song that makes an emotional impact on the listener, as it crosses influences ranging from “Pink Floyd” and “Led Zeppelin” to “Barclay James Harvest”; going still deeper on “Whalebone” (8:07) – a song full of suffering, featuring Gothic elements (harpsichord, strings, clarinet, and a tortuous guitar). The noisy craziness of “Over The Cliff” (1:36) introduces “Thyme” (15:24) – the climax of the “Out” part – which begins dreamy (like “Genesis”) and goes on with whispering vocals, escorted by trumpet and flute, turning into a pastoral song (recalling “Moody Blues” and “Barclay James”), to explode in a Middle Eastern dance driven by ethno-percussion and Berbers chants, with a psychedelic trumpet behind (in a Krautrock reverie!). The other song-block, “In”, represents Lessing’s cure by love from the madness that plagued him, being told on “The River” (25:36) – a single suite comprising: “The Mummy” (1:04)/“The Single-Most Expensive Kiss In History” (3:59) – a song that mixes “Floyd”, “Queen” (on guitar), and an encouraging vocal choir (led by Rita Simões); “Headlong” (2:09) – an Oriental-infused song with instrumental parts that reminded me of “Genesis”, an influence stretched out to the highly eclectic “I, Abraham” (1:33)/“Bonne Voyage” (3:00), which trespass arrangements like “Gentle Giant” mixed to Psychedelic Blues and harmonica-driven Southern Rock, taking to the Boogie “Ghost” (1:49)/“Severance & Down Falls” (4:53) – topped by amazing jazzy trumpet solo sending elephantine inflections; finishing on the tranquility of “Indian White” (5:02)/“Onward” (2:05) – two Folk-ballads with influences of “Floyd”, “Barclay James”, and “Moody Blues”. Daymoon’s new album, “Cruz Quebrada”, is dense, layered, and impacting, and dares to expose the inner side of a great artist, composer, and human being (Lessing has donated all proceeds of “Cruz Quebrada” to the Pan-European cancer association Europacolon). Highly recommendable for fans of 70’s Prog-Rock who appreciate the sound of “The Moody Blues”, “Barclay James Harvest”, “Caravan”, “Gentle Giant”, “Pink Floyd”, “Genesis”, “King Crimson”, “Camel”, “Jethro Tull”, “Klaatu”, “Dead Can Dance”, “The Beatles”, “The Beach Boys”, “Isildurs Bane”, “Mispell Bellyful”, “Miosótis”, “Tantra”, and others. Band members and collaborators involved in Daymoon are: Fred Lessing – Vocals, Electric, Acoustic & Bass Guitars, Flute, Baroque Recorder, Keyboards, Percussion, Angklung, African Xylophone, Blues Harp, Field Recordings, Music & Lyrics; André Marques – Acoustic & Electronic Drums, Assorted Percussion, Keyboards, Vocals, Electric, Acoustic & Bass Guitars, Field Recordings; Bruno Evangelista – Vocals; Adriano Pereira – Clarinet. Additional Musicians: Paulo Chagas – Wind Instruments; Luca Calabrese – Trumpet; Nuno Flores – Viola, Violin; Thomas Olsson – Electric Guitar; Rita Simões – Vocals; Trevor Lever – Spoken Words; Simon Harris – Spoken Words. Album Recorded 2014-2015 at SP’AM Studio, Sintra, Portugal; Engineered & Produced by André Marques; Mastered by Paulo Ferro, STS. Album Art & Photography – Manuela & Fred Lessing. Also you must visit Daymoon's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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09/30/2016..............................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit DAYMOON HOME PAGE...
. FORBIDDEN PLANET - "From the Bedroom to Oblivion: Two Decades of Obscurity"
Forbidden Planet is an Instrumental Rock quartet hailing from Singapore! The line-up features Adam Quek (guitars), David Baptista (guitars), The Freq (bass), and Laurence Bucci (drums). The lack of Asiatic surnames leads me to the suspicion that the musicians might be immigrants living in Singapore, meeting together to play Rock music in the Occidental style. Forbidden Planet decided to explore the uncharted terrains of genre-bending Progressive Rock, drawing inspiration from “our rich and varied musical history to descend to the depths of the subconscious; to call upon the Monsters from the Id.” Following a musical recipe that includes spicy elements of Neo-Classical Rock, Jazz, Fusion, Post-Rock, Ambient, Grunge, and Metal, Forbidden Planet promises to take the listener to an exciting musical journey into the mysterious unknown! A representative sample of Forbidden Planet’s brand of Instrumental Prog-Rock has been condensed on the band’s debut album, entitled “From Bedroom To Oblivion: Two Decades Of Obscurity” (October 2015, self-released). “From Bedroom To Oblivion” contains 12 tracks. Unless for some patches of speeches, dialogues, and crazy phrases taken from art movies, the music is totally instrumental – and varied! Forbidden Planet’s musical formula consists is an original and inimitable way of equilibrating Metal elements from the most diverse strains – Neo-Classical, Fusion, Thrash – with other elements that come from the Progressive, Jazz, Latin, and Classical genres. The Metal-infused parts have a clear influence of bands and projects such as: “Cacophony”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Bozzio Levin Stevens”, “M.A.R.S.”, “MCM”, “CAB”, “Oneironaut”; and of guitar players like “Jason Becker”, “Marty Friedman”, “Tony MacAlpine”, “Paul Gilbert”, “Vinnie Moore”, “Joe Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, and others of this line. But differently from those aforementioned artists, Forbidden Planet is not a “Metal” act full-time, and the heaviest aspects of their music are often soothed down and softened by interludes of Jazz-Fusion (with the clean and melodic vein of “Pat Metheny”, “Greg Howe”, “Jeff Beck”, “Frank Gambale”, “Al di Meola”, and “Victor Biglione”); and some pieces are even immersed in an Ambient-Progressive atmosphere embellished with symphonic tunes created on synths (not credited). Bass and drums are compatible with the sound that comes from the guitars: bassist The Freq has a fine control over subtle bass lines and reverberating Metal waves alike; and drummer Laurence Bucci has an impressive knowledge of Metal, Jazz and Latin rhythms. The album begins with “Circular Logic” (4:07), a piece that has a relaxing effect on the listener by combining mellow guitar plucking with soft orchestral tunes. But the commutator is soon switched to the “Awesome-Metal” mode, and Forbidden Planet begins to impact the listener with a sequence of pieces that combine vertiginous guitars in Neo-Classical style with Fusion-Metal drives, powerful Thrash-Metal riffs, and occasional interludes of melodic and original “Progressiveness”! Most fans of “Cacophony” (and its members “Jason Becker” and “Marty Friedman”), “LTE”, “Bozzio Levin Stevens”, “MCM”, and “Paul Gilbert” will really go freak when listening to “A Fine Line” (5:14) – crowded with cathedrals of Neo-Classic guitars embellished with Romantic-Prog interludes and soulful guitar solos; and will have no time to breath during the execution of the equally powerful “I Know What It Takes” (4:17); the awesome and majestic “Slow Grind” (4:58) (trespassed by jazzy lines and featuring Progressive moments of sublime beauty); and the heavy and dramatic “Into The Sunset” (5:09) – which can be accessed on You Tube, in a shocking video that features excerpts from the film “Perth”, by Singaporean director Djinn – it does worth a look! Other pieces are mostly apt for being consumed by fans of “Jeff Beck”, “Guthrie Govan”, “Joe Satriani”, and “Greg Howe”, for being heavy, rocking, and groovy: the Funk-Metal “Can I Borrow Your Bass” (3:44), endowed with a contagious swing; and the cartoonish “Put On the Suit” (3:28), containing tones of hysterical guitars scaling up and down, and frantic riffs and rhythms (this one is also on You Tube, used as the soundtrack for a hilarious animation in the style of “South Park”). And if “Hands Around The Throat” (3:47) keeps it light and bright, driven by agile guitars conveyed on vivid beats (reminiscent of “Vinnie Moore”); the weird “When 7 Ate 9” (4:26) is somber and cerebral, drifting on Aeolic choirs that sound creepy! Following an Experimental line, the album has “Stop This Ship” (2:56) – a trippy Post-Rock; and the crazy “Yoko” (4:44) – a mix of cool Jazz and noisy effects, with a trumpet solo! “From Bedroom To Oblivion” finishes with an ode to the eclecticism, presenting the “Cello Suite No. 1 Prelude in G Major” (2:55), by “J.S. Bach”, all adapted for Progressive guitars! Forbidden Planet has really surprised and amazed me with a new and creative way of blending Neo-Classical Metal, Metal-Fusion, Jazz-Fusion, and Prog-Rock, that will conquer fans worldwide, in special those who love “Cacophony”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “MCM”, “Bozzio Levin Stevens”, “M.A.R.S.”, “CAB”, “Jason Becker”, “Marty Friedman”, “Vinnie Moore”, “Tony MacAlpine”, “Paul Gilbert”, “Joe Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, “Jeff Beck”, “Guthrie Govan”, “Greg Howe”, “Pat Metheny”, “Frank Gambale”, “Al di Meola”, “Victor Biglione”, “Russian Circles”, to whom Forbidden Planet is highly recommendable! Band members and collaborators involved in Forbidden Planet are: Adam Quek – Guitar; David Baptista – Guitar; The Freq – Bass; Laurence Bucci – Drums. Mixed and Mastered by The Freq; Written and produced by Forbidden Planet. Cover art from Yen Phang’s series “Lullaby For A Gardener Lost In The Woods”. All music by Forbidden Planet, except “Cello Suite No. 1”, written by Johann Sebastian Bach. Dialogue excerpts on “Into the Sunset” taken from the film “Perth”, by Singaporean director Djinn, with permission from the director. Also you must visit Forbidden Planet's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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09/30/2016.........Want to learn everything about the band and their music, you need to visit FORBIDDEN PLANET HOME PAGE...
. SILVER HUNTER - "Mad Moonlighters"
Silver Hunter is in evidence at PR&PM! Silver Hunter is an Anglo/French Progressive Rock project featuring Tim Hunter (British guitarist, singer and songwriter) and Thierry Sportouche (singer for French band “Silver Lining”). The duo started this project in 2012, aiming to fuse 70’s Prog, Pop, Classic and Art Rock, Electronic Music, and Theatrical Rock, profiting from their musical experience accumulated over the years. The first Silver Hunter’s release was the independent 4-track EP, “Chapter 1: Mad Moonlighters” (2015), which was planned to be the first of a trilogy. The EP was featured at PR&PM in March of 2016 (look above), in a review that included a brief bio of both Hunter and Sportouche. The four songs of the EP showed a well-balanced combination of organic-electronic elements, distributed on melodic and accessible arrangements, not submitted to cheap commercialism. The music was reminiscent of 70’s to 80’s Pop-Rock, sometimes with the sophistication and coolness of the Techno-pop and Synth-pop stylistics; other times exposing a 70’s Progressive vein, with influences of “Genesis”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Ange” (mainly on vocals, recalling the theatrical style of “Christian Décamps”), “Marillion” (with “Fish”), “Mike Oldfield”, “Jean Michel Jarre” (on the use of Electronica), “Be-Bop Deluxe”, and “Steely Dan” (on the groove and swing). The new Silver Hunter release on focus here is the complete version of the “Mad Moonlighters” opus, now presented on a single full-length CD. “Mad Moonlighters” was released in May 2016, via Northern Soundscapes (Tim Hunter’s own record label). “Mad Moonlighters” features 11 tracks, including re-mixed and enhanced versions of all 4 tracks recorded on the “Chapter 1” EP. On this new release, Silver Hunter has amplified the hall of influences (read below), and has also diminished de popish vein instilled of the songs of the EP, emphasizing their Progressive aspects, for instance, focusing more on guitar/keyboard melodies and changing the drum lines for less danceable rhythms. Silver Hunter has also added a female chorus line on most songs, counting on the support of backing singers Sarah Marie Gayle and Jessica Greenfield. The full-length version of “Mad Moonlighters” starts with “Aquitaine” (7:09), a beautiful Neo-Prog song elaborated with medieval themes coming from synths and guitars and male-female vocals – the whole piece being reminiscent of bands like “Solstice”, “Pendragon”, “Landmarq”, “Magenta”, and “Legend”. The next two songs – “The Temple of Music” (3:44) and “Dr. Beyond and The Prisoner of Dreams” (6:54) – swerve for the Theatrical Rock, bringing ironic speeches instilled with the typical English humor. But if “The Temple …” sounds like a lively Psychedelic Prog-Rock, including mixed vocals, Farfisa-sounding organ and clapping hands (like a mix of “Beatles” with “Illusion”); “Dr. Beyond …” comes up with pulsing bass and cool grooves, and lyrics in both French and English, sounding like a Neo-Prog approach to the music of “Ange”. The same musical approach, and usage of multilingual lyrics (French, English, Latin), was employed on the EP song, “Drive Out The Demons” (7:17), which is presented on the new album with a more dramatic mood that highlights its message (recalling a mix of “Genesis”, “Ange”, and “Mona Lisa”). Also from the previous EP, the song “Mad Laughter” (5:44) – which recalled the style of “Steely Dan” – has become less popish on the album’s version, with the focus being shifted from the Electronica to its melodies and theatrical aspects. The next song, “The Silver Key” (4:17), is a lively Classic-Rock that presents another influence of Silver Hunter: “Wishbone Ash”. It is followed by the protest-song “Ascension” (4:40) – which is presented on the new album with the same danceable groove of the EP version, combining techno-pop beats, synth-pop tunes, and deep pulsing bass. The following two tracks – “Fly Above The Storm” (4:10) and “Lyre Bird” (3:58) – are Progressive ballads in British style, driven by melodic vocals and soaring guitars. “Fly …” is slow and bittersweet on the vocal parts, while “Lyre …” is a little more epic, and contains more keyboards. The emblematic “The Man In The Moon” (3:16) follows next, using new textures on synths and guitars that create a dreamy atmosphere that is more trippy on this version than on that of the EP, making the references to “Genesis” less obvious. This album finishes with the crazy “Universal Fromage” (7:19) – a straightforward punchy, rocking, funky song that recalled me of “Gong” (a band that also had English and French components in the line-up). In sum, I think that on this full-length version of “Mad Moonlighters”, Silver Hunter has corrected its course to sail with safety towards the islands of 70’s and 80’s Prog-Rock, avoiding the dangerous waters of Pop-Rock. By doing so, Silver Hunter became apt for being consumed by fans of “Ange”, “Mona Lisa”, “Genesis”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Solstice”, “Pendragon”, “Landmarq”, “Magenta”, “Legend”, “Wishbone Ash”, “Illusion”, and “Gong”, to whom Silver Hunter is specially recommended. Band members and collaborators involved in Silver Hunter are: Tim Hunter – Guitars, Synthesizer Keyboards, Lead Vocals (2, 3, 6, 7, 8), Backing Vocals (all songs), Lyrics, Drums (all songs, except on 3, 4, 6); Thierry Sportouche – Lead Vocals (1, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11), Additional Synthesizer, Pipes (10), Backing Vocals (2, 3, 6, 7, 8), Spoken Part: 4, “High Priest of Prog”, Lyrics. Sarah Marie Gayle – Backing Vocals (1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 11); Jessica Greenfield – Backing Vocals (3, 5); Charles Hunt – Spoken Part: 3, “Dr. Beyond”; Rohan Budd – Digital Drums (3, 4, 6); Pascal Lachaize – co-author of “The Man In The Moon”. Recorded & Mastered at Northern Soundscapes Studio in Knaresborough (Engineered by T. Hunter); Additional Vocal Recording at Smokehouse Studio, London (Engineered by Rohan Budd) and Music Labo, Lyon (Engineered by Pascal Indelicato). Produced by T. Hunter and T. Sportouche. Also you must visit Silver Hunter's BandCamp Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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09/30/2016...............Want to learn everything about the band and their music, you need to visit SILVER HUNTER HOME PAGE...
. TURNING VIRTUE - "A Temporary Human Experience"
Turning Virtue is an USA Alternative Rock/Prog-Metal band based in Buffalo, NY. Turning Virtue has been around since 1997, searching for a sound of its own. As time passed, David Karczewski (vocals, guitars), DPA (bass), and Carl Cino (guitars) tried to lapidate their music, but feeling that it was not getting better, they let Turning Virtue enter a long hiatus. Soul affinity, friendship, and the need to create music have brought those musicians back together, and they ended up with a set of songs that better represented Turning Virtue’s idea of musical originality. Then the band managed to enlist in the line-up nobody less than Mark Zonder (ex-“Fates Warning’s” drummer, currently in “Warlord”)! And after being recorded at the MFB Studio, Turning Virtue’s new material was mixed by Tim Palmer (“Porcupine Tree”, “Pearl Jam”, “Robert Plant”, “David Bowie”, “U2”) and mastered by Andy VanDette (“Steven Wilson”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Rush”, “Dream Theater”, “Fates Warning”) – two respected professionals on this area! The efforts of this team were materialized on Turning Virtue’s independent album, entitled “A Temporary Human Experience” (April 8, 2016). “A Temporary Human Experience” covers 47 minutes of Rock Music infused with Progressive and Metal elements. In the words of David Karczewski, “the album has a definite immediacy but also has incredible depth that will be enticing for those who seek more”. The sound of Turning Virtue is difficult to categorize in a single style. It is rocking, heavy, groovy, sometimes complex, but most of the time honest and straightforward. The unusual combination of styles thrown on each song makes Turning Virtue to sound unpredictable and surprising. Alternative Rock, Heavy Rock, Prog-Metal, Experimental Metal, Desert Rock, Thrash-Metal, Funk-Metal, Post-Rock/Metal, and more, are like sonic building blocks that the band piles on together to construct conventional and unconventional arrangements framed in both even and odd-time signatures. David Karczewski’s vocals are the major factor of incongruence with the most traditional Metal and Prog-Metal branches. Sometimes detached like Indie-Rock; other times numb and depressive, like Grunge; or ironic, recalling a mix of “Devin Townsend”, “Faith No More”, and “Mike Patton’s” side-projects (“Mr. Bungle” and “Peeping Tom”); “Pearl Jam”, “Stone Temple Pilots”, “Queens Of The Stone Age”, and “Smashing Pumpkins”. Guitarist Carl Cino understands much of guitar cryptography and weirdness, and his solos are what one would expect when listening to experimental bands like “Spastic Ink”, “WatchTower”, “Psychotic Waltz”, and “Blotted Science”. DPA’s eclectic bass conquers his space on the forefront, balancing the effect of both guitars. And monster drummer Mark Zonder adds the cherry on the cake. He is a wizard-architect of rhythmic structures, and improves the music with drum chops selected from his vast repertoire – some of them very new and different from those employed on “Fates Warning” and “Warlord”! And although Zonder plays some plain Rock beats on a few songs – apparently he feels not ashamed in doing that – with him sitting behind the drum kit, Turning Virtue can have moments of Progressive inspiration that approach “Porcupine Tree”, “Fates Warning”, and “Dream Theater”! “A Temporary Human Experience” contains 9 tracks. The initial songs follow an Alternative-Rock orientation, increasing in “Progressiveness” from middle to end. The album opens with the voodoo drums of the weird “Transcend” (3:35) – a song with influences of “Mr. Bungle”; and goes on with the ballad “These Things” (4:01). The mode switches to Post-Metal on “Box of Disappointment” (5:45), a dramatic song that includes a long, complicated, and creative guitar solo. “Random” (3:43) slows the pace down with dope vocals, in a trippy and lysergic style that contrasts greatly with the high speed and energy of “Fall in Love With the World” (3:09) – on which Indie-Rock vocals fly on hovering guitars, rocking drums, and amazing guitar solos, creating a hybrid of “Fates Warning” and “Devin Townsend”. The bittersweet ballad “Dreamin'” (4:03) has acoustic guitars entangled in cool harmonies, and soaring solos that recall “Pink Floyd” and “Porcupine Tree”, marking the point from which Turning Virtue’s departs to enter the Metal realm! “Theody” (5:15) – my favorite – starts with a cartoonish voice that recalls “Devin Townsend’s” “Ziltoid”, following on a “doomic” pace with tribal vocals (“Mike Patton’s” influence), reaching a climax on dazzling instrumental passages. “What's True” (4:11) has swing, malice, and is accompanied by a subterraneous “NWOBHM” drive – also present on the extra guitar solo (courtesy of guest musician, Cliff Cline). But on the last and main piece of the album, “Salty Tears” (12:35), Turning Virtue walks frankly to the Progressive front to trespass somber and trippy atmospheres that recall “Porcupine Tree”, combining on the way many sensitive guitar melodies, awesome guitar solos, elaborated instrumental passages, dreamy choirs and ethereal female vocals (courtesy of Leigha Eichorn)! Turning Virtue’s eclectic sound may be difficult to tag, but I am sure that it will have an instant appeal to fans of unique bans such as “Devin Townsend”, “Faith No More”, “Mike Patton”, “Pearl Jam”, “Stone Temple Pilots”, “WatchTower”, “Spastic Ink”, “Psychotic Waltz”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Fates Warning”, and “Dream Theater”, to whom Turning Virtue is highly recommendable! Band members and collaborators involved in Turning Virtue are: David Karczewski – Vocals, Guitars; DPA – Bass; Carl Cino – Guitars; Mark Zonder – Drums. Additional Musicians: Tim Palmer – Additional Guitars and Keyboards; Cliff Cline Jr. – Additional Guitars on “What’s True”; Leigha Eichorn – Backing Vocals on “Transcend” and “Salty Tears”. All drums recorded by Mark Zonder, Los Angeles, California; Album Recorded at the MFB Studio, Buffalo, NY; Engineered by Mark ‘Spicoli’ Hellenbach; Mixed by Tim Palmer at ‘62 Studios, Austin, Texas; Mastered by Andy VanDette at Engine Room Audio, New York, NY. Cover & Booklet Art by MJ Myers; Designed by Paul Marko. Produced by Davey K... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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09/30/2016...................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit TURNING VIRTUE HOME PAGE...
