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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

King Crimson - In The Wake of Poseidon/Islands

After finishing up the gig at the Fillmore West in 1969 and achieving an underground following with the release of In The Court of the Crimson King, the band headed back to England to work on a follow up to their debut album, but the band themselves was in limbo. Two of the members, Ian McDonald and Michael Giles departed from King Crimson to pursue other work as Greg Lake was about to follow them as he was about to embark on Prog’s very first supergroup with Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer. It was up to Robert Fripp to let Greg and Mike stay for one more album and have Mike’s brother Peter come in as session musicians to help out on Crimson’s groundbreaking second album, In The Wake of Poseidon.

Originally released in May 1970, it received critical acclaim. One critic from the Melody Maker wrote, “If Wagner were alive, he’d work with King Crimson.” It’s one of their best albums from that time period and reached the UK charts at number 4. It was their commercial success and almost got them into the mainstream with Poseidon, but they weren’t rock stars, they brought chaos, brute evil force, and destruction as Fripp describes Crimson, “A way of doing things.” Robert brought the fast time changes on the guitar as if he is conducting and composing to let the band know where to go and where to stop.

Pictures of a City which could have been a sequel to 21st Century Schizoid Man, still sounds terrifying and has the same structures with the Schizoid riff and fuzz tone elements that Fripp does on the guitar effect to give it that real gnarly sound and makes the first early beginnings of math rock while the quirky humor fun of fast food on the Jazzy Rock sound of Cat Food still makes your mouth watery to fill your mouth filled with junk of corporate America. Cadence and Cascade still sounds like an acoustic love song melody which could have been the theme song for Love Story starring Ali McGraw and Ryan O’Neal as we have an extra track of Greg Lake’s guiding vocals on the tune that almost makes it pitch perfect.

The opening Peace – A Beginning still sounds like a disturbing introduction before getting into the sinister gut punching sound while the title track carries the same boundaries of the mellotronic beauty on the 8-minute epic, Epitaph. The three part 13-minute suite, The Devil’s Triangle in which it pays tribute to Gustav Holst’s The Planets, is explosive and dangerous. Almost as if it’s a tribute to the mysterious island, The Bermuda Triangle in where Amelia Earhart might have disappeared to, it must have been recorded for a horror film as the mellotron gives it a dooming score for the composition. And even though this is the only track that Steven Wilson didn’t remix because the multi-tracks for the piece didn’t exist which is no hard feeling towards the Crimson fans, but it has the elements of Stravinsky to it at times there is a moment you can tell that Fripp is almost the great-great-great grandson of Igor as if he’s performing the suite in front of the ballet dancers to dance to it as audiences are scared shitless for the best.

The bonus track for the A-Side of Cat Food, Groon, the 2010 mix which has a Coltrane-sque fusion sound as if Fripp and the band go into Traditional Free Jazz sound with droning rhythm sound on the guitar, fast peddling bass and drums filling the scenery. You could tell that it could have been recorded for the sessions of Giant Steps as if it was recorded in 1970 and have your Jazz Records piling for more fun at the same time. Now we come to one of the most love or loathe albums for the follow up to Lizard, Islands.

Their fourth album, released in 1971, features six bonus tracks as if to make-up where the album left off abruptly on the last 11-minute title track. The album, in which I really got a kick out of for the first time as if they were back into the Jazz scene again with the Coltrane influences in there. Formentera Lady has the elements of disturbing string bass intro, the bossa-nova bass line that Boz Burrell would do, and a Fantasy atmospheric beat that would have the listeners thinking what the hell that was as Mel Collins brings an energetic power on the beat throughout his sax.

The 7-minute epic, Sailor’s Tale, is still a fusion turned into a freaked-out adventure. According to Crimson expert Sid Smith, the piece was finished at 2:00 in the morning for Robert Fripp to go batshit crazy for his guitar to come up with some magnificent experiments to solo on. He’s like Dr. Frankenstein as if he is creating the monster with a lot of extortion and just going at the piece for the last 3-minutes to give the futuristic view on the 22nd century as if the creature is alive and trying to take over the world by his cold dead hands. The Letters starts off as 15th century baroque classical ballad and then it turns into a fierce metallic thunderstorm thanks to Mel Collins homage to VDGG’s David Jackson and John Coltrane as he packs a punch while the erotic sexual raunchy score for Linda Lovelace’s theme for Deep Throat on Ladies of the Road still brings the blues funk element to the table.

The pastoral symphonic beauty of Prelude: Song of the Gulls is very beautiful with the string quartet setting this dreamland sound as if it’s a calm after the first four tracks to give the band a breather while the 12-minute epic, Islands closes the album with a laid-back groove and then ends at the 9-minute mark for a 1-minute silence as we hear chatter from Robert Fripp giving instructions to the quartet and the oboe on what to do next. This is where the bonus track comes into the ball park.

The studio run through of Islands with the oboe prominent is a wonderful mourning beauty and it shows why this piece never made it to the final cut of the 12-minute epic. There’s also the sneak peek of an earlier version of Larks Tongues in Aspic on the speeding composition of A Peacemaking Stint Unrolls as for the remixed version of Ladies on the Road still packs a real punch as if it was recorded this year with an extended ending, new background vocals and a mighty touch to the core that will blow your socks off.

On the DVD, there’s the alternate album, the Routes to Islands which features rehearsals and different mixes that would become almost a mixed opinion for Crimson fans to draw a line in the sand over. The performances at Plymouth and the Zoom-Club would have KC recording a spaghetti western and give the bullets going for them. It’s always a joy to hear these new stereo mixes and how we must give Steven Wilson a pat on the back along with Fripp as well. These albums are a true market in the progressive genre and will influence a new generation to see how real good music was back then. Let’s see what they have up their sleeve for Larks, Starless and the 30th anniversary of Discipline.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

BunChakeze - Whose Dream?

During the Summer of this year, I checked out a band online from Reverbnation named Bun Chakeze (Odin of London) and hearing edits and demos of the pieces, I knew this was a band that could have been the next Pink Floyd of the 1980s and would have knocked Marillion off their feet. Whose Dream released digitally on CD and on iTunes, is one of the most magnificent lost albums that should have seen the light at the end of the tunnel, but due to getting the chance to perform in front of a live audience suddenly disappeared as the band broke up. Years later they dugged up the material for the album and instead of releasing the album through a record label, they released it themselves of this year and this is a must have for you to get.

You have a great rhythm section through Colin Tench’s guitar playing that is in the realms of Andy Latimer, Steve Hackett, and David Gilmour while Cliff Deighton plays the drums in the realm of Bill Bruford and Carl Palmer. Gary Derrick has more of a layered bass sound while Joey Lugassy’s vocalization sounds very much like the Peter Gabriel-era of Genesis and the singer from Druid at the same time as well, but it’s a quartet that really gets you going and you have to understand why this band could have been successful in the Prog scene of the ‘80s. This isn’t Neo-Prog, but more Spacey, Symphonic, and sometimes beautiful at the same time.

The short opening instrumental Bun Chakeze, offers a lot of time changes and sonic shredded guitar licks done by Tench and the bass lines almost has a Squire-esque taste to it. It’s very fast, but having a Classical Spanish guitar midsection and something that you could dance to is very powerful that would have been perfect on a Mahavishnu Orchestra album. The title track is a mellower composition with vocals by Lugassy and Tench as they bring a dramatic touch that’s very emotional, yet almost as if they could have written it for the video game Halo 3: ODST years later. Throughout 1-minute and 22-second mark, Colin does a spacey yet spooky atmospheric sound on the keyboards and makes it pitch perfect as if you could almost hear a pin drop throughout the destruction of hell in the story line of the nightmare in the song.

Then he does a Floydian sound at the very end of the piece as if he’s paying homage to the space cadets of prog, you could tell that Tench is not pulling any excuses, but paying tribute to the Floyd is a real tribute to them as if they were passing the torch to Odin of London. Walk In Paradise starts off with a droning yet swirling blues rock synth intro and then it goes into crescendo between synth, guitar, and drums as it becomes an adventurous song as the music feels like as if its soaring into the skies of a floating city to a new beginning of a new world as if the person believes that is not a dream, but a real flying horizon in the clouds through his point of view.

Tench goes into some heavy duty throughout the solos on the 6-minute composition. He is the centerpiece on the album along with drummer Delighton as he pays homage to Neil Peart as the two go head-to-head for a brief while as they calm down to give the singer and the bass player to come in the picture for the conclusion of the sci-fi piece. Handful of Rice pays homage to the Theatrical Rock sound of Peter Hammill, Kate Bush, and the early days of Genesis with a hard mythic upbeat turned mysterious crime mini rock opera. And then it turns into a Hispanic percussion jam session and then it goes back into the finale of the piece that gives it a heartfelt ending.

