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LAST UPDATE 12/31/2017....
. NTH ASCENSION - "In Fine Initium"
Nth Ascension is a British Progressive Rock band consisting of Alan ‘Spud’ Taylor (vocals), Darrel Treece-Birch (keyboards), Martin Walker (guitars) and his two sons, Gavin (bass) & Craig Walker (drums, percussion). Darrel Treece-Birch is also the present keyboardist for bands “TEN” and “CounterpartsUK”, besides having a solo career (Darrel’s last album, entitled "No More Time", was reviewed at PR&PM in Sep. 2016). Nth Ascension was formed in 2009 by Craig Walker and Treece-Birch under the name “Nth Degree.” Alan ‘Spud’ Taylor and Martin Walker completed the line-up. In the two previous decades, Treece-Birch, Taylor and Martin Walker had played on several bands, either together or not: “A.D.”, “Helmwind”, “The Noise Foundation”, “The Order Of Chaos”, and “The Field” – some of which released CDs. In 2011 the band changed their name for Nth Ascension and released a digital-demo entitled “Frequencies Of Day And Night” (issued via online platform Aurovine.com). In 2012, bassist Gavin Walker joined the band. Nth Ascension’s official debut album, entitled “Ascension Of Kings”, was released in December 2014, on digital (via Aurovine EX) and physical CD formats, Nth Ascension and “Ascension Of Kings” featured as “Best Band & Record” of February 2015 at PR&PM! In 2015, Nth Ascension signed to U.S.A. Label Melodic Revolution Records (MRR) and began to work on their second album, entitled “In Fine Initium”. “In Fine Initium” was released on October 14th, 2016, on both CD and hi-resolution digital formats. The sound of Nth Ascension is based on a non-rigid Neo-Progressive platform that band members insist to make flexible and bendable, so that they can change the musical structures according to their own influences and personal tastes. So, besides resembling the Neo-Prog standards of bands like “Genesis”, “Yes”, “Marillion”, “Pallas”, “IQ”, “Arena”, “Grey Lady Down”, and “Galahad”; the music of Nth Ascension has also a contamination of bands like “Porcupine Tree”, “Rush”, “Dream Theater”, “Sensational Alex Harvey Band”, “Pink Floyd”, “Twelfth Night”, and others. For instance, Nth Ascension’s greatest point of divergence with the Neo-Prog profile stands on Alan Taylor’s vocal type, which is capacious, deep and powerful – a voice with Classic & Hard Rock, Metal and Operatic tones that sounds different from the voices of “Peter Gabriel” or “Fish”, but similar to “Dan Swanö’s” (“Nightingale”). Also on the new album, the band has adopted a heavier guitar sound with Metallic texture, tying it tightly to a pounding and dynamic rhythm section that comprises an array of time signatures. The melodic keyboard passages created by Treece-Birch, and the soaring and sentimental guitar solos of Martin Walker are the main elements offsetting the sturdier new sound of Nth Ascension, linking the band to a symphonic Neo-Prog branch. “In Fine Initium” has seven tracks, divided in two blocks. The first one deals with biblical and apocalyptical issues, comprising tracks 1 to 4 – namely: “Kingdom Keys” (15:18); “End Of Days” (11:23); “So, That Was The Apocalypse” (4:42); and “The Cage” (17:06). The three longest tracks are amazing good-sounding hybrids of Symphonic Neo-Prog and Heavy-Prog instilled with energetic Metal elements! Delivered with cinematic complexity and epic grandeur, they evoke the final Armageddon! In this doomsday ambience, vigorous vocals encourage the believers to fight, calming down the battle in moments of truce. The instrumental parts are driven by thunderous bass and drums, boosted up by hovering riffs that recall “Dream Theater”. The riffs are intermingled to magnificent passages for piano and synths with the signature of “Tony Banks”. The “longs”, “Kingdom…” and “End Of…” are finished with celestial guitars in “Steve Rothery’s” style. Everything sounds like a blend of “Genesis”, “IQ”, “Pallas”, “Marillion”, “Arena”, “Twelfth Nigth”; immersed in an atmosphere that oscillates from dark to light, as on “Porcupine Tree”. Differing from the “longs”, “So, That Was The Apocalypse” is driven by Hammonds, in the vein of “Deep Purple”! The second song-block comprises tracks 5 to 7, which correspond to parts “IV”, “V” and “VI” of the suite “Clanaan” (initiated on the first album). “Clanaan” advances frankly into the Neo-Prog style, being more melodious and symphonic than any song of the first block. “Part IV – In Search Of The Rider” (7:47), is a ballad with charming old-fashioned vocals; and “Part V – Forever” (7:46) is the instrumental continuation of it – an awesome piece that progresses on a majestic andante, bringing never-ending guitar solos (akin to “Hackett”, “Rothery”, and “Gilmour”) and a sublime piano wrapped up in dreamy keyboard arrangements (like “Genesis”). “Parts VI – When The Rain Falls” (3:50) is a ballad instilled with sadness, reminiscent of “Steve Hogarth” (“Marillion”). In sum, Nth Ascension’s “In Fine Initium” is an exciting, impacting and consistent album that brings a kind of vigorous Neo-Progressive Rock instilled with Metal vibes that will be highly appreciated by fans of “Marillion”, “Pallas”, “IQ”, “Arena”, “Grey Lady Down”, “Twelfth Night”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Haken”, “TCP”, “Martigan”, “Argos”, “Comedy Of  Errors”, “Silhouette”, “Galahad”, “Rush”, “Dream Theater”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Nth Ascension are: Alan ‘Spud’ Taylor – Vocals; Darrel Treece-Birch – Keyboards; Martin Walker – Guitars; Gavin Walker – Bass; Craig Walker – Drums, Additional Backing Vocals. Recorded at Various Studios; Mixed by Mat Arnold of Hilltown Studios, Colne; Mastered by Dave Aston at Digital Audio, Skipton. Album Art by Oliver Pengilley. Also you must visit Nth Ascension's Facebook Site and also at BandCamp Site...
01/31/2017........................Is there an interested to know more about them? Then you must visit NTH ASCENSION HOME PAGE...
. TCP - "Temporal Chaos"
TCP is back to PR&PM! TCP – an abbreviation for Temporal Chaos Project – is a full-fledged Progressive Rock band from the USA. TCP started out in 2008 as a studio project based on the collaboration of Henry Tarnecky (vocals, keyboards), Blake Tobias (keyboards, bass), and Jack Wright (guitars, drums). This formation, released the acclaimed debut album “The Way” (2009, 10T Records), which was featured as “Best Band & Record” of May 2009 at PR&PM! TCP’s second album, entitled “Fantastic Dreamer” (2011), appeared in “best progressive albums of 2011” lists in Spain, Netherlands, UK, and the USA. “Fantastic Dreamer” had significant participation of guest keyboardist Glenn Arpino (a veteran who had already collaborated with many musicians, including “Jon Anderson”, of “Yes”), leading to his incorporation into TCP as the project’s permanent fourth member. On July 12, 2016, TCP released their third album, “Temporal Chaos” (WATT Records), on both CD and digital formats. “Temporal Chaos” features eight songs, including some lengthy Progressive epics! Besides TCP’s quartet, the record features two special guests, which are regular collaborators of the project: Nicole Tarnecky (backup vocals) and Tom Shiben (bass). The album has everything that the band is known for giving to listeners: Henry Tarnecky’s  keen lyrics, which he delivers with his dramatic voice, reminiscent of “Peter Gabriel” (“Genesis”), “Fish” (“Marillion”), and “Bernardo Lanzetti” (“PFM”, “Aqua Fragile”, “Mangala Vallis”); Blake Tobias’ polyrhythmic and yet melodious six-stringed bass, which he combines with a collectible arsenal of vintage keyboards (Mellotron, Hammond C3, Moog synths, pipe organs) to create bombastic Progressive panoramas; Jack Wright’s creative, versatile and impressive guitar work, which is matched by his outstanding ability behind the drum-kit, following a Math-Rock orientation that favors complex polyrhythms and odd time signatures; and Glenn Arpino’s sensitive and image-evocative keyboard tunes, conveyed on a vast array of Classic, Neo-Prog and Post-Progressive styles. Add the pleasant backup vocals of Nicole Tarnecky on half of the tracks, and the sober and sensitive bass lines of Tom Shiben on the track “Chrysalis”, and the result is a fantastic Progressive Rock album that ranks with the best ever made in the genre! TCP delivers a kind of Neo-Progressive Rock that stays far from the cliché, adding rhythmic patterns, metrics, and dark/atmospheric passages that are not common in other Neo-Prog bands, and that push their compositions beyond the obvious. Nevertheless, TCP keeps the music within the basic borders of the recognizable Neo-Prog canons. Furthermore, the talented contributions made by all members of the project reflect a level of synergetic involvement that is as high as on bands like “Genesis” (“Peter Gabriel” Era), “Marillion” (“Fish” Era), “IQ”, “Pallas”, “Arena”, “Pendragon”, “Jadis”, “Red Jasper”, “Illusion”, “Mangala Vallis”, “Narrow Pass”, “Argos”, “Martigan”, “Red Sand”, “Yezda Urfa”, “Rush”, “Comedy of Errors”, “Phideaux”, “Silhouette”, “Parzivals Eye”, “Aisles”, “K2”, “Mars Hollow”, and so on. “Temporal Chaos” starts up powerfully with “Torn Apart 1000 Sparks” (3.17) – although short, this song makes an immediate impact on the listeners with its crudeness and straightforwardness – a clear clue that TCP intends to shock and shake the regular Neo-Prog enthusiasts with a more substantial sound. An intent that becomes clear on the heavy load of the guitar riffs, pounding bass and drums, crooked “King Crimson”-like structures and overall tempestuous atmosphere of the pensive track 4, “The Forces” (6.17); and continues on the diabolic groove of the frightening track 6, “Fantasize/Into the Blue” (12.00) – a kind of “anti-Neo-Prog” that compresses weird keyboards, nightmarish guitars, and eccentric vocals into schizoid arrangements marked by a distorted Blues rhythm. That Bluesy mood extrapolates to “Third Eye Limited” (4.38) – a trippy ballad that features a long and soulful guitar solo, resembling a blend of “Pink Floyd” and “Genesis”. But Neo-Prog aficionados will really stick to tracks 2 and 3 – “Forest of Lovelies” (8.55) and “Impetus” (9.43) – two Neo-Prog standards that place keyboards on the frontline in the form of mysterious Mellotrons, crystalline classic pianos, and celestial Moogs, all of them competing with soaring guitars on long instrumental parts that are pinpointed by melodic vocals and conveyed on floating rhythmic drives! “Forest …” captivated me with its division of parts, including one based on Spanish music; while “Impetus” is the quintessential Neo-Progressive ballad, including male/female vocals, amazing synths, and poignant guitars and piano. But after trespassing the introspectiveness of the low-keyed ballad “Chrysalis” (5.48), those same Neo-Prog addicts will freak out with “In the Flame” (11:05) – the magnum opus that closes the album. Symphonic and bright, this song revives the grandeur of old “Genesis”, “Marillion”, and “Pink Floyd”, bringing majestic vocal tunes cushioned on atmospheric instrumental sequences in a Classic Progressive fashion! TCP’s album “Temporal Chaos” is the incontestable proof that, 30 years after “Marillion’s” skywards rise, a 21st century band can still surprise the listener making fresh, amazing, and relevant Neo-Progressive Music! TCP is therefore indispensable for fans of “Genesis” (“Peter Gabriel” Era), “Marillion” (“Fish” Era), “Pallas”, “IQ”, “Pendragon”, “Arena”, “Jadis”, “Red Jasper”, “Mangala Vallis”, “Argos” “Martigan”, “Red Sand”, “Yezda Urfa”, “Comedy of Errors”, “Phideaux”, “Silhouette”, “Aisles”, “K2”, “Parzivals Eye”, “Mars Hollow”, “Pink Floyd”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in TCP are: Henry Tarnecky – Lead Vocals, Lyrics, Keyboards; Blake Tobias – Bass, Keyboards; Jack Wright – Guitars, Drums; Glenn Arpino – Keyboards. Special Guests: Nicole Tarnecky – Backup Vocals (on “Impetus”, “The Forces”, “Chrysalis”, “Fantasize/Into the Blue”); Tom Shiben – Bass (on “Chrysalis”). Mixed & Mastered by Blake Tobias at Black Duck Studio, Colorado. Produced by TCP...
01/31/2017...........................,...You can find more information about the band and their musicians at TCP OFFICIAL WEBSITE...
. GREG LAKE - "Greg Lake / Manoeuvres"
Greg Lake – one of the most legendary names in Progressive Rock – passed away on December 7th 2016, victim of a cancer. This review is a posthumous homage from PR&PM to him. Greg Lake was one of the most praised Progressive singers of all times. Besides that, Lake was also a gifted bassist, a sensitive guitar player, and an effective producer – a task he would undertake behind his label Manticore Records. Lake’s musical influences could range from early Rockers, as “Elvis” and “Little Richard”, to academic composers, such as “Copeland” and “Prokofiev.” This open-minded attitude helped Lake to create his own style of bass playing – with a more percussive and sustained approach – which many other bassists later tried to assimilate and emulate. Lake soon became a prominent bassist in the predominant Progressive Rock scene of late 1960s to early 1970s. With “Robert Fripp”, Greg Lake founded “King Crimson” – one of the most influential bands of the ‘70s. Together, they recorded and released two seminal Prog-albums: “In The Court Of The Crimson King” (1969) and “In The Wake Of Poseidon” (1970). But Lake was destined to more. During a North American tour on which “King Crimson” shared the bill with “The Nice”, Lake met “The Nice’s” keyboardist, “Keith Emerson” (himself a Progressive legend, tragically deceased in 2016). Greg Lake and “Keith Emerson” shared the same desire of reinterpreting Classical Music in the light of the challenging musical genre that was arising then – the Progressive Rock! When they came back to England, Lake and “Emerson” were introduced to drummer “Carl Palmer” (“Atomic Rooster”), and formed “Emerson, Lake and Palmer” (a.k.a. “ELP”) – one of the world's most famous Progressive power-trios. “ELP’s” debut album, “Emerson, Lake and Palmer” (1971), was an instant hit. “ELP’s” live tours were bombastic, attracting the audiences to the arenas and stadiums by the thousands. With Lake’s expert production, “ELP” released a series of albums that reached  the Platinum level, becoming classics: “Tarkus” (1971), “Pictures At An Exhibition” (1972), “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 “In Concert” (1979). With “ELP”, Greg Lake became famous for his ballads, composed for acoustic guitar and his voice, which all had a great popular appeal. Besides “Lucky Man” – one of his best known songs, Lake wrote: “C'est La Vie”, “From the Beginning”, “Still...You Turn Me On”, “Watching Over You” and “I Believe in Father Christmas”, one of the most beloved Christmas songs, which has been covered by “U2”, “Sarah Brightman”, and “Jordan Rudess” (“Dream Theater”). The release of “Love Beach” (1978) and “The Best of Emerson, Lake & Palmer” (1980) marked the end of an era for “ELP”. Along the 1980s, Lake also trailed a successful career, by releasing solo albums – “Greg Lake” (1981) and “Manoeuvres” (1983) – or with a new trio, formed with “K. Emerson” and drummer “Cozzy Powell”, which released the eponymous “Emerson, Lake & Powell” (1986). The 1990s were years for Lake to reunite with the original “Emerson, Lake & Palmer” in a series of tours, new albums, and special releases (via Manticore Records): “The Atlantic Years Emerson, Lake and Palmer” (1992); “Black Moon” (1992); “Live At The Royal Albert Hall” (1993); “Return Of The Manticore” (1993); “Works Live” (1993); “In The Hot Seat” (1994); “Brain Salad Surgery (Special Edition)” (1996); “Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival” (1997); “ELP Live On The King Biscuit Flower Hour” (1997); “Then And Now” (1998). Lake also appeared on “King Crimson’s” albums “Epitaph” (1997) and “Live at the Marquee Club, 1969” (released 1998 on Discipline Records). Concomitantly, Lake issued old material of his own vaults: “In Concert On The King Biscuit Flower Hour” (1995 and 1996’s special edition); “From The Beginning: The Greg Lake Retrospective” (1997); “From The Underground I & II: The Official Bootleg Greg Lake” (1998/2003). During this century, Greg Lake continued to be an active musician. He compiled a bootleg series of “ELP’s” shows, released via Sanctuary Records, UK: “Fanfare for The Common Man - The Anthology” (2001, 2 CDs); and “The Original Bootleg Series From The Manticore Vaults”: “Vols. 1 & 2” (2001); “ELP Live in Poland” (2003); and “ELP - Best of the Bootlegs” (2003, 2 CDs). He also edited old material from “ELPowell”: “Live In Concert” (2003) and “The Sprocket Sessions” (2003). In the meantime, Greg Lake collaborated with artists such as: “Ringo Starr”, “Robert Plant”; “Roger Daltrey”, “Gary Moore”, “Gary Brooker”, “Ian Anderson”, “Trans-Siberian Orchestra”, and “David Arch”. A great achievement was the worldwide presentation of Lake’s tour, “Songs of a Lifetime” (2010-2013), inspired on his autobiographical book, “Lucky Man”. With keyboardist “Geoff Downes”, Greg Lake formed the project called “Ride The Tiger”, whose eponymous album was featured at PR&PM in January 2015. On 27th November 2015, Greg Lake released a double CD reissuing his first two solo albums: “Greg Lake” (1981) and “Manoeuvres” (1983). The set included four bonus tracks which were previously only available on “From The Underground Vol. 2”; along with an extensive booklet. This release offered the great opportunity for Greg Lake’s fans to grab some of his best solo material together with some rarities, compiled on a single edition. With help of a stellar cast of musicians (see below), Greg Lake showed on his solo albums his face as a Rock and Roll man, for this work was very different from his music on “ELP” or “King Crimson”. The songs present on both CDs cover a varied repertoire, ranging from hot and powerful Hard-Rock/AOR songs (like the all-favorites “Nuclear Attack”, “The Lie”, “Retribution Drive”, and “Manoeuvres”); Classic Rock songs, loaded with bluesy guitar solos and organ (such as “Love You Too Much”, “Paralyzed”, the Blues-ballad “It Hurts”, and “Someone”, warmed by powerful bass, great sax, and piano); and the cover-song “Famous Last Words”; to the bombastic Prog-oriented pieces “For Those Who Dare” (a Fanfare for Scottish bagpipes, on which Lake unleashes his potent voice) and “It's You, You've Gotta Believe” (a typical “ELP’s” pompous track). The ballads that have made Greg Lake so famous are also present, in quantity, quality, and variety. They include the old-styled “You Really Got a Hold on Me” (“Smokey Robinson’s” cover) and “Hold Me” (an “Elvis-like” song); the angelical “Slave to Love”; the great love-song “I Don't Know Why I Still Love You”; and a personal favorite, the gorgeous “Haunted”, on which Lake makes justice to all his fame as a singer, by delivering his greatest vocal performance, ever! The Progressive Rock community will never forget Greg Lake – a really complete and gifted musician, and an example to be followed by the younger generations! His reissued albums deserve to be played loud, by all his fans worldwide! R.I.P., Mr. Greg Lake! Band members and collaborators involved in Greg Lake are: On “Greg Lake” Album: Greg Lake - Guitar, Vocals; Gary Moore, Steve Lukather, Dean Parks, W.G. Snuffy Walden – Guitars; Greg Mathieson, Bill Cuomo, Tommy Eyre – Keyboards; Michael Giles, Jeff Porcaro, Jode Leigh, Ted McKenna – Drums; Tristian Margetts, David Hungate – Bass; Willie Cochrane, David Milner – Pipe; Clarence Clemons – Saxophone. Track List: 1. “Nuclear Attack”; 2. “Love You Too Much”; 3. “It Hurts”; 4. “Black And Blue”; 5. “Retribution Drive”; 6. “Long Goodbye”; 7. “The Lie”; 8. “Someone”; 9. “Let Me Love You Once Before You Go”; 10. “For Those Who Dare”. Bonus Tracks: 11. “You Really Got a Hold on Me”; 12. “You’re Good With Your Love”; 13. “Cold Side of a Woman”. On “Manoeuvres” Album: Greg Lake - Guitar, Vocals; Gary Moore – Guitar; Tristian Margetts – Bass; Tommy Eyre – Keyboards; Ted McKenna – Drums. Track List: 1. “Manoeuvres”; 2. “Too Young to Love”; 3. “Paralyzed”; 4. “Woman Like You”; 5. “I Don't Wanna Lose Your Love Tonight”; 6. “Famous Last Words”; 7. “Slave to Love”; 8. “Haunted”; 9. “I Don't Know Why I Still Love You”; 10. “It's You, You've Gotta Believe”. Bonus Track: 11. “Hold Me”. Both Albums Produced by Greg Lake... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2017......................Interested to know more about this fantastic and legendary Musician? Visit GREG LAKE HOME PAGE...
. CURVED AIR - "Rarities Series Vol 1 – Tapestry of Propositions"
The legendary band Curved Air is back to PR&PM! Curved Air is one of the most important acts of the UK's 1970s Progressive movement. The band created a combination of ‘60-styled Rock, Folk, and Classical Music with elements of Electronic and Jazz that was unique in their time! Curved Air was born in 1968 with a line-up consisting of Sonja Kristina (vocals), Darryl Way (electric violin), Francis Monkman (guitar, keyboards), Rob Martin (bass) and Florian Pilkington-Miksa (drums). The band signed with Warner and released their first album, “Airconditioning” (1970). With minor changes in the line-up, they released “Second Album” (1971) and “Phantasmagoria” (1972). But “Air Cut” (1973) had only Sonja from the original formation, and featured Mike Wedgwood, (bass), Kirby Gregory (guitars), Eddie Jobson (violin, keyboards), and Jim Russell (percussion). In 1974 most of Curved Air’s original members reunited for a tour in the UK (registered on the “Curved Air Live Album”). Sonja and Darryl reformulated Curved Air, calling Mick Jacques (guitars), Tony Reeves (bass), and Stewart Copeland (drums) to record “Midnight Wire” (1975) and “Airborne” (1976). Different incarnations of the band appeared on “Live At The BBC” (1995), later reissued as “Airwaves - Live At The BBC Remastered / Live At The Paris Theatre” (2012, Purple Pyramid) – an album reviewed at PR&PM in 2013. In 2008, Sonja, Darryl, Florian, Andy Christie (guitar) and Chris Harris (bass) regrouped to re-record 14 of Curved Air’s classic songs, compiled on the album “Reborn” (2008). On a following tour, Darryl was replaced by Paul Sax (violin) and Robert Norton (keyboards). Curved Air’s next releases were “Live Atmosphere” (2012) and “North Star” (2014, Cherry Red), which included new studio material, re-recordings and covers. Curved Air has just released a new album, entitled “The Curved Air Rarities Series – Volume 1 – Tapestry of Propositions” (August 5, 2016, Curved Air Records). “Tapestry of Propositions” is a peculiar release, for it brings an hour-long version of the song “Propositions”, recorded live during 2013/14 at fourteen different locations, on a tour that included Norway and the UK. Curved Air had been performing “Propositions” for more than 40 years! The song was a representative of the Prog-Rock innovation, for it blended Psychedelic and Hard Rock, followed by an instrumental session during which all musicians made improvisations. “Propositions” had been always performed on stage with energy, and every night the band performed a different variation of the instrumental session, adding Jazzy, Folk, and Oriental modes – and taking the audiences to total ecstasy! With the release of “Tapestry Of Propositions”, Curved Air intended to capture and concentrate the power of those moments on a single recording, so that listeners could feel the magnitude of their awesome music when played alive! “Tapestry Of Propositions” brings 17 tracks, performed by a line-up consisting of Sonja Kristina (vocals), Florian Pilkington-Miksa (drums), Chris Harris (bass), Kirby Gregory (guitar), Robert Norton (keyboards), and Paul Sax (violin) – musicians of various incarnations of Curved Air. The only tracks featuring Sonja’s vocals are the first – “Propositions” – and the last – “Propositions (Reprise)”. Between them, fifteen instrumental “Improv’s” (named after the places where the shows happened) have been chained to each other, forming a single composition. The album sounds therefore like an infinite tour-the-force, during which the instrumentalists exchange amazing solos on guitars, violins, keyboards; propelled by a wild rhythmic section! Many “Improv’s” bring Curved Air’s traditional signature, recalling the early interpretations of the song, such as on “Norway”, “Wolverhampton”, “Milton Keynes”, and “St. Ives”. The apex of Curved Air’s freedom of expression as a genre-bending band is clearly sensed on “London” (with violins ahead, lysergic guitar, and thunderous bass and drums following Space-Rock wilderness) and on “Ilminster” (a vigorous “Improv” that combines Blues-Rock guitar and transcendental Oriental modes). Those “Improv’s” sound different from “St. Albans”, which is more Jazzy; and from “Edinburgh”, which is a Raga-Rock that brings destroying drums and guitars, and crazy keyboards! My favorites are those that swing on an up-to-date rhythmic section, vibrating with the speed and vigor of the new century, such as: “Hull”; “Kinross” (which rides on elephantine sounds), “Wimbourne” (propelled by a bass drive faster than on “Hull”), and “Eastney” (so fast, that it reverberates in sonic-quake vibrations!). Lastly, Curved Air’s Avant-garde inspirations are materialized on “Poole” and “Shoreham”. Finally, on “Propositions (Reprise)”, the bewitching voice of Sonja Kristina returns to finish the song, the show, and this unique CD! What surprises will come up next from Curved Air’s “Rarities Series”? While we wait for the answer, let us just listen to “Tapestry of Propositions” – a must-have item for any fan of Curved Air – and a highly recommendable item for fans of Improvisational Music! Band members and collaborators involved in Curved Air are: Sonja Kristina – Lead Vocals (tr. 1 and 17); Florian Pilkington-Miksa – Drums; Kirby Gregory – Guitar; Chris Harris – Bass; Robert Norton – Keys; Paul Sax – Violin. The song “Propositions”, written by Monkman & Kristina. All improvisations written by Gregory, Harris, Norton, Pilkington-Miksa, Sax. Compiled & Produced by Robert Norton. Live Concert Sound Engineering by Beric Wickens. Mastered by Mike Pietrini. Lighting Design & Engineering by Tony Lawther. Graphic Design by Carl Glover. “Tapestry of Propositions” complete track-list: 1.“Propositions” (1:13); 2.“Norway Improv” (5:08); 3.“St. Albans Improv” (4:00); 4.“Hull Improv” (3:19); 5.“Edinburgh Improv” (3:54); 6.“Kinross Improv” (3:05); 7.“Wimbourne Improv” (3:56); 8.“Wolverhampton Improv” (4:10); 9.“London Improv” (3:57); 10.“Milton Keynes Improv” (4:22); 11.“Eastney Improv” (4:23); 12.“Ilminster Improv” (4:36); 13.“St. Ives Improv” (3:51); 14.“Poole Improv” (3:38); 15.“Shoreham Improv” (4:17); 16.“Norway Improv” (5:03); 17.“Propositions (Reprise)” (1:33)... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2017..............................More information about the band? Better check it out for yourself at: CURVED AIR HOME PAGE...
Jonas Lindberg & The Other Side are back to PR&PM! Jonas Lindberg & The Other Side are a Progressive Rock project from Stockholm, Sweden, that was founded in 2012 by multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer Jonas Lindberg. The project released two EPs: “In Secret Pace” (physically released in 2008 still as a Lindberg’s solo project; re-released in digital format at Lindberg’s website in 2012) and “The Other Side” (released in 2013 on Lindberg’s own label, ModeMusic; featured at PR&PM in 2014). “The Other Side” showcased clean and elegant music that contained a balanced mix of Progressive Rock and sophisticated 80’s to 90’s Pop-Rock, with influences of “Genesis”, “Yes”, “Pink Floyd”, “Marillion”, “The Flower Kings”, “Alan Parsons”, “Asia”, “Saga”, “GTR”, “Sting”, “Talk Talk”, “Duran Duran”, “Tears For Fears”, “Coldplay” and others. Jonas Lindberg & The Other Side have recently released their third record, entitled “Pathfinder” (Sep. 2016, ModeMusic). “Pathfinder” is a full-length album that contains 8 long tracks, which are available on both CD and digital formats. The line-up features the original quintet formed by Jonas Lindberg (bass, keyboards, vocals), Jonas Sundqvist (lead vocals), Calle Stålenbring (guitars), Michael Ottosson (keyboards), and Jonathan Lundberg (drums), augmented with new members Jenny Sandgren (female vocals), Nicklas Thelin (guitars), and Maria Olsson (percussion). With a high level of sound production, “Pathfinder” has a greater Progressive input than the previous EP, making an immediately positive impact on the listener! The first trait to be noticed is the increase in heaviness on most songs, caused by the addition of an extra guitar to the ensemble, and by the almost constant employment of a 70’s-sounding organ. This guitar-oriented sound gave new life to the music of Jonas Lindberg & The Other Side, injecting more stamina and Rock groove into their new songs. The combined power of sturdier guitars and vintage organ has produced magnetic riffs that are as contagious as on bands like “Kansas”, “Spock’s Beard”, “Neal Morse”, “Transatlantic”, “Magellan”, and “Discipline”. Another highlight is the amplitude and dynamism of the arrangements, which allow all band members to contribute to the music in an orchestral way, improving the overall sonority of the album. The instrumentation is therefore loaded with solos of guitar and keyboards in both Classic Rock and Progressive styles (the Moog-sounding synth melodies are wonderful, and the classical-jazzy piano shows up often), counterbalanced by a melodic and symphonic bass that is sometimes reminiscent of “Jonas Reingold” (“The Flower Kings”, “Karmakanic”). The rhythmic section, which was already propelled by a qualified drummer, oscillates from the vigor of 70’s Rock to the cool modernity of the ‘80s to ‘90s, and has gained much more substance with the addition of a percussionist. Finally, the outstanding vocalist Jonas Sundqvist now shares the spotlights with new female singer, Jenny Sandgren. Although Sundqvist acts most of the time as the lead singer, Jenny has also her solo moments, and makes worthy contributions to the back-up and harmony vocals. Both singers deliver to the listener a collection of beautiful tunes and control the moods on each song, going from vibrant and lively to emotional and sad, creating either colorful panoramas or dreamy atmospheres reminiscent of “Sting”, “Pink Floyd”, “Yes”, or “Phideaux”. The whole package approaches Jonas Lindberg & The Other Side to bands of the magnitude of “The Flower Kings”, “Karmakanic”, “Agents of Mercy”, “The Tangent”, “Genesis”, “Kiama”, and others. Half of the eight songs that are present on “Pathfinder” represent better the new sound of Jonas Lindberg & The Other Side, as described above. “Square One” (7:40) – which opens the album – and “Peace Of Mind” (9:25) are the heaviest. They are both vigorously conveyed on powerful swinging riffs, gritty organ, and really rocking male/female vocal interplay; each one having its own load of instrumental solos. If “Square …” follows a groovy mid-tempo pace (recalling “Kansas”), “Peace …” runs faster and more dynamically, including soothing vocal parts, fleeing acoustic guitars, great passages for piano, solos of guitars and synths, and a final instrumental part dominated by percussion blended to different kinds of keyboards (like “Neal Morse” or “Transatlantic”). Although starting enclosed in a cosmic ambience and having “Sting’s” mellowness on vocals, the title-track “Pathfinder” (5:40) also belongs here, for it soon grows in intensity, following chord progressions and acrobatic drums that recall “Rush” and “Magellan”, finishing on an amazing guitar solo! And the bombastic instrumental track “Zenith” (6:15) brings a mix of sonic references that range from destroying riffs of Prog-Metal-Fusion origin to “wah-wah” guitar solos that hover on electronic beats and synths inspired on “Alan Parsons”. Also noteworthy are the Progressive ballads, “Lost” (5:16) and “On The Horizon” (5:34), which are immersed in opposite atmospheres: “Lost” is darker, and its melancholic instrumentation contrasts against the dreamy vocals; “On The Horizon” is brighter, and its soaring guitars, synths, and soft vocals recall “Yes”. The album offers two songs more: the easy-listening “Leaving The World Behind” (5:45) and the Progressive opus, “Closer To The Sun” (9:02). Both have cheerful moods, conveyed on crystalline electro-acoustic instrumentations that cradle sweet vocals/harmony vocals, recalling a mix of “Flower Kings”, “Karmakanic”, “Genesis”, “Toto”, and “Sting”. “Closer …” is the most amazing, and finishes the album at a high Progressive edge, by including extra layers of vintage keyboards and superb solos of guitars and synths! Regarding the Progressive Rock gauge, Jonas Lindberg & The Other Side’s new album “Pathfinder” counts several marks higher than its predecessor, the EP “The Other Side”, being indispensable for fans of “Kansas”, “Spock’s Beard”, “Neal Morse”, “Transatlantic”, “Magellan”, “Discipline”, “The Flower Kings”, “Karmakanic”, “Agents of Mercy”, “The Tangent”, “Big Big Train”, “Kiama”, “Kansas”, “Sting”, 80’s “Genesis”, “Yes”, “Marillion”, “Alan Parsons”, “Pink Floyd”, “Phideaux”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Jonas Lindberg are: Jonas Lindberg – Bass, Keyboards, Moog, Mellotron, Additional Acoustic & Electric Guitars, Mandolin, Backing Vocals, Acoustic Guitar on “Living the World Behind”, Lead Vocals on “On The Horizon”, Compositions; Jonas Sundqvist – Lead Vocals; Jenny Sandgren – Lead & Backing Vocals; Calle Stålenbring – Guitars; Nicklas Thelin – Acoustic & Electric Guitars; Michael Ottosson – Keyboards (Hammond Organ, Piano, Rhodes); Jonathan Lundberg – Drums; Maria Olsson – Percussion. Recorded in Stockholm (Jul. 2015 to Feb. 2016); Drums Recorded at Kulturskolan, Märsta by J. Lundberg; Overdubs Recorded at Beehive Studios, Arstarberg, and various home studios by J. Lindberg & N. Thelin. Mixed by Alexander Kronbrink; Mastered at Cuttingroom by Mats ‘Limpan’ Lindfors. Produced by Jonas Lindberg... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2017....Interested to know more about this fantastic Musician? Visit JONAS LINDBERG & THE OTHER SIDE HOME PAGE...
Arjen Anthony Lucassen is very welcomed to PR&PM! Arjen Lucassen is a Dutch singer, multi-instrumentalist, and composer, famous around the Progressive Rock/Metal community for being the mastermind behind great musical projects such as “Ayreon”, “Ambeon”, “Star One”, “Stream of Passion”, “Guilt Machine”, and “The Gentle Storm”. Arjen Lucassen was born on April 3rd,, 1960, in The Hague. He loved the bands of the ‘60s and ‘70s, and some of his favorites were “Beatles”, “T-Rex”, “Alice Cooper”, “The Sweet” and “David Bowie”. But when he heard to “Ritchie Blackmore” playing guitar on “Deep Purple’s” album, “Made in Japan”, he decided to learn guitar and begin a musical career! At first Lucassen played on many bands, and later he was admitted as a second guitarist on Metal band “Bodine” (1980-1984). He played later on “Vengeance”, until 1992. Then he ventured on a solo career. Lucassen’s first success was his Opera-Rock project, called “Ayreon”. With support of Dutch label Transmission Records, Lucassen released the “Ayreon” albums “The Final Experiment” (1995), “Actual Fantasy” (1996), “Into the Electric Castle” (1998), “Universal Migrator Part 1: The Dream Sequencer” (2000), and “Part 2: Flight of the Migrator” (2000). After moving to InsideOut Music, he released “The Human Equation” (2004), “01011001” (2008), “The Theory of Everything” (2013), and “The Theater Equation” (2016, DVD). Lucassen also released albums with other projects: “Ambeon” (“Fate of a Dreamer”, 2001, Transmission); “Stream of Passion” (“Embrace The Storm”, 2005, InsideOut); “Guilt Machine” (“On This Perfect Day”, 2009, Mascot); and “Star One”, which released the albums “Space Metal” (2002), “Live on Earth” (2003, DVD), and “Victims of the Modern Age” (2010) via InsideOut. Lucassen’s most recent releases on InsideOut include: “Lost in the New Real” (2012, solo) and “The Gentle Storm - The Diary” (2015) – this one from the eponymous project that Lucassen shares with Dutch singer “Anneke van Giersbergen” (ex-“The Gathering”, “Agua de Annique”). And what is Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s Strange Hobby, anyway? “Strange Hobby” is a collection of cover versions of Arjen Lucassen’s favorite Psychedelic songs from the sixties, those that have influenced his musical development. “Strange Hobby” was recorded in 1996 by Lucassen alone; just to relax from the stressful routine that he had experienced during the exhaustive recordings of the second “Ayreon” album. “Strange Hobby” had been mastered at the Abbey Road Studios, and was released for the first time in 1996 by Transmission Records. But the strangest thing about it was; that no artist had been credit for the recording! “Strange Hobby” eventually went out of print and became a rare collectible item. The identity of the artist that was responsible for it remained totally unknown – until Arjen Lucassen finally revealed to be the mastermind behind the mysterious album! He omitted his name from the original release just for fun; to see what would happen. As speculations about the real authorship of the album had gone around “Prince”, “Status Quo”, “Barry Hay”, and “Paul McCartney”, Lucassen decided to re-release “Strange Hobby” in 2016 via his own label, Aluca Music, with support of Cherry Red. The new CD edition of “Strange Hobby” brings the same 18 original tracks plus four bonus tracks. Featuring songs by “The Beatles”, “The Kinks”, “Status Quo”, “Rolling Stones”, “Pink Floyd” (“Sid Barrett” Era), “The Hollies”, “Marc Bolan & T-Rex”, “The Beach Boys”, “The Monkees”, “Kaleidoscope”, and others, “Strange Hobby” pays homage to the revolutionary music of the ‘60s. It is also a sonic sample of the bands that influenced Lucassen in early years, which he assimilated and transformed on his own brand of Rock in the subsequent years. And although the joyful mood and good vibes that irradiate from these tracks are likely to surprise many of his fans, it is also true that fragments of those harmonies are still echoing on Lucassen’s modern songs! My favorites are the two Heavy-Metal versions of the “Floydians” “Arnold Layne” and “See Emily Play”; the eternal classics “Norwegian Wood” and “For No One” (“The Beatles”); “I Am a Rock” (“Paul Simon”); and “Ruby Tuesday” (“Rolling Stones”); and a number of songs that have been repaginated with an up-to-date heavier guitar sound, that would be present if they had been written nowadays: “Boris the Spider” (“The Who”); “Sunny Afternoon” (“The Kinks”) and the unexpected “Proto-Punk” version of “The Letter” (“The Box Tops”). “Bob Dylan” could never imagine that his song, “I Want You”, could be accelerated by a crazy drumming! And “Donovan” has never figured out how his traditional Folk “Catch the Wind” could rock when switched from the acoustic to electric mode! A special moment comes on “In the Room of Percussion ft. Peter Daltrey”, fronted by the original singer of the less famous band “Kaleidoscope”. And for those listeners who were teenagers in the ‘60s and miss the joy, innocence, and romance that marked the soundtrack of an Era, the album offers really vibrant versions of “Pictures of Matchstick Men” and “Ice In the Sun” (“Status Quo”); “Bus Stop” (“The Hollies”); “Flowers In the Rain” (“The Move”); “Ride a White Swan” (“M. Bolan”); “Sloop John B.” (“The Beach Boys”); “Daydream Believer” and “Last Train to Clarcksville” (by the fake-band “The Monkees”, whose TV series in the ‘60s was so popular as “The Big Bang Theory” is today). Finally, the bonus “Pretty Girls” (by Lucassen himself) emulates the peaceful and colorful psychedelia of the ‘60s, inviting everyone to repeat “Strange Hobby” from beginning to end! Arjen Lucassen’s “Strange Hobby” is a rare and precious item, highly recommendable for lovers of: “The Beatles”, “The Beach Boys”, “The Rolling Stones”, “The Monkees”, “Herman’s Hermits”, “The Moody Blues”, “Bob Dylan”, “Donovan”, “Simon & Garfunkel”, “The Who”, “The Hollies”, “Kaleidoscope”, “Status Quo”, “The Move”, “The Kinks”, “Pink Floyd” (“Sid Barrett” Era), “Marc Bolan & T-Rex”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s Strange Hobby are: Arjen Anthony Lucassen – All Instruments and Vocals. Guest Singer: Peter Daltrey (on “In the Room of Percussion ft. Peter Daltrey”). Illustrations by A. Lucassen; Photos by A. Lucassen & Jolanda Verduijn; Layout & Design by Koen Fu. Recorded & Mixed by A. Lucassen; Mastered by Chris Blair at Abbey Road.  “Strange Hobby” Complete Track-list: 1.“Arnold Layne” (S. Barrett); 2.“Norwegian Wood” (Lennon/McCartney); 3.“Pictures of Matchstick Men” (F. Rossi); 4.“I Am a Rock” (P. Simon); 5.“Boris the Spider” (J. Entwhistle); 6.“(Further Reflections) In the Room of Percussion” (Daltrey/Pumer); 7.“Sunny Afternoon” (R. Davies); 8.“See Emily Play” (S. Barrett); 9.“For No One” (Lennon/McCartney); 10.“I Want You” (B. Dylan); 11.“Bus Stop” (G. Gouldman); 12.“Flowers In the Rain” (R. Wood); 13.“The Letter” (W. Thompson); 14.“Ride a White Swan” (M. Bolan); 15.“Sloop John B.” (B. Wilson); 16.“Daydream Believer” (J. Steward); 17.“Catch the Wind” (Donovan); 18.“Ice in the Sun” (Wilde/Scott). Bonus Tracks: 19.“Pretty Girls” (A.Lucassen); 20.“In the Room of Percussion ft. Peter Daltrey” (Daltrey/Pumer); 21.“Last Train to Clarcksville” (T. Boyle/B. Hart); 22.“Ruby Tuesday” (Jagger/Richards). Also you must visit Arjen Anthony Lucassen's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2017.Interested to know more about the Musician? Visit ARJEN ANTHONY LUCASSEN’S STRANGE HOBBY HOME PAGE...
. CURVED AIR - "Rarities Series Vol. 2 – Curved Space & Infinity"
The legendary band Curved Air is back to PR&PM once more! Curved Air was an important UK Progressive act in the 1970s and is still active today. The band created a combination of ‘60-styled Rock, Folk, Classical, Jazz and Electronic Music that was unique in their time, besides pioneering the use of a violin in Rock! Curved Air’s first line-up was formed in 1968 and consisted of Sonja Kristina (vocals), Darryl Way (electric violin), Francis Monkman (guitar, keyboards), Rob Martin (bass) and Florian Pilkington-Miksa (drums). This quintet appeared on “Airconditioning” (1970), Curved Air’s first album; but as long as the band evolved and released more albums, their line-up also changed around singer Sonja Kristina – the only member of Curved Air who has taken part in all formations. Different incarnations of Curved Air played on the album “Live At The BBC” (1995), reissued as “Airwaves - Live At The BBC Remastered/Live At The Paris Theatre” (2012, Purple Pyramid), and reviewed at PR&PM in 2013. Curved Air’s current line-up features members of all past and present eras of the band, consisting of Sonja Kristina (vocals), Florian Pilkington-Miksa (drums), Kirby Gregory (guitar), Chris Harris (bass), Robert Norton (keyboards), and Paul Sax (violin). Curved Air’s last studio album was “North Star” (2014, Cherry Red), which also included re-recordings and covers. Recently, Curved Air has been opening their vaults to recuperate rare material, which is being released for the first time under the title “The Curved Air Rarities Series”. The “Volume 1” of this series was subtitled “Tapestry of Propositions” (August 2016, Curved Air Records) that also is being reviewed at PR&PM in 2017. Curved Air has just released the “Volume 2” of that series, entitled “Curved Space & Infinity” (2016, Curved Air Records). Actually, it is a double CD containing two different albums, each one having its own independent story. The trait that binds both albums together is the style of music that they contain – totally instrumental and improvised, it lacks two of Curved Air’s most distinguishing features: the unique violin signature and the marking voice of Sonja Kristina (she has supported and blessed this release, though). This album will then be rather appreciated by fans of Instrumental Improvisional Music, Psychedelic and Acid Rock with West Coast influences, and modern Shoegazing than by Curved Air’s regular fans – which might find the musical contents a bit heretical. Nevertheless, “Curved Space & Infinity” reveals the great ability of Curved Air’s musicians to make impressive improvisional music – an act that was for them as natural as breathing “curved” air (ha-ha)! The resulting material may sound raw or spontaneous, but is still fresh and relevant for the present times – an irrefutable proof that intuitive musicians are the true agents responsible for the endurance of the long-lasting bands. Let us analyze the albums separately. Disc One: “Curved Space”, features nine tracks, including a bonus. In 1991, Francis Monkman (guitar), Rob Martin (bass), and Florian Pilkington-Miksa (drums) – three members of Curved Air’s original formation – performed and recorded several jam sessions instigated by their friend and guitarist Mike Gore. The material was divided in eight tracks, and originally released as Monkman's solo album called “Jam” (2002), which is now being transmuted into this new “Curved Space” release. Fifteen years after the original sessions, Monkman and Pilkington-Miksa alone played a private session using a riff produced on a Korg Z1 synth. The resulting improve was called “Rose” and included on “Curved Space” as a bonus track, together with a fragment of the original sessions, called “Towards Infinity”, which was recuperated and reinstated on the final segment of the tryptic “Baghdad Café”/“Return to Calvary”/“Towards Infinity”. Overall, “Curved Space” has the spirit of the late 1960s, when most musicians liked to jam together, because they regarded this activity as an important part of their creative process. “Curved Space” is therefore loaded with Acid and Psychedelic Rock vibes, strongly influenced by Oriental modes. The initial tracks – “Towards Tomorrow” (5:18), “Sea of Tranquillity” (7:22), and the tryptic “Baghdad Café”/“Return to Calvary”/“Towards Infinity” (14:31) are stuffed with lysergic guitars, trippy bass, ritualistic drums, and cosmic sound-effects that echo in an astral ambience, pulled by soaring sounds of Hindu ragas that reverberate against the nothingness. Those sounds stretch to “Sol y Sombra” (8:12) which mix Spanish-sounding guitars with powerful drums and bass machinery and Arabian modes. From this track on, the music leans to a Psychedelic Blues-Rock mode, bringing groovy riffs and never-ending guitar solos that start on “Harp Riff” (3:13), continue on the Space-Krautrock “Free Tibet” (9:50), and finish on the bluesy “Blue Yonder Blues” (7:23) and “Playin’ Away” (9:21). The closing piece is the aforementioned “Rose” (14:10), which is less improvised and more structured, based on Electronic sounds and modern drums beats. Disc Two: “Infinity”, features six new tracks that were recorded by members of three different incarnations of Curved Air. In September 2011, founding drummer Florian Pilkington-Miksa recorded a jam session with keyboardist Robert Norton (who had integrated Curved Air in 2008 on the “Reborn” tour). Using two keyboards, Norton played the bass, electric piano and synths simultaneously with the drums. In November 2014, the guitar parts were added by guitarist Kirby Gregory (who had played on Curved Air’s 1973 album, “Air Cut”, and had rejoined the group in 2013). Although being also improvised, the music of “Infinity” differs from that recorded on “Curved Space” on two aspects. At first, the improvisation was performed by veteran musicians who were far experienced in 2011, and their resulting pieces sounded much more structured, approaching a fully-arranged, finalized, composed piece. And second, the music has a stronger lean to the Jazz-Fusion, Prog-Fusion, and Free-Jazz styles, an influence that started on the creative sounds that Norton extracts from his keys – an incredibly deep bass sound, a vivid electric piano, and a joyful clarinet-sounding synth – going through Gregory’s passionate, elegant, and eclectic guitar solos; and reaching the bottom end on Pilkington-Miksa’s vigorous drumming, which became at times soft, cool, or jazzy. Tracks like the groovy “Labyrinth” (13:32), the pulsing and live-breathing “Aphelion” (7:03), and the mysterious, dark, and pachyderm-skinned “Megalith” (14:18) revive the Experimental Jazz-Fusion of bands like “Soft Machine”, “Weather Report”, and “King Crimson”. Fragments of the soaring “Elevation” (15:15) and of the eerie, primeval, and free-spirited “Expansions” (12:30) recall the music of “Focus”, “Return To Forever”, “Allan Holdsworth”. Finally, the cosmic and transcendental atmosphere of “Celestial Dance” (16:38) evokes the image of a gigantic nebula moving slowly in space-time! Although not being a standard Curved Air album, “Curved Space & Infinity” is an amazing album, full of inspiring and spontaneous musicianship, which will surprise all fans by revealing a different musical facet of the band’s members. “Curved Space & Infinity” is greatly recommendable for fans of Instrumental Improvisional Music and Jam Bands, Psychedelic Rock, West Coast Psychedelic Rock, Acid Rock and Shoegazing, and “Grateful Dead”, “Hendrix”, “Quicksilver”, “Ozric Tentacles”, “Blues Traveler”, “Umphrey's McGee”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Curved Air are: Current line-up: Sonja Kristina – Lead Vocals; Florian Pilkington-Miksa – Drums; Kirby Gregory – Guitar; Chris Harris – Bass; Robert Norton – Keys; Paul Sax – Violin. “Curved Space” line-up: Francis Monkman – Guitar; Rob Martin – Bass; Florian Pilkington-Miksa – Drums, Synths, Drum/Synth Programming; Mike Gore – Guitar; Mike Cooper – Additional Guitar on “Towards Tomorrow”. “Infinity” line-up: Florian Pilkington-Miksa – Drums; Robert Norton – Electric Piano, Synths; Kirby Gregory – Guitar. Produced by R. Norton; Co-Produced by F. Pilkington-Miksa. Graphic Design by Carl Glover... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2017..............................More information about the band? Better check it out for yourself at: CURVED AIR HOME PAGE...
Caravela Escarlate is a Brazilian Progressive Rock outfit based in Rio de Janeiro that integrates the so-called “Cena Carioca de Música Progressiva” – a cooperative Progressive Rock movement growing in Rio de Janeiro that congregates bands such as: “Arcpelago”, “Chronus”, “Panaceah”, “Anxtron”, “Syntagma”, “Únitri”, and “Eduardo Aguillar”. Caravela Escarlate (or “Crimson Caravel”) was founded in the early 1990s by David Paiva (electric and acoustic guitars, stringed instruments), a young musician who had been creating songs and poems since his teenage years. Paiva was an admirer of Progressive Music and his main influences included: “Premiata Forneria Marconi”, “Yes”, “Renaissance”, “Rick Wakeman”, “ELP”, “Genesis”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Eloy”, “Triumvirat”; and Brazilian groups “O Terço”, “Som Nosso de Cada Dia”, “Terreno Baldio”, “Clube da Esquina”, and “Boca Livre”. Paiva’s favorite bassists are “Chris Squire”, “Giorgio Piazza” (“PFM”), and the Brazilians “Novelli” (a requested bassist from the “Brazilian Popular Music” movement), “Pedro Baldanza” (“Som Nosso de Cada Dia”), and “Fernando Gama” (who has played with “Vimana”, “Os Mutantes”, “Boca Livre”; and recorded one album for “Patrick Moraz”). His favorite guitarists are “Steve Howe”, “Jan Akkerman”, and the Brazilian “Toninho Horta”. Under the leadership of David Paiva, Caravela Escarlate sailed across the ‘90s with different formations, but never managed to record any material during that time. David Paiva then anchored his “Crimson Caravel” near safe shores, waiting for better winds. By the end of 2010, Paiva decided to restart Caravela Escalate, and began to search musicians for a new line-up. Following an advice by producer Cláudio Fonzi, Paiva contacted keyboardist Ronaldo Rodrigues, a talented musician who had come from São Paulo to Rio in 2009, and who was also looking for partners to form a Progressive Rock group. In 2012 Rodrigues would also become a founder member of band “Arcpelago” (featured at PR&PM as “Best Band of the Month”, June 2016) on which he still plays. Ronaldo Rodrigues was inspired by a wide range of genres and styles, including Classical Music, 60’s to 70’s Rock (“Led Zeppelin”, “The Doors”, “Jimi Hendrix”, “Yes”, “Pink Floyd”, “Steve Hillage”, “Jeff Beck”, “Jon Hiseman”), Jazz and Fusion (“Herbie Hancock”, “Jimmy Smith”, “Miles Davis”, “Larry Coryell”, “Alphonse Mouzon”). His favorite keyboardists are: “Keith Emerson”, “Jon Lord”, “Dave Stewart” (“Khan”, “Hatfield and the North”), “Rick Wakeman”, “Patrick Moraz”, “Thijs Van Leer”, “Jan Hammer”; and the Brazilians “Manito” (“Som Nosso de Cada Dia”), “Elias Mizhrai” (“Veludo”), and “Luiz Paulo Simas” (“Módulo 1000”, “Vímana”). Finally, after the arrival of drummer Tadeu Filho, the new formation of Caravela Escarlate was officially stablished in March 2011, when the band started to rehearse and rearrange David Paiva’s earliest compositions. Some of those pieces appear on Caravela Escarlate’s debut CD, entitled “Rascunho” (2016, self-produced). “Rascunho” brings 8 instrumental tracks that have been recorded by Paiva and Rodrigues alone, without the participation of drummer Tadeu Filho. The tracks possibly represent early versions of Paiva’s initial songs, hence the name “Rascunho” (which means “rough”, in English) to designate them collectively. The music of Caravela Escarlate is essentially electro-acoustic, melodic, and symphonic, combining vintage Progressive trends with influences of both Brazilian-Folk (with emphasis on regional rhythms, mainly of Northeastern Brazil) and Brazilian Academic Music (names like “Heitor Villa-Lobos”, “Alberto Nepomuceno”, “Radamés Gnattali”, and “Antônio Madureira” and his “Quinteto Armorial” may be mentioned). Arrangements, although a bit minimalist, focus on the guitar tunes and on the rich palette of experimental textures that Rodrigues extracts from his keyboards and synths. The mood varies from track to track: some pieces are relaxing, introspective, and eerie (like old lullabies and nocturnes); others transmit the happiness of Brazilian folkloric rhythms. “Rascunho” starts with the psychedelic guitars and fuzzy sonorities of “De Sol a Sol” (4:09), pervaded by an eerie atmosphere that also invades “Pedra do Sal” (3:13) – one of the best compositions, immersed in “Mellotronic” sounds that create a dreamy soundscape, reminiscent of early “Genesis”; and “Hipocampo” (4:19) – an introspective chamber piece with acoustic guitars and a sad tune on the flute. Brazilian musical influences are realized on “Metamorfose” (3:44) and “Maino” (5:00); two outstanding pieces based on Northeastern rhythms; and on the academic sonority of “Circo Imaginário” (3:49) – on which the combination of acoustic guitars and a futuristic moog reflect the inventiveness of “Heitor Villa-Lobos”. Listeners searching for an universal Prog-Rock approach will be pleased by “Cavalo de Fogo” (3:18) – which has electric guitars and gritty organ reminiscent of vintage-styled “Rock Progressivo Italiano”; and by “Século XIV” (5:27) – a musical piece influenced by the Renaissance Epoch, which starts with acoustic guitars that later change for electric, accompanied by a church organ that creates a religious aura – recalling “Rick Wakeman” and “Focus”! In spite of being a “Rascunho”, Caravela Escarlate’s debut album is full of promising musical ideas that will unfold to great Progressive works in the future! Highly recommendable for fans of Brazilian, Italian, and British-styled Progressive Rock, who love instrumental music in electro-acoustic format, as made by “Quaterna Requiem”, “Sagrado Coração da Terra”, “Bacamarte”, “Tempus Fugit”, “Violeta de Outono”, “Som Nosso de Cada Dia”, “O Terço”, “Banda do Sol”, “Arcpelago”, “Únitri”, “Cartoon”, “Aether”, “PFM”, “Yes”, “Patrick Moraz”, “Focus”. Band members and collaborators involved in Caravela Escarlate are: David Paiva – Bass, Nylon Craviola, Guitars, 12-String Guitar, Synthesizers; Ronaldo Rodrigues – Organ, Synthesizers, Keyboards; Élcio Cáfaro – Drums. “Rascunho” was recorded as a duo by David Paiva and Ronaldo Rodrigues. This album was Recorded & Mixed by Caravela Escarlate; Mastered by Luciano Siqueira. Cover Artwork by Fábio Gracia. All titles by David Paiva, except “De Sol a Sol” & “Cavalo de Fogo”, by Paiva & Rodrigues... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2017.....Interested to know more about this great Brazilian Prog Rock Band? Visit CARAVELA ESCARLATE HOME PAGE...