. PLASTIC OVERLORDS - "Surrender, Capricorn"
Plastic Overlords are back to PR&PM! Plastic Overlords are an USA band based in Atlanta, Georgia. The core line-up consists of David Noel (vocals, bass, keyboards), John Eades (guitars), and Brad Johnson (drums). Former guitarist Eric Hand has left the band. The band’s discography comprises two self-produced albums: “Plastic Overlords” (2000) and “Sonic Astronomy” (2010), which was featured at PR&PM in 2012. Plastic Overlords are basically a Space and Psychedelic Rock group, with influences of several bands of late 60’s to early 70’s – early “Pink Floyd” (with “Sid Barrett”), “Hawkwind”, “Andromeda”, “Hendrix”, “Cream”, “Gong”, “Iron Butterfly”, “The Doors”, “Blue Cheer”, “The Charlatans”, “Vanilla Fudge”, early “Genesis”, “King Crimson”, “Budgie”, “Rush”, “Led Zeppelin”, “David Bowie” (“Ziggy Stardust” era), “Queen” (before “A Night At The Opera”), etc. In October 2015 Plastic Overlords posted a video-concert on You Tube entitled “Plastic Overlords – Live Under the Mountain”. The video featured the band playing old and new songs, taken from the then unfinished studio work, “Surrender, Capricorn”. The demo version of “Surrender, Capricorn” was finally released in 2016 (via the band’s label, Fool’s Errand Records), offered in a double CD set with both discs faking vinyl (a coveted item for collectors!). Now Plastic Overlords are looking for support to release the final version of “Surrender, Capricorn” on a triple vinyl physical format – an ambitious goal for such an obscure band! This album, however, would be called “Whale Blubber” – an ironic answer to “Brian Eno’s” statement that “recorded music equals whale blubber.” The band had even conceived a special release with real whale blubber melted into the pressing, but decided to abandon the idea to make “the ultimate headphones album.” “Surrender, Capricorn” conveys a multi-interpretative concept hidden behind cryptic lyrics: a riddle left for listeners to decipher inside their own mind. Concerning the music, “Surrender, Capricorn” is irresistible, and will make any fan of Space-Psychedelic Rock literally to surrender. On it, Plastic Overlords explore a kind of cosmic music that does not waste time on long and useless jamming, being highly structured instead, and arranged in a symphonic Progressive pattern that moves ever forwards in space-time, taking the listener into a delirious voyage! By combining a delightful retro-sounding style rooted on 60’s to 70’s Rock with a keen sense of melody rarely found nowadays, Plastic Overlords came up with songs that are immediately appealing and contagious, emanating trippy motifs, epic power chords, and energetic rhythmic vibrations. Singer/keyboardist/ bassist David Noel takes the lead with his voice, reminiscent of detached Glitter Rock/Proto-Punk days, but at the same time melodic and sensitive. His keyboards are lysergic, cosmic, and “mellotronic”, recalling early “Floyd”, “Hawkwind” and “King Crimson”. His bass lines add a Hard-Rock groove on some songs, and send Space-rocking pulses from others. Noel has a telepathic dialogue with Eades – an unleashed monster on this album, who plays guitar like a possessed on the heaviest acid-burning moments; and like an angel, on the most beautiful solos ever heard on a Space-Rock album! Brad Johnson breathes through his drums, as if they were an extension of his body. He conducts the rhythms with fluidity and includes insightful moments of percussion on the songs. The two CDs of “Surrender, Capricorn” have 9 songs each. CD-1 brings the most straightforward, energetic songs, mixing elements of vintage Heavy Psychic Rock and Hard Rock, driven by groovy bass, vigorous drumming, and relaxed rocking vocals, being mixed to cosmic synths and rocking solos of guitar. “Light The Wire” (4:36) opens the CD bringing a contagious swing inserted in a cosmic ambience that invites the listener to delve into the album. The Psychedelic-boogie “Armageddon Was Yesterday” (3:40) and the Hard-Rock “Foundation’s Edge” (4:37) follow on, immersed in lysergic clouds. The best songs start as ballads and grow in intensity later: “A Wrench In The Works – Part One”/“I Want The Future (I Already Had)” (6:13) turns into a ghostly Space-Rock in “Hawkwind” style; “Highway To The Sun” (5:28) inserts cosmic synths into the swinging Rock style of “Led Zeppelin”; and “Draw Back In Twilight” (6:53) speeds up like early “Rush”. Most impressive is “The Light Hides More Than It Reveals” (5:36), a Space-Rock propelled by powerful bass, frantic guitars, and binary proto-punk drums, broken in the middle by a solemn church organ. Closing CD-1, the title-track “Surrender, Capricorn” (17:02) is a Space-Psychedelic-Prog anthem with symphonic amplitude and surreal story-telling lyrics that trespasses different atmospheres, cadences and styles, including poignant vocal parts, classic riffs, and epic guitar solo that I want to be played at my funeral! CD-2 brings the slowest, longest, and most Prog-infused songs, driven by trippy vocal/instrumental melodies. “Outlier”/“All Hail Sweet Mystery of Life” (8:21) have precious vocal melodies with a “Bowie” inflection, “mellotronic” tunes, and cosmic-epic ambience. “The Slowest Speed Of Light” (9:22) is a wonderful Folk-Psychedelic song ending on accelerated Space-Rock parts. “A Wrench In The Works – Part Two”/“The Trick” (5:01) are darkened by an early “Pink Floyd” ambience, but with more swing on bass and guitars. “Up In The Air” (9:56) is a solar ballad interspersed by dynamic instrumental parts. “Twilight Caravans” (4:08) is a 60’s Psychedelic-Rock; while “Smoker’s Courtyard” (5:08) has the strongest lysergic signature of that decade, containing vertiginous instrumental parts and trippy solos. Finally, the cosmic Hard-Rock “The Back Wall Of The Universe” (3:51) closes the album simulating a hot live performance. In sum, Plastic Overlords’ album, “Surrender, Capricorn”, is amazing, surprising, and addicting – a precious masterpiece in late 60’s to early 70’s Space/Psychedelic/Progressive Rock styles – and that by no means will ever equal to whale blubber! “Surrender, Capricorn” must receive an official release, for it consists in an indispensable item for fans of “Pink Floyd”, “Sid Barrett”, “Hawkwind”, “Andromeda”, “King Crimson”; early “Rush”, “Bowie” & “Queen”; “Blue Cheer”, “Mountain”, “Vanilla Fudge”, “The Doors”, “Budgie”, “The Who”, “Ozric Tentacles”, “Third Ear Experience”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Plastic Overlords are: David Noel – Vocals, Bass, Keyboards; John Eades – Electric and Acoustic Guitars; Brad Johnson – Drums and Percussion. Former member: Eric Hand – Electric Guitar. Produced by David Noel. Recorded 2014-2015 at Under The Mountain. Cover Design by David Noel... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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09/30/2016.......................................More information? Better check it out for yourself at: PLASTIC OVERLORDS HOME PAGE...
. DARRYL WAY - "Myths, Legends and Tales"
Darryl Way – the legendary violinist of British Progressive Rock act, Curved Air – is welcomed at PR&PM! Darryl Way is an active musician until today and along the years has accumulated an extensive curriculum in this area. Darryl Way began to study violin at the Dartington College of Arts when he was 16. At 18 he went to the Royal College of Music to study with Antonio Brosa. When Way left the Royal College, he joined with keyboardist Francis Monkman to form Curved Air. With Curved Air, Way toured extensively in Europe and in the USA, and recorded several albums: “Air Conditioning” (1970), “Second Album” (1971), “Phantasmagoria” (1971), “Midnight Wire” (1975), “Live”, (1975), “Airborne” (1976), and “Live at the BBC” (1995). After leaving Curved Air, Way got involved in projects that focused on “Rock” and “Classical” genres. One of those projects was Darryl Way's Wolf, with a few releases: “Canis Lupus” (1973), “Saturation Point” (1973), and “Night Music” (1974). In the “Classical” field, most notable was his “Concerto for Electric Violin and Orchestra” (1978), in collaboration with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Other solo albums were: “Human Condition” (1987); “Under the Soft” (1991); and “The Elektra Ensemble” (1992). Darryl Way has also recorded for, or collaborated with, many artists: “Sir Tim Rice”, “Jethro Tull” (album “Heavy Horses”), “Sky 2”, “Marrianne Faithfull”, “Emma Shapplin”, and “Eric Clapton” (on two charity concerts). Most important were his collaborations with “Sting”, “Gary Brooker” & the L.S.O., which yielded the albums: “Fortress - The London Symphony Orchestra Performs the Music of Sting” (1994) and “The Long Goodbye - Symphonic Music of Procol Harum” (1995). In the USA, Way orchestrated two works of “Stewart Copeland” for the San Francisco Ballet and for the Cleveland Opera. In 1996, his opera “The Master and Margarita” was premiered at The Palace Theatre in London. As a violinist he has led the London “Electric Symphony Orchestra” for concerts at the Royal Festival Hall. In addition, Way wrote score music for films, BBC series, and advertising. In the 21st century, Way launched the Classical Crossover project Verisma, on two CD/DVDs: “Aria Futura” (2002) and “I Wish There Was an Angel” (2005). He also released “Reborn” (2010) – a collection of classic Curved Air songs re-record by the band; and two solo albums: “Ultra Violins” (2013) and “Children of the Cosmos” (2014). Darryl Way is an unstoppable musical force, indeed! His most recent album is “Myths, Legends and Tales” (2016, Right Honourable Records). The CD features 10 tracks, divided between instrumental Symphonic Rock pieces inspired on the Greek Mythology, and songs with lyrics about peace, love, and other issues. “Myths, Legends and Tales” represents Darryl Way’s search for the right sound and means of expression for the electric violin, which, according to him, would give the instrument a legitimate voice in the idiom of Rock; and Way feels that, on “Myths, Legends and Tales”, his quest came closer to end – what I totally endorse! The music is wrapped up in a clean, neat and modern clothing, having a strong Classical vein, with emphasis on the Baroque and Romantic periods, and delivered with the polished textures and lapidated refinement that are typical of Electronic Progressive Rock, New-Age and Ambient Music, mixed to elements of Folk, Gypsy and Oriental Music. The electric violin, of course, is the main solo instrument, but Way also sings (with a late 60’s to early 70’s nostalgic mood), produces a thick layer of sound with the massive employment of synthesizers and electronic drums; and adds some piano and strings sequences on some selected points. “Myths, Legends and Tales” starts with vigor on “Apollo (Racing Against the Sun)” (4:16) – a song divided in two different parts – the first is fast and rocky, driven by Way’s vocals, the other is trippy and epic, backed up by ghostly female voices, like ancient Greek sirens – which lure the listener to plunge deep in the album. A number of songs follow on; my favorites being the slowest and most emotive, conveying sensitive melodies and long instrumental passages amidst the vocals. They are: “Strange Goings On” (5:28) – a melodic Prog piece having a layer of dreamy keyboards verged by a hovering and gentle violin theme; “The Ice Man” (4:33) – an ode to existence, its tranquil violin tune spreading to the poignant vocals; and “Crusader” (5:43) – a song with a touch of a Medieval troubadour. Other songs are linked to Way’s past, featuring influences of the 60’s to 70’s Rock: the Americana “Whatever Happened” (5:30); the Psychedelic-Folk “Dove of Peace” (4:08); and the hectic “Helter Skelter” (3:46) – the last two being marked by a violin timbre that emulates an electric guitar! The songs make a strong repertoire when combined with the three instrumental pieces based on the Hellenic tradition, heroically transposed to the music through magnificent violin solos and grandiose keyboard and orchestral arrangements: “Orpheus and the Underworld” (5:38) tends to the Symphonic Prog with an Oriental lean, plunging deep into atmospheres and melodies of the underworld; “Aphrodite” (5:13) is a mix of New-Age and World Music, ethereal and weightless, that floats on a mattress of clean acoustic guitars, Greek rhythms, and a main violin solo that is intervened by a classic piano; and “Prometheus Chained” (8:55), containing spoken words, is a music-poem that closes the album with titanic symphonic arrangements that explode in fantastic and mysterious melodies on violin, resounding as the score music written for some epic movie! The sonority produced by Darryl Way may be different from the seminal sound of Curved Air, but the magnitude, ample dimension, and top quality of his orchestral arrangements and rare melodies will conquer any fan of Violin-Oriented Music. “Myths, Legends and Tales” is highly recommendable for fans of “Sagrado Coração da Terra”, “Sky”, “Clearlight”, “Mandalaband”, “UK”, “Jean-Luc Ponty”, “PFM”, “ELO”, “Changing Images”, “Vangelis”, “Vanessa Mae”, and “Kansas”. Band members and collaborators involved in Darryl Way are: Darryl Way – Vocals, Violin, Synths, Keyboards, Lyrics and Compositions. Words in “Prometheus Chained” by Percy Besshy Shelley... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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09/30/2016.............Want to learn everything about the musician and more about his history, go to DARRYL WAY HOME PAGE...
. CROMWELL - "Black Chapter Red"
Cromwell is a German Progressive Rock band now based in Birkenheide, Germany. Cromwell was formed back in May 1993 in their native city of Worms, with a line-up consisting of: Anke Täffner (vocals), Wolfgang Täffner (keyboards), Thor Stone (guitar), Josh (bass, acoustic guitar), and Eric Trauzettel (drums). They released a full-length album, entitled “Burning Banners” (1997), but disbanded afterwards. After 19 years, Cromwell regrouped again, with a new line-up featuring two original members – Wolfgang Täffner (keyboards) and Eric Trauzettel (drums) – plus Holger Weckbach (vocals) and Frank Nowack (guitars, bass). With support of German label Progressive Promotion Records, they released a new album, entitled “Black Chapter Red” (2016, PPR). The first album, “Burning Banners”, was characterized by having a heavy Neo-Prog sound supported on stiff guitar riffs and lyrics based on British Medieval Times (hence the name Cromwell); showing a strong influence of “IQ”, “Jadis”, “Pendragon” and “Saga”. In spite of the long time elapsed, “Black Chapter Red” retains the original sonority, with addition of more elements, and still more instigating lyrics. The new members Weckbach and Nowack have captured the essence of the band’s original style, adding a few of their own ideas to Cromwell’s songs. The music of Cromwell is based on an exciting mix of powerful rocking rhythms - driven by pulsing galloping bass and aerobic drums - that give support to marking guitar chords and riffs that are covered with a Metallic textural luster. Those instruments pave the arrangements, staying below a layer of synthesizers that reverberate with the cleaner textures of 80’s Prog (recalling “Saga”, “Clive Noland”, “Erik Norlander”), filling the empty spaces of all songs with a matrix of futuristic tunes and harmonies. The bipolar tension caused by the opposition of the keyboards to the other instruments is balanced by the epic feeling of singer Weckbach – what brings a few bands to mind, especially “Twelfth Night”, “Pendragon”, “Pallas”, “Shadow Gallery”, and “Amaran’s Plight”. Adding exciting guitars solos, some passages for classical acoustic guitars, piano, cello; and alternating cadences from fast rocking allegros to slow majestic andantes, Cromwell has come out with an addicting selection of songs that exude vigor, emotion and audacious spirit, making this band a precious item to be experienced also by fans of “Galahad”, “Jadis”, “IQ”, “Arena”, “Enchant”, “Knight Area”, and “Roswell Six”. “Black Chapter Red” has nine tracks. The most suitable for put fire on an explosive show are those boosted by fast-galloping bass and drums, powerful rocking guitars and ultra-sonic keyboards; such as: the opening song, “Starlit Sands” (8:20); the hued “Roots” (6:49), which begins cadenced, immersed in a dark atmosphere created by the interaction between bass and synths, but that later accelerates its pace; and the explosive “Kissing Dynamite” (4:04) the most powerful and dynamic; driven by a sticky chorus that nears the AOR-Prog. My favorites, however, are those songs that walk on a cadenced slowed stride that highlights the heroic atmosphere of the melodies and arrangements, which are stuffed with solos of synths, guitars, and great passages of bass and drums, being topped by positively fantastic life-draining vocals. They are: “Black Confetti” (6:12) – which comes with pounding heaviness, and climatic riffs, synths and harmonies; and “November Sky” (6:00) – a wonderful power-ballad that is preceded by “The Lights” (3:24) – an instrumental piece on which a duo of acoustic guitars trade melodies with a mysterious cello. “November …” announces the two most asked songs on “King Arthur’s Round Table Radio Show” (ha-ha!): “Black Chapter Red” (8:16) and “Deep Down” (6:13) – two Medieval-Prog epics that stand out as the very best of this album! “Black …” includes classy piano passages, layers of Baroque flute-emulators, Gothic church organ, a brave guitar solo that is underlined by battle drums, which come before awesome symphonic-metal climax! And “Deep …” lets beautiful classic guitar and soaring keyboard tunes to grow in an atmosphere of grandeur – the driving riff is really destroying – cadenced, majestic and epic – hoovering on layers of pianos and guitars, led by deep passionate vocals; the final guitar solo being compatible in sensitiveness and beauty to the whole song! The album finishes magnificently, with the same vivid disposition shown on the first track, with the epilogue “End Of Life” (6:41) – powerfully propelled by space-synths that recalled me of a heavier “Saga”, with spectacular break on the middle for a mild-galloping sequence of bass and drums, with vocals riding on it, ascending directly to the rambling final climax! After having listened to “Black Chapter Red” (what I will still do for many times), I can say that Cromwell has really made it great on their return! And the PPR label was really lucky in making a bet on them! Cromwell’s “Black Chapter Red” is highly recommendable for fans of Neo-Progressive Rock with a heavier lean on the rhythmic section and an epic feeling on vocals, and indispensable for fans of “Saga”, “Twelfth Night”, “Pendragon”, “Pallas”, “Galahad”, “Jadis”, “Arena”, “Clive Noland”, “IQ”, “Enchant”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Amaran’s Plight”, “Knight Area”, “Erik Norlander”, “Roswell Six”. Band members and collaborators involved in Cromwell are: Holger Weckbach – Lead & Backing Vocals; Wolfgang Täffner – Keyboards, Lyrics; Frank Nowack – Guitars, Bass; Eric Trauzettel – Drums, Percussion. Additional studio guests: Joshy Tenner – Bass; Rainner Weckbach – Guitars; Cromwell’s previous line-up: Anke Täffner – Vocals; Wolfgang Täffner – Keyboards; Thor Stone – Guitar; Josh – Bass, Acoustic Guitar; Eric Trauzettel – Drums. All songs composed, arranged & performed by Cromwell. Album Recorded at Birchmoor Studios, Birkenheide, Germany; Engineered & Produced by E. Trauzettel; Mixed & Mastered by Martin Schnella. Artwork & Design by Pascal Helmes. Also you must visit Cromwell's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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09/30/2016......................Want to learn everything about the band and their music, you need to visit CROMWELL HOME PAGE...