Paying homage to the 1965 action film starring Jimmy Stewart, Flight of the Phoenix is a mystical acoustic ballad. This is Tench’s moment to shine as he does an early reminiscent of Ottmar Liebert for the first two-minutes as the band comes in with an accomplished score that is could have been written for the Animals sessions with more of the darker moments. The modern sound of the 6-minute epic, Midnight Skies, is back to the concept story complex set in the 1850s of new people trying to find peace that features a layered production of a clean and calm rhythm guitar section as the tempo shows some skin.

Long Distance Runner builds up into the neo-progressive movement of the Fish-era of Marillion. Lugassy helps himself with the piece being most impressive as he is the conductor of the band to let them know when they can come in and out, he has the influences of Druid, Gabriel, Waters, and Starcastle at his best moments. As Tench helps him like as if they were brothers working together instead of fighting and bickering with one another, but on the 7-minute futuristic rocker on The Deal, it is almost as if it is a sequel to Welcome To The Machine as the chugging that he does, you can tell he’s doing an homage of Run Like Hell or written during the sessions of Pink Floyd’s rock opera, The Wall.

The closing finale of Bun Chakeze (Reprise Instrumental) is almost an Entr’acte for the second set as the band go through each number to give it all their strength and see how their blood energy is pumping and they give their best. For me, this their achievement and the album could have knocked the neo-prog world by storm, and to me, this here is the album that could have been the highlight at their peek, we give them a toast to their lost masterpiece.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Cave of Clear Light: The Pye and Dawn Records Underground Trip 1967-1975 A Cornucopia of Psychedelic and Progressive Sounds

This 3-CD set pays tribute to the golden-era of the Pye and Dawn label from 1967 to 1975. The people at Esoteric Recordings have scored a huge compilation as they dig through the hidden gems on the bands and artists that some had achieved success while the others were unearthed that you are about to embark on. Mark Powell, the chief of the indie-prog label, is more like a music history teacher to give you a lecture on his sleeve notes about the history of the label and how the underground scene was as he says, “Much of the music is diverse, some of it truly outstanding and some perhaps naïve in its youthful innocence, but there is much to savour.” The compilation, Cave of Clear Light: The Pye and Dawn Records Underground Trip 1967-1975: A Cornucopia of Psychedelic and Progressive Sounds is one of the most amazing tribute to the scenery and the label as well as if it’s a magic carpet ride to hear what the music was like during that time period in the underground scene in England.

Disc One starts off with The Bystanders Egyptian-psych rock sound of the West Coast sound in the realm of the Monkees with the title track. This song has psychedelic pop flavor sound until they changed their sound and became the answer to the Grateful Dead simply known as Man. Now we have to admit, we have a love/hate relationship of English folk singer, Donovan who was known as England’s answer to Bob Dylan, but with the psych-folk rocker and the acid rock sound which featured session guitarist Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin fame on Season of the Witch and Hurdy Gurdy Man, he remains a part of the Pye scene and a huge influential part in the Beatles career.

Before the second mark of Deep Purple, there was Episode Six with their mind-blowing cover of Tim Rose’s Morning Dew. It’s very interesting to hear Ian Gillan and Roger Glover in this band that sounds very much in the realm of The Misunderstood meets a pop sound of The Attack. Status Quo, before they went hard rock, they were probably known for their psychedelic garage sound thanks to their hit, Pictures of Matchstick Men, but two of their tracks on Disc One and Three on the eerie single Paradise Flat, the quirky Mister Mind Detector, and the Acoustic Folk Middle-Eastern blues rocker Gerdundula shows that they were very different from their heavy metal sound in the 1970s. Neo Maya which was an alias for Episode Six had this bizarre yet percussion futuristic spoken-word sound of UFO that is disturbing yet twisted composition.

After the ashes of The Bystanders, the band became Man and the post-apocalyptic orchestral rocker, The Future Hides it’s Face off on their first album, Revelation in 1969 sees the band going for more of a Doors meets The Stones Satanic Majesties Request-era while Blonde on Blonde come in with their hard rocking sound on Ride With Captain Max and the folk-Indian tribe of All Day, All Night from the Contrasts album that sees the band having some potential before moving to sign with another indie label, Ember with release their follow up album with Contrasts to one of the most magnificent underrated masterpieces, Rebirth.

This took me by surprise about this unknown band, Velvett Fogg. The band featured Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi as he gives a psychedelic dooming guitar sound on this pounding yet disturbing piece on Yellow Cave Woman. The band sadly called it a day after the album tanked and the song itself remains ahead of its time and shows how the band could have been bigger than the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Woody Kern’s jazzy calmful flute sound of Tell You I’m Gone has the ingredients of Jethro Tull and carrying the Blues time change from soft to walking fast beat as for The Mooche goes early metal but with a psychedelic flavor with a pound-cake sound on the solos between guitar and bass and roaring vocals that is in the realm of Blossom Toes on their hit single, Hot Smoke & Sassafras.

Pesky Gee! Before becoming the doom prog band, Black Widow, pays tribute to Family and Roger Chapman with their explosive cover of the daring Peace of Mind. South African folk singer-songwriter John Kongos brings politics and power on Confusions about a Goldfish while the psych fuzz-tone jam session for Man to go full throttle on the 8-minute punch in the stomach feel on It Is As It Must Be. Fire featuring Dave Lambert brings a children’s story-line to a glorious psych-nugget classic on Flies Like A Bird and Tell You A Story from the concept album, The Magic Shoemaker. Then we come to Judy Dyble’s emotional yet heartfelt vocals while the mourning piano follows her vocals with Trader Horne on Velvet To Atone.

Disc Two is where we get into the beginning of the long suites. Starting the second disc off is Titus Groan’s 11-minute jazz rock freak out exercise of Hall of Bright Carvings which is one of the best centerpieces on the compilation. It has a lot of the ingredients of Psych, Free Jazz sax solos, and swirling guitar solos with a lot of the features for a prominent attribution. Atlantic Bridge’s homage to the Bebop Jazz mixed in with Soul Fusion thanks to the electric keyboard solo done by Mike McNaught and Jim Phillips cool flute solo while Darryl Runswick’s bass line and Mike Travis tribute to Elvin Jones of John Coltrane fame bring thunder to the glorious instrumental beauty of Hillary Dixon which was the B-Side to I Can’t Lie To You.

The reformed Comus (named after a poem by John Milton) bring a swinging axe to create a disturbance with the rape-in-the-woods song that makes it a perfect horror story that would have the camp kids scare shitless with the 7-minute acid folk rumble, Song To Comus. Familiar with the one-hit wonder quirky number In The Summertime? Well Mungo Jerry is going hard rock on our asses with his reindition of the garage rock attitude on Muddy Waters I Just Wanna Make Love to You. Former member of Them, Jackie McAuley brings a dosage again of Jazz and 15th century classical music to an unbelievable unearthed gem. Even though the album failed to sell because of his refusal to perform it live, Cameramen: Wilson and Holmes is very interesting, you have again the 15th century harpischord intro and then transformed into a jazz-free-for-all section while headed back to the finale with the harpischord that makes it a great ending.

Pluto was in the realm of the hard rock energy sound as Road To Glory is raw and straight-forward while Quiet World which feature future virtuoso of tapping guitarist Steve Hackett of Genesis fame of the band’s concept album, The Road. Now Body to the Mind, doesn’t feature any of the tapping styles, but you can get the picture of him moving away from the psych-pop sound into where he was as he begin to embark with Genesis that would give him creative freedom. Trifle’s homage to Manfred Mann’s Chapter Three on One Way Glass has more of the psych-pop flavor rather than the Jazz Rock sound, but it’s very fun and exciting to hear their cover of MM’s version. Now we get to Mike Cooper. This guy you might have mixed opinions on. On the 7-minute Pharaoh’s March, the first 4-minutes is his homage to Edgard Varese with screeching sax solos as if he’s VDGG’s David Jackson and then the country-western slide guitar sound comes in for a few minutes and then back into the Avant-Garde Sax finale that well let’s say might want you to be in Christian Vander’s views of Kobaia with Magma.