. SHAMBLEMATHS - "Shamblemaths"
Shamblemaths are and exciting Progressive Rock band hailing from Trondheim, Norway! The core members are Simen Å. Ellingsen (guitars, saxophones, vocals) and Eirik M. Husum (bass). They had gathered together still as students in 2004 under the moniker “Fallen Fowl” and recorded a couple of demos and an EP. Their next collaboration, which would result in Shamblemaths, began as a side project of “TiaC”, a band which was active from 2002 to 2005. Actually, some material of Shamblemaths was originally from “TiaC”. But a hiatus ensued when Ellingsen went to London to pursue his two post-graduations (in Quantum Physics and Political Sciences!). In the meantime, bassist Husum played on other bands, such as “Svermere” (Folk/Jazz), “Garden Of” (Prog-Metal), “Trondheim World Music Ensemble”, and “Strindens Promenade Orchester”. The project could have been relegated to oblivion, but thanks to the Gods of Prog, the Shamblemaths resurrected in 2016! With help of Eirik Øverland Dischler (keyboards), Halvor Lund (Hammond organ), Jon Even Schärer (drums), and a few additional musicians, Shamblemaths gave birth to their vengeful debut album – the eponymous “Shamblemaths”! “And when in March of 2016 “Shamblemaths” saw the light of day, the light of day ran screaming!” Definitely “not for the faint of ear”, and with absolutely zero of commercial potential (so that the band brags about their fan-base being “so numerous, they wouldn't all fit comfortably in the same phone booth”), the music of Shamblemaths attacks the listener with the devouring attitude of a Jurassic predator! With a radical mix of Progressive styles and other genres – including Hardcore-Zeuhl, Jazz-Rock, Neo-Classical, Canterbury, R.I.O., Folk, Krautrock, and Metal – Shamblemaths congregates influences of many revolutionary bands, such as: “Magma”, “Univers Zéro”, “Egg”, “King Crimson”, “Soft Machine”, “Jethro Tull”, “Genesis”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Henry Cow”, “Kraan”, “Secret Oyster”, and “Anglagard”! And if all that is not a clue for the excellent Progressive stuffing of their music, I shall add that the compositions are also lengthy, instigating, intricate, surprising, unpredictable, uncanny, and executed with bursting energy and unearthly technical skill; otherwise being also strongly melodic, emotional, and inspiring! Fans of old-school Progressive Rock will be astonished by Shamblemaths’ tightly packed arrangements, within which punching guitars alternating from Canterbury melodies to shocking Metal waves clash against duets of soprano/baritone saxophones that are as jazzy and furious as on “Soft Machine”, “King Crimson”, and “VdGG”. Vintage Hammonds recall the neo-classical style of “Egg”. Haunting Mellotron/Moog sounds are reminiscent of “King Crimson” and early “Genesis”, and strengthen the surrealistic ambience that recalls “Magma”, “Univers Zéro”, “Egg” and “VdGG”. The rhythmic section is marked by a ferocious groovy bass and hellish Jazz-Metal drumming, engaged in odd-metrical experiments of the magnitude of “KC”, “Henry Cow”, and “Soft Machine”. The hazardous effect of all this opulent instrumentation is soothed down by occasional apparitions of a classical piano; and by passages of acoustic guitars accompanied by vocals that recalled me of the troubadour mannerism of “Ian Anderson”, his quirky lyrics, and ironic sense of humor (with a dash of “Peter Gabriel” thrown in). “Shamblemaths” – the album – has three addicting tracks subdivided is parts, like suites. The opening track, “Conglomeration (or: The Grand Pathetic Suite)” (26:54) is divided in: “a. Bloody Racket”; “b. Your Silly Stare”; “c. A Mockery in the Making”; “d. The Different Tastes of Sick”; “e. A Mockery Well Made”; “f. Life Is Tough (When You're Me)”; “g. Saucy Tiara Woman!”; “h. Another Pear of Ice”; “i. Con-Girl Omen Ratio 1”; “j. Overture”. So many things happen on this suite, that it deserves dozens of spins to be totally assimilated. It begins with a combat between Zeuhl-Metal arrangements (with typical male-female syllabic choirs) and visionary Jazz-Rock odd-metrical rhythms, containing slicing guitars, frantic sax, and bouncing Hammonds. Middle part has ethereal Gothic organ, mellow vocals, Romantic piano, and soaring sax. The third part has acoustic guitars, windy Moogs, and epic choirs. The whole piece is like a metamorphosis: from “Magma” and “Soft Machine” to “King Crimson”, “Egg”, and to “KC” again! Track 2 – “A Failing Ember” (9:26) – is divided in: “a. Never Innocent Again”; “b. The Winding Stair”; “c. Three Flowers”; “d. Deus Caritatis”. It is mostly acoustic and accompanied by vocals, with an influence of “Jethro Tull”, but these softer parts are alternated with really insane interludes containing explosive guitar riffs, R.I.O. structures (like “H. Cow” and “U. Zéro”), and haunting Nordic Mellotron (like “Anglagard”), ending on a line of Gregorian chant. Track 3 – “Stalker” (19:52) – is divided in: “a. Stalker Begins”; “b. Bad Conscience Underneath Your Gown”; “c. Stalker: Persistance”; “d. Stalker's Lullaby”; “e. Stalker: The Harrowing”; “f. Stalker: Inevitable Anticlimax and Fade-out”. “Stalker” is originally a “TiaC” number, never previously recorded, and sounds more modern and less hectic than the other two. With parts reminiscent of “Jethro Tull”, “Genesis”, “VdGG”, and even “Porcupine Tree”, it employs a well-defined motif that evolves in a symphonic progression, spreading from the powerful Metal riffs to the sax, being balanced by “Tullesque” classical acoustic guitars and vocals, growing steadily until the startling end! “Shamblemaths” is amazing, original, and supernatural; surely one of the best Progressive Rock albums that I heard in 2016! A must-have item for fans of bands like: “Magma”, “Univers Zéro”, “Egg”, “King Crimson”, “Soft Machine”, “Jethro Tull”, “Henry Cow”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Genesis”, “Kraan”, “Secret Oyster”, “Anglagard”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Shamblemaths are: Simen Ådnøy Ellingsen – Electric, Acoustic and Spanish Guitar, Alto, Soprano and Baritone Saxophones, Vocals, Zither, Jaw Harp, Percussion, Occasional Keyboards, Sundry Implements; Eirik Mathias Husum – Bass. Guests: Eirik Øverland Dischler – Keyboards; Jon Even Schärer – Drums; Halvor Lund – Hammond Organ; Colin Howarth – Tenor Sax Solo on “3c” & “3d”; Karl Yngve Lervåg & Helene Hesselberg Rendal – Choir on “1a” (and “1j”); Marit Høye Ådnøy – Vocals on “3a”; Jan Røe (member of “TiaC”) – Guitar Parts on “3b”; Eivor Ådnøy Ellingsen – Baby Vocals on “2e”. CD info: Regular edition: 4-panel digipak in matte finish with 6-page booklet in inside pocket. First print edition: Strictly limited edition, 200 copies. 6-panel full-color digipak, semigloss finish, printed lyrics; professionally duplicated, premium quality disc. Produced by Simen Å. Ellingsen; Recorded in Eigenstudio Oct. 2011 to Oct. 2015. Bass recorded in the Room of Mystery and Magic. Drums recorded in Røffsound Studio, Oslo, engineered by Vegard Liverød. Tenor sax recorded at Colin's place, Raufoss. Mixed by SÅE. Additional mixing and mastering by Stein Bratland at Skansen Lydstudio. All tracks written by SÅE, except “1f” & “2b” by SÅE & E. Ø. Dischler. “3c” originally by “TiaC” (SÅE, J. Røe, EMH, S. Gjelten Bakken, M. Tvedt), re-worked by SÅE with EØD and EMH. Lyrics by SÅE except “2d”, by H. Ibsen, translated by SÅE. "Saucy Tiara Woman!" contains musical quotes from a song by “Ian Anderson” of a curiously similar name. “Life Is Tough” is to “K. Pietersen” and the England cricket team of 2012. Recorded with support from the Trondheim Kommune... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2017..........................,.....Interested to know more about this Band? Then, you must visit  SHAMBLEMATHS HOME PAGE...
Elaine Samuels And Kindred Spirit are a Progressive Folk-Rock band from the U.K. The present line-up features Elaine Samuels (vocals, guitars, and songwriting), Martin Ash (violin), Catherine Dimmock (flute, harmony vocals), Emily Nash (saxophone, harmony vocals), Mike Hislop (bass) and three non-fixed drummers: legendary Les Binks (ex-“Eric Burdon”, “Roger Glover”, “Judas Priest”, “Lionheart”), the veteran Alan Barwise (ex-“The Sutherland Brothers”, “The Aldbrickham Band”, “Clayson and the Argonauts”), and the young professional, Chris Goode (who can also play keyboards!). Two former members have been important for modeling the band’s sonority: Gavin Jones (violin) and David Rowe (drums, percussion). Elaine Samuels has been performing her songs in clubs, at festivals, and even on television since 1993. Along the ‘90s, she progressed from playing alone to playing with a complete band, and that was how Kindred Spirit got started! Elaine Samuels And Kindred Spirit have already performed at Art Centers (Windsor, Farnham Maltings, Cranleigh), theatres (Leatherhead, The Kenton), festivals (Weyfest), and clubs (the climax was the Cavern Club, in Liverpool). The band also released independent albums, including: “Dance of Life” (featuring a seminal incarnation of Kindred Spirit), “The Watchers” (2002), “In the Doghouse” (2005), “Metamorphosis” (2009), and “Phoenix Rising” (2015). In 2016, Kindred Spirit welcomed the new members Martin Ash (a classically-trained violinist, also interested in Jazz, Blues, British Folk, and Church Music) and Emily Nash (a multi-instrumentalist, singer and song-writer who had played for “Astrea & The Elements” and “Them The Sky”). The album on focus herein – “Phoenix Rising” (2015) – has contributions by guest musicians and ex-members of the band. The sound of Elaine Samuels And Kindred Spirit congregates elements of Traditional Folk with a Celtic root; 70’s Folk, Hard & Psychedelic Rock; Progressive-Folk; and modern-trended Neo-Folk, sharing a resemblance with: “Curved Air”, “Fleetwood Mac”, “Pentangle”, “Lindisfarne”, “Fairport Convention”, “Steeleye Span”, “Donovan”, “Moody Blues”, “Jethro Tull”, “Clannad”, “Solstice”, “Mostly Autumn”, “Blackmore’s Night”, “Willowglass”, “Estampie”, “Faun”, “Garmarna”, “Schandmaul”, and “Skyclad”. The music transits from the acoustic textures of traditional Folk to the electric-electronic textures of Rock and Prog. The acoustic elements include plentiful guitars, a preponderant thrilling violin with a Celtic-Irish accent, pastoral flutes with some “Tullesque” vibrant upheavals, and medieval drums and percussion (hand drums, tambourine). The modern counterpart include powerful electric guitar solos and riffs in Hard-Rock style, an electric violin that emits distorted sounds, a driving bass that resounds in a Progressive style, rocking rhythms, and a heated saxophone! The arrangements are stuffed with dueling solos of violins, guitars, and flutes, soothed by the lovely harmony vocals. The songs are fronted by the beautiful voice of Elaine Samuels – who can be as mellow and sweet as “Candice Night”; or as haunting and bewitching as “Sonja Kristina”! Her lyrics focus on mystical, spiritual, and environmental subjects, dictating the mood on each song: innocent, joyful, or critic. “Phoenix Rising” features 12 tracks. 1. “Kindred Spirit” (6:21); 5. “It’s Not Too Late” (6:38); 6. “Horse With No Name” (5:21); and 7. “Drunken Landlady” (2:15) are mostly traditional, having a preponderance of acoustic over electric elements. If “Kindred…” has a festive reunion of sweet voices, flutes, fiddles and percussion, “It’s Not …” is somber, having witching-hour vocals and a great solo of violin. Also on this line, there is an amazing Celtic-styled cover of “America’s” “Horse With No Name”; which melds with the folkloric dancing violins of “Drunken Landlady”. On the non-traditional side, tracks 8. “Feed The Fire” (5:18) and 10. “Let The Music Set You Free” (5:23) are energetic Folk-Rock songs that combine 70’s Hard-Rock riffs, “Tullesque” flutes, and distorted guitar and violins that will conquer fans of “Curved Air”, “Jethro Tull”, “Skyclad”, and “Garmarna”! In between, tracks 2. “Life Is a Circus” (4:59), 4. “Let’s Be Happy” (3:48), and 9. “Beautiful Day” (3:42) are instilled with the joyful Psychedelic-Pop vibes of “Fleetwood Mac”, “Moody Blues”, and “Lindisfarne” – the highlights being the Irish vocal/harmony vocals of “Let’s Be Happy”. But fans of “Curved Air”, “Solstice”, “Blackmore’s Night”, “Willowglass”, and other bands belonging to the Prog-Folk and Neo-Folk trends, will really rejoice with 3. “Wolves At The Gate” (6:56), 11. “Children Of The Stars” (7:41) and 12. “The Phoenix” (7:02). “Wolves …” is majestic, starting with a memorable violin tune (later transferred to the saxophone), having breathless dueling solos with electric guitars! “Children …” is a Neo-Folk that hybridizes Folk-Pop vocals, modern bass, drums, and sax with old-fashioned violin solo that drifts on long instrumental parts! And “The Phoenix” transcends the Folk, Psychedelic, and Classic Prog Eras, alternating cinematographic passages with calmer interludes that are sewed together by the burning strings of an electrified violin! Honestly, I have found Elaine Samuels And Kindred Spirit one of the best Folk-Rock acts in activity in the U.K.! Their amazing album, “Phoenix Rising”, is full of the finest Folk-Rock songs around, being indispensable for fans of: “Curved Air”, “Fleetwood Mac”, “Pentangle”, “Fairport Convention”, “Steeleye Span”, “The Moody Blues”, “Jethro Tull”, “Lindisfarne”, “Clannad”, “Solstice”, “Blackmore’s Night”, “Willowglass”, “Mostly Autumn”, “Estampie”, “Faun”, “Garmarna”, “Schandmaul”, “Skyclad”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Elaine Samuels And Kindred Spirit are: Elaine Samuels - Lead Vocals (all tracks but 7), Acoustic Guitar (all tracks but 8), Electric Guitar (tr. 8, 10), Percussion Programming (tr. 1, 5, 12); Catherine Dimmock - Flute (all tracks except 3, 11), Sax (tr. 3, 11), Backing Vocals (except tr. 1, 7); Mike Hislop - Bass, Backing Vocals (tr. 5, 8, 11, 12); James Leslie Binks – Drums (tr. 2, 5, 8, 10); Chris Goode – Congas (tr. 2), Tambourine (tr. 5), Keyboards, Synths (tr. 5, 8); Gavin Jones - Violin (all tracks), Backing Vocals (tr. 2, 12); David Rowe - Drums & Percussion (tr. 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12). Additional Musicians: Steve Hutchinson – Backing Vocals (tr. 1, 5, 10); Jez Larder – Additional Programming with Synths (tr. 1, 3, 5, 11) and with Percussions (tr. 1, 3, 5, 12); Phil Martin - Electric Guitars (tr. 3, 4, 12), Backing Vocals (tr. 6, 9, 11, 12). Kindred Spirit’s members that did not play on “Phoenix Rising”: Alan Barwise - Drums; Martin Ash - Violin; Emily Nash - Saxophone, Harmony Vocals. All songs by Elaine Samuels And Kindred Spirit, except “Horse With No Name” (by “Deway Bunnell”, of “America”). Engineered and Produced by Jez Larder at the “Skyline Studios”... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2017................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit ELAINE SAMUELS AND KINDRED SPIRIT HOME PAGE...
Ralfe Rodrigues is an acoustic guitar player and composer who lives in the historical city of Sabará, in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. His main goal is to preserve and divulge the Baroque artistic legacy, which is strongly present in that Brazilian state. Ralfe Rodrigues became interested in music in his childhood, and as a teenager he started to learn acoustic guitar in classical style, with emphasis on the Baroque style. As a talented and passionate performer, Ralfe Rodrigues followed a musician’s career, by writing music and playing in various bands. During this time, he also experienced with Rock and Progressive Rock (performing from “UFO” to “Jethro Tull”), but his main interest has always been the Baroque music. The continuous process of refinement of his pieces and the positive response of the audiences stimulated Rodrigues to study composition to an academic level. His most inspiring composers are masters such as “Sebastian Bach” and “Johann Pachelbel”. At present, Ralfe Rodrigues’ solo career is characterized by shows on which he sings and performs alone with his acoustic guitar, being occasionally accompanied by guest singers. Besides acting as a solo artist, Ralfe Rodrigues plays the electric guitar on two different projects: “Opus IV” – a Progressive outfit that blends Classical Music and Rock; and “Pedra Lascada” – a Classic-Rock band that is based in Belo Horizonte (capital city of Minas Gerais). Ralfe Rodrigues’ debut CD, entitled “Século XVII” (“17th Century”), was independently released in 2006. This record focuses on the music of the Renaissance Epoch and on the Baroque period typical of the state of Minas Gerais. It contains 8 instrumental tracks, played on the classical acoustic guitar. Rodrigues is a talented musician, who knows how to balance sensibility, emotion, mellowness and technique on his pieces. These are soft, relaxing, and beautiful, being enveloped in a nostalgic atmosphere that recalls the distant past. The impressive academicism of “Século XVII” (2:13) – the title track that opens up the album – is wonderfully counterbalanced by the vivid disposition of the next track, “A Taberna” (“The Tavern”) (1:28), driven by a joyful plucking that invites to dance, drink, and love. The calmness and soothing feeling transmitted by “Solidão” (“Solitude”) (1:27) leads the listener to a mourning introspectiveness; while “Inquisição” (“Inquisition”) (1:50) – evokes the image of Lute-playing minstrels trying to hide the horrors of Medieval times behind a diaphanous curtain of smooth notes and graceful tunes. “Lembranças” (“Recollections”) (2:32) is deeply immersed in a nostalgic melancholy, magnificently transposed to the strings with beauty and sensitiveness. The bittersweet mellowness of “Minas Gerais” (1:52) pays homage to the pastoral landscapes of Rodrigues’ native land. The aristocratic chords of “A Última Sinfonia” (“The Last Symphony”) (1:39) bring to mind the images of Medieval castles and royal halls, illuminated by the sparkling candle lights; while the final track, “Lamentos” (“Laments”) (2:31), dissolves every memory in a pool of nostalgia, sadness, and relaxing tunes. Ralfe Rodrigues’ “Século XVII” is a highly academic work in the field of Classic Acoustic Guitar that will be greatly appreciated by fans of “Bach”, “Fernando Sor”, “Antonio Lauro”, “Francisco Tárrega”, “Andrés Segovia”, “Paco de Lucía”, “Al Di Meola”, “Yamandu Costa”; while, in the Progressive sphere, it will be a disputed item among fans of “Steve Hackett”, “Anthony Phillips”, “Steve Howe”, “Gordon Giltrap”, “John Renbourn”, “Ritchie Blackmore”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Ralfe Rodrigues are: Ralfe Rodrigues – Acoustic Guitar, Compositions. Recorded in November 2002 at Estúdio Sintonia, Sabará, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Production, composition and arrangement by Ralfe Rodrigues; Engineered by Beto Salomão; Artwork by Emmerson Gonçalves. Also you must visit Ralfe Rodrigues's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2017................Interested to know more about this Brazilian Musician? You must visit RALFE RODRIGUES HOME PAGE...
. YURT - "Yurt III - Molluskkepokk"
YURT is an Experimental Space-Psychedelic Progressive Rock trio based in Dublin, Ireland. Boz Mugabe (bass, vocals, electronics), Steven Anderson (guitar, vocals, electronics) and Andrew Bushe (drums, percussion) – a.k.a. “the sonic elders of YURT” – gathered together at the dusk of 2006 with criteria of conducting experiments in the broader field of brain-melting experimental noisy Progressive Rock. Since then, YURT released two self-produced albums: “Ege Artemis Yurtum” (2009) and “Archipelagog” (2011). Their third album – “YURT III - Molluskkepokk” – was released on May, 28, 2016, on both physical and digital formats (available via Bandcamp). The CD is offered in a beautiful green digipack cover that features the lyrics and really freaking-out artwork. Warning: the album may contain conceptual proteins! “YURT III - Molluskkepokk” contains six tracks – and some of the most unconventional music ever heard around our solar system! YURT blends together a number of discrepant styles – mostly Experimental Metal, Psychedelic Progressive Rock, Sludge Metal, and Space Rock – delivering their impious sonic attack armed with granite-heavy bass, anti-gravitational Metal guitars and pro-gravitational drums that float together amidst fuzzy interferences and noisy frequencies inside a gigantic bubble-sounding Space-Rock ambience. The vocals are a weird hybridization of proto-Punk shouts with ritualistic alien chanting, which promise to be most effective in stablishing contact with an extraterrestrial life-form than the entire S.E.T.I. experiment! Being most of the time heavy, aggressive, distorted, and driven by the metallic reverberation of a resounding hypnotic bass, the sound of YURT recalled me of a number of bands such as “Tool”, “Blind Illusion”, “Iron Maiden”, “Blotted Science”, “Outopsya”, “WatchTower”, “Spastic Ink”, “Behold … The Arctopus”, “Animals As Leaders”, “Primus”; but with a Space-Rock component that links it to bands like “Hawkwind”, “Ash Ra Tempel”, “Ozric Tentacles”, “Orange Goblin”, and “The Flaming Lips”. “YURT III - Molluskkepokk” opens up with “A Lesion In The Chrysalis” (3:43) – a cosmic bubbling-sounding intro for “Parasitic Cabal” (12:18) – an epic song on which a metallic-sounding bass and Stoner riffs are propelled by Space-Rock drives, in a kind of “Tool” meets “Hawkwind” in an extraterrestrial party! Vocals are like an interplanetary anthem to invocate “Cthulhu”! The space-rocking guitar solos rise up and down throughout the song, while keyboards instill it with a heroic feeling! Two tracks – namely, “Sjambok” (5:05) and “Unknown Component” (9:09) – are mostly Metal-influenced pieces that follow a Stoner-Sludge trend, featuring Prog-oriented twists and turns and resembling a mix of bands like “Blind Illusion”, “Blotted Science”, “Behold … The Arctopus”, and “Primus”. “Sjambok” is weird, sludge, distorted, hallucinogenic, and totally instrumental; “Unknown …,” with a minimum of vocals, has long instrumental sequences dominated by odd-metrical beats, lysergic atmospheres, and speed-of-light accelerated Experimental Metal parts. But YURT brakes the space-time barrier on “Ruptured By The Shrapnel” (16:22) and on “Testament Zero” (11:23). Both are Space-Rock/Metal hybrids that come with the energy of a massive black-hole to swallow the listener up! On them, the bass is more relaxed, albeit still heavy, jammed together with primitive tribal drums to form long Space-Rock chains that have the typical signature of “Hawkwind”. They are also underlined with YURT’s idiosyncratic singing style; and bathed in noisy frequencies caused by the friction of solar particles on Earth’s magnetic field! “Ruptured …” has an incomprehensible transmutation of “Iron Maiden’s” galloping bass to “Hawkwind’s” stoned-bass derivatives on the first part, backed up by groovy guitars and unhuman outer-space alien vocals! The middle part is mostly a Space-Rock instrumental tour-de-force; and the last third has an eccentric guitar riff never heard around our galaxy before! And “Testament Zero” – the closing track of this uncanny album – is a ritualistic Space-Rock covered with a metallic luster and infused with oriental modes reminiscent of Krautrock. The instrumentation is powerful, and drives this song through an ascending path, getting faster and faster, until being reduced to humming sound that disappears inside the nearest cosmic worm-hole – probably to plague upon another universe! In sum, the sound of YURT upholds a rare and exciting blend of Space-Rock and Metal trends that is capable of waking up the parasitic alien that inhabits inside your mind! “YURT III - Molluskkepokk” is highly recommendable for fans of “Hawkwind”, “Ozric Tentacles”, “Blind Illusion”, “Tool”, “Blotted Science”, “Behold … The Arctopus”, “WatchTower”, “Spastic Ink”, “Primus”, “Orange Goblin”, “The Flaming Lips”, “Outopsya”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in YURT are: Steven Anderson – Guitar, Vocals, Electronics; Boz Mugabe – Bass, Vocals, Electronics, Artwork; Andrew Bushe – Drums, Percussion. Recorded & Mixed July 2014 - November 2015 by Tommy O’Sullivan at Silverline Studios and Deep In The Woods; Mastered by James Plotkin at Plotkinworks; All noise, text and visuals by the sonic elders of YURT. Also you must visit YURT's BandCamp Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2017.....................................Want to learn everything about the musician and his fantastic band, visit YURT HOME PAGE...
. FRENCH TV - "This is What We Do"
And here I am again; reviewing another fantastic work of the amazing band French TV. The present album, entitled “This Is What We Do" (2005, Pretentious Dinosaur Records), is the 9th record of French TV’s long and prolific musical career. Guided once more by bassist Mike Sary, the incredible core musicians Chris Smith (guitars, violin, exotic strings), Warren Dale (keyboards, winds, reeds, mallets) and Jeff Gard (drums) join forces with old friends Paolo Botta (keyboards), Pam Thompson (trombone) and Steven Dale (trumpet) with the only intention of transmuting Music into Art. And, really, this is what they do (hence the album’s title), as if it was possible to transpose immaterial sound to the physical world in the form of surreal sculptures (as they pretend on the funny album-cover). Listening to French TV’s previous albums, it was evident that the band was looking for the point of equilibrium between Jazz/Fusion and R.I.O./Avant-garde Progressive. On “This is What We Do", they finally spotted that precise point, therefore reaching the apex of a distinctive style that they had been depurating for so long. Stretching to the infinite their own “Jazz-Fusion-Lego-Progressive" style, they employed their musical bricks to build a solid fortress of sound, the foundations of which are deeply rooted into almost three decades of experimentation, pumping creativity and originality into extant Music. Using a kind of “cerebral-tempestuous-hyperbolic-harmonization" methodology, French TV reaches the impossible by merging a gargantuan plethora of sounds. The result is heard along the five instrumental tracks of “This Is What We Do". Each piece is a potpourri of rhythms and melodies that aligns French TV with the best moments of any other Jazz-Rock, Fusion or Prog icon, namely “National Health", “Soft Machine", “Weather Report", “Mahavishnu Orchestra", “Bruford", “Allan Holdsworth", "Zappa", “Henry Cow", “Gentle Giant", “Van Der Graaf Generator", “King Crimson", “Yes“, “UK", “Refugee", “The Dixie Dregs", “Return to Forever" or “The Flower Kings". The opening track - “Colorless Green Ideas Sleep Furiously"– features Jazz-Rock guitars, trumpet solos and many up-and-down keyboards progressions, being lavishly adorned with melodies that bounce out from the record direct to the listener’s lap. Also “Ska Face" is lively, humorous and frantic - almost a blend of “Zappa", “Gentle Giant" and “The Dixie Dregs" – featuring eloquent dialogues between the trombone of Pam Thompson and the trumpet of Steven Dale. “My Little Cicada" is based on somber bass lines that brings something of a terror-movie atmosphere, mainly because of the “insect" sounds that are created by keyboardist Paolo Botta; and the ET voice at the end. “Look at the Bears! Look at the Bears! Look at the Bears!" is frenetic and funny, having many sessions of keyboards, acoustic guitars and a kind of “Gentle Giant" percussive base. The closing track - “Theme From ESPN X-Treme Cobalt Blue 4"X4" Bathroom Tile Installation Games"– even being part of an already excellent album, attracts all spotlights to it. Lead by the spine-chilling bass of Mike Sary and the precise drumming of Jeff Gard, this track goes through 13 minutes of dazzling changes of pace and instrumental outbursts of pure geniality, specially when the tempestuous Jazz-Fusion guitars of Chris Smith clash against the effusive Prog-keyboards of Warren Dale amid myriads of violins and saxophones. French TV‘s “This Is What We Do" is definitely their most brilliant work so far – a real masterpiece, and an indispensable item for any Jazz-Fusion or Progressive fan.  Band members and collaborators involved in French TV are: Mike Sary – bass, scary cicada voice, regrets; Chris Smith – guitars, violin, exotic strings, anguish; Warren Dale – keyboards, winds, reeds, mallets, suffering; Jeff Gard – drums, outbursts, crushed hopes. Guest musicians: Paolo Botta – all keyboards on "…Cicada"; Pam Thompson – trombone on “Ska Face"; Steven Dale – trumpet on “Ska Face" and “Colorless"... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2017.............................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit FRENCH TV HOME PAGE...
. GOD INC. - "Minstrel’s Tale"
God Inc. is a Rock project from Montreal, Canada, which is influenced by Progressive Rock with a mainstream direction. The line-up features A-J Charron (vocals, guitars), Sylvie St-Amand (vocals, keyboards), Jean-Marc Bruyère (bass), and Gordon Howard (drums). God Inc. debuted with the full-length album entitled “Minstrel’s Tale” (2015, Artic Records). God Inc. is fronted by A-J Charron – a web-columnist, guitarist, and composer from Montreal, who has a penchant for Progressive Rock. His solo album, entitled “Humouring Gods” (2012, Azimuth Records), was featured at PR&PM in 2013. “Humouring Gods” featured instrumental music with an impressionist vein and an ample emotional approach, arranged in a simple orchestral pattern that blended the Medieval and Renaissance styles of music with futuristic New-Age/Progressive electronic textures. God Inc.’s album “Minstrel’s Tale” follows the same line, unless it is plentiful in vocals parts (both male and female, and in duos); driven by a rhythmic section composed of slow and deep lines of bass and atmospheric martial drumming; being also adorned with harmonic keyboards. The songs, although long, are slow and driven by melancholic vocal tunes, reviving the sadness of the ancient medieval times and evoking images of grey skies. The arrangements and melodies are simple and, although I am sure that the band has made its best, the quality of the recording is low, as the music is not as opulent and resounding as one would expect nowadays. But the booklet that comes inside the physical CD contains nice artwork and lyrics. The music of God Inc. features diluted influences or bands such as: “Genesis”, “Steve Hackett”, “Anthony Phillips”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Emerson, Lake & Palmer”, “Jethro Tull”, “Pendragon”, “Landmarq”, “Solstice”, “The Enid”, “Willowglass”, “Pink Floyd”, “Eloy”, and others on the same line. “Minstrel’s Tale” is a concept album that has been divided in one “Prologue” and three “Chapters”. The album starts with “Prologue: The Condensed Story”, which is composed from the single song “Prologue/The Final Stand (including The Distant Light)” (9:10) – this one is a Medieval Prog that sets the right atmosphere for the rest of the record, for it unrolls slowly, revealing delicate tunes and bittersweet harmony vocals that anticipate the next chapters of the story. “Chapter 1: Honourable Soldiers” is composed of the piano-ballad “Helen” (4:19) and the somber “Battlefield (including The Journey)” (8:26) – both having sorrowful vocals and nice medieval tunes on keyboards; with “Battlefield …” also presenting some Neo-Prog guitar harmonies. “Chapter 2: The Lovers” starts with the Cosmic ambience of “Gone Forever” (2:26) and delves into the adventurous theme of “Minstrel’s Tale” (7:20), finishing with minimalist piano lines that introduce the claustrophobic “Shelter Me From The Storm” (4:27), which resembles the early Space-Rock music of “Pink Floyd” on bass and drums, having compatible fuzzy guitars. This “Chapter 2” continues with the darkened “The Tolling Bell” (7:15) – which is more vigorous, martial and dramatic than the previous songs; and finishes on the instrumental folk-acoustic “A Sonata for Annabella” (2:57). Finally, “Chapter 3: Yearning for Home” is the main piece of the album, being composed of: “Walking Home” (1:33) – which reminded me of the ballads of “Greg Lake” and “John Wetton”; the long “Euphoria” (15:50) – which alternates soaring moments (driven by eerie female vocals and celestial vocal harmonies) with vigorous moments (driven by male vocals and guitars), being mended by a patchwork of instrumental parts and a long guitar solo; and “Onward” (2:01) – an instrumental coda. Although the quality of the record mixing is not satisfactory, I think that God Inc.’s album “Minstrel’s Tale” might be appreciated by fans of Medieval-oriented Prog-songs, as played by “Genesis”, “Steve Hackett”, “Anthony Phillips”, “Emerson, Lake & Palmer”, “Jethro Tull”, “Pendragon”, “Landmarq”, “Solstice”, “The Enid”, “Willowglass”, “Pink Floyd”, and “Eloy”, to whom God Inc. is specially recommended. Band members and collaborators involved in God Inc. are: A-J Charron – Guitars, Vocals; Sylvie St-Amande – Keyboards, Vocals; Jean-Marc Bruyère – Bass; Gordon Howard – Drums and Percussion. All songs written by A-J Charron. Recorded at Jack In The Back Studio, Montreal, QC, Canada; Produced & Mixed by God Inc.; Mastered by Glen Robinson at Studio Multisons, Montreal, QC, Canada. Artwork by Julia. Also you must visit God Inc.'s BandCamp Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2017..........................Want to learn everything about the musicians and their fantastic band, visit GOD INC. HOME PAGE...
. LEON MUHUDINOV - "Tasty Guitar Treats"
Leon Muhudinov is a guitarist and composer based in the New Jersey/NYC area. His musical repertoire is stylistically eclectic, including Romantic Classical Guitar, World Music, New Age, Ethnic Fusion, Psychedelic, Progressive, and musical scores for films and TV. Muhudinov’s versatility has led him to collaborate in many studio recordings. He is an active advocate for humanitarian causes, and helps to bring people’s attention to issues like animal rights and environmental problems. Leon Muhudinov is also a passionate guitar teacher, and keeps a busy schedule in Bergen County, NJ. Since 2003, Muhudinov has been an active performer, also venturing on a solo career. His musical themes are inspired on eccentric, idiosyncratic characters and ideologies, mysticism, enlightening discoveries, the struggle to tread on difficult paths, and living in harmony with nature. Muhudinov’s first independent album was titled “Tasty Guitar Treats” (2003), on which he played alone. He later formed Adventures of Leonid, an instrumental group with a non-fixed line-up. They released one album, “Adventures of Leonid” (2005, Mad Hands Records), which featured “Mad Mike Cullens” (drummer of “Chuck Berry”, “Mick Taylor”), and music combining elements of Rock, Classical, Funk, Surf Rock, and Eastern melodies. In 2011, Muhudinov composed a segment for the series “Project Oliver”, directed by “Andy Cockrum”, which intended to raise funds for building a sanctuary for apes rescued from laboratory testing. He also was selected by “Roger Taylor” (“Queen”) as a semi-finalist for the “Extravaganza Tour”. Muhudinov and Adventures of Leonid recorded a cover of the song “I’m the One”, that was included on the “Van Halen” Tribute album, “Take Your Whiskey Home: A Millennium Tribute to Van Halen 1977-1984” (2012, Versailles Records). This CD also featured Rockers “Jeff Scott Soto”, “Vinnie Appice”, “Jake E. Lee”, “Jimmy Crespo”, and “Rowan Robertson”. Muhudinov also released three digital singles: “Romance Anonimo” (2011), “Debussy: Suite Bergamasque L75: III, Clair De Lune” (2013), and “America the Beautiful” (2013). He is currently working in the “Combo Combo” duo, and has performed on “Guitar Wizards” (2015, Versailles) – a compilation featuring members of “Aerosmith”, “Whitesnake”, and “Guns N' Roses”. Muhudinov’s album on focus here is the physical version of his solo CD, “Tasty Guitar Treats” (2003). On this record, Leon Muhudinov is the sole performer, playing the acoustic and electric guitars, and a few passages of bass and percussion. Muhudinov is a really talented and accomplished guitarist. His technique is clean and precise, and he feels comfortable playing scholar-styled, classical acoustic music and modern, electrified jazz-pop pieces alike. The key words to define his style may be: eclecticism, elegancy, softness, and sensitiveness. And, although Muhudinov always delivers his music accompanied by a gentle, soothing, and relaxing mood, he is also able to cloak his strings with an aura of mystery and seduction. “Tasty Guitar Treats” has nine instrumental tracks. The first five belong to an assorted repertoire that includes two Romantic Classical pieces and three versions of famous Ragtime, Rock, and Jazz standards. The last four tracks are original compositions written by Muhudinov. The album starts with “Natalia Vals Venezolano No. 3” (2:40) – a magnificent and heartfelt rendition of “Antonio Lauro’s” piece; later followed by a jovial and spirited version of “Cajita de Musica” (2:05), by “Francisco Tárrega”. Those pieces are executed by Muhudinov with skill and mastery. In between them, he performs a calm and sensitive version of “Eleanor Rigby” (3:10), by “The Beatles”, mixing acoustic sounds of strings with crystal-clean notes that come from his electric guitar. Additional lines of electric guitar are employed in combination with bass and percussion on a vivid version of “Caravan” (3:01), by “Duke Ellington & Juan Tizol”. Finally comes “The Entertainer” (2:00), a Ragtime classic composed for piano by “Scott Joplin”, and re-arranged for acoustic guitar by “Chet Atkins”. On Muhudinov’s hands, this piece retains all the joyful and provincial mood of an innocent Musical Era. “Floating Funk” (3:41) is the first of Muhudinov’s compositions to appear on the CD. “Floating …” swings to the funky sound of electrified guitars, bass, and drums; but the last three tracks are performed only on the acoustic guitar, and invite the listener to enter a world of soft chords, gentle plucking, and introspective feelings, that converge to create a kind of inspiring music. If the Classical “The Color of Travel” (2:23) elevates the soul with its scholar style, it is “Nostalgia Waltz” (4:43) that brings peace of mind with its romantic, nostalgic mood. And the long-lasting “Life” (11:11) – only available on the physical CD – is a true masterpiece: a nuanced and transcendental piece that reverberates against a New-Age background, instilled with a profoundly spiritual nature. This beautiful album by Leon Muhudinov is a rewarding surprise in the Instrumental Music scene, and I shall strongly recommend it for fans of Acoustic Guitar, as played by “Gordon Giltrap”, “Steve Hackett”, “Steve Howe”, “Ritchie Blackmore”, “Al Di Meola”, “Paco de Lucía”, “Yamandu Costa”, “The Ventures”, “California Guitar Trio”, “Sam Coulson”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Leon Muhudinov are: Leon Muhudinov – Guitars, Arrangements, Compositions; except: “Natalia” (“Antonio Lauro”); “Cajita de Musica” (“Francisco Tárrega”); “Eleanor Rigby” (“John Lennon & Paul McCartney”); “Caravan” (“Duke Ellington & Juan Tizol”); “The Entertainer” (“Scott Joplin”, arranged by “Chet Atkins”). Produced by L. Muhudinov & Harry Liang. Recorded by H. Liang at Tera Studios, Paramus, NJ; Mixed & Mastered by Tony Van Hoorn at Granite Alps Studios, Wayne, NJ (except “Eleanor …”, Mixed & Mastered by J. Liang)... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2017............................................,.....Interested to know more about the Musician? Visit LEON MUHUDINOV HOME PAGE...
. ABRAHAM SARACHE - "The Gardener"
Abraham Sarache is an Amsterdam-based multi-instrumentalist and songwriter who experiments with unique folk instruments and different music genres. Since 2007 he has been introducing the Venezuelan Cuatro and the Ukulele in the Alternative Progressive Rock & Metal scene. Abraham Sarache began to play the electric guitar at the age of 15. After taking part in many bands, he felt himself experienced enough to open a new alternative path in Progressive Music. By employing modern electronic devices, such as the Electro Harmonix POG2 pedal, Sarache was able to create sad and gloomy melodies with his Cuatro and with the Ukulele, and profit from the unique tuning of those instruments. In that way, Sarache could go beyond the Folk and Pop music, infiltrating the sonorities of those instruments into the dark and melancholic atmospheres of the Dark-Progressive and Prog-Metal styles. His effort and inventiveness have already paid off: Abraham Sarache was awarded a first place on Mel de Galicia's “Melómanos” music contest (2013) and a “Best Alternative Hard Rock Song” by The Akademia Music Awards (May 2015), besides having a publication of his course, “Modernizing the Cuatro” (2015), on the internet site www.en.tucuatro.com. Sarache’s own brand of “Venezuelan Cuatro & Ukulele-oriented Progressive Rock and Metal” was registered on his debut album, entitled “The Gardener”, which was released in a Digipack Special Edition on February 29, 2016, via independent label TuCuatro. Besides Abraham Sarache (vocals, cuatro, ukulele), the record also features Tristan Turner (vocals, bass) and Garri Snowman (drums). The music of Abraham Sarache consists in an original formula that combines Progressive Rock, Prog-Metal, and a dash of Grunge, underlined with the innovative sounds of the Venezuelan Cuatro and of the Ukulele. His influences come mainly from “Porcupine Tree”, “Deftones”, “Alice In Chains”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Tool”, “Rammstein”, “Queens Of The Stone Age”, “No Use For A Name”, and “The Ataris”. “The Gardener” is a concept album based on the fact that, in any interpersonal relationship, the agents involved may adopt either an active, or a passive role (referred as “The Gardener” and “The Flower”, respectively). All people have already identified themselves either as one, or the other, depending on the situation experienced on a certain time of their lives. “The Gardener” discusses the concept on 9 songs that simulate the emotional phases of a stressful relationship; so covering a wide range of moods – passionate, angry and even hopeful, to sad, introspective and profoundly melancholic. This complex palette of emotions is conveyed on the vocals, which are expressed in various registers, ranging from soft and melodic to whispered or raspy. Synthesizers and pads have been used to create an electronic texture. Few solos have been made with an electric guitar, but the low-tuned acoustic guitars and Cuatro have been used massively, contributing for the birth of a quite unique electro-acoustic sonority that is different from any other known band. The multicultural nature of the acoustic instrumentation of this record, coupled to the dynamic and vigorous rhythmic base that is common in Modern Progressive Rock, has kept the songs bounded in a haunting and gloomy atmosphere that impresses and intrigues the listener. The new sound of Abraham Sarache will promptly attract listeners who are used to the sounds of the Grunge Era, magnetically gluing them to the rocking force of songs like: “The Crush: Eyes of Fire” (4:16); “First Round: Anymore” (4:36); “Unwrap the Masks: Reflections” (4:01); and “Acceptance: Escapism” (4:13). The first two are fuzzy, energetic and impacting, recalling “Queens Of The Stone Age”, “Alice In Chains”, and “Stone Temple Pilots”. “Unwrap …” and “Acceptance …” are darker, gloomier, and more dramatic, delivered with a devious groove and malignant vocals that reveal a stronger influence of “Alice In Chains”. The deep bass notes that Sarache extracts from his strings on all of those pieces are just awesome! Equally awesome is the oneiric atmosphere that Sarache creates on “The Hunt: Always With You” (4:50), by plucking the strings quickly. By adding snapping electronic noises and keeping his voice as a whisper, he slowly heads towards a final Grunge-Metal explosion that really surprises the listener! And on “Hope: Expect the Worst” (4:49) – a sad ballad that recalled me of “Pearl Jam” – one will find the last echoes of the Grunge movement. On the other hand, fans of Dark-Prog and Metal in the style of “Porcupine Tree”, “A Perfect Circle”, and “Tool”, will plunge into the depressive anguish and smothering psychedelic clouds of “Silence: A Sacred Place” (5:34) and “Sweetness & Honesty: Confession” (7:01) – the most outstanding tracks of the album: the first is haunted by ghostly backing vocals; the other is a “complete guide” for Spanish-Andalusian-Gipsy guitars, being both crowned with the only two electric guitar solos of the album, in lysergic-Metal style! Finally, the listener will be imprisoned inside “Closure: Fear is a World for Fools” (4:24) – the hypnotic final track! With specific use of the Venezuelan Cuatro and Ukulele, Abraham Sarache has made an original, instigating, and very distinctive first album. The Gardener” is highly recommendable for fans of Dark & Heavy-Prog, Prog-Metal, Grunge, “Porcupine Tree”, “Deftones”, “Alice In Chains”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Tool”, “Rammstein”, “Queens Of The Stone Age”, “Stone Temple Pilots”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Abraham Sarache are: Abraham Sarache - Vocals & Venezuelan Cuatro, Ukulele; Tristan Turner - Vocals & Bass; Garri Snowman - Drums. All Songs Written, Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by Abraham Sarache. Photos by A. Sarache & Jennifer Grube; Cover Artwork by Iago Domínguez. Also you must visit Abraham Sarache's SoundCloud Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2017..........Would like to know more about this musician and his history, please visit ABRAHAM SARACHE HOME PAGE...
. THE TILT ROOM - "Nostalgic Future"
The Tilt Room is an Indie Acoustic Alternative Rock trio based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. The present line-up features Mike Swindell (guitars, vocals), Justin Hackett (drums, percussion), and Anthony Pandolph (bass). The Tilt Room plays regularly around Pittsburgh, and has already toured the State of New York, including Brooklyn, Manhattan, Long Island; and parts of New Jersey. The Tilt Room was originally formed in 2003 under the name Bacchus. The band consisted only of Mike Swindell and Matt Dacierno, who performed as an acoustic duo for years, until they realized that their songs would improve if they had a drummer. In 2014, they choose Justin Hackett for the task. In 2011, under the new moniker of The Tilt Room, the trio released the first full-length album, entitled “Confront Your World”. But in 2015 the band was hit by Dacierno’s death. Nevertheless, Swindell and Hackett decided to go on with the band, to keep Dacierno’s musical legacy alive. So, bassist Anthony Pandolph was admitted in The Tilt Room, and the band finally completed their second independent album, “Nostalgic Future”. “Nostalgic Future” was released on May 20th, 2016, and comes in a Digipack edition containing 11 songs. The music of The Tilt Room is a kind of Electro-Acoustic mix of Indie Rock, Classic Rock and Folk delivered with vigor and tied together by clever songwriting. Their intricate sound is founded on an aggressive approach to the acoustic guitar, not present on other acoustic groups; a free-flowing, energetic, and very integrated rhythmic section; and Mike Swindell’s melodic vocals, which are very emotional and have a surprising high-pitched inflection. Among the dozens of influences cited by the band, the ones that I regarded as having some resemblance with The Tilt Room’s electro-acoustic format are: “Radiohead”, “Beirut”, “Elliott Smith”, “Daniel Johnston” (on the melodicism and emotion of the vocals); “Bright Eyes”, “Kaki King”, “The Decemberists”; Indie Rock icons “Green Day”, “Eddie Vedder”, “Smashing Pumpkins”, “NIN” (when playing in unplugged mode); “The Strokes”, “Modest Mouse”, “The Black Keys”, “Peter Bjorn and John” (on rhythmic drives); “The Beatles”, “Fleetwood Mac”, “The Shins”, “Rolling Stones” (limited to the their acoustic side); and “Led Zeppelin” and “Grand Funk” (on the Folk/Blues songs). According to the band, the lyrics in “Nostalgic Future” depict the beauty of Western Pennsylvania and reflect the haunting and gritty past of that industrial city, capturing life in a changing American landscape. Although not being a true Progressive Rock act, I found the sound of The Tilt Room to be vibrant, emotional, and consistent enough to make a good figure around the modern “Indie Folk-Rock” scene, especially if they do play groovy, sticky, and straightforward songs like “The Crutch” (2:06); “Five Boroughs” (4:08); “Wishful Thinking” (4:58); “Ceremony to the Faithless” (4:22); and “Define Yourself” (4:59) – all driven by frantic strikes on the acoustic guitars that are straightly intertwined to groovy bass, contagious drums, and tuneful Indie-Rock vocals, loaded with soulful emotion. Traditionalists will prefer the folk and tuneful “On the Edge of Time” (4:20); or “Same Old Same New” (5:16), which cradles a mild “Led Zeppelin” swing. My favorites are: “Nostalgic Future” (5:58) – the title track that combines tribal drumming with swinging driving bass, and traditional folk guitars to give support to a beautiful solo of violin (performed by Laura Simna, recalling the style of “The Decemberists”); and “You Stand for Something” (6:49) – driven on a slow pace that makes it sound like a primordial Blues song. I also liked the vibrating energy emanating from “Autonomous” (4:49) – in special for its rocking great drumming; and its modern follower, “Near Life Experience” (5:26), which closes the album with the same uplifting spirit of the beginning. If you want to listen to a different and fresh Indie band that has a unique acoustic signature, which is absent from most of the other independent bands, I suggest that you try The Tilt Room and their new album, “Nostalgic Future” – an interesting work, specially recommended for fans of “Radiohead”, “Beirut”, “Elliott Smith”, “Daniel Johnston”, “Bright Eyes”, “Kaki King”, “The Decemberists”; unplugged “Green Day”, “Eddie Vedder”, “Smashing Pumpkins”, and “NIN”; rhythmic “The Strokes”, “Modest Mouse”, “The Black Keys”, “Peter Bjorn and John”; and mostly acoustic “The Beatles”, “Fleetwood Mac”, “The Shins”, “Rolling Stones”, and “Led Zeppelin”. Band members and collaborators involved in The Tilt Room are: Mike Swindell – Vocals, Guitar, Lyrics; Justin Hackett – Drums, Percussion; Anthony Pandolph – Bass. Additional Musician: Laura Simna – Violin on “Nostalgic Future”. Recorded & Engineered by Greg Davis at Gallagher Studios (California University of Pennsylvania); Violin Recorded & Engineered by Jim Stewart at Jim Stewart Recording. Mixed by Jim Stewart at Jim Stewart Recording; Mastered by Adam Boose at Cauliflower Audio. Cover by Michael Vincent Manalo; Layout Design by Dan Rugh. Also you must visit The Tilt Room's Facebook Site and BandCamp Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2017...................................,..........For more details and in the meantime please check out THE TILT ROOM HOME PAGE...
. THE LIVESAYS - "Hold On … Life Is Calling"
The Livesays are an American Rock/Pop quartet with a Bluesy edge. Originally from Hialeah, Florida, the band is presently based in Miami (Ft Laud, West Palm Beach). The line-up has Billy Livesay (guitar, lead vocals), Jorge Laplume (bass), Eddie Zyne (drums), and Victor "Cuqui" Berrios (Hammond B3 organ, vocals). The Livesays are fronted by singer/songwriter/guitarist Billy Livesay, who spent 12 years performing, recording and touring with “E-Streeter Clarence ‘Big Man’ Clemons” on his band “Temple of Soul”, with whom Livesay recorded and released the albums “Live in Asbury Park – Vols I & II” (the second one featured “Bruce Springsteen”). Livesay has also shared the stage with “Mickey Thomas” (“Jefferson Starship”), “Gerry Beckley” (“America”), “Jimi Jamison” (“Survivor”), “Steve Augeri” (“Journey”), “Mike Reno” (“Loverboy”), “Wally Palmer”, “Davey Jones” (“The Monkees”), “Willie Nile”, “Coz Canler & Dave Petratos” (“The Romantics”), “David Jenkins” (“Pablo Cruise”), “Brian Howe” (“Bad Company”), “Nicko McBrain” (“Iron Maiden”), “Wayne Nelson” (“Little River Band”), “Phil Kenzie” (“Al Stewart”, “Rod Stewart”, “Eagles”), “David Pack” (“Ambrosia”), “Kelly Keagy & Jack Baldes” (“Night Ranger”), “Eddie Money” and more. Livesay is a regular performer on the South Florida music scene with his band “Slyder” (a favorite at the Button South and Sunrise Musical Theatre). Livesay’s songs have been placed in television shows and movies (his song "Little Bit of Hurt" appeared in "Promised Land", starring “Matt Damon”). He is also the lead singing guitarist for “Tony Stevens' Slow Ride” (original “Foghat”) who tours internationally, most recently in Canada and California. Eddie Zyne plays drums since 1974, and has toured and/or recorded with “Todd Rundgren”, “Desmond Child”, “Monkees”, “The Grass Roots”, “Gary Puckett”, “Lonesome Dave Peverett” in “Foghat”, “Tom Dowd”, “Rick Derringer”, and “Brian Howe” of “Bad Company”. Zyne’s been with The Livesays since 1998, and also plays drums in “Slow Ride”. Bassist Jorge Laplume hails from Havana, Cuba; and his bass sounds both funky and thunderous. Laplume also plays on “Slyder” with Livesay. Victor "Cuqui" Berrios grew up in New York, and adds a flavor of the Big Apple to the band with his Hammond B3 and vocals. The chemistry shared by the quartet on stage creates an energetic and dynamic live performance. The Livesays have released the albums “Rose Colored Glasses” (2011) and “Faith, Hope & Love” (2014); both on Echo XS Records Label. The Livesay’s most recent release is the album “Hold On... Life Is Calling” (Oct. 2016, Echo XS). It contains 13 short songs, in Americana, Blues Rock, Country & Southern Rock, and Classic Pop-Rock styles, with influences of “Bruce Springsteen”, “John Mellancamp”, “Beatles”, “Rolling Stones”, “Rod Stewart”, “Tom Petty”, “Bob Seger”, “Lynyrd Skynyrd”, “Allman Brothers”, “John and Edgar Winter”, “Foghat”, “The Who”, “Free”, “The Traveling Wilburys”, etc. The lyrics are moving, telling stories about search for love in teenage and adult ages and other sentimental and nostalgic issues. The music is composed of memorable tunes inserted in accessible Rock-Pop arrangements, presents wailing guitars and bluesy organ in combination with a solid Classic Rock-styled rhythmic section. The vocals deliver emotion and most choruses stick to the listener’s mind. My favorite songs are those closer to the Classic Rock style, with a blues feeling instilled within, such as the opening track “I'm Coming Home” (4:55); the Southern Rock “Angels of the New Millennium” (3:45); and the Blues-Rock “I'd Change Everything” (5:13). Also standing among my favorites are the energized Rock “I've Heard the Truth Before” (4:29); and the Electro-Acoustic Blues, “This Side of Town” (4:41) – driven by a contagious groove and a bouncing piano, being finished with a never-ending guitar solo. The Rock-Ballads are represented by the romantic “No Promises” (4:46) and “It's What I Have To Do” (4:11); and by the hit “Libertine” (4:02), a sad ballad that irradiates a nostalgic mood from the piano and guitars, being embellished by short guitar solos and lovely harmony vocals. A number of songs are vibrant Pop-Rocks that deliver passionate instrumental performances combined to powerful sticky choruses (recalling “Bruce Springsteen” and “Rod Stewart”), being aimed for the great arenas: “Pop Star” (3:52) is heated by a great guitar solo; “Pick Yourself Up” (5:02) has lyrics inspired on true life experiences, and another great guitar solo; and “Call on Me” (4:42) turns up from sad to cheerful in a few seconds. This kind of lively mood is kept on the easy-listening Pop-Rocks, “Why You Wanna Keep On Lovin’ Me” (4:09) and “Turn It Around” (4:18) – two songs that are able to attract the largest audiences to any Rock n’ Roll party! The Livesay’s new album, “Hold On... Life Is Calling”, is really far from being a Progressive item. Nevertheless, if you like to listen to good old Rock n’ Roll in the style of “Bruce Springsteen”, “John Mellancamp”, “Beatles”, “Rolling Stones”, “Rod Stewart”, “Tom Petty”, “Bob Seger”, “Lynyrd Skynyrd”, “Allman Brothers”, “John and Edgar Winter”, “Foghat”, “The Who”, “Free”, “Roy Orbison”, “The Traveling Wilburys”, and others like them, this album is greatly recommendable for you! Band members and collaborators involved in The Livesays are: Billy Livesay – Guitars, Lead Vocals, Piano, Percussion; Eddie Zyne – Drums, Percussion, Cajon; Jorge Laplume – Bass; Victor ‘Cuqui’ Berrios – B3 Organ, Vocals. Additional Musicians: Timothy Murphy – Background Vocals, Piano (on “Call On Me”, “This Side of Town”, “Why You Wanna Keep On Lovin’ Me”); Luke Sipka – Piano (on “It’s What I Have to Do”); John Quinn – Piano (on “Libertine”, “I’d Change Everything”); Victoria Livesay, Erminia Laplume, Debi Berrios, Susan Zyne – Background Vocals (on “Turning It Around”). Produced by Billy Livesay; Recorded at Casa de Fufi; Mixed by Billy Livesay & Steve Gordon at The Royal Palace; Mastered by Michael Fuller at Fullersound for Echo XS Records. Also you must visit The Livesays's Facebook Site and Also you must visit The Livesays's Reverbnation Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2017...................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE LIVESAYS HOME PAGE...