. CRYSTAL PALACE - "Dawn Of Eternity"
Crystal Palace is back to PR&PM! Crystal Palace is a German Art-Rock band that was formed in Berlin in 1991. From 1991 to 2010 the band had several changes in the line-up, but was able to release several albums: “On The Edge of the World” (1995); “Children of the Sun” (1998, EP); “Demon In You” (2001); “Psychedelic Sleep” (2003); “Through the Years” (2005); “Acoustic Years” (2006); “Reset” (2010); and “Pure” (2012). In 2011 Crystal Palace suffered an important change in the formation: veterans Jenz Uwe Strutz (vocals, bass) and Frank Köhler (keyboards) were joined in by Nils Conrad (guitars) and Frank Brennekam (drums). The new line-up worked very well, alive and at studio. In 2012 Crystal Palace supported “RPWL” on tour, and later began to work on the album “The System of Events”, which was released in 2013, under the label Gentle Art of Music. The album was engineered and co-produced by Yogi LangRPWL”), and had guest appearances of bassist Colin Edwin (“Porcupine Tree”) and guitarist Kalle Wallner (“RPWL”). The music showcased an imaginative mix of styles (Neo-Prog, Heavy Prog, Metal, and Indie Rock) and a sound characterized by the oscillation between emotional vocals plunged in melodic soundscapes and dense instrumental passages. The lyrics dealt with personal experience, or global and political issues. “The System of Events” was reviewed at PR&PM in 2013, and Crystal Palace was highly recommended for a large and diversified audience comprising fans of: “Marillion” (“Hogarth”’ Era), “Pallas”, “RPWL”, “Pink Floyd”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “Muse”, “Sylvan”, “Ayreon”, “Division By Zero”, “Sieges Even”, “Dream Theater”, “Anathema”, “Mindfields”, “Radiohead”, “Coldplay”, and others. In August 2014, drummer Frank Brennekam had to leave Crystal Palace due to a health problem. He was replaced by Tom Ronney; but the unexpected happening delayed the release of a follow-up album. Crystal Palace has overcome that negative moment, and has finally released a new record, entitled “Dawn of Eternity” (June 10th 2016; Gentle Art of Music/Soulfood Music). “Dawn Of Eternity” was again engineered by Yogi Lang and had guest participation of multi-guitar player Markus Reuter (“Centrozoon”, “Stick Men”, “The Crimson ProjeKCt”, etc.) on one song. With 11 tracks, “Dawn Of Eternity” measures up with its predecessor, and even surpasses it in several moments! New drummer Tom Ronney has fit perfectly into the band, and has immediately grasped Crystal Palace’s contrast-based style, having matched his predecessor in his understanding with Jenz Strutz’s pulsing bass lines. Nils Conrad is an unbelievable monster on guitar, and his solos trample over the listener like an undefeatable army; but he can also play with refined sensibility and alluring mellowness. Keyboardist Frank Köhler participates enthusiastically on the arrangements, adding magnificent lines of synths pianos, organ, and electronics – augmenting the textural diversity of the music. The band communicates telepathically, with the precision of an atomic watch, enhancing the already high quality of their music. Crystal Palace’s typical alternation of sounds is carefully gauged by front-man J. Strutz, whose harmonious vocals add the right doses of sadness, sensibility, optimism, or aggressiveness to the music, punctuating the instrumentation. On “Dawn Of Eternity”, Crystal Palace has found its most perfect level of performance, lyrical maturity and songwriting: the band feels comfortable playing together a fine brand of modern Progressive Rock, effortlessly blending Soaring-Prog, Post Rock, Heavy-Prog and Metal, also flirting with Electronica and mainstream Indie Rock – delivering everything with a surprising dynamic drive! My favorites are those songs with more energy, vibration and heaviness, driven by powerful rhythms and crowned with magnificent solos of guitar – from weeping to epic! They are: “Dawn” (2:35) – a noisy intro for “Confess Your Crime” (8:26) – a fantastic jigsaw of Prog and Metal moments, with throbbing bass and electronica thrown in; “Fields Of Consciousness” (6:35) – which runs fast on complex Prog-Metal riffs, but slows down on others, like “Black Sabbath’s”; and “Eternity” (2:00)/“All Of This” (5:43) – instrumental intro and awesome Dark-Prog song, respectively, that come with diabolical groove on bass combined with frantic-electronica and heated guitars and drums! Crystal Palace’s mastery on changing dense heavy parts for melodic soaring ones shows up greatly on: “Eternal Step” (6:31) – a Prog-Metal at slow speed that clashes against dreamy vocals and weeping guitar; and “Hearts On Sale” (5:45) – an ingenious combination of Indie-Rock beats, Electronica, and Neo-Prog solos. In between, there are the ballads: “Any Colour You Need” (8:19) – with influences of “Porcupine Tree”; and the “Floydian”.  “Daylight After The Rain” (3:32) – featuring Markus Reuter. The album ends on a Progressive edge, with the awesome “Sky Without Stars” (5:21) – immersed in a dreamy ambience sliced by Post-Rock riffs, and having weeping guitar solo that merges it with “The Day That Doesn’t End” (4:15) – an uplifting song propelled by cosmic Electronic beats. In sum, Crystal Palace’s album, “Dawn of Eternity”, is the musical epitome of a band that is reaching the peak of creativity and musicianship. Must-have item for fans of Heavy Prog, Prog-Metal, Neo-Prog and Alternative Rock in the style of “Marillion”, “Pallas”, “RPWL”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Muse”, “Riverside”, “Division By Zero”, “Sylvan”, “Anathema”, “Sieges Even”, “Osada Vida”, “Mindfields”, “Ayreon”, “Guilt Machine”, “Radiohead”, “Markus Reuter”, “Animals As Leaders”, “Dream Theater”. Band members and collaborators involved in Crystal Palace are: Jenz Uwe ‘Yenz’ Strutz - Vocals, Bass; Frank Köhler – Keyboards; Nils Conrad – Guitars; Tom Ronney - Drums. Guest musician: Markus Reuter – Guitars on “Daylight After The Rain”. Former members: Jürgen Hegner (guitars 1991-2011); Ralf Jaschob (guitars); Helmut Hirt (vocals 1992-2000); Feliks Weber (drums, 2010); Frank Brennekam – Drums (2011-Aug. 2014). Album Engineered by Yogi Lang for Gentle Art of Music... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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09/30/2016.............................................More information? Better check it out for yourself at: CRYSTAL PALACE HOME PAGE...
. ARMONITE - "The Sun Is New Each Day"
Armonite is a Violin-oriented Instrumental Progressive Rock quartet from Pavia, Italy. The line-up consists of the founding members Paolo Fosso (keyboards) and Jacopo Bigi (violin), joined by “Porcupine Tree's” bassist, Colin Edwin, and Dutch drummer Jasper Barendregt. Armonite (with the “ite” suffix meaning stone, as on “granite”, “anthracite”, etc.), is an imaginary material made of harmony. Fosso and Bigi are classical-trained musicians, but along their teenage years they also joined a few bands in Pavia that played various genres and artists, from “The Beatles” to “Dream Theater”. Circa 1996, while still in college, they formed Armonite with the participation of Giovanni Lanfranchi (second violin), Andrea Bacchio (bass), and Gabriele Rossi (drums). They released the promising album “Inuit” (1999), which was reviewed at PR&PM in 2000. After a few live shows, however, this first incarnation of Armonite split up. In 2015, Fosso and Bigi decided to form a new incarnation of Armonite. When they had composed enough tracks for an album, they hired Edwin and Barendregt for the remote recording. Paul Reeve (co-producer of “Muse”) produced the work and Geoff Pesche conducted the mastering at Abbey Road Studios, in London. Armonite’s new album, entitled “The Sun Is New Each Day”, was digitally released on June 22, 2015. The title is a reference to statement of philosopher Heraclitus, “The sun is new each day”, which reminds us of the ever-changing nature of life, that forces us to be constantly evolving. After the album’s release, Armonite made a few performances: at Expo 2015 Milano for “The Water Rooms” Official Launch organized by UNESCO (Sep. 21, 2015); in Bettmeralp, Switzerland (Mar. 2016); and when touring around the UK in July. Armonite has also published on the internet videos from their show, “The Soundtrack Is New Each Day”, on which the band covers themes from soundtracks of “Game of Thrones”, “Pirates of the Caribbean”, “Jurassic Park”, “Harry Potter”, “Ghostbusters”, “The Exorcist”, “Star Wars”, “Suspiria”, “The Neverending Story”, and so on. “The Sun Is New Each Day” has 9 instrumental tracks that showcase an original violin-oriented Progressive sound that Armonite aims to rise to a new standard. The music is exciting, vigorous, and dynamic, blending Prog-Rock, Prog-Metal, Heavy Rock, Electronic, Classical, and World Music, forged according to the input that the Fosso-Bigi duo received from their favorite groups (“Beatles”, “Yes”, “ELP”, “Jethro Tull”, “Queen”, “Rush”, “Spock’s Beard”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Deep Purple”, “Queensryche”, “Metallica”, “Pantera”, “Dream Theater”, “Nirvana”, “Foo Fighters”, “Yanni”, “Vangelis”) and Classical composers (“Andrew Lloyd Weber”, “Vivaldi”, “Paganini”, “Bach”, “Mozart”, “Beethoven”, “Chopin”). But to better figure out how Armonite sounds like, think of “Dixie Dregs”, “Kansas”, “Curved Air”, “UK”, “Premiata Forneria Marconi”, “Arti & Mestieri”, “Quella Vecchia Locanda”, “Saecula Saeculorum”, “Sagrado Coração da Terra”, “Quaterna Requiem”, “Jean-Luc Ponty”, “Pell Mell” – all with a violin in the line-up – but with the equivalent energetic impact of Heavy-Prog and Metal, resembling modern violin-oriented outfits such as: “Vanessa Mae”, “The Living”, “Skyclad”, “Sérgio Ferraz”, and “Moraine”. This sensation is passed on the listener on the first track, “Suitcase War” (3:45) – an experimental delivery of R.I.O. structures with a Metal approach, guided by ultra-dense bass lines and explosive drums. “Connect Four” (3:22) is more dynamic, and combines Electronica with fluidal passages of violin that contain some Country/Bluegrass passages recalling “Kansas” and “Dixie Dregs”. “'G' As In Gears” (3:20) is playful and joyful like “Mozart”, but adorned with percussion and glockenspiel sounds reminiscent of “Tchaikovsky’s” “Nutcracker”. “Sandstorm” (3:43) blows from the Orient, bringing Arabic modes on violins, keyboards, and groovy ethno-beats, mixed to a few Romantic lines of violin (recalling bands like “Moraine” and “The Living”). Armonite also attacks with intricate Chamber-Rock arrangements on “Slippery Slope” (3:17), entwining dramatic piano and strings on a powerful rhythmic frame that incorporates a “gypsy spirit”. “Satellites” (3:47) flies on a vivid Electronic Neo-Classical trail that resembles “Vanessa Mae”. “Die Grauen Herren” (2:47) goes up and down on complex interactions between violin, cello, piano, bass and drums, creating a creepy sensation reminiscent of the song “The Spider”, by “Kansas”. “Le Temps Qui Fait Ta Rose” (3:25) is an unplugged Classical piece with lachrymose piano and introspective violin performed by the duo alone. The album finishes on “Insert Coin” (3:36) – a frantic piece of “video-game music” conveyed on dazzling electronic beats, futuristic synths, and crazy electric violin. Armonite is going to tour with their “The Soundtrack Is New Each Day” show, and later, prepare a new studio album. In the meantime, their experimental, fresh and instigating album, “The Sun Is New Each Day”, is highly recommendable for all fans of violin-oriented Progressive Rock & Metal who also love “Dixie Dregs”, “Kansas”, “Curved Air”, “UK”, “Premiata Forneria Marconi”, “Arti & Mestieri”, “Quella Vecchia Locanda”, “Pell Mell”, “Jean-Luc Ponty”, “Saecula Saeculorum”, “Quaterna Requiem”, “Sagrado Coração da Terra”, “Vanessa Mae”, “The Living”, “Sérgio Ferraz”, “Skyclad”, “Moraine”, “Ichthyander Dad’s Only Dolphin”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Armonite are: Jacopo Bigi – Electric Violin; Paolo Fosso – Keyboards; Colin Edwin – Bass; Jasper Barendregt – Drums. With: Anders 'Goto80' Carlsson – 8-bit sounds on “Insert Coin”; Marcello Rosa – Cello (on “Slippery Slope” and “Die Grauen Herren”). Ex-members: Giovanni Lanfranchi - Electric Violin; Andrea Bacchio - Electric Bass and Fretless Bass; Gabriele Rossi – Drums. Album Recorded at PFL Studio, Pavia, Italy; Produced, Engineered & Mixed by Paul Reeve in Cornwall, UK; Mastered by Geoff Pesche at the Abbey Road Studios, London, UK; Cover Artwork by AquaSixio (Cyril Rolando). Also you must visit Armonite's BandCamp Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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09/30/2016...................If you want know more about this amazing Italian band and its members, visit ARMONITE HOME PAGE...
. 7 OCEAN - "Son Of Sun"
Seventh Ocean – a.k.a. 7 Ocean or 7OKEAH in Cyrillic alphabet – is a Symphonic Progressive Rock band from the city of Gomel, in Belarus. Keyboardist, composer and songwriter Alexander Eletsky is the central member of the band, which has had different line-ups along its existence. The 7 Ocean story began in 1989, when a line-up consisting of Alexander Eletsky (keyboards, vocals), Gennady Kalaurkin (guitars, vocals), Igor Mihasev (drums, vocals) and Vitaly Gaponenko (bass, vocals) recorded on tape a debut album entitled “One Life”. The album told the story of a man who had the elixir of eternity and survived in the hardest situations. The same line-up recorded a second album, entitled “Black Holes” (1990), followed by “Son Of The Sun” (1990) – an album that was recorded only on tape and featured drummer Alexander Sophiex temporally replacing I. Mihasev. From 1989 to 1990, 7 Ocean conquered space in Gomel’s underground scene. In 1991, drummer Igor Mihasev returned to the band, and all musicians became involved in the preparation of a new ambitious project, called “Find The Echo”. Unfortunately on July, 17th, 1994, I. Mihasev suffered a tragic death. Afterwards, the other band members had no strength to finish the album, and 7 Ocean disbanded. In 2004, keyboardist A. Eletsky and drummer A. Sophiex joined together with a former admirer of the band – the singer Sergey Starosotsky – to revive 7 Ocean. In 2005, they started to record a new album, released on CD three years later, entitled “The Mysterious Race of Strange Entities” (2008, Mals Ltd. Russia). “The Mysterious …” was soon followed by the digital releases of two other albums: “Return Under The Sun” (2009) and “One Life” (2010) – containing material from the original tapes recorded in 1989/1990, re-worked by the new line-up, with participation of acoustic/electric guitarist and bassist Oleg Grinevich on both albums; bassist Vladimir Stoljarov, on “Return…”; and electric guitarist Igor Kozyrev, on “One Life”. In 2013, 7 Ocean recorded a new album, entitled “Diapause”, which was released on physical format in 2014 by Russian Label Mals Ltd. Besides the core trio consisting of Eletsky, Sophiex, and Starosotsky, this album featured O. Grinevich and V. Stoljarov once more; and Alexander Chugaev on acoustic guitar and vocals. In 2016, a solidified line-up featuring Alexander Eletsky (keyboards), Sergey Starosotsky (vocals), Oleg Grinevich (guitars, bass), and Alexander Sophiex (drums) finally re-recorded the 1990 tape of the “Son Of The Sun” album. Entitled “Son Of Sun”, the album was released in 2016 on physical CD format by Mals Ltd. The lyrics – written in Russian – are based on the story “Sibyllan”, by Par Fabian Lagerkvist, linked to the Egyptian Mythology. “Son Of Sun” contains five tracks, and offers some of the best Symphonic Progressive Rock in Slavic style. The music is complex, cerebral, well-structured and performed with professional skill. In spite of the strong influence of A. Eletsky on the keyboard passages (full of synths, organs, and other 70’s-like textures), guitarist O. Grinevich has an outstanding contribution, dividing with Eletsky the responsibility for keeping the arrangements at a demanding level of symphonic difficulty; also adding amazing byzantine guitar solos that are full of soulful sensitiveness and stuffed with Progressive inspiration. A. Sophiex is a confident drummer who keeps the rocking pace, dosing the softness and heaviness of his drumsticks according to the emotional requirements of each song. And singer Starosotsky delivers soft and tuneful vocals in a very communicative way – even not understanding Russian, the listener will realize if the songs are tending either to passion, or to drama. Although being quite unique, the music of 7 Ocean shares a sonic resemblance with bands like “Camel”, “Caravan”, “Greenslade”, “Van der Graaf”, “Autograph”, “Little Tragedies”, “Group 309”, “Algabas”, “Lantinor”, and “Finch”. The album is very eclectic, and besides being pure to the Progressive spirit of the 70’s, each track contains a certain combination of sonic elements that distinguishes it from the others. The opening track, “City of Sun” (8:43), has a thick acoustic layer, and rhythms, joyful synths and keyboards that recalled me of “Camel”, but with a long Classic Rock guitar solo. “Ascension” (5:17) is an instrumental piece that comes on Space-Rock riffs, Electronic pulses, and cosmic-sounding synths – its futuristic atmosphere making a huge contrast with the traditionalism of the ballad “In the Cave” (6:27), driven by soft vocals, placid piano and organ, and sophisticated clean jazzy guitars. “Old Woman's Story” (17:16) is the main track, being compatible with the story-telling nature of Progressive music: within it, there is a mix of styles – Canterbury, Classic Hard-Rock, Trippy-Psychedelic, Symphonic – which alternate dynamically in cadence and mood, interspersed with great individual performances on guitars, skilled keyboards, groovy passages of bass and drums, and vocals defining the atmospheric changes, ranging from somber to uplifting. Finally, “Disappearance” (8:32) is a kind of Hard-Prog power-ballad, driven by sturdy riffs, soulful vocals, great passages of keyboards, and brilliant solos of guitar. 7 Ocean is really a surprising and fantastic Progressive Rock band coming from Belarus, whose music will appeal both to orthodox and non-orthodox appreciators of Prog. Highly recommendable for fans of: “Camel”, “Caravan”, “Greenslade”, “Van der Graaf”, “Autograph”, “Little Tragedies”, “Group 309”, “Algabas”, “Lantinor”, “Karfagen”, “Finch”, “Alquin”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in 7 Ocean are: Alexander Eletsky – Keyboards, Lyrics; Sergey Starosotsky – Lead Vocals; Oleg Grinevich - Guitars, Bass; Alexander Sophiex - Drums. Ex-members, 1988-89: Alexander Ikonnikov, Vladimir Stoljarov, Vladimir Repevsky, Alexander Mashukov. Album Recorded at Seventh Ocean Studio & BlockPost Studio. Mixed by O. Grinevich; Mastered by Alexander Grishin & O. Grinevich. Music by A. Eletsky, Gennady Kalaurkin & O. Grinevich; based on the story “Sibyllan”, by Par Fabian Lagerkvist. Design by Sergey Misuk... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/30/2016..........................Want to learn everything about the musicians and their fantastic band, visit 7 OCEAN HOME PAGE...
. DARREL TREECE-BIRCH - "No More Time"
Darrel Treece-Birch is a British musician, mostly known for being a keyboardist for bands “TEN”, “Nth Ascension” and “CounterpartsUK”, besides being a solo artist. Darrel James Treece-Birch was born on January 21st, 1967, in Fleetwood, Lancashire, England. From ages 7 to 10 he learned to play the piano. At 17, he bought his first synthesizer – a Korg DW6000 – to play music inspired, at first, on the early Ambient and Electronic music of “Jean-Michel Jarre” and “Vangelis”, and later, on Prog-acts such as “Yes”, “Genesis”, and “Marillion”. Darrel’s first band was the Fleetwood based “Purple On The Storm” (1986-1989), which released only demo-tapes. Over the next years, Darrel played on several bands: “A.D.” (1990-92), “Helmwind” (1993-95), “The Noise Foundation” (1995-97), “The Order Of Chaos” (1997-2000), and “The Field” (2001-03). Some of these bands released self-produced CDs: the eponymous “Helmwind” (1994) and “The Field” (2003); and “The Order Of Chaos’s” “Return Of The King” (1997). In 2004, Darrel joined guitarist Phil Brown on the “Rush” tribute-band called “CounterpartsUK” (on which he still plays). In January 2010 Darrel and drummer Craig Walker formed Prog-Rock outfit “Nth Ascension”, which released “Frequencies Of Day And Night” (2011, digital album on Aurovine.com) and “Ascension Of Kings” (2014, physical CD, via Sonic Vista Music). In 2015, “Nth Ascension” signed to USA Label Melodic Revolution Records for the release of an album in 2016. Early in 2011, Darrel had been called to replace keyboardist Paul Hodgson on famous Hard Rock/Melodic Rock band “TEN”. Since then, Darrel has recorded CDs for “TEN”: “Heresy & Creed” (2012, Frontiers), “Albion” (2014) and “Isla De Muerta” (2015), the last two via Rocktopia. Darrel has also kept his solo career going on, producing his own CDs: “Seven Days” (2000), “Meditate” (2003), “Healing Touch” (2004), and “Celestial” (2008). The last two were re-released on digital format in 2012, via Aurovine. A re-mastered edition of  “Celestial” was issued in October, 2015, via MRR. The most recent solo album by Darrel Treece-Birch – the second with support of Melodic Revolution Records – is called “No More Time” (Aug. 19th, 2016). “No More Time” was issued on both digital and CD formats, featuring 15 tracks. “No More Time” is Darrel’s most ambitious work so far, featuring guest musicians from “TEN”, “Nth Ascension”, “Gary Hughes Band” and “CounterpartsUK” (see below). “No More Time” deals with the eternal process of regeneration and purification of the human spirit on its journey back to the primordial “Nexus”. By making use of watery sounds of waves and sea, Darrel creates a metaphoric ambience that cradles the concept, producing at the same time melodic and inspiring Progressive themes that are instilled with elements of Ambient, Electronic, and Classical Music, trespassed by a few rampages of AOR. Darrel’s music is essentially made of ethereal synths, imposing piano, soaring guitars, subtle bass lines, atmospheric orchestrations and sensitive vocal performances by his guests. As a keyboardist, Darrel’s shows a mix of influences coming from “Rick Wakeman” (New-Age phase), “Jean Michel Jarre”, “Vangelis”, “Philip Glass”, and “Kitaro” (all perceived on the softer passages); and of “Geoff Downes” and “Don Airey” (on his most bombastic AOR-Prog interventions). The interaction of the keyboards with the other instruments and some vocal parts recalled me of the most spiritual side of “Pink Floyd”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Barclay James Harvest”, “UK”; and “Neil Diamond’s” soundtrack for the movie “Jonathan Livingston Seagull”; while on a few instrumental tracks, the same interaction has brought to mind the most vibrant and powerful sound of bands like “Asia”, “Magnum”, “Pallas”, “Pendragon”, and “TEN”. The 15 tracks of “No More Time” are divided between a few songs and several instrumental pieces, alternating peaks of energy with valleys of relaxing tranquility, marked by three short tracks called “Nexus”, which explain, with spoken words, the concept of the album. The first peak has “Nexus Pt1” (1:30) + “Earthbound” (3:21) + “Riding The Waves” (5:09) – two instrumentals that ride on epic guitar riffs, pulsing bass sounds, and futuristic keyboards, bringing the powerful signature of 80’s Prog on the arrangements. The next sequence has “Hold On” (4:07) + “Requiem Pro Caris” (3:21) + “Nexus Pt2” (1:26) + “Twilight” (3:47) + “Mother (Olive’s Song)” (4:37), which are softly driven to a valley of beatitude where classic piano, romantic violins, soaring guitars, and kind bass form a single symphony: “Hold On” and “Twilight” are spiritual song-ballads that could fit in the soundtrack for “Jonathan Livingston Seagull”; while “Requiem …” and “Mother …” are calm orchestral pieces featuring strings, piano, and silken synths like “Kitaro”. The peaceful mood of this chain is broken by the impact caused by the instrumental “Freedom Paradigm” (6:03) – a Devil’s bolero conveyed on majestic andantes, lavishly adorned with heavy guitars (like “Pallas” and “TEN”) and bombastic synth-electronica. “Nexus Pt3” (1:11) opens a new sequence composed of “The River Dream” (6:59) + “No More Time” (7:59) + “Legacy” (4:02). This chain leans more to the Electronic style of “Jarre” and the introspectiveness of “Marillion” (“Hogarth” Era): “The River …” flows slowly on an amazing guitar solo that drives it to the title-song, “No More Time”, on which the flux grows in intensity to explode in a powerful AOR song (in the style of “Asia”, “Saga”, “Magnum”), transferring the energetic vibration to “Legacy” – a mix of massive Electronica saturated with heavy guitars and pounding drums. The album reaches the last valley of tranquility on the outstanding pair “Music Of The Spheres” (7:34) – a song-ballad with sweet female vocals, nice piano, and levitating synths that recalled me of “Strangers On A Train” – and “Return To The Nexus” (7:37) – a waving and slow instrumental track made entirely of an extraordinary guitar solo! With this “No More Time” album, Darrel Treece-Birch has brightly shown that his long musical career has really paid off – he is indeed a sensitive artist who has become a mature composer, a master of Progressive Rock! “No More Time” is highly recommendable for fans of “Rick Wakeman” (New-Age phase), “Jean Michel Jarre”, “Vangelis”, “Philip Glass”, “Kitaro”, “Geoff Downes”, “Don Airey”, “UK”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Pink Floyd”, “Barclay James Harvest”, “Asia”, “Saga”, “Magnum”, “Pallas”, “Pendragon”, “Strangers On A Train”, “Magenta”, “TEN”, “Nth Ascension”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Darrel Treece-Birch are: Darrel Treece-Birch – Keyboards, Bass, Drums, Mandolin, Voice, Music & Lyrics; John PowerCounterpartsUK”) – Vocals, Fretless & Bass Guitars, Lead & Rhythm Guitars (“No More Time”), Violin (“Requiem Pro Caris”); Phil BrownCounterpartsUK”) – Acoustic, Lead & Rhythm Guitars (“Riding The Waves” & “Music of the Spheres”); Dan Mitchell (“ex-TEN”) – Lead Guitar (“The River Dream”); Steve GrocottTEN”) – Lead Guitar (“Freedom Paradigm”); Dan RosinganaTEN”) – Lead Guitar (“Return to the Nexus”); Alan TaylorNth Ascension”) – Vocals, Acoustic & Lead Guitars (“Hold On”), Vocals (“Twilight”); Martin WalkerNth Ascension”) – Lead & Rhythm Guitars (“Earthbound” & “Legacy”); Gavin WalkerNth Ascension”) – Bass (“Riding The Waves”); Karen FellGary Hughes Band”) – Female Vocals (“Music of the Spheres”). Recorded at The War Room, Fleetwood; Additional Recordings at various studios. Engineered & Mixed by Darrel Treece-Birch; Mastered by Dave Aston at Digital Audio, Skipton. Produced by Pure Music, Manchester; Cover Art by Luke Treece-Birch & Darrel Treece-Birch. Also you must visit Darrel Treece-Birch's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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09/30/2016...........Want to learn more about this great musician and project, please go to DARREL TREECE-BIRCH HOME PAGE...