Soul-Prog band, Demon Fuzz, who are best known for their only debut album Afreaka!, their cover of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins I Put A Spell On You, is very explosive while Status Quo comes back into the realm of heavy metal again with the 7-minute fox on the run track on Someone’s Learning. Atomic Rooster’s proto prog-metal sound thanks to Vincent Crane’s dooming organ sound, brings the roots of symphonic metal sound to close the second disc off with a bang on the suicidal Time Take My Life. The final and third disc begins with Paul Brett’s Sage Folk Rock sound with the psych-folk rock homage to a painting of 3D Mona Lisa and the roaring nugget of a drug dealer with Custom Angel Man. The shortest track is The Trio’s Billy The Kid. It’s a freaky avant-garde jazz tribute to Edgard Varese again with whoops, droning sound, and drums going haywire. Like Demon Fuzz, Noir was another progressive band featuring black musicians. Their touching yet emotional ballad of Hard Labour, is a tribute to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. This is another centerpiece that completely blew me away and hopefully will see the light at the end of the tunnel for a reissue next year in 2011.

Heron bring the British Folk sound to the English countryside. While they had a huge following in the underground circuit as if they could have been the answer to Seals and Crofts, Yellow Roses could have been a FM single on the radio from their self-titled debut album in 1970. Atomic Rooster is back again this time with vengeance with their re-work of Friday The 13th this time with a fast-mode with guitar solo and the bass line coming into the picture on Save Me. Then we get into Icarus as if Captain Beefheart had joined the Edgar Broughton Band. The band recorded a concept album of Marvel Comic Book super heroes in which they got approval from Stan “The Man” Lee to write lyrics about their childhood heroes. A perfect example is Fantastic Four is very bluesy and raunchy that you begin to wonder “How the hell did they do that?”

Then we get into the Blues shuffle rocker of Scotland’s Writing on the Wall who are known for their debut album, The Power of the Picts. They manage to release a party-like rock single with Man of Renown which was the A-side of Buffalo and this was the only single they released and tanked before the band decided to call it a day. It’s a shame it never saw the light on the charts, but it is one hell of a boogie-woogie kick-ass number. After leaving the swirling Vertigo Label for only two albums, Gravy Train went on to do one last final album for Dawn with the title track, Staircase to the Day, the 7-minute epic is in the realm of Fantasy and Tolkiensque-Rock. The album received well from the music press and a beautiful cover done by Yes’ Roger Dean, the music is strong, mellotron bliss, and classical prog folk as you can get while having Yes a run for their own money.

Jonesy, which could have been the next King Crimson with their dark, hidden passages come up with the funk and eerie passages by the help of the mellotron on the A-side for the criminal on the run of Ricochet while the closer of the 8-minute stop-and-go of the futuristic scenery of hell with No Alternative. The classical unearthed ballad Can’t Find a Reason by Vincent Crane & Chris Farlowe, which sounds like a concept piece that was left off the album for time restraints, it has this gentle orchestra and piano only. It sounds interesting that two members of Atomic Rooster to use, but it’s has a gospel feel that will blow you away.

Irish Symphonic Progster’s Fruupp come in with a bang with the 6-minute rumble turned a jazz orchestral dance rocker on Decision. Singer-Songwriter David McWilliams, who had a hit single in the Pirate Radio station charts of The Days of Pearly Spencer, brings a majestic 15th century yet explosive touch on Lord Offaly. It starts off with an Acid Folk arrangement at first, but then it becomes a dynamic rumble in the midsection and at the very end where it calms down for him to sing about the rise and fall of the knight and offaly himself. Another group from the South of Wales is Quicksand. The track, Flying, from the album, Home Is Where I Belong, carries in the realm of Man’s psychedelic power of the first two albums.

Even though it’s sounds strange, but it’s one amazing track with voices singing through a leslie speaker, wah-wah rhythm guitar, and a dynamic drum section that fills the eerie void with a mind-blowing psych freak out. Now, we’ve come to Stray, which I’m definitely getting into thanks to Iron Maiden’s homage one of their cover of their favorite track, All of Your Mind, well now we are getting into the lavish and rising beauty of the break through success with the release of the title-track, Stand Up and Be Continued. It has this almost sometimes Broadway meets Symphonic Rock sound, but dare I must say this was the only album they released through the Dawn label and it really gets your blood flowing.

Esoteric Recordings made one hell of a package and created a unique box set that pays a tribute to the Pye and Dawn label as picking the tracks that would fit the box set and see how the listener would appreciate this from start to finish. What is really interesting as I’ve mentioned before is that Esoteric is the Criterion Collection of Unearthed gems of ‘70s Progressive Music. And let me say this is one compilation that you need to get for Christmas. Let’s hope what the New Year will bring for Esoteric as they have more reissues coming out of the woodwork in 2011.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Klaatu - Hope

Of all the bands that came out of the new sound from the beginnings of Progressive Pop in the ‘70s among them were; Supertramp, 10cc, and The Alan Parsons Project to name a few. However, there was one band that deserves to be a part of the genre and that is Canadian trio, Klaatu. The band was a mystery at first since forming in their hometown in 1973. Originally, some people believed that The Beatles were back under an alias name and was recording their comeback album. The group kept this a low profile until the release of their fourth album, Endangered Species to reveal who Klaatu really was.

The band considered Dee Long, John Woloschuk, and Terry Draper. After releasing their debut album 3:47 EST, the band went back into the concept format of story-telling space rock opera that has been considered a fan-favorite among Klaatu fans, Hope. Released on the Daffodil (Canada) and Capitol (US) label in September 1977, it is one of the most underrated masterpieces to come out in the glory days of prog while Punk and Disco was about to emerge from the grave. Hope tells the story about Politzania which is sort of a Nazified version of America, believed that it was a country to be far more better than others and their plans to destroy the planet, Klaatu into a blaze of glory. The only sole survivors in the planet is the lighthouse keeper who keeps a usage of the laser beam to fight for freedom and gives the space travelers a warning about the cosmic void. Their message to all planets around the solar system is simple: Hope.

If you admire concept albums like; Tommy, The Wall, S.F. Sorrow, Quadrophenia, Dark Side of the Moon, and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, this is definitely going to be in your record collection or on your iPod and you need to buy this to admire this magnetic storyline. The album starts off with the quirky space journey in the realm of ELO’s Out of the Blue-era on We’re Off You Know. With its glorious opening and the Brian May guitar sound. The band’s tone is very a baroque symphonic rock sound featuring a Liverpool bass line for the beat and electric sitar that makes the theme sound perfect. Not to mention a reference to the Beatles Here Comes The Sun.

Madman is sort of a Jekyll and Hyde schizophrenic rocker that features a mournful organ/acoustic ballad and then it’s transformed into a hard rock upbeat tempo. It’s very weird, but it has a shattering groove that really takes you back by surprise while the ambient and atmospheric symph electronic touch of Around the Universe in Eighty Days sets the background for the survivor’s travel to the universe with his space machine. You could imagine Supertramp and Tangerine Dream writing this song and creating magic with this eerie explosive amazing journey that the survivors ever dreamed of.

Then we come to the glorious political raw in-your-face orchestral arena rock anthem of Long Live Politzania. In this song, the professor describes on the speakers to the people of Politzania as if it’s 1912 all over again with the gramophone to describe how bad the city is in and why it went to hell in a hand basket. You have the magnificent London Symphony Orchestra who did an amazing job on the album and the production of Terry Brown (Rush producer) creating almost like a Spaghetti Western Prog epic that is dramatic that would make you jump for joy. Disturbing? Weird and Hypnotic? Political Statement? Both of the answers are correct as you can tell the Professor has gone insane.

Then we get to the joyous yet gospel anthem of their city with the lyrics “Politzania, brave, strong and true/Politzania we all love you/We'll smite our foes for we are right, and God is on our side/Politzania, red, white and green/Politzania reigning supreme/Victors in war, champions of peace - onto eternity. We're the Masters of the World.” With the political anthem, you can tell that Klaatu were pushing the envelope and the boundaries in the prog genre as the synth gives that hypnotic yet bombastic finale of the city that is far as the eye can see. The Loneliest of Creatures comes in with the Symphonic Pop sound in the realm of the Night at the Opera-era of Queen with it’s angelic keyboard ballad, emotional vocals, and the background chorus telling the creatures that they are not outsiders and while they believe (the creatures) believe they are outsiders to the world as Politzania is winning and destroying their city once and for all.

Prelude is almost like an Intermission as the curtain comes down while the band gets straight down to business. It’s almost like an Underture between each of the songs that becomes a climatic symphonic dance waltz turned into an eerie yet explosive finale as we meet the lighthouse keeper himself. So Said the Lighthouse Keeper is almost like a requiem for the person who lives in isolation in his house, but what he is doing is to give a message for peace while using the laser beam on the planet Politzania as his message to give us our thoughts and prayers that will help us and not going through the wrong path that he went through.