. OAK - "Lighthouse"
Oak is a new Art-Rock band hailing from Oslo, Norway. Oak was formed in 2013, and its present line-up consists of Simen Valldal Johannessen (vocals and keyboards), Ole Michael Bjørndal (guitars), Øystein Sootholtet (bass), and Sigbjørn Reiakvam (drums). In 2013 Oak released a digital version of their debut album, entitled “Lighthouse”. In 2016, “Lighthouse” was re-issued on physical format, on both CD and vinyl, via the Apollon Records Prog record label. Besides the aforementioned line-up, “Lighthouse” features guest appearances by Henrik Skjervum (guitars), Steinar Refsdal (saxophone) and “Airbag’s” guitar player, Bjørn Riis. The unique sound of Oak is delightfully emotional, moving and melancholic, passing on to the listener a sensation of finitude before the vastness of our surrounding world. But far from being minimalist, Oak’s music is rich in melodies, textures and harmonies, which are carefully and cerebrally arranged by the band to form a complex multilayered structure that, to be totally assimilated, must be continuously explored and experienced by the listener. The instrumentation features delicate guitars, mild-mannered bass and drums, and a dreamy piano with modern classic style, all being supported by synths and immersed in a soft electronic ambience. The electric guitar is the main solo instrument, soaring over the songs on sensitive solos. Vocals are a strong point of Oak: tuneful, melodic, and especially haunting, the leading voice of Simen V. Johannessen is perfectly harmonized on the arrangements, in sequence with the instrumental parts. The harmony backing vocals and the poetical figurative lyrics are also strong points of the excellent music delivered by Oak! As a matter of comparison, Oak’s sonority is like a mix of the music of their fellows of “Gazpacho”, “Airbag”, “Ulver” (most recent works), and “A-ha” (on a sad rainy day); with elements also reminiscent of “Marillion” (“Hogarth”), “Pineapple Thief”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Anathema”, “Sigur Rós”, “Mr. Gil”, “Lunatic Soul”, “Nosound”, “Nordagust”; and even “White Willow” and “The Gathering” (with a man’s voice, instead of a woman’s). “Lighthouse” is a solid and amazing album that contains 12 tracks. The songs are arranged in blocks, separated by short instrumental interludes. The first block starts with the angelical, synth-driven, “Prelude” (1:13), that precedes the softly rocking “Home” (5:15) – this one, a kind of British Neo-Prog instilled with Pop-Rock vibes, like a mix of an unhappy “A-ha” with “Pineapple Thief”, and with a breeze of Scandinavian Folk music blowing in. But on “Perceiving Red” (6:24), Oak begins to reveal the band’s mostly real, melancholic face, in special on the haunting vocal melodies – which transmute sadness into a form of Art, and Art into a form of music – Oak’s music! The band then initiates a dramatic escalation on “Munich” (4:32), by combining soaring pianos, guitars, and deep vocals with a heavy Electronic base, conveyed on a powerful Post-Metal progression, in a way that will impress fans of “Gazpacho”, “Ulver”, “Anathema”, and “The Gathering”! The climax of the first block of songs happens on “Stars Under Water” (5:22) – and awesome piece, delivered with ghostly vocals, icy piano, and solitary keyboards that create a somber atmosphere, causing a creepy sensation that recalled me of some songs of “Gazpacho”. The second block of songs is enveloped in the religious aura of “Interlude I” (1:17), which transmits a profound sentiment of introspectiveness to the songs “The Sea” (8:36) and “Fire, Walk With Me!” (6:20). “The Sea” drowns in a pool of sadness, cradled by the sound of sea waves – the stillness of the echoing backing vocals and the primeval flute-like sounds (which recalled me of “White Willow”) being disrupted by a Gothic-Psychedelic instrumental sequence that grows to the cathartic end (like “Porcupine Tree”)! And “Fire, Walk With Me!” makes the “Sea” water to evaporate, forming clouds of emotional vocals, eerie instrumentation, and brilliant soaring guitar solo (by Bjørn Riis, of “Airbag”!). Finally, the songs of the third block have a different musical orientation, experimenting with various stylistic lines. Starting with the relaxing astral sound of “Interlude II” (0:56), Oak delivers a sensitive ballad; “Where Did The Summer Go” (3:12) – with nice bass, piano, and some celestial backing choirs that recalled me of “Sigur Rós”. Then the band presents the title-track, “Lighthouse” (4:47), which is influenced by 80’s Rock and warmed up by a sax. Finally, “Postludium: Walk Of Atonement” (4:02) closes the album on a totally different path, blending New-Age and World Music, by combining Celtic Folk tunes with Middle Eastern rhythms! In sum, Oak’s “Lighthouse” is a rare album featuring highly sensitive music that will leave a deep mark in the listener’s emotional inner core, therefore being highly recommended for fans of bands like “Gazpacho”, “Airbag”, “Ulver”, “Marillion”, “Pineapple Thief”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Anathema”, “Sigur Rós”, “Mr. Gil”, “Lunatic Soul”, “Nosound”, “Nordagust”, “White Willow”, and “The Gathering”. Band members and collaborators involved in Oak are: Simen Valldal Johannessen – Vocals, Piano, Keyboards, Lyrics; Ole Michael Bjørndal – Guitars; Øystein Sootholtet – Bass, Guitars (on “Home”, “Perceiving Red”, “Where Did the Summer Go”, “Walk Of Atonement” + “Interludes”), Additional Guitars (on “Munich”, “The Sea”), Additional Keyboards & Programming; Sigbjørn Reiakvam – Drums, Percussion, Programming, Additional Keyboards & Additional Guitars (on “Home”). Guest Musicians: Henrik Skjervum – Guitars on “Lighthouse” & “Munich”; Steinar Refsdal – Saxophone on “Lighthouse”; Bjørn RiisAirbag”) – Lead Guitar on “Fire, Walk With Me”. All Music Written, Performed & Produced by Oak. Engineered by Øystein Sootholtet & Sigbjørn Reiakvam. Recorded at Front Row Studios, Mortensrud Church, Gjerdrum Church, Solbakkeveien Studio & Ljugekroken Studio. Mixed & Mastered by Jens Bogren with Sigbjørn Reiakvam at Fascination Street Studios. Pictures by Michaela Klouda. Design by Deformat. Also you must visit Oak's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2017.................................Want to learn everything about the musicians and their fantastic band, visit OAK HOME PAGE...
. TOTAL - "Total II"
Total was a legendary Power-Metal band based in Varna, Bulgaria, that was active from 1989 to 1993. Total had different musicians composing its line-up, but most notable were: Yuri Hinkov (lead vocals, who stayed in the band along its entire existence and currently works as a gold-jeweler); Zahari Karabashliev (rhythm guitar, songwriting, one of the two founding members and now a successful writer and novelist, whose novels are set in Sofia by renowned theatre directors); Lyubomir Georgiev (drums, another founding member); Konstantin Jambazov (lead guitar, now a respected musician in Bulgaria – look for his musical projects here at PR&PM); and Plamen Yovchev (keyboards, now a classical pianist and professor of music based in Varna). Total was formed in 1988 by guitarist and songwriter Zahari Karabashliev and drummer Lyubomir Georgiev with the aim of being a local “Total-Metal” band, reuniting influences of groups like: “Black Sabbath”, “Queensrÿche”, “Anthrax”, “King Diamond”, “Crimson Glory”, “Judas Priest”, “Iron Maiden”, “Metallica”, and “Megadeth”. In 1989, a permanent line-up was completed with Yuri Hinkov (vocals), Stefan Germanov (bass), and Kiril Valkov (lead guitar; ex-“Storm”/“Lucifer”). In 1990, guitarist Valkov left the group and was replaced by Konstantin Jambazov (of “Odessos”), who had already played on Varna’s legendary Thrash-Metal band “Hades”. With his refined Neo-Classical technique, Jambazov pushed Total to Progressive terrains, facilitating the coming of keyboardist Plamen Yovchev, who was then a student of classical piano at the Sofia Conservatory. Total began to raise popularity by playing live around Bulgaria. But in 1991 founding member and songwriter Karabashliev left the band, being soon followed by Plamen Yovchev and Lyubomir Georgiev. Without Karabashliev, Konstantin Jambazov decided to take the lead, reformulating Total’s line-up with Gordan Kaloyanchev (second lead guitar, ex-“Odessos”) and Georgi Radev (drums, ex-“Dynamics”). In 1992, bassist Stefan Germanov also left, and Jambazov invited Julian Kolev (ex-“Hades”/“Lucifer”/“Doctor Dolittle”) to replace him. This third formation, counting with two virtuosi guitarists, a heavy rhythm section, and a powerful singer, expanded their domains to other styles of Metal, incorporating new influences of bands like “Extreme”, “Mr.Big”, “Kings X”, “Faith No More”, “Stryper”, “Manowar”, and “Queen”. The climax was a broadcasted presentation during the “Rock-Hit 1992” – an important Rock contest held in Varna. Unfortunately, by the end of 1992, lead singer Yuri Hinkov suffered from a disease that damaged his voice permanently. Unable to find a new singer, Total disbanded in 1993, becoming a Metal legend in Bulgaria. Not at all lost, in 2014, Japanese label Orphictone became interested in the old studio recordings of Total (made in 1991 and 1992) and issued an eponymous CD, “Total”, in June 2014. In 2015, Orphictone doubled their bet, by releasing Total’s second CD, entitled “Total II”. The album contains 12 tracks, with titles in Bulgarian (translated to English on the cover); and lyrics in Bulgarian (translated to Japanese in the booklet). The selection of songs showcases a solid band that was already mixing the classic Heavy Metal and Hard-Rock styles with the new trends that were arising in the late ‘80s and early 90’s – the Speed Metal, the Neo-Classical Metal, the Melodic Power-Metal, and the Proto Prog-Metal. By making use of the foundations settled by bands like “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Michael Schenker”, “Van Halen”, “Vandenberg”, “Alcatrazz”, “Cacophony”, “Loudness”, “Agent Steel”, “Europe”, “Helloween”, and “Angra”, Total helped to push those new styles forwards, favored by the band’s powerful and ultra-fast rhythmic section; a pair of superb Neo-Classical guitar players; a virtuoso and bombastic keyboard player; and an extraordinary singer, owner of a high-pitched voice, comparable to names such as: “Ian Gillan”, “Rob Halford”, “Geoff Tate”, “Midnight”, and “John Cyriis”! Total’s own brand of Speed-Neo-Classical Symphonic Power-Metal is immediately perceived on most songs of this second album, namely on the Speed-Metal “Centrifuge” (4:07); on the Power-Metal “Melancholy” (4:31); on the Neo-Classical “Love” (1:30); on the Proto Prog-Metal “Regression” (5:35); and on the astonishing Power-Metal epics: “Servants Of The Servants” (7:58), “Self-Centered” (6:37), and “Time To Take Care Of Myself” (7:50). All of those songs are aggressively delivered on a dish of super-saturated symphonic arrangements containing intertwined Neo-Classical guitars, complex passages of keyboards, pounding rhythms, and wuthering vocals that, although arranged more than 20 years ago, are still capable of impressing fans of Power-Metal today!  But Total was an eclectic band, and this album offers an additional number of songs in various Metal styles. Most impressive to me are “Dreams In Chains” (3:59) – a Dark Metal ballad with very complex Neo-Classical guitar solos; “Infection” (5:04) – a Country-Jazz Metal, mixed to Thrash-Metal influences of “Megadeth”; and the instrumental “Queen’s World” (4:14), which sounds as an amazing instrumental “Queen”. For fans of Hard-Rock, happy moods, and eruptive guitars, I suggest “I Strive For You” (3:37) and “Hope” (5:48) – two excellent songs in the vein of “Van Halen”, “Mr. Big”, and “Extreme”! “Total II” is a great collection of seminal Power-Metal songs mixed to opulent Neo-Classic instrumentation and Hard Rock vibes that revives all of Total’s glorious past, consisting in an indispensable item for fans of “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Michael Schenker”, “Van Halen”, “Vandenberg”, “Alcatrazz”, “Cacophony”, “Loudness”, “Helloween”, “Agent Steel”, “Angra”, “Rhapsody”, “Sonata Arctica”, “Derdian”, “Adagio”, “Queensrÿche”, “Crimson Glory”, “Judas Priest”, “Iron Maiden”, “Anthrax”, “Metallica”, “Megadeth”, “Extreme”, “Mr.Big”, “Kings X”, “Stryper”, “Manowar”, “Queen”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Total are: Yuri Hinkov – Vocals (1989-1993); Konstantin Jambazov – Lead Guitars (1990-1993); Gordan Kaloyanchev – Lead Guitars (1991-1993); Julian Kolev – Bass (1992-1993); Georgi Radev – Drums (1991-1993); Zahari Karabashliev – Rhythm Guitars, Lyrics, Music (1988-1991); Lyubomir Georgiev – Drums (1988-1991); Kiril Valkov – Lead Guitars (1989-1990); Stefan Germanov – Bass (1989-1992); Plamen Yovchev – Keyboards (1990-1991). Also you must visit Total's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2017...................................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit TOTAL HOME PAGE...
Billy Sherwood & Tony Kaye – two luminaires of Progressive Rock – are welcomed to PR&PM! Tony Kaye is an English keyboardist and songwriter who began to learn classical piano at an early age. In the early sixties he had already embraced Rock music, by playing and releasing singles with the bands “The Federals” and “Winston's Fumbs”. After a meeting with “Chris Squire”, he became a founder member of “Yes”. Kaye released three albums with “Yes” – “Yes” (1969), “Time and a Word” (1970) and “The Yes Album” (1971) – before being replaced by “Rick Wakeman”. In 1972 Kaye formed “Flash” (with ex-“Yes” guitarist “Peter Banks”); later, he helped to found the 70’s Rock bands “Badger” and “Detective”, and later joined “Badfinger” on their album “Say No More” (1981). In the meantime, Kaye worked as a session musician and toured with “David Bowie” (1975-76). In 1983, Tony Kaye was invited to integrate “Yes” once again, just before the release of the “90125” album. He played on the 1984-85 following tour, with highlights for a show at the first “Rock in Rio Festival” in Rio de Janeiro. Kaye also took part on the albums “Big Generator” (1987), “Union” (1991); and was in the “mega-Yes” line-up featuring eight members of different phases of “Yes” that toured around the world in 1991-92. Kaye left “Yes” in 1995, after the release of “Talk” (1994). Billy Sherwood is a North American multi-instrumentalist and record producer, who in 2015 became the new bassist of “Yes” in replacement to the late “Chris Squire”. Sherwood has produced and played for many important artists of the Classic Rock and Progressive scenes. In the early ‘90s, Sherwood stablished a friendship with “Yes” members, yielding his invitation as a support musician for their “Talk” tour (1994). Sherwood also recorded/produced some of the band’s latest albums and DVDs, including “Like It Is: Yes at the Bristol Hippodrome” (2014) and “Like It Is: Yes at the Mesa Arts Center” (2015). Sherwood released eight solo albums from 1999 to 2014. The last ones, “Divided By One” (2014) and the compilation “Collection” (2015), were reviewed at PR&PM in 2016. In the meantime, Sherwood worked on projects with his friends of “Yes”. With “Chris Squire”, he formed “Conspiracy”, which released two studio albums and one live album in 2006: “Conspiracy Live” (reviewed at PR&PM in 2013). But it was with Tony Kaye that Sherwood’s musical bonds became stronger. With Kaye (and with “Yes” drummer, “Alan White”), Sherwood formed “Circa:”, a band with many releases: “Circa:” (2007), “Circa: Live” (2009), “Circa: HQ” (2009, reviewed at PR&PM in 2013), “And So On” (2011), “Live From Here There & Everywhere” (2013), and “Valley of the Windmill” (2016). Sherwood and Kaye also joined “Bobby Kimball” (“Toto”) to form “Yoso”, which released “Elements” (2010). Another chapter of the solid partnership between Sherwood & Kaye has been recorded on the album entitled “Live In Japan” (2014, Backyard Levitation, distributed via Cherry Red Records). “Live In Japan” comes in a deluxe digipack format featuring a double CD and one DVD. Each CD contains 9 tracks, featuring a repertoire that comprises songs from both Sherwood & Kaye’s careers, including a number of “Yes” hits! The DVD has the same track list as both CDs, plus short clips of the tour, which were captured by Sherwood with his camera and later inserted between the songs. The tour happened in Japan in 2011, and included several cities. On stage, only Billy Sherwood (lead vocals and guitars) and Tony Kaye (keyboards) performed for a selected audience. The bass and drums that are heard on the background were recorded in studio by Sherwood and added later, during the album’s post-production. A few cameras recorded both musicians in action on stage, sometimes making close-ups. Sherwood is a great guitarist, as much as a he is an outstanding bassist, and imprints his own mark on all solos and vocal interpretations. Kaye pilots his Roland X7 with the easiness and experience of the veterans, in perfect unison with his friend. Both of them showcase refined elegance and technique when playing their music, which is a crossover of 80’s Progressive Rock with Sophisticated Pop reminiscent of the most accessible albums of “Yes” (e.g. “The Yes Album”, “Fragile”, “Drama”, “90125”, “Big Generator”, and “Talk”); of “Chris Squire’s” projects (“World Trade” and “Conspiracy”), and of Sherwood & Kaye’s projects “Circa:” and “Yoso”. The highlights of Disc One are the Rocking energy of the songs “Confess” and “Red Light Ahead” (both of “Conspiracy”), which are soothed down by Sherwood’s best ballads: “Together We Are” (with long solo of guitar) and “Fireworks”. A great amount of mellowness has been poured on the excellent covers of the “Yessongs” “Time and a Word” and “Your Move” (on which the “I’ve seen all good people” counterpart has been surprisingly replaced by an amazing cover of “Owner of a Lonely Heart” – featuring a bombastic performance of Kaye on synths!). The highlights of Disc Two are the opening track “I Am Waiting” (a “Yes” song reduced to a magnificent instrumental intro) and “Tony Kaye Solo”, in Classical piano style. They are followed by two other ballads by Sherwood: the cool “The Other Side” and the ironic “Man Over Bored” (with a style that recalls “John Wetton”). But fans of “Yes” will rejoice listening the duo’s interpretation of “Wondrous Stories” (as beautiful as the original), “The More We Live” and “No Way We Can Lose” (having a jammed instrumental end). Sherwood & Kaye finish their act with “Say Goodbye” (“World Trade” cover), before returning for the last round armed with an incendiary version of “Roundabout” that drives the audience to delirium! Considering the talent of the musicians involved, the importance of their historical meeting on stage, and the repertoire they have chosen to perform, Billy Sherwood & Tony Kaye's “Live In Japan” is highly recommendable for fans of Billy Sherwood, Tony Kaye, and lovers of 80’s to 90’s Progressive Rock, as played by “Yes”, “Anderson, Wakeman, Bruford, Howe”, “World Trade”, “Conspiracy”, “Circa:”, “Yoso”, “Asia”, “Saga”, “Toto”, “Druckfarben”, “Cairo”. Band members and collaborators involved in Billy Sherwood & Tony Kaye are: Billy Sherwood – Lead Vocals and Guitars (live), Bass and Drums (studio); Tony Kaye – Keyboard (a Roland X7). Recorded & Mixed by Billy Sherwood. Video Edited by Billy Sherwood & Tony Kaye. Produced by Billy Sherwood & Tony Kaye. Mastered by Maor Appelbaum at Maor Appelbaum Mastering, CA. Photography by Naoju Nakamura. Cover Artwork and Design by Michi Sherwood. “Live In Japan” complete track-list: Disc One: 1. “Confess”; 2. “Together We Are”; 3. “Cut The Ties”; 4. “Time and a Word”; 5. “I could”; 6. “Red Light Ahead”; 7. “Fireworks”; 8. “Your Move”; 9. “Owner of a Lonely Heart”. Disc Two: 1. “I Am Waiting”; 2. “Tony Kaye Solo”; 3. “The Other Side”; 4. “Wondrous Stories”; 5. “Man Over Bored”; 6. “The More We Live”; 7. “No Way We Can Lose”; 8. “Say Goodbye”; 9. “Roundabout”... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/31/2017.............Interested to know more about these great Musicians? Visit BILLY SHERWOOD & TONY KAYE HOME PAGE...
. ESQUIRE - "Esquire III – No Spare Planet"
Esquire is a London-based Rock band formed by singer Nikki Squire (the ex-wife of the late “Chris Squire”, of “Yes”) and bassist Nigel McLaren, always having support of an array of talented guest musicians. Nikki Squire began her career writing, singing and contributing to some songs of “Chris Squire”, who had always been an encouraging teacher. But Nikki had few time to devote herself to music: “Chris Squire” was often on tour, and she had to raise their three daughters. By 1982, their children had grown up and Nikki had more free time to spend on music. In that year she met Nigel McLaren – an accomplished and imaginative musician – that persuaded her to be more creative and confident in regard to music, encouraging Nikki to blossom as an artist. The Esquire duo then released a debut album, entitled “Esquire” (1987, Geffen Records), which featured a few members of “Yes” as guest musician. “Esquire” was acclaimed as a distinguishing Progressive Rock album, but the follow-up, entitled “Coming Home” (1997), would show up only ten years later. The Esquire duo was preparing a third album when McLaren suddenly passed away, on 7th June, 2015. Nikki then delegated to producer and engineer Mark Wallis the task of putting together and mixing all the audio and vocals of the last songs that she and McLaren had written over the previous years. The result was materialized on the album “Esquire III – No Spare Planet”, released on November 11th, 2016, via the independent label Esquire Music. “No Spare Planet” completes the Esquire trilogy as a final tribute to the music and talent of Nigel McLaren. The album has nine tracks and features participations of a few additional musicians (see below). The music of Esquire may be regarded as a cross-over between sophisticated Pop-Rock with strong influences of 80’s to 90’s Synth & Dream-Pop, and Psychedelic Rock covered with 80’s Progressive Rock & Electronic textures. The musical combination of sounds is accessible, varied and modern, but is also emotionally deep, mysterious, and intriguing, sometimes. The main propulsion is exercised by the powerful and marking voice of Nikki Squire, who sings tunes that are creative or peculiar, conveying conceptual and meaningful lyrics. Nikki gets the perfect musical support from Nigel McLaren – a clever multi-instrumentalist who fills the musical emptiness with melodic selectiveness, textural good-taste, and parsimonious performances. The refined interaction of the duo results in a sonic amalgamate that shines with its own uniqueness, and that will please fans of the most ethereal songs of “Yes”; the early works of “David Bowie”; the Techno-Pop of “Human League” and “Portishead”; and the visionary waves of “Peter Gabriel”, “Eurhythmics”, “Annie Lennox”, “Cocteau Twins”, and “This Mortal Coil”. From a Progressive point of view, the opening track – “Ministry of Life” (8:08) – is the one that carries the higher number of “Prog-elements”. It is a magnificent song, divided in three parts that have different atmospheres and emotional levels: the first has Space-Psychedelic bass and powerful vocals; the second has dreamy vocals and cosmic electronic sounds that grow epically, leading to a climax with great guitars and bass passages; the third is melodic and colorful, like late 60’s Psychedelic Rock. The second song is “She Said” (4:29) – a sticky acoustic ballad enveloped in lysergic vibes, but modernized with Progressive synth-harmonies and sparse, but well-placed, guitar riffs. Also with a Progressive vein, track 7 – “Where Is the Love” (4:55) – amazes the listener with its balanced mix of organic vocals, strings and flutes with Techno sounds, resembling a modern hybrid of “Yes” and “Jethro Tull”. And track 6 – “It's Over” (4:39) – in spite of its bouncing beat, advances towards Prog terrains, bringing nice ethereal vocals that recall the melodicism of “Jon Anderson”. Conversely, tracks 3 and 4 – “Human Rhythm” (4:58) and “Tonight” (4:18) – will please most adepts of lounge music with their selection of danceable rhythms. “Human …” is vibrant and contagious, being driven by fast techno-upbeats and 80’s-styled pulsing bass; while “Tonight” descends to a chill-out beat that conveys soft melodies and innocent vocals that recalled me of “Cocteau Twins”. Steering to the sophisticated Pop-Rock, track 8 – “Stay Low” (4:20) – has imaginative guitars, bright hues, and an unusual vocal performance by Nikki, who instils some Soul music intonations to her melodic lines, whilst backed up by a children’s choir. Finally, tracks 5 and 9 – respectively, “Friends & Enemies” (4:38) and “Heaven Blessed” (4:25) – are both fronted by Nigel McLaren, whose voice and style recall the most artistic (and less commercial) side of “Peter Gabriel”, being therefore recommended for his fans. Esquire’s “No Spare Planet” is a great farewell album for Nigel McLaren. It delivers a message of love and friendship – transmuted into refined Pop-Rock embellished with a Progressive dressing – that will be specially appreciated by fans of “Yes”, “David Bowie”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Annie Lennox”, “Eurhythmics”, “Cocteau Twins”, “This Mortal Coil”, “Human League”, “Portishead”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Esquire are: Nikki Squire – Lead Vocals, Music, Most Lyrics, Harmonies; Nigel McLaren – All Instruments (Guitar, Synths, Bass, Drums), Lead Vocals on tracks 5 & 9, Music, A Few Lyrics, Harmonies; Isabelle Meyrignac – Flute on tracks 1 & 7; Gez Murphy – Additional Guitar on track 1; Robbie Blunt – Additional Guitar on tracks 2, 4 & 6; Master Cassian Munro – Lead/Harmony Vocals on track 8; Lisa LaRue – Additional Keyboards on track 8; John Baker – Additional Guitar on track 8. Produced by Nigel McLaren and Nikki Squire; Additional Production and Mixes by Mark Wallis, Good Luck Studios; Mastered by Andy Jackson at Tube Mastering. Gold Leaf Trompe L’oeil body-paint designed by Richard Sharples... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/18/2017...................Want to learn everything about the musicians and more about his history, go to ESQUIRE HOME PAGE...
. EVERSHIP - "Evership"
Evership is a Nashville-based Art Rock/Progressive Rock band that delivers compelling music with influences ranging from “Yes”, “Kansas”, “Queen”, “Boston”, “Styx”, “Pink Floyd”, “Rush”, and “Led Zeppelin” to “Chick Corea”, “Al Di Meola”, “Bach”, “Rachmaninoff”, “Ravel”, and “Puccini”! Evership is the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist, composer, and engineer/producer Shane Atkinson, who had been an active musician in Nashville in the late 80s and 90s, performing and writing for bands, orchestras, commercials, film and theater. After disappointments with the music business, he turned his focus to the software industry. But Atkinson never stopped to write music! Inspired by his favorite genre – Progressive Rock – he composed continuously over the following years. In 2005 he built a studio and opened a soundtrack recording music company to finance an album. However, it would take almost ten years to finish the record! Having enough songs to fill in at least four albums, Atkinson had to choose a repertoire for his debut. In 2009 he started to record demos with singer Jason Beddoe, who could not finish the project. Production was halted until 2013, when Atkinson shut his company down to focus only on the record. By indication of Mike Priebe, he found a new singer for his project: Beau West, who had moved to Nashville in 2005 to pursue a musical career. Atkinson and West shared the same interests and vision regarding musical fulfillment. After a test at Atkinson’s studio, it became clear that West’s voice was miraculously perfect for the project! In the next three years, the duo worked hard to finish Evership’s eponymous CD, “Evership” (July 1st, 2016, Atkinsong Productions). A vinyl edition, mastered by Grammy-awarded engineer Cameron Henry, and featuring surreal artwork by famous Nashville artist Philip Willis, is scheduled for being released on April 15th, 2017. The line-up consists of: Beau West (vocals); Shane Atkinson (drums, keyboards); Shane's brother, James Atkinson (lead guitars); Rob Higginbotham (guitars); and Jaymi Millard (bass). The recordings had participation of Mike Priebe (backing vocals); his wife, Nicelle Priebe (violin); and a choir conducted by Charles Heimermann. “Evership” has six long tracks, some of which are suites. Lyrics are literary and poetic – real chronicles of human’s dreams and expectations in life. Combining sublime melodies, elegance of performance, and epic grandeur, Evership is the band that visitors of this webzine might be looking for! Their music favors the highly melodic themes, which are interchanged from voice to instrumentation. The opulent arrangements have unlimited symphonic amplitude, panoramic cinematographic scope, and impacting rhythmic dynamics – keeping the listener smiling and levitating for hours long! Singer Beau West is the main agent causing this effect: his ample vocal range and precise emotional control can stand any style – Pop, Rock, Operatic, British Victorian or Broadway Theatrical – rivaling with names such as “Steve Walsh” (“Kansas”) and “Freddie Mercury” (“Queen”)! Agreeable harmony vocals and angelical choir passages interact perfectly with West’s awesome performances to complete the vocal scenario! All tunes are cradled in mellow structures stiffened by Classic Rock guitars and covered with orchestral keyboards! The vivid bass is perfectly harmonized on the arrangements, forming a powerful and imaginative rhythmic base with the drums. A soaring violin shows up on the corners, as Shane and James Atkinson (the “telepathic brothers”) contend in the middle, trading blazing solos of synths and guitars! The album opens with “Silver Light” (9:26), which flows vivid as a gypsy dance busted by energetic guitars, flaring violins, and vigorous vocals! Track 2 – “A Slow Descent Into Reality” (I: Everyman; II: A Slow Descent; III: Wisdom of the Ages; IV: Honest with Me; V: The Battle Within; VI: Anyman) (12:39) is a suite for piano with great lead and backing vocals, and harmonic guitars that are mostly like “Queen” (pre-“A Night At The Opera”). But the Hammonds, synths and certain instrumental parts also recall “Kansas” and “Styx”. “Evermore” (A: Eros; B: Agape) (10:09) is a Classic Rock ballad that starts up with the grandiloquence of a Broadway show, but turns soft with the coming of vocals, piano, and soaring harmony vocals (recalling “Yes”). The guitars, bass and drums steer the song to the Rock domain; and the orchestral synths, to the Progressive mode. The outstanding “Ultima Thule” (10:28) is the quintessential Progressive Rock song! Born from an epic vocal theme underlined by classical piano, this song grows steadily as B. West rises his potent voice above subsequent waves of classic guitars, violins, sturdy riffs, dramatic bass and drums, to reach the climax with ascending synths and angelical choirs! “Flying Machine” (I: Dreamcarriers; II: Dream Sequence; III: Lift) (13:44) also grows from an acoustic vocal-guitar-piano base to a lofty tree of sounds that converge to the celestial spheres! The parts of this suite are contrasting: the first is dreamy; the second is dramatic, futuristic and nostalgic; and the third is cheerful, with opulent Progressive instrumentation and optimistic vocal tunes! The album ends on the noisy “Approach” (1:58). Ten years in the making, the release of “Evership” is a great accomplishment for Shane Atkinson and the Evership project. “Evership” is a rare and wonderful album that is born already as a classic of the Progressive genre – for being listened forever – consisting in an absolute must-have item for any serious fan of Progressive Rock who loves “Yes”, “Kansas”, “Queen”, “Boston”, “Styx”, “Pink Floyd”, or “Rush”! Band members and collaborators involved in Evership are: Beau West – Lead Vocals; Shane Atkinson – Vocals, Keyboards, Drums, Percussion, Theremin, Chapman Stick, Dulcimer, Experimental Guitar, Sound Design, Orchestrations; Compositions & Lyrics; James Atkinson - Lead Guitar, Acoustic Guitar; Rob Higginbotham – Rhythm Electric Guitar, Acoustic & Classical Guitars. Jaymi Millard – Bass; Nicelle Priebe – Violin; Mike Priebe – Backing Vocals. Additional Musicians on “Flying Machine”: Brandon Vestal – Electric & Acoustic Guitars; Dan Smalley – Classical Guitar, E-bow. Featuring the Charles Heimermann Chorale. Live Band: B. West – Lead Vocals; S. Atkinson – Keyboards, Assorted Instruments; J. Atkinson – Lead Guitar; Jesse Hardin – Rhythm Guitars; J. Millard – Bass; Joel Grumblatt – Drums. Jason Beddoe – Vocals in Demo-Production. Recorded, Mixed & Mastered at Atkinsong Studio, Tennessee (2009/2013-2015). Choirs Recorded at the First Methodist Church in Green Hills, Tennessee. “Dreamcarriers” intro record-cutting engineered by Mark Aartun of Innerspeaker Records. Vinyl Mastered by Cameron Henry at Welcome to 1979 Studios. Artwork by Philip Willis... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/18/2017..........................Want to learn everything about this amazing band and its members? Visit EVERSHIP HOME PAGE...
. TEMPLE OF SWITCHES - "Temple Of Switches"
Temple Of Switches is an original Progressive Rock/Metal quartet from Buellton, in the Central Coast of California. Temple Of Switches was founded in June 2012 by the core members Kevin McConnell (keyboards, vocals), Mike Monda (guitar, backing vocals) and Jay Heffner (drums) – three seasoned musicians who had been playing music together in “Jam” bands from the late ‘70s to early ‘80s. Although bassist Kevin Robertson has been often enlisted to perform and record with the band, it was Joe Monda (Mike’s brother) who took part in many gigs and ended up recording the bass tracks on Temple Of Switches’ debut CD, so becoming the fourth member of the band. Temple Of Switches has released two independent albums so far: the eponymous “Temple Of Switches” (Nov. 2015) and “The Circling Sky” (Sep. 2016). The sound of Temple Of Switches evolves from the confrontation of the opposite approaches that the two main songwriters – Kevin McConnell and Mike Monda – have in regard to music. Mike Monda prefers the dark and somber side, the dissonance and the heavy loads. Lyrically, he has a pessimistic view of situations, pain and sadness being on his focus. McConnell prefers the sound vivid, melodic, rounded, and even appealing to the large audiences, besides adopting an optimistic position in respect to life on his lyrics. The rhythm section also follows that division: bassist Joe Monda instils a lysergic swing on his lines, preferring the somber and cloudy ambiences; while Jay Heffner's attack to drums is powerful, free, and exciting, sometimes intricate and creative (akin to “Neal Peart”, according to the band). The resulting music is heavy, surprising, complex, compelling, and dramatic – combining the extremes of light and darkness, melody and dissonance, roughness and smoothness – and cradled in a retro-sounding sonority that is difficult to tag! The instrumentation is marked by the omnipresent sound of a Hammond with a 70’s Hard-Rock gritty texture, screaming Progressive synths, and guitars with a 70’s Metal sonority on riffs – but on solos and harmony anything goes, from 60’s fuzzy effects and intricate Progressiveness to 21st century schizophrenia! The bass counterbalances the colorful keyboards with dark tones of Heavy Psychic-Rock, while rocking drums combine Classic Rock suspension with 80’s Metal propulsion. The vocals are relaxed, akin to 70’s Rock and Metal. The musicians of Temple Of Switches are inspired by the great bands of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, mainly “Pink Floyd”, “Rush”, and “Kansas”; but their sound has recalled me mostly of early “Presto Ballet”, with a bit of “UFO”, “Blue Öyster Cult”, “Riot”, “Faith No More”, “Voivod”, “Styx”, and “Schizoid Lloyd” thrown in – without sounding quite like any of them! Temple Of Switches’s work on focus herein is the band’s eponymous album, “Temple Of Switches” (2015). The CD features six tracks, which are all varied in style and mood, nevertheless all featuring the same high levels of rocking energy and extraordinary musicianship! The album starts with “Federal Offense” (4:13) – a kind of keyboard-driven 70’s Metal, which recalls the basics of “Judas Priest”, “UFO”, and “Riot”, but with much more room for guitar soloing and synths; and is followed by “The Vortex” (4:22) – a kind of solar Rock with more melody and swinging rhythms (like old “Styx”), but having a show of synths and a middle part for Spanish guitars. “Vortex” dissolves into the rainy intro of the impressive and melancholic “The Positive Side, pt.2” (7:27) – driven by an atmospheric rhythmic base on bass, guitars, and drums, that recalls the first part of “Rush’s” song “Jacob’s Ladder” and “Iron Maiden’s” “Children of the Damned” – but with more emotional and expressive vocals, and jiggling guitars that give an epic touch to the song. The next track is “Calling All” (3:10) – a dazzling instrumental piece driven by a double guitar/Hammond riff, bombastic synths, jammed bass, martial drums and orchestral timpani that recall something of “Abaddon’s Bolero” (by “ELP”). Conversely, “Time Unwritten” (5:34) is introduced by a line of deep bass that recalls “Pink Floyd’s” “One of These Days”, but turning to another 70’s styled Metal-Rock song, this time propelled by super-groovy bass and complicated drums – almost as an Space-Rock – but instilled with instrumental complexities on guitars, keyboards and drums, and contaminated by Psychedelic/Surf-Music vibes. The album ends with “Desert Sands” (8:56) – a Heavy Psychedelic Progressive Rock driven by lysergic bass, trippy guitars, grandiose keyboards, Arabian modes, and great epic vocals, with dramatic expression and an apocalyptical tone, on which the listener has the best of a Monda-McConnell confrontation! In sum, Temple Of Switches is an instigating and chameleonic-sounding band that, in one moment, can deliver heavy and spontaneous Rock music; on the other, may produce extraordinary Prog-instilled compositions. Highly recommendable for fans of bands that stand on the convergent point of Heavy Rock, Psychedelic and Prog-Rock, like “Rush”, “Kansas”, “Presto Ballet”, “UFO”, “Blue Öyster Cult”, “Faith No More”, “Voivod”, “Schizoid Lloyd”, “Pink Floyd”. Band members and collaborators involved in Temple Of Switches are: Kevin McConnell – Vocals, Piano, Keyboards, Synthesizers, Pipe Organ; Mike Monda – Guitars, Guitar Synthesizer, Backing Vocals; Joe Monda – Bass; Jay Heffner – Drums, Percussion, Korg Wave Drum. All Lyrics by K. McConnell & M. Monda. Recorded at Home Studios 2012-2015. Tracks 1-4 Mixed & Engineered by Emmet Sargeant III at Beagle Studios, Santa Barbara, CA; tracks 5-6 Mixed by Mike Monda; Mastered by E. Sargeant III at Beagle Studios. Cover Art Subject: dichroic art sculpture by Deanne Sabeck. Photo by Mike Monda, Concept: Kevin McConnell. Produced by by K. McConnell & M. Monda... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/18/2017...................................,.More information? Better check it out for yourself at: TEMPLE OF SWITCHES HOME PAGE...
. THE MUGSHOTS - "Something Weird"
The Mugshots are back to PR&PM! The Mugshots are a Horror-Rock outfit from Brescia, Italy. The Mugshots were born in 2001 in New York when lead singer Mickey E.Vil was visiting the U.S.A. and listened to a record of “Alice Cooper”. The Mugshots embraced the styles of Horror, Dark and Theatrical Rock, and crime stories have been present on their lyrics from the very start! Their influences come from “Alice Cooper”, “The Stranglers”, “The Damned”, “The Lords of the New Church”, “Joy Division”, “Killing Joke”, “The Misfits”, “Mike Patton”, and Horror Soundtracks, but the band is also inspired by Progressive Rock and Norwegian Black Metal (!). The Mugshots have shared the stage with “The Stranglers”, “The Damned”, “UK Subs”, “Brian James”, “Hugh Cornwell”, “Tv Smith”, “Baz Warne”, “The Lords Of Altamont”, “Demented Are Go”, “Koffin Kats”, “Zombina & The Skeletones”, among others. The Mugshots has also released demos, songs on compilations, EPs, and full-length albums: “Doctor Is Out” (EP, 2004), “House Of The Weirdos” (2005), “Weird Theater” (2007), “House Of The Weirdos|Weird Theater” (2009, reissue of the first two LPs on one CD) – all via Lombroso Releases. In 2010 The Mugshots released “In Disguise” (EP, Red Vinyl and CD, via Gun Club Management/Alka Records). In 2013 The Mugshots released the EP “Love, Lust and Revenge” (GCM / Black Widow Records / Alka Records), which was produced by Dick Wagner (“Alice Cooper”, “Lou Reed”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Ray Manzarek”, “Kiss”, “Aerosmith”), who also co-wrote, arranged, and played guitars on it. “Love, Lust and Revenge” was reviewed at PR&PM in Sep. 2013. In 2015 The Mugshots released the digital single “Frozen” (Alka Records) – a Dark Rock version of “Madonna's” song featuring the late “Clive Jones” (from legendary “Black Widow” and “Agony Bag”) on flute and saxophone, on his final performance, as he wished. In the Halloween of 2016 The Mugshots released their third full-length album, “Something Weird” (CD & LP, GCM / Black Widow Records). The line-up forms with Mickey E.Vil (vocals, keyboards), Erik Stayn (keyboards), Eye-Van (bass), Gyorg II (drums), and new member Priest, who has replaced MacFly on guitars. “Something Weird” was produced by Freddy Delirio (“Death SS”) and features Matt Malley (ex-“Counting Crows”, Grammy/Oscar nominated artist), Tony Dolan (“Venom Inc.”), Steve Sylvester, Enrico Ruggeri, and others. The cover includes an original band portrait done by renowned comic artist Enzo Rizzi. “Something Weird” has 12 tracks. The music covers different styles, mainly Horror-Rock, Punk and Post-Punk, and Dark Music, with a tinge of Dark/Gothic-Prog thrown in (a contribution of the several guest musicians that have played on the record). Although The Mugshots cannot be categorized as an authentic Progressive outfit, their songs are melodic, catchy, theatrical, and sometimes elaborated on the arrangements. But some songs can be quite surprising, unexpected items on an album made by a band with the non-pretentious, plain Rock orientation that The Mugshots want to follow on! The “back-to-basics” repertoire on “Something Weird” includes: the instrumental opening intro “Introitus” (1:14) and “The Circus” (5:15) – an Horror-Rock with Punk humor, driven by binary drums, a bass drive reminiscent of “Hawkwind’s” proto-Punk Space-Rock, and a backing layer of “clown-circus” synths; “Rain” (4:23), which is almost a continuation of the previous, but having female backing vocals and some “R.E.M.” and “Smashing Pumpkins” melancholy instilled within; and “Sentymento” (3:04) (feat. singer E. Ruggeri) – a crude Dark-Punk propelled by powerful Rocking energy and irresistible bass grooves! The most theatrical and expressive facet of The Mugshots shows off on “An Embalmer's Lullaby, Pt. 2” (3:39) (feat. Andrea Calzoni on flute), which is rhythmically a NWOBHM, but including fast waving synths and a surprising Folk-Medieval middle part, ending with an enigmatic sound of musical box; and on “Grey Obsession” (4:27) (feat. Matt Malley on fretless bass, Martin Grice on flute, Mike Browning on percussion and Theremin) – this one a typical late 60’s/early 70’s Dark Psychedelic Rock immersed on a “black mass” atmosphere, in the vein of “Black Widow”, “Coven”, “Bram Stoker”, and “Ultimate Spinach”. But the first songs to really surprise me were “I Am an Eye” (5:49) (feat. Freddy Delirio on keyboards) and “Scream Again” (5:32) (feat. Freddy Delirio; with Steve Sylvester & Ain Soph Aour sharing vocals). Both are Horror-Rock songs with a lean to Doom-Metal, being conveyed on a slow cadence, like a funeral march, surrounded by Gothic keyboards and immersed in a trippy and gloomy atmosphere of a pagan ritual, like a mix of “Black Sabbath” and “Black Widow”. These dark vibes are extended to “Dusk Patrol” (2:08), which has fuzzy synths and tribal drumming sided by Tony Dolan’s narration of the Apocalypse – the perfect intro for the startling and most surprising “Pain” (4:45) – the only true Progressive song of the album (resembling “Pallas” or “IQ”), which has two amazingly epic guitar solos – the first, by Priest; the second, by Manuel Merigo. The album also has two good instrumental pieces: “Ophis” (4:24), which sounds like a blend of “Hawkwind” and “Joy Division”; and “Ubique” (4:08), a kind of electronic ballad that grows with heavy guitar riffs and then dwindles to a delicate plucking. Overall, “Something Weird”, by The Mugshots, is an outstanding album within the Dark, Horror & Theatrical Rock segments, featuring solid players and surprises, being greatly recommended for fans of “Alice Cooper”, “The Misfits”, “Lou Reed”, “The Stranglers”, “The Damned”, “The Lords of the New Church”, “Joy Division”, “Killing Joke”, “Mike Patton”, “Death SS”, “Hawkwind”, “Black Sabbath”, “Black Widow”, “Coven”, “Bram Stoker”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in The Mugshots are: Mickey E.Vil - Vocals & Synths; Erik Stayn – Keyboards; Priest – Guitar; Eye-Van – Bass; Gyorg II – Drums. Special Guests: Freddy Delirio – Keyboards (“I Am an Eye” & “Scream Again”); Andrea Calzoni - Flute (“An Embalmer's Lullaby, Pt. 2”); Enrico Ruggeri – Lead Vocals (“Sentymento”); Steve Sylvester – Lead Vocals; Ain Soph Aour – Screams, Whispers (both on “Scream Again”); Matt Malley – Fretless Bass, Martin Grice – Flute, Mike Browning – Percussion, Theremin (all three on “Grey Obsession”); Tony Dolan – Narration (“Dusk Patrol”); Manuel Merigo – Second Guitar Solo (“Pain”); Francesca Scalari – Backing Vocals (“Rain”, “Scream Again”); Leda Stella – Backing Vocals (“An Embalmer’s Lullaby Pt. 2”, “Scream Again”). Past Member: MacFly – Rhythmic Guitar. Album Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by Freddy Delirio at FP Recording Studio, Lammari, Italy; Additional Recordings by Francesco Invernici (Omicron Studio, Capriolo, It); Alessandro Venzi (AV Studio, Brescia, It); Priest (Unreal Studio, Brescia It). Cover Comics Portrait by Enzo Rizzi; Additional Comics by Stefano Alghisi. Produced by Freddy Delirio... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
03/11/2017....................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE MUGSHOTS HOME PAGE...
. UNIVERSAL TOTEM ORCHESTRA - "Mathematical Mother"
Universal Totem Orchestra is back to PR&PM! The Italian project Universal Totem Orchestra (U.T.O.) was formed in 1998 by drummer Uto Giorgio Golin and bassist Dauno Giuseppe Buttiglione – two musicians who were already performing together in other projects supported by the Black Widow Record label. U.T.O. evolved from another project, L.M.RLaboratorio Musicisti Riuniti”), and released the first album, “Rituale Alieno”, in 1999, via Black Widow Records. The line-up also featured Ana Torres Fraile (vocals), Antonio Fedeli (sax), Marco Zanfei (keyboards), Marco Mauro (guitar), Giuseppe Saiani (guitar), Gianni Nicolini (percussion), Francesco Ciech (cello) and the chorus of the Festi brothers. Following the album’s release, U.T.O. performed some live presentations and appeared on Black Widow’s compilations: “Daze of the Underground” (2002), with the song “Alien (I am)” (“Hawkwind” cover); and “Not of This Earth” (2003), with the song “Lacrima di Tempo”. U.T.O.’s last concert with the “Rituale Alieno” line-up took place at the “Open Air” Festival. In 2004 Dauno Buttiglione resigned his post as U.T.O.’s bassist and became the band’s artistic director until 2005, when he left the project. Uto G. Golin (with support of Black Widow) reformulated U.T.O., recruiting Daniele Valle (guitars), Fabrizio Mattuzzi (keyboards), and Yanik Lorenzo Andreatta (bass) for the line-up. He kept original members Ana Torres Fraile on vocals and Antonio Fedeli (sax), and received guest participation of singers Francesco Festi and Adriano Vianini. With a decade of delay, the new U.T.O. released a second album entitled “The Magus” (2008, Black Widow), which was reviewed at PR&PM in Nov. 2008. With almost another decade passed, nobody was quite sure to see a new release by U.T.O. again. But, all of a sudden, we realized that the band was hidden in the underground, working on their third studio album – the surprising and magnificent “Mathematical Mother” (December 16, 2016, Black Widow Records)! Featuring the same line-up of the previous album “The Magus”, “Mathematical Mother” is U.T.O.’s new masterpiece, showcasing the band at their best compositional moment ever! The U.T.O. sound is inspired on the Progressive Rock subgenre known as Zeuhl – created by the French musician “Christian Vander” of band “Magma”, and later reproduced by bands like “Runaway Totem”, “ZAO”, “Weidorje”, “Dün”, “Eskaton”, and “Bondage Fruit”. Many Zeuhl attributes are present on U.T.O.’s music, such as: lengthy compositions driven by hypnotic instrumentation that combines Classical Music, Jazz, and Rock structures; choirs of male voices that sing phonetic lyrics, rhythmically and repetitively (often compared to an “alien ritual”); and operatic female vocals. U.T.O., however, is not a radical conveyor of the Zeuhl paradigm, and adds to the music a good deal of traditional Prog-Rock with Italian affinities. U.T.O.’s compositions are comparatively more melodious and have more insertions for instrumental solos – of keyboards, guitars and sax. The lyrics go around esoteric and cosmic issues, but are not sung in any invented phonetic language (such as the Kobaïan, employed by “Magma”). U.T.O.’s message is rather transmitted in a multilingual matrix, of which Italian is the main component, and French, Spanish and English have their smaller shares. The awesome Ana Torres Fraile is the spokeswoman of the celestial spheres, and her operatic singing style honors all centuries of the Italian Opera! Finally, the band’s experimentations with odd metrics and jazzy parts hint at an influence of “King Crimson”, “VdGG” and “Soft Machine”; whereas a closer approach to Turkish-Arabian modes seems to be the novelty of “Mathematical Mother”. The album features six tracks. “Terra Cava” (14:06) opens the album, inviting the listener to unveil all magic and mystery of U.T.O.’s enigmatic music. This wonderful piece has three parts. The first is driven by a thrilling and complex guitar riff and jubilating vocals that propel a typical Zeuhl arrangement, being finished with breathtaking guitar solo. The second is a celestial interlude for classical piano and operatic vocals that places Ana Torres at the center of the spots, singing a wonderful operatic tune with superb technique and profound emotion, recalling the “Verdi-Donizetti” style. The third part summons the whole band for a climax that combines the middle operatic theme with Bedouin shouting, rhythmic male choirs, sax, and oriental guitar solo within layers of synths! “Elogio del Dubbio” (7:54) is a thrilling song that also profits from a fresh Turkish-Arabian influence, being driven by vibrant ethnic percussion and featuring the specialized guest singer Samia Charbel chanting a prayer that links nothingness to eternity! “Architettura dell'Acqua” (11:27) starts with a softer modern Jazz mood, with only vocals and soaring sax, before steering to a full-Zeuhl mode that continues throughout the song, including the bouncing piano, mesmerizing bass passages, and jazz-rock infused guitar solo! “Codice Y16” (5:21) is exciting and vigorous, bowing less to the Zeuhl standards (except for the bouncing piano and some celebrative choirs), and leaning more to Italian Jazz-Rock. “Città Infinite” (6:19) is an intriguing piece; an experiment of the band that combines traditional Zeuhl with modern Electronica and groovy bass drives. “Mare Verticale” (7:38) is an impressive closing track that goes back to the traditional Zeuhl pattern: very rhythmic, intricate, ritualistic, and featuring impacting male choirs and austere female singing! Overall, “Mathematical Mother” is a brilliant album that features cerebral musicianship combined to memorable vocal performances, offering to the listener some of U.T.O.’s most melodic and edible songs so far! Highly recommendable item for fans of Italian Prog, Experimental-Prog & Jazz Rock in general; indispensable for Zeuhl enthusiasts, fans of “Christian Vander”, “Magma”, “Runaway Totem”, “ZAO”, “Weidorje”, “Dün”, “Eskaton”, “Bondage Fruit”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Universal Totem Orchestra are: Ana Torres Fraile – Vocals; Antonio Fedeli – Alto & Tenor Saxophones; Daniele Valle – Guitar; Fabrizio Mattuzzi – Keyboards, Piano; UTO G. Golin – Drums; Yanik Lorenzo Andreatta – Bass. Guest Musicians: Adriano Vianini – Vocals; Francesco Festi – Vocals; Oscar Cordioli – Vocals; Samia Charbel – Vocals on “Elogio Del Dubbio”; Alessandro Andreatta – Guitar on “Architettura Dell'Acqua”; Gianni Nicolini – Tabla on “Elogio Del Dubbio”; Mirko Pedrotti – Vibes on “Città Infinite”. Album Recorded at Mass Music Studio (Lavis – TN) by Marco Gadotti & Gianfranco Menotti; Mixed by G. Menotti. All the female voices were recorded by Giacomo Plotegher; the song “Città Infinite” was recorded at Totem Records Studio... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
03/11/2017...........................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit UNIVERSAL TOTEM ORCHESTRA HOME PAGE...
. NUCLEARTE - "Endo"
Nuclearte is an Electronic Ethno-World Music project from Palermo (Sicily, Italy) that conveys a message in different languages, such as Sicilian, Djulà (Ivory Coast), Lingala (Congo/Zaire), and Sanskrit. Nuclearte was founded in 1996 by singer Ramya (Rossana Filippone) and bassist Maurizio Cucuzza. From 1998 to 2001, Nuclearte has taken part on several WOMAD festivals (i.e. “World of Music, Art and Dance”, the multi-ethnic festivals created by “Peter Gabriel” and “Thomas Brooman”), making presentations in Palermo, the UK, Canary Islands, Spain, and South Africa. In 2000 Nuclearte released their first album, entitled “Talè Talè” (BMG, produced by “T. Brooman”). It was followed by “La Via della Sete” (2004, CNI), which had the track “Satarìu” played on radio stations in Germany, Greece, Russia and Scandinavia, and inserted on the soundtrack of “Linea Blù” – a show produced by RAI TV. In 2003 and 2004, Ramya took part on an adaptation of the theatrical piece “Le Vespe” (“Aristophanes”), touring from Greece to Rome. Ramya has also taken part of Stefano Saletti’s “Piccola Banda Ikona”, which reunited important musicians of the Italian World Music scene, like “Mario Rivera” (“Agricantus”), “Leo Cesari”, “Gabriele Coen” (“KlezRoym”). She appeared on their albums “Folkpolitik” and “Stari Most” (from which the song “Tagama” was included on the compilation “Buddha Bar vol. VIII”). In 2008 Ramya published a book, entitled “Biancaneve e i Sette Peccati del Capitale” (Bonanno Editori). In 2010 she started a new project, Ramya & Nuk, together with Maurizio Cucuzza (bass) and Luca Rinaudo (programming), which released the album “Terra Estranea” (CNI Music) and the soundtrack of the theatrical piece “Canti d'Amore” (2012). Ramya & Nuk debuted on stage with Sergio Basile on the art project “Sbarchi” (inspired on “Virgil’s” “Aeneid”, and dedicated to refugees of all times, from Troy to Lampedusa). In 2013, Ramya, M. Cucuzza and Luca Rinaudo, with collaboration of new musicians, reactivated Nuclearte. The result was Nuclearte’s third album, entitled “Endo” (May, 2016, Almendra Music, distributed by Black Widow Records). On “Endo”, Nuclearte starts up a new musical style called “Electro-Exo-World Music.” “Endo” makes a connection between Earth and an imaginary planet belonging to the Pleiades star system. The linking element is an ancestral language, still present in other worlds of the Cosmos, but preserved in the humankind as an ancient fragmented memory. Ramya proposes to rediscover that language, by freeing her lyrics from the known idioms of Earth and creating an experimental interstellar language composed of sounds and pure emotion. The music of “Endo” evolves from the interaction of an Electronic Music rhythmic matrix with an Electro-Acoustic instrumental base, over which the ethereal, surreal, and impressive voice of Ramya floats. The compositions are instilled with a cosmopolitan spirit that combines Mediterranean ancient and folkloric sounds, Oriental and African motifs, which convey sensual and dreamy melodies, driven by multi-cultural ethno-beats. Relaxing chill-out moods or entrancing mid-tempo paces alternate from one song to the other. A mix of styles that include World and Reggae Music, New Age, Electronic Lounge Music, Trip-hop, Oriental Music, and Electronic Progressive Music has a parallel with many bands, such as “Dead Can Dance”, “Enigma”, “Era”, “Kitaro”, “Ole Lukkoye”, “Deti Picasso”, “Björk”, “Daemonia Nymphe”, “Irfan”, “Ataraxia”, “Piccola Banda Ikona”, “Agricantus”, “KlezRoym”, the most experimental side of “Cocteau Twins” and “Portishead”, the less aggressive side of “Massive Attack” and “Snovi”, all artists featured on the “Buddah Bar Compilations”, “Moby”, and “Air”. “Endo” brings ten tracks. My favorites are those having strong affinities with the Turkish-Arabian Music, delivering a mysterious and transcendental sound that evokes images of the deserts, hidden oasis, and invite the listener to unveil the secret of the sphynx. They are: “Argla” (5:08) – an impacting opening song that introduces us to Ramya’s fantastic voice and to Nuclearte’s peculiar palette of electro-acoustic sounds; “Al Akay” (4:21) – with a ethno-folk approach coming from the traditional oud and clapping hands; “Kabesh” (4:10) – which sends a pray from the minaret to the sky, as the sun rises for a new day, plain of humming synths, warm drumming drives, and delicate trippy guitars; and the two most Progressive songs of the album; “Glei Nhoà” (4:51) – driven by dramatic guitars, bass, drums, and Ramya’s Bedouin sensual chanting; and “Hinn'oo” (4:33) – which combines Ramya’s jovial singing with celestial ascending synths, piano, enigmatic cello, great harmonizing bass and echoing guitars. Yet, the song “Ixorius” (5:32) is a hybrid that bridges the predominant style of the aforementioned tracks with the most pulsing and contagious beats of modern Lounge and Chill Out Music, inviting listeners to dance to the sound of the accessible title track “Endo” (5:39), and to the festive beat of the ethno drums of “Ater Tumti” (3:54)! Invigorating relaxing vibes come from the mid-tempo swing of the cosmic Electro-Reggae “Electra” (4:37); and a cocktail of different emotions is offered on the Techno-styled “Iso'h” (4:35). Overall, this new work by Nuclearte is solid, amazing and rewarding, bringing highly qualified instrumental performances by all components of the band, and having the mesmerizing voice of Ramya as the cherry on the cake! “Endo” is therefore highly recommendable for open-minded Progressive fans who like Electronic World Music, New Age, Lounge Music, Trip-hop; or love bands like “Dead Can Dance”, “Enigma”, “Era”, “Kitaro”, “Ole Lukkoye”, “Deti Picasso”, “Björk”, “Daemonia Nymphe”, “Irfan”, “Ataraxia”, “Piccola Banda Ikona”, “Agricantus”, “KlezRoym”, “Cocteau Twins”, “Portishead”, “Massive Attack”, “Snovi”, “Moby”, “Air”, “Buddah Bar Compilations”. Band members and collaborators involved in Nuclearte are: Rossana ‘Ramya’ Filippone – Vocals & Lyrics; Maurizio Cucuzza – Bass & Keyboards; Luca Rinaudo – Programming & Keyboards; Sergio Schifano – Guitars; Antonio Leta – Drums. Additional Musicians: Salvo Totohm Volturno – Hang Drums (tr. 1,5,9,10); Nino Errera – Drums, Percussion (tr. 1,2,4,5,6,7,9,10); Giovanni Di Giandomenico – Piano, Additional Keyboards; Francesco Biscari – Cello (tr. 1,5,7,9,10); Stefano Saletti – Oud (tr. 2). Music and Production by Ramya, Cucuzza & Rinaudo. Recorded by Luca Rinaudo; Mixed by M. Cucuzza & L. Rinaudo at Nuclearte Home and Zeit Studio (Palermo, Italy); Mastered by Anestis Psaradakos at Athens Mastering Studio (Athens, Greece)... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
03/11/2017...........................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit NUCLEARTE HOME PAGE...