. MIKE DEKLEVA - "Synergy"
Mike Dekleva is a guitarist, composer, and studio musician from Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.  Inspired by artists like “Joe Satriani”, “Eric Johnson”, “Andy Timmons”, “Robbie Calvo”, and others, Dekleva has composed and recorded his original brand of Instrumental Rock music for over 20 years, playing in several original Hard Rock bands and making hundreds of live performances. He has studied guitar and music composition with “Robbie Calvo” (a session guitarist and songwriter, also producer and master educator from Nashville), and many other notable guitarists or musicians. Mike Dekleva is an accomplished musician who aims to develop his own style and identity on the guitar, combining sensibility, passion, and a personal perspective on music composition. He blends lyrical guitar melodies, pop-style arrangements, and elements of Hard Rock with a West Coast lean to create melodic, guitar-oriented Instrumental Rock Music. Besides “Satriani”, “E. Johnson”, “Andy Timmons”, and his teacher, “Robbie Calvo”, Dekleva is himself influenced by many other guitarists, such as: “Jimi Hendrix”, “Phil Keaggy”, “Eric Clapton”, “Larry Mitchell”, “Alex Lifeson”, “Edward Van Halen”, “George Lynch”, “Randy Rhoads”, “Steve Vai”, “Dave Weiner”, “Greg Howe”, “Vinnie Moore”, “John Petrucci”, “Lincoln Brewster”, “Carl Verheyen”, “Prashant Aswani”, and so on. On May 5, 2015, Mike Dekleva recorded four original instrumental pieces at Paragon Recording Studios in Franklin, Tennessee. He was accompanied by Robbie Calvo (guitars), Jason Webb (piano, keyboards), Amanda McCoy (bass), and Grady Saxman (drums) – all talented Nashville musicians who were chosen specifically for this project. The four instrumental pieces were reunited on Dekleva’s debut EP, entitled “Synergy” (December 2015, self-produced), which is available on both physical and digital formats. “Synergy” represents the culmination of the years that Dekleva has spent developing his guitar style and compositional skills; and incorporates elements of Classic Hard Rock, Blues, Rhythm & Blues, Fusion, and West Coast guitar style. The music is nice, clean, agreeable, and melodic, delivered with a soft and mild disposition, rather than with a wild Metallic furor. Dekleva’s knows everything about guitar riffs, licks, and picks, and his technical domain over the instrument is comparable to the master degree. His sensitive and eclectic approach to the guitar has also recalled me of names like “Steve Lukather”, “Jeff Beck”, “Stevie Ray Vaughan”, “Ronnie Montrose”, “Richie Kotzen”, “Guthrie Govan”, “Pat Metheny”, and even “Buckethead”, names that are probably enlisted in Dekleva’s array of influences. The EP “Synergy” starts with “Lost” (4:15), a Classic Rock with presence of piano, which flows on a mid-tempo, rhythmic and bouncing, driven by Dekleva’s warmness and his neat playing style. “Drive” (4:26) follows on faster, rocking, vibrant, and irradiating a jovial mood. On this one, the guitar hovers accompanied by a fleeing drum beat, in a style that recalls “Satriani”. The title-track “Synergy” (4:48) is immersed in an “urban” atmosphere, hidden by the shadows of lowered keys, with a groovier rhythmic drive coming from the drums and specially from the fatty bass – a combination of factors that will please fans of Fusion and of “Greg Howe”. The EP ends on “Midnight Sky” (4:21) – which was chosen as “best song”, February 2016 at The Akademia site. This sophisticated Jazz-Fusion piece starts with ethno drums, and proceeds with a relaxing guitar solo that comes with the disposition of a lazy day (recalling “Pat Metheny” and “Lukather”), to be finalized with a jazzy solo of sax. After listening to the EP, I found the Instrumental Rock music of Mike Dekleva to be really amusing, relaxing, and professional, and his talents as a guitarist and composer should be seriously checked out by fans of Guitar-oriented Classic Rock and Fusion, in especial those who love “Joe Satriani”, “Eric Johnson”, “Andy Timmons”, “Robbie Calvo”, “Jimi Hendrix”, “Phil Keaggy”, “Eric Clapton”, “Larry Mitchell”, “Alex Lifeson”, “Edward Van Halen”, “George Lynch”, “Randy Rhoads”, “Steve Vai”, “Dave Weiner”, “Greg Howe”, “Vinnie Moore”, “John Petrucci”, “Lincoln Brewster”, “Carl Verheyen”, “Prashant Aswani”, “Jeff Beck”, “Guthrie Govan”, “Stevie Ray Vaughan”, “Ronnie Montrose”, “Richie Kotzen”, “Buckethead”, “Steve Lukather”, “Pat Metheny”, to whom Mike Dekleva and his EP, “Synergy”, are highly recommendable! Band members and collaborators involved in Mike Dekleva are: Mike Dekleva - Rhythm & Lead Guitars (all Songs); Robbie Calvo - Rhythm Guitars (all Songs), Lead Guitars (Drive); Jason Webb - Piano & Keyboards; Amanda McCoy - Bass; Grady Saxman – Drums & Percussion. Music Written by Mike Dekleva. Produced by Robbie Calvo & Mike Dekleva. Recorded at Paragon Recording Studios in Nashville, Tennessee, on May 5, 2015. Additional Guitar & Keyboard Overdubs recorded in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Kona, Hawaii, and Nashville, Tennessee, May 2015 – Oct. 2015. Recorded & Mixed by Casey Barker at Paragon Recording Studios. Mastered by John Mayfield at Mayfield Mastering, Nashville, Tennessee...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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10/18/2016.............Want to learn everything about this amazing musician and his projects, go to MIKE DEKLEVA HOME PAGE...
. THE SKYS - "Journey Through The Skies"
The Skys are a Classic Rock/Progressive Rock band based in Vilnius, Lithuania. The Skys were born on November 10th, 1995, and are now a leading Rock act in Lithuania, being also the most recognized Lithuanian band abroad. After several changes in the line-up, The Skys consist now of: Jonas Ciurlionis (vocals and lead guitar), Božena Buinicka (keyboards and vocals), Aleksandr Liutvinskij (rhythm guitar), Justinas Tamaševicius (bass), and Ilja Molodcov (drums). The Skys released five albums so far: “Civilized” (1997), “Dreams” (1999), “Postmodern Game” (2004, via Sutaras Records, with digital distribution via Cinderella Records USA), “Colours Of The Desert” (2011; issued 2012 via Out of the Box Records & Legacy Records; 2013 via Dr. Music Records, Germany), and “Journey Through The Skies” (2015, Musik & Film Records). “Colours Of The Desert” was an important album that gave visibility to The Skys. If featured a constellation of guest musicians: Dave Kilminster (“Roger Waters”), Snowy White (“Roger Waters”), John Young (ex-“Scorpions”, “Bonnie Tyler”), Snake Davis (“Eurythmics”, “P. McCartney”, “R. Charles”, “J. Brown”), Martin Beedle (“Cutting Crew”, “Sarah Brightman”), Tony Spada (“Holding Pattern”), Anne Marie Helder (“Mostly Autumn”, “Panic Room”), and Robert Townsend (“Steve Hackett”). Reviews about the album were very positive in USA, Canada and Europe, appearing on Classic Rock Magazine, Metal Hammer and Sweden Rock Magazine. The good reception led The Skys to play almost 100 shows from 2013 to 2014, in Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Russia, France, Germany, USA, Poland, and Austria; in solo gigs, festivals, or sharing stage with “Rick Wakeman”, “Blues Brothers”, “The Exploited”, “Delirium”, “John Young Band”, and “Arena”. The music of The Skys also received TV and radio airplay on stations across Europe, USA, Canada, and especially in Poland, where the band conquered 9 awards at music festivals (in 2004, The Skys had already won a 1st place at the New York International Music Festival). In 2015, The Skys released “Journey Through The Skies” (Musik & Film Records). The album was partially recorded at Liscombe Park Studios, London, mixed by Steve Rispin, and mastered by Christian Wright at the Abbey Road Studio. “Journey…” features a smaller number of guest musicians, namely: Snowy White (guitar), Robert Townsend (sax), Martin Beedle (drums), Anne Marie Helder, Kyla Wight (backing vocals), and a few others. Anyway, this has not diminished the quality of the music, which is played with great technical ability by all components of the band. “Journey Through The Skies” features 12 songs, all with lyrics in English. The music is slow and trippy, a blend of Blues-instilled Progressive Rock with Psychedelic sonorities, also venturing into early 70’s Classic Rock. A distinguishing feature of The Skys is the male-female vocal interplay, with Ciurlionis’ voice tending to a deeper and bluesy bittersweet tone, and Buinicka’s being melodic, psychedelic, or ethnic. The rhythmic section is unhurried, the drums rolling most of the time on a mild Classic Rock beat, and the bass being harmonic, bouncing, and groovy. The instrumental set is completed with guitars – which are soaring, soulful, and weeping, contributing to the Bluesy component of The Skys’ music – counterbalanced and adjusted by the Progressive and Psychedelic elements that come from the keyboards. The sonic mix resembles bands like “SBB”, “Autograph” (the Prog stuff), “Pink Floyd”, “Wishbone Ash”, “Mountain”, “Cream”, “John Mayall”; and, because of the mixed male/female or bass/tremble voices, “Jefferson Airplane”, “Illusion”, “Yezda Urfa”, and “Ayreon”; and also “Van der Graaf Generator”, when the sax shows off. “Journey …” starts by the shortest songs: the straightforward Rock “One Saturday Of The Spring” (2:51); the slow and dark “The Rain” (2:53) (with a Baroque touch coming from harpsichords); and the groovy Psychedelic-Rock, “This Is What You’ve Got” (2:48), bringing male-female vocals that compete with vibrant piano and rocking organ, finishing on the beautifully ephemeral “Take a Look Inside” (0:37). From this point on, the album grows steadily, first with some Psychedelic standards and Progressive-Blues songs: “The Ancient Indian’s Song” (4:45) is a vintage Raga-Rock full of Hindu mantras, sounds of sitar, tablas, hypnotic bass, and ethnic female chanting; “Should Stop Now” (4:13) – one of the best tracks – has sadness, poignant sax, psychedelic female vocals, and wonderful guitar solo, keeping the bluesy mood on “The Wings Of The Night” (3:02), and on the superb “Dreams” (5:23) – this last featuring an awesome combination of sentimental guitars, like “Wishbone Ash”, space keyboards, like “Pink Floyd”, and Spanish guitars in between! The series has a climax on the powerful and galloping “Broken Sounds Of Truth” (3:40), with Hammonds and quasi-Metal guitars in 70’s Hard Rock style! The last songs are still more “proggy”: “Virtual Reality” (4:57) is mysterious and atmospheric, containing classical piano and acoustic guitar, whispering female vocals, cello, and climatic sax; “Is This The Way?” (3:53) is a bombastic Opera-Rock with the vibes of “Ayreon” and Prog-synths; and “Love Of Life” (6:16) finishes the album with symphonic grandeur, speed-up synths, heated sax, more guitars, all led by Buinicka’s great vocals! The Skys have really impressed me with an original brand of Blues-instilled Progressive Rock, and “Journey Through The Skies” consists in a wonderful, amazing, and brilliant album, which I regard as highly recommendable for fans of “SBB”, “Autograph”, “Pink Floyd”, “Wishbone Ash”, “Mountain”, “Cream”, “John Mayall”, “Jefferson Airplane”, “Illusion”, “Yezda Urfa”, “Ayreon”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, and so on! Band members and collaborators involved in The Skys are: Jonas Ciurlionis – Vocals, Lead Guitar; Božena Buinicka – Keyboards, Vocals; Aleksandr Liutvinskij – Rhythm Guitar; Justinas Tamaševicius – Bass; Ilja Molodcov – Drums, Percussion. Guest Musicians: Snowy White – Lead Guitar (6, 12); Robert Townsend – Sax (6, 12); Darius Kodikas – Sax (10); Gediminas Alekna – Cello (6, 10, 12); Martin Beedle – Drums (11). Backing Vocalists: Kyla Wight (1, 3, 5-7, 10, 12); Raimundas Juzuitis (3, 6); David Robson (6); Anne Marie Helder (11); Jolanta Grietnickaite (11); Lijana Stakauskaite (11). Album recorded at Mamas Studio (Vilnius, Lithuania) and at Liscombe Park Studios (London, UK). Engineered & Mixed by Steve Rispin; Mastered by Christian Wright at the Abbey Road Studios (UK). Artwork & Design by Rezo Kaishauri...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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10/18/2016.....Want to learn everything about the band and more about their history, you need to visit THE SKYS HOME PAGE...
. ROBERT REED - "Sanctuary II"
Robert Reed is a multi-instrumentalist musician and producer from the U.K. Reed is famous for his work with Progressive Rock bands “Cyan”, “Magenta”, “Kompendium”, “Kiama”, and “Chimpan A”. Robert Reed also works as a solo artist, and has released two studio albums: “Sanctuary” (2014) and “Sanctuary II” (2016). The “Sanctuary” concept embraces the musical ideal created by the acknowledged musician “Mike Oldfield” on his seminal album “Tubular Bells” (1973), which was developed on later albums, like “Ommadawn” (1975) and “Crises” (1983). Robert Reed grew up listening to those albums, and now, as a respectful acolyte, he ambitiously follows on the footsteps of “Oldfield”, trying himself to replicate and further develop the ingenious instrumental model crafted by his hero. And Reed is really capable of doing so, with relevance, elegance, and good taste! That is exactly what he shows on his new album, “Sanctuary II”, which was released on June 10th, 2016 on Tigermoth Productions Ltd. “Sanctuary II” was engineered and mixed by Reed, with help of the original “Tubular Bells” production team: Tom Newman and Simon Heyworth. As on the first “Sanctuary” album, Reed played all instruments himself (more than twenty, including the traditional guitars, bass, piano, keyboards, and tubular bells!), except that, on this second “Sanctuary” album, he decided to use a real drummer. His obvious choice was to enlist in the project nobody less than legendary drummer Simon Phillips (“Toto”, “The Who”), who had also played on “Mike Oldfield’s” album, “Crises”. The recordings had additional participation of Les Penning (also a contributor for “Mike Oldfield”), the female singer Angharad Brinn (lead vocals), and the Synergy Vocals choir. “Sanctuary II” was released in a de-luxe digipack edition containing 3 discs: CD1 features the two main compositions; CD2 contains bonus tracks/remixes and alternative mixes by Tom Newman; and disc-3 is a DVD containing the 5.1 mix of CD1 plus promo/interview videos. A vinyl version of the album is available from Plane Groovy. CD1 brings the main pieces: “Sanctuary II - Part One” (19:16) and “Sanctuary II - Part Two” (20:02). Those two parts may be regarded as a single one – both making an impressive composition that mixes Classical, Electronic, and World Music under a modern Progressive Rock focus. “Sanctuary II” takes the listener into a fantastic musical journey from Africa to Europe through the Mediterranean; and also through a time-tunnel that links ancient pagan eras to futuristic electronic worlds – a sonic experience that could only be generated on the fertile ground of Progressive Rock! The music is colorful, and richly adorned with electro-acoustic textures that combine modern electronic instruments with traditional ones. The mood is instilled with the folkloric joy of the rituals of abundance, rejoice, and love conquer. “Part One” introduces the main theme on keyboards and combines it with African ethno-chants, electric guitar peaks, and bombastic tubular bells. The middle sequence has romantic Spanish acoustic guitars and ethereal female vocals, festive banjos, and bouncing Celtic flutes, always mixed to that African chant, and guided by an incisive guitar and Prog-Rocking bass and drums. “Part Two” begins calmer, with a British Medieval spirit, but grows with the coming of acoustic guitars and female vocals that are both partners in a gypsy dance. A scherzo follows on, with the percussion and medieval flutes recalling me of bands like “Gryphon”, “The Morrigan”, and “Magenta”. A celebrative Baroque sequence is underlined with electronic-distorted voices, piano, bells and guitars. On the second half, the main theme is transferred for other instruments – keyboards, vibraphone, piano – reaching the electric guitar, on which it is played for a long time. The last quarter presents a Prog-Rock finale, with the instruments converging to a climax, driven by Simon Phillips’ brilliant drumming. CD 2 contains bonus tracks (taken from Reed’s digital EP, “Marimba”), such as: “Salzburg” (2:48) – a complex Symphonic-Prog piece instilled with “Mozartian” joy – and the calm and pastoral “Pen Y Fan” (2:14). It has excerpts from “Sanctuary II”, such as: the Single Edits of “Les Penning Section” (1:28) and the Afro-chant “Marimba” (3:45); the Alternative Edits “Side Two Opening” (5:35) and “Side Two End” (4:42); the “Chimpan A’s” Electronic-Lounge Remix of “Marimba” (5:03); and Tom Newman’s Mixes of “Sanctuary II Part 1” (19:21) and “Sanctuary II Part 2” (21:00). The DVD brings the entire “Sanctuary II - Parts 1 and 2” in 5.1 24/96 Surround Mix; and “Promo Videos” on which Robert Reed appears playing with multiple images of himself. There are also interviews, and a few takes featuring Phillips and Les Penning. To sum all up, I can say that “Sanctuary II” is an impressive Progressive masterpiece, crafted by an inspired and talented Robert Reed, executed with help of his friends, and made possible thanks to the employment of modern technology. If you like “Mike Oldfield”, “Yes” (from “Close to the Edge” to “Tales From Topographic Oceans”), “King Crimson” of the ‘80s, “The Flower Kings” (album “Unfold The Future”), bands like “Gryphon”, “The Morrigan”, “Proud Peasant”, “Unitopia”, “Magenta”; or enter the vibes of “Paul Simon’s” “Graceland”, recent stuff of “Tangerine Dream” and “Marillion”, substantial music of “Vangelis”, “Kitaro”, “Philip Glass”, and “Toto”, then Robert Reed’s “Sanctuary II” is a must-have item for you! Band members and collaborators involved in Robert Reed are: Robert Reed – Grand Piano, Electric, Acoustic, Nylon & 12-String Guitars, Bass, Mandolin, Glockenspiel, Vibraphone, Marimba, Timpani, Banjo, Orchestral Bass Drum, Sleigh Bells, Bouzouki, Melodica, Recorders, Farfisa Organ, Solina String Ensemble, Roland SH-2000, Table, Bodhran, and Tubular Bells. Guests: Simon Phillips – Drums; Angharad Brinn - Lead Vocals; Synergy Vocals - Chant Vocals; Tom Newman – Bohdran; Les Penning - Recorders on “Sanctuary II Pt 2”. Album Recorded Jan. 2015-Jan. 2016 at Big Studio, S. Wales; Piano at Fieldgate Studio, Penarth; Drums at Phantom Recording Studio, USA. Synergy Vocals Recorded at Air Edel, London. Produced, Engineered and Mixed by Robert Reed. Mastered by Simon Heyworth as Super Audio Mastering; DVD/Surround Authoring by Neil Wilkes. Cover Art by Markus Reugels. Executive Producer: Tom Newman. Also you must visit Robert Reed's BandCamp Site...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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10/18/2016..........,.....If you want know more about this great musician and songwriter please visit ROBERT REED HOME PAGE...