The prayer is the mournful closing title track, which one of the most beautiful compositions here. In the realm of Supertramp meets Pink Floyd with its melodic ballad as we know how Hodgson could have teamed up with Roger Waters and David Gilmour to create this pray for hope and peace in the universe. You find yourself that you feel empathy for the planet and that’s what the message and the album is about. Peace.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Taking a Long break

To my fellow Blog Readers,

I will be on Hiatus, but I will be on my Facebook site. So I will be taking a long break in November and December because of Mid-Terms, Thanksgiving, Final Exams, and Christmas coming up. Now I may appear with a review, so don't worry I will be back with one.

See you soon and have a great Thanksgiving and a great holiday, see you in 2011!


Friday, November 5, 2010

Brainticket - Psychonaut

Some bands want to have a laid-back groove and carry the experimental sound into the Outer Limits and make an alternate soundtrack to the 1973 cult-classic film, Logan’s Run starring Michael York and Jenny Agutter. Kraut and Space Rockers Brainticket and their follow up to the strange and weirdest avant-garde twist debut of Cottonwood Hill in 1971, their second album, Psychonaut, was recorded at Milan Studios in Italy during the same era. The album itself is very Raga-Rock with an attitude of atmosphere, ambient, and raw psychedelic futuristic sounds of the 21st century.

The band was founded in 1968 by multi-instrumentalist Joel Vandroogenbeck (I know that’s one hell of a long last name) in Belgian. Even though they have a Krautrock sound almost as if Amon Duul II and Frank Zappa had a love child, Brainticket is one of the most underrated bands to come out of the Belgian Music scene. Alongside Joel, the band members are: Jane Free, Rolf Hug, Martin Sacher, Barney Palm, and Caroline Murel.

Starting the album off with the 7-minute Radagacuca with it’s eerie Hammond and Flute duo like it was recorded in a dark and cavernous cave. Then it becomes an Indian Psychedelic tribe with acoustic guitar, sitar, and congas as where they do a reminiscent of Quintessence as the lyrics have a stylization of Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? The lyrics may feel strange and interesting, but it’s very haunting and moody as the last few minutes become almost a Doors sound with chanting, manical laughter, and the organ creating a spooky finale that really sets the tone.

One Morning sounds like an ambient jazz sound with the piano and double harmonization vocal track done by Mr. Vandroogenbeck as it features the rain and thunderstorm as a wonderful sound effect while the percussion has a mysterious tone. (There’s a Shadow) Watchin’ You features some strong dramatic vocals done by Jane Free. The track is very psychedelic and has a harder edgier sound with help from Guitar, Organ, and Bass. With a little help from the Leslie Speaker, Joel creates a dynamic yet evil sound on the Organ that makes it a real haunting melody.

The last few minutes is a real kicker as the tempo starts to slow down by going through a droning technique with the Sitar as it goes through a Hare Krishna Raga sound by giving it the Indian Music scene. The 6-minute Space Rock sound is back to the core with a militant dooming sound on Like a Place in the Sun. There is some singing, but with spoken passages that reminiscent Robert Calvert and Jim Morrison working together to make a twisted solar system adventure.

The drumming is like a pounding kettledrum that almost is a combination of Billy Cobham and John Bonham while the organ itself has a soul turned doom metal sound as the bass has a lot of walking tough bass lines as Jane speaks like a monotone to the futuristic city as the band members help her out with the piece as the finale has a Soft Machine ‘60s sound in the realm of Lullabye Letter intro. Feel The Wind Blow goes in to the Acid Folk remedy with it’s strange lyrics that is almost in the mind of Comus First Utterance.

Under the surface, it features amazing layered guitar work, atmospheric organ work and nice touches on the flute to make the tempo soar up to the milky way. The last track, Coc O’ Mary, is one of the most surprising closing numbers on the album. You can tell according to DPRP’s John O’Boyle, it has a touch of Jethro Tull meets ELP.

This is almost a rumbling prog rock instrumental piece as the musicians give their strengths and all their might to close out this explosive composition. This album is a lost gem and Brainticket themselves deserve a huge pat on the back. They could have been bigger than CAN, but they are a band that deserves a lot of attention and lot of recognition they need throughout the Prog and Experimental community.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Entropia - Simetria

Are Entropia following in the footsteps of Dream Theater? That might be a risky question to ask from a prog-fan including myself. The reason it’s a risky question because the Progressive Metal scene comes with a mighty bang – heavy guitar riffs that are melodic and classical, story-complex concept albums and you have your admirers including: High Tide, Rush, Uriah Heep, Queensryche, and Opeth to name a few. It’s not like the genre has found a new audience, but for Colombian band, Entropia are probably the next Dream Theater, then the Progressive Metal genre is being a force-like beginning for fans.

Here’s a band that have a debut album that knows their traditions in the Colombian state. It is boarded in Venezuela by the east while its northwestern republic in South America between Peru and Ecuador. This helps Entropia take the music to bring peace to their hometown in Bogota. This is Prog as it gets. Simetria (Symmetry) gives an A+ and it needs a lot of good grades, even though for the direct approach and mind-boggling power, it takes a lot of power for the compositions to give it a real kick to it.

The album begins with the salsa turned roaring rock sound that is called Teorema. It has a melodic rock sound along that features a cosmic guitar solo and a magnificent bass line along with the vocals that resembles James LaBrie singing high above the mountains of the Grand Canyon with the band helping him out. Elsewhere, The Cube, has its metallic riffs and electronic futuristic scenery and more of the jazz fusion bass work that reminiscent of a symphonic version of Bruce Dickinson conducting Opeth as they teamed up to created a mesmerizing journey when they head back to earth and push the envelope more and go back into the Prog sound of Poetry in Motion.

There is a lot of time changes and textures on the debut album as heard on Real Lies which starts out with the moog sound very cosmic in the realms of Pantera, Opeth, and Hawkwind have teamed up as Space Cadets to search for a new land like they’ve have been bring the screaming and growling aspects of Phil Anselmo and Mikael Akerfeldt to help them out. There’s also a dooming element too, with a shattering guitar line that has a real twist while the drums sound like a machine gun and fighting to die for freedom in a blaze of glory. Meanwhile, there are hints of Rick Wakeman’s keyboard solo, Dimebag Darrell’s guitar work, and bassist Tony Levin working together creating a mythical sound on the 8-minute title track. It’s pure Entropia right there and there’s no excuse to say why this band are unbelievable and give you a kick in the gut big time.

Primarily, the ambient and majestic moody turned into a battlefield of Tolkien Metal in the realm of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Transitions with it’s soaring guitar work, soothing keyboard work, pumping drum work, and bass work as well, it really works like an epic score to a movie or video game that just has your ears saying “What the hell is this and how is this so fucking good?!” You can hear a bit of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest’s twin guitar sound homage, but it’s a real goody in the instrumental format, but it expresses very well.

The eerie and moody sound is back into the core with the haunting yet sadness childhood memories of Elements. You can tell that the singer has emotions through the pain as he sings like if he’s about to fight back tears with: “Whispering a lullaby, the girl now lies in the corner/She said the day she’d leave, I’d meet my father/True words, uttered, oh, and I became a mourner.” What he’s saying is when you leave home, meet your father, but now since he’s passed, he’s now mourning the loss of the father he barely got to meet and never got the chance to bury the hatchet.

It really hits home with some of the listeners on missing their family and hoping to reconcile, but finding out that one of your loved one is dead really hits you like a ton of bricks. At the end, the guitar solo is flourishing and weeping to the scenery of the lost one as it hits one of the highest frets to reach cry of pain and sorrow, it’s so good, yet tearful at the same time. This and The Sphere is a two-part mini rock opera in the realm of the Scenes from a Memory-Era. The song deals with now that Lillian and his father are gone, Sophie, her daughter is suffering through a mental breakdown as the growling vocals and the operatic high vocalization fit the scenery as he tries to help his new love be sane again.

The 11-minute closer, Epilogo, is the ultimate climax, a terrific finale that sets the tone on the main character’s daughter struggling to survive from her breakdown that ends in a finale that I can’t spoil for you. This is the kind of piece Entropia do best throughout the number with it’s reminiscing of the Dream Theater sound on Simetria, filled with an acoustic, power metal, and energetic flames that don’t burn out. This is their debut album and they are only getting the wagon rolling early right now and they hope the wheel doesn’t come loose and see where they might lead to.

Entropia are doing something different in their hometown in Bogota. They have a bit of Opeth, Early Metallica, and Dream Theater in their flesh and blood than doing Megadeth and there’s again the sound of James LaBrie, Phil Anselmo, King Diamond, and Bruce Dickinson on the vocals. They capture the spirit of Progressive Metal through a speeding in the realms like Pain of Salvation and Symphony X, while Entropia have in their hearts and minds, it’s amazing that it sounds fresh and brings the music genre rock sound strength to strength.