. PRESENCE - "Masters And Following + Live"
Presence - one of the darkest bands of Italian Progressive Rock – is back to PR&PM once more! Presence was formed in the late '80s in Naples around a core trio composed of Sophya Baccini (lead vocals), Enrico Iglio (keyboards, percussion) and Sergio Casamassima (guitars), all of them classically trained musicians with academic graduation. Presence pioneered the Dark-Progressive subgenre upon the release of their debut EP, “The Shadowing” (1990). The band released several full-length albums with support of Italian Label Black Widow Records: “Makumba” (1992), “The Sleeper Awakes” (1994), “Black Opera” (1996), “Gold” (2001), “The Sleeper Awakes + Live” (2004, double CD/Vinyl, remastered reissue of the original album) and “Evil Rose” (2008). The later contained seven original songs and two covers – “The Prophet's Song” (“Queen”) and “Gates of Babylon” (“Rainbow”) – and was reviewed at PR&PM in 2009. Presence also took part on Black Widow’s tribute albums: “… e Tu Vivrai nel Terrore” (1998), “King of the Witches” (2000), “Not of This Earth” (2002). Singer Sophya Baccini has also a solo career. Her albums “Aradia” (2009) and “Big Red Dragon” (2013) were reviewed at PR&PM in 2009 and 2014, respectively. In 2016, Presence released a new album, entitled “Masters and Following” (Oct. 26, 2016, Black Widow Records). It is a double CD containing 27 tracks, distributed in ten new songs, three covers, eight live tracks and a six-part orchestral suite that revisits some of Presence’s early songs. Besides the trio Sophya, Iglio & Casamassima, the record features Sergio Quagliarella (drums) and Mino Berlano (bass). The sound of Presence is an intriguing and eclectic mix of styles bonded together by the “Dark side of the Music”: Symphonic Dark-Prog and Gothic-Metal are the main structural elements composing the arrangements, but occasional upheavals of 70’s Psychedelic and Classic Rock, Cabaret Music, Jazz, Blues, Italian Opera, and Darkwave may leap out from the pentagram. The instrumentation includes the regular Prog-Rock textures with interspersing piano and orchestral strings, combined to create atmospheres that range from dreamy and eerie to frightening and dark-Gothic. The collective performing excellence of the musicians is further enriched by Sophya’s rare amazing voice – bluesy, mysterious, sensual, or operatic, it is her voice that settles the right mood on each composition. Presence connects all those musical elements with creativity and originality, placing the music somewhere on the point of confluence of “ELP”, “King Crimson”, “Antonius Rex”, “Jacula”, “Il Segno del Comando”, “Goblin”, “Art Zoyd”, “Igor Stravinsky”, “Diamanda Galás”, “Kate Bush”, “This Mortal Coil”, “L’Ame Immortelle”, “Lacrimosa”, “Rammstein”, “After Forever”, “Mercyful Fate”, “King Diamond”, and “Coven”. CD 1 contains Presence’s new studio album, “Masters and Following”, and three covers. The instrumentation is encapsulated in a hard matrix of Heavy Metal & Industrial riffs, surrounded by the howling of a tornado vortex. From the matrix, the mesmerizing voice of Sophya escapes out, sometimes accompanied by a piano and orchestral strings. Furious quaking synths, thunderous organ, distorted guitar solos, sub-sonic deep bass, and dense rumbling drums are the powerful followers of these Masters of Dark & Heavy Prog! Most songs follow on this war-path: “Masters and Following”; the horror-Gothic “Deliver”; the Space-Industrial-Metal songs “Symmetry” and “The Revealing”; and the epic Prog-Metal “Collision Course”. My highlights go for the Symphonic Neo-Prog ballad “Now” and for the trippy instrumental “Space Ship Ghost”. The covers are also impressive: “The House on the Hill”Audience”) is cinematographic and followed by amazing guitar solo; “Freewheel Burning” (“Judas Priest”) is a thrashing version of that Metal hymn, propelled by Sophya’s “head-banging” voice, vertiginous guitars, and synths like “Leviathan rising from the sea”; and “This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us” (“Sparks”) was turned to a Dark Metal Opera! CD 2 contains a live show and an orchestral suite. Although the live sound is not pristine, the record captures the energy of Presence on stage and the bewitching power of Sophya’s vocals on songs like “Scarlet”; “The Sleeper Awakes”; and “The Bleeding”. Sophya’s versatility is better explored on songs like the Dark-Jazz “Lightening”, on which she reaches the highest notes; and on the beautiful ballad “Just Before the Rain”, which she sings with profound emotion. The climax comes on “Un di' Quando le Veneri”, a brilliant Prog-Rock fragment of “La Traviata”, by “Giuseppe Verdi”! CD 2 ends on the “Orchestral Suite” – a set of six Symphonic pieces that revisit some of Presence’s oldies, emphasizing the band’s taste for Gothic-Atmospheric songs. Departing from the “Overture”, the listener transposes the gloomy “Hellish” and “J'accuse” lured by Sophya’s spell; dances to ritualistic drums and oriental violins at the voodoo lounge of “Makumba” and “Supersticious”; and attends the ultimate medieval black-mass on “The King Could Die Issue-less”! In sum, “Masters and Following + Live” is a worthy album that offers a comprehensive overview of Presence’s style and musical interests – highly recommendable to fans of Symphonic Dark-Prog & Gothic Metal in the vein of “Antonius Rex”, “Jacula”, “Goblin”, “Il Segno del Comando”, “Art Zoyd”, “Coven” “Diamanda Galás”, “Kate Bush”, “This Mortal Coil”, “Lacrimosa”, “L’Ame Immortelle”, “Rammstein”, “After Forever”, “Mercyful Fate/King Diamond”, “Virgin Black”. Band members and collaborators involved in Presence are: Sophya Baccini – Vocals; Sergio Casamassima – Guitars; Enrico Iglio – Keyboards & Percussion. Guest Musicians: Sergio Quagliarella – Drums; Mino Berlano – Bass. Past collaborators: Emilliano De Luca – Bass; T. Moretti; L. Scalisi; Valerio Silenzi – Drums. “Masters and Following + Live” Complete Track-list: CD 1: New Songs/Covers (01:08:00). 1. “Masters and Following” (7:56); 2. “Deliver” (5:58); 3. “Now” (5:02); 4. “Interlude” (2:17); 5. “The House on the Hill” (6:49); 6. “Freewheel Burning” (4:39); 7. “Space Ship Ghost” (5:54); 8. “This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us” (3:24); 9. “Prelude” (3:22); 10. “Symmetry” (4:39); 11. “Collision Course” (5:31); 12. “On the Eastern Side” (3:37); 13. “The Revealing” (9:38). CD 2: Live/Orchestral Suite (1:14:00). 1. “Scarlet” (5:22); 2. “The Sleeper Awakes” (7:35); 3. “Lightening” (5:43); 4. “The Dark” (0:50); 5. “Eyemaster” (2:33); 6. “Just Before the Rain” (3:03); 7. “The Bleeding” (5:51); 8. “Un di' Quando le Veneri” (5:33). Suite: 9. “Overture” (5:26); 10. “Hellish” (6:47); 11. “J'accuse” (8:23); 12. “Makumba” (5:14); 13. “Supersticious” (5:02); 14. “The King Could Die Issue-less” (7:09). CD 1 Mixed & Mastered by Freddy Pedichini at FP Recording Studio, Lammari, Italy... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
03/11/2017..............................Would like to know more about the band and their history, please visit PRESENCE HOME PAGE...
Comedy Of Errors is a Neo-Progressive band from Glasgow, Scotland. The group was initially formed in early 80’s, at the start of the Neo-Prog revival in the UK. At that time, Comedy Of Errors reached neither commercial success, nor artistic recognition. After various line-up changes and several gigs throughout Scotland for small audiences, Comedy Of Errors dissolved. But a new incarnation of Comedy Of Errors would show up in the 21st century! Consisting of Joe Cairney (vocals), Jim Johnston (keyboards, compositions), Mark Spalding (guitars, bass), and Bruce Levick (drums), this resurrected Comedy Of Errors released an independent debut album, entitled “Disobey” (2011, CD), which was followed by “Fanfare and Fantasy” (2013, CD; also released on double vinyl via Plane Groovy). On October 20, 2015, Comedy Of Errors released a third album, entitled “Spirit”, which was edited on CD via their own label, COE Music; and on Vinyl, via Plane Groovy. “Spirit” is a 45-minute suite that “takes the form of an emotional journey, at once personal and universal, despairing and uplifting.” The Digipack CD edition features: Part 1: “Spirit”; Part 2: “Epilogue”; a bonus-track, “Spirit (Single Edit)”; and a 16-page booklet with art and lyrics. The Vinyl edition features Part 1: “Spirit” and brings a copy of the CD enclosed to it (in basic slip case). Besides Cairney (vocals), Johnston (keyboards), Spalding (guitars, bass), and Levick (drums), the band’s line-up was augmented with a second guitar player, Sam McCulloch, and a live bassist, John Fitzgerald (who had made a brief appearance on the “Fanfare and Fantasy” album). “Spirit” is Comedy Of Errors’ most ambitious work so far, representing the band’s evolutionary step-ahead in direction of a distinguishing Progressive-Rock sonority, in parallel with artistic lyrics that deal with introspective themes such as grief, loss, or hope. The music of Comedy Of Errors combines, with equity and perfection, the rocking effervescence of guitar-driven Neo-Prog with the mellowness of Classical Music – the essential elements of Progressive Rock! The main influences are “Genesis”, “Marillion” (“Fish” Era), “Pallas”, “IQ”, “Pendragon”, “Twelfth Night”, and “Arena”. But an influence of “Yes” is also sensed on some vocal tunes; and of “Jethro Tull” and “VdGG” on the epic, literary songwriting. The keyboards contribute to create a substantial symphonic layer that reflects “Rick Wakeman’s” grandeur; and the Classical arrangements have strong influences of the Sacred Music and Renaissance Epoch, inspired by composers of the magnitude of “Purcell”, “Dowland”, “Bach”, “Tallis”, “Mahler”, “Santini”, “Victoria” and “Falconieri” – references that are not usually present on other standard Neo-Progressive bands. This combination of elements makes Comedy Of Errors to resound vibrantly and powerfully, as most modern Neo-Prog outfits; as well as melodically retro, as early 70’s Prog-Bands. The suite Part 1: “SPIRIT” is a continuous composition made of 10 tracks. The bombastic guitar-driven intro of “My Grief Lies All Within” (5:21) dwindles to a gentle bass pulse that drives soaring vocals and keyboards through a bittersweet atmosphere, being crowned with spatial guitar solos that grow aggressively on “Infinite Wisdom?” (1:51), before falling into the spiritual ambience of “Spirit Shines / Spirit” (4:26) – a wonderful Progressive ballad with harmony vocals that recall “Yes”. On “Can This Be Happening?” (3:54) the mood changes from dreamy to dramatic, with the coming of heavy guitars, powerful drums, commanding vocals, imposing church organ – all of which precede the epic ascension of “In Darkness Let Me Dwell” (3:06) – which has layers of angelical choirs superposed to each other, like on a Progressive motet, divided by a Neo-Prog interlude that attacks with keyboards, guitars and drums! “I Call and Cry to Thee” (5:42) is an awesome continuation of the previous track, the celestial themes being engulfed by a “quasi-Metal, Rick Wakeman-styled” instrumental part, followed by vehement vocals conveyed on a “Prog-Bluesy Floydian” cadence! “I Call …” falls down to the farewell song “Set Your Spirit Free / Goodbye My Love Until We Meet Again” (3:22) – a tearful theme written for keyboards that transmits a profound religious sentiment, a tune that invades “Ascension / Et Resurrexit / Auferstehen / Arise in Love Sublime, Arise / Spirit” (6:55), growing in intensity with majestic keyboards, church organ, festive tolling bells, and glorious vocals, finalized with the “Spirit” theme! “Into the Light” (5:04) goes back to the Neo-Prog mode, having participation of all instruments and joyful vocals, before merging with the optimistic “Above the Hills” (5:20), which finishes Part 1 with jubilating instrumentation! Part 2: “EPILOGUE” consists solely of “This Is How It Has to Be” (5:59) – a wonderful classically-infused instrumental piece that starts by choirs (like a “Tallis” motet); then goes on a royal pace, driven by guitar (like “Focus”), finishing like a folk-medieval dance (as a mix of “Gryphon”, “Greenslade”, and “Wakeman”). The bonus-track “Spirit (Single Version)” (4:42) closes the album bringing different arrangements, for piano, strings, and acoustic guitars. Comedy Of Errors’ new album, “Spirit”, is brilliant, amazing and inspiring, taking the listener to a melodic dimension that is strongly appealing and profoundly emotional. Sure that the boys is this band have been born with a “Heart of Lothian”, I shall strongly recommend them for fans of Neo-Prog, “Genesis”, “Marillion” (“Fish” Era), “Pallas”, “IQ”, “Pendragon”, “Twelfth Night”, “Arena”, “Galahad”, “Yes”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Focus”, “Jethro Tull”, “Gryphon”, “Greenslade”, “Martigan”, “Jadis”, “Red Jasper”, “Argos”, “Red Sand”, “Silhouette”, “Flower Kings”, “Kaipa”, “The Tangent”, “Glass Hammer”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Comedy Of Errors are: Joe Cairney – Lead & Backing Vocals; John Fitzgerald – Live Bass; Jim Johnston – Keyboards, Backing Vocals; Bruce Levick – Drums; Sam McCulloch – Guitars; Mark Spalding – Guitars, Bass. Past Collaborator: Hew Montgomery – Additional Bass on first album. “Spirit” Recorded & Mixed at Rigwoodie Studios, Ayr, Scotland. Final Mixing & Mastering by Rob Aubrey at Aubitt Studios, Southampton, England. All songs written by Jim Johnston with references to: Shakespeare, Purcell, Dowland, Bach, Tallis, Mahler, Santini, Victoria and Falconieri; Album released by COE Music, dedicated to Ailsa Johnston... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
03/11/2017.......Want to learn everything about the band and their music, you need to visit COMEDY OF ERRORS HOME PAGE...
. CAP FEATURING Alvaro "Jumbo" Fella - "Coraggio & Mistero"
Fella & CAP are an Italian Progressive Rock project born from the collaboration between singer and multi-instrumentalist Alvaro “Jumbo” Fella and the Progressive Rock outfit Consorzio Acqua Potabile (a.k.a. CAP). Alvaro Fella is mostly known for having been the front-man of explosive Hard & Progressive Rock band Jumbo. Jumbo was born in Milan in 1969 and released the albums “Jumbo” (1971), “DNA” (1972), and “Vietato ai Minori di 18 Anni?” (1973), before disbanding in 1975. CAP was formed in 1971 in Boffalora, Ticino, located in the Italian province of Novara. CAP’s musicians were inspired by “Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso”, “Premiata Forneria Marconi”, “Rovescio Della Medaglia”, “Quella Vecchia Locanda”, and “Raccomandata con Ricevuta di Ritorno”. In 1973 CAP performed at a local theater their first project: the Rock Opera “Gerbrand”. On May 5, 1977, after holding an important concert at the Sala Borsa (Novara), CAP’s members felt that Progressive Rock was in decadence before the audiences. CAP went on, doing sporadic shows around Novara, but at the end of the ‘70s, the band ceased activities. In the early ‘90s CAP resurrected, thanks to the Prog-Rock revival that was happening in Italy. The band began to release albums: “Sala Borsa Live '77” (1993), “Nei Gorghi del Tempo” (1993), “Robin Delle Stelle” (1998) – all via Kaliphonia. They were followed by “Il Bianco Regno di Dooah” (2003) and “Il Teatro delle Ombre” (2014). The band also took part in tributes and “Various Artists” special releases, such as: “Eyewitness: A Tribute To VdGG” (1995), “Camel Tribute” (1996), “Odissey - The Greatest Tale” (2005), “The 7 Samurai” (2006), “Inferno – A Progressive Rock Epic” (2008). The Fella & CAP collaboration was born from the friendship and mutual admiration that already existed between Alvaro Fella and CAP’s members. With support of Massimo Gasperini of Black Widow Records, their friendship evolved to a recording project! The result was the superb album entitled “Coraggio e Mistero” (Oct. 10th, 2016, Black Widow), which was released on CD and double Vinyl editions. The CD contains a thick booklet featuring lyrics and great artwork, and a bonus track: “Sette e Trenta (di Mattina)”. The Vinyl has all songs of the CD plus “Le Sette Stanze di Dimitrji” (14:58). The line-up consists of Alvaro Fella (vocals, guitars), CAP’s veterans, Maurizio Venegoni (keyboards) and Massimo Gorlezza (guitars), plus: Maurizio Mercandino (vocals), Silvia Carpo (recorder, vocals), Chicco Mercandino (guitar), Enrico Venegoni (keyboards), Luigi Secco (bass), and Maurizio Mussolin (drums). The eight tracks of “Coraggio e Mistero” (CD) bring CAP’s ever technical and refined Progressive music conveying Alvaro Fella’s peculiar singing voice, which resembles an ironic mad troubadour! Fella’s contribution is extended to his corrosive songwriting, which has shifted CAP’s lyrics from fantasy themes to a more critical view of political and universal problems. The album is plentiful in textures and vintage sonorities, with different brands of guitars, basses and keyboards being played, together with a colorful and varied rhythmic base that employs several instruments of percussion. Flutes with a lively “Tullesque” accent do show up often, increasing the complexity and dynamics of the instrumental arrangements. In general, the album sounds like the happy marriage of two contrasting styles of the Italian Prog-Rock matrix: one is Jumbo’s – heavy, acid, psychedelic, and impregnated with early 70’s Blues/Hard-Rock vibes, in the vein of bands like “Il Rovescio Della Medaglia”, “Raccomandata con Ricevuta di Ritorno”, “Biglietto Per L’Inferno”, “I Dalton”, “Delirium”, “Nuova Idea”, “J.E.T.”, “Panna Fredda”, “I Gleemen”, “Semiramis”, “Calliope”, and “Goad”; the other is CAP’s – melodic, folkloric, medieval and epic, containing moments of sublime symphonism – and strongly influenced by bands such as “Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso”, “Premiata Forneria Marconi”, “Celeste”, “Quella Vecchia Locanda”, “Errata Corrige”, “Acqua Fragile”, “Eris Pluvia”, “New Trolls”, and the British “Jethro Tull”, “VdGG”, “Camel” and “Genesis” in their early times. And Fella & CAP know exactly how to put their divergent styles together – in a way that one never overcomes or excludes the other, rather contributing to add more drama and integrity to the musical wholeness. The title track, “Coraggio e Mistero” (12:01), expresses what has been just said. Coming with the power of 70’s Hard-Prog, Fella’s passionate vocals ride aggressively on groovy rhythms, sided by intricate guitars, swinging bass, piano, keyboards and flutes, boldly trespassing martial instrumental passages, trippy soundscapes and acoustic folky parts put up by CAP’s talented musicians! The energy sensed on this song, even though softened by CAP’s classic musicianship, is transferred to all songs signed by Fella, whose influence imprints on them a sonic resemblance to Jumbo: “Io ti Canto” (6:13) (a pantomimic Rock with nostalgic lyrics about the 60’s, including trippy sounds and eerie female vocals); “Ciao Alvaro (dove vai?)” (4:33) (a bittersweet ballad); and “Sette e Trenta (di Mattina)” (5:44) (a Blues-Rock). The influence of Jumbo is epitomized on “La Strada” (6:33) – a stormy and groovy Hard-Prog with participation of Guido Dipierro (guitar solos) and ex-Jumbo Sergio Conte (Hammond). On the three songs authored by Maurizio Venegoni, however, CAP’s most traditional style rises strongly – for the delight of their fans! On them – namely, “Tra le Scale e il Cielo” (9:26); “Il Cervo e la Fonte” (7:01); and “La Notte e il Mulino di Al” (21:10) – Fella has shared vocals with CAP’s lead singer Maurizio Mercandino, in duos on which Fella’s burlesque- troubadour style has served perfectly to some characters described on Venegoni’s lyrics! “Tra le Scale e il Cielo” is a vivid Prog-Folk based on an ancient Breton dance that has some of a “Jethro Tull”, “Gryphon”, and “PFM” influence; “Il Cervo e la Fonte” is a magnificent piece inspired on a “Fedro’s” fable, on which the listener feels the transposition from pastoral motifs to modern textures of synths – trespassed by some dramatic and dissonant parts; and “La Notte e il Mulino di Al”, in special, stands out as CAP’s magnum opus – a lengthy Prog-Epic told through theatrical vocals and enchanting instrumental passages, with references to early “Camel”, “Genesis” and “Jethro Tull”! A dream made true by the visionary initiative of Black Widow Records, the Fella & CAP’s “Coraggio e Mistero” – having Alvaro “Jumbo” Fella’s marking voice and meaningful songwriting – is CAP’s most audacious album so far! Indispensable for fans of Italian Progressive Rock who love “Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso”, “Premiata Forneria Marconi”, “Rovescio Della Medaglia”, “Quella Vecchia Locanda”, “Raccomandata con Ricevuta di Ritorno”, “Biglietto Per L’Inferno”, “I Dalton”, “Delirium”, “Nuova Idea”, “J.E.T.”, “Celeste”, “Errata Corrige”, “Acqua Fragile”, “Eris Pluvia”, “Panna Fredda”, “Formula 3”, “I Gleemen”, “New Trolls”, “Semiramis”, “Goad”, “Calliope”, “Nuova Era”, “Il Castello di Atlante”, “Apoteosi”; the British “Jethro Tull”, “King Crimson”, “VdGG”, “Camel”, and “Genesis”; and “Jumbo” and “Consorzio Acqua Potabile”, of course! Band members and collaborators involved in Fella & CAP are: Alvaro “Jumbo” Fella – Lead Vocals, 12 & 6 Strings Acoustic Guitar, French Midi Musette, some Lyrics/Compositions; Maurizio Mercandino – Lead Vocals, 6 Strings Acoustic Guitar; Silvia Carpo – Recorder Flute, Maedieval Recorder Flutes, Vocals, Backing Vocals; Massimo Gorlezza – Gibson Les Paul Custom Electric Guitar, Ovation Acoustic Guitar; Chicco Mercandino – Gibson 355 Stereo Electric Guitar, Wizzard Electric Guitar, Wha Wha Vox Effect, 6 Strings Acoustic Guitar; Enrico Venegoni – Piano, Fender Rhodes Mark II, Mellotron M4000D (clarinet, cello, tibia organ), Mellotron M400 (flute, strings & choirs); Maurizio Venegoni – Low Whistle Flutes, Flute (Midiwind), Organ Hammond L122, Leslie Lombardi 200W, Leslie Pari, Prophet 12 Synth, Minimoog Model D, Bassoon, Highland Bagpipe, Breton Bombarde “C”, Honer Musette, Mellotron (boys choir), some Lyrics/Compositions; Luigi Secco – Rickenbacker 4003 Fireglo Electric Bass, Moog Taurus III, Eko B55 Freetless Electric Bass; Maurizio Mussolin – Drum Gretsch Catalina Ash-Ufip & Istanbul, Cymbals, Tubular Bells. Special Guests on “La Strada”: Guido Dipierro – Lead Electric Guitar; Sergio Conte – Hammond L122, Leslie Lombardi 200W, Fender Rhodes Piano Mark II. Cover Artwork by Sergio Quaranta. CAP’s 1973 line-up: Enrico Cucchi (guitar), Mario Cucchi (drums), Ugo Gorla (violin), Giancarlo Morani (bass, vocals), Gian Carlo Rognoni (congas, organ), and Maurizio Venegoni (keyboards, vocals); soon joined by Massimo Gorlezza (lead guitar), Pippo Avondo (drums) and Romolo Bollea (piano, synths). CAP’s line-up on May 5th, 1977; Sala Borsa concert: Massimo Gorlezza (guitar), Maurizio Venegoni (keyboards), Romolo Bollea (piano), Giancarlo Morani (bass) and Pippo Avondo (drums)... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
03/11/2017.............................,.....Interested to know more about this amazing Italian Prog Rock Band? Visit CAP HOME PAGE...
. JOHN WETTON - "The Official Bootleg Archive - Vol. 1"
The English bassist, singer and songwriter John Kenneth Wetton – one of the most successful musicians of the Progressive Rock scene – passed away on January 31st 2017, victim of a colon cancer. This review is a posthumous homage from PR&PM to him. John Wetton has always been an important reference in Progressive Rock. After starting his career on “Mogul Thrash”, Wetton successively played on “Family”, “King Crimson”, “U.K.”, “Asia”, “Qango”, and “Icon” – in fact, after the dissolution of “King Crimson” in the ‘70s, Wetton acted as a founder member of most of those groups. Wetton also worked with many other Classic and Pop-Rock groups, such as “Uriah Heep”, “Wishbone Ash”, “Roxy Music”, and “Renaissance”; and raised a solid career as a solo artist. In this century, Wetton continued to contribute with other Progressive Rock projects headed by musicians like “Billy Sherwood”, “Eddie Jobson”, “Steve Hackett”, “Daniele Liverani” and “Arjen Lucassen” – at the same time reassuming his leadership on “Asia”. Wetton’s enduring career generated a lengthy discography. His last register with “Asia” was the double CD + DVD, “Symfonia - Live In Bulgaria 2013” (February 24th, 2017, Frontiers Music Srl), recorded on September 21st 2013 at the Sounds of the Ages Festival in Plovdiv (Bulgaria), when original “Asia” was joined by the local philharmonic orchestra, conducted by Levon Manukian. Since 2015, Wetton had been reissuing special editions of his solo albums under his own label, Primary Purpose, with collaboration of Cherry Red. Two of those albums were featured at PR&PM: the compilation “Anthology, The Studio Recordings – Vol. 1” and the live album “Live Via Satellite” (see “Reviews 2016”). To continue to celebrate his career, Wetton launched another special release in 2016: “The Official Bootleg Archive – Vol. 1” (November 18th, 2016, Primary Purpose/Cherry Red Records). It is a boxset containing six CDs, reuniting the remastered audios of three of Wetton's previously released “Official Bootlegs”, which had been out of print for nearly 10 years. The featured shows are: “Live in Argentina 1996”; “Live in Osaka 1997”; and “Live at the Sun Plaza Tokyo 1999”. They have slightly different set-lists, performed by slightly different line-ups. Hardboiled enthusiasts of Progressive Rock will prefer the show in Argentina, because it concentrates numerous songs from Wetton’s previous bands, “King Crimson” (the eternal classics “Easy Money”, “Starless”, “Book of Saturday”) and “U.K.” (“In the Dead of the Night”, “Rendezvous 6:02”); the mega-hits of “Asia” (“Sole Survivor”, “Only Time Will Tell”, “Heat of the Moment”, “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes”, “Don't Cry”); and few songs from Wetton’s solo career (“Battle Lines”, “Hold Me Now”). All those songs were also the base for the two shows in Japan; but the exclusive tracks presented in Argentina were: “Voice of America” (“Asia”), “Thirty Years” (“U.K.”) and “Caught in the Crossfire” (from Wetton’s 1980 eponymous album). The two shows in Japan – Osaka and Tokyo – although separated by a time span of two years, presented similar repertoires, featuring a mix of songs of “Asia”, “UK”, and “King Crimson” (including “The Night Watch”, not played in Argentina), augmented with songs of Wetton’s solo album “Arkangel”: “The Last Thing on My Mind”, “Emma”, “After All”, and “Arkangel” (the later only in Osaka). Osaka was also favored by having solos of keyboards (by John Young) and drums (by Thomas Lang) in the same show. To pay it off, the show in Tokyo had more aggressive vibes, with Wetton playing his bass heavily; counting on extraordinary performances of David Kilminster (guitars), Martin Orford (keyboards) and Steve Christey (drums), delivered to a crazy audience! The songs have been played wildly: “U.K.’s” “In the Dead of the Night” and “Rendezvous 6:02” were heavier and more dynamic than on other shows; “Sole Survivor” and “Hold Me Now” were shaped as their best versions; and even “Heat of the Moment” and “Don't Cry” received a Hard-Rock treatment! The Tokyo set-list also included the longest versions of “KC’s” “Easy Money” and “Starless” (presented with great passion); a newly arranged version of “The Night Watch” (with imposing keyboards); and an exclusive performance of “Time Again” – one of the best songs of “Asia’s” first album – delivered in a quasi-Metal mood! This amazing sextuple album is a testimony of Wetton’s talent, offering an overview of his music and career along the years – the ideal item for those who want to know more about this legendary musician, who was an influential model to 80’s Classic Rock, AOR, and Progressive Rock! “The Official Bootleg Archive – Vol. 1”, together with “Anthology – Vol 1” and “Live Via Satellite”, forms a must-have trilogy for all fans of John Wetton – from his solo work to his times on “King Crimson”, “U.K.”, and “Asia”. Wetton and “Asia” had planned a tour with “Journey” in 2017. For health issues, Wetton withdrew from the first leg of the tour, but he intended to return to the stage later. Fate, however, had other plans. “Asia” will pay a tribute to John Wetton in a special interactive concert, called “An Extraordinary Life”. Current “Asia” members, “Carl Palmer”, “Geoff Downes” and “Sam Coulson”, with special guest “Billy Sherwood” (“Yes”) on bass and vocals, will play songs from “Asia”, “King Crimson”, “Yes”, “The Buggles”, and “Emerson, Lake & Palmer”. The event is scheduled for June 17th 2017 at the Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood, New Jersey. Fans can take part on this historical homage by accessing John Wetton’s Official Website. In the meanwhile, fans may prepare themselves for the show, by listening to John Wetton’s “The Official Bootleg Archive”! Band members and collaborators involved in John Wetton are: John Wetton (12th June 1949 – 31st January 2017) – Lead Vocals, Bass, Acoustic Guitars. Argentina’s Line-up: Billy Liesegang - Guitar; Martin Orford – Keyboards, Vocals; Thomas Lang – Drums. Osaka’s Line-up: Billy Liesegang - Guitar; John Young – Keyboards, Vocals; Thomas Lang – Drums. Tokyo’s Line-up: David Kilminster – Guitar, Vocals; Martin Orford – Keyboards, Vocals; Steve Christey – Drums, Percussion. Produced by John Wetton; Remastered by Mike Pietrini; Managed by Martin Darvill. “The Official Bootleg Archives – Vol. 1” (Complete Tracklist): “Live in Argentina 1996” (19th October 1996 – Broadway Theater, Buenos Aires, Argentina). CD-1: 1. “In the Dead of Night”; “Sole Survivor”; 3. “Only Time Will Tell”; 4. “Voice of America”; 5. “Book of Saturday”; 6. “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes”; 7. “Thirty Years”; 8. “Hold Me Now”; 9. “Quilmes”; 10. “Rendezvous 6:02”. CD-2: 1. “Thomas Lang's Drum Solo”; “Caught in the Crossfire”; 3. “Easy Money”; 4. “Battle Lines”; 5. “Heat of the Moment”; 6. “Starless”; 7. “Don't Cry”. “Live in Osaka 1997” (2nd October 1997 – Club Quattoro, Osaka, Japan). CD-3: 1. “Intro”; 2. “The Last Thing on My Mind”; 3. “Sole Survivor”; 4. “I Can't Lie Anymore”; 5. “Battle Lines”; 6. “John Young's Solo”; 7. “Arkangel”; 8. “Emma”; 9. “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes”; 10. “The Night Watch”; 11. “Hold Me Now”; 12. “Only Time Will Tell”. CD-4: 1. “Rendezvous 6:02”; 2. “Thomas Lang's Drum Solo”; 3. “Easy Money”; 4. “In the Dead of the Night”; 5. “After All”; 6. “Heat of the Moment”; 7. “Starless”; 8. “Don't Cry”. “Live at the Sun Plaza Tokyo 1999” (5th August 1999 – Sun Plaza, Tokyo, Japan). CD-5: 1. “The Circle of St. Giles”; 2. “The Last Thing on My Mind”; 3. “Sole Survivor”; 4. “Battle Lines”; 5. “Book of Saturday”; 6. “Martin Orford's Solo”; 7. “Emma”; 8. “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes”; 9. “Hold Me Now”; 10. “The Night Watch”; 11. “Only Time Will Tell”; 12. “In the Dead of the Night”. CD-6: 1. “Easy Money”; 2. “After All”; 3. “Rendezvous 6:02”; 4. “Time Again”; 5. “Starless”; 6. “Heat of the Moment”; 7. “Don't Cry”... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/24/2017...........Want to learn everything about the musician and more about his history, go to JOHN WETTON HOME PAGE...
. THE SOUL EXCHANGE - "Bloodbound"
The Soul Exchange is a Melodic Hard-Rock and Metal band based in Stockholm, Sweden. The present line-up consists of: Hans von Bell (lead guitar, keyboards), Thomas von Bell (guitar), Daniel John (lead vocals, keyboards), Patrik Ekelöf (bass), Benny White (drums), and Jens Joel Evaldsson (lyricist). All of them are experienced musicians who began to play music as teenagers, and later became professionals, playing as session and touring musicians for several bands of the Swedish Rock scene, also extending their range abroad. Hans von Bell played on the 80’s band “Crew” and toured in Sweden and South East Asia. Benny White played in Los Angeles, USA, on the band “Natural Act”, which shared stage with “Peter Criss” (“KISS”) at the famous venue Whisky a Go-Go. He also worked for artists in Southeast Asia. Ekelöf played on band-legend “Blacksmith”; then he moved to Los Angeles to study at the Musician Institute, and went back to Sweden to study at the Conservatory of Music in Stockholm. Daniel John has been professionally singing for various artists in Stockholm since he was 22. Thomas von Bell attends Rytmus, the most renowned music school in Sweden. J. Evaldsson is active in the musical projects “The Backbeat Conspiracy” and “Varulvspoeterna”. The Soul Exchange was founded in 2013 by guitarists Hans and Thomas von Bell, and drummer Benny White. In 2014 they were joined by Erik Olofsson (vocals) and Tobias Chevalier (vocals, keyboards). This formation released the eponymous debut album “The Soul Exchange” (Jan. 20th 2015), produced and engineered by Mats “Limpan” Lindfors. In 2016 The Soul Exchange consolidated the present line-up, when the founding trio formed by the two von Bells and Benny White were joined by Daniel John, Patrik Ekelöf and Jens Evaldsson (who had been writing lyrics for the band since its start and assumed the post of 6th official member). With the new line up, The Soul Exchange moved to a new direction, modernizing both sound and stage image. The Soul Exchange then released a second full-length album, entitled “Bloodbound” (Nov. 29th, 2016, Mervilton Records). “Bloodbound” was produced by the renowned Swedish producer Magnus “Tank” Ljungqvist, and is available on digital and physical CD formats. The CD comes in a deluxe digipack, including 12-page color booklet, and features 10 tracks. On “Bloodbound”, The Soul Exchange consolidates an original style, which blends 70's Hard Rock with 80’s Metal trends and Modern Rock elements, giving special attention to the emotional and melodic nature of the lead vocals and vocal arrangements. By balancing guitar riffs and groovy rhythms on one side, opposed to emphatic vocal arrangements and melodies on the other; and by adding elaborated guitar solos and a pinch of keyboards (organ, piano and synth), The Soul Exchange manages to forge a dark and modern Hard Rock sound that congregates several influences, ranging from 70’s Rock icons (such as “Led Zeppelin”, “Deep Purple”, “Black Sabbath”, and “Pink Floyd”), to contemporary bands (such as “Rush”, “Katatonia”, “Kamelot”, “Ghost”, and “Black Stone Cherry”). Most listeners will find scattered resemblances with bands like “Glenn Hughes”, “Whitesnake”, “Riot”, “Fastway”, “Ozzy Osbourne”, “Ten”, “Talisman”, “Jorn Lande”, “Cornerstone”, “Soundgarden”, “Winger”, “Ratt”, “Bon Jovi”, “Journey”, “Boston”, and many others. With this formula, The Soul Exchange garnered compliments from the specialized media, being described as “the sound of a new world being born, and the louder sound of an old world being destroyed”; and has guaranteed a number 1 position on ReverbNation’s Rock chart in Sweden! My favorite songs are those having higher contents of Metal influences, being still adorned with church organ that creates a Gothic sinister atmosphere, such as “City of the Ripper” (5:42), which is driven by straightforward 80’s Metal riffs, bass and drums that recall “Judas Priest”, diverging on the interspersions of melodic acoustic parts with vocals; and the “doomic” “Life Eternal” (5:03), driven by a malignant deep voice reminiscent of “Type O Negative” or “Katatonia”, which shares space with vocals like “Ozzy Osbourne”, being  smoothed with acoustic passages of guitars and piano. “Son of Darkness” (4:56) also fits in the slot, by combining synths, horse-galloping Metal passages and epic vocals; slowing down in the middle with soft guitars, organ and sensitive vocals; finishing with a long sequence of guitar solos (all recalling me of “Ten”). Fans of super-groovy Hard-Rock with a 70’s soulful feeling on vocals, pulsing bass, and brilliant bluesy guitar solos (like “Whitesnake”, “Deep Purple”, and “Glenn Hughes”) will stick to “Torn to Pieces” (4:44), “Date with the Devil” (3:25), and “Hangin' On” (3:31), respectively. The experience and quality of band members allow them to make interesting experimentations, such as on the modern Power-Rock “Left Behind” (3:52), which brings an exquisitely psychedelic guitar solo embedded in a fast rocking pace; and on the atmospheric Space-Psychedelic-Prog “Familiar with the Human Race” (5:39), which is narrated by a deep baritone voice inserted in a long instrumental sequence (recalling me of “Nektar’s” song, “Man In The Moon”). Add to the list the accessible “Passenger of Pain” (4:04) – a swinging Rock – and the cool power-ballad “The Apple” (4:21), and the outcome is an excellent Rock album, containing the right balance of Hard, Metal and Modernity, showcasing a solid band that has an enormous potential to rise to the mainstream Rock scene! “Bloodbound”, by The Soul Exchange is highly recommendable for fans of “Led Zeppelin”, “Deep Purple”, “Black Sabbath”, “Glenn Hughes”, “Whitesnake”, “UFO”, “Tygers Of Pan Tang”, “Winger”, “Ratt”, “Bon Jovi”, “Journey”, “Boston”, “Rush”, “Picture”, “Fastway”, “Riot”, “Ten”, “Talisman”, “Jorn Lande”, “Cornerstone”, “Soundgarden”, “Black Stone Cherry”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in The Soul Exchange are: Hans von Bell – Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Keyboards; Thomas von Bell – Electric & Acoustic Guitars; Daniel John – Lead & Backing Vocals, Keyboards; Patrik “Patte” Ekelöf – Bass; Benny White – Drums (did not play on the album); Jens Joel Evaldsson – Lyrics, Narrator on “Familiar with the Human Race”. Additional Musicians: Magnus “Tank” Ljungqvist – Keyboards & Programming; Ulf Wahlberg – Organ on “Left Behind” & “Hangin’ On”; Derek J. Wilson – Drums on all tracks. Recorded at XTC Production AB, Älvsjö, Sweden. Produced, Engineered, Mixed & Mastered by Magnus Ljungqvist... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/24/2017...........................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE SOUL EXCHANGE HOME PAGE...
. HOLLOW WATER - "Rainbow’s End"
Hollow Water is a Progressive Rock project from Aberystwyth, Wales, which was born from the collaboration between Alan Cookson (keyboards) and Huw Roberts (electric guitar). The Hollow Water moniker was coined after an eponymous instrumental tune by co-founder Huw Roberts. The “hollow water” expression evokes the image of a whirlpool, or a surfer in a cylindrical wave, or even a one-directional raging torrent. The water of those structures contains high levels of energy, what forces the water mass to move in unpredictable ways. “Hollow Water” might be as dangerous as the river rapids, or as destructive as tsunamis. The music of Hollow Water tries to be as changeable, dynamic, and rhythmic as the sounds of splashes and crashing breakers of natural “hollow water”! Since before 2012, Cookson and Roberts had been working together, producing instrumental material that culminated on a collection of compositions, entitled “Jigsaw Music” (2013, available at their site). In 2015, however, they decided to expand the line-up with the temporary addiction of musicians from Europe and the USA. The result was recorded and released as Hollow Water’s newest album, entitled “Rainbow's End” (2016). Besides Cookson and Roberts, the CD features singer Mark Lock (UK), saxophonists Ilia Skibinsky (Germany) and Nate Madsen (USA), bassists Jair-Rohm Parker Wells (Sweden) and Stryfer (Serbia), drummer Siros Vaziri (Sweden); plus Matt Quistorf (USA) on additional guitar and Steve Giddings (UK) on lap steel guitar. “Rainbow’s End” evolves from a sci-fi theme involving three characters that form a team and go searching for a “rainbow which stays all the time”, embarking on a comedy adventure that leads them into a strange dimension. An essential part of the concept is the 20-page booklet and eight-page comic-book that comes with the CD. “Rainbow’s End” is made of a single eponymous composition that lasts almost one hour and 20 minutes, being divided in 12 parts, like a suite. The music is exciting, dynamic and pulsating – a delicious and jovial sound that comes wrapped up in a modern Lounge-Space-Rock package that contains musical elements ranging from Progressive strains like Canterbury and Neo-Prog, to Jazz-Rock, Fusion, Psychedelic and Indie Rock (on some vocal passages), all punctuated by surreal radio transmissions. A vibrant and substantial Electronic rhythmic base is combined to the contagious danceable effect that irradiates from the bass and drums, producing songs that flow in a constant current, slowly bouncing up and down, as if the musicians were surfing on a cosmic wave! Mostly impressive is Huw Roberts’ guitar work, stretched out throughout the record on long solos instilled with Progressive/Jazz complexity that hover over entrancing instrumental passages! Overall, the sound of Hollow Water is quite unique, without obvious influences. I would say that this project sounds like a blend of “Daft Punk”, “Pink Floyd”, “Gong”, “Soft Machine”, “Weather Report”, “Hawkwind”, “Ozric Tentacles”, “Hidria Spacefolk”, “Oresund Space Collective”, “Quantum Fantay”, “Faith No More”, and more. The “Rainbow’s End” mega-suite starts as a groovy tour-de-force with the instrumental “Day In Day Out” (5:08), its super “Funkadelic” vibe contaminating songs “Mirror's Frame” (7:21) and “Rainbow's Begin” (6:58) – both heated up by frantic sax and long guitar solos and instrumental improvisations, like “Soft Machine”, “Weather Report” and “Gong”. On “Gathering Sunbeams For The Future” (8:30) the band alternates windy Electronic sounds with heavy parts, driven by relaxed Psychedelic vocals and drunken guitars. One of the best guitar solos show up on “The Quantum Mechanic and The Map Collector” (6:28) – a melodic song having cosmic synths on the background; and a great guitar-against-bass battle happens on “Rainbow's End” (8:03) – a lysergic Blues-Rock with vocals that recall “Faith No More”! The stoned psychedelic mood of “Trick Of The Light” (6:34) explodes with outrageous passages for organ and drums, while the long guitar solo accelerates the pace to a frantic beat that takes “Immortal Portal” (5:40) to a Thrashing-Metal mode, during which the tempestuous guitars and synths merge imperceptible with “Solar Beacon” (6:10) – a hyper Psychedelic-Rock featuring stoned vocals versus dazzling instrumentation! “The Light Dimension” (6:51) returns to an Electronic mode that superposes cosmic guitar/synth sounds to tribal drumming and roller-coaster funky vocals; while “Illusions & Delusions” (6:45) places 21st century bubbling synths against 70’s Psychedelic Rock vocals, joined to “Hawkwind’s” proto-Punk, finishing on the extraordinary guitar solo of “We Changed. This World Didn't” (4:58)! The strange mixture that boils inside Hollow Water’s musical pot will be highly appreciated by unorthodox fans of guitar-driven Space-Rock driven by an extra dose of modern Electronica, and should be checked out by fans of “Daft Punk”, “Hawkwind”, “Pink Floyd”, “Gong”, “Ozric Tentacles”, “Hidria Spacefolk”, “Oresund Space Collective”, “Quantum Fantay”, “Faith No More”, “Soft Machine”, to whom Hollow Water’s “Rainbow’s End” is more than highly recommendable! Band members and collaborators involved in Hollow Water are: Alan Cookson – Keyboards; Huw Roberts – Electric Guitar. Additional Musicians: Mark Lock (UK) – Vocals, Harmonies; Ilia Skibinsky (Germany) & Nate Madsen (USA) – Saxophone; Matt Quistorf (USA) - Additional Guitar; Jair-Rohm Parker Wells (Sweden) & Stryfer (Serbia) – Bass; Siros Vaziri (Sweden) – Drums; Steve Giddings (UK) - Lap Steel Guitar on the title track. Mixed & Mastered by Joel Evenden (UK). Eight page comic book drawn by Aidan Kelly (UK)... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/24/2017.......................More information about the band? Better check it out for yourself at: HOLLOW WATER HOME PAGE...
Lelio Padovani is a guitar player and teacher from Parma, Italy. He composes Instrumental Music and Soundtracks. Lelio Padovani began to play instruments when he was a teenager. He briefly experimented with bass and drums before moving to the guitar – his most beloved instrument. After attending a sound engineering course at Fonoprint (one of Italy’s top recording studios), some of his instrumental tracks were reviewed on Guitar World (in “Mike Varney’s Hometown Heroes” column). Padovani later attended the National Guitar Workshop in Connecticut, USA, where he learned from “Harry Jacobson” and “Chris Amelar”. Padovanihas also written for Italian guitar magazines and has interviewed musicians such as: “John Petrucci”, “Marty Friedman”, “Stef Burns”, “Adrian Belew”. Padovani was the interpreter to many artists during their clinics and masterclasses in Italy, among them, “Steve Morse”, “Steve Vai”, “Jennifer Batten”, “Adrian Belew”, “Rocco Prestia”, “Paul Gilbert”, “David Garibaldi” and “Mike Campese”. Padovani is also the founder and Director of L’Accademia, a Music School in Parma; he is also a member of the Trinity College London Italian music support team; and has worked as freelance translator on several music books. Padovani’s discography includes the instrumental CD, “Unknown Evolution” (2002) – which was presented at Disma (the main music trade fair in Italy); the four-track EP, “A2A” (2003) – which was released by Progressive Instrumental trio A2A (on which Padovani played guitar, bass and a GR-33 synth guitar); and the independent solo CDs, “The Big Picture” (2005) and “Chasing The Muse” (2007). Padovani’s film soundtracks include: “Il Solitario” (2008); “Mia Diletta” (short movie, 2009); and “La Casa Nel Vento Dei Morti” (2012). “Il Solitario” was nominated for the “David Di Donatello” and “Ciak D’Oro” Italian Movie Awards in 2010; and was awarded at the Phoenix Film Festival and at the Houston International Independent Film Festival. The music of “Il Solitario” spawned the EP “Electronic” (2010). The thriller “La Casa Nel Vento Dei Morti” made great success in Italy and is available on DVD. In 2014 and 2016, Padovani reached the finals of the “Rimusicazioni” Italian Film Festival. Lelio Padovani’s latest release is an EP, entitled “Waves” (2016, independent). “Waves” brings four instrumental tracks – composed, arranged and recorded by Padovani. He plays all instruments alone: electric guitars on the foreground, synths on the background, bass and drums forming a vivid and colorful rhythmic section. Padovani is a talented musician, as well as a professional performer. His guitar sounds clean, neat and crystal-clear, being also very melodic, uplifting and elegant. His compositions follow mainly the Fusion and Prog-Fusion styles, covered with a thin Electronic layer produced with synths. Overall, Padovani’s instrumental pieces have recalled me of guitarists like “Steve Vai”, “Frank Gambale”, “Greg Howe”, “Steve Lukather”, “Steve Stevens”, “Steve Morse”, “Al Di Meola”; and also of the non-Metal side of “Vinnie Moore”, “Tony MacAlpine”, “Marty Friedman”, “Jason Becker”, and “Paul Gilbert”. Padovani is also influenced by the experimental work of “Rhys Chatham”. The “Waves” EP starts up with “Time Traveler” (4:32) – a bold and adventurous piece on which Padovani teaches the listener how to balance freedom of playing with harmonic tension. It is followed by “Siren Song” (4:40), softer than the previous, on which three guitars play together a magical and luring melody, inviting the listener to surrender (neither Ulysses could resist, according to Padovani himself!). But it is on “Sunday” (4:27) – an enjoyable ballad that was recorded in a rare weekend at home in full relax mode – that Padovani reveals his greater ability to compose sensitive themes and memorable tunes that captivate the listener immediately. And on the title track “Waves” (6:15) Padovani tries a musical experiment based on “Rhys Chatham’s” works. He recorded lots of de-tunes and re-tuned guitars, arranging them as instruments in an orchestra, in order to create an electric wave of sound. The result is a lively Progressive Rock piece having a mild swing, conveyed on a rocking pace and driven by a pulsing bass, which expands slowly like a small ocean, in a kind of Post-Rock mathematical equation. Overall, I guess that Lelio Padovani is a most concerned about melody and harmony than about impressing the listener with barren technical prowess. His talent, sensibility, and compositional stylistics measure up with those of other great guitar players of the Fusion, Prog-Fusion and Instrumental Rock world. The EP “Waves” and his other albums will be therefore highly enjoyed by fans of “Steve Vai”, “Steve Lukather”, “Steve Stevens”, “Greg Howe”, “Steve Morse”, “Frank Gambale”, “Al Di Meola”, “Vinnie Moore”, “Tony MacAlpine”, “Jason Becker”, “Paul Gilbert”, “Marty Friedman”, “Rhys Chatham”, and others like them. Band members and collaborators involved in Lelio Padovani are: Lelio Padovani – Guitars, Bass, Drums, Synths. All Tracks Written and Engineered by Lelio Padovani; Mastered by Fausto Tinello at Tartini5 Studio, Parma, Italy. Also you must visit Lelio Padovani's Facebook Site and at Lelio Padovani's SoundCloud Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/24/2017.........................................,.....More information? Better check it out for yourself at: LELIO PADOVANI HOME PAGE...
. XAVIER BOSCHER - "Pentagramme"
Xavier Boscher is back to PR&PM! Xavier Boscher is a French guitarist, singer, composer and producer who is mainly involved with Rock, Pop and Metal Music in France. Boscher has taken part on many projects, such as “Nebuleyes”, “Misanthrope”, “Continuum”, “Déborah Hofer”, “Mlle Julie”, “Mon ami Mío”, “Michael Resin”, and “Benjamin Karmer”. Boscher has also released several solo albums under his own label, called “Orfeo'Lab”. His discography includes: “A Part of Utopia” (2006), “Musical Journey” (2007), “Guitamorphosis” (2008), “Hydrologic” (2009), “Love Energy” (2010), “Pulsations” (2013), “Enfant de L’Atome” (2014), “L’Origine de Mon Bien-Être” (2015, EP); and “Pentagramme” (2016). Xavier Boscher is a talented musician and composer, influenced by several styles of Music that range from Pop-Rock, Progressive Rock and New Age, to Heavy Metal (his favorite, with influences of bands like “Cynic”, “Iron Maiden”, “Dream Theater”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Misanthrope”, “Marty Friedman”, “Chuck Schuldiner”, “Starmania”, “Obispo”, “la SF”, “le Métabaron”, and “Sandrine”). Boscher’s 2007 album, entitled “Musical Journey", was reviewed at PR&PM in November 2011. This album had minor influences of Heavy Metal, and took the listener in a worldwide journey, blending World Music, New Age, Progressive Rock and Fusion. The compositions featured soft melodies and themes, delivered by clean guitar sounds, resembling the softest facet of guitarists such as: “Marty Friedman”, “Jason Becker”, “Steve Vai”, “Joe Satriani”, “Vinnie Moore”, or “Marc Bonilla”. “Pentagramme” (October 2016, Orfeo’Lab) is the newest album by Xavier Boscher. The CD comes in a deluxe digipack edition containing a booklet that features beautiful artwork. On “Pentagramme”, Boscher still focuses on his multiple musical influences, but this time he instills a larger load of Heavy Metal and Prog-Metal on his compositions. Diverging from “Musical Journey”, on which all tracks were instrumental, “Pentagramme” has seven songs with lyrics in French, and only one instrumental track. The concept explores the different symbolisms of the Pentagram, which may represent either the five qualities that man must cultivate within to reach spiritual perfection (Love, Wisdom, Truth, Justice, Virtue), or the primary elements (fire, earth, air, water; with the spirit counting as the fifth element). The Pentagram is also a sacred symbol of the feminine genre, representing Venus, the Goddess of Love. Therefore, the mood on most songs of “Pentagramme” tends to the female side of sensuality. The listener will feel it on heavy tracks, like “Les Corps Des Femmes” (4:28) and “La Lune Rouge” (5:01) – two songs conveyed on a bulky rhythmic base of pounding drums, pulsing bass, and thrashing Metal riffs, sliced by frantic solos of guitar and driven by peculiar vocal themes “à la French mode”, resembling a kind of “Ange-goes Prog-Metal” style – and will experiment it most clearly on: “Pentagramme” (4:20) – a slow dreamy song with a mysterious nocturnal touch that oscillates from Dark-Prog to Post-Rock (like “Porcupine Tree”, “Cynic”, “Tool”); “Volupté” (2:51) – a Progressive ballad that puts in contrast a cold electronic ambience against the warm sensuality of the melody, driven by delicate guitars and keyboards, and emotive bass (recalling “Jonas Reingold”, of “Flower Kings” and “Karmakanic”); and the outstanding “Géométrie Intime” (4:41) – which starts as an introspective ballad, driven by lazy acoustic guitars and “Bossa Nova” percussion, and explodes later, with Prog-Metal riffs, Neo-Classical harmonies, ethno-vocals (by guest singer Nyounaï Sauneg), and choirs (altogether recalling “Arjen Lucassen” and his projects, “Ayreon” and “Star One”). “Pentagramme” still offers a number of amazing tracks, which alternate Progressive themes with Prog-Metal passages. “Métronome Céleste” (5:16) is an atmospheric Progressive song that brings piano and nice vocal melodies; “Quinacridone” (4:51) is a dazzling instrumental piece stuffed with furious guitar shredding (featuring guest guitarist Thomas Leroy) that concentrates influences of “Dream Theater”, “Marty Friedman” and “Jason Becker”; and the last track, “Les Voyageurs du Temps” (8:13), is an epic song conveyed on a clockwork pace, that alternates Progressive cuts (containing vocals, eerie piano and atmospheric acoustic guitars) with instrumental passages in Space-Metal and Prog-Metal styles, speeding it up to the final climax, which features exalted vocals and soaring solo of guitar! In sum, “Pentagramme” is a varied album that reveals another facet of  Xavier Boscher, who, besides being eclectic and creative in the field of instrumental music, also knows to write meaningful, poetical lyrics, and sing them with emotion. Not fitting in any particular category, Xavier Boscher and his album “Pentagramme” are especially recommended for fans of Prog-Metal, Prog-Fusion, Metal-Fusion and Heavy-Prog who are fond of “Cynic”, “Dream Theater”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Misanthrope”, “Chuck Schuldiner”, “Marty Friedman”, “Jason Becker", “Steve Vai”, “Joe Satriani”, “Vinnie Moore”, “Marc Bonilla”, “Ayreon”, “Porcupine Tree”. Band members and collaborators involved in Xavier Boscher are: Xavier Boscher – Lead Vocals, Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Bass, Keyboards. Composed, Performed & Produced by X. Boscher. Guest Musicians: Nyounaï Sauneg – Choirs (on “Les Voyageurs du Temps”); Benjamin Masson – Solo Guitar (on “Les Voyageurs du Temps”); Thomas Leroy – Solo Guitar (on “Quinacridone”). Photos by Barbara Barbieri-Lecomte; Lighting by Pierre Gentier... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/24/2017...................................Interested to know more about this fantastic Musician? Visit XAVIER BOSCHER HOME PAGE...