. THE NEAL MORSE BAND - "Alive Again Tour 2015"
The Neal Morse Band is a fantastic Prog-group consisting of Neal Morse (lead vocals, keyboards, guitars), Mike Portnoy (drums, vocals), Randy George (bass, vocals), Bill Hubauer (keyboards, guitars, clarinet, sax, vocals) and Eric Gillette (lead guitars, vocals). Neal Morse is a Progressive Rock luminary of this century! He has been a crusader, fighting for the Prog-revival in the USA and worldwide, either with his ex-band, “Spock’s Beard”, or on the super-groups “Transatlantic” and “Flying Colors”. Morse’s solo career is also successful, as he released many albums: “Neal Morse” (1999), “It's Not Too Late” (2001), “Testimony” (2003), “One” (2004), “Question Mark” (2005), “Sola Scriptura” (2007), “Lifeline” (2008), “Testimony 2” (2011), “Momentum” (2012); and the albums of covers, “Cover to Cover” (2006) and “Cover 2 Cover” (2012) - all available from Radiant Records. The name of Neal Morse began to get known when he formed “Spock's Beard”, whose first album, “The Light” (1995), agitated the Prog community. With Morse, “Spock's Beard” released 6 acclaimed albums, forming a solid fan base. In 2000 Morse moved to a more ambitious project and co-founded the super-group “Transatlantic” with drummer Mike Portnoy (ex-“Dream Theater”), bassist “Pete Trewavas” (“Marillion”) and guitar player “Roine Stolt” (“The Flower Kings”). “Transatlantic” released the albums “SMPT:e” (2000), “Bridge Across Forever” (2001), “The Whirlwind” (2009), “Kaleidoscope” (2014), and live material. In 2001 Morse left “Spock's Beard” to venture on a solo career. At this time he declared his faith as a born again Christian. Morse’s first solo tour was so successful (as documented on the “Testimony Live DVD”), that Morse, Mike Portnoy, and the touring bassist Randy George (a veteran who has worked with many artists of the Prog/Fusion scenes; and whose band, “Ajalon”, had signed with “Rick Wakeman’s” record label) returned to the studio to record “One” (2004) – a concept album that would be the cornerstone of Morse’s future works. In 2014 Morse, Portnoy and George were joined by multi-instrumentalist Bill Hubauer (ex-“Ten Point Ten” and “ApologetiX”) and by guitarist Eric Gillette (a young finalist of the “Guitarmageddon” contest), forming The Neal Morse Band – a new Prog-project counting with the collective collaboration of all members. The Neal Morse Band debuted in 2015 with the studio album “The Grand Experiment” (Radiant Records), and then set out on a world tour in the spring of the same year. An amazing show of that tour was recorded on March 6 in Holland and is being released under the title “Alive Again Tour 2015” (2016, Radiant Records). The “Alive Again” package includes a double CD set plus a third disc – either a DVD, or a Blue-ray – that documents the entire show. The DVD showcases a sensational performing band on top of their form, playing and singing together with a perfection that hints at a communion with the Heavens! The sound and image are excellent, and cameras set on many different angles take images from all musicians in action, or in close-up, offering a visual dynamics that matches the music of the band. The colorful lights, laser bins, and other visual effects contribute to the show without stealing the focus from the musicians, who are the stars that must shine on the stage. And they do shine! A vibrant Neal Morse takes the lead, singing most songs, alternating from keyboards to guitars and interacting with the audience. Gillette and Hubauer have their moments as lead singers, too (on “Waterfall” and “Alive Again”, respectively). In addition, they have their own sets for doing amazing solos! Gillette is a talented axe-man who plays under the sign of the greats (“Satriani”, “Vai” “Petrucci”, “Eric Johnson”, and “Andy Timmons”). Hubauer impressed me with his eclecticism: in spite of standing behind the keyboards most of the time, on some moments he showed to be proficient also on guitars, clarinet, and sax! Portnoy is comfortable playing on his drums, conducting with easiness the hole of being the propulsive rhythmic motor of the band, sometimes as wildly as in “DT’s” times! George is a technical and focused bassist, who reserves surprises for the audience! The set list includes most songs of The Neal Morse Band’s album, “The Grand Experiment”, plus songs from Morse’s early repertoire – like “The Creation” (16:49) and “Reunion” (4:44), from his emblematic album “One”. The show starts explosively with “Alive Again Intro” (2:06), “The Call” (10:21), and the swinging Classic Rock “The Grand Experiment” (5:48) – all from the eponymous album – interspersed with the impressive “Leviathan” (6:00) (from “Lifeline”) and the demolition “Harm's Way” (14:12) – a wonderful piece of the “Spock’s Beard” Era. A tranquil moment comes when Morse plays alone the acoustic ballad “There Is Nothing That God Can't Change” (7:18). The temperature rises again with the coming of one the best tracks of “The Grand Experiment”: “Waterfall” (7:18) – a superb piece played un-plugged by the whole band (Portnoy does backing vocals, George adds soaring keyboards, and Hubauer finishes it with sensitive tunes on clarinet). It is followed by Gillette’s blazing solo, which introduces a burning version of “In The Fire” (10:28) (of the “Question Mark” album), stuffed with dueling solos of guitars, keys, bass, and sax! The highest point of the show happens on “Alive Again” (34:16) – the magnum opus of the debut album – when the musicians surprise the audience, by trading instruments with each other! Neal Morse delivers his guitar to Hubauer and goes behind the drums – and he really plays them! Gillette takes over the keyboards, and later helps Morse behind the drums (and he makes fantastic solos on both!). In the meantime, Portnoy plays on George’s bass, and George goes out, to take some fresh air. When he returns, he finds Morse playing on his bass. So, George simply shows his awesome versatility, picking the guitar, then keyboards; and finishes his act on his knees, making a solo on the bass pedals! The musicians retake their original instruments, and Hubauer beautifully sings the last part of the song. The final encore rocks hard, and features an exultant Neal Morse leading the band on “Rejoice” (3:36) and “Oh Lord, My God” (3:11) – from “Testimony” – and leaving the stage to blend with the audience! He ends the show in ecstasy, bringing a message of God on “King Jesus” (6:38). After watching this amazing DVD, I say that, being you an Atheist, a Born Again Christian, or an adept of any other religion, for Heaven’s sake, you cannot miss “Alive Again” – an astounding release by The Neal Morse Band! A must-have item for fans of Classic Progressive Rock in the vein of “Yes”, “Genesis”, “Kansas”, “ELP”, “Flower Kings”, “Tangent”, “Spock’s Beard”, “Transatlantic”, “Flying Colors”, “Dixie Dregs”, “Rush”, “Kaipa”, and others like them! The Neal Morse Band has promised a new album for November! Stay tuned! Band members and collaborators involved in The Neal Morse Band are: Neal Morse – Vocals, Keyboards, Guitars; Mike Portnoy – Drums, Backing Vocals; Randy George – Bass, Backing Vocals; Eric Gillette – Lead Guitars, Lead & Backing Vocals; Bill Hubauer – Keyboards, Guitars, Clarinet, Sax, Lead & Backing Vocals. Recorded Live at the Cultuurpodium Boerderij, March 6, 2015. Video Planning by John Vis & Geert-Jan Shoonbeek; Video Editing by G-J. Shoonbeek - VideOmega. Audio Mixed by Rich Mouser; Additional Audio Editing by Jeff Fox. “Alive Again” Complete set-list: CD 1: “Alive Again Intro” (2:06); “The Call” (10:21); “Leviathan” (6:00); “The Grand Experiment” (5:48); “Harm's Way” (14:12); “Bill's Keyboard Solo” (2:45); “The Creation” (16:49); “There Is Nothing That God Can't Change” (7:18). Total Time 65:22. CD 2: “Waterfall” (7:18); “Eric's Gtr Solo” (3:32); “In The Fire” (10:28); “Alive Again” (34:16); “Rejoice” (3:36); “Oh Lord, My God” (3:11); “Reunion” (4:44); “King Jesus” (6:38). Total Time 73:50. DVD: All tracks of CD1 + CD2. Also you must visit The Neal Morse Band's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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10/18/2016....................................More information? Better check it out for yourself at: THE NEAL MORSE BAND HOME PAGE...
. PROJECTION - "Realitivity"
Projection is a new band hailing from Winterswijk, the Netherlands. The line-up consists of Frank Van Eerden (guitars, vocals), Jürgen ten Have (bass, vocals), Richard Immink (drums, vocals), and Peter Pampiermole (keyboards, vocals), who have been recently joined by Herman Wiggers (lead vocals). Projection formed in January of 2012 and released an independent album entitled “Realitivity” (December 20, 2015). Projection plays a brand of Melodic Rock impregnated with Progressive Rock/Metal influences (mostly of “Steven Wilson”, “Queensrÿche”, “Moon Safari”, and “Karmakanic”; lesser of “Dream Theater”, “Symphony X”). Projection has been also compared to bands like “Asia”, “Vanden Plas”, “IQ” and “Alan Parsons Project”. Projection’s album, “Realitivity”, was made available on both digital and physical formats. The CD version is also offered in a digipak edition that includes a 16-page booklet featuring lyrics and great artwork. “Realitivity” is a concept album based on true life and contains 12 tracks. The Projection’s sound is really substantial and impressive! The band stands on the frontier between the Melodic Rock and the Prog-Metal. Bass and drums keep a powerful pulse, but also cover an ample rhythmic spectrum – from soaring Neo-Prog to galloping Metal. The sound of the guitar retains a metallized texture, but is never as violent or fast as on standard Prog-Metal, being rather slow, pounding, and cadenced. Keyboards, on the contrary, tend more to Prog, sounding very melodic, spatial, and electronic. Although not numerous along the record, the solos of both guitars and synths are well-crafted and melodic. Projection’s trademark consists on the elaborated harmonization of the lead with the backing vocals, which are melodic, emotional, and epic, having an affinity with the Melodic Rock style. Projection’s strongest point, however, stands on the way that the band combines the sonic elements, waiting for the right moment to be atmospheric or heavy; somber or energetic; melodic or aggressive; emotional or technical. In this way, Projection came up with great songs that parallel the works of bands like “Queensrÿche”, “Nightingale”, “Everon”, “Sieges Even”, “Magnum”, “Fates Warning”, “Threshold”, “Redemption”, “Royal Hunt”, “Enchant”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Knight Area”, “Amaran’s Plight”, “Asia”, “Marillion”, “RPWL”, “Osada Vida”, “Pallas”, “Galahad”, “Jadis”, “Arena”, “IQ”, “Enchant”, “Roswell Six”, “Steven Wilson”, “Vanden Plas”, etc. “Realitivity” starts with the intro, “On” (1:49), and a number of vibrant rocking songs that combine upbeat drumming, AOR-Metal vocals, powerful bass and guitars, and festive keyboards, which are: “Running Through Time” (4:22) and “Hypocrite” (4:59) (this one marked by a sticky chorus!). Both are intermediated by the anguishing darkness of “The Expectation Cell” (3:13). The Prog-ballad “Numb” (4:41) changes the musical mode from emotional to heavy; and its great synth solo links it to the next tracks: “Overload” (4:06), “Scape (From Reality)” (3:42) and “Delirious” (5:53). Those songs tend moreover to the Prog-Metal style, and combine dramatic vocals, hovering riffs, space organ, and cosmic synths in epic arrangements that recall “Queensrÿche”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Everon”, “Sieges Even”, “Enchant”, “Amaran’s Plight”. The melancholic ballad “Stranded” (3:45) comes up next, lowering the energy level with acoustic guitars, poignant string arrangements, and a solitary mood on vocals. The album’s ascension to the blasting climax starts on “Erase” (5:16) – which begins slow and soaring (driven by nice bass lines), exploding later on galloping drums, epic vocals and guitar solos! A swerve to a joyful, “hope on the horizon” mood, is sensed on the 80’s “Pop-gressive” Rock “Off: A New Beginning” (4:21). The final climax happens on “On (Again)” (7:51) – an acoustic/piano ballad that starts with a melancholic atmosphere and later grows to the level of an epic Neo-Prog, finishing with a beautiful and sensitive guitar solo that will make fans of “Pallas”, “Jadis”, “Arena”, and “IQ” cry for more! Projection’s debut album, “Realitivity”, showcases a highly professional and committed band, owner of a keen sense of balance for composing memorable songs and elaborated vocal harmonies. Projection arrives to the Melodic Rock and Prog-Metal scenes with serious aim of conquering many fans! Projection is therefore highly recommendable for fans of “Queensrÿche”, “Nightingale”, “Everon”, “Sieges Even”, “Magnum”, “Fates Warning”, “Threshold”, “Redemption”, “Royal Hunt”, “Enchant”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Knight Area”, “Amaran’s Plight”, “Asia”, “Marillion”, “RPWL”, “Osada Vida”, “Pallas”, “Galahad”, “Jadis”, “Arena”, “IQ”, “Enchant”, “Roswell Six”, “Steven Wilson”, “Vanden Plas”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Projection are: Frank Van Eerden – Guitars, Vocals; Peter Pampiermole – Keyboards, Vocals; Jürgen ten Have – Bass, Vocals; Richard Immink – Drums, Vocals; Herman Wiggers – Lead Vocals (did not take part on “Realitivity”). Recorded, Mixed & Mastered at the White Noise Studio, Winterswijk. Also you must visit Projection's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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11/25/2016.........................Want to learn everything about the band and their history, you need to visit PROJECTION HOME PAGE...
. SYNDONE - "Eros & Thanatos"
Syndone – an amazing Avant-Garde Progressive Rock Band from Italy – is welcomed to PR&PM once more! Syndone was formed in Turin in 1989, and since then had different incarnations. The only original member left is Nik Comoglio (keyboards & compositions), who stands as Syndone’s central figure. Syndone started as a trio, with Nik Comoglio (keyboards & compositions), Fulvio Serra (bass), and Paolo Sburlati (drums) aiming to do keyboard-oriented Symphonic Rock in the vein of “Emerson Lake & Palmer”. They released the albums "Spleen" (1990) and "Inca" (1992), and later split up. Syndone’s second incarnation was gathered by Comoglio in 2009, featuring: Riccardo Ruggeri (vocals), Francesco Pinetti (vibraphone), Federico Marchesano (bass), and Paolo Rigotto (drums, percussion). They released “Melapesante” (2010, Electromantic) and won the position of “Band of The Month” at PR&PM in March 2011! Syndone’s line-up was afterwards downsized to a trio consisting of Comoglio, Pinetti, and Ruggeri – which released the albums “La Bella é La Bestia” (2012, AMS/BTF) and “Odysséas” (2014, Fading Records). On “Odysséas”, the trio was joined by guest musicians, including Marco Minnemann (drums), John Hackett (flute), and former member Federico Marchesano (bass). “Odysséas” was a bombastic Symphonic-Prog album with an Avant-garde twist, and was reviewed at PR&PM in 2014. Syndone’s new release is “Eros & Thanatos” (2016, Fading Records Italy) – a concept album exploring the confrontation of Life and Death, Love and Merciless. The line-up has been changed again: together with the central figures Nik Comoglio (keyboards, pipe organ, orchestration) and Riccardo Ruggeri (vocals, lyrics, acoustic guitar), the record has participation of Marta Caldara (vibraphone, piano, Mellotron), Gigi Rivetti (piano, Hammond, Moog, clavinet), Maurino Dellacqua (bass), Martino Malacrida (drums, percussion). It also features: the special guests Steve Hackett (“Genesis”), on electric guitar; Ray Thomas (“The Moody Blues”), on flute; and a huge string orchestra, conducted by Maestro Fabio Gurian. Syndone’s music is a complex intertwinement of bombastic keyboards (Piano, Hammonds & Moogs), amazing bass progressions, and opulent drumming; all underlined by the distinguishing sound of the vibraphone. The rare and wonderful voice of Riccardo Ruggeri is also a trademark of this incarnation of Syndone. His style goes from powerful, soulful, and bluesy (like “Robert Plant”), to emotional, operatic, and jazzy (like “Freddie Mercury”); and the musical understanding that he shares with Comoglio’s classical piano is perfect, inspiring and sublime! Finally, with support of a huge string orchestra, Syndone creates its own brand of Progressive Rock, blending Classical and Contemporaneous Academic Music, Neo-Opera, Jazz-Rock, Middle-East and vintage Italian Prog, being reminiscent of bands like “ELP”, “King Crimson”, “Gentle Giant”, “Henry Cow”, “Isildurs Bane”, “Magma”, “Arti & Mestieri”, “Area”, “Deus Ex Machina”, “Le Orme”, “Il Paese dei Balocchi”, “Banco del Mutuo Soccorso”, “Delirium”, “Quella Vecchia Locanda”,  “Osanna”, “Nuova Idea”, “Il Rovescio Della Medaglia”, “Il Balletto di Bronzo”, and “Alphataurus”. “Eros & Thanatos” contains 11 tracks. The album begins with “Framento” (1:02) – a “Queen”-like nice vocal harmony obtained with the employment of the vocoder; which introduces the instrumental “Area 51” (3:07) – a powerful piece with dazzling keyboards, bass, and drums! The following tracks, “Terra Che Brucia” (5:26) and “Gli Spiriti Dei Campi” (5:27) are both introduced by the amazing vocals of the sensitive troubadour Ruggeri, either accompanied by the acoustic guitar (on “Terra…”), or by the grand piano (on “Gli Spiriti…”). Both songs have however strong Progressive twist at the middle, with “Terra…” placing an imposing church organ before a groovy instrumental section that emphasizes vintage keyboards (Moogs, Hammonds); and “Gli Spiriti…” presenting an Avant-garde sequence with entangled bass and vibraphone, followed by aggressive vocals. The same pattern appears on track 6, “Duro Come La Morte” (5:54), on which the emotional vocal/piano intro is cathartically broken by spectacular keyboard-oriented Prog-Jazzy samples and grandiose synths! The orchestra joins in, strengthening the symphonic mood of those amazing songs! Mostly vigorous and impressive are tracks 5, “Qinah” (6:10) and 8, “Farha” (3:19) – which have Middle Eastern musical influences and lyrics in Israeli and Arabian. “Qinah” is a vertiginous Jazz-Rock with Contemporaneous/Zeuhl leanings – sounding as a ferocious mix of “Area”, “ELP”, and “Magma”! The celestial vocals that soar up at the middle and fall down later into a crater of Jazz-Rock effervescence are memorable! And “Farha” is a vivid ancient Berber dance, adorned with modern synths! “Bambole” (4:15), despite its joyful Pop chorus, recalls the best of “ELP”. And if on track 7, “Alla Sinistra Del Mio Petto” (3:08), Ruggeri shines as one of the best Italian singers alive, he endorses this position on track 9, “L’Urlo Nelle Ossa” (7:15), on which his sensitive voice and gentle acoustic guitar make an allegiance with Ray Thomas’s flute to fight against a menacing army including martial drums, imposing keyboards, and a titanic orchestra!  The album reaches its climax on 11, “Sotto Un Ciello Di Fuoco” (5:37) – a majestic Neo-Classical composition that is born from an epic piano/vocal theme that grows expressively with the coming of Steve Hackett’s guitar, experiencing a thrilling ascension when the band and orchestra follow on! Syndone has produced another splendid Progressive masterpiece, confirming that it is one of the best bands of the present Italian-Prog scene. “Eros & Thanatos” is a must-have item for fans of “ELP”, “King Crimson”, “Gentle Giant”, “Isildurs Bane”, “Area”, “Deus Ex Machina”, “Arti & Mestieri”, “Banco del Mutuo Soccorso”, “Delirium”, “Il Balletto di Bronzo”, “Quella Vecchia Locanda”, “Latte e Miele”, “Le Orme”, “Il Paese dei Balocchi”, “Osanna”, “Alphataurus”, “Nuova Idea”, “Stormy Six”, “Il Rovescio Della Medaglia”, “De De Lind”, and “Freddie Mercury”. Band members and collaborators involved in Syndone are: Nik Comoglio – Keyboards, Pipe Organ, Orchestration; Riccardo Ruggeri – Vocals, Backing Vocals, Vocoder, 12 String Acoustic Guitar, Lyrics; Marta Caldara – Vibraphone, Piano (7), Mellotron (3); Gigi Rivetti – Piano (6, 8, 9, 11), Hammond (3), Moog (5), Electric Piano (1, 5), Clavinet (1); Maurino Dellacqua – Bass, Taurus Bass; Martino Malacrida – Drums, Percussion. Special Guests: Steve Hackett – Electric Guitar (11); Ray Thomas – Flute (9). Guest Musicians: Tony De Gruttola – Acoustic Guitars (8); Pino Russo – Classic Guitar (3), Oud (5). The Puntorec String Orchestra (30 musicians) Conducted by Mº Fabio Gurian. String Quartet: Sergio Lamberto – Violin 1; Maria Bertolo – Violin 2; Elena Favilla – Alto Violin; Umberto Clerici – Cello & Cello Solo. Album Recorded between Sep. 2015 & Jan 2016 at Puntorec Recording Studios & Discodarte Recording Studios, Turin. S. Hackett’s guitar & R. Thomas’ flute recorded at their own studios in London. Mixed at Puntorec Recording Studios by Fabrizio Argiolas; Mastered at Fonoprint, Bologna, by Maurizio Biancani, assisted by Enrico Capalbo. Production: AltrOck & Fading Records... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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11/25/2016..................................Is there an interested to know more about them? Then you must visit SYNDONE HOME PAGE...