Simetria is the most excellent album that Entropia have brought to the table. They are geniuses and damn they are so good they are going to be the next Dream Theater and let me say, there is hope and the dreams will come true to them.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wigwam - The Lucky Golden Stripes and Starpose

“Happy face human race/swinging in the rain/ get yer rags together ‘cos/we’re going down the lane.” Those words are magic geniuses thanks to Finland’s own Wigwam. After having success with their previous album, Nuclear Nightclub, some of the critics believed that Wigwam were about to follow in the right footsteps. But it wasn’t going to be that easy as they went commercial which wasn’t a bad idea for them to do when they released, The Lucky Golden Stripes and Starpose in 1976.

The band was signed to Richard Branson’s label, Virgin Records and recorded the album at the Manor in Oxfordshire in January. They finally hit the mainstream which had mixed opinions from the music critics at the time the album was released. It was ahead of its time, but The Lucky Golden Stripes is one of those albums that still sound like a cleanly fresh jewel that you haven’t wore for 34 years and Wigwam’s ninth album is one of them.

The tracks on the album were written by leader of Wigwam, pianist and lead vocalist, Jim Pembroke starting off with the lifting introduction about being free from the mental asylum and starting a new life on Sane Again while International Disaster carries in the realm of The Band’s Stage Fright-era. The short instrumental composition, Timedance, is basically an improvisation that has a Gentle Giant feel thanks to Hessu Hietanen’s homage to Kerry Minnear. It is very short, but it is almost like a jam session between drummer Ronnie Osterberg, Hietanen, and guitarist Pekka Rechardt creating some jazzy funk with an attitude.

The 6-minute epic, Colossus starts off with Pekka creating a mystic guitar rhythm as it segues with Hessu doing an atmospheric style on the keyboards. Then it becomes a driving rock beat as the tempo begins to reach the higher ground. There’s a lot of the Fusion-esque sound that you could hear more of that with Return to Forever and Weather Report, but the track still is carrying the layered ethic touch to the sound of Wigwam and Pekka is unbelievable on the guitar and he deserves 100% credit on this track. Elsewhere, Eddie and the Boys is very more pop-orientated than Album-Orientated Rock. This was the band’s beginnings of going commercial. While some of the fans have a hard time to love or reject this track, Rechardt is really going to town with this on his funk-like sounds on his guitar.

But on Lucky Golden Stripes and Starpose, it has more of the progressive feel on the beat and changes. Pekka is again just shining by doing a space rock sound on the guitar in the midsection while Osterberg is working on the drums carefully like a real jazz-drummer and Hessu’s keyboards has a very haunting overtone and then it goes back into the rock sound to close the track up as if Jim’s vocals and Mosse Groundstorem’s bass lines that have more the funk beats than Pastorious if you like during the short complex midsection.

June May Be Too Late is Pembroke’s homage to the Soul sound representing the Motown sound in Detroit but with a Soul Train attitude. There’s some shuffles and cool riffs between each instrument that you would be blown away by. You can imagine Don Corneilus bringing this band to his show and the audience being blown away by them and seeing how damn good they are. You won’t hear a damn disco feel on this, but more with the sound of soul, it really has the train pumping out the music.

The partnership between Pembroke and Rechardt are sort of Finland’s answer to Lennon and McCartney (in a Prog-Fusion style of the Beatles) on the soothing crystal ballad on Never Turn You In as the final track, In a Nutshell, a glorified progtastic opium in the realm of Frank Zappa’s One Size Fits All-era. It’s a bag filled with: Pembroke singing the melody as if he’s doing the time changes with the instruments in a spoken word-rap feel as Hessu, Pekka, Mosse, and Ronnie create a humorous fusion finale that is sometimes quirky and in the realm of Camel’s Moonmadness at times. The two bonus tracks which are featured on the Esoteric reissue which were recorded in Stockholm and Kingsway Studio in 1975.

Tramdriver could have been recorded in the sessions of Fairyport while Wardance has a mystical yet eerie upbeat tempo provides so much of the jazz fusion and conceptual ideas of the Blue Moon and the Twilight sky for a dance beat. Lucky Golden Stripes and Starpose may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s not only an incredible album, but it’s a shame that the album would divide the fans and critics like drawing a line in the sand whether to accept the album or not.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Darryl Way's Wolf - Saturation Point/Canis Lupus/Night Music

One of the most eclectic jazz-prog fusion bands that had an amount of voltage of one virtuoso violinist, Darryl Way and his band Wolf are one of the most independent prog bands that released only three albums in the ‘70s. After he left Curved Air to pursue a solo career, he formed the band Wolf which featured: guitarist John Etheridge, Caravan bassist Dek Messecar, and Marillion drummer Ian Mosley. These three albums reissued on the Esoteric label of their three albums: Saturation Point, Canis Lupis, and Night Music which are one of the best works for Wolf to allow the symphonic influence to come forward around of shrieking violin work and fast time signatures which is the evidential look on Saturation Point. The fiery introduction with the glowing blaze of The Ache is a wonderful opening which features Dek’s storming bass lines while guitarist Etheridge is doing some eruptive guitar work as Darryl lets him take over as he takes the violin by playing almost like Vivaldi (reference to Curved Air, mind you) at the very end as the band do a climatic crescendo.

Two Sisters is an extreme muscular drive while Slow Rag carries the jazz-fusion romantic haunting instrumental ballad in the realms of Tomaso Albinoni. Etheridge is doing a classical guitar solo as Way’s violin sounds like it’s crying while Mosley’s drum playing just let’s it rip to lead Darryl to follow the lead with the other members on this. It still sounds fresh and yet an underground classic – fierce and explosive including the medieval improvisation on Market Overture, very John McLaughlin-esque sound thanks to Etheridge as he just takes the rhythm to a standstill and some electrifying violin and drum work that tastes good as for Game of X, which sounds like Fusion Heavy Metal. You have the crazy scatting with some shattering violin works, and then all of a sudden, it has at the end, a growling effect on the guitar for its disturbing finale. The title track, has its jazz works that is very Canterbury sound with Way’s Rhodes keyboard sound, Mosley’s homage to Billy Cobham, Etheridge just playing going a lot of scales going up and down the frets while Dek is creating some fusion grooves on the bass to make you get up and dance.

The finale 7-minute composition, Toy Symphony, is probably one of the highlights on the album. You have Darryl doing a dramatic pastoral violin introduction while Dek is using a fuzz tone sound on the bass through his days in the Canterbury scene of the late ‘60s as he and the other members go at each other to create a different mood change. To me, it’s a rumbling epic with all the ingredients adding to the mix, hell, you’ve got yourself one hell of a track that you might want to play at your memorial service. Three bonus tracks give a closer look of the band’s roots of their upbringing. The blues shuffle of A Bunch of Fives, The Western Fiddle Rocker Five in the Morning, and a single version of Two Sisters that adds a lot to the historical roars of Wolf. Canis Lupis, their second album to the follow up of Saturation Point, comes in to the picture with the twisted opener, The Void, just a crazy yet emotional breathtaking track that should have been a hit single, even though Isolation Waltz has a raunchy and tough track and the swirling moog spacey sound on Wolf wears a lot of the space-like fairy tales in the realms of The Little Prince, it goes batshit crazy with the screeching allegro realm of New Trolls concerto grosso on Cadenza.

The true evidence of Darryl Way’s Wolf’s fire about to go into a blaze of glory, is probably, their final and magnificent third album, Night Point – a creative thunderstorm of Prog Fusion that needs a lot of attention. Move over, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Wolf is here to stay by giving all the energy and the power they get to close the curtain off. And adding special guest of IF’s vocalist John Hodkinson, you got yourself a full prog weekend. Dek takes center stage on his funky bass intro on The Envoy, a 6-minute driving-on-the-highway song that is very ferocious. There’s Darryl, Ian, and Etheridge just chug like a speeding train as Hodkinson creates a glorified view of the hero seeing where the city is laying and looking at the views of War and fighting in the battlefield. You don’t expect to hear it on a Wolf album, but this is a real kick-ass number. Black September has a moody and angelic laying down on the sun song at first and then it turns into a crackling psychedelic finale for the last 2-minutes.