. LUCIFER’S FRIEND - "Too Late To Hate"
The legendary Classic Rock band Lucifer’s Friend is welcomed back to PR&PM! Lucifer’s Friend was formed in the early ‘70s in Hamburg, Germany, with a line-up consisting of German musicians Peter Hesslein (guitar), Dieter Horns (bass), Peter Hecht (keyboards), and Addi Rietenbach (drums), who were joined in by the British singer John Lawton (who would later rise to stardom as the front-man of “Uriah Heep”). Lucifer’s Friend released a series of albums along the seventies: “Lucifer’s Friend” (1970), “Where the Groupies Killed the Blues” (1972), “I'm Just a Rock & Roll Singer” (1973), “Banquet” (1974), and “Mind Exploding” (1976), achieving the status of a cult-band and measuring up with “Deep Purple”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Black Sabbath”, “Uriah Heep”, “Grand Funk Railroad”,  and “Rainbow” with “Dio”. Their music mainly covered the Hard and Classic Rock styles, but incursions into Heavy Metal, Psychedelic, Progressive and Jazz-Fusion were not out of the agenda. After the departure of Lawton to “Uriah Heep”, and with ex-“Colosseum II” Mike Starr on vocals, Lucifer’s Friend still released “Good Time Warrior” (1978) and “Sneak Me In” (1980), which featured an accessible sound. Lawton returned to push the band back to the Hard Rock and Heavy Metal vein on the album “Mean Machine” (1981). After the split-up of Lucifer’s Friend in 1982, the band made a brief return in the 1990s with the album “Sumo Grip”. In the new century, Lawton, Hesslein and Horns brought Lucifer’s Friend back to life again, recomposing the group’s line-up with keyboardist Jogi Wichmann and drummer Stephan Eggert. To celebrate their come-back, the quintet released a double CD entitled “Awakening” (2015), under their own label Lucifer’s Records. “Awakening” contained revisited classics of the band and four brand new studio tracks! It was reviewed at PR&PM in October 2015, and showcased an invigorated Lucifer’s Friend – a band made of seasoned musicians, but still hungry for true Rock! The positive response of “Awakening” gave Lucifer’s Friend an impulse to go still farther! At first, the band was headliner at the “Sweden Rock Festival 2015”. This memorable show was recorded live and released on CD as an official bootleg on 8th January, 2016. A few months afterwards, Lucifer’s Friend consolidated their triumphant return with the release of a new studio album, entitled “Too Late To Hate” (28th October 2016, Lucifer’s Records/Cherry Red Records). “Too Late to Hate” features 12 tracks – and a parade of new Lucifer’s classics! Fronted by the almighty John Lawton – one of the most legendary voices of Hard-Rock still in activity – Lucifer’s Friend’s squad pours down on the listener many tons of well-crafted and excellently performed 70’s Hard-Rock and Metal styled songs! Peter Hesslein on guitar is like wine – as older it gets, the better it tastes. He is a magician, an explorer of sounds, who discover exciting guitar riffs that no one could possibly imagine to exist. His soloing on the instrument is equally amazing – binding together creativity and technical prowess. Dieter Horns on bass does not stand behind! His thundering bass fills in every empty space of the music, making it alive and pulsating! His companion on the rhythmic section is Stephan Eggert – whose powerful rocking drums and swinging percussion instill an irresistible groove into the Lucifer’s sound! Most amazing is the wealthy contribution of Jogi Wichmann on keyboards – synths, organ and piano. As an extraordinary and eclectic performer, Wichmann covers from Blues to Prog, injecting new life on the arrangements and embellishing the instrumental passages with insightful solos! “Too Late To Hate” is an outstanding Hard-Rock album that combines 70’s vintage-sounding textures sometimes covered by a layer of modernizing synths. This mix works greatly on “Demolition Man” (4:13) – on which 70’s British-styled Metal instrumentation clashes against 80’s synths; and on “Straight For The Heart” (3:22), which swings on pulsing synths, bass, and contagious percussion, also having a Progressive income coming from a church organ. The Lucifer’s tendency to fuse musical genres appears on “Tell Me Why” (4:08) – a half-Rock, half-Jazz song, with intricate instrumentation. The ballads are represented by “When Children Cry” (4:21) – a power-ballad driven by piano, dramatic vocals and protest lyrics; and “This Time” (5:03) – a magnificent Blues-ballad having soulful vocals and guitar solo, propelled by climatic organ. But the best of the 70’s Hard-Rock tradition is present on a series of songs that may be already regarded as Lucifer’s new hits: “Jokers & Fools” (4:19) (cadenced and instilled with a Bluesy feeling); “Don't Talk To Strangers” (3:46) (which swings on funky riffs, being crowned with superb guitar solo); and the phenomenal tracks, “Sea Of Promises” (4:53) and “Brothers Without A Name” (3:20). “Sea …” has super-groovy rhythms, potent vocals, climatic guitar, and Hammonds; while “Brothers …” has the epic mood and cinematic scope of an old Western movie! To compensate the high number of demolition tracks, the album has the radio-friendly “I Will Be There” (3:59) – which recalls Lawton in times of “Uriah Heep”; and the Pop-Rock “Tears” (4:20) (which has sophisticated bass, percussion and synths, though). The album finishes with the bonus-track “When You're Gone” (2:06) – a ballad, recorded live. With most of the new songs filling in the category of Lucifer’s Friend’s classics, “Too Late To Hate” is a must-have CD for any fan of this amazing band, being also indispensable for fans of “Deep Purple”, “Uriah Heep”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Black Sabbath”, “Rainbow”, “Dio”, “Atomic Rooster”, “UFO”,  “Whitesnake”, “Tigers of Pan Tang”, “Bad Company”, “Grand Funk Railroad”, “Blind Faith”, “Thin Lizzy”, “Glenn Hughes”, “Black Country Communion”, “Living Colour”, “Wicked Minds”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Lucifer’s Friend are: John Lawton – Vocals, Backing Vocals; Peter Hesslein – Guitar, Keyboards; Jogi Wichmann – Keyboards; Dieter Horns – Bass; Stephan ‘Stoppel’ Eggert – Drums, Percussion. Additional Musician: Pablo Escajola – Congas on “Straight For The Heart”. Lead Vocals Recorded at Liscombe Park Studios, Bedfordshire, UK, by Sound Engineers Steve Rispin & Niko Tsonev. Drums Recorded at GAGA Studios, Hamburg, Germany, by Julien Krumnack. Bonus-Track Recorded Live in Tokyo-Kawasaki, Japan, 17 Jan. 2016. All Tracks Mixed & Produced by Tommy Eggert, Hamburg, Germany; Mastered by Simon Hesslein, New York, USA. Front Cover: Painting (“The Fallen Angel”) by Peter Hesslein; Design by Alexander Hesslein. Booklet Design, Layout & Drawing by Iris Lawton. All Songs by J. Lawton & P. Hesslein; Arranged by P. Hesslein. Also you must visit Lucifer’s Friend's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/24/2017..............Want to learn everything about the band and its members, you must visit LUCIFER’S FRIEND HOME PAGE...
. THE BEN CAMERON PROJECT - "A Cycle Never Ending"
The Ben Cameron Project started in 2013, conducted by Australian musician and composer Ben Cameron. Cameron wanted to make it as his creative vehicle for exploring a wide range of sonic styles, ranging from Heavy-Prog and Metal, to Folk and Ambient. In May 2014 The Ben Cameron Project released a debut album, entitled “Tipping Point”. The album featured Ben Cameron (on vocals, guitars, bass, and keyboards) and Chris Cameron (drums, percussion), and was entirely produced and mixed by Cameron. “Tipping Point” brought a two-part, 40-minute piece based on a psychologic drama involving anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder. “Tipping Point” received positive critics by several sites of Prog-Rock, enticing Cameron to work on a follow-up. Entitled “A Cycle Never Ending”, The Ben Cameron Project’s second album was recorded in London during the summer of 2016, and included guest performances by some of London's best musicians, such as: the renowned BJ Cole (pedal steel guitar), Norbert Varga (keyboards), Peter Bakaja (6-string fretless bass), Filippo Galli (drums), and Charlotte Jaffer (cello). “A Cycle Never Ending” was released on September the 7th, 2016, on a show at the famous London venue The Water Rats. “A Cycle Never Ending” features four long tracks that capture Cameron's concept of modern Prog-Rock: a mix of heavy guitar riffs (but not at the level of intensity of Prog-Metal); a keyboards combo, including both Moog-sounding modern synths and vintage piano/organ with psychedelic textures; melodic and elaborated soaring guitar solos that enlighten the most climatic instrumental passages; selected appearances of a poignant cello; and passages with acoustic guitars fronted by emotional vocals that have either a bittersweet tone, or a pinch of melancholy instilled within. The sound of The Ben Cameron Project is also a genre-bending Progressive torrent that flows free with intensity and variety, creating songs that amalgamate influences of “Pink Floyd”, “Manfred Mann”, “Sebastian Hardie”, “Windchase”, “Rush”, “Magellan”, “Explorers’ Club”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Lunatic Soul”, “Alter Bridge”, “Redemption”, and many others. “A Cycle Never Ending” starts with “This is All Illusion” (12:21), a great opening track having different parts and moods. The first part has an electric piano with a vintage psychedelic vibe, which is combined to modern and heavy guitar riffs, like “Porcupine Tree”, creating a pulsing instrumental intro. Vocals come, accompanied by acoustic guitars, and are interspersed to floating guitar solos and back-up organ (like a mix of “Alter Bridge”, “Windchase”, or “Sebastian Hardie”). The middle part rolls on a vigorous riff that recalls “Rush”, bringing wild solos of synths and guitar. The last part is beautiful, started only by vocals and organ, in a Psychedelic-Prog style that recalled me of “Manfred Mann”, slowing down to a Blues-Prog cadence, like “Pink Floyd”. The second track, “The Dance of Demons in Disguise” (7:34), is the darkest of the album, driven by a melancholic mood on vocals and depressive instrumentation, sometimes aggressively played, that recalled me of modern groups, like “Lunatic Soul” and “Porcupine Tree”. Third track is “Colour in the Sky” (4:58), a Prog-ballad that begins with eerie acoustic guitars and introspective vocals, growing with the coming of vintage psychedelic keyboards and soaring guitars (it will be appealing to fans of “Pink Floyd” and “Sebastian Hardie”). Fourth and last track is the epic that gives name to the album: “A Cycle Never Ending” (23:53). It is a conceptual piece that, according to Cameron, displays the project’s signature: “long and winding genre-bending music that covers a lot of ground with a cohesive flow.” “A Cycle …” is a true Progressive masterpiece, divided in several different parts, covering different moods, atmospheres and musical styles. Pace and metrics are driven by dynamic bass and drums, which give support to memorable guitar riffs, soaring guitar solos, layers of waving synths, combined to Psychedelic electric piano and organ – everything recalling me of the Heavy-Prog style of bands like “Porcupine Tree” and “Riverside”. Although some parts are softer, or driven by acoustic guitars, most parts transmit to the listener a somber sensation, also recalling the eerie atmospheres of the last albums of “Magellan”, and some ballads of “Redemption” and “Alter Bridge”. The arrangements of this great song are perfectly balanced by two main melodic themes: one, vibrant and epic, is delivered by the guitar; the other, poignant and dramatic, passes on, from cello to vocals, creating an emotive aura that shines with the brightest level of Progressiveness! All in all, The Ben Cameron Project’s new work, “A Cycle Never Ending”, is an amazing Progressive album, composed by a matured and talented musician, and performed by professional players from London, consisting in an essential item for fans of: “Pink Floyd”, “Manfred Mann”, “Windchase”, “Sebastian Hardie”, “Rush”, “Magellan”, “Explorers’ Club”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Lunatic Soul”, “Alter Bridge”, “Riverside”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in The Ben Cameron Project are: Ben Cameron – Lead & Backing Vocals, 7-String Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion; BJ Cole – Pedal Steel Guitar; Norbert Varga – Keyboards, Gibson G101 Organ, Rhodes Stage Seventy Three, Moog Little Phatty; Peter Bakaja – 6-String Fretless Bass Guitar; Filippo Galli – Drum-kit; Charlotte Jaffer – Cello. Music & Lyrics Written & Produced by Ben Cameron. Mixed & Mastered by Ben Cameron & Neil Wilkes at Opus Productions, London; Drums Recorded by Lloyd Jukes at Bush Studios, London. Cover Design by Claire Bidwell... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/24/2017...................For more details and in the meantime you must check out THE BEN CAMERON PROJECT HOME PAGE...
. LUCIFER’S FRIEND - "Live @ Sweden Rock - 2015"
Lucifer’s Friend – the legendary British-Germanic Classic/Hard Rock band is in great evidence at PR&PM! Lucifer’s Friend is mostly known for having been fronted by British singer John Lawton, who went later to replace “David Byron” in “Uriah Heep”. But the band was worshipped long before! Lucifer’s Friend was born in the early ‘70s in Hamburg, Germany, and released several acclaimed albums from 1970 to 1981, achieving a cult status equivalent to the one of “Deep Purple”, “Black Sabbath”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Rainbow”, and “Grand Funk Railroad”, until splitting up in 1982. After an unsuccessful attempt to reunite in 1990, Lucifer’s Friend would make a triumphant return in 2015, with the release of the double album “Awakening” (2015, Lucifer’s Records), which featured a compilation of classics of the band and new studio tracks. The new line-up featured three members of the original formation, John Lawton (vocals), Peter Hesslein (guitar) and Dieter Horns (bass); plus new members Jogi Wichmann (keyboards) and Stephan Eggert (drums). “Awakening” was reviewed at PR&PM in October 2015, and proved that Lucifer’s Friend was still alive and hungry for Rock! The positive feedback of “Awakening” took Lucifer’s Friend to the headliner position at the prestigious “Sweden Rock Festival 2015”. In 2016 Lucifer’s Friend consolidated their return with the release of a new studio album, entitled “Too Late To Hate” (also reviewed at PR&PM, just above). Fortunately, the memorable show in Sweden had been recorded, being also released on CD on 8th January, 2016, under the title “Live @ Sweden Rock 2015 - Official Bootleg” (Lucifer’s Records). The occasion marked Lucifer’s Friend’s first performance at a main venue in 28 years! Rare bands are just like wine: the older they get, the better they taste. Lucifer’s Friend thoroughly obeys this law, as anyone who listens to this record will instantly realize! “Live @ Sweden Rock 2015” brings a superb Lucifer’s Friend playing old and new classics with the rejuvenated energy that only true Hard-Rock can instill into a musician! Powered by John Lawton’s still magnificent voice, Peter Hesslein’s mesmerizing guitar riffs and original solos, Jogi Wichmann’s vintage flying keyboards, Dieter Horns’ awesome pulsing bass and surprising groovy harmonies, and Stephan Eggert’s unrestful and explosive drumming, this album offers a lesson in phenomenal gigging, at the same time capturing one of the most important moments in the history of live-performed Hard-Rock! Starting from “Intro – Awakening” (2:35), Lucifer’s Friend strikes with total power, heavy loads and high decibels, driving the audience to total craziness! “Pray” (4:02), one of the best new songs of the album “Awakening”, leads the parade of Lucifer’s Rock standards, being followed by a number of classics, such as the groovy “Fire and Rain” (5:39), the rocking “In the Time of Job” (4:47), and the swinging “Hey Driver” (4:18) – all showcasing sticky choruses sung by Lawton with passion, combined to superior instrumental performances by the whole band! After warming the audience up, the band goes on, launching bombastic performances of “Keep Going” (5:39) – with a somber atmosphere underlined by malignant vocals, “Sabbatical” riffs, extended guitar solo, and 70’s-styled organ – and “Riding High” (7:20) – an imposing song from the “Awakening” album that finishes with a classical piano, leading to an incendiary version of “Moonshine Rider” (5:39)! The band profits from the good moment to present another awesome song of their new phase: “Did You Ever” (4:35) – an authentic Hard-Prog song instilled with trippy vibes! Lucifer’s Friend allows their hypnotized audience a moment for a breath, by playing the beautiful ballad “Burning Ships” (6:14), before pouring down a super-sonic version of “Ride the Sky” (4:18) – the band’s heaviest and most emblematic song! Left for the encore, “High Flying Lady” (6:06) finishes the show with a joyful and relaxed mood, driven by a frantic piano. Overall, “Live @ Sweden Rock 2015” is a worthy release by Lucifer’s Friend, an album to be placed side by side to other classic live albums, such as “Led Zeppelin’s” “The Song Remains The Same”, “Deep Purple Live In Japan”, “Uriah Heep Live – January 1973”, “Rainbow on Stage”, and “UFO’s” “Strangers In The Night”. In addition, “Live @ Sweden Rock 2015” is the ideal companion for “Awakening” and “Too Late To Hate”, consisting in a must-have item for fans of Lucifer’s Friend, being also indispensable for fans of “Deep Purple”, “Uriah Heep”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Black Sabbath”, “Rainbow”, “Dio”, “Atomic Rooster”, “UFO”, “Bad Company”, “Whitesnake”, “Tigers of Pan Tang”, “Grand Funk Railroad”, “Blind Faith”, “Thin Lizzy”, “Glenn Hughes”, “Black Country Communion”, “Wicked Minds”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Lucifer’s Friend are: John Lawton – Vocals, Backing Vocals; Peter Hesslein – Guitar, Keyboards; Jogi Wichmann – Keyboards; Dieter Horns – Bass; Stephan ‘Stoppel’ Eggert – Drums, Percussion. Recorded Live at Sweden Rock Festival, 4Sound Stage. Live Audio Recorded by Stefan Lundin – 5 June 2015. Vocal Edit by Ivo Stefanov, at Intelligent Music Studios, Sofia, Bulgaria. Produced, Edited & Mixed by Tommy Eggert, Hamburg, Germany; Mastered by Simon Hesslein, Broadway Studios, New York, USA. Also you must visit Lucifer’s Friend's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/24/2017...........Want to learn everything about the band and their music, you need to visit LUCIFER’S FRIEND HOME PAGE...
. HALF PAST FOUR - "Land Of The Blind"
Half Past Four is an amazing Progressive Rock quintet from Toronto, Canada! The group was formed nearly two decades ago, and the present line-up consists of: Kyree Vibrant (vocals), Constantin Necrasov (guitar), Igor Kurtzman (keyboards), Dmitry Lesov (bass and Chapman stick), and Marcello Ciurleo (drums) – all are virtuosi musicians in their own right! Half Past Four has released two full-length albums: “Rabbit in the Vestibule” (2008) and “Good Things” (2013). The band’s new work is an EP, entitled “Land of the Blind” (Sep. 2016, Paper Plane Music Inc.). “Land of the Blind” brings five distinguishing tracks, showcasing the incredible sound that Half Past Four can attain, by drinking from 50 years of Progressive Rock, and other sources. Half Past Four makes Eclectic Progressive Rock. The band mixes 70’s Progressive Rock, Classical Music, Classic Rock, Metal, Jazz, Fusion, Folk, Country, and Blues; with influences that include: “Frank Zappa”, “King Crimson”, “Pink Floyd”, “Yes”, “Genesis”, “Gentle Giant”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Jethro Tull”, “Marillion”, “The Flower Kings”, “Utopia”, “Kraftwerk”, “Rush”, “Kansas”, “John Zorn”, “Black Sabbath”, “Deep Purple”, “Primus”, “Mr. Bungle”, “Dream Theater”, “Oscar Peterson”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Chick Corea”, “Return to Forever”, “Jaco Pastorious”, “Michael Manring”, “Dead Can Dance”, “Tom Waits”, “Auktyon”, and others! Half Past Four may be, at a given time, reminiscent of any of those bands. Although the music may sound familiar to most veteran Prog-heads, Half Past Four is so unpredictable and metamorphosing, that the band can make each track shine with its own share of originality, mood, intensity level, and atmosphere. The music is vibrant, dynamic, and amusing, with each member contributing equally to the wholeness of the songs. The sound drifts on complex time signatures and intricate arrangements of keyboards/guitar/bass, as band members deliver exciting solos of guitar, organ and synths, being interrupted by dazzling changes of rhythm. The fantastic Kyree Vibrant on vocals sings meaningful and humorous lyrics, passing on the listener the idea of how bands like “Frank Zappa”, “Gentle Giant”, “King Crimson”, “Yes”, “Genesis”, and “Primus” would sound like, if they were fronted by a woman. “Land of the Blind” is an instantly addicting EP that starts at a high edge of Progressiveness with “Mathematics” (5:33) – a byzantine-arranged track that recalls “Gentle Giant”, “Hatfield and the North”, “Steve Hillage”, and Medieval-sounding Prog-bands like “Curved Air”, “Fruupp”, “Gryphon”, “Camel”, “Jethro Tull”. The song takes off on soaring passages with harmony vocals that recall early “Yes”, and accommodate great free-flowing solos of guitar and organ, still finding time to add some Jazz-Fusion guitars before the end. “Mood Elevator” (5:28) comes next, and the crooked structure and male vocal narrative resembles something taken from “King Crimson’s” album “Discipline”; but this arrangement is broken in two by Bluesy/Jazzy parts on which Kyree gives her particular vocal show! “Toronto Tontos” (3:39) is a crazy lovely track with a strong ironic style that combines Kyree’s vocals (in French) – resembling both a 30’s “Betty Boop Cartoon” and something extracted from the soundtrack of “The Triplets Of Belleville” – with jester-like male vocals singing in English (resembling “Zappa”, “Captain Beefheart”,  “Gong”). The duet is supported by a layer of Metal-styled guitars and drums, accompanied by the groovy bass, boogie-piano, and cosmic keyboards, bringing the sound of “Mr. Bungle” and “Diablo Swing Orchestra” to mind. Half Past Four takes the cartoonish hook, transferring the groovy-boogie vibes to the following song, the bizarre “One Eyed Man” (4:38), which has a strong influence of “Primus” flying around. On this song, the ingenious band members alternate sounds of a fairy-tale musical box with diabolic guitar riffs and mocking choirs, which are likely to have come out from the soundtrack of “Tim Burton’s” “The Nightmare Before Christmas”, creating a kind of operetta that tells a “good-against evil” carol. On the final track, “Mirror Eyes” (6:44), Half Past Four retakes the path of “serious Prog” and produces a beautiful Symphonic piece, driven by classical piano, eerie synths, and sweet and melodic vocal tunes, that swerves later for Jazzy drives and Fusion patterns, recalling a party attended by “Genesis”, “Illusion”, “Curved Air”, “Renaissance”, and others. One of the best, most competent and most original bands of the Progressive Rock scene, Half Past Four is a “must-have” for all fans of Progressive Rock worldwide! The EP “Land of the Blind” is strongly recommended for lovers of “Frank Zappa”, “King Crimson”, “Pink Floyd”, “Yes”, “Genesis”, “Gentle Giant”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Jethro Tull”, “Curved Air”, “Renaissance”, “Illusion”, “Gong”, “Hatfield and the North”, “Marillion”, “The Flower Kings”, “Utopia”, “Kansas”, “Primus”, “Mr. Bungle”, “Diablo Swing Orchestra”, “Rush”, “Return to Forever”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Half Past Four are: Kyree Vibrant – Lead Vocals; Constantin Necrasov – Guitars, Vocals; Igor Kurtzman – Keyboards, Vocals; Dmitry Lesov – Bass & Chapman Stick, Vocals; Marcello Ciurleo – Drums. Guest: Mauro Giammarco – Vocals... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/24/2017...................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit HALF PAST FOUR HOME PAGE...
. LEON ALVARADO - "The Future Left Behind"
Leon Alvarado is an artist and composer who has recorded with an impressive list of musicians, such as: “Rick Wakeman”, “Bill Bruford”, “Billy Sherwood”, “John Goodsall” (“Brand X”), “Trey Gunn” (“King Crimson”), “Jerry Marotta” (“Peter Gabriel”) and “Ty Tabor” (“King's X”). Leon Alvarado is also an award-winning graphic designer and illustrator who creates designs for some of the world’s most respected consumer companies. He also has created album covers and concert tour posters for several people in the music industry. As a graphic artist/illustrator, he has done work for: “Jethro Tull”, “Yes”, “Phil Collins”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Jeff Beck”, “Roger Waters”, “Deep Purple”, “King's X”, “Brand X”, “John Entwistle”, and many others. Leon Alvarado was born in Caracas, Venezuela.  As a child, his favorite band was “The Beatles”. But when he listened to the music of “Genesis”, his taste shifted to Progressive Rock. At the end of the 70’s, Alvaradomoved to the United States and played with various musicians, but he preferred to make music in his home studio. In the 90’s, the advancements of computing science allowed him to oversee all aspects of the musical creation, and to receive collaboration of other musicians through the digital world. With the new technology, Leon Alvarado produced a short discography. His first release was “Plays Genesis and Other Original Stuff” (2008) – an album containing “Genesis” covers and original songs that featured “Ty Tabor” (“King’s X”); and that had been mastered by “Tony Cousins” (responsible for the “Genesis” box sets). It was followed by the EP “Strangers In Strange Places” (2010), which was oriented to the Prog-Fusion style and featured drummer “Bill Bruford” (“Yes”, “King Crimson”) and guitarist “John Goodsall” (“Brand X”). With help of “Trey Gunn” (“King Crimson”), Alvarado released his third album, “2014, Music From An Extended Universe” (2014), which had a slight influence of “King Crimson” and featured percussionist “Jerry Marotta” (“Peter Gabriel”) and the ambient duo “Cyber Zen Sound Engine”. In 2015 Leon Alvarado released a musical short movie entitled “Persistence” and a companion single in CD that included the soundtrack and another of his previous songs as a B side. “Trey Gunn” provided the guitar and bass work on this project. Leon Alvarado’s last release is the album “The Future Left Behind” (2016, Melodic Revolution Records). “The Future Left Behind” is a concept album based on a sci-fi story written by Alvarado. When the environments of Earth are collapsing, the human race is divided in two populations: one departs from the planet to seek a new life in the cosmos; the other remains on Earth, decided to either resolve the situation, or to perish. The story is narrated by Steve Thamer and the CD's booklet features great digital art that supports the plot. Besides Leon Alvarado (keyboards, drums), the record features Billy SherwoodYes”) on guitars, Rick Wakeman (Moog) and Johnny BruhnsCirca:”) on acoustic guitar. Leon Alvarado uses music as a vehicle to entice and free the imagination. He emphasizes instrumental pieces that cover mostly Progressive Rock, but also Ambient, Fusion and Classical genres. His music is based on thick and multi-textural layers of synthesizers, founded on pulsing bass lines and solid straightforward drums, upon which himself and his guests can improvise on solos. His main influences are “Genesis”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Pink Floyd”, “Yes”, “ELP”, “Jethro Tull”, “King Crimson”, “Brian Eno”, “Vangelis”, “Tangerine Dream”, “Camel”, “UK”, “Jean-Luc Ponty”, “Marillion”, “Brand X”, and so on. “The Future Left Behind” has 14 tracks, 6 of which are short narrations, and covers an ample menu of Progressive styles. The story starts on “Preface” (1:15)/“Launch Overture” (6:11), which settles a kind of sci-fi ambience surrounded by a “let’s walk around our solar system” cosmic vibe. The Moog piloted by “Captain Wakeman” is propelled by Sherwood’s intricate guitars, and coupled to space-rocking bass and drums to create a piece influenced by “Yes” and “EL&Powell". "A Voyage” (0:49)/“Journey Into Space” (2:38) blend the Ambient music of “Tangerine Dream” and “Vangelis” with straightforward drums, including Space-church-organ; all merging with the harmonic transcendentalism of “Weightless” (2:24), which has influences of “KC” and “Eno”. “Hard Choices” (0:50)/“The Ones Left Behind” (6:14) is a fantastic Space-Rock on which interplanetary keyboards clash together, driven by a “Roundabout” rhythmic groove and free-flowing guitars! “Life In The Outside” (0:54)/“Among The Stars” (6:04) is an Electronic-Prog piece that brings more influences of “Tangerine Dream”, “Vangelis”, and “Eno”, floating slowly on relaxing tunes that recall “Yes”. The final third is more dynamic, supporting a Fusion-styled guitar solo. “Much Ado About” (0:37)/“In Our Quiet Orbit” (6:37) is a beautiful Symphonic-Prog piece featuring strings, dramatic staccatos, vibraphones and orchestral percussion. The main melody is grandiose, crowned with choirs at the end, having the perfect coda on the acoustic guitar of “To Be Loved” (2:42). The album finishes with “A Silver Lining” (0:39)/“The Star Seekers” (3:28) – the heaviest investment on Electronic-Prog of the album, combining influences of “Tangerine Dream”, “Eno”, “Jean Michel Jarre”, “Alan Parsons” with cosmic synths, cybernetic choirs, organic rocking drums and climatic guitar solos! Leon Alvarado’s “The Future Left Behind” is a great album binding together Progressive Rock and Symphonic Electronic Music in the vein of “Yes”, “King Crimson”, “Brian Eno”, “Vangelis”, “Jean Michel Jarre”, “Alan Parsons”, “Walter/Wendy Carlos”, “Tangerine Dream”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Yanni”, “UK”, “Pink Floyd”, “ELP”, “Genesis”, “Rick Wakeman”, being highly recommendable for fans of these artists. Band members and collaborators involved in Leon Alvarado are: Leon Alvarado – Keyboards, Sequencing, Drums, Percussion, Launch Control Voices, Concept and Compositions. Guests: Billy SherwoodYes”) – Lead & Rhythmic Guitars (except on “To Be Loved”); Rick Wakeman – Moog Solo (“Launch Overture”), Extra Keyboards; Johnny BruhnsCirca:”) – Acoustic Guitar and Co-Writer (“To Be Loved”); Steve Thamer – Narration. Produced & Mixed by Leon Alvarado; Guitar Tracks Produced by Billy Sherwood; Mastered by Andy Jackson at Tube Mastering... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/24/2017............If you want know more about this great musician and songwriter please visit LEON ALVARADO HOME PAGE...
. GRAVITYSAYS_i - "Quantum Unknown"
Gravitysays_i is a Crossover-Prog band that hails from Athens, Greece. The line-up features Manos Paterakis (vocals, santur, guitar), Nikos Retsos (drums, synths), Mampre Kasardjian (bass), Nikos Sotiropoulos (guitar), Costas Stergiou (keyboards), and Vangelis Katsarelis (trumpet). Gravitysays_i was founded in March 2003 by M. Paterakis and N. Retso in Piraeus, with the goal of being a band capable of melding Progressive, Experimental, Electronic, Pop and Mediterranean Folk Music together. The band’s debut album, entitled “The Roughest Sea”  (2007, Sirius), was a concept album inspired on the selfishness, vanity, and isolation of modern man. The music featured a combination of modern Electronic-Pop textures with traditional instruments. The band’s next album, entitled “The Figures of Enormous Grey and The Patterns of Fraud” (2011, Restless Wind), brought the focus onto another themes, such as the rethinking of social values, institutions, and morality, as an extension of individuals towards a collective consciousness. The music on this album searched for more traditional-Mediterranean roots, whereas the use of dark and atmospheric elements became even more intense. Gravitysays_i’s third and latest album, entitled “Quantum Unknown” (2016, Inner Ear Records), was released on both LP and CD. At this time, Gravitysays_i elaborates the concept of "Sciences and Knowledge" (ancient Greek word for “sciences and knowledge”), making an epistemological investigation of Nature under the human point of view. The music has evolved to include more experimental and electronic components than on the first works, yet, retaining the original imprints that make Gravitysays_i to sound so uniquely. Gravitysays_i combines different musical genres and styles in a way that listeners have never heard before. Post-Rock, Electronica, Progressive, Space-Rock and Trip-Hop trends are perfectly blended together, while the use of ancient instruments (such as the santur), side by side with the contemporaneous trumpet, brings elements of Ethno-Mediterranean Music and Jazz, producing an anachronism of sounds that is positively uncanny! The complex arrangements have multiple instrumental layers. Guitars soar on a Post-Rock mattress of delicacy and mellowness, sometimes rising over the music with a psychedelic effect that recalls “Pink Floyd”. Bass is pulsating and hypnotic, sometimes sounding with “Roger Waters’ Floydian” style, other times being vivid and sophisticated, integrated to the arrangements. Synths are cosmic and diaphanous, and contribute to bass and drums to keep a soft Electronic-Organic rhythmic base that covers Pop, Post-Rock, and Greek beats. Paterakis’ vocals are peculiar: deep, haunting and melancholically Gothic, they cause a hypnotic effect on the listener, as they reverberate against a wall of echoing and fuzzy sonic effects. With moods ranging from trippy to transcendental, scholar to pop, the sonic package delivered by Gravitysays_i might be enjoyed by fans of bands as diverse as: “Pink Floyd”, “Dead Can Dance”, “Vangelis”, “Yanni”, “PLJ Band”, “Popol Vuh”, “Ashra”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Frequency Drift”, “Hidria Spacefolk”. “Quantum Unknown” has six tracks. “More Than a Matter of Instinct” (6:19) is an impressive opening track, the initial sounds of which recall a middle fragment of “Pink Floyd’s” mega-song “Echoes”, followed by the encounter of 21st century Electronic music with Mediterranean rhythms and the ethno-sound of the santur; all tempered by cosmic trumpet and Gothic synths, giving birth to a super-Progressive song of the modern times. Track 2 is in fact the reunion of two songs, “Of Woe / Migratory Birds” (9:46): “Of Woe” is dynamically conveyed on echoing Post-Rock motifs that grow steadily faster, speeded up by military drums, and has electric guitars that go on long soaring solos; “… Birds”, on the contrary, is driven by a folky syncopated-pace, disguised with psychedelic guitars and brighter vocal parts. Track 3, “Dowser” (3:16), is kept at a downtempo, has somber vocals, and floats on an eerie atmosphere, darkened even more by a Jazzy trumpet and flugelhorn. It makes a contrast with track 4, “An Ivory Heart” (5:16), which is vivid and danceable, delivered with a popish warm Latin rhythm. Track 5, “Every Man” (6:11), is a beautiful and poignant ballad, mostly delivered in acoustic format, that brings bittersweet male and female vocals; delicate tunes irradiating from classical acoustic guitar; piano; and synthesized string arrangements featuring cello and violin. On the other extreme of the sonic spectrum, the title track “Quantum Unknown (Riveted Eye)” (9:45) closes the album plunging deep into experimentalism: it is a long Space-Psychedelic and Ethno-Electronic saga that mixes introspectiveness, transcendentalism and ancient vibes, recreating with lysergic colors a musical path that has been trailed by “Pink Floyd”, “Brian Eno”, “Popol Vuh” and “Dead Can Dance”! An amazing and innovative band that transcends time and space within its compositions, Gravitysays_i has really impressed and conquered me. “Quantum Unknown” is a wonderful and surprising album – a rare gem that must be immediately checked out by any serious Prog-Rock enthusiast. Indispensable for fans of “Pink Floyd”, “Dead Can Dance”, “Vangelis”, “Yanni”, “PLJ Band”, “Popol Vuh”, “Ashra”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Frequency Drift”, “Hidria Spacefolk”, “Tangerine Dream”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Gravitysays_i are: Manos Paterakis – Lead Vocals, Santur, Lead & Rhythmic Guitars, Classical & 12-String Guitar, Pocket Piano; Nikos Retsos – Drums, Synths, Electronic Percussion, Rhythmic Santur, 12-String Guitar; String Arrangements & Celtic Harp (tr. 5); Mampre Kasardjian - Electric Bass, Backing Vocals; Double Bass (tr. 5); Nikos Sotiropoulos – Lead & Rhythm Guitar; Backing Vocals (tr.5); Costas Stergiou – Keyboards, Backing Vocals, Piano & Strings Sampler Programming (tr. 5); Vangelis Katsarelis – Trumpet; Flugelhorn (tr.3). Additional Musicians: Alekos Georgoulopoulos – Lead Guitar on tracks 1, 2 (“Migratory Birds”) & 6; George Kontogiannis – Cretan Lyre (tr. 5); Peggy Zarrou – Vocals (tr. 5). Music Composed by M. Paterakis & N. Retsos; Arranged by Paterakis, Retsos & Kasardjian. Concept & Lyrics by M. Paterakis. Produced by N. Restos, assisted by M. Paterakis. Recorded, Engineered & Mixed by N. Restos at Wannabizz Studio; Mastered by Giannis Christodoulatos at Sweetspot Mastering Studios. Artwork by Ifigenia Vasiliou. Also you must visit Gravitysays_i's Facebook Site and at SoundCloud Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/24/2017....Want to learn everything about the band, also about their history, you need to visit GRAVITYSAYS_i HOME PAGE...
. SECOND HORIZON - "Albdruck"
Second Horizon is an Instrumental Metal project from Cologne, Germany. The band was founded in 2009 and consists of Maximilian (guitar), Kevin (guitar), Vincent (bass), and Timo (drums). In 2012 the band released an independent debut EP, entitled “Eudaimonia”. On November 4, 2016, Second Horizon released a second EP, entitled “Albdruck”, which is available on physical CD and downloadable digital formats. Mostly inspired by the Instrumental, Progressive, and Experimental aspects of Rock, Second Horizon consciously decided to abandon vocals, in order to experiment a real advance in regard to the sonic, structural and atmospheric nature of collective music-making. In spite of being influenced by different Rock and Metal playing styles, Second Horizon’s main goal is to avoid clichés of those musical genres, at the same time they try to either transpose or narrow the musical frontiers. “Albdruck” represents the eternal cycle of human desires/attempts/failures, which is continuously repeated, without a beginning or an end. It raises the everyday questions that all individuals ask, either to themselves or to others, inside or outside, to sanity or insanity. “Albdruck” features six tracks, which altogether form one single, 30-minute, cyclic piece: a journey to an inner discovery. The sound of Second Horizon is a powerful, compelling and concentrated mix of Metal strains – mainly Experimental, Progressive, and Post-Metal, with incursions to Psychedelic, Thrash, Doom, Sludge and Drone-Metal – which the band performs with total deliverance, emotion, anger, and furious technique! Emotion and feeling are this band’s major distinguishing elements, as all players contribute to create, with their instruments, a structural gradation that is based on changes of mood, atmosphere, texture, heaviness and intensity, creating musical pieces that can tell a story by their own, despite the total lack of lyrics! Although listeners might find influences of “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Meshuggah”, “Opeth”, “Voivod”, “Mastodon”, “Cynic”, “Watchtower”, “Spastic Ink”, “Blotted Science”, “Behold…The Arctopus”, “Russian Circles”, “Sunn O)))”, “Anekdoten”, “Psychotic Waltz”, “Coheed and Cambria”, “Between the Buried and Me”, and “Mudvayne” floating at random on Second Horizon’s torrent of molten metal, it will be the band’s ability to imprint images on one’s cerebral neural frame that will really impact them, conquering fans for the group. My interpretation for “Albdruck” is as follows: “Zucht” (1:32) opens the album with droning sounds and contorted metallic noises, creating an atmosphere of mystery and terror. The dormant mind starts to wake up to life’s shocking reality. The darkness of “Marter” (4:00) reveals an introspective combination of fears, doubts, and inner questions, which arise amidst a profound ocean of melancholic guitars with outbursts of Metal thunderbolts. On “Repression” (8:23), the band furiously pours down onto the listener a collection of ultra-heavy riffs, punching drums and throbbing bass, in a cathartic attempt to liberate the repressed emotions. Then they climb up to a higher emotional level, riding on relaxing guitar sounds that turn later into a daring sequence of amazing Progressive riffs. The band reaches a plain of calmness on the soaring guitar plucking that leads to “Panoptikon” (6:35), which starts with relaxed drums and melodic bass. But this feeling of peace is interrupted by the unexpected (a disappointment, a treason?), and new tormented riffs drive the song to a psychotic path of madness and despair. As savage riffing, thunderous drumming, and torturing sonic effects instill in the listener a feeling of paranoia, he/her must also ask to him/herself – is there a way out from this anguish and pain? The initial bass and climatic guitars that open up “Denunziation” (6:50) indicate that it might be a way to salvation! As the bass performs a meandering melody – as it was divagating about the possible solution – some syncopated guitar riffs announce that time is short, and the climax is near! The music continues, on a pulsing heart-beating pace, growing dramatically in a sonic labyrinth of guitar weird-complexity. The passage of time is counted on the clock-sounding intro of “Wille zur Macht, Lust/Schmerz” (2:56), announcing that it is all over with an explosive and reverberating guitar chord – it is the horror of discovering the truth: there is no way out, unless learning to live with yourself, forever! This track ends with an anguishing droning sound, closing the circle with the first track. The sound of Second Horizon has technical expertise and real emotional deepness, living a profound and permanent mark on the listener’s mind and soul. This band, and their EP “Albdruck”, are greatly recommended for fans of unconventional Metal acts such as: “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Meshuggah”, “Opeth”, “Voivod”, “Mastodon”, “Cynic”, “Russian Circles”, “Watchtower”, “Spastic Ink”, “Blotted Science”, “Behold…The Arctopus”, “Sunn O)))”, “Anekdoten”, “Psychotic Waltz”, “Coheed and Cambria”, “Between the Buried and Me”, “Mudvayne”, “Novembers Doom”, “Primus”, “Megadeth”, “Outopsya”, “The Elephant Parallax”, “Nauticus”, “Dialeto”, “Mahogany Head Grenade”. Band members and collaborators involved in Second Horizon are: Maximilian – Guitar; Kevin – Guitar; Vincent – Bass; Timo – Drums. Written & Recorded by Second Horizon. Drums recorded by Jan Liesefeld. Mixed & Mastered by John Strieder at Magma Studios... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/31/2017...................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit SECOND HORIZON HOME PAGE...
. IRON AGE MYSTICS - "Pride Before The Fall"
Iron Age Mystics are a Hard Rock and Alternative Metal quintet based in Toronto, Canada. The group was born in September 2010 and currently consists of Kevin Connelly (vocals), Allan Wohng (guitars), Chuck Brown (guitars), Clayton Rudy (bass), and Greg Mount (drums). Their music is a blend of dissonant, yet melodious kind of Heavy Rock, conveying lyrics that discuss the problems of our present society. As the band put it into words, they are: “Hard Rock with Political overtones, Funk undertones and limitless energy” that “speaks to the perversity and possibility of present times”. Iron Age Mystics has independently released their debut album, entitled “Pride Before The Fall” (2016), which is available on Digital or CD Limited Edition formats. The sound of Iron Age Mystics is a tightly-wrapped package containing a solid concentration of modern Groovy Hard Rock, Funk-Metal, Grunge, and Alternative Metal with a pinch of Punk attitude. Fronted by the vehement vocals of Kevin Connelly, who spits off acid lyrics against the establishment, Iron Age Mystics are the newest revolutionary start-up power-plants! If one follows the lines of convergence that bring together basic-rockers “Rolling Stones”, “Guns n’ Roses”; seminal “Led Zeppelin”; Grungy “Pearl Jam”, “Alice In Chains”, “Nirvana”, “Soundgarden”, “Queens Of The Stone Age”; groovy “Red Hot Chili Peppers”, “Rage Against The Machine”, “Jane’s Addiction”, “Living Colour”; and “Deftones” and “Dead Kennedys”, then he/she might find Iron Age Mystics sitting on the hub. By listening to “Pride Before The Fall”, the listener immediately realizes that Iron Age Mystics is one of those bands with too much to say, but with few time to waste: In 39 minutes, the band fires out a series of eleven straightforward punching songs, giving no time for listeners to take a breath. The title-track “Pride Before The Fall” (3:34) opens the album with violent riffs, fast rhythms, and a Punk-Rock deliverance on bass; slowing it down to the rocking swing of “Save It For The Revolution” (4:20) – a kind of muscular “Rolling Stones”. Then come, together in a row, “The Great Divide” (3:17) and “Down Deep” (4:03) – two of the grooviest songs, driven by greasy bass lines and funk-rocking riffs, and potent emotional vocals that will make the party of fans of “Led Zeppelin”, “Rage Against The Machine”, “Red Hot Chili Peppers”, and “Living Colour”. “Down Deep” is underlined by a contagious line of percussion. Yet, track five, “Information Outlaw” (2:23), is directed for fans of “Pearl Jam” and “Soundgarden”. It precedes the inventive “Thought Police” (4:01) – an Alternative Hard-Rock and Post-Metal hybrid that combines riffs like “Deftones” with chorus in “Guns n’ Roses” style. More Grunge “grunginess” is poured down on the Heavy Rock “While You Were Asleep” (3:28) – with influences of “Pearl Jam”, “Alice In Chains”, and “QOTSA”; while a bit of experimentalism and more technical prowess are tried on the crooked lines of “Never Enough” (2:49). Nearing the end, Iron Age Mystics present their two most important songs – those that will ever be demanded during any of their future live gigs: the pulsing politicians-demolition “Big, Bad Motherfucker” (2:54) – which includes some overdubs of a speech by Senator Bernie Sanders – and the bombastic super-groovy “You've Got The Power” (4:41)! To finish this energetic album with a bit of sensibility, Iron Age Mystics composed the ballad “What Ya' Gonna Do About It?” (4:23), which features a nice gospel chorus accompanied by bluesy organ. Although Iron Age Mystics will be categorized neither as a Progressive act, nor as a Prog-Metal outfit, their sound is consistent, powerful and contagious! The ideal band to heat-up the show of any big-rock headliner in Toronto! Iron Age Mystics, and their debut album “Pride Before The Fall”, will surely conquer many fans in the near future, being at this very moment highly recommendable for fans of “Rolling Stones”, “Guns n’ Roses”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Pearl Jam”, “Alice In Chains”, “Nirvana”, “Foo Fighters”, “Soundgarden”, “Queens Of The Stone Age”, “Rage Against The Machine”, “Red Hot Chili Peppers”, “Living Colour”, “Dead Kennedys”, “Deftones”, “Eddie Vedder”, “Stone Temple Pilots”, “Jane’s Addiction”, “Audioslave”, “Iggy Pop”. Band members and collaborators involved in Iron Age Mystics are: Members: Kevin Connelly – Vocals, Keyboards (tr. 10); Allan Wohng – Guitars (except on tr. 2, 7, 11); Chuck Brown – Guitars (tr. 2, 7, 11); Clayton Rudy – Bass, Keyboards (tr. 5); Greg Mount – Drums (except on tr. 2, 7, 11), Keyboards (tr. 6). Additional Musicians: Alexander Tukatsch – Drums (on tracks 2, 7, 11), Percussion (tr. 4); Kevin Saulnier – Keyboards (tr. 11). Backing Vocals: Kevin Connelly & Tanya Godinho (tr. 11); Allan Wohng (tr. 2, 9). Spoken Voices: Overdubs Senator Bernie Sanders, with especial permission by his Office (tr. 9); Shawn Devlin, “The News Anchor” (tr. 9); Vincent de Tourdonnet, “The French Revolutionary” quoting “Stephane Hessel” (tr. 5); Kevin Connelly quoting “Sharon English” (tr. 2) and “Henry David Thoreau” (tr. 7). All songs written by Iron Age Mystics; All Lyrics by Kevin Connelly. Recorded at Verge Music Lab, Toronto, Engineered by Dan Meery (tr. 1, 3-6, 8-10) at BAHM Studios, Toronto, and by Alexander Tukatsch (tr. 2, 7, 11). All songs Mixed by Bill Bell, Bill Bell Music; Mastered by Phil Demetro at The Lacquer Channel. Artwork by Giselle Silvestri; Design by Mariana Grezova. Also you must visit Iron Age Mystics's Reverbnation Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/31/2017................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit IRON AGE MYSTICS HOME PAGE...
. Ph2 - "Empreintes"
Ph2 is a French Progressive Rock project that spawned from the long friendship between two musicians, both named Philippe (hence, Ph2): Philippe Moati (guitars, keyboards, bass) and Philippe Mercier (drums, percussion). The songs are written by Philippe Moati, but Philippe Mercier also likes to contribute, by adding to Moati’s compositions something of his own. The duo does not perform alone, and includes a varied number of guest musicians on each of Ph2’s works. The project’s discography counts with four albums: “Portraits de Famille” (1996), “Une Vie” (2002), “Empreintes” (2011, distributed by Muséa Records), and “20 Years After” (2016). At the beginning, the Ph2 duo was mostly influenced by the music of “Genesis”, “Yes”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Kansas”, “Mike Oldfield”, and “Peter Gabriel”. But their palette of influences steadily grew up, with the incorporation of references coming from academic composers like “Prokofiev”, “Shostakovich” and “Stravinsky”, and the discovery of modern Progressive bands, like “The Flower Kings”, “Kaïpa”, “Ritual”, and others. Ph2’s pieces are mostly instrumental, marked by a symphonic approach to the Neo-Classic/Contemporary trends. The duo is self-demanding, and makes efforts to be authentic, emotional and original, and also to get pleasure from their own compositions. As a consequence, Ph2’s music is rather “difficult” to grasp, being not destined for mass consumption! Ph2 shares their music online, and hope to have a feedback from all listeners! The following review is about Ph2’s 2011 album, entitled “Empreintes”. Besides Moati (keyboards, guitars, and bass) and Mercier (electronic percussion), the album features guest musicians Serge Kakon (bass on one track), and singers Marianne Hatchuel and Mathias Denain (in fact, on “Empreintes”, Ph2 made use of vocals for the first time). “Empreintes” has a strong Electronic orientation, with the multiple rhythmic layers being synthetically produced. Some synths, keyboards and guitars irradiate melodic and delicate tunes that are arranged in sensitive symphonic patterns. The bass is an important instrument on Ph2’s music, being both rhythmic and melodic, leaning to a Prog-style that is similar to “Chris Squire’s” bass playing. As a consequence, the sound shares great resemblance with the most melodic and soaring music of “Yes”. But some pieces approach the instrumentation of “Genesis” (resembling the albums “Wind and Wuthering” and “And Then There Were Three”). In general, the music of “Empreintes” also resembles some works of “Flower Kings” and “Kaipa”, with rhythmic structures reminiscent of Swedish band “Ritual” (but never as aggressive), immersed in a deep Electronic ambience and delivered with great dynamics and good vibes. “Empreintes” has 12 tracks. Between the symphonic intro “Ouverture” (1:25) and the closing track, “Fermeture” (1:28) (two instrumental pieces with influences of “Genesis”), and around the intermission “Théâtre” (1:12) (a French electronic-folk piece), Ph2 presents to us a series of musical experiments with different degrees of Progressive contents. The duo emphasizes rhythms and swing on the Electronic-Funk “Rythme” (6:13) (which is closer to “Daft Punk” than to Prog), and fuses World Music with daring Progressive cadences on “Futur Intérieur” (6:43) – an instrumental piece that offers Afro-tambours, clean solos of Flamenco guitars, and “soundtracky” church organ (ideal for fans of “Mike Oldfield” or “Peter Gabriel”). Ph2 goes still better on the duo’s first experiments with vocals – a perfect choice to turn the music more “organic”. “Le Rêve Américain” (7:49), with Marianne Hatchuel on the lead vocals, is a Progressive song that evolves from a dreamy atmosphere (marked by symphonic neo-classical arrangements filled with sensitive and romantic tunes) to an intense drama (marked by an American-styled groovy rocking guitar, and Marianne’s spirited voice). “TGV Blues” (8:09), with Mathias Denain on the lead, is a melancholic song driven by a soft vocal theme, which is followed successively by acoustic guitars, warm Latin percussion and organ; growing from middle to end, as the instrumentation gains more electric guitars. Also “La Main Invisible” (3:55) makes use of the voice, but not as a singing instrument. On this experimental track, Ph2 combines a sinister voice on a speech with the shouting people of a manifestation, opposed to a menacing rhythmic background the recalls the music of “Art Zoyd”. The four remaining tracks are instrumental pieces that showcase Ph2’s strongest Progressive facet. “Clara” (7:45) combines “Yes”-like bass signatures with soaring  melodies, conveying them on joyful Asian rhythms; and “Le Retour du Ouf” (10:28), also strongly influenced by “Yes”, is a pleasant collage of soaring themes that pass from guitars to keyboards on, interspersed to rhythmic sounds and electronic-futuristic synths, advancing slowly to an spiritual domain. “Et Depuis Ils Sont Trois” (4:56) – featuring Serge Kakon’s powerful bass – sounds like a revisit to “Genesis”, under Ph2’s electronic-rhythmic scope. Finally, “Le Ouf Medley” (3:41) is a keyboard-oriented piece that pays a wonderful homage to mid-70’s Prog-Rock, making allusions to songs of “Genesis”, “Yes”, and “Kansas” (e.g. “Awaken”, “Riding the Scree”, “Magnum Opus”). In sum, “Empreintes” is a brilliant album, specially recommended for Progressive consumers that do not mind having a substantial Electronic-rhythmic base supporting their Progressive menu. For listeners searching for more organic music, I suggest that they turn to Ph2’s surprising fourth album, “20 Years After” (2016), which will be reviewed at PR&PM soon. Ph2’s “Empreintes” are specially recommended for fans of “Genesis”, “Yes”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Air”, “Daft Punk”, “Jean Michel Jarre”, “Echo Us”, “Tangerine Dream”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Ph2 are: Philippe Moati – Keyboards, Guitars, Bass; Philippe Mercier – Electronic Percussion. Additional Musicians & Guests: Marianne Hatchuel – Vocals; Mathias Denain – Vocals; Serge Kakon – Bass on “Et Depuis Ils Sont Trois”. (S. Kakon & D. Elkaïm contributed to the compositions “Le Retour du Ouf” & “Le Ouf Medley”). Produced by Ph. Moati & Ph. Mercier... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/31/2017...................................,Want to learn everything about the band and their music, you need to visit PH2 HOME PAGE...
. LABIRINTO - "Gehenna"
Labirinto – the most famous Post-Metal band from Brazil – is back to PR&PM! Labirinto makes Instrumental and Experimental Music that blends Post-Rock and Post-Metal with elements of Folk and Progressive Rock. Labirinto was formed in the city of São Paulo around the year 2003 and has been regarded as the leading Post-Rock act in Brazil ever since. Labirinto has constructed a solid career abroad, by touring extensively in Europe, Canada, and the U.S.A. Labirinto was the first South American group to be invited (twice) to perform at the prestigious “Dunk! Festival” in Belgium. Labirinto’s live performances highlight the “soundtracky” nature of their music with the projection of psychedelic images on the background, turning each show into a shocking audio-visual experience! Inspired by names such as “Godspeed You! Black Emperor” and “Isis”, Labirinto has been already compared to “I Like Trains”, “Nadja”, and “Stephen O’Malley”; and has shared stage with Post-Rock icons “God Is An Astronaut”, “MONO”, “Alcest”, “Year Of No Light”, “Stephen O’Malley”, “Mouse On The Keys”, and “The Ocean”, with whom Labirinto shares a sonic resemblance. The band also fits in the same style of “Lis Er Stile”, “Ana Never”, “Aythis”, “Kauan”, “Maïak”, “Neko Nine”, “Secoya”, “Sleepstream”, “Steams”, “Mogwai”, “Explosions in the Sky”, and so on. Labirinto’s recordings have been supported by foreign labels ConSouling Sounds (Belgium), Oxide Tones (Germany), Pirate Ship Records (U.S.A.); and by Brazilian Dissenso Records, which released the compilation “DIS1 – New Experimental Music” (2008); the EPs “Etéreo” (2009) and “Kadjwynh” (2012); the split-album “Labirinto & thisquietarmy” (2013); the single “Masao” (2014); and the acclaimed first full-length album “Anatema” (2010) – which was reissued and featured at PR&PM as “Best Album of March 2015”! Labirinto’s newest full-length album is called “Gehenna”. It was released in Brazil on Dissenso Records (2016) and worldwide on Pelagic Records (2017). The record was engineered by Billy Anderson (“Amenra”, “Melvins”, “Neurosis”, “Fantômas”, “Swans”) and is available on both digital and physical formats – the later, presented on Digipack CD and on a Double Orange-Colored Vinyl limited edition. The line-up features Erick Cruxen (guitars, effects), Ricardo P. Cabral (bass), Luis Naressi (synths) and Muriel Curi (drums), also having guest participations of Heitor Fujinami (violin), Vitor Visoná (cello) and Richard Ribeiro (percussion); and a special guest participation of Belgium guitarist Mathieu Vandekerckhove (“Amenra”, “Syndrome”, “Kingdom”) – coauthoring and performing the track “Locrus”. “Gehenna” has 10 instrumental tracks, which are chained one to the other. The music is dense, impacting and emotionally intense, based on the interaction of two main layers of guitars – one is deep, heavy, powerful, and aggressive, made of odd-metrical riffs, splayed on the bottom of the arrangements – the other is light, tremble, ethereal, and atmospheric, built of melodic and hypnotic humming sounds that have a relaxing effect on the listener. Those two layers react to each other, forming unusual symphonic patterns, with the impressive percussion moving in between them. The moods change from melancholic, gloomy, and trippy, to vengeful and epic. The album starts with “Mal Sacré” (7:05), which is heavy and tribal, but also fast and dynamic; towering over the listener with great power, like an engulfing tsunamic wave that floods into “Enoch” (3:33) – on which a violent sequence of Post-Metal riffs smashes the listener to the ground with the strength of the telluric forces that have molded the very Earth! All this energy is dissipated on soundscapes of despair, on “Qumran” (2:45). And “Aung Suu” (6:40) rises from the minimalism to grandeur, as Cthulhu itself had risen from the primeval sea to take humankind to an astonishing extinction! The alternation of ethereal and bombastic sonic parts is made with mastery by Labirinto, being further perfected on “Locrus” (6:33) – which is dominated by melancholic bass and soaring guitars that blow on the desolation, exploding later on riffs and percussion of symphonic magnitude! “Locrus” has its continuation on the crepuscular “Avernus” (5:17); and on the sad and soft “Aludra” (3:23). The last three tracks make the climax of the album. Starting with the vigorous, epic, and vengeful “Alamüt” (5:55) – which comes over the listener with the wrath of an army of ancient mythological warriors – Labirinto leaves everyone in suspension, waiting for the final attack, which comes on the reverberating “Q’yth-El” (7:25) – driven by a super-aggressive riff that grows on a crescendo, until plunging the whole world into Nyarlathotep’s chaos, and infecting the last track: “Gehenna” (11:58) – a symphonic Post-Rock opera-prima, a piece that progresses as a majestic march of universal conquer, conveyed on martial drums and dramatic guitars that blow like apocalyptical trumpets! All in all, Labitinto’s album “Gehenna” is an impressive work that surpasses the Post Rock/Post Metal standards, consisting in a highly recommendable item for fans of: “Godspeed You! Black Emperor”, “Isis”, “I Like Trains”, “Nadja”, “Stephen O’Malley”, “God Is An Astronaut”, “MONO”, “Alcest”, “Year Of No Light”, “The Ocean”, “Lis Er Stile”, “Ana Never”, “Aythis”, “Kauan”, “Maïak”, “Sleepstream”, “Neko Nine”, “Secoya”, “Steams”, “Mogwai”, “Explosions In The Sky”. Labirinto is touring around Europe to divulge “Gehenna”. Check this band out if they get close to you. They promise to be quite an experience! Band members and collaborators involved in Labirinto are: Erick Cruxen – Guitars, Effects; Ricardo P. Cabral – Bass; Luis Naressi – Synths; Muriel Curi – Drums; Felipe Luis Freitas – Guitars (Live). Guest Musicians: Heitor Fujinami – Violin; Vitor Visoná – Cello (both on “Aludra” & “Gehenna”); Richard Ribeiro – Percussion. Special Guest: Mathieu Vandekerckhove – Guitar (on “Locrus”). Artwork by Manuel Augusto Dischinger Moura. All tracks Recorded & Mixed July 2015-June 2016 at Dissenso Studio (São Paulo, Brazil) & Everything Hz Studio (Portland, U.S.A.). Engineered by Billy Anderson & Muriel Curi (most tracks), and Muriel Curi & Martin Guderle (“Q’yth-El”). Mastered by Mauricio Gargel. All songs by Erick Cruxen, except “Locrus” (by M. Vandekerckhove & M. Curi). Produced by E. Cruxen & M. Curi. Arranged by Labirinto... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/31/2017..............................................,.....Interested to know more about this brazilian Band? Visit LABIRINTO HOME PAGE...