. BLUE MAMMOTH - "Stories Of A King"
Blue Mammoth is back to PR&PM! Blue Mammoth is a Brazilian Progressive Rock band that was formed in 2009 by Julian Quilodran (bass) and Andre Micheli (vocals, keyboards). Back in 2003, the duo started up as a studio project, having collaboration of the guitarists Pablo Marques and Cesar Aires on their first songs. As the repertoire grew gradually in quantity and quality, drummer Thiago Meyer and guitarist Andre Lupac joined in the project – which could then be regarded as a complete band: Blue Mammoth. After releasing three singles on the internet, the band signed with Masque Records and released their eponymous album – “Blue Mammoth” – in 2011! With “Blue Mammoth”, the band garnered the position of “Best Band of the Month of September 2011” here, at PR&PM, receiving an eligible review that highlighted the commitment and musical talent of all band members, including a detailed band’s biography. After the release of “Blue Mammoth”, guitarist Andre Lupac left the band. Cesar Aires replaced him as a transitory member, and collaborated on the preparation of an ongoing second album. Vinícius de Oliveira came in replacement to Aires, and became Blue Mammoth’s permanent guitarist. He finished the second album, adding extra solos and rhythmic sections to most of the songs. With the work completed, Blue Mammoth could finally present to the world their newest album, entitled “Stories Of A King” (2016, self-produced). “Stories Of A King” brings 10 tracks, and is available on both digital and physical formats, the later containing a booklet featuring great artwork. “Stories Of A King” is also a concept album: filling in the role of a storyteller, the band describes the imaginary travelers of an endless “road of life”; as they experience their own misadventures, they also learn more of spiritual issues, until realizing, on the last song, that all travelers were just the reincarnations of one single madman. Since the songs of “Blue Mammoth” and “Stories Of A King” were composed on the same period of time, there is a clear stylistic connection between them. As on the debut, some tracks of  “Stories …” have been grouped together to form small suites. Regarding the musical contents, this new album features the same brand of 70’s British Symphonic Rock offered on Blue Mammoth’s first album, invigorated by the energy of 70’s Hard Rock, and tempered with the epic vibes of early 80’s Neo-Prog! Aside from being lavishly embellished with outstanding solos of guitars and keyboards, the songs focus on the beauty of the melodies and on the euphonic harmonization of the arrangements. Overall, the music of Blue Mammoth has strong influences of “Yes”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Kansas”, “Genesis”, “Camel”, “ELP”, “Greenslade”, “Fruupp”, “Gentle Giant”, “King Crimson”, “Uriah Heep”, “Cherry Five”; minor influences of “Marillion”, “Pallas”, “IQ”, “Pendragon”; and is also comparable to “Flower Kings”, “The Tangent”, “Anima Mundi”, “Black Bonzo”, “Mangala Vallis”, “Barock Project”, “Karmakanic”, and to Brazilian Prog-bands like “Apocalypse”, “Quaterna Requiem”, “Cartoon”, “Tempus Fugit”, “Caravela Escarlate”, “Únitri”, “Arcpelago”, and others. “Stories Of A King” starts with “The Endless Road” (7:28) – a startling sample of what the sound of Blue Mammoth is all about: a dynamic equilibrium between Symphonic Progressive elements and Hard Rock forceful drives, with balanced distribution of cerebral themes over keyboards and guitars – the main solo instruments. If keyboards come in a variety of textures – classical piano, gritty organ, superb attacking synths; guitars further complicate the arrangements, by introducing soft plucking, melodic tunes, hard-rocking riffs, and blazing solos! Bass and drums are rocking, but the bass regulates the temperature of the songs, harmonizing the arrangements. The vocal mellowness obeys the British Prog/Neo-Prog standards, but the harmonic backing vocals sound alternatively like “Yes” or “Gentle Giant”. The moods vary from track to track: on the suite “The Winged Boy” – composed of “Lonely Flight” (7:46) + “Flying Free” (6:12) – the spirited vocals of the first, and the speed and instrumental improvisations of the second, represent the freedom of flying. Other songs are immersed in a dark, medieval atmosphere, condensed on a number of Hard-Rock elements (e.g. heavy guitar riffs, gritty Hammonds, a potent rhythmic section). They are: “Children´s Fear” (5:09) and “The Story Of A King” – the album’s main suite, composed of “Perfect Dreams” (6:41) + “The Reign” (7:19) + “Reflections of Death” (7:12) – a tryptic that merges influences of “Rick Wakeman”, “Uriah Heep”, old “Genesis”, and celebrative “Gentle Giant” vocals. The highlights are the interchange of adventurous Rock themes and soaring Prog parts on “Perfect …” and “Reign”; and the grandiose Classical piano that takes the lead on “Reflections…”, transferring the epic feeling to the next guitar solo, and leaving the climax for ascending Moogs! But a real Symphonic mood comes on “Nobody´s Hero” (6:10) and “Waiting Room” (7:14) – two epics conveyed on majestic cadences that are embellished with Baroque keyboards and soaring solos of guitar; and instilled with the vibes of “Pendragon”, “Pallas”, “IQ”, and “Marillion”. “Nobody´s…” has a surprising twist to Blues on the piano; while “Waiting…” finishes the album with a magnificent orchestration! The song “Wrong Ways – Galileo’s Choice” (5:36), presented in an accessible 80’s Neo-Prog style, completes the track-list. Summing all up, “Stories Of A King” is a superb second album by Blue Mammoth, a precious item that really honors the Prog-Rock tradition, being highly recommendable for fans of: “Yes”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Kansas”, “Genesis”, “ELP”, “Greenslade”, “Camel”, “Fruupp”, “Gentle Giant”, “King Crimson”, “Uriah Heep”, “Cherry Five”, “Marillion”, “Pallas”, “IQ”, “Pendragon”, “Flower Kings”, “The Tangent”, “Anima Mundi”, “Black Bonzo”, “Mangala Vallis”, “Barock Project”, “Karmakanic”, “Apocalypse”, “Quaterna Requiem”, “Cartoon”, “Tempus Fugit”, “Caravela Escarlate”, “Únitri”, “Arcpelago”, and so on! Band members and collaborators involved in Blue Mammoth are: Andre Micheli – Lead & Backing Vocals, Piano, Organ, Synths; Julian Quilodran – Bass, Cello, Flute, Backing Vocals; Vinicius de Oliveira – Guitars; Thiago Meyer – Drums & Percussion, Backing Vocals. Former Member: Andre Lupac – Guitars, Flute & Backing Vocals. Recorded & Mixed by Julian Quilodran; Produced by Blue Mammoth... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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11/25/2016............Interested to know more about this amazing brazilian prog rock Band? Visit BLUE MAMMOTH HOME PAGE...
. PERVY PERKIN - "ToTeM"
Pervy Perkin is a Spanish Experimental Progressive Rock and Metal outfit that originated in Murcia and now is based in Madrid. The line-up presently forms with Dante The Samurai (guitars, vocals), Alejandro Macho (lead vocals, keyboards), Pablo ‘Aks’ (bass, vocals), Carly Pajarón (drums, vocals), and Juan Tides (guitars), who is replacing former founding member Álvaro Luis (guitar). Pervy Perkin started out as a project founded by Álvaro, Carly and Dante, joined by Rafa ‘Fika’ (bass) and Ugo Fellone (keyboards). In September 2010 the band entered a small studio to begin to record their first songs. The moniker Pervy Perkin was stablished in 2011, when the group reached the semi-finals of an important music contest in Murcia, being the youngest band to do so. Nearing the end of 2012, Pervy Perkin focused efforts on the recording of a debut album: “Ink”. During the process, bassist Rafa departed, leaving the bass parts in charge of Álvaro and Dante; and lead singer Alejandro Macho came in, on time to record the main vocals of the album. “Ink” was independently released on March 3, 2014. It was an ambitious double CD featuring more than 2 hours of Progressive Music. “Ink” received positive reviews from all around the world, resulting in a Pervy Perkin’s tour around Spain. In October 2013 bassist Pablo ‘Aks’ joined Pervy Perkin as a permanent member. On April 15, 2016, Pervy Perkin released their second self-produced album, entitled “ToTeM”. “ToTeM” consists in a most ambitious work than “Ink”. The album came out in two different editions: a single CD Jewel Box Edition containing the whole “ToTeM” repertoire; and a double CD Digipack Special Edition, featuring the original “ToTeM”, plus a bonus album with 3 new songs (“Toska Sonata”, “Cucumber of the Gods”, “Forest Lights”) and an extended version of the album’s last track, “T.I.M.E. (Part 1: The Experiment)”. This review is about the single edition of “ToTeM”, which features 9 tracks – 5 songs separated by 4 interludes. The band views “ToTeM” as a more experimental and eclectic album than “Ink”, and expect to make huge impact on whoever listens to it. Well, I have got really impacted by “ToTeM” – an amazing album that conjures power, freshness, originality and surprising creativity! Pervy Perkin’s musicians are technically excellent, and deliver their music with serious commitment. Pervy Perkin’s sound is so weird, dynamic and metamorphosing, that it is impossible to link it to a single Rock style. The music is rather branching, covering many different musical genres, from 70’s Progressive Rock, Heavy Prog and Progressive Metal, to impregnations of Techno, Country, Space Rock/Metal, Blues, Jazz-Fusion, and more; and the only convergence might be with the term “experimental”! There are melodic, theatrical, histrionic and granting vocals; jazzy to funky rhythmic passages; tsunamic waves of Prog and Space synths; and heavy guitar riffs referable to a dozen subdivisions of Metal, all chained together in hundreds of sonic fragments that recall one band’s style or another. But the songs change so unexpectedly fast, that the listener of Pervy Perkin must keep his/her level of attention really high, in order to absorb all of their complexity! Pervy Perkin is influenced by bands like: “Dream Theater”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Pain of Salvation”, “Symphony X”, “Devin Townsend”, “Akira Yamaoka”, “Mr. Bungle”, “Slipknot”, “Rage Against The Machine”, “Red Hot Chili Peppers”, “System Of A Down”, “Opeth”, “Leprous”, “Karnivool”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Radiohead”, “Muse”, “Frank Zappa”, “Pink Floyd”, “Gentle Giant”, “Spock's Beard”, “Transatlantic”, “Neal Morse”, “Queen”, “Kansas”, “Rush”, “Deep Purple”, “Led Zeppelin”, and “Guns n’ Roses”. They also recall me of bands like “King Crimson”, “Primus”, “Schizoid Lloyd”, “Psychotic Waltz”, “Threshold”, “Haken”, “The Tea Club”, “Dillinger Escape Plan”, “Protest The Hero”, “Panzerballett”, “Cynic”, “Mudvayne”, “Suicidal Tendencies”, “Massive Attack”. The album’s four interludes – “I. The City” (1:34); “II. The Fog” (1:28); “III. The Sound” (1:58); and “IV. The Void” (1:34), are Techno-Electronic pieces with heavy bass beats, noisy interferences, and interplanetary alien voices (like “Massive Attack”). They are like interdimensional windows, through which the listeners are driven from one song to another. Two songs, “KountryKuntKlub” (4:29) and “Hypochondria” (6:18), have “normal” duration, but contrast strongly in style: “KountryKuntKlub” is a sarcastic Cajun/Country song caricatured as Metal, on which “Zappa” meets “Primus”, “RHCP”, and “Suicidal Tendencies”; “Hypochondria” is a grotesque Extreme-New-Metal, driven by vomited vocals, aggressive guitars and supersonic syncopated drums (like “Slipknot”, “Mudvayne”, “Opeth”, “Meshuggah”, “Karnivool”), containing surprising Space-Rock guitars in the middle! Their madness is balanced by the longest songs: “I Believe” (15:56); “Mr. Gutmann” (26:00); and “T.I.M.E. (Part 1 The Experiment)” (19:31). These are the main pieces of the album, the ones that make the sound of Pervy Perkin to be memorable to the listener! “I Believe” is an alluring opening track that follows on a Dark-Prog/Heavy Prog/Space-Metal line similar to “Porcupine Tree” and “Muse”, featuring a superb choir formed by members of more than 20 Prog-Rock bands from Spain! On “Mr. Gutmann” – the central piece – the listener will have a good sample of PP’s super-saturated sound: in a time-span of few compasses, I realized influences of “Gentle Giant”, “King Crimson”, “LTE”, “Mr. Bungle”, and “Slipknot”; yet, on another fragment, there were influences covering from “Metallica” to “Zappa”. This mega-song also includes: flute, sax, royal symphonic melodies, bombastic Prog, Oriental-Metal and Techno! Finally, “T.I.M.E.” closes the album at a high edge! This track has a Melodic/Alternative Rock orientation (“Radiohead”-influenced), but blended to several kinds of Metal (with influences of “Dream Theater”, “Pain of Salvation”, “Devin Townsend”, “Scorpions”); converging to a groovy part that mixes “RATM” with a raging guitar solo, and to an end in “Slipknot” style! Pervy Perkin’s music is a model of Experimental Metal infused with non-orthodox Progressive ideas! Their new album, “ToTeM”, is a must-have item for fans of: “Porcupine Tree”, “Radiohead”, “Muse”, “Dream Theater”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Pain of Salvation”, “Devin Townsend”, “Mr. Bungle”, “Slipknot”, “Rage Against The Machine”, “Red Hot Chili Peppers”, “System Of A Down”, “Mudvayne”, “Karnivool”, “Opeth”, “Leprous”, “Primus”, “Schizoid Lloyd”, “Psychotic Waltz”, “Threshold”, “Haken”, “The Tea Club”, “Dillinger Escape Plan”, “Protest The Hero”, “Panzerballett”, “Cynic”, “Frank Zappa”, “Rush”, “Akira Yamaoka”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Pervy Perkin are: Dante ‘The Samurai’ – Guitars, Vocals; Alejandro Macho Zapata - Lead Vocals, Keyboards; Pablo ‘Aks’ - Bass, Vocals; Carly Pajarón - Drums, Vocals; Álvaro Luis – Guitars (on “ToTeM”); Juan Tides – Guitars (did not play on “ToTeM”). Guest Musicians on “Mr. Gutman”: Laura Gomis – Flute; Marti BellmuntDry River”) – Sax Solo. Guest Voices: Maria Amo as Jessica on “Mr. Gutman”; Adrián Hidalgo as Japanese Soldier on “T.I.M.E.”; Carmen, Yasmine, Inka, Vlad, Azael, Uncle Sam, Scott, Andrew and Ioakin as News Reporters on “T.I.M.E.”. “I Believe’s” Prog-Choir: members of “Persefone”, “Harvest”, “Glazz”, “Karlahan”, “Back to R’lyeh”, “Dry River”, “Carving Colours”, “Eric Baule”, “Fisherman’s Horizon”, “The Unwritten”, “Moonloop”, “Morgana Vs. Morgana”, “Ipsilon”, “Jardin De La Croix”, “KantFreudKafka”, “Bauluna”, “Rhizom/Dekadent Idishe”, “Vigilar”, “Tao Te Kin”, “Kharma Code”, “Medula”, “Noah Hysteria”. Drums & Vocals Recording, Reamplification, and Mixing & Mastering by Adrián Hidalgo at Lasting Noise Studios; Artwork by Michal Krasnodebski. Ex-Members: Álvaro Luis – Guitars, Bass; Ugo Fellone – Keys, Acoustic Guitar, Occasional Rapping; Rafa ‘Fika’ – Bass. Also you must visit Pervy Perkin's BandCamp Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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11/25/2016..............................................Interested to know more about this fantastic Band? Visit PERVY PERKIN HOME PAGE...
. BODRAGAZ - "20"
Bodragaz is back to PR&PM once more! Bodragaz is an USA Symphonic Power-Metal band that originated in Arvada in 1995 and moved later to Denver, Colorado. Bodragaz was formed by core members Michael Layer (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards, and production) and Jim Wescott (bass, vocals), and had different line-ups along its history. Nevertheless, Bodragaz played in live festivals and arenas around America (e.g. “Rocklahoma 2009”, “Rock Jam 2011”), including a supporting act for “Bon Jovi” at Denver’s Pepsi Center on the “Have a Nice Day Tour”, and opening gigs for “Y&T”, “Slaughter”, “Michael Schenker”, and others. Bodragaz also released seven independent albums: “Bodragaz” (1996), “Somewhere In Switzerland” (1997), “Epoch” (1999), “Solid Sound” (2002), “Clear” (2005), “Awaken” (2008), and “Symphony” (2012). “Awaken” and “Symphony” were featured at PR&PM in 2008 and 2012, respectively. The newest release of Bodragaz is a double-CD album, in digipack edition, entitled “20” (2016, Fox Street Records). “20” celebrates 20 years of the band’s career, and consists in a comprehensive Greatest Hits collection containing 20 powerful tracks, most of them picked out from the emblematic albums, “Clear”, “Awaken” and “Symphony”. The featured line-up includes the founding members Michael Layer (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards, production) and Jim Wescott (bass, vocals), plus Charles J. Dickey (lead guitar, keyboards), Mike Taft (drums), and former member Kevin Shaw (lead guitar, vocals). On “20”, Bodragaz presents to the listener their own brand of adrenaline-fueled, face-punching kind of Metal, based on an igneous fusion of Power Metal, Symphonic-Progressive Metal, 80’s Metal and Melodic Rock & Metal, with omnipresent influences of “Queensrÿche”, “Dream Theater”, “Kamelot”, “Masterplan“, “Redemption”, “Metal Church”, “Fates Warning”, “Crimson Glory”, “Savatage”, “Omen”, “Riot”, “Iron Maiden”, “Jon Oliva’s Pain”, “Iced Earth”, “Sanctuary”, “Warlord”, “Jackal”, “Nocturnal Rites”, “Evergrey”, “Angel Dust”, “Morifade”, “Synphorce”, “Scorpions”, and others on this line. The mix results in an incredible wall of sonic-concrete that is thick, solid, and impenetrable! The screaming and commanding vocals of Michael Layer are powerful, aggressive and melodic at the same time; and always backed up by a sticky Metal chorus that reminds me of bands like “Nocturnal Rites”, “Jackal”, “Metal Church”, and “Riot”. The instrumentation is driven by mind-blowing guitar riffs and tearing-apart guitar solos, most delivered by Charles Dickey, but, on a few songs, also by former guitarist Kevin Shaw. The deep-pulsing bass lines of Jim Wescott are entwined to Mike Taft’s thunder-rumbling drumming on a heavy and pounding rhythm section. Keyboards are placed on the background, but rise suddenly on selected moments, augmenting the epic amplitude of the Bodragaz sound! “20” is a great selection of Metal standards, with one or two Melodic Metal ballads inserted in! This compilation is balanced between pounding Power-Metal songs and Symphonic Prog-Metal-styled pieces. The first group is characterized by heaviness, driven by aggressive vocals, cadenced rhythms, and solid guitar riffs, recalling a blend of “Queensrÿche”, “Metal Church”, “Nocturnal Rites”, “Angel Dust”, and “Kamelot”. To this group belong: the hellish “Hellraiser” (5:47), the martial “We Are America” (5:13), the groovy “The Energy” (3:17) (from the early album “Solid Sound”), and the apocalyptical “The Last Days” (4:15). Two songs on this list also have somber atmospheric parts reminiscent of the “Terror-Metal” style of “Iron Maiden” and “Savatage”: “God I” (5:35) and “Red Sun” (5:31). Bodragaz then moves from this “Power & Force” approach to a proto-Prog-Metal mode on some hybrid songs from the “Clear” and “Awaken” albums, which congregate influences of “Queensrÿche”, “Crimson Glory”, “Kamelot”, and “Fates Warning” (“John Arch” Era): “Love Design” (4:15) (also with a dash of “Iron Maiden” on the harmony guitars), “Rise” (5:53) and “Awaken” (5:32). These hybrid songs exemplify the evolution of Bodragaz in direction of a full-fledged Prog-Metal form of composition, which began on the album “Awaken”, and continued on the more experimental and symphonic style of the album “Symphony”! And “20” features a great number of those representative songs, which belong to the second group – those of the Prog-Metal-styled pieces. On them, Bodragaz combines odd-metrical riffs and soaring keyboards with bombastic solos cradled in epic arrangements, like a mix of “Dream Theater”, “Redemption”, “Fates Warning”, and “Masterplan”. Here belong “Shine” (4:58), “Forever” (4:23), and the beautiful “Beautiful” (4:54) (all from “Awaken”), which ascend in epic levels toward “Dream On” (4:00) and “Before the Winter” (3:44) (from “Symphony”); increasing in amplitude and magnitude on “Symphony” (6:26), “Genevieve” (6:36) and “World Of Fantasy” (4:20) – the best Symphonic-Metal pieces of the “Symphony” album! In order to give the listener a break to breathe in, “20” brings three Metal ballads from the “Clear” and pre-“Clear” times: “Long After Dark” (6:28), “Strange Fascination” (3:49) – both with an uplifting mood; and “Sailing On” (4:52), which will conquer fans of “Scorpions”! In sum, “20” concentrates the best songs from the best albums of this exciting Metal band called Bodragaz, consisting in a must-have item of all of their fans; being also highly recommendable for all head-bangers who love Symphonic Power-Metal, Progressive-Metal, and 80’s Metal, as played by: “Queensrÿche”, “Metal Church”, “Crimson Glory”, “Fates Warning”, “Riot”, “Savatage”, “Jon Oliva’s Pain”, “Kamelot”, “Nocturnal Rites”, “Masterplan”, “Evergrey”, “Iced Earth”, “Morifade”, “Synphorce”, “Omen”, “Iron Maiden”, “Sanctuary”, “Warlord”, “Jackal”, “Dream Theater”, “Redemption”, “Angel Dust”, “Pantommind”, “Scorpions”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Bodragaz are: Michael Layer – Lead Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards; Jim Wescott – Bass, Vocals; Kevin Shaw – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals; Charles J. Dickey – Lead Guitar, Keyboards; Mike Taft – Drums. Produced by Michael Layer (2016, Fox St. Records). Recorded at Highland Studio, Arvada, Colorado; Engineered & Mixed by Michael Layer, Kevin Shaw & Gusty Christensen. “20” Track-list: CD 1: 1. “Hellraiser” (5:47); 2. “Symphony” (6:26); 3. “God I” (5:35); 4. “Shine” (4:58); 5. “Dream On” (4:00); 6. “We Are America” (5:13); 7. “Red Sun” (5:31); 8. “Love Design” (4:15); 9. “Long After Dark” (6:28); 10. “Genevieve” (6:36). CD 2: 11. “Rise” (5:53); 12. “Awaken” (5:32); 13. “Before the Winter” (3:44); 14. “Strange Fascination” (3:49); 15. “Forever” (4:23); 16. “Beautiful” (4:54); 17. “The Last Days” (4:15); 18. “The Energy” (3:17); 19. “Sailing On” (4:52); 20. “World Of Fantasy” (4:20)... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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11/25/2016............................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit BODRAGAZ HOME PAGE...