Even though Flat 2 55 is a 6-minute dooming and eerie instrumental track featuring a roaring introduction that sounds like the swirling land of hell, it is quite astonishing as they are back into the Canterbury Jazz Fusion sound. John’s guitar playing is very Hendrix-like while Dek is doing his Hatfield and the North bass lines as for Ian is going up on the tempo steadily on the drums while Darryl is going off on the violin like a mad scientist. Yet another moody and story-complex drama and being a hunted prey on songs like Anteros and We’re Watching You goes through a synthesized treatment that Keith Emerson could have done as Darryl does it very perfectly and would have Keith shaking hands with Way. In more of the realm of the Jazz Fusion technique, Steal The World would be something out of Gentle Giant’s Octopus sessions, but would be a 17th century exercise with the symphonic rock sound added to the mix and that includes another homage of the Medieval Rock sound on the closing track, Comrade of the Nine.

These three albums are very innovative and deeply enjoyable. For Curved Air fans who admire Darryl Way’s extractive violin work, they will be completely blown away to have a treasure of underrated progressive rock bands to marvel and have their hearts sink into. There’s more of the symphonic jazz fusion hopefully coming in the next few years into the future. But for him to reunite with Curved Air is the real turning point for Darryl to be a happy and be back on his game with the band like putting on shoes that you haven’t wore for a long time ago.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Matt Stevens - Ghost

There’s a lot of surprises in the download community in store for Guitar lovers around the globe, for Matt Stevens, his new album, Ghost as the follow-up to Echo, is one of the most magnificent acoustical beauties that really deserves a lot of attention to music collector’s of the Prog genre out there. He isn’t like Jimmy Page, or Carlos Santana, but on Ghost, it’s almost like an experimental journey that fly’s majestically.

Stevens releases his music online and it’s a perfect ingredient to get the word out. He’s one of the most up-and-coming virtuoso guitar players that I really enjoy hearing the music. This isn’t your daddy’s instrumental guitar album; this is a work of genius mastermind who isn’t playing the guitar to show off his talent, but a guitar player who know his love of the Progressive music scene.

Matt Stevens is going to be next Jonny Greenwood and Robert Fripp by using a lot of the layered guitar sounds and very much making it very ambient and atmospheric. I could imagine Fripp having a huge grin on his face when he sees Matt performing as if he’s passing the torch to him as if he’s taking over the guitar world. With Ghost, he is the conductor and makes his own music that he’s helping them to see where he would go with his guitar sound.

It begins with Into The Sea; a moody classical piece that shows again his love of Ottmar Liebert’s guitar beats and the intensive percussion beats on the track. There’s a bit of the dramatic and reaction throughout the piece as he plays each note on the guitar. The beats provide adds tension as the number groove through different changes in the composition.

The energetic comes forward on Big Sky. This tune has a New Age yet atmospheric moog-like sound. The tune is has an upbeat tempo, it adds the space sound as he uses the Kosmiche effect sound with a little bit of the NEU! 75-era for a good reason, you have the whooshing effect with a lot of amazing techniques and flying into the sky and seeing where the sunlight will follow the musician as he plays like a magician that knows the tricks and trades very well.

Eleven is a haunting melody almost in the style of Mike Oldfield’s earlier work. There’s the eerie layered sound that Stevens does with the muting guitar ushering and glockenspiel references that is gently towards a suspenseful film score as Orson Welles and Dario Argento teamed up to work with him to create a dark yet disturbing masterpiece while Draw is in the realm representing the Kid-A era of Radiohead.

Burnt Out Car is a wonderful little strumming ditty that is almost a driving towards the sunset as if he’s outside on the porch with the car as if he’s performing a mourning to the Car that has been in ashes and dust as he gives this exquisite force that follows the homage to Thom Yorke’s The Eraser with the electronic beats and more of the atmospheric sound that creates a ghost-like melody on Lake Man. It works very well as for the soaring Glide which is him doing a Pete Townshend type of guitar work. He’s strumming and finger picking at the same time including a comforting keyboard sound that sounds very much like a twisted mellotron. But somehow Matt makes it very perfect on his own that really gives it a real heart and mind to listener’s throughout the prog-web community.

8.19 is back on the throne with the guitar shuffle and probably one of Matt’s accomplishments like he is giving himself a pat on the back with the drums as he and the percussion move more of a Jazz-Alternative Rock sound as for the title track brings back the Progressive Rock format. I can tell that he’s back again the genre with the scariest pieces that has a ghostly beat and what a scare he gives what sounds like a twisted accordion and a bit of the disturbing fairy tales that has been told throughout a camp fire scaring the little kids out of their seats.

The last track, Moondial, is almost the track that could have been used as a bonus track from Echo. And you can tell Matt is back on his feet. The instrumental piece has more of the haunted similarities in the 16th century style. He’s playing almost like a Spanish guitar sound on his instrument. Remember, he isn’t showing off, he’s doing a damn good job from start to finish.

A good follow-up that proves that Matt Stevens might have something up for his next album, and it’s a reminder that the guitar and how good he really is to deal with an album that the dream is growing on him and he makes it better with a lot to say.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fields - Fields

Holy Shit! It’s hard to understand why Graham Field, keyboardist of Rare Bird decided to leave the band after having the success with the hit single, Sympathy and the delightful debut album in 1969. There are no hard feelings towards the band members as Graham formed a trio featuring drummer Andy McCulloch of King Crimson and bassist/guitarist/lead vocalist Alan Barry on their only debut album released in 1971 on the CBS label simply called Fields. The band that could have given Atomic Rooster, Aphrodite’s Child, ELP, and a bit of Le Orme, a warm handshake with this unbelievable album that deserves a lot of attention.

And while the prog trios have achieved success or decided to call it a day including Fields themselves over the frying pan and into the firing line, we may have a rough time deciding why bands are either underrated or overrated. Now we are in the 21st century where Progressive Rock is now longer a dirty word anymore and the geeks are coming back from the dead, do we care that the band features some amazing arrangements including a session singer whose vocals are different from any singer in the genre? Well let’s take a look at the answer to that question.

When you pick up a copy of the Esoteric reissue that is absolutely spot on and features amazing liner notes by Sid Smith including an interview with Field himself about the making of the album, the answer is no. I think Alan Barry has a tremendous voice and his guitar and bass playing are very much in the realm of pre-Starcastle and of course Andy McCulloch’s drumming which I applaud – after admiring his work on King Crimson’s disturbing masterpiece, Lizard. And this is a perfect trio or should I say a supergroup in the realms of Rare Bird and KC in the mind of Fields. Excellent, characteristic, and charismatic ingredients of heavy progressive music.

Given that fact that they were well received in European Festivals and the label dropping them after a new A&R manager deciding not to continue with the band, they decided to give it all they got for the last time as they threw the magic carpet to fly off into the soaring sky. Opening track A Friend of Mine acts like a volcanic eruption thanks to Fields dazzling keyboard work in the reminiscent of J.S. Bach, a great introduction of the classical rock orientation that gives us what is about to come next and gives us a real roar.

While the Sun Still Shines has a very memorable FM Radio sound as the crystal touch balladry of Not So Good has a bit of the angelic harmonies. You have the piano, organ, bass, and drums’ combining together as Graham takes over leading the band into services inside the church as if the band is giving a lecture inside the cathedral to a married couple. It all becomes very much of a mourning sound on Three Minstrels, a reminiscent of the 17th century Renaissance Music ala Gentle Giant style.

Slow Susan is an instrumental homage to Bo Hansson’s Lord of the Rings-era as Field does a pastoral feel on the keyboards as it leads up to the rumble raunchy prog-funk sound of Over and Over Again. In the track, Andy is playing wildly on the drums as if he’s doing a Bruford style while Barry creates some magic on the bass as Graham goes quiet and loud on the organ to give the band the signal to come in. Now in the midsection, this is the part I love. They go into almost a bit of the fusion-esque sound that is very powerful and has a lot of Barry’s singing and Field’s cool Rhodes-like sound on the keyboard as if he’s Chick Corea. At the very end, is Field going crazy on the organ as the band members are blown away of how far can Graham go on.

Feeling Free and A Place To Lay My Head are in the realm of Church music. You can imagine the gospel choir in the background singing with them with a lot of heart and soul and sweating buckets to the band and a lady doing some harmonizing vocalization with the band. Fair-Haired Lady is an acoustic crisp sound that has medieval folk-like sound as Barry fingerpicks the guitar in this romantic beauty of this gorgeous yet beautiful woman that sees before his eyes. The Eagle closes the album with more of the pastoral, but symphonic rock sound as Barry does a Spanish guitar sound while playing a wonderful mellotronic sound for a brief while and then BAM! He, Graham, and Andy go at it together to see who can win the boxing match at the very end of the piece while Field plays a quiet somber uplifting finale on the grand piano.