. BORN OF SCARS(BOS) - "Circles"
Born Of Scars (a.k.a. BOS) is a Female-Fronted Heavy-Rock band based in Queens, NY. Born Of Scars has been delivering their own brand of Modern Hard-Rock and Heavy Metal for the last four years. The band has performed at The Bamboozle Festival; and has opened for national acts like “Fuel”, “Tantric”, and many others. BOS presently consists of Victoria Parkin (vocals), Pietro Sirianni (guitars, keyboards, vocals), Nicky G. (bass, vocals), and Steve Papa (drums). BOS is currently promoting the self-produced EP, entitled “Circles” (2016), which is available on both CD and digital formats. The sound of Born Of Scars is a riff-based, heavy and compact amalgamate of powerful Metal guitars with Modern Hard-Rock groovy bass, tightly compressed inside a New-Metal / Industrial drumming matrix, fronted by a wild and big-voiced female singer; packaged together to be energetically delivered to the audiences with high professional skills. With influences of bands like: “Tool”, “Lamb of God”, “Iron Maiden”, “Nine Inch Nails”, “Flyleaf”, “Paramore”, “Alice in Chains”, “Deftones”, “Evanescence”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Rush” – but also resembling “Heart”, “Doro Pesch”, “Synergy”, “Kobra And The Lotus”,  “Lacuna Coil”, “Those We Don’t Speak Of”, “Huntress”, “Eyes Set To Kill”, “The Animal In Me” and so on – Born Of Scars aims to “destroy all previously recorded songs”, and invites the listener to “watch the destruction firsthand”, by listening to the five songs of the band’s EP. And BOS might be right! This band is dangerous to the unarmed listener, causing instant addiction to their groovy riffs, powerful rhythmic deliverance, and, above all, the unquenched will of hearing to Victoria Parkin’s powerful, angry, and catchy vocals, over and over again! From times to times, guitarist-keyboardist Pietro Sirianni fills the interstices with the right doses of Metal-styled solos, which will speak eloquently to the head-bangers in the crowd! “Circles” starts with the demolition-track “Conquer The Storm” (4:01), on which BOS shows big credentials, by combining dazzling Prog-Metal riffs and groovy bass to build up a dense wall of sound that cradles Victoria’s mezzo-soprano voice. Her singing brings malice of her own, even when compared to “Amy Lee’s” (“Evanescence”), “Kobra Paige’s” (“Kobra And The Lotus”), or “Cristina Scabbia’s” (“Lacuna Coil”). The next song, “Cradle To Grave” (3:15), is a rocking Modern Hard-Rock, short-cut for Alternative Radio format. Yet, “Stay Away” (3:58) combines weighty New-Metal drums anchored by deep lines of bass and groovy guitar riffs, alternating them with some atmospheric vocal parts, being crowned by a distorted solo on guitar. “Open Your Eyes” (3:31) is a swinging and contagious Hard Rock that escapes to the Heavy Alternative mode, also having melodic vocal lines (sung with great passion by Victoria) and a supportive layer of great harmony guitars (ideal for fans of “Paramore” or “Flyleaf”). To finish this accelerated EP, the band returns to the swinging Heavy-Rock on “Dying By 9” (3:05), a song that also contains modern electronic beats, a bridge of punching guitar riffs, and hooks that precede some sticky vocal chorus! Born Of Scars has everything necessary for a great band to go forwards: an experienced and coherent guitarist; a competent, solid, and groovy rhythmic section; and a talented, spirited, charismatic (and beautiful) female singer. With enhanced production and a couple of longer, more complex songs, this band will gain visibility, and will conquer a relevant place in the modern scene of Female-Fronted Hard-Rock and Metal bands! Born Of Scars and their EP “Circles” are highly recommendable for fans of “Tool”, “Lamb of God”, “Nine Inch Nails”, “Flyleaf”, “Paramore”, “Alice in Chains”, “Deftones”, “Evanescence”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Heart”, “Doro Pesch”, “Synergy”, “Kobra And The Lotus”,  “Lacuna Coil”, “Those We Don’t Speak Of”, “Huntress”, “Eyes Set To Kill”, “The Animal In Me”, “Xandria”, and others like them. Band members and collaborators involved in Born Of Scars (a.k.a. BOS) are: Victoria Parkin – Vocals; Pietro Sirianni – Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals; Nicky G. – Bass, Vocals; Steve Papa – Drums. Recorded at Vudu Studios. Engineered by Tom Happel and Frank Mitaritonna. Artwork and Photos by Mike Mazzurco. Produced by Born Of Scars and Mike Watts. Also you must visit Born Of Scars's Facebook Site and Also you must visit Born Of Scars's Reverbnation Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/31/2017..........................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit BORN OF SCARS (BOS) HOME PAGE...
. ADRIAN WEISS - "Criminal Record"
The German-based guitarist Adrian Weiss (player for Metal bands “Thought Sphere”, “Forces At Work”, “Gloryful”) is back to PR&PM to promote his third solo album, entitled “Criminal Record”! Adrian Weiss has already released the albums “Big Time” (2011) and “Easy Game” (2014), which were featured at PR&PM in 2012 and 2014, respectively. After the release of “Big Time”, Weiss formed a support band, consisting of Marcel Willnat (bass) and Lars Zehner (drums), to perform his music both live and in studio. The trio is back on “Criminal Record” (December, 2016), the third independent solo album by Adrian Weiss, which is available on both CD and digital formats. As the two previous albums, “Criminal Record” contains a selection of Guitar-oriented Instrumental pieces the cover the styles of Metal, Neo-Classical, Fusion, Metal-Fusion, and Progressive-Metal, strongly influenced by guitarists such as: “Alex Skolnick”, “Jason Becker”, “Marty Friedman”, “Joe Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, “Scott Henderson”, “Montrose”, “Chastain”, “Steve Stevens”, “Tonny MacAlpine”, “Greg Howe”, “Vinnie Moore”, “Joey Tafolla“, “Marc Bonilla“, “Jeff Beck”, “Gary Moore”, “Y. Malmsteen”; and projects, such as “Cacophony”, “MCM”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “California Guitar Trio”, “Niacin”, “Bozzio Levin Stevens”, and “CAB”. “Criminal Record” brings nine compositions, which were performed mostly by Adrian Weiss and his band; but some tracks also feature participation of a few guest musicians (see below). On this third album, Adrian Weiss has perfected his technique, refined even more his playing and improvising abilities, and, most important, amplified his creativity as an instrumental composer. Even though Weiss has shared his duty with monster-bassist Marcel Willnat (who has written two of the album’s titles), I can say that he has completely mastered the use of the guitar, reaching the perfect balance between melody, sensibility, and technique, in any given style. By counting on Willnat’s impressive groovy bass, and Lars Zehner’s powerful rumbling drums (which are totally devoted to the task of making these tracks to resound with “earthquake-force”); and with worthy contributions by guitarists such as Tom “Fountainhead” Geldschläger (ex-“Obscura”), Michael Dietz (“Warrant”), Jen Majura (“Evanescence”), and more, “Criminal Record” stands as the best album unleashed by Adrian Weiss so far. Fans of Instrumental Metal-Fusion will be amazed by the powerful and compelling music that comes out of this album. “Criminal Record” starts with the trio striking the listener with the straightforward impact of “Bird Hair Day” (3:41) – an instrumental Hard-Rock stuffed with wah-wah guitar effects, conveyed on a swinging rhythm that propels two extraordinary solos – one, crafted with technique and sentiment; the other, accelerated and frantic, melding with the first (for fans of "Satriani”, “Montrose”, “Henderson”). “Beguiled (The Fanboy)” (5:32) is a great Fusion-Metal piece driven by acrobatic Funky-Metal bass, matched by complex drums and crushing guitars (like “Greg Howe”, “Niacin”, “CAB”). The trio still unleashes: “Anticipatory Obedience” (5:11), which makes part of the Oriental Trilogy initiated with “Egyptian Inscription” (first album) and “Camel’s Dance” (second album), featuring serpent-coiling bass, heavy spellbound guitars, and drums that follow the caravan up; and “The Dorian Way” (3:57) – an experiment with Dorian scales and triad-based Jazz-Fusion improvisation that results in a sensitive and captivating melody. Things get still better when bassist Marcel Willnat begins to co-write the compositions, and the guest musicians start to join in. So, “Everything´s Gonna Be Alright” (6:12) alternates from Funky-Fusion to Hard-Rock jamming. Few guitar overdubs were used on this track to retain a live atmosphere. The highlights go for drummer Lars Zehner, and for guest guitarists Michael Dietz (“Warrant”) and Niels “Sponny” Loeffler (who plays bass on “Orden Ogan”, but can also play a hellish guitar!). “Bassment Laughter” (4:53) – also mostly written by Willnat, with leads added by Weiss – is a slow-paced Progressive piece on which Weiss improvises a melody that blends magnificently with an eerie solo by Tom Geldschläger on the fretless guitar! The album’s most bombastic pieces lean to the Prog-Metal style. “Three Wishes” (6:51), in spite of its melodic intro, keeps a groovy malevolent rhythm while Weiss plays a monologue with his guitar. But when Stephan Weber (“Rebattered”) steps in, the conversation grows to a fantastic guitar-dialogue; and when keyboardist Jimmy Pitts (“Pitts/Minnemann Project”) joins the duo, all evolves to an eloquent “trialogue”! “Completely Cut Loose” (3:16) is based on Jen Majura’s video-demonstration for an amplifiers manufacturer. Weiss took her main riff and developed it as a complete piece, by adding guitar leads to it. The result is a compact Metal piece that concentrates tribal drums, thrashing bass, and wild guitar solos! Finally, the title-track “Criminal Record” (7:51) was kept for the grand finale – an Epic-Prog-Metal that cradles insane guitar solos, hammering smashing drums, and thunderous devious bass – an encouragement for the “neck-braking practice” by head-bangers worldwide! No doubt that “Criminal Record”, with its collection of great guitar-oriented Metal-Fusion standards, will put more fans on the trail of Adrian Weiss. Indispensable for fans of “Jason Becker”, “Marty Friedman”, “Joe Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, “Scott Henderson”, “Alex Skolnick”, “Paul Gilbert”, “Tonny MacAlpine”, “Greg Howe”, “Vinnie Moore”, “Joey Tafolla”, “Marc Bonilla”, “David Chastain”, “Ronnie Montrose”, “Joe Bonamassa”, “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Cacophony”, “LTE”, “CAB”, “California G-Trio”, “MCM”, “Niacin”, “Bozzio Levin Stevens”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Adrian Weiss are: Adrian Weiss – Guitar; Marcel Willnat – Bass; Lars Zehner – Drums. Guest Musicians: Stephan WeberAxxis”, “Lion Twin”, “Rebattered”) – Guitar Solo (5:02-5:40) & Jimmy PittsEternity’s End”, “Christian Münzner”, “Fractured Dimension”, “Pitts/Minnemann Project”) – Keyboard Solo (5:46-6:18), both on “Three Wishes”; Michael DietzWarrant”, “Monstagon”) – First Guitar Solo (2:36-3:07) & Niels “Sponny” LoefflerOrden Ogan”) – Second Guitar Solo (5:12-5:41), both on “Everything´s Gonna Be Alright”; Jen Majura (ex-“Equilibrium”, “Evanescence”) – Rhythm Guitar on “Completely Cut Loose”; Tom “Fountainhead” Geldschläger – Fretless Guitar Solo (3:22-4:05) on “Bassment Laughter”. Recorded & Mixed Feb-May 2016 at Stigma-Studios in Hilden, Germany. Produced, Recorded, Engineered & Mixed by Tim Schulte. Additional Recording by Sven Hansen & Tim Meyburg. Mastered by Eroc at EMR. Art Direction, Photos & Artwork by Björn GooBes. Also you must visit Adrian Weiss's BandCamp Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/31/2017................If you want know more about this great musician and songwriter please visit ADRIAN WEISS HOME PAGE...
. BUGENHAGEN - "Bu:gen’heigen"
Bugenhagen is a new Progressive Rock band hailing from Saint Bees, Cumbria, U.K. The line-up consists of founder member John Turpin (vocals, guitar and keyboards), Paul Fligg (drums), and Dave Rule (bass), who has recently joined in. Turpin has named the band after a character of the horror-movie “The Omen”. Bugenhagen was originally formed as a “Pink Floyd” tribute band, and now also performs its own repertoire of modern Progressive-Rock songs. Bugenhagen is working to expand itself beyond the local domain, by performing as often as possible around the U.K. In this manner, Bugenhagen hopes to attract a fan-base of “people who still appreciate music with a bit of thought behind it.” To divulge the music, Bugenhagen released the independent demo-EP called “Bu:gen’heigen” (2016). According to Turpin, the response to the EP has been positive: the CD is selling, and international radio stations are playing it. “Bu:gen’heigen” brings five original songs, in a style the can be tagged as “Melodic Rock with Progressive leanings”. The sound of Bugenhagen is mostly influenced by “Pink Floyd” and “Marillion” (with “Hogarth”), with some passages being also influenced by “Genesis”, “Steven Wilson”, “Porcupine Tree”, “It Bites”, “Rush” and “Muse”. But there are also acoustic parts that recall the pastoral style of “Moody Blues” and “Barclay James Harvest”. They shock against moments of British-styled Indie, Alternative and Melodic Rock, causing a nice contrasting effect that enhances Bugenhagen’s sonority. Turpin’s vocals are tuneful, pleasant and emotional – ideal to add a catchy melodic hook to Bugenhagen’s songs. His guitar riffs, coupled to Fligg’s cool drumming, and groovy bass lines, are responsible for the straightforward component of Bugenhagens’s music. But Turpin’s guitar solos are spirited, melodic, crafted and long, speaking more to the heart than to the brains, having influences of “David Gilmour” and “Steve Rothery”. The keyboards are totally “Neo-Proggy” and come both as imposing synths and as classic piano. It is in this switch from down-to-earth Rock to more complex Prog-patterns that dwells the strongest point of Bugenhagen: the band can stand on the frontier of two musical worlds, pleasing listeners on both sides of the fence; neither sounding too much pretentious for plain Rock lovers, nor being too much superficial for the most exigent Prog-fans. In sum: Crossover Progressive Rock at its best! The EP “Bu:gen’haigen” opens with the straightforward “Without You By My Side” (4:15), which starts with the introspectiveness of “Marillion” (with “Hogarth”), changing later to a higher energetic level with the coming of power-riffs in Indie Rock style and quasi-romantic chorus, also offering a Melodic-Rock guitar solo. The second track is a better example of Bugenhagen’s musical strategy: “But In This Changing House” (5:28) is a perfect crossover of two different musical worlds. This amazing song begins like something created in a foggy nightclub of London in the early ‘80s – with slow-pulsing techno-beats, fuzzy guitars, groovy bass and drums, immersed in a dark/psychedelic atmosphere; then comes a “Floydian” guitar solo that steers the song to the unexpected, surprising the listener when the darkness is dissolved by imposing synths that instill a “Neo-Prog” grandeur in the end! The Progressive mood of “But In …” is outstretched to “The Greatest Of Them All” (6:19), which is marked by a change of textures, with the introduction of the piano, symphonic chords, and acoustic guitars, which transform this song in a catchy ballad (recalling “Marillion” + “Hogarth” and “Barclay James Harvest”). It finishes with beautiful guitar solo, crowned with soaring arpeggios! The long “On The Beach” (9:08) – delivered in Progressive electro-acoustic format – conveys nostalgic feelings on vocals, and covers different instrumental atmospheres and influences (from “Marillion” and “Barclay James” to “Floyd”), concentrating great emotion on the guitar solos. The EP finishes with “Reckless” (4:57) – a folk-rock resembling some provincial ballads of “Moody Blues” and “Paul McCartney”. Overall, the EP “Bu:gen’heigen” contains songs that you will like to listen over and over again, consisting in a nice start for Bugenhagen to present themselves as an original band. As long as their repertoire grows, the production enhances, and the fan base gets larger (what I think it really will), Bugenhagen will gradually augment their potential, until becoming an expressive act of both Alternative and Prog-Rock scenes. Bugenhagen is highly recommendable for fans of “Pink Floyd”, “Marillion” (with “Hogarth”), “Genesis”, “Steven Wilson”, “Porcupine Tree”, “It Bites”, “Rush”, “Muse”, “Frost*”, “Kiama”, “Unitopia”, “Moody Blues”, “Barclay James Harvest”, “Beatles”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Bugenhagen are: John Turpin – Vocals, Guitar, Programming, Lyrics, Compositions; Dave Rule – Bass; Paul Fligg – Drums. Daneo Duran – Performing Bassist on the EP “Bu:gen’heigen”. Produced by John Turpin. Drums recorded at The Music Farm by Lee Schackley; Mastered by Lee Schackley... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/31/2017.............................;..Want to learn everything about the band and its members, goes to BUGENHAGEN HOME PAGE...
. SYNERGY PROTOCOL - "Odd To Get Even"
Synergy Protocol is a Dutch Female-Fronted Progressive Metal band. Synergy Protocol is the brainchild of bass player Wim Smits, an experienced musician who has been acting around Europe since the ‘80s. At first he joined “Sword”, which later became “Jewel”. In 1991 he left “Jewel” to join “Zarathustra”. In that time he enhanced his writing skills; became interested in Progressive Music; and grew the ambition of forming a Prog-Metal band. Smits founded Synergy Protocol in 1997. A short-lived version of the band existed from 2004 to 2005, but broke up. In 2006 Smits met guitarist Maarten Heeringa (a.k.a. Big M), who joined in the project. As time went by, songs piled up. In 2013, they put an advertisement on a music site that attracted drummer Patrick van Mourik, who brought together guitarist/vocalist Mark Roelofs. After the arrival of lead singer Laura Guldemond, Synergy Protocol went on the road and performed over 40 shows (9 of them in the UK), including two – in P60 (Amstelveen) and in De Boerderij (Zoetermeer) – as a support band for “Stream of Passion”. After the tour, Laura Guldemond departed unexpectedly. She was replaced by another Laura – the talented Laura Martínez – former lead singer for Spanish Prog-Metal band “Shadows Theory”, who had come to The Netherlands to take private Jazz singing lessons. With her, Synergy Protocol managed to release their first full-length album, “Odd To Get Even” (2016, Independent). The CD comes in a deluxe digipack edition with booklet and exclusive artwork, and has 8 tracks. For a band that gives as primary influences “Toto”, “Anastacia”, “Dream Theater”, and “Rammstein”, Synergy Protocol sounds more experimental than eclectic! But once one’s brain-switch is turned on to the proper mode, one begins to understand their music, and even to appreciate it! Synergy Protocol delivers long compositions based on a byzantine labyrinth of meandering arrangements, complex instrumental interlocking, unexpected changes of pace, and weird melodies; all shadowed by dark atmospheres; guided by Wim’s pulsing bass and driven by a fantastic and spirited singer! Laura Martínez ranks with “Leather Leone” (“Chastain”), “Cristina Scabbia” (“Lacuna Coil”), “Kobra Paige” (“Kobra And The Lotus”), “Kimberly Goss” (“Sinergy”), “Magali Luyten” (“Ayreon”), “Lzzy Hale” (“Halestorm”), and “Sara Löfgren” (“TWDSO”); but she can also be as sensitive as: “Marcela Bovio” (“Stream Of Passion”), “Simone Simons” (“Epica”), and “Anette Olzon” (ex-“Nightwish”). The guitar work produced by the seasoned Heeringa and the young Roelofs results in an original blend of 80’s Metal riffs with a touch of modernity. And drummer van Mourik, despite his young age, adds the ideal propulsion to the band, delivering both powerful Metal rhythms and surprising Progressive tricks! The cosmic synths (not credit), and the harmonic background vocals (provided by all men of the band) give extra attractiveness to the sound of Synergy Protocol. Overall, the instrumentation of this band reminded me of the most experimental works of “Iron Maiden”, “WatchTower”, “Death Angel”, “Annihilator”, “Blind Illusion”, “Mekong Delta”, “Mercyful Fate”, and “Coroner”; with the whole package sounding as a mix of “Chastain”, “Dreams Of Sanity” (“Komödia”), “Kobra And The Lotus”, “Eyes Of Eden”, “Lacuna Coil”, “To-Mera”, “Dismal Euphony”. In an ever-changing sonic panorama, the band comes up with several moments of thrilling progressiveness, interspersed with many parts of aggressive Metal attitude, keeping the listener enthralled! “Odd To Get Even” opens with the lengthy “In The Name Of” (11:11), on which the band drifts about three minutes on a patchwork of instrumental riffs before the coming of Laura’s amazing vocals that steer the song from atmospheric ambiences to 80’s Metal wilderness (like “Chastain”). Tracks 2, “Flashback” (5:40), and 7, “Puppet On A String” (5:27), go on the opposite way, being straightforward, in the aim to stablish an instant connection between band and audience: “Flashback” has fast “head-banging”, “Judas Priest”-like riffs; while “Puppet …” (5:27) – which appears on the band’s official video – swings on a contagious rocking groove, interspersed by duets of bass and synths. Much more Prog-Metal consistency is showcased on my favorites: “Clockwise” (6:34) – immersed in a gloomy atmosphere; “Just a Man” (7:40) – which alternates from rocking to soaring; “Flight From Terra” (8:34) – a bombastic Space-Prog-Metal operetta conveying soft-to-malevolent female vocals and commanding male choirs; and “Final Chaos” (7:32) – a thrilling epic containing drama and violence. All four have awesome vocal parts finalized with long instrumental sequences of 80’s-flavored experimental Heavy-Metal. The title track brings the climax: “Odd To Get Even” (10:41) is a cinematic piece with operatic leaning and adventurous mood that will have great impact on fans of Female-Fronted Metal and “Dream Theater”! After the release of this puzzling unique album, Synergy Protocol expects to tour in The Netherlands and abroad. Check out this band if they get close to you, for they promise to be great playing alive! The eclectic sound of Synergy Protocol is highly recommendable for fans of Female-Fronted Metal, Prog-Metal, and 80’s Metal with an Experimental lean, as played by “Dreams Of Sanity”, “Chastain”, “Stream Of Passion”, “Lacuna Coil”, “Ayreon”, “Kobra And The Lotus”, “Eyes Of Eden”, “Dismal Euphony”, “Sinergy”, “Iron Maiden”, “WatchTower”, “Blind Illusion”, “Mekong Delta”, “Coroner”, “To-Mera”, “Dream Theater”. Band members and collaborators involved in Synergy Protocol are: Laura Martínez – Vocals; Wim Smits – Bass, Vocals; Maarten Heeringa (a.k.a. Big M) – Guitars, Vocals; Mark Roelofs – Guitar, Vocals; Patrick van Mourik – Drums, Percussion, Vocals. Guest Musicians: Isabel Bermejo – Vocals on “Puppet On A String” and “In The Name Of”; Stijn Donders – Additional Violins. Recorded and Produced by Stijn Donders at Studio Plug-Unit, Reeuwijk, The Netherlands. Mastered by Peter Brussee at QPoint Digital Audio, Hilversum, The Netherlands. Artwork by Dimitris Tzortzis. Also you must visit Synergy Protocol's Facebook Site  and Also you must visit Synergy Protocol's SoundCloud Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/31/2017.............................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit SYNERGY PROTOCOL HOME PAGE...
. JOHN LAWTON’S GUNHILL - "Nightheat / One Over The Eight"
GunHill is a Classic Rock band from the early ‘90s, which featured John Lawton on lead vocals. John Lawton – widely regarded as one of the best Hard Rock singers around – began his career in North Shields, UK, in the early 60’s, as vocalist for “The Deans”. He moved on to “West One” and later to “Stonewall”. In 1969, after “Stonewall” had finished a stint at the “Top Ten Club” in Hamburg, Germany, Lawton became front-man for Rock cult band “Lucifer's Friend”, and recorded several albums with them. In 1976 Lawton left “Lucifer’s Friend” to join the legendary British band “Uriah Heep”, with whom he recorded the albums “Innocent Victim”, “Firefly”, “Fallen Angel” and “Live '79”. After leaving “Uriah Heep”, Lawton rejoined “Lucifer’s Friend” from 1979 to 1995. He also joined the German Rock band “Rebel” (which later became “Zar”) on three albums. In 1994 Lawton formed the band GunHill, which later became known as John Lawton Band (JLB), to tour around the UK and Europe. In 2000 he released the CD “Still Paying My Dues To The Blues”, produced by “Robert Papst”. From 2000 to 2001, Lawton joined keyboardist “Ken Hensley” (ex-“Uriah Heep”) on the “Hensley Lawton Band”. This project featured “Paul Newton” (“Heep's” original bassist) and 2 members of Lawton's band: Reuben Kane (guitar) and Justin Shefford (drums). They toured and recorded the live CD “The Return”. The John Lawton Band released “Sting In The Tale” (2003) and “Shakin' The Tale” (2004), and toured extensively until a last show in Hamburg, Sep. 2004. In 2006 Lawton joined Dutch guitarist “Jan Dumee” (ex-“Focus”) and the Brazilians “Ney Conceição” (bass), “Xande Figueiredo” (drums), and “Marvio Ciribelli” (keyboards) on the project “OTR” (“On The Rocks”), which released the album “Mamonama” (2008, Lion Music, Europe/North America; 2009, Dynamo Records, Brazil). During this time, Lawton presented a travel series on a Bulgarian TV channel, and in 2011 he joined Bulgarian band “Diana Express” on the album “The Power of Mind”. In 2013 Lawton recorded “My Kind of Lovin'”, with collaboration of “Milen Vrabevski”, and featuring “Toto’s” musicians, “Simon Phillips” (drums) and “Joseph Williams” (guest vocals). In 2014 Lawton rejoined “Lucifer's Friend”, whose newest albums have been recently featured at PR&PM. The GunHill release featured here – “Nightheat” / “One Over The Eight” (2016, JLBmedia, with distribution by Cherry Red Records) – is a double-CD set containing the remastered versions of two rare works of that band: “Nightheat” had an unofficial release in 2006 and has been out of print since then; “One Over The Eight” was originally released as a fan-club cassette. The reissue was prepared with input of John Lawton personally, as he regards those albums as being an important part of his musical history, when he had the chance to play cover-songs and original songs sided by great musicians. This double CD is a comprehensive collection of all Gunhill’s studio recordings, bringing a total of 24 tracks, including 3 bonuses. The selection goes from Classic and Hard Rock to Blues and Pop, featuring superb vocal performances by Lawton, accompanied by top-quality guitar players, and supported by a solid and groovy rhythmic section, with highlights for Neil Kavanagh’s authoritative bass playing. Gunhill’s original songs are split between the bombastic Hard-Rocks “Don't Stop Believing”, “Can't Get Enough”, and “Soldier Of Love” (on which Lawton unleashes the power of his voice); and the extraordinary Blues-ballads “Wall of Silence” (on which he unveils sensitiveness, matching weeping guitars and soaring keyboards) and “Angel”, which grows from softness to wilderness! Most of the repertoire, however, is made of covers. The selection comprises radio-friendly classics, like “Nobody Loves You The Way I Do”, “When A Man Loves A Woman”, “River of Dreams”, and repaginated 50’s to 60’s R&B standards, such as: “Ain't No Sunshine”, “Every Little Bit Hurts”, the contagious “Harlem Shuffle”, and two surprisingly vigorous versions of “Eleanor Rigby”. But what will take all Hard-Rock fans to total delirium are the amazing renditions of a few songs written by iconic bands of that segment: “Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues” (“Whitesnake”), “Ready For Love” (“Mott The Hoople”), “Better By You Better Than Me” (“Spooky Tooth”), “Clearwater Highway” (“Bad Company”), and “Stone Cold” (“Rainbow”). Lawton has also revisited songs of the most important bands of his career: from “Lucifer’s Friend”, he brought in the accessible “Don´t Look Back” and “Any Day Now” (both of “Sumo Grip”); from “Uriah Heep”, he included the bonus tracks “Sympathy” and “Come Back To Me” – both performed with deference by the whole band! In sum, this new GunHill release joins two collectible items of the band in one, unifying the wholeness of their material, consisting therefore in a highly indispensable item for fans of Classic Rock, Hard Rock, and Blues who are fond of John Lawton, “Lucifer’s Friend”, “Uriah Heep”, “Joe Cocker”, “Deep Purple”, “Rainbow”, “Whitesnake”, “Bad Company”, “Thin Lizzy”, “AC/DC”, “Spooky Tooth”, “Rolling Stones”, “Yardbirds”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Cream”, “Foghat”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in GunHill are: “One Over The Eight” (1995): John Lawton – Lead Vocals; Ricky Robins – Guitar, Keyboards; Mike Raxworthy – Keyboards, Vocals; Neil Kavanagh – Bass, Vocals; Lloyd Coates – Drums. Musicians on “River Of Dreams”: Lawton – Lead Vocals; Dave White – Guitars, Keyboards; Rich Wagner – Bass, Percussion, Keyboards. “Nightheat”: J. Lawton – Lead Vocals, Percussion; Neil Kavanagh – Bass, Vocals (5), Keyboards (3, 6), Acoustic Guitar (9), Flute (7), Backing Vocals; Brian Bennett – Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Backing Vocals; Chris Jones – Drums, Backing Vocals (10). John Lane: Backing Vocals on “Don’t Stop Believing”. Additional Musicians on GunHill (1994-1999): Roger Wilson – Hammond; Brian Bennett – Guitar, Vocals; Chris Jones – Drums; Dave Ross – Guitar; Reuben Kane – Guitar; Arthur Ramm – Guitar; Justin Shefford – Drums. JLB - John Lawton Band (2000-2004): John Lawton – Lead Vocals; Erol Sora – Guitar, Vocals; Leon Lawson – Keyboards; Steve Dunning – Bass, Vocals; Benjy Reid – Drums. Complete Track-list/songwriters: Disc 1: “Nightheat” (1997): 1. “Don't Stop Believing” (4:53) (Lawton); 2. “Ready For Love” (4:59) (Ralphs); 3.“Wall Of Silence” (5:05) (Bonner); 4.“Nobody Loves You The Way I Do” (4:58) (Etheridge); 5.“Far From Home” (3:56) (Douglas/Kavanagh); 6.“Eleanor Rigby” (5:47) (Lennon/McCartney); 7.“Don´t Look Back” (4:35) (Lawton/Hecht/Hesslein); 8.“Waiting For The Heartache” (4:42) (Barnes/Child); 9.“When A Man Loves A Woman” (4:43) (Lewis/Wright); 10.“Any Day Now” (3:57) (Lawton/Wright/Eggert); 11.“Clearwater Highway” (4:14) (Hart/Colwell/Kirke). Bonus Tracks: 12.“Sympathy” (5:21) (Hensley); 13.“Come Back To Me” (5:10) (Hensley/Kerslake). Disc 2: “One Over The Eight” (1995): 1.“Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues” (4:16) (Coverdale/Marsdon); 2.“Eleanor Rigby” (5:21) (Lennon/McCartney); 3.“Ain't No Sunshine” (4:15) (Withers); 4.“Can't Get Enough” (4:56) (Robyn/Lawton/Coates); 5.“Better By You Better Than Me” (4:19) (Wright); 6.“Stone Cold” (4:34) (Blackmore/Glover/Turner); 7.“Every Little Bit Hurts” (4:36) (Cobb); 8.“Angel” (5:42) (Robyn/Lawton/Coates); 9.“Harlem Shuffle” (3:49) (Nelson/Relf); 10.“Soldier of Love” (5:59) (Robyn/Lawton/Coates). Bonus Track: 11.“River Of Dreams” (6:06) (Wagner/White/Hulme). Recorded, Engineered & Mixed by Neil Kavanagh at The Old Barn Studio, Hildenborough, Kent. Produced by J. Lawton & N. Kavanagh... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/31/2017.....................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit JOHN LAWTON’S GUNHILL HOME PAGE...
. MARTIN TURNER - "New Live Dates – The Complete Set"
Martin Turner – the founding member of Classic Rock band Wishbone Ash – is back to PR&PM!  In 1969, Martin Turner (bass, vocals) and Steve Upton (drums) were joined by Ted Turner (guitar, vocals) and Andy Powell (guitar, vocals) to form Wishbone Ash. Wishbone Ash released several albums: “Wishbone Ash” (1970), “Pilgrimage” (1971), “Argus” (1972), and “Four” (1973). In 1974, Laurie Wisefield replaced Ted Turner, and the group continued to release albums: “There's The Rub” (1974), “Locked In” (1976), “New England” (1976), “Front Page News” (1977), “No Smoke Without Fire” (1978), and “Just Testing” (1980). Wishbone’s unique approach to Blues, Rhythm & Blues, Folk, and Prog was marked by the perfect twin-guitar work, an original rhythmic/melodic bass harmonization, and tuneful harmony vocals. With this formula, the band gathered several fans, and achieved commercial success along the ‘70s. In 1980, Martin Turner parted ways with Wishbone Ash, and began a career of his own. In 1987, Martin re-joined Wishbone’s original line-up (Powell, Upton and Ted Turner), and together they released the albums “Nouveau Calls” (1987), “Here To Hear” (1989) and “Strange Affair” (1991). In 1990, Martin left Wishbone Ash definitively. Anyway, he produced a re-mastered series of Wishbone's first albums, including “Argus”. In 2005, Martin formed Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash (a moniker he changed for Martin Turner Plays The Music Of Wishbone Ash, after losing a legal dispute against Andy Powell). Martin Turner toured extensively in the U.K. and Europe, playing classics of Wishbone Ash. Some of those shows were registered on the albums “New Live Dates Vol. 1” (2006), “New Live Dates Vol. 2” (2007), “Life Begins” (2011) and “The Garden Party - Live” (2014). In 2015, Martin released a wonderful studio album, called “Written In The Stars”, which was reviewed at PR&PM in January 2016! Since that year, Martin Turner has been working on the reissuing of his initial live albums, “New Live Dates” and “Life Begins”, which were both out of print. “New Live Dates” had been recorded live, during the 2005-2006 U.K. tour. Those historical shows featured Martin Turner (bass, lead vocals), Ray Hatfield (guitars, vocals), Keith Buck (guitars, vocals), and Rob Hewins (drums); plus a guest appearance of Ted Turner (guitar, vocals). “New Live Dates” had been previously available on two single CDs, subtitled “Vol.1” (2006) and “Vol.2” (2007). The new edition of “New Live Dates” has been repackaged as a Double-CD set that congregates all songs from both volumes, also restoring their original running order. “New Live Dates – The Complete Set”, was reissued on April 1st 2016 via Dirty Dog Discs, with distribution of Cherry Red Records. “New Live Dates – The Complete Set” brings 24 tracks that capture the true spirit of old Wishbone Ash, offering a collection of guitar-driven Rock songs that convey soulful guitar solos, superb twin-guitar work, wonderful bass, soaring harmony vocals, and swinging rhythms. The repertoire includes songs from all albums of Wishbone Ash that Martin Turner has played on, from “Wishbone Ash” (1970) to “Strange Affair” (1991). The re-arrangement of the tracks allows listeners to realize Martin Turner’s formula for a great gig. CD-1 starts with short and old rocking classics, containing groovy rhythms and many guitars, such as “Doctor”, “Blind Eye”, “Outward Bound”, and “Runaway”, which aim to conquer the audience and spread good vibes everywhere. To this line, Martin adds the dark “Walking the Reeperbahn”, from his own solo album. In between, Martin’s band delivers a series of trippy epic songs that have made Wishbone Ash famous: “Lorelei”, “Persephone”, and “Warrior”. Then the show is softened with some relaxed easy-listening Rocks and ballads, from 1977-1980: “Front Page News”, “Baby The Angels Are Here”, and “Lifeline”; before coming back to attack with the Classic Rock “Silver Shoes” and the experimental “Cosmic Jazz”, which finishes CD-1. CD-2: levers up the excitement of the audience, by delivering other rocking and swinging songs of the 1977-1980 repertoire (e.g. “Diamond Jack”, “Master of Disguise”), balanced by the ballad “Say Goodbye”. But as the show approaches its end, the band sets everything on fire, attacking with “F.U.B.B.” (one of Wishbone’s best songs); reaching the climax on “Blowin' Free” (the most famous from “Argus”). But the show is not over yet, and the band returns to stage with a big surprise: original guitarist Ted Turner joins in, at first to play “Flesh and Steel” (his exclusive instrumental Rockabilly), then, to accompany the whole band on the bluesy improvisations on the lengthy songs “Standing in the Rain”, “Why Don’t We”, and “Jailbait”! “New Live Dates – The Complete Set” is a great reissue of a formidable live album; a must-have item for fans of Martin Turner & Wishbone Ash, being highly recommendable also for fans of “Allman Brothers”, “Savoy Brown”, “Eric Clapton”, “Lynyrd Skynyrd”, “Humble Pie”, “Peter Frampton”, “Rory Gallagher”, “Ian Gillan Band”, “Bad Company”, and so on. As I wrote this review, Martin Turner went on the “Beauty of Chaos Tour 2017” (April-May) – featuring a full performance of “Argus” (45th Anniversary, 1972-2017). There’s still time to get a ticket! Band members and collaborators involved in Martin Turner are: Martin Turner – Bass and Lead Vocals; Ray Hatfield – Lead and Acoustic Guitars, Harmony Vocals; Keith Buck – Lead Guitar, Harmony Vocals; Rob Hewins – Drums, Harmony Vocals; with special guest appearance by Ted Turner – Lead and Lap Steel Guitars, Lead Vocals. Recorded Live during the 2006 U.K. Tour at various venues. Produced & Mixed by Martin Turner at Tall Timbers Studios, Assisted by Rob Hewins & Ted Turner. Sound Engineers: Danny Gallagher, Steve Rispin & Mark Cutting. Sleeve Concept & Artwork by Howard Johnston. “New Live Dates” Complete Track-list: CD-1: 1. “Doctor” (5:40); 2. “Blind Eye” (3:50); 3. “Lorelei” (6:25); 4. “Walking the Reeperbahn” (4:00); 5. “Outward Bound” (4:35); 6. “Persephone” (7:00); 7. “Front Page News” (5:20); 8. “Runaway” (3:15); 9. “Baby The Angels Are Here” (4:40); 10. “Warrior” (5:55); 11. “Lifeline” (5:25); 12. “Silver Shoes” (6:15); 13. “Cosmic Jazz” (3:50). CD-2: 1. “Diamond Jack” (4:55); 2. “Master of Disguise” (4:35); 3. “Say Goodbye” (4:25); 4. “F.U.B.B.” (9:20); 5. “Come In From the Rain” (5:10); 6. “Living Proof” (5:45); 7. “Blowin' Free” (6:45); 8. “Flesh and Steel” (7:05); 9. “Standing in the Rain” (8:10); 10. “Why Don’t We” (10:05); 11. “Jailbait” (8:35)... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/31/2017.........Want to learn everything about the musician and more about his history, go to MARTIN TURNER HOME PAGE...
. STICK MEN - "Prog Noir"
Stick Men are an Experimental Progressive Rock super-power-trio consisting of monster-musicians Tony Levin, Pat Mastelotto (both of “King Crimson”) and Markus Reuter (“Centrozoon”). Tony Levin started his career in Classical music; then moved into Jazz & Rock. He recorded for “John Lennon”, “Pink Floyd”, “Alice Cooper”, and many others. He also plays for “Peter Gabriel Band” and “L’Image”. Pat Mastelotto is a self-taught drummer who has been involved with the principles of electronic drumming. He has experience in Pop, Prog, Electronic and World Music, and has played for “Mr. Mister”, “XTC”, “David Sylvian”, “The Rembrandts”, “Kimmo Pohjonen”. He spent the last 20 years in “King Crimson”. Markus Reuter is a guitarist/composer/producer who has worked alone or collaborated with other musicians (“Ian Boddy”, “Robert Rich”, “No-Man’s” singer “Tim Bowness”). Initially trained as a pianist, he subsequently studied “Robert Fripp’s Guitar Craft”; learned to play the Chapman Stick; and moved later to the Touch Guitar. He is a current member of “Centrozoon”, “Tuner” (duo with Mastelotto), and “Europa String Choir”. Stick Men were formed in 2008 with the aim of performing Experimental Progressive Music on unusual instruments. Tony Levin plays the Chapman Stick: a 12-string instrument that works both as a bass and guitar, from which the band takes its moniker. Markus Reuter plays his self-designed U8 and AU8 Touch Guitars (which have extended amplitudes, if compared to guitar and bass). Pat Mastelotto plays conventional acoustic drums and an exclusive electronic drum-setup that allows him to add loops, samples or percussion. Stick Men have released an important discography: “Soup” (2010), “Absalom” (2011, EP), “Open” (2012), “Deep” (2013), “Supercollider” (2014, Double CD Compilation), “Power Play” (2014, Live), “Midori – Live in Tokyo 2015” (2015, Double CD), and “Prog Noir” (2016). Stick Men have also toured in the U.S.A., South America, Russia, England, and Europe, enthralling the audiences with impressive performances and wild improvisations, presenting original songs and pieces like “King Crimson’s” “Red” and “Lark’s Tongues”, and “Stravinsky’s” “Firebird Suite”. Stick Men’s album featured herein – entitled “Prog Noir” (October 21, 2016) – is available on both digital and physical formats. The CD is enclosed in a 6-panel digipack with 6-page booklet and lyrics sheet. “Prog Noir” contains 10 tracks: six instrumental pieces plus four songs (vocals by Levin and Reuter). Stick Men produces breakthrough music that challenges the brain and defies understanding – just what we expect from a trio made of musicians with big credentials! Levin and Mastelotto (the rhythmic section of “King Crimson” for a long time) bring “Crimsonian” odd-metric signatures to Stick Men’s cadence. The peculiar sound of the Chapman Stick creates a dreamy atmosphere that shrouds the music in a veil of unreality. Reuter’s Touch Guitars add a thick layer of surrealism to the matrix. And Mastelotto’s inventive percussion contributes for the trio to achieve an uncanny, enigmatic, sonic-trademark. The songs of “Prog Noir” are concentrated on the beginning, and have humorous/ironic lyrics. The title-track “Prog Noir” (5:37) opens the album doing justice to its name: a Heavy-Jazz tinted with dark tones, this song drives the listener through a nightmarish road, full of psychedelic curves, trying to arrive to the strange world of “Prog Noir”. “Plutonium” (4:47) is a captivating song that progresses under the humorous scope of “Zappa” or “Captain Beefheart”; bringing the distorted narrative of a mad-nuclear-scientist that warships the destroying properties of the chemical element, amidst references to “Carl Orff”, “Yes”, and “Tchaikovsky”! And “The Tempest” (5:42) has whispers that shock against groovy fatty bass and mechanical rhythmic patterns. The instrumental pieces go next. They are well-crafted and arranged according to a logical rationale – not intended to be mere vehicles for Stick Men’s members to show off – even though they do that! The looping melodies of the exotic “Mantra” (5:46) take the band towards the genetic-engineering of “Schattenhaft” (4:31): a hybrid piece, half “porcupine-Primus”, half “elephant-King Crimson”. The beautiful ballad “Rose in the Sand / Requiem” (4:36) is inspired on Classical music, and irradiates a celestial spiritual aura. “Leonardo” (4:56) combines the mannerism of the Renaissance Era with the creativity of 70’s Prog, with addition of a Heavy-Prog finale! “Trey's Continuum” (4:02) – one of the best – is a cinematic Fusion piece, with Jazz and “Bossa Nova” thrown in, that trespasses diverse moods, preparing the listener for the two last tracks: “Embracing the Sun” (4:53) and “Never the Same” (6:29). Like two sister tracks, they represent an exercise in “King Crimson’s” musical language, with “Embracing …” being the mechanical and “poly-metrical” instrumental intro for “Never …” – which is an emotional song that sounds like something taken from “Red” or “Starless…”, crowned with an amazing “Fripp-like” guitar solo that will set shivers down your spine! With this rare collection of cerebral songs and difficult pieces called “Prog Noir”, Stick Men qualify themselves as a new Progressive Legend – a must-have for fans of “King Crimson”; an essential item for fans of Chapman Stick players, such as “Bob Culbertson”, “Trey Gunn”, “Sean Malone”, “Guillermo Cides”, “Steve Hahn”, and fans of bands like “Primus”, “Animals As Leaders”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Cynic”, “Gordian Knot”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Stick Men are: Tony Levin – Stick, Voice; Markus Reuter – U8 & AU8 Touch Guitars, Voice; Pat Mastelotto – Acoustic & Electronic Drums, Percussion. Written by T. Levin, M. Reuter, P. Mastelotto. Mix & Post-production by Benjamin Schäfer & Markus Reuter for Unsung Productions; Mastered by Lee Fletcher. Recorded at Unsung Productions in Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany; at Pat's Studio in Austin, TX, USA, & at Tony's Studio in Kingston, NY. Additional drum recordings at Mike McCarthy's Studio in Austin, TX. Engineers: Benjamin Schäfer, Mike McCarthy, Machine, Bill Munyon, Adrian Benavides. Art by John Bergin. Band photo by Kai R. Joachim. Layout by Bernhard Wöstheinrich. Produced by Stick Men. Also you must visit Stick Men's BandCamp Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/31/2017...............Want to learn everything about this amazing musicians and their projects, go to  STICK MEN HOME PAGE...
. EYESBERG - "Masquerade"
Eyesberg – the British-German Neo-Progressive project featuring Malcolm Shuttleworth (vocals), Norbert Podien (keyboards) and Georg Alfter (guitar, bass) – is back to PR&PM! From the late ‘70s to the early ‘80s, Eyesberg was an active quintet that also counted with Michael Buchner and Thomas Klarmann (now in “Argos” and “Superdrama”). Nevertheless, Eyesberg did never make a release upon that time. Only in 2014, when the quintet was already downsized to a trio, Eyesberg’s debut album, “Blue”, came out, released via Progressive Promotion Records (Germany). “Blue” was reviewed at PR&PM in May 2015. The album contained songs belonging to Eyesberg’s early repertoire, which was most influenced by late 70’s to early 80’s Progressive Rock, Neo-Prog, Art-Rock, and Synthpop, having strong influences of “Genesis” (of “Phil Collins” Era), “Phil Collins” solo (mainly on vocals!), “Marillion” (of “Fish” Era) and “Peter Gabriel”; and less influences of “Asia”, 80’s “Yes”, “Jethro Tull”, “GTR”, “Alphaville", “Emerson Lake and Powell”, “Kansas”, and so on. Eyesberg has recently released a second album, called “Masquerade” (November 11th, 2016, Progressive Promotion Records). Besides the main trio, the record features Jimmy Keegan (“Spock's Beard”) as guest drummer, and Oliver Wenzler (PPR’s owner), on additional percussion. Under the most traditional Progressive-Rock point of view, “Masquerade” is a better album than “Blue”. If on “Blue” Eyesberg explored the most commercial and accessible sounds of some albums of “Genesis” and “Marillion” (e.g. “Duke” and “Abacab”; “Clutching At Straws”), on “Masquerade”, the band went a few years backwards in search for inspiration, and came up with new songs that have grown in duration, complexity, and emotional depth, becoming even more poetic, artistic, and memorable, recalling the most Progressive albums of “Genesis” of the “Phil Collins” Era (“A Trick Of The Tail”, “Wind and Wuthering”, “… And Then There Were Three”); and “Marillion’s” masterpieces, “Script For A Jester’s Tear”, “Fugazi”, and “Misplaced Childhood”. The music on “Masquerade” is clear, clean, melodic, and polished, loaded with synths and guitar embellishments. The arrangements are dynamic and vibrant, fronted by Malcolm Shuttleworth’s vocals that emulate “Phil Collins”. Georg Alfter’s guitars are even more delicate, soaring, melodic, and dominate the soundscapes like an omnipresent “Steve Rothery”. Keyboardist Norbert Podien has been especially cruel, adding many ornaments with his synths, and a few lines of organ with a powerful Hard-Rock vein! The rhythmic base has profited immensely with the technical, ingenious, and sometimes ferocious drumming of Jimmy Keegan. As a link with the past, flutes come occasionally, recalling “Genesis” with “Peter Gabriel”, and “Camel”. The “Masquerade” sonic-package resulted in a full-fledged Neo-Progressive item that will be promptly assimilated by fans of bands like “Pallas”, “Arena”, “IQ”, “Jadis”, “Argos”, “Comedy of Errors”, “Silhouette”, “Seasons of Time”, “Light Damage”, “Airbag”, “TCP”, “Jadis”, “Red Jasper”, “Martigan”, “Red Sand”, “Collage”, “The Watch”, “Clepsydra”, and “Camel”. “Masquerade” has seven tracks. The most thrilling, powerful and vibrating are “Joke On You” (5:17) – which starts the album with a punching Hard-Prog style, driven by the Hammond organ coupled to sturdy guitar riffs, changing for the Neo-Prog mode on the vocal parts; “Faceless” (5:12) – which, albeit being driven by an accessible swinging beat, plunges later into symphonic Neo-Progressiveness, bringing in an expressive amount of instrumental solos and modern themes on lyrics; and “Storm Flood” (6:05) – a superb instrumental piece that has a comeback to the vibrant Hard-Prog mode of the first song, including complex arrangements in “Genesis’” style, with awesome entanglement of guitars, keyboards and drums! For listeners fond of mellower Neo-Prog moods, the album has three great Progressive-ballads, which grow from slow to epic, bringing subtle melodies, tasty arrangements, and embellished instrumental parts: “Come And Take A Look At My Life” (6:32) floats gently on eerie airs, driven by mysterious vocal tunes that share space with pulsing bass, cool synths, piano, and an ultra-“Rothery”-flavored guitar solo; “Here And Now” (4:38) starts with pastoral flutes that recall old “Genesis” and “Camel”, and accelerates on the instrumentation, accumulating synths and long solos on guitar; and “Steal Your Thunder” (5:21) – the best of the three – conveys its poetic lyrics on a mattress of bluesy feelings, folk influences, and sensitive instrumentation. “Masquerade” has its climax on the final suite, entitled “Wait And See” (18:01) (divided in “I. Overture”, “II. The Beginning of The End”, “III. Talking to Father Time”, “IV. I Told You So”, “V. The Last Demise”). This long one condenses all what Eyesberg has done on this great album: going through different moods, this amazing opus is propelled by drums played with dexterity and fluidity, a dramatic bass, and vocals that tell a story, which alternate with thrilling guitar solos and peaceful flutes; having an opulent layer of keyboards forming the symphonic background! Really a great, brilliant, and mature Neo-Prog masterpiece by Eyesberg, “Masquerade” is indispensable for fans of “Genesis” (“Phil Collins” Era), “Marillion” (“Fish” Era), and Neo-Prog bands like “Pendragon”, “Pallas”, “IQ”, “Arena”, “Red Jasper”, “Jadis”, “Red Sand”, “Galahad”, “Clepsydra”, “Clepsydra”, “Light Damage”, “Airbag”, “TCP”, “Martigan”, “Comedy of Errors”, “Silhouette”, “The Watch”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Eyesberg are: Malcolm Shuttleworth - Lead and Backing Vocals, Lyrics; Georg Alfter – Guitar, Bass, Music; Norbert Podien – Keyboards, Music. Guest Musicians: Jimmy KeeganSpock's Beard”) – Drums; Oliver Wenzler – Additional Percussion (on “Faceless”). Recorded 2015-2016 in Wiesbaden, Germany; Drums Recorded by Chay & Chad Wright at Mousetrapp Studios, L.A., U.S.A. Mixed by Michael Buchner, N. Podien & G. Alfter; Mastered by M. Buchner at F-2 Studios, Kelkheim, Germany. Published by Oliver Wenzler, Progressive Promotion Records, Flöhrsheim, Germany... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/12/2017..........................Want to learn everything about this amazing band and its members? Visit EYESBERG HOME PAGE...
. CRISTIANO VARISCO - "Lúcia McCartney"
Cristiano Varisco is a Brazilian guitarist and composer based in the city of Porto Alegre, State of Rio Grande do Sul. Varisco began to stay in close touch with music at middle ‘90s, when he started to work at the Ipanema FM Radio, at the age of 15. At first, he became a member of the “Folharada Blues Band” (later, “Os Daltons”), formed by employees of that radio station, to commemorate its 10-year anniversary. Cristiano Varisco was guitarist for the outsider musician and composer “Julio Reny”. In addition, he has played with “Wander Wildner” (“Os Replicantes”), “Tchê Gomes” (“TNT”), “Marcelo Gross” (“Cachorro Grande”), “Biba Meira” (“De Falla”), “Alemão Ronaldo”, “Fabio Ly” (“Bandaliera”), “King Jim” (“Garotos da Rua”), “Gabriel Guedes” (“Pata de Elefante”), “Frank Jorge” and the late “Flavio Chaminé”. He worked with maestro “Tiago Flores” (“Orquestra de Câmera da ULBRA”) as a soloist in DANA Concerts, in 2009. He also accompanied “Ras Bernardo” (first vocalist of Rio de Janeiro’s Reggae band “Cidade Negra”) in tours around Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina. Cristiano Varisco is also graduated in Journalism and Music (from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul). He teaches music in public schools in Porto Alegre, works as a music producer and as a journalist. Cristiano Varisco settled a partnership with visual artist Aline Reis in an on-stage project that combines instrumental music and art. The project led to the release of Varisco’s first album, “Aline” (2013) – the first of a trilogy, which would continue on his second album, “Trilhas Sonoras Para Filmes Imaginários” (“Soundtracks for Imaginary Movies”), of 2014; and finally finish on his third album, “Lúcia McCartney” (2016). “Lúcia McCartney” is based on a novel written by Brazilian writer “Ruben Fonseca”, which focuses on the life of the eponymous character (a prostitute, fan of “The Beatles”). The line-up consists of Cristiano Varisco (guitars), Jefferson Ferreira (bass), and Davi Machado (drums, percussion), accompanied by a few guests. “Lúcia McCartney” was produced by Thomas Dreher (“Ultramen”, “Bidê ou Balde”, “Cachorro Grande”) and contains 19 short instrumental pieces. Along the album, Varisco creates a kind of imaginary soundtrack for the novel, strolling around different musical styles, carefully choosing the rhythms, notes, and chords that will fit perfectly on each scene described on the script. On this way, Varisco defines and elaborates each character, each mood, and each ambience, according to his own perspective, creating a rich repertoire of colorful, sensitive, and image-evocative instrumental pieces, oxygenated by a pulsing Rock vein. So, Varisco begins by setting the right atmosphere and tropical ambience on the intro “Pinhal 80-90” (0:30), on the Samba-Rock “Cabo Polônio Carnival” (2:40), and on the Brazilian Rock swing of “Saída De Emergência III” (4:23) – all driven by great percussion, evocative of Brazilian Carnival. This invitation is also made on the groovy lines of the funky “Groove” (2:49)/“Linha Glocamorra” (2:00). The variations of mood may be cathartic, as on the vertiginous bass and drums of the Psychedelic-Punk “Vertigens Paralisantes” (3:55); bright and sunny, as on “Túnel Verde” (1:48); bluesy and weary, as on the Rock of the Desert, “Jump, Johnny, Jump!!!” (3:20); or mysterious and refined, as on “Cul-De-Sac” (2:12). In between those tracks, Varisco has inserted a series of experimental “film-noir” and “urban-noise” sonic vignettes, which act as indicators of a shift of scene: the weird “Lady Lavoisier” (1:28); the clockwork “Tempo II” (1:22); the electronic “Performance” (2:55); and the industrial and mechanical “Recycle I” (2:13), “Recycle II” (1:34), and “Recycle III” (2:12). Finally, Varisco shares with the listener his own interpretation of how works the inner side of the main character, “Lúcia”, by offering a series of trippy tracks in her favorite style – Psychedelic Rock – impregnated with those lysergic colors that blur the limits between reality and hallucination. Starting from the martial drums and esoteric synths of “Marcha Sueños” (1:56), Varisco explores the female sensuality on “Lúcia McCartney” (2:40) – the title track that sounds like a “Cosmic-Tropicalia” – and surrenders to the transcendental Hindu modes of “Música Para Plantas” (“Music For Plants”) (1:36); reaching an orgasmic nirvana on the placid Progressive-ballad “Espiral Lunar II” (2:07) – the track that closes the album. If you are a fan of eclectic guitarists, Rock-based instrumental soundtracks, or Brazilian Rock bands from the State of Rio Grande do Sul, Cristiano Varisco is specially recommended for you! Band members and collaborators involved in Cristiano Varisco are: Cristiano Varisco – Electric and Acoustic Guitars; Jefferson Ferreira – Bass; Davi Machado – Drums and Percussion. Guests: Astronauta Pinguim; Carlos Magno Pereira; DJ Duke Jay; Rodrigo Ardissone; Super Gisele; Valquíria Radüntz. Recorded at Dreher Studios, Porto Alegre, 2014; Mixed by Thomas Dreher & Cristiano Varisco; Mastered and Produced by Thomas Dreher. All compositions by C. Varisco... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/30/2017....Want to learn everything about this brazilian musician and his projects, go to CRISTIANO VARISCO HOME PAGE...