. KARIBOW - "Holophinium"
Karibow is a German Progressive Rock band from Wetter-Volmarstein that combines elements of Neo-Progressive Rock with AOR. Karibow’s music is instilled with neat melodies, complex rhythmic arrangements, and epic futuristic lyrics driven by compelling vocals, sharing a sonic resemblance with acts such as: “Saga”, “Marillion” (“Hogarth” Era), “Toto”, “Asia” and “RPWL”. Karibow won two German Rock & Pop Awards: in 2011, in the category of “Best Arrangement”; in December 2014, in the category of “Best Progressive Band”. Karibow has amassed an wide discography, covering full-length albums, EPs, and special releases: “Supernatural Foe Vocalized” (1998); “Three Times Deeper” (EP, 1999); “Tribe” (2000); “Tribal Avenue” (2001); “Besser” (EP, 2005); “Echoes from the Evil Past” (2006, Remastered Compilation); “The Ayganyan Project I - Land of Frozen Thoughts” (2007, Original Soundtrack); “A History of Inorganic Talk” (2007); “Inorganic Talk (Acoustic)” (EP, 2008); and “Hollow Be My World II” (EP, 2009). Most remarkable are the recent full-length albums; “Man of Rust” (2011), “Addicted” (2014), “Holophinium” (2016, Double CD), and “Man of Rust” (2016, Remastered). Karibow was founded as a studio-project band circa 1996 by multi-instrumentalist Oliver Rüsing, with support of pianist and keyboardist Berthold Fehmer. The moniker Karibow is the agglutination of the word “Karibu” (which means a welcome greeting in the East African Kisuaheli/Swahili languages) with the English word “bow”, the weapon of Rüsing’s favorite figure of the of the role-playing games – the Forest-Wanderer Archer. Modified through his artistic view, Karibow refers to “the one who carries a bow”. The sound of Karibow evolved from experimental and electronic with touches of Hard Rock to Progressive Rock with emphasis on Neo-Prog and AOR. In 2001, Berthold Fehmer went on to focus his work on a new band, called “Junk Farm”. In the following years, Oliver Rüsing kept Karibow functioning as a studio project, with help of different supporting members and guest musicians, but since 2011, Karibow evolved to a full live band, counting on: Oliver Rüsing (vocals, guitar), Chris Thomas (guitar, vocals), Markus Bergen (keyboards), Thomas Wischt (bass), and Gerald Nahrgang (drums). Karibow’s last studio album is entitled “Holophinium” (April 4th, 2016, Progressive Promotion Records). “Holophinium” is a double CD that comes in a de-luxe digipack edition containing a booklet showcasing fantastic sci-fi artwork. Besides Rüsing on vocals and all instruments, the record features singers Michael Sadler (“SAGA”) and Karsten Stiers (“Errorhead”), guitarist Colin TenchCorvus Stone”), keyboardist Sean TimmsUnitopia”, “Southern Empire”), and other musicians (see below). Karibow’s music reunites mellow and soft vocals that float on emotional atmospheres, gently driven by clean guitars, delicate synths, crystalline piano, civilized bass, and radio-friendly rhythms, reverberating with the cleansed and polished sonorities of the 80’s. In spite of having a moderate popish luster, the songs never lean to the frankly easy-listening or to the barren commercialism, always keeping a high level of sophisticated musicianship on the arrangements, and a substantial impregnation of Progressive elements, which include: changes of pace and atmosphere; complexity on harmonies and rhythmic patterns; tuneful vocals that sing meaningful lyrics; and skilled execution of guitars and synth solos that enrich and embellish the music. Regarding this stylistic approach, “Holophinium” is a brilliant and outstanding album, offering to the listener a collection of songs that recall the best production of “Toto”, “SAGA”, “Marillion” (“Hogarth” Era), 80’s “Genesis”, “Phil Collins”, “Pink Floyd” (post-“Roger Waters”), “A-Ha”, “Duran Duran”; also resembling “RPWL”, “Martigan”, “Unitopia”, “Pymlico”, etc. Each disc of “Holophinium” has a subtitle. Disc 1, “The Fragments”, has 10 independent tracks; Disc 2, “Letter from the White Room”, is a single suite divided in 7 tracks. Disc 1 is mostly joyful and vibrant. It starts with the intro “Distant Movements” (1:44) and the title track “Holophinium” (6:06) – a bombastic AOR-Prog that throws the listener into an exciting musical journey. Then it covers: the melancholic “Some Will Fall” (4:07) – a song with emotional vocals, poignant acoustic guitars, and soulful guitar solos (for fans of “Marillion” with “Hogarth”); the dramatic “Connection Refused” (4:35) – with clashing cosmopolitan beats; the uplifting “River” (6:04) – “Saga”-styled, and featuring Michael Sadler on the lead vocals; and the refined “Angel Scent” (5:59) – a song having nice piano passages and tuneful vocals (for fans of “Toto”). The accessible “Victims of Light” (6:55) and “King” (5:04) recalled me of 80’s “Genesis”. But “E.G.O.” (11:28) and “Quantum Leap” (8:59) are true masterpieces of Prog. “E.G.O.” is cerebral, abundant in guitar and synth solos; while “Quantum…” reminded me of the last days of “Fish” in “Marillion”, having epic vocals, magnificent guitars, imposing piano, and shining synths (by Sean Timms). Disc 2, instead, is shrouded in a somber ambience. The suite “Letter from the White Room” is a modern Progressive Rock piece that augments the value of this album delivering emotive vocals and dense instrumental passages, like “Marillion” and “RPWL”. The intro “Moon” (Part I)” (2:15) and the enigmatic “Walk on Water (Part II)” (7:35) push the listener towards the thrilling Heavy-Prog riffs of “Orbital Spirits (Part III)” (5:04). The transcendental “Eden (Part IV)” (6:39) lifts the listener with inspiring vocals and levitating arrangements, but “Lifelong (Part V)” (7:53) darkens the horizon with its alternation of soaring moments and cathartic chorus, crowned with elaborated guitar solos that flow into “Part of the Century (Part VI)” (2:52). The climax happens on “Plutonian (Part VII)” (3:52) – an intriguing blend of cosmic solitude and earthly hope! As a whole, I found “Holophinium” to be a surprising album by Karibow: melodic, emotional, technical, consistent, and balanced, being indispensable for fans of “Toto”, “SAGA”, “Marillion” (“Hogarth” Era), “UK”, 80’s “Genesis”, “Phil Collins”, “Pink Floyd” (post-“Roger Waters”), “Yes” (“Trevor Rabin” Era), “A-Ha”, “RPWL”, “Unitopia”, “Martigan”, “Pymlico”, “Duran Duran”, and others like them! Band members and collaborators involved in Karibow are: Oliver Rüsing - Lead & Backing Vocals, Drums, Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Music, Lyrics, and Arrangements. Guest & Additional Musicians: Michael Sadler - Lead & Backing Vocals on “River”; Sean Timms - Piano & Keyboard Solos on “Quantum Leap”; Collin Tench - Solo Guitar on “Part of the Century”; Karsten Stiers -Additional Lead & Backing Vocals on “Orbital Spirits”; Jörg Eschrig - Mandolin on “Walk On Water” and Additional Vocals on “Holophinium”; Daniel Neustadt - Fretless Bass on “Angel Scent” & “Moon”; Chris Thomas - Acoustic Guitars on “Some Will Fall”; Markus Bergen - Keyboard Solo on “E.G.O.”. KaribowLive: Oliver Rüsing - Vocals, Guitar; Markus Bergen - Keyboards; Chris Thomas - Guitar, Vocals; Thomas Wischt - Bass; Gerald Nahrgang - Drums. Mostly recorded at Nikomi Studios, with additional recordings at Attic Studios (USA), AT-Home Studios, Timms Tunes (Adelaide, Australia), Stoned Bun Studio (Sweden), Casa Brava Studio (Spain) & CTM Productions Studio. Produced, Mixed & Mastered by O. Rüsing at Nikomi Studios Jan-Mar 2016; assisted by Paul D. Arntzen (Volmarstein Studios), Christian Steinfeld & Karsten Stiers. Cover Artwork & Design by Y. Truly (Digital Max Design). Copyright 2016 by Progressive Promotion Records... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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11/25/2016......................................,.....Interested to know more about this Band? Then, you must visit KARIBOW HOME PAGE...
. DERDIAN - "Revolution Era"
Derdian – a Symphonic Power-Metal band from Milan, Italy – is back to PR&PM once more! Derdian was born in 1998 and since then has released a pair of demos and an initial trilogy: “New Era Pt. 1" (2005, Steelheart); “New Era Pt. 2” (2007, reviewed at PR&PM in Sep. 2007); and “New Era Pt. 3” (2010) – the last two via American label Magna Carta. Derdian’s 2013 album, entitled “Limbo”, left the fantasy genre behind and shifted to most current issues related to human society. Derdian’s next album – “Human Reset” (2014) – was a masterpiece, reviewed at PR&PM in Jan. 2015. In June 2016 Derdian released a new album, entitled “Revolution Era” (self-produced). In fact, “Revolution Era” is a compilation of 14 songs belonging to Derdian’s “New Era” initial trilogy, which have been re-recorded by the band. Except by singer Ivan Giannini, who is no longer in the band, the line-up on “Revolution Era” is the same of “Human Reset”: Marco Garau (keyboards), Enrico Pistolese (guitars, backing vocals), Dario Radaelli (lead guitars), Marco Banfi (bass), and Salvatore Giordano (drums). The absence of a single vocalist was compensated by inviting many distinguishing singers for the job, namely: Ralf ScheepersPrimal Fear”), D.C. CooperRoyal Hunt”), Fabio Lione (“Rhapsody of Fire”, “Angra”), Apollo Papathanasio (ex-“Firewind”, “Evil Masquerade”), Henning Basse (“Metalium”, “Firewind”), GL PerottiExtrema”), Davide Damna MorasElvenking”), Mark BasileDGM”), Elisa C. Martin (ex-“Dark Moor”), Terence HollerEldritch”), Roberto Ramon Messina (ex-“Secret Sphere”, “Physical Noise”), Andrea Bicego4th Dimension”), and Leo FigaroMinstrelix”). The music of Derdian is a combination of powerful riffs propelled by incredible fast-thundering drums and operatic choirs and counter-choirs; compressed in a matrix of breathtaking symphonic arrangements overloaded with majestic classical themes or impregnated with an exhilarating “Mozartian” joy. The instrumental orchestrations are interspersed by classical piano, Baroque harpsichords, bass continuum, and embellished with “Paganini-styled” Neo-Classical guitar and keyboards, which are played with extraordinary technical precision. The sonic package is delivered with the typical vigor, panache, and hyperbolic theatrical disposition of the Symphonic Power-Metal style, resembling bands such as: “Rhapsody of Fire”, “Secret Sphere”, “Vision Divine”, “Luca Turilli”, “Daniele Liverani” (“Genius”, “Twinspirits”), “Angra”, “Stratovarius”, “Sonata Arctica”, “Blind Guardian”, “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Helloween”, “Silver Mountain”, “Adagio”, “Dark Moore”, “Wuthering Heights”, “Manowar” and others on this line. “Revolution Era” starts by “Overture” (1:45), an amazing intro counting with “going-to-war” choirs and counter-choirs. Then Derdian unleashes a collection of Symphonic Power-Metal standards that come over the listener like a cavalry of horse-galloping rhythms followed by an infantry of neo-classical guitars and synths: the adventurous “Burn” (4:52); the aggressive “Battleplan” (5:01); the Dark-Medieval “Screams Of Agony” (5:09) – on which the amazing vocals of Mark Basile clear the battlefield for the glorious “Lord Of War” (7:37) (fronted by the epic voice of Fabio Lione); and the fearsome “The Hunter” (5:55), on which Ralf Scheepers’ flesh-eating war-cry will send shivers down your spine! A couple of songs are less savage, instilled with a “Mozartian” feeling of joy that appears on intricate battles of guitars against synths. They are: the enthusiastic “Beyond The Gate” (5:34) and “Eternal Light” (5:14), which is finished with a great Melodic guitar solo. To escape a little from the Power-Metal pattern, Derdian has included a few Melodic Rock songs: “I Don’t Wanna Die” (5:26) is driven by the amazing voice of D.C. Cooper and is adorned with instrumental arabesques, recalling the style of “Yngwie Malmsteen”; “Forevermore” (6:16) is a Neo-Romantic Metal-ballad that profits from the male/female duet of Elisa Martin & Terence Holler, also conveying sensitive guitar solos that will appeal to fans of Melodic-Rock; and “Black Rose” (4:22) swings on a groove that is ideal to cradle Andrea Bicego’s rocking vocals. After this song, Derdian starts an epic ascension on three tracks that will conclude this saga: “Incitement” (6:21) is the fastest of all, and aims to instill fear into the hearts of the enemies (!); “New Era” (5:30) has an extraordinary Elisa Martin conquering the lavish instrumental parts; and a “Mozartian” piano; and “Cage Of Light” (6:47) delivers the final blow, by bringing a true Symphonic-Power-Metal “epic-logue”! In spite of being a re-recorded compilation, “Revolution Era”, is an amazing, impressive, and perfect album, being indispensable to all fans of  Derdian, and highly recommendable for fans of “Rhapsody Of Fire”, “Stratovarius”, “Malmsteen”, “Helloween”, “Sonata Arctica”, “Angra”, “Blind Guardian”, “Symphony X”, “Adagio”, “Dark Moore”, “Edguy”, “Nocturnal Rites”, “Elegy”, “Wuthering Heights”, “Freedom Call”, “Gamma Ray”, “Silver Mountain”, “Time Requiem”, “Manowar”, “Luca Turilli”, “Secret Sphere”, “Vision Divine”, “Daniele Liverani”, “Genius Opera”, “Twinspirits”, “Almah”, “Avantasia”, “Astral Doors”, “HammerFall”, “Lost Horizon”, “Morifade”, “Kotipelto”, “Revolution Renaissance”, “HellCircles”, “Etherna”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Derdian are: Marco Garau – Keyboards; Enrico Pistolese – Guitars, Backing Vocals; Dario Radaelli – Lead Guitars; Marco Banfi – Bass; Salvatore Giordano – Drums. Guest Singers (in order of appearance): Apollo Papathanasio (on “Overture”); Henning Basse (on “Burn”); GL Perotti (on “Beyond The Gate”); Davide Damna Moras (on “Battleplan”); D.C. Cooper (on “I Don’t Wanna Die”); Mark Basile (on “Screams Of Agony”); Fabio Lione (on “Lord Of War”); Elisa C. Martin & Terence Holler (on “Forevermore”); Roberto Ramon Messina (on “Eternal Light”); Ralf Scheepers (on “The Hunter”); Andrea Bicego (on “Black Rose”); Leo Figaro (on “Incitement”); E.C. Martin (on “New Era”); and A. Papathanasio (on “Cage Of Light”). Additional Backing Vocals: Lisy Stefanoni (on “Burn”); Joe Caggianelli (on “Burn” & “I Don’t Wanna Die”). Produced & Arranged by Derdian... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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12/28/2016...................................................,.....For more details and in the meantime please check out DERDIAN HOME PAGE...