It’s a shame they never made another album after the label dropped them, but this is the real deal of the underrated bands that is still growing strong and it’s like a flaming fire that won’t burn out as the gasoline keeps on pouring for more of the fire to come at it like a speed demon. Even though they split up, it is a highly recommended album that you really need to sink your teeth into.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Paul Jones - Crucifix in a Horseshoe

Probably best known for his work with Manfred Mann on hit songs like: Do Wah Diddy Diddy and 5-4-3-2-1 along with his acting debut with the 1967 cult classic Privilege, Paul Jones underrated 1971 album, Crucifix in a Horseshoe remains one of the must-have albums in any record collector to enjoy British Pop music with a bang. Originally released in 1971 on the Vertigo label, he decided to head to New York to record the album to come up with a mixture of Country, Jazz, and Soulful Blues as if he’s a composer to the band.

It’s not what you hear from his solo work, but it’s something worth the wait and Jones creates some magic on the album. According to the liner notes by King Crimson expert Sid Smith for the RPM reissue, Paul said that the title actually came from a magazine. “There on the front cover of one of them was a famous man. And he had this medallion hanging round his neck. It was a very large crucifix. Christ on the cross, surrounded with this horseshoe. The horseshoe says ‘good luck’ but the crucifix says ‘I’m a believer in Jesus Christ’, and therefore luck doesn’t come into it.”

All the songs on the album including the unreleased bonus tracks for the upcoming album follow up to Horseshoe which the label declined to release as if it felt it was too mainstream and no single on the album to promote it. Cut to years later, RPM created one hell of a packaging to feature the unreleased tracks that could have made it him a part of the Vertigo family. While Paul Jones enjoyed recording the album in the heart of the Big Apple, listening to these tracks has a New York feel and makes you feel that you are in the city including the soulful upbeat opener,

Life After Death, which has a Jackie Lomax sound that deals with how the religious movement has gone horribly wrong. Since becoming a born again Christian, Paul now has difficult time trying to appreciate this amazing track. But let’s move on. Motel Blues, a cover of Loudon Wainwright, is an eerie number with an acoustical beat. However it features some nice organ solos and guitar work done by Charlie Brown (no pun intended) while the background vocalists including the late Vicki Sue Robinson, creates angelic voices in the background during the number. And You Say I’m Too Dependent On My Mind is a down-home funk blues sound that almost is a reminiscent of Paul McCartney’s Ram-era. Now we get into the Country roots sound that Paul grew up as a child. It almost as if it could have been written during the Let it Bleed sessions about the life of a man who works in the industry as he gives the Construction Worker’s Song.

Now the next title, get ready: Song (For Stan Stunning and the Noodle Queen) I know it sounds very weird, but it’s a great little ditty. It also an homage to the Motown-era of the late ‘60s as you can feel the background in the song that resembles the soul and beauty of the Detroit scene. I could tell that Paul was in his happier times recording this song that how much the label showed a huge importance of him growing up. Next up is The Pod That Came Back has a swinging blues jazz upbeat as the song deals with Jones’ comeback in the limelight while The Mighty Ship resembles 1965 as if it’s a reminiscent of the Denny Laine-era of the Moody Blues. The last two tracks really takes us by surprise.

Who are the Masters which has a sinister yet disturbing bone-chilling amusement park rock sound followed by a sound that is in the mind of David Bowie’s Hunky Dory and Family’s Music in a Doll’s House as for Strangely Human Sound carries the image of the previous track with the ghost-like folk composition. Yet it has a little bit of the haunting elements to the number, the ending is features the wind going through the city. Next we come to the bonus tracks. The 8-minute groove, Voices, is one of the most wildly jazz fusion grooves that is real and has a catchy beat. Featuring Dave Macrae’s style of Herbie Hancock’s wah-wah organ funk introduction and Jones shattering Mouth Harp, it brings Jones extreme vocals to a predicted standstill. Wrestler is sort of in the style of Cream’s debut album as Paul Jones and his harmonica taking a trip with us with a song dealing with a wrestler struggling to achieve astonishment to a wild crowd.

Then it gets back into the Jazz Fusion beat with Two Tough Kids from a little help with female vocalist Joy Askew who worked with artists like: Joe Jackson, Laurie Anderson, and Peter Gabriel to name a few as she and Paul bring the energy with this Theatrical knot roar. Joy’s vocals really captures the scenery with Paul on how these two kids grew up in the streets and one day trying to be the next Bonnie and Clyde while the 7-minute homage to the Broadway scene in New York of Life Story. It has a bit of the Jacques Brel influence along with Brecht and Hair influence in there, but it’s a perfect combination.

The guitar shuffle and piano rocker Peter is a quirky little country ditty as the last number Marooned is a very quiet soft ballad with a bit of a romantic feel as if it was recorded for Manfred Mann to perform, but giving Paul Jones free rein to give it a real soaring closing. A truly masterpiece that deserves credit and for Paul as well, and even though Paul is a changed person and has some mixed feelings with the album, he deserves it 100%

Friday, October 22, 2010

Amon Duul II - Phallus Dei

While the British Psychedelic Scene at the end of the late ‘60s was about to emerge, there was a band that took the German scene into a thunderous firestorm and gave birth to the beginnings of Krautrock. With an attitude of the Avant-Garde scene with it, Amon Duul II put together a disturbing path, combining experimental music, early Zappa, and kosmische music all wrap into one. The band was formed in 1968 in the West German scene in Munich where the infamous terrorist group the Baader Meinhof Complex founded (in which the band 100% disagreed with everything with the group were doing to the people). The music was layered yet futuristic at the same time. That and their debut album, Phallus Dei (God’s Penis), is considered a cornerstone in the beginnings of the Krautrock scene of the 1970s.

This album constructs a disturbing yet middle-eastern freak-out sessions that could have been recorded for the therapists when they were taking Primal Scream pills for the insanity. They play very much like a classical piece for John Cale and Edgard Varese and made it more of a twisted piece that could scare the living shit out of the hippies and the flower power generation of the ‘60s. Chris Karrer, John Weinzieri, Renate Knaup-Kroetenschwanz, Lothar Meid, Falk U Rogner, and the late Peter Leopold brought a fierce and disturbing debut that blew the music world away with this magnificent schizoid magnetic structure that deserves a lot of attention and almost gave birth to the Industrial Rock scene.

They brought the weird and aggressive overtones to the table with the opening 20-minute title track. It starts off with an ambient dooming intro followed by yelps with eerie vocalization as it segues into a twisted psychedelic dungeon jam session as guitar and bass create a lot of high voltage along with the drums to make it sound like an erotic orgasm beauty. And then it reaches into a shrieking crescendo as Karrer takes over by going for a gothic approach on the violin as the music becomes an African tribe beat as the members go into the primal scream mode with the shrieks, yelps, and haywire noises from the instruments as if it was something out of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest that makes it fun and enjoyable to listen to before ending with a dramatic finale with Karrer’s violin and chant-like vocals.

Kanaan comes in the picture with more of the middle-eastern rock sound as if they recorded it for the pharaohs and the goddess of Egypt as Renate Knaup brings the ghost-like vocalization to the piece while the vocals sound like a spoken-word ritual. Dem Guten, Schönen, Wharen introduces some wildly mad scientist experiment groundwork with eerie vocals, sinister keyboard work from Rogner, and almost a reminiscent of the Wolf City-era while Luzifers Ghilom is an underrated composition that shows the band’s structural time changes and weird cosmic rock sound with an experimental punk attitude that would have made Public Image Ltd approve this number.

Henriette Krötenschwanz is the closing finale with a militant tribe drum section done by Leopold as Renate takes over the vocalization in an operatic voice that would have tenors scare shitless by her magnificent yet eerie vocals that she does in the number. It’s a fitting end to the album that is in the foreplay. The two bonus tracks are very interesting. You have the Indian-raga homage to Ravi Shankar with the 10-minute new age sound of TouchMaPhal and the industrial rock homage to Rammstein and Arthur Brown and Kingdom Come’s Journey-era that sounds very much of the 21st century in the style of the Berlin trilogy of I Want The Sun to Shine. Twisted? Yes Strange? Yes? Fun to listen to? All of the above, this is one of the most underrated beginnings of the Krautrock scene for anyone who wants to get into the music of Amon Duul II.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Looking Towards The Sky: Progressive, Psychedelic, and Folk Rock From The Ember Vaults

The eccentric and eclectic view of progressive, psychedelic, and folk rock of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s is a real treat. But thanks to the reissue label, Fantastic Voyage, who are helping to revisit the indie label Ember Records, this is worth checking out to know about the obscure and the underground scene of the psychedelic movement that reached to a cult status. It’s like Treasure Island, but it’s hidden through the generosity of the bands you’ve never heard throughout this compilation, and it pulls together like a tightrope. Looking Towards The Sky: Progressive, Psychedelic, and Folk Rock from the Ember Vaults may be considered one of the volumes on undiscovered gems of the independent rock scene that are filled unheard bands and artists to come close to the essence of unheard music that will give you goosebumps and take you surprise in the new dimension. Don’t forget, the track-list covers 15 of the bands that will make you have a love/hate relationship in huge debates, so let’s cut the bullshit fellas. So if you are interested and already have a huge growth in the music genre, this is your Wonka ticket here. If you were a part of the underground scene and for a new generation of upcoming progsters discovering this music, well here it is.