. NERISSA SCHWARZ - "Playgrounds Lost"
Nerissa Schwarz is an electric harpist and keyboardist, mostly known for being a member of the internationally acclaimed German Progressive Rock band “Frequency Drift”. Nerissa Schwarz has been writing and recording her own brand of original songs and instrumental music for a decade. Following collaboration for her 2009 debut album under the moniker of “Coronal Rain”, Nerissa was invited to join “Frequency Drift” as guest composer and musician for their album “Ghosts…” (2011). She soon became a permanent band member and started to contribute with her own songs, unusual electric harp arrangements, and exclusive keyboard textures, which have become then a trademark of “Frequency Drift”. After “Ghosts …”, Nerissa recorded four more albums for the band: “… Laid to Rest” (2012, Gentle Art of Music), “Over” (2014, Gentle Art of Music/Soulfood), “Summer” (2014), and “Last” (2016). With “Frequency Drift”, Nerissa Schwarz performed live shows in Germany, the U.K., the Netherlands, and Italy. In 2014 she began working on solo pieces and immersed herself in writing, experimenting, arranging, recording and producing the music. The result is her first solo album, “Playgrounds Lost” (2016, independent). “Playgrounds Lost” brings 9 instrumental tracks that have been entirely performed on the electric harp and on the Mellotron. Regarding the concept, “Playgrounds Lost” intends to explore the beauty, fragility and traumas of childhood by means of an immersive listening experience. The music displays an unconventional sound design that shifts cinematically from pastoral ambiences and melodious soundscapes to dark atmospheres, uncanny textures and impressionistic noises. The gloomy, eerie and hypnotic sounds produced by Nerissa Schwarz on the electric harp and Mellotron revolve the subconscious mind in search of the hidden fears of the childhood, but also stumble on the beauty of the early discovery of the relaxing and mysterious sounds of Nature – the falling rain, the droning bees, the wind moving the dead leaves on the ground, the haunting singing of birds, and the frightening howling of beasts lurking in the dark. These cause a deep emotional effect on the listener, who is forced to deal with different, and sometimes disturbing, feelings, such as solitude, nostalgia, introspectiveness, or even claustrophobia. Transiting through different genres and styles, like Dark Ambient, Darkwave, Gothic and Neoclassical, the music of Nerissa Schwarz recalled me a bit of the most haunting music of 70’s “King Crimson”, the ghostly side of “Genesis” (as present on songs like “Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers…”), the minimalist arrangements of names such as: “Art Zoyd”, “Sigur Rós”, “Jocelyn Pook”, “Wim Mertens”, “Philip Glass” (the “Qatsi” soundtracks), and the instrumental parts of “Nox Arcana” and “Frequency Drift” (of course!). The haunting, but relaxing, opening track “Play” (2:53) introduces us to Nerissa’s inner world, which is marked by the contrasting opposition of beautiful and delicate tunes that recall the sounds of a musical box (provided by the harp), placed against the ethereal and sometimes frightening chords that rise from the Mellotron. “Dance Around Black Hole” (5:07) profits from that contrast in a scenery of vastness, loss, desolation, and solitude. Yet, “Running Out” (1:44) floats weightless on ancient sounds that recall the harpsichord, preceding the beautiful, pastoral, and nostalgic, “Fireflying” (3:29) – which has flute-like sounds and sensitive harmonies irradiating from the Mellotron (resembling early “Genesis”). “Last Spring” (4:23) starts with relaxing fingertip-plucking on the harp, and later plunges on a dimension inhabited by ghosts and spirits. The hypnotic melancholy of “Yellow Skies” (3:10) makes it breath like a living organism – a sensation that is transposed to the Dark-Folk piece “Something Behind Trees” (5:55), which is slow, mysterious, and nocturnal, conveying echoing sound effects that emulate the animals in the forest. The outstanding “No More Games” (4:27) starts with a lonely sound of a piano, growing to a symphonic magnitude with the coming of the Mellotron. Dramatic chords brake down the tranquility, which is regained on a last sequence instilled with gothic-religious introspectiveness. The title-track, “Playgrounds Lost” (6:31), impresses the listener with impacting chords, as profound as the deep time, smoothed by the soft plucking of the harp strings and by pastoral flutes. It closes the album with a warning of danger, recalling me of the “Qatsi” soundtracks, by “Philip Glass”! An exquisitely beautiful album, “Playgrounds Lost”, by Nerissa Schwarz, is specially recommended for fans of haunting Mellotrons, eerie harps, Minimalist, Dark-Ambient, Darkwave, Gothic, and Neoclassical Instrumental Music, as played by “King Crimson”, “Genesis”, “Art Zoyd”, “Sigur Rós”, “Philip Glass” (the “Qatsi” soundtracks), “Wim Mertens”, “Jocelyn Pook”, “Nox Arcana” and “Frequency Drift”. Band members and collaborators involved in Nerissa Schwarz are: Nerissa Schwarz – Electric Harp and Mellotron. All Music Written, Arranged, Produced, Recorded and Performed by Nerissa Schwarz. Mixed & Mastered by Andreas Hack. Visual Concept by N. Schwarz; Photos by Marco Kies / Xaviera Tharreau... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/30/2017....Interested to know more about this fantastic Female singer and Musician? Visit NERISSA SCHWARZ HOME PAGE...
. MOONLIGHT SKY - "The Four"
Moonlight Sky – an amazing Jazz-Rock band from Ljubljana, Slovenia – is back to PR&PM! Moonlight Sky has been captivating audiences since 2000. The present line-up consists of Miha Petric (guitars), Janez Moder (electric bass), Žiga Kožar (drums, percussion), and Jan Sever (keyboards). Moonlight Sky has been mostly inspired by the Jazz-Fusion movement that started in the ‘60s with “Miles Davis”, but their music actually transcends boundaries, being an incandescent fusion of many genres and styles, ranging from Jazz-Fusion, Progressive, Rock, Blues, Flamenco, Tango and World Music up to Film Score. Moonlight Sky has grown into a mature band through numerous high-quality live concerts done around Slovenia and abroad. Members are composers and arrangers who play actively around the Slovenian musical scene. Apart from Moonlight Sky, they have collaborated with many other Slovenian groups, and with prominent musicians, such as “Peter Erskine” and “Stuart Hamm”. Moonlight Sky’s discography started with the eponymous debut album “Moonlight Sky” (2006, KUD France Prešeren), which was selected as “Best Album of the Month of December, 2007” at PR&PM! The line-up then counted with Andraz Krzic (vocals, keyboards) and Bor Zakonjšek (drums), who are no longer in the band, together with permanent members Miha Petric (guitars) and Janez Moder (bass). After the release of the second album, “I Am” (2009, Nika Records), singer and keyboarder Andraz Krzic left the band. In 2010, Moonlight Sky was officially downsized to a trio, consisting of Miha Petric (guitars), Janez Moder (bass) and Žiga Kožar (drums). They recorded a video for the single “Labyrinth”, which was their first attempt into a more acoustic and instrumental kind of music. In 2012, under the moniker of Moonlight Sky Trio, they released their third CD, entitled “Changing Parameters” (Celinka Records). This album was promoted in a concert at Kino Šiška in front of an enthralled audience. The repertoire consisted of 10 all instrumental pieces and just one song with vocals, stablishing a new musical orientation for Moonlight Sky Trio. But with the arrival of keyboardist Jan Sever, the band dropped the “Trio” and became Moonlight Sky once again! As a quartet, Moonlight Sky released a fourth album, entitled “The Four” (2016, Celinka Records), on CD-Digipack format. Containing eight instrumental tracks; and outstanding music that combines Jazz, Rock, Progressive Rock, Blues, Latin Jazz, Flamenco, Tango, and World Music, “The Four” is one of the best Fusion albums that I have recently heard, and compares to the great works produced by artists like: “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Soft Machine”, “Traffic”, “Weather Report”, “Return To Forever”, “The Dregs”, “Passport”, “John McLaughlin”, “Al Di Meola”, “Paco de Lucia”, “Allan Holdsworth”, “Pat Metheny”, “Jan Akkerman”, “Wagner Tiso”, “Chick Corea”, “Jaco Pastorius”, “Tony Williams”; and to bands that have been featured at PR&PM, such as “Marbin” and “Tohpati Ethnomission”. “The Four” showcases four extraordinary musicians that play fast and avidly with telepathic understanding, binding together superior technical prowess with rare musicianship and good taste. Their music is played with energy, enthusiasm and nimbleness. The arrangements are opulent, marked by dazzling alternations of rhythmic structures and complex melodic harmonies, which support breathtaking interchanges of improvised solos. There is also a perfect alternation and opposition of electric and acoustic textures: Miha Petric is proficient on both Jazz-Rock electric guitar and Classical-Flamenco acoustic guitar; and matches Jan Sever’s savage piano playing and Canterbury-flavored Rhodes electric piano. Janez Moder is an awesome bassist, who reminds me of “Jaco Pastorius” – he knows how to insert rhythm, harmony and groove into the music, coloring it with vivacious tones! And Žiga Kožar is the drummer that dominates all the A to Z principles of elegant Jazz, ferocious Rock, and worldwide ethno-beats, having also a penchant for free improvisational solos! This quartet works together in total synergetic communion, producing an unstoppable wave of sounds that will capture any listener after just a few seconds of appreciation! “The Four” starts vigorously with “Tour De Vir” (6:33) – a vertiginous Jazzy piece distinguished by the clashing of piano, guitars and drums, mediated by quirky bass and crazy sax (by guest musician Crt Remic); and go on with “Šestka” (7:57) – an original Prog-Fusion piece combining the rhythmic groove of “Traffic” and “Weather Report” with keyboards like “Soft Machine”. The center of the CD is occupied by Jazz-Fusion compositions that are mostly influenced by Flamenco, Tango, and Middle-Eastern Music, having influences of “Al Di Meola”, “Paco de Lucia”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”. Those include the two lengthy pieces, “Makedonska” (11:16) – which starts slowly and mysteriously with a Classical piano, but opens room for amazing acoustic and electric guitar solos; and “Nearest To Inexpressible” (10:05), on which the Arabian influences are stronger, mainly on the middle, when sax and clarinets contribute to create a “Thousand and One Nights” magical atmosphere, soon followed by sequences of superb piano, deep bass, and igneous guitars. Squeezed between the two, “Microcosm” (4:39) hovers like a contagious Spanish dance, driven by intricate instrumental parts and amazing duels of acoustic and electric guitars, and synths! To relax from the density of those tracks, nothing is better than “Alegria” (5:02) – a light and bouncing piece, driven by a joyful Latin-Jazz mood, full of rhythmic improvisations. The last two tracks have more influences from the American music: “Taino” (6:51) is bright, warm, and free, and offers an experimental blend of Jazz, Bluegrass, and Prog that brought “Dixie Dregs” to my mind; and “But I Like The Blues” (4:59) is a sentimental Blues, basically a guitar solo, performed with a keen sense of melody and a respectful feeling for the past! An outstanding, wonderful and brilliant album, Moonlight Sky’s “The Four” is a must-have item for fans of Jazz-Rock and Fusion who love “Miles Davis”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Soft Machine”, “Traffic”, “Weather Report”, “Return To Forever”, “The Dregs”, “Passport”, “Al Di Meola”, “Paco de Lucia”, “Allan Holdsworth”, “Pat Metheny”, “Jan Akkerman”, “Wagner Tiso”, “Chick Corea”, “Trio Of Doom” (“John McLaughlin”, “Jaco Pastorius”, “Tony Williams”), “Marbin”, “Tohpati Ethnomission”, “Victor Biglione”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Moonlight Sky are: Miha Petric – Acoustic, Classical & Electric Guitar; Janez Moder – Bass; Jan Sever – Yamaha Keyboards, Piano, Rhodes Electric Piano; Žiga Kožar - Drums, Percussion. Guest Musicians: Goran Bojcevski – Clarinet; Crt Remic – Saxophone. All Music Arranged by Moonlight Sky. Recorded at RSL Studios, Novo Mesto, from September 11 to 12, 2016. Recorded, Mixed, Mastered & Produced by Matej Gobec. Also you must visit Moonlight Sky's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/30/2017....................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit MOONLIGHT SKY HOME PAGE...
Retrospective – an impacting Heavy Progressive Rock band from Poland – is back to PR&PM once more! Retrospective began under the moniker of Hollow – a band that was founded in 2005 by Maciej Klimek (guitars) and Robert Kusik (drums) in Leszno, Poland. From 2005 to 2006, the line-up was consolidated with the successive coming of Alan Szczepaniak (second guitar), Lukasz Marszalek (bass), Beata Lagoda (keyboards, backing vocals), and Jakub Roszak (lead vocals). The group recorded and released the demo “Hollow” (2007), which attracted attention for the band. When Hollow was preparing the next release, their sound turned out to be more Progressive, as band members were continuously searching for new inspiration on bands such as “King Crimson”, “Dream Theater”, “Pink Floyd”, and “Riverside”. With a new musical orientation, Hollow decided to change the moniker for Retrospective. Retrospective then released an EP, entitled “Spectrum of The Green Morning” (2007), that garnered compliments from the worldwide Progressive Rock community; and afterwards went on a tour around Poland that culminated in a show in Wroclaw, when the band opened for “Fish” (ex-“Marillion”)! To consolidate their position as an emergent new band from Poland, Retrospective recorded and released the full-length albums “Stolen Thoughts” (2008, Lynx Music) and “Lost in Perception” (2012, Progressive Promotion Records), which were respectively featured at PR&PM in March 2009 and January 2013, in two acclaiming reviews that compared Retrospective to bands like “Frost”, “Eloy”, and “Dream Theater”, and leveled them to other important Polish acts, such as “Riverside”, “After”, “Collage”, “Quidam”, “Lebowski”, “Osada Vida”, “Lunatic Soul”, “Milleniun”, “Believe”, and “Tune”. From 2013 to 2014, Retrospective toured extensively, sharing stages with “Riverside”, “Coma”, “Votum”, “Hunter”, and others. This gave little time for the band to prepare a new album. At last, Retrospective entered the Impressive Art Studio in 2016 to record a new full-length album, entitled “Re:Search”. “Re:Search” was released on Feb. 14th, 2017, via Progressive Promotion Records, Germany, being also available via Rock Serwis, in Poland. “Re:Search” is an impacting album, which has much to offer to the listener on each of its nine tracks. Overall, the sound is compact, dense and heavy, constructed on a three-layered matrix composed of Modern Hard Rock, Heavy Progressive, and Melodic Rock. The band, however, is not restricted to those styles, and venture into a broad spectrum of musical genres, inspired by a vast array of artists. Band members are always instilling into their sound elements of Prog-Metal, Indie and Post-Rock, Gothic, Atmospheric, Psychedelic, and Grunge, in a search to find original ways of making music (hence the new album’s name). Retrospective’s strongest point lies on their ability to work with contrasts: M. Klimek & A. Szczepaniak on guitars can be aggressive and dazzling, or groovy, melodic, psychedelic; Lukasz Marszalek’s bass lines are awesome and vibrant, lustered with a metallic texture that sends either contagious grooves, or hypnotic waves (I risk to say that he might be a great fan of “Iron Maiden”, “Tool”, “Dream Theater” and “Led Zeppelin”!). Kusik’s drums are powerful and groovy too, but also cool, jazzy, and soft. J. Roszak’s vocals are omnipresent and powerful, but also somber and emotional – his voice may be adapted to any musical style. He shares the singing parts with a mostly flexible and melodic Beata Lagoda, both of them contributing to create opposing moods, divergent atmospheres, and surprising changes of style on each song. Beata adds her own scale of hues and contrasts with her keyboards, which may be orchestral or classic, but also modern, lysergic, or ethereal. The music produced by this sextet is outstanding, thrilling, impacting, and grabbing, showing influences of the aforementioned bands, and resembling also “Artrosis”, “Lacuna Coil”, “Evanescence”, “Metallica”, “Evergrey”, “Jorn Lande”, “Jag Panzer”, “Ayreon”, “Superior”, “Radiohead”, and more! With great lyrics inspired on reality, “Re:Search” is a musical continuation of the previous album, “Lost in Perception”. “Re:Search” has an alternation of heavy, Metal-based songs with soft-melodic, Prog-based ones. To the first group belong: “Rest Another Time” (5:06) – a groovy mix of Hard-Rock with some “Tool”-like bass; “Last Breath” (4:23) – a somber and aggressive Prog-Metal/Post-Metal combo immersed in lysergic atmospheres, with influences of “Dream Theater”, “Evergrey”, and “Metallica”; and specially “The End Of Their World” (4:49) and “The Wisest Man On Earth” (7:33) – two mind-blowing songs that hover on adventurous riffs and thrilling Prog-Metal instrumental passages, driven by epic “doomsday” male vocals (like on “Iron Maiden’s” “Powerslave”)! The second group of songs has a greater participation of Beata on the vocal duos, and is mainly driven by her floating, relaxing, piano and by softer Indie/Post-Rock drumming, with the rest of the band harmonizing the arrangements with amazing melodies. “Right Way” (4:51) and “Heaven Is Here” (5:45) are great modern Prog-ballads, but “Look In The Mirror” (4:48) is better still, driven by bass and drums like “Eloy”, nice male-female duos, soaring harmony vocals, and guitars with a psychedelic “Pink Floyd” touch. “Roller Coaster” (5:04) and “Standby” (4:19) begin both as ballads, but have surprising twists, becoming heavier: on “Roller Coaster”, the contrast is introduced by Roszak’s aggressive chorus; on “Standby”, the song plunges dramatically into Gothic paranoia! “Re:Search” represents an intense journey into Retrospective’s creative and original musical world. With this album, Retrospective can definitely brag about being in the same level of other great Polish bands, such as: “Riverside”, “After”, “Collage”, “Quidam”, “Osada Vida”, “Lunatic Soul”, “Milleniun”, “Believe”, “Tune”, “Artrosis”, and “Lebowski”; and non-Polish acts, such as “Dream Theater”, “Lacuna Coil”, “Evanescence”, “Metallica”, “Evergrey”, “Jorn Lande”, “Ayreon”, “Superior”, “Frost”, “Eloy”, “Radiohead”, “Porcupine Tree”, and “Pink Floyd”. An awesome band, indispensable for fans of Heavy Prog, Prog-Metal, Modern Hard Rock and Melodic Rock. Band members and collaborators involved in Retrospective are: Jakub Roszak - Lead Vocals, Lyrics; Beata Lagoda - Keyboards, Vocals; Maciej Klimek – Guitar; Alan Szczepaniak – Guitar; Lukasz Marszalek - Bass; Robert Kusik – Drums. Ex-member: Anna Splawska – Lead Vocals, has briefly replaced J. Roszak in live shows in 2011. Recorded at Impressive-Art Studio, 2016; Engineered, Mixed & Mastered by Przemyslaw Nowak. Cover by Dimitra Papadimitriou; Photo by Marcus Ranum; Booklet & Artwork by Bartlomiej Musielak & Maciej Klimek. Produced by Retrospective & P. Nowak... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/30/2017...............................Want to learn everything about the band and their history, go to RETROSPECTIVE HOME PAGE...
. OMMATIDIA - "Let’s Face It"
Ommatidia are a Dark Melodic Metal band located in Paris, France. Ommatidia were initiated by Nicolas Chevrollier (guitars, songwriting) after he parted ways from his previous band, “The Old Dead Tree”. To continue searching for his dreams, he founded this new project, counting with close collaboration of bassist Vincent Danhier (ex-“The Old Dead Tree” member). The duo completed the project’s line-up with drummer Olivier Rouget (also in Thrash Metal act “Sinn”); second guitarist Gilles Vardon (from Death-Core band “Jarell”); and singer Guillaume Richard (from Heavy Rock band “Dustbowl”). Ommatidia were officially founded in February, 2010, and after seven months of intense rehearsals, the band entered the studio to record their debut album: “In This Life, Or The Next” (March 21st, 2011, Season Of Mist). This album was recorded in Paris, but mastered at the Fascination Street Studio in Örebro, Sweden, by Jens Bogren (“Opeth”, “Paradise Lost”, “Pain Of Salvation”, “Soilwork”). In 2015, Ommatidia released their second album “Let's Face It” on CD, independently. As bassist Vincent Danhier was no longer with the band, the bass and keyboards had been played by guitarist Gilles Vardon. Following the release of “Let’s Face It”, Guillaume Sence was brought in to become Ommatidia’s new bassist. “Let’ Face It” contains 10 tracks and songs with lyrics in English. The music of Ommatidia can be described as Dark Melodic Metal with influences of “Paradise Lost”, “Katatonia”, “Slayer”, and “Tool” – being also spotted with influences of bands like “Evergrey”, “Symphorce”, “Novembers Doom”, “Deftones”, “Opeth”, “Paradise Lost”, “Type O Negative”, “Killswitch Engage”, “Fear Factory”, “Control Denied”, “Nevermore”, and “Virgin Black”. The songs concentrate heaviness and energy, and the combined backgrounds of the band’s experienced musicians contribute to forge an impressive sonic-panorama, on which the strongest point is their capacity for balancing really outrageous Metal passages with Atmospheric-Melancholic ones. Gilles Vardon, who has played bass on this very album, has showcased great competence and harmonic coherence when playing on that instrument, forming with drummer Olivier Rouget a solid, skilled, and dynamic rhythmic section. The guitar duo Vardon and Nicolas Chevrollier added thrilling riffs that concentrated different styles of Metal: Post-Metal, New Metal, 90’s Metal and New-Century Thrash Metal. Singer Guillaume Richard conveyed emotion, melody, and melancholy with his voice, matching the instrumentation of the band; and in the few moments on which he wanted to sing more aggressively, he switched for a guttural mode. “Let’ Face It” starts with the face-punching “Immaculate” (5:13), which runs over a locomotive-speeded rhythmic base, blended to compressed guitar riffs, pounding thunderous bass, and gloomy powerful vocals. Ommatidia’s specialty – the art of mixing dark atmospheres and emotionally deep passages with heavier moments – is offered on the next songs: the hovering “Sunspot” (4:56); the powerful “Dark Swelling” (3:46) – which has a middle sequence of slow “doomic” riffs shrouded by stormy “cumulus nimbus” clouds; and “Seeping Back” (4:24) – which grows from somber bass lines and tribal drumming to surprise the listener with a torrent of powerful guitars and solos. On its way, vocals change from depressed and anguished to deep, angry, and guttural, making this one the perfect dish for being consumed by fans of “Type O Negative”, “Fear Factory” and “Killswitch Engage”. Less raging, and contrasting with the previous, the Dark Metal ballad “Antigonism” (5:32) will be rather appreciated by fans of “Novembers Doom”. But the greatest songs of this album are undoubtedly: “Soiled” (7:10) and “A Lack Of Contrast In Life” (4:51). “Soiled” is cerebral, beginning with complex Prog-Metal riffs that precede emotional vocals full of suffering and solitude that are interspersed to melancholic, odd-metric Post-Metal riffs! All is driven in different rhythmic intensities, and closed by an epic guitar solo (recalling me of the oldest albums of “Evergrey”)! “A Lack Of Contrast …” is faster, coming over the listener with the speed of a locomotive loaded with dense thrash-smashing Metal riffs! The amazing bass and drums interaction, with the addition of vocals, reminded me of “Nevermore”! The album finishes with three tracks that form the triptych “Coming Full Circle”, subdivided in “Part I” (2:46), “Part II” (3:42), and “Part III” (6:17). Together, they form an impressive ode to solitude and melancholy, starting quietly as an instrumental piece; then experiencing an upheaval of energy on the subsequent part; to sink inside a pool of melancholy on the third part. To convey the compatible degree of emotion for each instrumental passage, singer Guillaume Richard employed different kinds of vocals, ranging from deep and aggressive (like “Katatonia”), to haunting and high-pitched (like “Virgin Black”). All in all, Ommatidia’s album, “Let’ Face It”, is a solid and eclectic Dark Metal work that should be checked out by Metal fans worldwide, being highly recommended for fans of bands such as: “Paradise Lost”, “Katatonia”, “Slayer”, “Tool”, “Evergrey”, “Symphorce”, “Novembers Doom”, “Deftones”, “Opeth”, “Paradise Lost”, “Type O Negative”, “Killswitch Engage”, “Fear Factory”, “Prong”, “Control Denied”, “Nevermore”, “Virgin Black”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Ommatidia are: Guillaume Richard – Lead Vocals, Lyrics (except “Dark Swelling”, by Ommatidia); Nicolas Chevrollier – Guitars; Gilles Vardon – Guitars; Bass and Keyboards on this album; Guillaume Sence – Bass; Olivier Rouget – Drums. Ex-member: Vincent Danhier – Bass. Album Recorded by Olivier T'servranx at C&P Studio; Mixed by François-Maxime Boutault at Les Liens Du Son; Mastered by El Mobo at Conkrete Studio. Produced by Ommatidia. Also you must visit Ommatidia's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
07/31/2017.............................Would like to know more about the band and their history, please visit OMMATIDIA HOME PAGE...
. EVOLVENT (Currently BENEATH MY SINS) - "Whatever Happens"
Evolvent was a Female-Fronted Symphonic Metal band from Paris, France, that dismantled in December 2015. Members Emma Elvaston (vocals, lyrics) and Clément Botz (guitars, clarinet) gave continuation to their work forming a new band, named Beneath My Sins. Evolvent had been created in 2008 around the figure of Sébastien Latour (keyboards, piano, and compositions). With different line-ups, Evolvent released the EP “Spiritual Confession” (2008) and the full-length album “Delusion” (2011). In 2012, Evolvent welcomed lead vocalist Emma Elvaston – who had been taking singing lessons since 2007 when she heard “Tarja Turunen” in “Nightwish”. In 2013, Clément Botz – a clarinetist, guitarist and pianist graduated from the Conservatoire of Marseille – also joined the band. With the dynamic input provided by those two new members, Evolvent released the EP “Human Instinct” (2014) and the full-length album, “Whatever Happens” (May 5, 2015, DooWeet Promotion). “Whatever Happens” – the album featured herein – contained 10 tracks. Besides counting on Emma Elvaston (vocals), Sébastien Latour (keyboards, piano), and Clément Botz (guitars), the record also featured Matthieu Gimenez (bass) and Frédéric Artale (drums); and had guest participation of singers Oxy Hart and Jose Castillo. “Whatever Happens” was born from the first time from the cooperation of all of Evolvent’s musicians: Emma had written all the lyrics and Botz had also contributed with his own compositions. In this sense, it is possible to say that the great collective work developed on Evolvent’s “Whatever Happens” has been the start for the rise of Beneath My Sins. In January 2016, Emma and Botz founded Beneath My Sins with the ambition of crafting a modern and mature kind of Symphonic Metal, exploring all the possibilities of the style. With help of Pascal Clifford (bass) and Clément Chouffier (second guitar), Beneath My Sins released recently a debut album – “Valkyries Of Modern Times” (March 2017, Painted Bass Records) – which we hope to host at PR&PM soon. In 2017, the band will be touring around Europe with Belgian band “Skeptical Minds” and Russian band “Pokerface”. In the meantime, let us focus on Evolvent’s last release – “Whatever Happens”! This album is a magnificent collection of Symphonic Metal epics, with incursions to Symphonic Power Metal and Melodic Metal. Emma sings in an operatic style that brings “Tarja Turunen” (ex-“Nightwish”) and “Simone Simons” (“Epica”) to mind. Her voice has both range and epic intonation – sometimes also recalling bands like “Syrens Call”, “Amberian Dawn”, “Forgotten Tales” – but her voice is not the only attribute of Evolvent. The orchestral arrangements crafted by Sébastien Latour on his keyboards are grandiloquent and epic – abundant in strings, classical piano, and choirs, they are sometimes as opulent as on “Nightwish” and “Delain”, other times eerie and dreamy, like on “Within Temptation”, forming a true symphonic background for the Metal parts to grow on! The Metal component is marked by powerful guitar riffs, followed by thunderous bass and empire-destroying drums! The perfect combination of Symphonic and Metal passages create different atmospheres and moods, instilled with crimson passion, rage, and heroism! With each component on the right place, Evolvent created a wonderful album that will be promptly assimilated by fans of “Nightwish”, “Epica”, “Delain”, “Within Temptation”, “Amberian Dawn”, “After Forever”, “Forgotten Tales”, “Syrens Call”, “Amartia”, “Xandria”, “Visions Of Atlantis”, “Two Steps From Hell”, and “Edenbridge”! “Whatever Happens” begins with the instrumental intro “Dawn” (1:31), which unleashes the impressively heroic “Win or Die” (3:02) – full of guitars and defiant vocal parts; leading to the galloping riffs of “Hurricane” (4:52), with thrilling symphonic war passages for piano that recall “Within Temptation”, encouraged by Emma’s brave vocals. “Love Doesn't Love Me” (4:09) combines Emma’s emotive voice with grunting male vocals, producing a dramatic effect that resembles a mix of “Epica” with early “Within Temptation”. The poignant “Our Fate” (4:26) is the most Operatic piece – an ode to one’s last days on Earth! “We Are” (4:38) is a cadenced Melodic Metal song with a “Nightwishy” style that profits from a stronger and more vibrant rhythms section – a formula repeated with great success on “Over Seasons & Time” (4:03), which combines heaviness, epic feeling, dreamy pianos, and adventurous guitar solo. “Embrace” (4:49) is a Baroque Power-Metal mix containing heavy guitar riffs, ascending orchestrations, and choirs that invite to battle (like “Amberian Dawn” and “Forgotten Tales”). The title-track “Whatever Happens” (5:01) goes next – another great Operatic song with a cinematographic scope, certainly containing the most beautiful vocal tunes and guitar arrangements of the album; still having a final section that reaches Prog-magnitude! The ballad “Siempre” (3:36), with Spanish lyrics, closes the album with a fantastic duo between Emma and Jose Castillo! A great album within the Symphonic Metal style, Evolvent’s “Whatever Happens” is highly recommendable for fans of Female-Fronted Symphonic Metal who love “Nightwish”, “Epica”, “Delain”, “Within Temptation”, “Syrens Call”, “Amberian Dawn”, “After Forever”, “Forgotten Tales”, “Amartia”, “Xandria”, “Visions Of Atlantis”, “Edenbridge”, “Two Steps From Hell”, “Phantasma”, “Alestorm”, “Serenity”, and so on! Band members and collaborators involved in Evolvent are: Emma Elvaston – Vocals; Sébastien Latour – Keyboards, Piano; Clément Botz – Guitars; Matthieu Gimenez – Bass; Frédéric Artale – Drums; Isabelle Hermant - Violin. Guest Singers: Oxy HartSeadem”, “Whyzdom”, “Antheria”, “Nimrød”, “Asylum Pyre”); Jose Castillo – Vocals (on “Siempre”). Alexandre Warot – Engineering, Mixing, Backing Vocals. Artwork by Hicham Haddaji. Beneath My Sins line-up: Emma Elvaston – Vocals; Clément Botz – Guitar, Clarinet; Pascal Clifford – Bass; Clément Chouffier – Second Guitar. Also you must visit Evolvent's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
07/31/2017.................................More information about the band? Better check it out for yourself at: EVOLVENT HOME PAGE...
Richard William Palmer-James is a veteran musician, who is mostly known for having written the lyrics for several songs of “King Crimson” in the early ‘70s. Palmer-James was born on June 11th, 1947, in Bournemouth, England, and started his career playing in various bands in Bournemouth: “The Corvettes”, “The Palmer-James Group” (with “Alec James”), “Tetrad”, and “Ginger Man”, which had also “John Wetton” as a member. Palmer-James was a founding member of “Supertramp” in 1969, and took part as singer, lyricist and guitarist on their eponymous debut album. He also co-wrote the lyrics of “Goldrush”, a song that was only recorded for “Supertramp’s” 2002 album “Slow Motion”. Palmer-James wrote several lyrics for “King Crimson's” most emblematic albums: “Larks' Tongues in Aspic” (1973), “Starless and Bible Black” (1974), and “Red” (1974). Palmer-James joined “John Wetton”, “Curt Cress” and “John Hutcheson” in the project “Jack Knife”, which released the album “I Wish You Would” (1979). In the ‘80s he joined German band “Munich”. In the ‘90s, he collaborated on the project called John Wetton & Richard Palmer-James, which released the CD “Monkey Business 1972 – 1997” (1998). Later, this album was reunited with “Jack Knife’s” album, and reissued as “Jack-Knife/Monkey Business 1972 – 1997” (2014, Primary Purpose). In 2016, Richard Palmer-James released a solo album on CD, entitled “Takeaway” (07 Oct. 2016, Primary Purpose, distributed by Cherry Red Rec.). “Takeaway” brings a collection of 13 songs that cover the musical styles of late ‘60s to early ‘70s: Rock, Blues, American Country Rock, and British Pop. The arrangements are based on a mix of acoustic guitars and soft electric guitars, calmly driven by a relaxed rhythmic section, including a few passages for piano. The greatest emphasis fall on the vocals, which sing meaningful lyrics – instilled with poetry and protest, those lyrics are chronicles of an era, focusing on autobiographical issues and on stories of characters that may be either fictitious or not, but are as real as you and me. Spokesman of a generation, Palmer-James teams himself up with other songwriters and composers with the importance of “Johnny Cash”, “Bob Dylan”, “Willie Nelson”, “Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young”, “Leonard Cohen”, “Cat Stevens”, “Donovan”, “Nick Drake”, “Roy Orbison”, “Tom Petty”, “George Harrison”, “Elvis Costello”, “James Taylor”, “Country Joe and the Fish”, and so on. Most songs of “Takeaway” have a melancholic to bittersweet mood, including the introspective first song “Aerodrome” (4:39), the title-track, “Takeaway” (4:13) (which closes the album), and the piano ballad “Saving You From Drowning” (5:13) – all of them leaning more to the British subtle and poignant way of making ballads. On the other hand, the sensitive soulful mood of American Old Time Blues and Country Rock are predominant on the piano-ballad “Baker's Dozen” (4:09), on the sentimental “Guano Blues” (3:39); on the nostalgic “Chances Passing” (4:01), on the nicely old-fashioned “Halfremembered Summer” (4:28); and specially on the sadness instilled on “Highway Code” (6:32) – one of the album’s best, with strong influence of legendary “Johnny Cash”. To balance the strong bluesy feeling conveyed on those aforementioned songs, Palmer-James sometimes allows his spirit to fly free, producing some slightly cheerful songs, all rooted on the American Country-Rock styles, but with dubious lyrics – such as on “A Very Bad Girl” (3:19); protest lyrics – such as on “Honest Jim” (4:56); or surprisingly ironic lyrics – such as on “Dance For Me” (2:37), on which up-to-date issues, such as the daily violence, are discussed while some good Old Time Country music is played on the background. At last, the cheerful mandolin of “Doing Time” (4:21) and the spirited Southern Rock “So We Meet Again” (4:05) are the ideal songs for playing in your private barn-party! Not a Progressive-Rock album at all, Richard Palmer-James’ solo album “Takeaway” is a collection of nice songs, crafted within the parameters of the late 60’s to early 70’s Counter-Culture Movement, and performed with genuine conviction and feeling by the author. Richard Palmer-James and his album “Takeaway” are specially recommended for fans of “Johnny Cash”, “Bob Dylan”, “Willie Nelson”, “Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young”, “Leonard Cohen”, “Cat Stevens”, “Donovan”, “Nick Drake”, “James Taylor”, “Roy Orbison”, “Tom Petty”, “George Harrison”, “Traveling Wilburys”, “Elvis Costello”, “Country Joe and the Fish”, “John Wetton” (solo) and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Richard Palmer-James are: Richard Palmer-James – Lead Vocals, Acoustic & Electric Guitars, Slide Guitar, Mandolin, Songwriter; Evert Van Der Wal – Acoustic & Electric Guitars, Guitar FX, Drums, Percussion, Heavenly Chorus, Bass; Alex Klier – Bass; Theo Degler – Accordion, Piano; Peter Bischoff & Friederike Sipp – Harmony Vocals. All Music & Lyrics by R. Palmer-James, except for “Takeaway” (Lyrics by R. Palmer-James; Music by – E. Van Der Wal). Recorded by Ever Van Der Wal in Gampe’s Basement & by Alex Klier at LXK Studios, Munich, Spring-Autumn 2015. Mixed & Mastered by A. Klier at LXK Studios. Produced by R. Palmer-James & E. Van Der Wal... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
07/31/2017........................Interested to know more about this fantastic Musician? Visit RICHARD PALMER-JAMES HOME PAGE...
. MECHANICAL BUTTERFLY - "The Irresistible Gravity"
Mechanical Butterfly is a multi-influenced Progressive Rock band from Acireale, Sicilia, Italy. The present line-up features Francesca Pulvirenti (vocals, lyrics), Alessio Oranges (guitars), Laura Basile (keyboards, synths), Emanuele Maita (bass), and Gioele Gentile (drums); but several other musicians have taken part on the project since its inception. Mechanical Butterfly was founded in 2006 by the guitarists Alessio Oranges and Dario Laletta. With Giovanni Valastro on keyboards and flute, and using samples of drums and bass, they released a first EP (“Mechanical Butterfly”), featuring four instrumental tracks in Progressive style. The project’s line-up was completed with the coming of Andrea Zappalà (drums) and Giuseppe Padalino (bass) – both from band “Aracne” – and later, of Laura Basile (keyboards). Finally, singer Francesca Pulvirenti joined the group in April 2007. With the arrival of Francesca, the band composed three new songs and rearranged an instrumental one, adding vocals to it. The four tracks were released on a second EP by Mechanical Butterfly (2008, self-produced), the cover of which had been idealized by Gianlorenzo Di Mauro. The band followed on, participating on local competitions (winning some of them) and amassing an expressive amount of reviews and radio airplays. Most important of all was the performance at the Rock Targato Italia (2011). By 2010, changes in the line-up had already occurred: drummer Toti Bella and bassist Gianlorenzo Di Mauro had joined Mechanical Butterfly; but at the start of 2011, Roberto Marano became the band’s new bassist. In October 2011, guitarist and co-founder Dario Laletta parted ways with Mechanical Butterfly. In March 2013 the band entered the SiNe Studios in Acireale to record the first full-length album: “The Irresistible Gravity” (June 2015, distributed via Ma.Ra.Cash Records). “The Irresistible Gravity” was reviewed in magazines, webzines and blogs around the UK, the USA, Germany, Nederland, France, and Spain; and received airplay in Italy, UK, USA, Germany and Brazil. In September 2014 Emanuele Maita (bass) and Gioele Gentile (drums) were admitted as new members of Mechanical Butterfly. The band immediately composed a new song, “Cyber City” (included on the compilation “Jazz Friends 2014 – White Notes”); and began to work on new material for a future album. For now, “The Irresistible Gravity” is on focus at PR&PM. Mechanical Butterfly is a brave band that knows how to combine dynamic arrangements, powerful heavy rhythms, and melodic “progressiveness”. Fronted by a charismatic singer, nourished by some psychedelic guitars, supported by ponderous groovy bass, and conveying thrilling synths in Prog-Metal style, Mechanical Butterfly delivers a kind of Heavy Progressive Rock that encompasses also Hard-Prog and Prog-Metal. The band keeps constantly touching those musical borders, never getting too much “Metal”, neither losing their rocking “down-to-earth” attitude. Covering a variety of styles, Mechanical Butterfly might be influenced by a wide list of bands, from Italy (“Lacuna Coil”, “Tystnaden”, “Time Machine”, “Moonlight Circus”, “Labyrinth”, “Malibran”) and abroad (“Porcupine Tree”, “Dream Theater”, “Deep Purple”, “Presto Ballet”, “Evanescence”, “The Gathering”, “Ozric Tentacles”, “Hawkwind”, “Retrospective”, and many others). “The Irresistible Gravity” has eight tracks. The avant-garde “Suoni Dalle Stele” (1:41) is the intro for the instrumental track “Labyrinth of Doors” (8:12) – a cinematic combination of Hard-Prog (driven by straightforward drum beats akin to “Deep Purple”); Prog-Metal (represented by acrobatic guitars synths in “Dream Theater” and “Porcupine Tree” styles), and Space Rock (busted up by bass propulsion similar to “Hawkwind” or “Ozric Tentacles”). “Marks of Times” (6:49) follows on, introduced by rumbling sounds of bass and aggressive flutes that make honor to “Biglietto Per L’Inferno”, “Delirium”, “Dalton”, “Malibran” and “Jethro Tull”. It is also the first track featuring a storming Francesca on the lead, ahead of a wall of guitar riffs and keyboards that bring “Lacuna Coil”, “The Gathering”, and “DT” to mind, but with more swing! “The Alchemist” (9:56) is a Prog-Metal epic instilled with Oriental moods, which goes on unfolding different parts and atmospheres. The middle segment is psychedelic and trippy, and the final one is vigorous, full of byzantine guitar riffs, delirious bass, and complicated drumming, all conveying the spirited voice of Francesca, ending on a coda of soaring keyboards that hook this piece to “Emerald Tears” (3:08) – a Gothic dark ballad for piano and vocals that will please fans of “Amy Lee” (“Evanescence”) and “Sophya Baccini” (“Presence”). Yet, “Sparks Within a Downpour” (6:21) rises the energetic level again with contagious riffs, which are alternated with Progressive-Melodic vocal parts that lead to a long and soaring solo of guitar, finalized with dazzling synth and powerful vocals. Finally, “Gravity” (2:49) is a short instrumental track on which the band makes use of an electronic background and guitar improvisations to prepare the listener for the best of all, “La Fenice” (5:52) – an amazing song immersed in a mysterious atmosphere that is instilled with Middle Eastern modes, great synths on intro, and superb vocal performance by Francesca, sounding like the best of “Lacuna Coil” and “The Gathering”, but crowned with a hot sequence of guitar solos! As a whole, I have found Mechanical Butterfly’s “The Irresistible Gravity” to be an irresistible album containing a great combination of Prog-Metal, Hard-Prog, and Heavy-Prog, with some elements of Psychedelic-Space Rock and Middle-Eastern being thrown in, being highly recommendable for fans of bands like “Lacuna Coil”, “Evanescence”, “The Gathering”, “Dream Theater”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Presto Ballet”, “Retrospective”, “Time Machine”, “Moonlight Circus”, “Labyrinth”, “Karmamoi”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Mechanical Butterfly are: Francesca Pulvirenti – Vocals & Lyrics; Alessio Oranges – Guitars; Laura Basile - Keyboards & Synths; Emanuele Maita – Bass; Gioele Gentile – Drums. Line-up on “The Irresistible Gravity”: Francesca Pulvirenti – Vocals & Lyrics; Alessio Oranges – Guitars; Laura Basile – Keyboards & Synth; Roberto Marano – Bass; Toti Bella – Drums. Additional Musicians: Dario Laletta – Guitar; Gianlorenzo di Mauro – Bass (both on “La Fenice”). Graphic Design by Stefano Somogyi; Cover Art by Giuliana Pulvirenti. Recorded, Mixed & Mastered at the SiNe Studios (Acireale). Also you must visit Mechanical Butterfly's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
07/31/2017..Want to learn everything about this amazing band and its members? Visit MECHANICAL BUTTERFLY HOME PAGE...
. PANTHER& C. - "Il Giusto Equilibrio"
Panther & C. are a Melodic Progressive Rock band hailing from Genova, Italy. The present line-up features Mauro Serpe (vocals and flute), Riccardo Mazzarini (guitar), Alessandro La Corte (keyboards), Giorgio Boleto (bass), and Folco Fedele (drums). Panther & C. congregate musical influences from both British and Italian Prog-icons: “Emerson Lake & Palmer”, “Yes”, “Gentle Giant”, “Jethro Tull”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Genesis”, “Banco del Mutuo Soccorso”, and “PFM”. In August of 2015 Panther & C. debuted on CD with the release of the studio album entitled “L’Epoca di un Altro …” (Black Widow Records). On this record, Roberto Sanna was in charge of the drums. Two years later, and with Folco Fedele as the new drummer, Panther & C. recorded and released on CD their second studio album, entitled “Il Giusto Equilibrio” (2017, distributed by Black Widow Records). Panther & C. are a band formed by excellent musicians, who have total dominion over their respective instruments. Guitars and keyboards are omnipresent; bass is melodic and harmonic; drums are skillful; flutes are pastoral; vocals are melodic and emotional. The music of this amazing band congregates influences from both British and Italian Progressive Rock groups, finding the “Perfect Balance” between those two sources (the album’s title means “Perfect Balance”, in English). From the British side, there are influences from “Genesis”, “ELP”, and “Jethro Tull” (on flutes), and of “Marillion’s” Neo-Prog style (on some soaring guitars, bass, and on some keyboard textures and straighter drum drives). From the Italian Progressive Rock side, there are resemblances with the arrangements of “PFM”, “Delirium” (also on the flutes), “Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso” and “Locanda Delle Fate” (also on the lyricism of the vocals); with the medieval influences of “Celeste” and “Errata Corrige”; and with the keyboards of “Corte Dei Miracoli”, “Alphataurus”, “Acqua Fragile”. Panther & C. also follows on the tradition of bands of the revival generation of Italian Prog, such as “CAP”, “Il Castello di Atlante”, “Malibran”, “Nuova Era”, “Logos”, and many others. “Il Giusto Equilibrio” has five tracks, three of which are long epics. “…E Continua Ad Essere...” (4:27) opens the album, bringing in a bed of floating keyboards, a rocking rhythmic section, vibrant guitars, and a few vocal lines that merge with dreamy atmospheres, relaxing instrumentation and pastoral flutes. The title track – “Giusto Equilibrio” (13:32) – is the first epic. It is introduced by “Tullesque” flutes, which give way in favor of some adventurous themes for keyboards and guitars. Serpe’s emotional vocal performance honors the great singers of the Italian-Prog tradition. The song gains in dynamics later, accelerating the pace towards a long instrumental part on which inspiring tunes scape from the keyboards. The vocals return, preceding the climax: a solo of guitar – soaring, beautiful, and epic! The third track, “Oric” (4:33), is a song-ballad driven by romantic vocals, gentle guitar plucking, and eerie keyboards that ends on pastoral flutes. It is followed by the instrumental epic “Fuga Dal Lago” (11:29), which starts mysteriously and atmospheric, with tolling bells and flutes, but changes to a futuristic ambience with the glassy Neo-Prog texture of keyboards and bass. Sweet sounds of flute dance with symphonic synths, introducing an adventurous theme on guitars that evokes the image of a medieval knight galloping on the plains, forward into battle – a magnificent experience, further explored on the forthcoming keyboards and solos of guitar! The third and last epic, “L'Occhio Del Gabbiano” (13:40), steers to the Neo-Prog, being immersed in a dreamy atmosphere on which the emotional vocals share space with instrumental moments of superior musicianship, as the amazing solos of guitar and keyboards come one after the other, embellishing the song without breaking the link with the main musical theme! Uniting the best of two Progressive musical worlds, Panther & C. and their new album “Il Giusto Equilibrio” are highly recommendable for fans of Italian Progressive Rock with a dash of British Prog & Neo-Prog thrown in, being indispensable for lovers of “Genesis”, “ELP”, “Marillion”, “Jethro Tull”, “PFM”, “Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso”, “Delirium”, “Celeste”, “Errata Corrige”, “Locanda Delle Fate”, “Corte Dei Miracoli”, “Alphataurus”, “Acqua Fragile”, “CAP”, “Nuova Era”, “Il Castello di Atlante”, “Malibran”, “Logos”, “The Samurai of Prog”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Panther & C. are: Mauro Serpe – Vocals and Flute; Riccardo Mazzarini – Electric Guitar; Alessandro La Corte – Keyboards; Giorgio Boleto – Bass; Folco Fedele – Drums. Former Member: Roberto Sanna – Drums. Music, Lyrics & Arrangements by Panther & C. Recorded & Mixed by Gianluca Polizzi at Studio Fabbrica Musicale, Genova. Mastered by Sandro Ferrini. Cover Art by Gigi Zautredi Boleto; Booklet by Enzo Serpe; Layout by Pino Pintabona. Distribution: Black Widow Records, Genova. Also you must visit Panther & C.'s Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
07/31/2017................Want to learn everything about the musicians and their fantastic band, go to PANTHER & C. HOME PAGE...
. PHOENIX AGAIN - "Unexplored"
Phoenix Again is an Italian Progressive Rock band from Brescia, which consists of members of the Lorandi family. In 1976, bassist Antonio Lorandi and his brother Claudio founded the band called “Gruppo Studio Alternativo”, which had also collaboration of Diego Bocchio (guitar, keyboards) and Sergio Forloni (drums). In 1977, Diego left the band, and Sergio Lorandi – the younger brother of Antonio and Claudio, joined the line-up. In autumn 1981, drummer Sergio Forloni left the band and “Gruppo Studio Alternativo” dissolved. But one month later, the Lorandi brothers met Silvano Silva (drums) and founded a new band, called Phoenix, which played concerts around Brescia. But in 1986 Antonio Lorandi left Phoenix to pursue a business career, and stayed away from stages for years. With the coming of keyboardist and mixer Emilio Rossi, the sound of Phoenix steered to a most symphonic style. Phoenix continued to play live, acting as supporting band for other Italian artists. In 1991 Phoenix recorded “Alchimie”, the first tape with original compositions. Phoenix stayed active until 1998, when band members started to move to other projects. In 2003, Antonio Lorandi retook his musical inspirations, and with help of Claudio Lorandi, Silvano Silva, and singer Alex Adu Gyamfi, he recorded an unofficial album, called “The Beginning of the Game”. After the death of Claudio in 2007, Antonio Lorandi re-founded Phoenix with the new moniker of Phoenix Again. With help of Silvano Silva, Sergio Lorandi, and other younger members of the Lorandi family, Phoenix Again initiated an ongoing discography that counts now with two studio albums, “ThreeFour” (2010) and “Look Out” (2014); and two double live albums, “Live In Flero” (2012) and “The Phoenix Flies Over The Netherlands” (2016). Phoenix Again’s discography has been recently augmented with the release of a third studio album, entitled “Unexplored” (May 6th 2017; produced by Phoenix Again & Black Widow Records). The music of Phoenix Again is mostly Instrumental Progressive Rock, instilled with influences of British and Italian bands such as: “Genesis”, “King Crimson”, “Gentle Giant”, “Jethro Tull”, “Pink Floyd”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Yes”, “Camel”, “Banco del Mutuo Soccorso”, “PFM”, and “Le Orme”. The compositions of Phoenix Again are dynamic, have surprising twists and turns, and contain a strong symphonic component that aggregates different Progressive styles. The musicians play at a professional level, balancing their old-fashioned and Prog-friendly approach with a modern attitude. Working in unison, they use their musical experience to craft thrilling and elaborated arrangements, also embellishing them with influences from Jazz-Fusion, Hard-Rock, Folk, and World Music. As for the instrumentation, there are abundant soloing guitars (many of which are as melodic and soaring as on Neo-Prog acts, like “Marillion”, “IQ”, “Pallas”), and opulent synths and other keyboards (either orchestral and bombastic, like “ELP” and “Goblin”, or eerie and “Mellotron-based”, like “King Crimson” and “Genesis”). Their interaction with Phoenix Again’s vivid bass and drums produce some rhythmical moments that are hard and groovy (like “Kansas”) or cerebral and investigative (like “KC” and “Gentle Giant”). Overall, Phoenix Again’s compositional style and sonority have also recalled me of bands like “Nuova Era”, “Logos”, “The Samurai of Prog”, “Men of Lake”, “Flower Kings”, “Karmakanic”, “Kenso”, “Cast”, and others like them. “Unexplored” brings 8 tracks. Different musical aspects are emphasized on each one of them, resulting in an eclectic Progressive repertoire. “Unexplored” begins with “That Day Will Come” (6:54) – a Neo-Prog song introduced by “Mellotron-like” sonorities, stuffed with waving synths and soaring Neo-Prog guitar solos that share space with vocals that sound like classic “King Crimson”. “Silver” (4:55), except for the syllabic singing, is a mostly instrumental piece. It keeps the greatest diversity of styles on its arrangements, starting with electro-acoustic textures that recall the Latin warmth of the Italian bands, incremented by some “Kansas” swing and by Contemporaneous orchestrations in “ELP’s” style! “The Bridge of Geese” (6:23) evolves from the contrast between a Medieval and a Futuristic Prog theme, represented by propelling bass lines that work as a ground for lavish improvisations on synths and guitars, finishing with an epic return to the Medieval theme! “Whisky” (5:53) is inspired by “King Crimson’s” experiments with odd-metrical rhythms and cosmic soundscapes! “Close to You” (2:11) – an acoustic guitar piece backed up by soft keyboards – is a relaxing prelude for “Valle della Luna” (8:41) – a sophisticated Prog-Fusion piece that blends World music with Mediterranean scents, melodic synths, and a long electric guitar solo. “To Be Afraid – Ansia” (6:40) starts as a ballad, with vocals reminiscent of “Greg Lake”, but has an ingenious twist on guitars that plunges it in a “Floydian” psychedelic atmosphere, darkened by synths reminiscent of “Porcupine Tree”! The clouds are dissipated by “Great Event” (2:22) – a melodic and joyful piece that closes the album with brightness. On this new album, “Unexplored”, Phoenix Again show to the world how they make Progressive Rock with excellence and grandness, being indispensable to fans of “Genesis”, “King Crimson”, “Gentle Giant”, “Jethro Tull”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Yes”, “Camel”, “Pink Floyd”, “Marillion”, “IQ”, “Pallas”, “Banco del Mutuo Soccorso”, “PFM”, “Goblin”, “Le Orme”, “Nuova Era”, “Logos”, “The Samurai of Prog”, “Men of Lake”, “Flower Kings”, “Karmakanic”, “Cast”, “Kenso”, “Kansas”, “Jadis”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Phoenix Again are: Antonio Lorandi – Bass, Vocals; Sergio Lorandi – Lead Guitar, Vocals; Silvano Silva – Drums, Percussion, Vocals; Andrea Piccinelli – Keyboards; Marco Lorandi – Guitar, Vocals; Giorgio Lorandi – Percussion, Vocals; Alessandra Lorandi – Flute, Vocals. Album Recorded & Mixed by Emanuele Bresciani at Phoenix Studio. Produced by Phoenix Again & Black Widow Records... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/08/2017........................More information about the band? Better check it out for yourself at: PHOENIX AGAIN HOME PAGE...