. BLACKLANDS - "Peaceful Shores"
Blacklands – a Female-Fronted Progressive & Melodic Rock band from Germany – are back to PR&PM! Blacklands were founded in 2006 by drummer Thomas Kelleners. From 2007 to 2010, other musicians joined him: Moja Nardelli (vocals), Manfred Reinecke (keyboards), Michael Stockschläger (guitar, vocals) and Rüdiger Sartingen (bass). In March 2013, this line-up released Blacklands’ first independent album, “A New Dawn” (Blacklands Music), which was reviewed at PR&PM in the same year. “A New Dawn” had guest appearances by Lennie Rizzo (“Exxplorer”), Terry Gorle (“Heir Apparent”), Giles Lavery (“Dragonsclaw”); and showcased Blacklands’ own brand of Melodic & Progressive Rock, instilled with elements of Epic and Gothic Metal, that shared a resemblance with bands such as “Nightwish”, “Evanescence”, “Lana Lane”, “Elis”, “Xandria”, “Lacuna Coil”, “Dreams of Sanity”, “Edenbridge”, “Epica”, “Visions of Atlantis”, “Amartia”, “Eyes of Eden”, “Forgotten Tales”, “Syrens Call”, “Soul Enema”, “Legend”, “Heart”, “Doro Pesch”, “Serenity”, “Nemesea”, and others like them. Band members were also influenced by bands like “Genesis”, “Marillion”, “Rush”, “Pink Floyd”, “Transatlantic”, “Neal Morse”, “Dream Theater” and “Queensrÿche”. After the release of “A New Dawn”, bassist Rüdiger Sartingen left the band, being replaced by Oliver Müller (ex-“Heavenward”). In 2014 Blacklands started to record a new album and spent 18 months in the studio. After the production was finished, original singer Moja Nardelli departed for personal reasons. Tanja Magolei-Schüpper replaced her, and re-recorded the vocal parts of the entire album within just three months. Blacklands second album, called “Peaceful Shores”, was finally released on May 31st, 2016, via their own label, BlacklandsMusic, being available on both digital and physical CD formats (the later encased in a beautiful digipack edition). Besides the new line-up, counting on Tanja Magolei-Schüpper (vocals), Michael Stockschläger (guitar, vocals), Manfred Reinecke (keyboards), Oliver Müller (bass), and Thomas Kelleners (drums), “Peaceful Shores” features guest singers Marcel Römer (of “Aeverium”), Manos Fatsis (of “Devilusion”), and Markus Brand (of “Hydra`s Fate”). “Peaceful Shores” has 11 tracks – and a total running time of 1:17:54! The new album showcases Blackland’s eclectic compositional style, which covers Melodic Rock, Progressive Rock and Metal, with emphasis on memorable female vocal tunes, male/female duos, long solos of guitars and synths, and a melodic Progressive atmosphere. The bass playing of Oliver Müller has added more swing to the instrumentation, and Tanja Magolei-Schüpper made a great job with her jazzy-inflected voice. The listener will have a variety of songs on this album to choose his/her favorites. People willing for radio-friendly Pop-Rock will stick to the groovy “Alone Again” (5:41) (a Hair-Metal like 80’s “Heart” and “Joan Jett”, backed up by a Gospel choir); or to the modern and cheerful “Like Tears In Your Eyes” (4:10). Listeners with a penchant for mellow piano-ballads will prefer “The River” (5:48) and “Ballad of a Burning Witch” (5:25) – the second one is a Blacklands’ specialty, delivered with class, emotional vocals, a symphonic background, and having a soulful guitar solo. Listeners seeking for action – or higher levels of energy – will rock to the sound of “Drown in Darkness” (7:46) – a funky Hard-Rock in the vein of old “Heart” and “Doro”, fronted by Tanja’s sensual vocals; having an original atmospheric middle part with a Prog mood that delivers floating synths and soaring guitars. Those preferring a more aggressive sonority (me included) will find their favorites on “Still Bleeding” (7:38) – a Power-Prog-Metal in German style featuring singer Marcel Römer’s Rap-Metal vocals, grunting and dueling with Tanja’s (recalling “Evanescence” and “Lacuna Coil”) – and on “Distant Warning” (6:36) – a fast and dynamic Prog-Metal marked by an awesome instrumental intermezzo stuffed with destroying sequence of solos on guitars and synths, recalling a mix of “Dream Theater”, “Shadow Gallery”, and “Syrens Call”. And all fans of Prog-Rock will feel blessed by that last sequence of tracks of “Peaceful Shores”. Starting with the cadenced “Grand Circles” (9:03), the listener will have slow Melodic-Metal riffs driven by a climatic organ; Tanja’s floating vocals luring him/her through atmospheric Progressive plains; and a great number of guitar solos (from Epic-Prog to “Hendrixian” styles) and Neo-Prog synths! Once arriving to the “Peaceful Shores” (3:40) – a symphonic instrumental piece constructed with ethereal synths and a beautiful guitar solo – the listener will be introduced to the vibrant “T.I.M.E.” (5:45) – a Symphonic Melodic-Rock that steers to Big-Band Jazz! The grand finale comes on “Winter Skies” (16:21) – an opera starring Tanja and singer Markus Brand, which starts in Melodic-Rock style, then turns to Romantic-Jazz, swerves to instrumental Symphonic-Prog in the middle, and ends with impressive Epic-Metal quakes and contagious male/female chorus! With “Peaceful Shores”, Blacklands have moved some steps forwards to consolidate their own musical style, and will firmly continue on their way of captivating fans of Female-Fronted bands such as “Nightwish”, “Evanescence”, “Lana Lane”, “Elis”, “Xandria”, “Lacuna Coil”, “Dreams of Sanity”, “Edenbridge”, “Epica”, “Visions of Atlantis”, “Amartia”, “Eyes of Eden”, “Forgotten Tales”, “Syrens Call”, “Soul Enema”, “Legend”, “Heart”, “Doro Pesch”, “Nemesea”, “Serenity”, “Magenta”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Blacklands are: Tanja Magolei-Schüpper - Vocals; Thomas Kelleners - Drums; Manfred Reinecke – Piano & Keyboards; Michael Stockschläger - Guitars & Backing Vocals; Oliver Müller - Bass. Guest Guitar Player: Christian Boche – Rhythm & Lead Guitar on “Like Tears In Your Eyes”; Guest singers: Marcel Römer (on “Still Bleeding”); Manos Fatsis (on “Like Tears In Your Eyes”); Markus Brand (on “Winter Skies”); Gabriel Vealle & The Gospel Choir “Family of Hope” – Choir Vocals on “Alone Again”; Jazz Swing College Band on “T.I.M.E.” arranged by Florian Raepke. Cover Artwork & Pictures by Thomas Buchta. Recorded & Produced by Michael Stockschläger & Blacklands; Engineered & Mastered by Christian Boche & Michael Stockschläger at Sonic Sound Studio, Germany 04/16... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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12/28/2016..........................Would like to know more about the band and their history, please visit BLACKLANDS HOME PAGE...
. FACE THE DAY - "Corroding Dreams"
Face The Day is a Progressive Rock/Metal project based in Prague, Czech Republic. Face The Day was formed in 2014 by Martin Schuster (vocals, guitars, bass, virtual instruments) and Filip Kittnar (drums) after the split-up of their previous Prog thrash/death band “Mindwork”. Face The Day released the first single, “Losing The Anima”, in the end of 2014. And a debut album, called “Corroding Dreams”, was independently released on June 11, 2016. “Corroding Dreams” is available on both physical CD (limited edition of 300 copies) and on digital format for download, via Bandcamp. The sound of Face The Day is a combination of modern Progressive Rock with a mild Heavy Metal component, instilled with a melancholic mood that will please fans of “Porcupine Tree”, “Katatonia”, “Pain Of Salvation”, and also to “No-Man”, “Osada Vida”, “Frequency Drift”, “Riverside”, “Lunatic Soul”, “The Mars Volta”, “Pink Floyd”, “Marillion” (with “Hogarth”), “Radiohead”, and “Snow Patrol”. The music is slow, dreamy, atmospheric, and introspective, with a minimum of heavy riffs interspersed on the arrangements. Guitars are clean and delicate, being plucked softly; and on solos, are soulful and melodic. The bass pulses “atmospherically”, balancing the arrangements. Kittnar’s drumming is not loud, but very technical, even jazzy, filling the empty spaces with complex beats and nice modern chops. Schuster’s voice is a highlight of the band, being tuneful, sensitive, and instilled with melancholy, having an affinity with the Indie Rock trend. “Corroding Dreams” has seven tracks. It opens with the lengthy “Changes” (11:46) – one of the best tracks, which starts with a floating layer of plucked guitars and nice vocals, growing later with the sudden explosion of heavy metal-texturized guitar riffs and electronic pulses. The vocal chorus is emotional and sticky, and the guitar solo is smooth, a bit spatial, preceding some complex riffs in Prog-Metal style that make the climax of this amazing piece – which is certain to conquer fans of “Porcupine Tree” and “Riverside”! For me, “Changes” shares the positon of “album’s best” with the twins “Losing The Anima (Phase 1)” (4:46) and “Losing The Anima (Phase 2)” (6:36); and also with the short “The Purpose” (4:18). The “Losing …”-twins employ Face The Day’s typical combination of sensitive vocals and waving harmony guitars, with mild-mannered pulsing bass and drums, but have more keyboards inserted in them. “Phase 1”, for instance, is driven by a glassy sound of organ; and has cool guitar solos on the intro, on the middle part, and on the final instrumental sequence. Meanwhile, “Phase 2”, runs faster, employs more cosmic-electronic pulses and a floating sound of piano as a support for vocals and harmony guitars, besides having an almost bluesy solo on guitar, and recurring musical themes that link it to “Phase 1”, closing the circle. Finally, “The Purpose” (which stands as a personal favorite), begins ethereal, like a ballad, but gains in strength afterwards, sounding like a Prog-New Wave. But the braking vocal chorus that comes in combination with the guitars is really epic! The remaining three tracks of “Corroding Dreams” are song-ballads that are intercalated to the afore-mentioned “best ones”, but are also endowed of great quality and musicianship. “Cross The Line” (4:09) and “Circle” (5:09) are both ethereal, with a Psychedelic air thrown over. The vocals are very emotional, almost pledging, and blend perfectly with the delicate sound of guitars. The drums are at the same time cool and complex, concurring with the emotional atmosphere of these songs. “Cross …” has an initial eerie mood that recalled me of “The Mars Volta”, but after the melodic guitar solo, the song experiments a rapid and aggressive instrumental mood. “Circle” (5:09) has something of Folk on the beauty of its acoustic guitars and on the bittersweet note of the vocals, and progresses toward a levitating end, conveyed on a floating mattress of strings. The third ballad – “Stillness Of The Sea” (4:00) – is the album’s last track. Trapped in a melancholic to slightly depressive mood, this song is slowly driven by mysterious instrumentation, intriguing drums, and a kind of “Mellotron sounding” melody that matches the stillness of Schuster’s introspective vocals! Face The Day’s debut album, “Corroding Dreams”, is a rare and surprising work in the territory of emotional and melancholic Progressive Rock, being therefore highly recommendable for fans of “Porcupine Tree”, “Katatonia”, “Pain Of Salvation”, “No-Man”, “Osada Vida”, “Frequency Drift”, “The Mars Volta”, “Lunatic Soul”, “Riverside”, “Pink Floyd”, “Marillion” (with “Hogarth”), “RPWL”, “Sylvan”, “Radiohead”, “Snow Patrol”, and others on this line. Band members and collaborators involved in Face The Day are: Martin Schuster – Vocals, Bass, Guitars, Virtual Instruments; Filip Kittnar – Drums. Composed, Recorded, Produced & Mixed by Martin Schuster at Face The Sound Studio; Drums Recorded by Zdenek Sikyr at Studio Hostivar; Mastered at Cutting Room. Speech on “Losing The Anima (Phase 2)” by Carl Jung (excerpt from 1959 BBC interview, “Face To Face”). Also you must visit Face To Face's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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12/28/2016............................More information about the band? Better check it out for yourself at: FACE THE DAY HOME PAGE...
. FAR FROM YOUR SUN - "In The Beginning … Was The Emotion"
Far From Your Sun is a current Art-Rock Project from Paris, France, that aims to give musical form to the work of artists coming from non-musical backgrounds, such as photography, painting, poetry, and writing. The moniker Far From Your Sun means that “we can live fulfilled and happy in the shadow of the artificial lights, far from the fads, far from a flattering, but often elusive, misleading sun.” Far From Your Sun has recently released a debut album, entitled “In The Beginning ... Was The Emotion” (February 15, 2016), which is available on both physical and digital formats. The CD comes inside a beautiful Digipack cover featuring original artwork. The album is a collection of eight singles that the band had previously released on the internet site Bandcamp, and which were now all reunited to form a single, full-length album. According to the band, each piece is “the illustration of an experience, a moment in time, where both humans and nature are the main protagonists;” and the themes “borrow from romanticism and poetry, which can be sometimes dark or troubling.” Still more enigmatic than these statements, is the fact that line-up of Far From Your Sun is a mystery – no musician has been credit on the album, with the exception of Agnès Godeau (violin) and Chloé Boyaud (cello), who played as additional musicians on one track (“Life”). The name of Emmanuel Rousseau appears as the responsible person for the recording, mixing and mastering, but he was also credited for the arrangements. Anyway, the music that is heard on “In The Beginning ... Was The Emotion” features: a fantastic male vocalist that sings in English; a bassist that probably loves bands like “Tool” or “Anathema”; a guitarist that plays “quasi-Doomic” Metal riffs in mid-tempo; and a drummer with an affinity for Middle-Eastern rhythms. Occasional synths create an atmospheric background. Combining those basic blocks, the music of Far From Your Sun installs a mix of Art-Rock, Progressive Rock, and Metal within a melancholic and epic ambience, but never falling down to the deepest depression of Gothic Rock. Much of the bass-driven instrumentation recalls me of the dreamy and hypnotic moments of “Tool”, “Opeth”, and “A Perfect Circle”; but the guitar riffs and drums do never attain the same level of heaviness or aggressiveness. Drums keep the beat pulsing steadily and dynamically, and on most songs drifts to the Turkish-Moroccan tradition. Vocals are truly awesome: with the power, passion, and epic feeling of a sorrowful warrior, the unnamed singer delivers haunting tunes and story-telling lyrics with poetic profoundness! The songs, although long, have no solos, but this lack is compensated by the combination of the dark atmospheres created by the instrumentation with the emotional vocals, which creates a thrilling synergetic effect that places the sound of Far From Your Sun on the same horizon occupied by bands such as: “Antimatter”, “Anathema”, “Sieges Even”, “Novembers Doom”, “Riverside”, “Twelfth Night”, “Dead Can Dance”, “Nemrud”, “The Gathering”, “Virgin Black”, “Fates Warning” (“Ray Alder” Era), “House Of Spirits”, “The Doors”. “In The Beginning … Was The Emotion” starts with the track that gives name to the band: “Far From Your Sun” (6:24). It forms with the second, “Under The Hands of Time” (7:25), a powerful introductory pair, which aims to place the listener in the right mood for the entire upcoming music. Both are like Heavy-Prog songs, immersed in a pool of melancholy, being slowly propelled by heavy riffs, hypnotic bass, laconic drums, and expressive vocals. The first shows strength on its chorus; the second has a groovy guitar riff that breaks the melancholy of the sonic environment. But the best songs are those instilled with Middle-Eastern modes, which appear mainly on drums and vocals. “Annabel Lee” (12:34) is a slow epic that elaborates the depressing feeling passed on by the lyrics (a poem by Edgar Allan Poe) in an awesome Prog-gradation; “The Eightfold Path” (6:17) rises upwards from the surrounding melancholy to tell a surreal story about how love can drive a man to total madness! And the outstanding “On The Path (of The Hanged Men)” (9:17) carries the strongest emotional burden, a cathartic song, with a second part marked by a kind of deep voice that transcends times, like an invocation of the ancient elders! A couple of ballads are interspersed to the preceding songs, with the aim of dissipating the somber atmosphere of the album, but they also have a sad feeling, linked to nostalgia: “Life” (7:37) has a kind of Celtic mood, featuring more acoustic elements, string plucking, and poignant violin and cello; “A Thousand Lives” (3:31) is an atmospheric and minimalist acoustic/vocal ballad. The album finishes with “F.A.D.” (8:37), a musical poem that surrenders to sadness again, featuring declaimed vocal parts and gloomy voices of the ghost of the Arabian Desert! Far From Your Sun’s debut album really impresses the listener with the emotional maturity of its music, but I would rather listen to some guitar/keyboards solos on the next album, competing with that extraordinary voice! Even though, Far From Your Sun is an all original band, highly recommended for fans of “Tool”, “Anathema”, “Antimatter”, “Opeth”, “Sieges Even”, “Novembers Doom”, “Riverside”, “Twelfth Night”, “Nemrud”, “Virgin Black”, “Fates Warning” (“Ray Alder” Era), “The Gathering”, “House Of Spirits”, “Dead Can Dance”, and others like them. Band members and collaborators involved in Far From Your Sun are: Not Credited. Additional Musicians: Agnès Godeau – Violin on “Life”; Chloé Boyaud – Cello on “Life”. Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by Emmanuel Rousseau at White Wasteland Studio, France. All music and lyrics by Far From Your Sun, except “Annabel Lee”, lyrics by Edgar Allan Poe. All arrangements by Far From Your Sun and Emmanuel Rousseau. Cover artwork “The Unknown” by Daniela Owergoor. Also you must visit Far From Your Sun's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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12/28/2016...................................,....More information? Better check it out for yourself at: FAR FROM YOUR SUN HOME PAGE...
. BLIND EGO - "Liquid"
Blind Ego is back to PR&PM! Blind Ego is the solo project of German guitarist and musician Kalle Wallner – the “W” of the German Art-Rock band RPWL. Kalle Wallner and singer and keyboardist Yogi Lang founded RPWL in 1997, and remain in the band until today. Together, they have played live around Europe and North America, and accumulated an extensive discography, with highlights for the albums: “God Has Failed” (2000, debut); “The RPWL Experience” (2008, chosen a “Best Album of May 2008” at PR&PM); “World Through My Eyes” (2005) and “Wanted” (2014) – both featured at PR± and the live album, “A Show Beyond Man and Time” (2013, CD/DVD). Since 2007 Kalle Wallner has been running his solo project, called Blind Ego. Blind Ego’s debut album, “Mirror” (2007), was chosen as “Best Band and Record of the Month” of April 2007 at PR&PM. The record had participation of bassist John Jowitt (“IQ”, “Arena”, “Jadis”, “Frost”, ‘Neo”); singers John Mitchell (“Kino”, “Arena”, “It Bites”, “John Wetton's Band”) and Paul Wrightson (“Arena”); and had guest appearances by Yogi Lang and Clive NolanPendragon”, “Arena’) on some backing vocals. Blind Ego’s second album, “Numb” (2009), also featured Wrightson, Jowitt, and Lang; plus bassist Sebastian Harnack (“Sylvan”) and drummers Michael Schwager (“Dreamscape”) and Igor Cavalera (“Sepultura”, “Cavalera Conspiracy”). Differing from the smooth mellowness and almost melancholic mood present on “Mirror”, the music on “Numb” featured a Hard-Prog style, strongly influenced by Metal. Seven years after the release of “Numb”, Wallner’s personal quest in art and music has finally reached a logical conclusion on the tracks of Blind Ego’s new album, entitled “Liquid” – released on 21st Oct. 2016 on both CD/Vinyl LP via the Gentle Art Of Music label, with distribution of Soulfood Music. On “Liquid”, Wallner has played guitars, bass, and keyboards. He was helped by a stellar cast of guests: singers Arno Menses (“Subsignal”, “Sieges Even”), Erik Ez Blomkvist (“Seven Thorns”, “Dreamscape”, “Platitude”), Aaron Brooks (“Simeon Soul Charger”); bassists Sebastian Harnack (“Sylvan”), Ralf Schwager (“Subsignal”, “Dreamscape”), Heiko Jung (“Panzerballett”); and drummer Michael Schwager (“Dreamscape”). “Liquid” has 9 superb tracks that congregate the sonorities of Blind Ego’s previous albums, “Mirror” and “Numb”. The clash of the soaring melancholy of the first, reverberating against the heaviness of the second, has created a powerful contrasting effect, which is conceptually analogous to the physical properties of water in liquid state – dynamic, fluidal, and transparent – hence the album’s title. Sometimes, water can be revolting, destructive, dark and menacing; on a subsequent moment, it can turn to placid, soothing, clear, calming and waving. The songs on “Liquid” are just like that – as rocking as they are Prog – revealing Wallner’s artistic view on the subject. “Liquid” thus represents Wallner’s maturation as a clever songwriter, a versatile composer, and a perfect guitar player – a complete musician, who is capable of delivering his impressive brand of music, which is equally ambitious and refined! The talent of the lead singers involved in the project; the variety of bassists; and the eclectic and precise approach of an expert drummer have all concurred to turn “Liquid” into a solid (ha-ha) album, one whose rotational passages of epic Heavy-Prog, impacting Prog-Metal, and odd-metrical Post-Metal have been perfectly synchronized to moments of Melodic Progressive music plentiful of emotional vocals, great tunes, soaring instrumentation, and an ample offer of Wallner’s most amazing guitar solos ever! “Liquid” will be immensely appreciated by fans of Blind Ego’s previous works, as well as by fans of “RPWL”, “IQ”, “Jadis”, “Blackfield”, “Frost”, “Pendragon”, “Kino”, “Arena”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “Ayreon”, “Star One”, “Guilt Machine”, “Sieges Even”, “Dreamscape”, “Sylvan”, “Dream Theater”, “Queensrÿche” (until “Operation: Mindcrime”), “Evergrey”, “OSI”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, and others on the same line. A perfect album from beginning to end, “Liquid” brings an exciting selection of powerful songs! The most straightforward are “A Place In The Sun” (6:11) and “Hear My Voice Out There” (5:56) – both propelled by fast riffs, pulsing bass and drums that recall bands like “Dream Theater” and “OSI”, fronted by great Metal vocals, backed up by incendiary AOR-Metal choruses, and topped by outstanding guitar solos! Also on this metallic line, “Tears And Laughter” (4:47) grooves like hell, especially on the guitar solo. Three of my favorite songs stand on the intersection between Metal and Prog, representing better the “liquid” style promoted by Blind Ego (reminiscent of “Porcupine Tree”, “Sylvan”, “RPWL”): “What If” (6:24) – which starts slow and soaring, and then turns into an avenging Prog-Metal powered with an amazing contagious chorus (!); “Not Going Away” (7:32) – which is introduced by Electronic bass sounds that create a somber atmosphere, tending to the Heavy-Prog; and “Never Escape The Storm” (8:20) – an awesome dark-ballad that gradually gains in emotion, as it crosses plains of sorrow and platitudes of bursting anger, until ascending to an epic climax on a redemptive guitar solo! Also numbering with the best, the instrumental “Quiet Anger” (6:31), featuring Heiko Jung’s insane bass playing, will positively shock the fans of the cerebral Fusion-Metal of “Panzerballett” and “LTE”. “Liquid” also brings two superb Prog-ballads (recalling “Guilt Machine”, “Sylvan”, “Sieges Even”, “Pink Floyd”): “Blackened” (5:44) is introduced by smooth acoustic guitars and benefits from a symbiotic connection between vocals and instrumentation, besides having a soaring guitar solo; and “Speak The Truth” (6:54) – with Aaron Brooks on the lead vocals – is an amazing Classic Rock with Folk influences. Blind Ego’s “Liquid” will have continuous spins on my CD player, even after the release of this review! Indispensable for fans of “RPWL”, “IQ”, “Jadis”, “Blackfield”, “Frost”, “Pendragon”, “Kino”, “Arena”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Sieges Even”, “Sylvan”, “Ayreon”, “Star One”, “Guilt Machine”, “Evergrey”, “Riverside”, “Dream Theater”, “OSI”, “Queensrÿche”, “Dreamscape”, and “Blind Ego”, of course! Band members and collaborators involved in Blind Ego are: Kalle Wallner – Guitars, Keyboards, Bass, Programming & Backing Vocals; Michael Schwager – Drums. Guest Singers: Arno Menses; Erik Ez Blomkvist; Aaron Brooks. Guest Bassists: Sebastian Harnack; Ralf Schwager; Heiko Jung. Engineered by Yogi Lang... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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12/28/2016..............................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit BLIND EGO HOME PAGE...
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