. ELECTRIC SWAN - "Windblown"
Electric Swan is back to PR&PM again! Electric Swan is the solo project of Italian guitar player Lucio Calegari – mostly known for being a founder member of Italian Hard-Rock outfit Wicked Minds. Electric Swan was born in 2008, and soon released the first album, also called “Electric Swan” (Bad Chili Records). This debut, which had participation of members of Wicked Minds and other guest musicians, was positively reviewed at PR&PM in January, 2009! Soon, with the coming of lead singer Monica Sardella, the Electric Swan project turned into a permanent band, that later performed at the famous Burg Herzberg (Germany) and Crescendo Festival (France); and also opened concerts for “Randy Hansen” and “Leon Hendrix” (Italy), and for German cult band “Jane” (Germany). In 2012, Electric Swan released the second studio album, called “Swirl in Gravity” (Black Widow Records). This album had collaboration of the late Clive Jones, flautist of the 70's English cult band “Black Widow”. Although Lucio Calegari and Monica Sardella have always been the central members of Electric Swan, the rhythm section of the band has changed several times. In 2015 a stable line-up was formed with the coming of Vincenzo Ferrari (bass) and Alessandro Fantasia (drums). The band went on and opened shows for “Molly Hatchet” and “Deville”. In 2017 Black Widow Records released Electric Swan's third studio album, entitled “Windblown”, on CD and digital formats. A gatefold 180 gr vinyl format is scheduled for release in October 2017. The CD version of “Windblown” brings 12 tracks: 9 original songs plus 3 covers, one of which – “Midnight”, by “T-Rex” – has been included as a bonus track (see below). The sound of Electric Swan has always been based on Calegari’s experience and expertise as a guitar player and on his musical taste (which includes artists such as: “Jimi Hendrix”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Black Sabbath”, “Jeff Beck”, “Grand Funk Railroad”, “Atomic Rooster”, “Free”, “Tommy Bolin”, “Frank Marino”, “UFO”, “Michael Schenker”, “Whitesnake”, “John Sykes”, “Pink Floyd”, “Soundgarden”, “Metallica”, “Gov't Mule”, and “Black Crowes”. After the addition of Monica Sardella’s powerful, passionate, and soulful voice to the sound of Electric Swan, this band also began to recall “Heart”, “Betty Davis”, and “Doro Pesch”. On “Windblown”, the music of the duo has been strengthened by an energetic and groovy rhythmic section, featuring an awesome Vincenzo Ferrari on bass (whose style reminded me of “monsters” like “Jack Bruce”, “John Paul Jones”, and “Mel Schacher”) and an unrestful Alessandro Fantasia on drums. The sum of those musical talents resulted in a precious selection of Modern Hard Rock hits that are instilled with the irresistible vibes of the 70’s Hard & Classic Rock! Listeners will totally surrender to the “Zeppelinean-Grand-Funky” swing of “Cry Your Eyes Out” (4:01) – the bombastic opening track; “Bad Mood” (5:20) – which has a pinch of Flower-Power on the short chorus and a trippy middle part on which Ferrari’s acrobatic bass contends Calegari’s superb guitar; “Carried By The Wind” (4:06) – a super-groovy Rock with a sensational “Heart” twist; and especially “Sin's A Good Man's Brother” (5:14) (“Grand Funk Railroad” cover) – a perfect rendition of the original, with the same dark atmosphere and swing, crowned with Sardella’s distinguishing singing! Listeners will also be driven by the fast, vibrant, dynamic, and malevolent funky swing of “Face To Face” (4:09) – on which soulful vocals alternate with tightly interlocked instrumentation, being topped with amazing guitar solo; and “Beautiful Bastard” (7:26) – a thrilling instrumental track that fuses 70’s Rock, Jazz and Funk – both track being marked by an igneous saxophone! Similar waving vibes irradiate from the rocking “Leaves” (5:46) – a highlight of the album – the straightforwardness of which is brilliantly broken up by the lysergic beat of the bass and by the psychedelic “Floydian” splay of fuzzy guitars, finished by Sardella’s raging vocals! Slowing down the pace, “Losin' Time” (6:17) is a malignant Blues that drips acid from the extended guitar solo, while Sardella sings with sensuality, anger, and disdain! “Here Is Nowhere” (5:35) is the album’s ballad. Featuring pastoral flutes, acoustic guitars, soft bass, and a sticky chorus, this song goes beyond triviality, pushed by Calegari’s bluesy guitar solo. The album finishes with two more covers: “If I'm In Luck I Might Get Picked Up” (7:00) is an impressive cover of a “Betty Davis’s” song that retains the same rasping vocals and early 70’s spirit, being underlined by vintage keyboards; and “Midnight” (4:11) (by “Marc Bolan”) surprised me with its superior version! “Windblown” (1:14) – the title track – is an acoustic guitar piece that separates those covers. As a whole, “Windblown” is a magnificent album that covers Modern Hard Rock and late 60’s to early 70’s Hard & Classic Rock, featuring top performances of great musicians – Lucio Calegaria and Monica Sardella ahead – being indispensable for fans of “Jimi Hendrix”, “Grand Funk Railroad”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Black Sabbath”, “Atomic Rooster”, “Jeff Beck”, “Free”, “Cream”, “Tommy Bolin”, “Frank Marino”, “Whitesnake”, “T-Rex”, “Gov't Mule”, “Black Crowes”, “Heart”, “Betty Davis”, “Doro”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Electric Swan are: Lucio "Swan" Calegari – Guitars; Monica Sardella – Vocals; Vincenzo Ferrari – Bass; Alessandro Fantasia – Drums. Guest Musicians: Sergio Battaglia – Saxophone of “Face to Face” & “Beautiful Bastard”; Samuele Tesori – Flute on “Here is Nowhere”; Paolo “Apollo” Negri – Hammond Organ, Electric Piano, Mellotron and Moog on “If I'm In Luck …”. “Midnight” also appears on “Marc Bolan/David Bowie – A Tribute to the Madman” (BWR). Album Produced by Electric Swan; Recorded at Elfo Studio, Tavernago, PC, Italy; Mixed & Mastered by Alberto Callegari at Elfo Studio; Cover Art by Sasha Montiljo; Layout by Pino Pintabona. Also you must visit Electric Swan's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/17/2017..................,.....Is there an interested to know more about them? Then you must visit ELECTRIC SWAN HOME PAGE...
. MAGIA NERA - "L’Ultima Danza di Ophelia"
Magia Nera – an Italian Hard-Rock band with influences of the occult – has come to cast a spell on PR&PM! Magia Nera was born at the end of the ‘60s in La Spezia (Liguria, Italy). The early line-up was formed by Bruno Cencetti (guitar), Andrea Bottazzi (bass) and Piero Figoli (drums). Figoli, an aficionado by Alchemy and Esoteric Culture, coined the band’s moniker. The other members were singer Emilio Farro (ex-“Sea Birds”, from Tellaro) and keyboardist Giacomo Giannotti (a future collaborator for “Vasco Rossi” and “Alberto Fortis”). In 1969, inspired by the beat generation and influenced by bands such as “Led Zeppelin”, “Cream”, “Black Sabbath”, “The Jimi Hendrix Experience”, “Deep Purple”, “Grand Funk Railroad”, Magia Nera went on the road. On stage, the band played covers of their favorite American and English bands. The heavy cadenced rhythms, the dark atmospheres and the psychedelic clouding of that kind of Rock instigated Magia Nera’s young and talented musicians to explore and experiment new sonic languages, resulting in a style of their own – granitic and melodic, lyrically linked to Medieval and Gothic themes – different from the regular musical scene around Italy, too much influenced by the Sanremo Music Festivals. After a few years, keyboardist Giacomo Giannotti left the group. In 1971, with the arrival of bassist Lello Accardo (ex-“Enigma”) and keyboardist Orazio Colotto (ex-“Rogers”, of Sarzana), Magia Nera’s historical line-up solidified. In 1972 the band performed at the “Free Festival Pop” in Bottagna and garnered a positive review on the magazine “Ciao 2001”. On the occasion, Magia Nera presented three songs – “With A Little Help from My Friends” (in “Joe Cocker’s” version), “Bloodsuker” (“Deep Purple”), and “Heart Breaker” (“Grand Funk”) – and impacted the audience with their blend of distorted guitars, clouded atmospheres, and vocals with a Soul Music inflection. In 1973, Magia Nera was invited by Genovese musician Aldo De Scalzi to record a LP for his label Magma. The band was supposed to tour with “New Trolls” afterwards, but the project was aborted. Magia Nera’s dreams did never vanish for completely. After decades, producer Giorgio Mangora gathered together almost all original band components to make their dream come true. And so, Magia Nera’s debut album, “L'Ultima Danza di Ophelia”, finally saw the light of day, on a CD edition released in 2016 by Akarma Records, with distribution of Black Widow Records. The line-up features Emilio Farro (vocals), Bruno Cencetti (electric guitar), Lello Accardo (bass), Andrea Foce (keyboards), and Pino Fontana (drums). “L'Ultima Danza di Ophelia” has 6 tracks, including a five-part suite and a bonus track (a cover of “Uriah Heep’s” song, “Gipsy”). The music is dense and congregates the darkest vibes of an Era – the turn of the ‘60s to the ‘70s – when bands like “Uriah Heep”, “Black Sabbath”, “Deep Purple”, “Atomic Rooster”, “Black Widow”, “Iron Butterfly”, and “The Doors” were becoming the main influences for a young generation of Rock musicians, who were intrigued and instigated by the heaviness, darkness and black-magic atmosphere present on their songs. With a heavy riff-dominated sound, stiffened by gloomy Hammond organ, darkened Blues-inspired solos of guitar, throbbing bass, and a powerful and straightforward rhythmic section fronted by a throaty and dramatic voice and lyrics inspired on occultism and horror, Magia Nera crafted a dense sound that was paralleled by contemporaneous Italian bands, like “Jumbo”, “Jacula”, “Antonius Rex”, “J.E.T”, “Formula 3” and “I Gleemen”. The songs on “L’Ultima Danza di Ophelia” are divided in two blocks. The first one is composed of primeval-styled Hard-Rock songs inspired on British/American bands. With Cencetti’s great guitar solos, Accardo’s fatty groovy bass, and Farro’s expressive voice being propelled by Fontana’s confident drumming and floriated by Foce’s Hammonds (a disciple of the “Manzarek-Lord-Hensley” school), Magia Nera starts with “Ophelia” (4:31) – the blackest Rhythm n’ Blues, with something of “The Doors” on it; and continues with “Il Passo del Lupo” (6:47) and “La Strega del Lago” (5:10) – two of the best tracks – slow and heavy, misty, conveyed on a triple drive of organ, bass and drums like “Deep Purple”, but with moods ranging from melancholic to epic. The fast-paced “La Tredicesima Luna” (4:23) closes this block, bringing a solo of organ and backing vocals like “Uriah Heep”. The second block of songs comprise the “Suite: Dieci Movimenti in Cinque Trace” (18:41): an advanced composition for its time, bounded by a desire to experiment with far ambitious arrangements, congregating elements of Hard Rock, Blues, and Acid Psychedelic Rock in a Proto-Progressive frame – a mix that was already sensed on the sound of “Uriah Heep”, “Pink Floyd”, “Manfred Mann”, “Lucifer’s Friend”, “Quartermass”, or “Black Widow”. The “Suite” is composed of “Traccia 1: Movimento Uno” (1:42) – a melancholic intro with acoustic guitars and medieval flute; “Traccia 2: Movimenti Due, Tre, Quatro” (4:48) – an epic with organ and guitars with an “Uriah Heep” accent, having innovative proto-Progressive instrumentation and jazzy drums; “Traccia 3: Movimenti Cinque, Sei” (2:44) – a swinging Hard-Rock with “Deep Purplesque” mojo; “Traccia 4: Movimenti Sette, Otto” (4:21) – a Psychedelic part with numb keyboards, propelled by trippy solos of guitar and bass; and “Traccia 5: Movimenti Nove, Dieci” (5:06) – a vibrant, pulsing early Space-Rock song that might have sounded quite avant-garde for the time! The album ends on “Gipsy” (3:46) (“Uriah Heep”) – a malignant cover that dignifies the original! Aside from being the materialized dream of an almost forgotten band, Magia Nera’s “L'Ultima Danza di Ophelia” is a solid album loaded with a vintage early 70’s sonority that impress the listener by its musical quality, which will be delightfully appreciated by fans of “Uriah Heep”, “Black Sabbath”, “Deep Purple”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Atomic Rooster”, “Black Widow”, “Iron Butterfly”, “The Doors”, “Grand Funk Railroad”, “Cream”, “Jumbo”, “Jacula”, “Antonius Rex”, “J.E.T”, “Formula 3”, “I Gleemen”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Magia Nera are: Emilio Farro – Vocals; Bruno Cencetti – Electric Guitar; Lello Accardo – Bass; Andrea Foce – Keyboards; Pino Fontana – Drums. Produced by Giorgio Mangora. Recorded at Drum Code Studio, Piazza G. Marconi 3, 19020, Sesta Godano, SP... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/31/2017.........................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit MAGIA NERA HOME PAGE...
. BRIEG GUERVENO - "Valgori"
Brieg Guerveno is back to PR&PM! Brieg Guerveno is a Breton-language singer, songwriter, and guitarist from the commune of Saint-Brieuc (Brittany region, northwestern France). Guerveno began his solo career by releasing the folk EP entitled “Seder” (2006). After attending festivals in France and Ireland, he released the solo album “Nozioù Deiou” (2011). In 2012 Brieg Guerveno was joined in by Xavier Soulabail (bass) and Joachim Blanchet (drums) – two active musicians of the Breton rock scene. The trio settled down the foundations of the “Breton-Progressive-Rock” style, at first by releasing the EP “Bleunioù an Distruj” (2012), and later, the full-length album entitled “Ar Bed Kloz” (“Closed World”) (2014). “Ar Bed Kloz” was reviewed at PR&PM in 2014. It featured songs with lyrics written in the distinguishing Breton language. The music mixed traditional Breton Folk with exogenous influences ranging from 70’s Folk, Classic, and Progressive Rock to Heavy Metal, 80’s Rock and 90’s Post-Rock. Brieg Guerveno’s new album is called “Valgori” (Nov. 2016, Paker Prod, distributed by Coop Breizh). “Valgori” (“Daydreaming”) was released on a deluxe digipack edition that includes a 12-page booklet featuring the Breton lyrics, all translated to English. The original artwork was left in charge of Xabier Sagast Lacalle. Differing from the previous album “Ar Bed Kloz” – which was Folk-oriented and made more use of traditional instruments and string arrangements – “Valgori” points out to a modern and cosmopolitan direction on which the sound is founded on the Rock trinity: guitar-bass-and-drums. “Valgori” features 8 songs that embrace mostly the Post-Metal and Post-Rock styles, surrounded by a Dark Progressive aura. The sonority will be especially appealing to fans of bands like “Anathema”, “Gazpacho”, “Oak”, “Lunatic Soul”, “Mogwai”, “The Ocean”, “God Is An Astronaut”, “Explosions In The Sky”, “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “Labirinto”, “The Tea Club”, “Haken”, “Anekdoten”, “Sigur Rós”, and “Deftones”. As an impacting Post-Rock/Metal album must be, “Valgori” brings phantasmagoric songs that deal with a wide palette of emotions – anger, melancholy, introspectiveness, stillness, and contemplative states – balancing emotionally-burdened heavy rhythms with the surprising anti-gravitational power of soaring guitars, eerie synths, and Guerveno’s rare and distinguishing voice! By controlling the timing and intensity of each new musical element added to the arrangements, Guerveno and his band combine ingenious dynamics with seizing contrasting effects, keeping the listener magnetized to the entire album! To accomplish this mission, Guerveno and band start from the most aggressive point of the emotional spectrum, opening the album with the potent “En Desped” (“In Spite”) (8:17) – which strikes the listener mercilessly with the energy accumulated in a series of tsunamic waves; being immediately followed by “Fallaenn” (“Dizziness”) (8:49) – which soars dynamically on odd-metrical rhythms, alternating them with retorted guitars and vocal parts that move from melancholic to anguished! Rivalling with those two in power and impact, tracks 4, “An Hivizenn” (“The Straight Jacket”) (8:56), and 7, “Pedenn” (“Prayer”) (9:02), combine the oppressive moods of “Anathema” and “Gazpacho” with the anger of “Tool” on most parts, leaving the listener annihilated, fallen on the floor, smashed down by the infinitude of the universe! “An Hivizenn” transmits a strong smothering sensation, intensified by the slowness of the atmospheric middle part, but ascends later towards an epic end! “Pedenn” – the heaviest – is turbulent, dramatic and disturbing, having sporadic soothing moments: amidst a struggling emotional battle, cathartic vocals and hurricane choirs clash violently against somber Post-Metal guitars, expressive Prog-Metal bass, and Extreme-Metal drumming! To clear up the sky off those heavy clouds, the album has a number of Post-Rock/Progressive ballads, like the soft “Poltred” (“A Portrait”) (7:00), driven by acoustic guitars and jovial melodic vocals that transmit a sensation of freedom and poetry; the introspective “Hirnez” (“Longing”) (7:11) –  a really superb interaction between long-lasting chords and nostalgic vocals that bring “Sigur Rós” to mind, and which progresses slowly, accumulating energy to be released on the explosive end (!); and the somber “Kelc'h” (“The Circle”) (5:05) – an experimental musical poem that combines sinister choirs and martial drums on the dramatic intro, descending later to a valley of melancholy surrounded by minimalist piano, fuzzy bass and guitars, and numb vocals akin to “Pink Floyd”. Finally, the soaring title-track “Valgori” (“Daydreaming”) (6:34) finishes this amazing album by bringing together a gritty organ, some hypnotic bass, and mysterious vocals that are backed up by fantastic eerie synths, as an extended guitar solo crowns this drama with melodic poignancy! “Valgori” is a magnificent work that will take Brieg Guerveno beyond the frontiers of his homeland Brittany to conquer fans in the external world! “Valgori” is a must-have item for fans of Post-Metal/Rock and Dark/Heavy Prog who love “Anathema”, “Gazpacho”, “Oak”, “Lunatic Soul”, “Mogwai”, “The Ocean”, “Tool”, “God Is An Astronaut”, “Explosions In The Sky”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “Labirinto”, “The Tea Club”, “Haken”, “Anekdoten”, “Sigur Rós”, “Deftones”, and others like them. Band members and collaborators involved in Brieg Guerveno are: Brieg Guerveno – Vocals, Guitars; Xavier Soulabail – Bass, Additional Guitars, Backing Vocals; Joachim Blanchet – Drums, Keyboards, Backing Vocals; Eric Cervera – Guitars. Lyrics written by Brieg Guerveno, except “Hirnez”, written by Bernez Tangi. Music Composed & Arranged by B. Guerveno and his band. Recorded by Jannik Reichert at Park Studio (Trebrivan, Brittany); Vocals Recorded by Eric Cerverra at Near Deaf Studio (Lanmeur, Brittany); Mixed by Yan Soulabail (Plaintel, Brittany); Mastered by Tony Lindgren at Fascination Street (Örebro, Sweden). Olof Petursdottir – English Translation. Artwork designed by Xabier Sagasta Lacalle. Produced by Yann Pelliet & Paker Prod... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/30/2017......Want to learn everything about the musician and more about his history, go to BRIEG GUERVENO HOME PAGE...
. MONKEY DIET - "Inner Gobi"
Monkey Diet is a Psychedelic Rock band from Bologna, Italy. Monkey Diet started up in late 2014, when bassist Daniele Piccinini (ex-Prog/Jazz-Rock outfit “Accordo dei Contrari”) and guitarist Gabriele Martelli (member of “PropheXy”) were invited by a common friend to form a new band. At that time, D. Piccinini – an experienced musician, who in his time in “Accordo dei Contrari” had played in international festivals together with bands such as “Beardfish”, “Poil”, “Sleepytime Gorilla Museum”, “Locanda delle Fate”, “Maxophone”, and “Ange”; and had also collaborated with “Richard Sinclair” (“Caravan”) – wished to play more improvised and less written music. Also G. Martelli was willing to challenge himself in a new band. So, they accepted their common friend’s offer, but after a few time, himself could not linger on the project because of his own busy musical career. Anyway, Martelli and Piccinini decided to go on with Monkey Diet and ultimately invited Roberto Bernardi – a brilliant drummer, well-known in the underground scene for his wide musical background – to join in. Monkey Diet then became the perfect vehicle for the trio to play their own brand of Instrumental Psychedelic Rock with musical freedom and eclecticism, also adding giant doses of Old School Rock! Monkey Diet’s independent album, entitled “Inner Gobi”, was released on April 8, 2017, and is now being distributed by Black Widow Records, Italy. The album is available on both physical and digital formats. The CD comes in a lovely gatefold card case, featuring intriguing artwork by Lorenzo Sammartino. “Inner Gobi” contains nine tracks. The music is all instrumental, and evolves on a base provided by a groovy leading bass and by eclectic 60/70’s acrobatic drums – rocking and jazzy – while the guitar appears as the main soloing instrument on improvisations that make Monkey Diet’s sonic propagation to be unpredictable, endowed with dynamics, freewill, and surprises! Occasional synths steer the sound alternatively to the psychedelic, the cosmic, or the dark. The textures are raw, as if all music had been created in the late 60’s to early 70’s inside a foggy basement with the lights dimmed out by lysergic clouds! The sonic package resembles many bands of the Heavy Psychedelic Rock, Acid Rock, Prog, Proto-Metal, and Stoner Rock circles, such as: “Andromeda”, “Black Sabbath”, “Yardbirds”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Hawkwind”, early “Pink Floyd” and “King Crimson”, “Mountain”, “Colour Haze”, “Electric Wizard”, “Samsara Blues Experiment”, “Radio Moscow”, “Kadavar”, “Mantra Machine”, “Astrodome”, “Plastic Overlords”, and “Grand Magus”, just to name a few. “Inner Gobi” begins with the unpredictable “Ego Loss” (4:22), which drifts from Psychedelic Prog to Proto-Metal and Space-Rock on a tour-de-force propelled by rocking bass and lysergic guitars. The title track, “Inner Gobi” (6:28), moves from slow and dark to fast and bright, the vigorous mood of its vintage riffs being contrasted by the mellow and gliding guitar solo. “Slidin' Bike” (4:33) starts somber and Gothic, and, after changing for a Stoner Metal that recalls “Grand Magus” and “Black Sabbath” (of “Paranoid”), sooths down to Acid-Jazzy evolutions on bass and drums. “Endless Day of Robby the Ant” (6:18) is a meandering track that combines Prog, Jazz, and Space Rock effects with an experimental scope akin “King Crimson”; while “Moth” (9:14) is an ambitious piece that starts with a choir that recalls early “Pink Floyd” (e.g. “Saucerful of Secrets”), being later dominated by somber moods, including Stoner Rock riffs, tribal bass, lysergic solos of guitar, and earthquake-drumming! “Sorry Son... (I've lost your Car)” (5:42) is a Space-Rock piece based on solar-wind bass and buzzing synths punctuated by Hard-Rock guitar breaks that extends its tentacles to “Moonshine” (4:38) – this one, a groovy and pulsing psychedelic 70’s Hard-Rock driven by sensational improvisations on the lead guitar. “Seppuku” (2:37) is almost a continuation of the previous, but brings in a distinguishing swing that recalls “Led Zeppelin”. The album ends on the great “Viking” (7:15) – a mostly-written progressive piece, instilled with adventurous moods and featuring succeeding epic themes! As a whole, Monkey Diet’s “Inner Gobbi” is a solid album that irradiates the vibes of the late 60’s to early 70’s Rock, being highly recommendable for fans of Heavy Psychedelic Rock, Acid Rock, early Prog, Proto-Metal and Stoner Rock who love bands like “Andromeda”, “Black Sabbath”, “Yardbirds”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Hawkwind”, early “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”, “Mountain”, “Colour Haze”, “Electric Wizard”, “Samsara Blues Experiment”, “Kadavar”, “Radio Moscow”, “Mantra Machine”, “Astrodome”, “Plastic Overlords”, “Grand Magus”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Monkey Diet are: Gabriele Martelli – Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Synths; Daniele Piccinini – Bass, Synths; Roberto Bernardi – Drums. Ex-drummer: Maurizio Ficca. Choir on Introduction for “Moth” by Coro Stelutis, arranged by Silvia Vacchi. Artwork & Layout by Lorenzo Sammartino. Logo by 590. Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by Stefano “590” Vaccari. Produced by Monkey Diet; Promoted & Distributed by Black Widow Records. Also you must visit Monkey Diet's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/30/2017................................Want to learn everything about the band and its members, goes to MONKEY DIET HOME PAGE...
. MOUTH OF CLAY - "Darkened Sun"
Mouth Of Clay (a.k.a. MOC) was formed in 2000 in Sweden. The original MOC line-up consisted of Jocke Ericsson (vocals, guitar), Hawkan Englund (lead guitar), Jugge Lindhult (bass) and first drummer, Brunnkan Brunnqvist. They used to jam out together, playing a Rock menu comprising mainly Hard Rock, Heavy Psychedelic Rock and Stoner Rock. After four rehearsals, they recorded six tracks on a four-track porta studio that went into the album called “Colors of Utopia”. After two more rehearsals and making use of the same recording devices, MOC recorded the first demo-CD called “A New Beginning”, which contained thirteen tracks. In 2001 Mouth Of Clay recorded a new album, called “What Have You Got To Lose?”, on a 16-track mobile studio. This album had eleven tracks and featured new drummer Olle Frödin and two guests: John Lindholm (Hammond organ) and Thilde (backing vocals). Mouth Of Clay received excellent reviews from all around the world, and had support from magazines, radio stations and fans on the following years. Mouth Of Clay’s newest and major effort is the double-CD entitled “Darkened Sun” (2017, Akarma Records, Italy). The CDs come inside a charming cardboard gatefold sleeve featuring disturbing psychedelic art by Alessandra Barucchi. The complete track list includes 23 songs, four of which come as a bonus. The repertoire covers the best of MOC’s three previous records. “Darkened Sun” is therefore an instantly likable album, on which MOC teaches us a precious lesson in “vintage Rock”! Alternating styles that range from Hard Rock of the turn of the 60’s to the 70’s, Heavy Psychedelic Rock, Blues, and Southern Rock, Mouth Of Clay comes up with heavy, vibrant, and groovy songs that exude the spirit of a golden Era, when giants like “Cream”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Free”, “Mountain”, “Grand Funk”, “Black Sabbath”, “Deep Purple”, “Steppenwolf”, “Bad Company”, “Ten Years After”, “John Mayall”, “Allman Brothers”, “Captain Beyond”, “Jimi Hendrix”, “Johnny Winter”, and “Rory Gallagher” dictated the basic rules of essential good-rocking! The album is like a voyage back in time, passing through different atmospheres, shades and moods, with many details to be discovered and relevant lyrics to be digested by the listener. Most compelling are Jocke Ericsson’s powerful vocals – passionate, visceral and melodically epic (think of singers like “Jack Bruce” and “Paul Rodgers”) – which make a perfect counterpoint to Hawkan Englund’s authoritative, inventive, wild, soulful and even acrobatic lead guitar playing. Both are supported by Jugge Lindhult’s swing on bass and groovy harmonies – essential for the contagious rocking pulse felt throughout the whole album; irresistible for fans of true Rock! The drum-propulsion – with a mix of “Bonham-Paice-Ward” turbinated signatures – was left in charge of Olle Frödin and Brunnkan Brunnqvist (MOC’s first drummer). I have found no difference between the songs of CD-1 and CD-2, unless that those on CD-2 are shorter. Regarding the wholeness of the album, the most vibrant and powerful Hard-Rock songs are: “Made Of Lead” (4:15), “Mountain High” (4:13) and “Morning Flight” (5:04) – all mounted on sticky guitar riffs, with the later having a malignant bass –; and “Overflow” (4:15) and “Get In Line” (3:38) – both having a contagious swing, with the second driven by groovy wah-wah guitars and vocal shouts! Other heavy weights on this line are: “The Gods Have Fun” (3:30) – a hybrid of Hard Rock and “NWOBHM”; the impressive and authoritative “Morning Tide” (4:51) – that mixes influences from “Purple, Sabbath & Zeppelin”, with Ericsson’s vocal interpretation verging “Ian Gillan’s”; and “A New Beginning” (6:08) – which recalls “Zeppelin’s” song, “Achilles Last Stand”. For those willing for straightforward “Deep Purple”/“Steppenwolf”-styled drumming, I recommend: “Hear The Coming” (6:33), “Perfect World” (4:41) and “Down Below” (2:40). The bright energy that emanates from those mentioned songs has a deep contrast when sided by the darkness, slowness and lysergic psychedelia present on songs like: “Cut My Loss” (4:43); on Dark-Blues songs “M.O.C. (Mouth Of Clay)” (5:53), “Gone” (4:46), and “Crown Of Burden” (6:45); and especially on “With Your Bones” (6:14) and “An Eye In Each Corner” (5:54) – both driven by crawling bass and fuzzy guitar riffs that join in acid-dripping clouds, forming dark atmospheres reminiscent of “Black Sabbath” of “Vols. 1-4”. To amplify the excellency of the repertoire, MOC offers the Blues-inspired “Burned” (7:58) – on which the melodic and sticky chorus is followed by the poignant organ, meeting the taste of “Joe Cocker”; the traditional Blues “Modern Times” (4:40); the melancholic Southern ballad “Darkened Sun” (6:29); and the amazing “Colors Of Utopia” (4:02) – a sensitive Psychedelic Folk ballad. The albums still brings: the joyful Rock n’ Roll “Rush” (4:32) and the Hard Rock standard “Hard Land” (4:12). All in all, Mouth Of Clay’s “Darkened Sun” is a surprisingly consistent album featuring great vocal and instrumental performances that covers Hard Rock of the turn of the 60’s to the 70’s, Heavy Psychedelic Rock, Blues, Southern Rock, and Stoner Rock, being indispensable for fans of “Cream”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Free”, “Mountain”, “Grand Funk Railroad”, “Steppenwolf”, “Ten Years After”, “John Mayall”, “Allman Brothers”, “Deep Purple”, “Bad Company”, “Captain Beyond”, “Jimi Hendrix”, “Johnny Winter”, “Rory Gallagher”, “Black Sabbath”, “Atomic Rooster”, “Molly Hatchet”, “Siena Root”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Mouth Of Clay are: Jocke Eriksson – Vocals, Guitar; Hawkan Englund – Lead Guitar; Jugge Lindhult – Bass; Olle Frödin – Drums; Brunnkan Brunnqvist – Drums. Guest Musicians: John Lindholm – Hammond Organ; Thilde – Backing Vocals. Produced by Giorgio Mangora for Akarma Records... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
31/10/2017........................More information about the band? Better check it out for yourself at: MOUTH OF CLAY HOME PAGE...
. AQUA TALK - "Whatever Tickles Your Mind"
Aqua Talk is an Experimental Progressive Rock/Art Rock trio based in Istanbul, Turkey. The line-up consists of Sarp Ögün (guitar, keyboards, midi foot pedals), Bugay Akyüz (bass and vocals) and Berkay Köksal (drums and percussion). All members are currently students in different universities in Istanbul. Having played together before in studio bands and realizing that they shared a passion for Progressive music, the trio decided to form the project at the end of 2015, just after the return of Sarp Ögün from his studies in the UK. As the band could find neither a keyboard player, nor a lead singer, Sarp Ögün started to alternate from guitar to keyboards, while bassist Bugay Akyüz took on the vocals. Aqua Talk soon began to write and rehearse in a simple studio, settled in a house basement. The first sessions yielded the material for Aqua Talk’s debut album, “Whatever Tickles Your Mind”. Due to financial restrictions, the instrumentation of “Whatever Tickles Your Mind” was recorded live in the band’s rehearsal studio, while the vocals were recorded in producer Bora Uslusoy’s music workshop. Some guitar and keyboard dubs were added later, counting a recording time of 14 hours. “Whatever Tickles Your Mind” was officially released on July 24, 2016, being available now on both physical and digital formats. The sound of Aqua Talk is an elaborated mix of Psychedelic Prog and Space Rock with elements of Symphonic and Electronic Rock that gathers influences from British and German bands, like “Pink Floyd”, “The Moody Blues”, “Hawkwind”, “Alan Parsons Project”, “Nektar”, “Eloy”, “Apogee” and “Tangerine Dream”; paralleling the sound of other Turkish bands (e.g. “Nemrud”, “Siddhartha”), but without the use of the traditional Middle-Eastern musical scales. Even those influences are well diluted and softened within Aqua Talk’s songs. The band’s style is mostly characterized by slow Blues-Jazz rhythmic paces, like “Pink Floyd”, “Moody Blues”, followed by matching parts driven by a relaxed organ or a jamming electric piano. Other keyboards add cosmic textures to the background, recalling “Hawkwind”, but if more Electronica is involved, the band may recall “Alan Parsons” and “Tangerine Dream”. Bass is mostly harmonic and melodic, sometimes pulsing, sometimes groovy, like a gentler “Hawkwind”. Most distinctive though, is Sarp Ögün’s guitar playing, which embodies a typical “David Gilmour’s” soloing signature, also venturing into delicate tunes with a more symphonic approach. “Whatever Tickles Your Mind” has 7 tracks. The first one – “Dead Man's Dream” (11:01) – is the longest, a kind of Odyssey on which Aqua Talk showcases all musical qualities and traits. The mood is instilled with the jovial vibes of the British Psychedelia, mainly on the vocal parts, becoming more lysergic on the last third, which is a long instrumental sequence that emulates “Pink Floyd’s” guitars, with acid keyboard effects that recall “Hawkwind”. The following pair of songs, “Nowhere To Run” (5:01) and “Where?” (2:49), are like complementary pieces; both being darkened by a mid to late 70’s “Floydian” influence on the instrumentation that supports cool vocal lines and lyrics. The next two tracks form an instrumental set that starts with the transcendental and mysterious “Flow of Time (And You Know... Space)” (3:34), which introduces the Electronic Space-Rock “Done Deal” (6:43) – one of the best tracks, on which Aqua Talk employs faster beats, groovy bass and waving synths, also adding extra layers of pulsing electronic keyboards, so forming sophisticated arrangements that on some moments recall the swinging sound of “Alan Parsons” and “Tangerine Dream”. On track six – “Tales Of Old” (8:04) – Aqua Talk switches the style for a Symphonic Space-Rock driven by enigmatic lyrics and martial drumming, powered by energetic bass and guitar riffs counterbalanced by eerie keyboards, overall paralleling the epic magnitude of 70’s “Eloy” and nowadays “Apogee”, and also the impetuosity of “Hawkwind”. Finally, on the Progressive ballad “Fools Rules” (5:58), Aqua Talk finalizes the album combining soaring guitar solos and hoovering keyboards with some dancing swings, also recalling “Eloy” from the late ‘70s to the early ‘80s. As a whole, Aqua Talk’s “Whatever Tickles Your Mind” is a very solid debut album that – in spite of the young ages of the musicians involved – is already born with great musical maturity and sophisticated arrangements, being highly recommended for fans of Psychedelic Prog, Space Rock, Symphonic and Electronic Prog-Rock who like British and German bands like “Pink Floyd”, “The Moody Blues”, “Hawkwind”, “Alan Parsons Project”, “Nektar”, “Eloy”, “Apogee”, “Tangerine Dream”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Aqua Talk are: Sarp Ögün – Guitars, Keyboards, Midi Foot Pedals; Bugay Akyüz – Bass, Lead Vocals; Berkay Köksal – Drums, Percussion. All music was written, performed & arranged by S. Ögün, B. Akyüz, B. Köksal. Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by Bora Uslusoy. Artwork by Furkan Pehlivan. Also you must visit Aqua Talk's Facebook Site and Also you must visit Aqua Talk's SoundCloud Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
31/10/2017.............................Would like to know more about the band and their history, please visit AQUA TALK HOME PAGE...
. BRIAN JOHNSTONE - "Consent Under Coercion"
Brian Johnstone is a multi-genre musician, keyboard player and songwriter/composer based in Glasgow, Scotland. As a seasoned keyboardist, Brian Johnstone has worked with diverse artists, as UK singer/songwriter “Judy Tzuke”, “Garry Tallent” (founder member, with “Bruce Springsteen”, of “The E Street Band”), Finnish hip hop artist “Redrama” (“Lasse Mellberg”), and Progressive Rock singer “Euan Lowson” (ex-“Pallas”). Brian Johnstone also takes part on several bands and side projects, including “Visions Light”, “Scarlet Inside” and, most notably, “Zdiar” – a Prog-Electronic & Rock-Pop duo consisting of Johnstone and Ralf Seidel, which has already released two albums: “The Agartha Tesseract” and “Anywhere But Here” (2012). Brian Johnstone has also released one album under the moniker “Aurora Project”, called “The Balance of Risk”. As a musician, Brian Johnstone likes to experiment with a wide range of styles and genres when composing, stretching out the musical boundaries, as he incorporates to his songs elements of Modern Progressive Rock, Symphonic Rock, Electronic, Pop, Ambient, and Jazz-Fusion. Johnstone’s keyboards and synths have the same clean and glassy textures of 80’s Progressive Rock and Synth-Pop. He mixes them with Electronic and Ambient sonorities, occasionally adding Heavy Rock guitar riffs to the mix. The vocal parts (performed by guest singers) are melodic and soft, reminiscent of 80’s Neo-Prog and 80’s sophisticated Pop-Rock. Johnstone entwines those elements in symphonic arrangements that are plain of beautiful melodies and lively dynamics, creating cinematic soundscapes. For him, the most important thing is that the songs must be memorable, touching, surprising and unpredictable, also conveying emotions by means of sensitive lyrics. Overall, Brian Johnstone’s music recalls bands like: “Toto”, “It Bites”, “Steve Hackett”; early “Pallas”, “Pendragon”, “IQ”, “Marillion”, and “Twelfth Night”; 80’s “Asia”, “Rush”, “Peter Gabriel” and “Roxy Music”. Brian Johnstone’s album under focus here is called “Consent Under Coercion” (2016, Brian Johnstone/Arvida Music), which is available on different digital formats. A special Dutch edition, featuring the track “Ujezd Tarantella” (“Taste The Fear”) sung in Dutch, was released in July 2017 for exclusive download on Johnstone’s internet site. “Consent Under Coercion” is a concept album with lyrics that discuss the dubious nature of the human species – characterized by our inbuilt ability for self-destruction. Our instincts teach us to survive, but our behaviour seems to be immune: we appear to consent under coercion. “Consent Under Coercion” has 10 tracks – five of them are independent songs, whilst the other five compose a suite called “The Course of Empire”, based on the eponymous series of five paintings created by artist “Thomas Cole” from 1833 to 1836. Besides Johnstone on keyboards, soft synths, bass, and virtual instruments, the record also features Kevin Kennie on all vocals. “Consent Under Coercion” is overall a nice album that grows gradually on the Prog-scale, rising from a lower “Pop-Rock” point to a middle threshold characterized by “accessible Progressive sounds of the 80’s”, culminating on the epic Progressive Rock suite that recapitulates the pomposity of Symphonic Neo-Prog! The album starts with the “radio friendly” touch of “Precious Dreamer” (5:13), garnished with decorative synths, melodic guitars solos and a soft-rock swing. “Crammed In” (7:03) is a dark ballad that, nearing the end, changes the mood from sad to hopeful, with the coming of nice guitar-organ harmonies. The following song, “Judgement Day” (5:37), floats slowly on a layer of ambient/electronic sounds, proceeding forwards on a quasi-martial cadence driven by strong vocals and lyrics (in a blend of “Marillion” and “Twelfth Night”). On “Lumang” (6:53) – a song with lyrics confronting the spirituality of the Chinese people against the materialism of the Western civilization – Johnstone offers us a sensitive World-Music piece embellished with Oriental sounds of gongs, percussion, peaceful Chinese flutes and transcendental vocals – one of the best tracks, a favourite for fans of “Peter Gabriel”. Yet, moving frankly to Progressive terrains, “Ujezd Tarantella (Taste the Fear)” (5:49) is a powerful song that brings mysterious vocals and more vigorous guitars and bass, supported by imposing orchestral keyboards (recalling the Medieval Neo-Prog style of “Pendragon”, “Pallas” and “Twelfth Night”). But it is with the five-part suite “The Course of Empire” that this album reaches a peak of “Progressiveness”. This opus is a sonic reproduction of the five archetypical steps through which empires rise and later fall down, as depicted on the paintings of “Thomas Cole”. Driven by thick layers of pulsing synths, this epic starts up by describing a budding society on “Children of the Stars (Savage)” (4:28). On “First Renaissance (Pastoral)” (7:43) the music becomes opulent and sophisticated, as science, arts, philosophy and existentialism take a preponderant role in the emergent society. On “The Greater Good (Consummation)” (5:49), the social evolution reaches an apex, celebrated with vigorous Prog-Rock and Middle-Eastern modes. The energy is transmitted to “Scourge of Humanity (Destruction)” (4:24) – a Heavy Neo-Prog song driven by aggressive vocals and guitar riffs that announces the destruction of the society! The bass-driven, Classic-Prog song, “The Greatest Tragedy (Desolation)” (8:25) closes the suite as a moral lesson to our own empire. Honest and catchy, Brian Johnstone’s album, “Consent Under Coercion”, will be greatly appreciated by fans of 80’s Progressive Rock, Neo-Prog, and Prog-Related artists, such as: “Toto”, “It Bites”, “Pallas”, “Pendragon”, “IQ”, “Marillion”, “Twelfth Night”, 80’s “Asia”, “Rush”, and “Peter Gabriel”, to whom it is specially recommended. Band members and collaborators involved in Brian Johnstone are: Brian Johnstone – Keyboards, Bass, Softsynths, and Virtual Instruments. Kevin Kennie – Vocals. All Music and Lyrics Written, Arranged, Mixed and Produced by Brian Johnstone; Mastered by Loz at Fat as Funk Mastering... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
11/30/2017..........................For more information about the musicians and their history, visit BRIAN JOHNSTONE HOME PAGE...
. FORCE OF PROGRESS - "Calculated Risk"
Force Of Progress is an Instrumental Progressive Rock Project founded in Germany, in February 2016. Force Of Progress consists of veteran multi-instrumentalist musicians of the German Prog and Rock scenes: Markus Roth (“Marquette”, “Horizontal Ascension”), Chris Grundmann (“Cynity”), Hanspeter Hess (“The Healing Road”), and Dominik Wimmer (“Sweety Chicky Jam”). Their debut album, titled “Calculated Risk”, was released in April 2017 on Progressive Promotion Records. “Calculated Risk” is an amazing and impacting album bringing high-edged music that blends Symphonic Neo-Prog, Progressive Fusion, Heavy-Prog, and Progressive Metal. Although inspired by bands and names such as “Genesis”, “Yes”, “Frank Zappa”, “Mike Oldfield”, and “Keith Jarrett”, Force Of Progress rises instant comparisons with modern bands like “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Panzerballett”, “Planet X”, “Derek Sherinian”, and “Jordan Rudess”; also recalling the instrumentation of bands such as “Dream Theater”, “Cairo”, “Explorers’ Club”, “Symphony X”, “Enchant”, “Superior”, “Sieges Even”, “Martigan”, “7for4”, “Vanden Plas”, “Everon”, “Traumhaus”, and “Gerard”. Band members place their greatest focus on melody and diversity, producing thrilling instrumental pieces that are permeated by vertiginous dynamics, complexity, power, and opulence! By alternating intense Prog-Metal/Heavy Prog moments, driven by fantastically groovy bass, with melodic passages that tend to soaring Neo-Prog, Force Of Progress creates substantial Fusion-Rocks that make justice to that moniker! With all band members taking their turn on keyboards and synths, the compositions are loaded with thrilling solos of synths and dazzling keyboard passages! Background guitars unfold either as heavy riffs or as delicate plucking, but have also memorable passages as inspired Progressive solos. Completing the package, an aggressive, complicated, and odd-metric drum-approach furnishes the compatible support for the keyboard-guitar-bass exchange! “Calculated Risk” has nine instrumental tracks. The opening one, “Ticket” (8:08), and the last one, “The Man Who Played God” (8:25), are like two granite towers of vigorous Prog-Rock that shield the inner core of the album, being both walled with thick layers of synths and guitars, and guarded by battalions of bass and drums, being also instilled with dynamic Fusion-Prog passages: “Ticket” floats on a dynamic mattress of piano harmonies that clash against soaring Neo-Prog synths; while “The Man …”, with unexpected changes of rhythm, atmosphere and intensity, represents a musical adventure in itself! Also belonging to this “mostly Prog” line, but being slower and gentler, “Lost in Time, Like Tears in Rain” (4:40) is a Neo-Prog piece driven with softness by delicate plucking and tasteful bass tunes, congregating on its way many soaring melodies on guitars and synths. Moving clockwise from the “mostly Prog” to the “real Heavy” mark, Force Of Progress will really astonish any listener with an impacting sequence of three Prog-Metal-styled tracks, namely: “Sole Survivor” (7:24), “Shapeshifter” (6:15), and “The Cube” (4:40). “Sole …”, with its battery of carnivorous slice-sounding synths and Fusion-Metal riffs, will be the favorite of fans of “Planet X”; while the paranoid “Shapeshifter”, with its oriental flare, pulsing beats and claustrophobic radio transmissions; and the vertiginous “The Cube” (4:40), with its powerful Prog-Metal riffs and symphonic keyboards, will both be selected as best-ones by fans of “Dream Theater”! In the middle of the weight-scale stand two imaginative pieces – “Always” (5:27) and the title-track “Calculated Risk” (3:40) – which match the Heavy-Prog style, but are also instilled with Gothic textures, represented by gloomy synths, tolling syncopated guitars, and byzantine bass and drums. On “Always”, the eerie Gothic interruptions are inserted in a heavy matrix of Experimental Fusion, sounding like a surprising blend of “Traumhaus” and “Panzerballett”, while on “Calculated Risk”, the Gothic atmosphere is strengthened by angelic choirs and Hammond organs! At last, “Lift Me Up, Down by the Seaside” (5:02) – a joyful Prog-Fusion piece underlined by contagious bass grooves and amusing Hammonds reminiscent of “The Dregs” – has been placed in the middle of the record to give some balance to the overall energetic and stormy disposition sensed on the whole album!  One of the greatest releases of Progressive Promotion Records this year, the album “Calculated Risk”, by Force Of Progress, is a must-have item for fans of “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Panzerballett”, “Planet X”, “Derek Sherinian”, “Jordan Rudess”; “Dream Theater”, “Cairo”, “Explorers’ Club”, “Symphony X”, “Enchant”, “Superior”, “Sieges Even”, “Martigan”, “7for4”, “Vanden Plas”, “Everon”, “Traumhaus”, “Gerard”, “Kenso”, “The Dregs”, and other bands of Prog-Fusion, Heavy-Prog, Fusion-Metal and Prog-Metal! Band members and collaborators involved in Force Of Progress are: Markus Roth - Bass, Guitar, Keyboards, Synths; Chris Grundmann - Guitar, Keyboards, Bass, Synths; Hanspeter Hess - Keyboards, Synths; Dominik Wimmer - Drums, Guitar, Keyboards. Guest Musicians: Matthias Klingner – Bass on “The Man Who Played God” and “Ticket” (2nd part); Claus Flittiger – Guitars on “Lost In Time …”. Written & Produced by Force Of Progress, with support of Oliver Wenzler & Progressive Promotion Records. Mix & Mastering by Andy Horn; Cover & Logo Design by Jef De Corte (Aeronaut)... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
11/30/2017.........If you want know more about this musical project and its members, visit FORCE OF PROGRESS HOME PAGE...
. BARTOSZ OGRODOWICZ - "The Legend Of The Lost Land"
Bartosz Ogrodowicz is an instrumentalist and composer from Wrzesnia, Poland, who performs keyboard-oriented Instrumental Symphonic Progressive Rock. Acting as a solo artist, Ogrodowicz has played his life-inspired songs in concerts around the whole Poland, with the aim of transmitting emotions through his music and reach the deepest recesses of the human soul. Mainly influenced by keyboardists of the magnitude of “Jordan Rudess”, “Jens Johansson”, “Derek Sherinian”, “Kevin Moore” (ex-“Dream Theater”), and “Vitalij Kuprij” (“Ring Of Fire”, “Trans-Siberian Orchestra”); but being also an admirer of bands like “Dream Theater”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Stratovarius”, “Spheric Universe Experience”, and “DarkWater”; Bartosz Ogrodowicz goes often beyond the Progressive and Symphonic genres, venturing into the Power Metal and Film Music styles. In this way, his music is likely to be enjoyed by fans of the instrumental arrangements of bands like “Rhapsody”, “Sonata Arctica”, and “Kamelot”; and of score-music production companies, such as “E.S. Posthumus”, “Two Steps From Hell” and “Audiomachine”. In autumn 2010, Bartosz Ogrodowicz released the demo-album called “Forsaken”, which brought together a collection of instrumental compositions recorded in 2009 and 2010. His new effort is an EP entitled “The Legend Of The Lost Land” (2017), which brings four instrumental tracks. The whole music on this EP is a thrilling expedition into the realms of the most Epic Instrumental Symphonic Power-Metal style, resembling a soundtrack for a fantasy movie settled in some magical medieval kingdom! Majestic, powerful and epic, the synths and other keyboards produce grandiloquent themes, which are lavishly superposed on symphonic layers that are propelled forward into battle by a solid, fast, and aggressive Power-Metal-styled base of bass and double bass drums. Some guitar riffs and choirs appear here and there, amplifying the dramatic ambience and epic mood of the music. Wild solos of synths are provided by Ogrodowicz to raise the climax on the most ferocious passages! The EP starts up with “The Legend Of The Lost Land” (4:32) – which is a vibrant introductory piece that starts as a warrior’s call to arms, instilling courage into the hearts of those who will go on an adventurous, vengeful, and belligerent march against the enemies! The results of such a bellicose expedition will epically unfold on the following “In The Journey To Glory” (4:20) – which is symphonically opulent, royal, and pervaded by a victorious feeling of rejoice that will meet its final conclusion on the Celtic-styled “After The Battle” (1:10). That short piece, by its turn, functions as an instigating symphonic intro for “Bonus” (10:35) – this one a collage of musical themes that could belong in the soundtrack of any imaginary epic-movie: an impacting patchwork of sounds that includes epic chords, majestic andantes, breath-taking staccatos, romantic string arrangements, pounding Power-Metal passages with guitar-laden riffs and wild solos on synths, being all tempered with vengeful and redemptive angelic choirs! Although a short-lasting EP, “The Legend Of The Lost Land” promulgates Ogrodowicz credentials, and his talents as a high-edged performer and wide-scope composer. If anybody is willing to found a new Symphonic Power-Metal band in Poland, Bartosz Ogrodowicz may be the right musician to join in it! Bartosz Ogrodowicz will be specially appealing to fans of “Jordan Rudess”, “Jens Johansson”, “Derek Sherinian”, “Kevin Moore”, “Vitalij Kuprij”, “Karl Sanders”, “E.S. Posthumus”, “Two Steps From Hell”, “Audiomachine”, “Dream Theater”, “Porcupine Tree”, “DarkWater”, “Spheric Universe Experience”, and the instrumental side of “Stratovarius”, “Rhapsody”, “Sonata Arctica”, “Kamelot”, “Ring Of Fire”, “Trans-Siberian Orchestra”, “Nightwish”, “Epica”, and other Symphonic Power-Metal, Progressive Metal, and Epic Soundtrack Music producers. Band members and collaborators involved in Bartosz Ogrodowicz are: Bartosz Ogrodowicz – Keyboards (Kawai MP11, Korg Kronos 2, Korg TR, M-Audio ProKeys). Production supported by the Muzyczna Agencia Artystyczna ‘Forte’. Also you must visit Bartosz Ogrodowicz's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
11/30/2017....Want to learn everything about this great musician and his projects, go to BARTOSZ OGRODOWICZ HOME PAGE...
. DEER BLOOD - "Devolution"
Deer Blood is a thrilling Thrash Metal band from Saint-Witz, France. Deer Blood was established in 2011 by Alexandre Bourret (lead vocals and guitars), who was willing to play music in the vein of “Pantera”, “Metallica”, “Slayer” and “Exodus”. Bourret soon recruited Thrash Metal freaks Julien Doucin (guitars), Julien Prost (bass) and Fabien Petit (drums) to complete Deer Blood’s line-up. Each one of them brought his own influences and spirit into the band, strengthening Deer Blood’s essence even more. The moniker was given as a tribute to the Jägermeister – a German alcoholic drink, which is said to have “deer’s blood” in its composition! On stage, Deer Blood delivers an energetic and powerful performance that brings back from the past the primeval atmosphere and excitement of Thrash Metal’s earliest days! The sound is solid, aggressive, thunderous, fast and dynamic, reminiscent of the first and seminal albums released in the 80’s by bands like “Metallica”, “Megadeth”, “Exodus”, “Slayer”, “Overkill”, “Anthrax”, “Testament”, “Suicidal Tendencies”, “Nuclear Assault”, “Toxic”, “Death Angel”, “Onslaught”, “Exhumer” and “Abattoir”; also borrowing from the Nu-Metal style of “Slipknot” and “Mudvayne”. Deer Blood released an independent full-length album, called “Devolution” (February 16th, 2015, distributed via Dooweet Records). The CD features 9 original tracks recorded in 2013 in Fabien’s basement studio plus 4 remastered bonus tracks taken from the EP “Killing Engine”, which had been recorded in 2012. “Devolution” is the quintessential Thrash Metal album, totally sugar-free, with all tracks being equal in violence and demolition power. Face-punching songs are driven by mad-carnivorous predatory guitar riffs, supported on massive black-hole bass lines and dense atomic warfare drumming! The slice-cutting solos share space with the political and social contents of the lyrics, sung by raging raw-meat vocals – Bourret spits out his mean voice with anger, recalling “Chuck Billy” and “James Hetfield” from old days! In sum, Thrash Metal for banging heads, dusk to dawn! In a solid album like this, there are no favorite songs to pick. “Devolution” starts with the malevolent thrashing guitar groove and machine-gun drumming of “Bushmaster” (7:33), on which Deer Blood show their Metal proficiency, by playing different styles of Thrash Metal on a long composition! “Devolution” (3:32) follows on, with a visceral attitude that could have been only found on the first album of “Anthrax”! The foundations of Thrash Metal are greatly honored on “Altar of Lies” (4:34), on which speeded parts are balanced by slower tonnage-weighting parts and rhythmic changes and breaks; and later, on the fast “War of the Roses” (4:32), driven by fueled binary drums – both matching the “Metallica-Testament” creed! Listeners who are fans of “Exodus” will be driven to madness when hearing to these two “lessons in violence”: “Born Strong Live Young Die Hard Born Again” (4:12) and “Open Letter of Rage” (4:04) – two extremely fast Thrash-hymns that contain dazzling exchanges of guitar solos! The frantic guitar work of “Trapped Inside” (4:03) makes an impacting contrast with the slower cadence of its heavy drums, compressed riffs, and demanding backing vocals; while Deer Blood’s anthem, “Means to an End” (4:27) – with lyrics about alcoholism – release shadows that blacken the light, recalling the darkest songs of “Slayer”. The hyperbolic Metal massacre continues relentlessly until the last track: “Scared to the Bone” (7:35), which retakes the “Metallica-Testament” pattern, save for the groove of the guitar solo; and includes a hidden track (a dark and bizarre Gothic-Electronic scherzo). After the last track, the bonus section of the CD begins. It includes four tracks originally recorded for Deer Blood’s EP called “Killing Engine”. Although being the result of a modest sound production, those tracks rival in savagery with songs of “Devolution”, and may have the preference of headbangers who like it crude and visceral! Nevertheless, this debut recording of Deer Blood showcases a band which had already dominated the basics of the Metal genre: from the Punk-Metal attitude felt on the furious eloquence of “Fist of Fury” (2:46), passing through the standard Thrash of the “Exodus”-like song “Annihilation” (3:06) and the NWOBHM lessons of “Killing Engine” (4:16) – apprehended on the climatic passages of bass and somber vocals; until ending on a peak of 90’s aggressiveness on “Lone Wolf” (4:05) – a song binding together groovy Metal parts, contorted guitars, and Nu-Metal shouting vocals! As a result, the explosive effect of the EP’s four songs is combined to the overall firepower of the nine previous tracks, turning this edition of “Devolution” into an essential item for fans of Thrash Metal, as played by “Metallica”, “Megadeth”, “Testament”, “Exodus”, “Overkill”, “Slayer”, “Anthrax”, “Suicidal Tendencies”, “Toxic”, “Death Angel”, “Nuclear Assault”, “Annihilator”, “Abattoir”, “Artillery”, “Adrenaline Mob”, “Onslaught”, “Destruction”, “Vendetta”, “Sepultura”, “Soulfly”, “Slipknot”, “Mudvayne”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Dear Blood are: Alexandre Bourret – Lead Vocals, Guitars; Acoustic Guitar and Banjo on “Bushmaster”; Julien Doucin – Guitars, Backing Vocals; Julien Prost – Bass; Fabien Petit – Drums. New member: Rony Popera – Bass, Backing Vocals. Group Vocals on “Open Letter of Rage” and “Trapped Inside” by Petit, Doucin, Prost and Julien Allegrini. Group Vocals on “Altar Of Lies” by Jean-Bernard Phelizon and Kevin Jousseaume. Hidden track composed by Marc Issaly. Recorded in Fabien’s Basement in 2013; tracks 10-13 remastered from the “Killing Engine” EP, recorded in 2012; Mix & Mastering by Julien Doucin. Artwork by Magwa Tattoo. Produced by Deer Blood... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
12/31/2017..........................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit DEER BLOOD HOME PAGE...
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