Now for most of you are thinking, “Is this a rip off of the Nuggets compilation?” No it isn’t. this is the history of the record label and for you listeners who are mouth-watery of hearing this will be blown away. Looking Towards The Sky takes you through a magic carpet ride through the unheard masterminds of the bands/artists that never saw the light at the end of tunnel to achieve the big time and drew from the weirdness and beyond the musical infinity.

Starting the album off is the political driven folk romp of 9:30 Fly’s Life and Times which includes a dynamic acoustic background and fuzz tone solo that is very dramatic including the vocalization as well while the Canadian garage rockers The Dorians push the nuggets envelope further with a dosage of psych-pop on the chugging rhythm section on Help For My Waiting and the eerie Beatle-esque harmonization of Good Love. Welsh-Prog Rockers Blonde on Blonde make an appearance on the album to give you a real kick in the gun with a strong energy in the force-like compositions like: Heart Without A Home, the homage to Arthur Lee and Love’s Forever Changes-era on Sad Song For An Easy Lady, and the 7-minute album version middle-eastern beauty of Circles from the Rebirth Album that you need to get thanks to the vocalization of David Thomas who could have been the next Roy Orbison.

As for US indie psych rockers Blue Beard, they brought an organic garage nugget flavor to Loving You as Rusty Harness who could have been the next Mick Farren with the upbeat soul dance clap of Goodbye on the edge of your seat. But it’s tracks like Doin’ The Best I Can by Paddy Maguire that bring a heartfelt ballad to eternity as if he and Traffic teamed up to create this piece while Knocker Jungle pays homage to Marc Bolan’s Tyrannosaurus Rex on I Don’t Know Why and Reality that makes it linear and harmonic. Meanwhile, 9:30 Fly are back on the horseshoe again with the 7-minute prog epic that could have been a cornerstone in the genre with the exhilarating number, Mr. 509.

Elsewhere, Davey Payne & The Medium Wave bring a pastoral horn section and string quartet along with a dynamic James Bond feel with the title track. You can tell this is something out of the oven that is cooked well-done and freshly baked as well. Then we get into the proto-hard rock antique in the reminiscent of Otis Redding with Milt Matthews Inc. as he brings the soul into the anti-war number on Disaster Area and as for the finale, The Back Street Band’s This Ain’t The Road is a fitting closing that is very power pop and very much in the mind of Badfinger’s Magic Christian Music-era.

This is a perfect compilation for anyone who wants to sink their feet in the hidden treasure of the obscure prog gems and look towards the next compilation Summer Turns To Autumn. For the tracks, this is a true adventure of the unheard bands and the possibilities of how prog rock stays alive and never dies.

Panna Fredda - Uno

With a dosage of the tower of Pisa, Fellini, and Hard Rock, it’s only surprising that their only debut album, Panna Fredda might bring their homage to the love of British Prog Rock. They have a sound that is similar to Uriah Heep meets the MKII-era of Deep Purple. Formed out of the ashes of I Figli Del Sole and I Vun Vun in the late ‘60s in Rome, the band signed a contract with Italian label, Vendette and soon became Panna Fredda. The band released two singles from the label and soon worked on their album, Uno. Their only album, released in 1971, the band was already to call it a day due to the band members to join the Army. But the album itself is one of a kind thanks to guitar and vocalist Angelo Giardinelli as the compositions features some wild tracks that made a blend of the classical music sound and the dancing tribes.

Opening track, La Paura starts off with Lino Stopponi’s whooshing keyboard sound to make it very outer space-like sound with Angelo’s haunting vocals and guitar riffs and help from the bass and drum section with Pasquale “Windy” Cavallo and Roberto Balocco. Panna Fredda here bring texture to the piece, and they pack a punch to the album as they go into a the Fireball-era jam session as Angelo goes into a Ritchie Blackmore mode for the band to follow him wherever the solo will lead him into. There aren’t any excuses for the next upcoming track, but it’s quite amazing on how this band could have been the next big thing and would have given Deep Purple a run for their money.

However, an homage to Gracious atmospheric composition, Heaven comes into the scenery with Un Re Senza Reame as Lino does some sort of an ambient sound on the organ and Angelo’s acoustical folk songwriting complex comes into the foreplay as it becomes very frenzy at the end while Un Uomo sounds like a film-score for The Man With No Name trilogy with a rumbling yet disturbing number of love, death, and betrayal. These two tracks of Panna Fredda’s work is considered a perfect compilation for Halloween music for Prog lovers that could have been performed live and using the band’s love of the British Rock scene; it’s these two numbers that would have the listener jump out their seat and finding out why this band was ahead of their time.

It’s quite possible that you might find yourself in the nick of time to an epic or a suite. You could really began to pay close attention on where the track would lay ahead for you. There’s no turning back by the time you get to Scacco Al Re Lot – but after listening to this album twice, even if you love or loathe the album, you’ll be in luck to be introduced into the world of Italian Progressive Rock music.

On this track, it’s very Baroque and has a beautiful classical and melodic number that is in the mind of Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow yet with a 17th century rocking boundary that has a gothic introduction at first and then turned into a piece that Camille Saint-Seans could have written for them that would have been a sequel to the Danse Macabre. Then we get into the epic of all epics with the 9-minute piece Il Vento, La Luna E Pulcini Blu (Sole Rosso). It features a harpsichord and more of the gothic background pieces that moves away from the prog sound with Windy doing a dooming wah-wah sound on the bass that sounds like it’s from hell and then it’s turned into a piece that it’s very much in the mind of Mozart. You have to admit, it’s a weird mind-boggling track, but it’s dynamic and insane at the same time.

Waiting is Lino’s composition, starting off with the whoosing moog and then turning it into a frenzy homage to Keith Emerson & The Nice is a fitting close to the album in the style of Dave Brubeck’s Blue Rondo a la Turk. The last two tracks are the singles of Delirio, a heartfelt ballad in the mind of Aphrodite’s Child and Strisce Rosse, an explosive psychedelic rocker that could have knocked off White Rabbit. Even though the tracks seem very interesting, it’s worth checking out and seeing how Panna Fredda became Psych turned into the band that could have been a part of the Italian circuit.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dakrya - Crime Scene

Those who are looking for an adventure of theatrical stories and the avant-garde scene from Greek’s Experimental up-and-coming band Dakrya will take a huge approach to start in their follow up adventures in the territory of Progressive Metal in their second album, Crime Scene. The album cover features the piano as a cover-up as evidence on top of the piano is a small yet eerie amusement park that is emptied and no one there which the listener might get the feeling that something has gone horribly wrong. This is an album that will scare the living shit out of you and it is perfect to be a special trick-or-treat celebration for Halloween.

Opening number, The Charlatans is a real operatic force. In this number, Dakrya are in the mind world of Goth, Theatre, and a twisted version of Within Temptation meets a theatrical version of Aphrodite’s Child’s 666, but with this militant carousel rocker, it’s all very much a disturbing children’s fairy tale that is mind-blowing, albeit with time signature of experimental metal. Probably one of the most weirdest songs yet it’s fun and joyful to listen to. Blind Man’s Bluff starts off with a quirky amusement park organ introduction as it transforms a disturbing glow between chugging guitars, machine gun sounds of the drum, walking bass line, death cookie-monster vocals, with a little help from two female vocalists Christina Kalantzi and Thomais Chatzigianni who would have been a Kid Sister of Tarja and Sharon Den Adel. There’s been a love/hate relationship of Female fronted metal bands, but Dakrya, the magic is there and the duo vocalists work together as a team. It’s very twisted and works like a charm with the Art Metal sound.

Which leads into Scaremongering, which features SophiaX’s dooming piano concerto Alex Drake’s fuzzy bass introduction and then turned into a headbanging adventure as George Droulias represents a circus presenter to the murder scene, you can tell that this is something Vangelis, Demis and Lukas would have appreciated and put on their next album that could have been a sequel to infamous concept album. The swinging yet homage to the 1930’s jazz scene thanks to Sophia’s crazy piano work and George’s raw guitar sound and death metal vocals on The Urban Tribe fits the atmosphere in Dakrya’s world of art theatre. As for Camouflage which is back into the nightclub jazz scene as if its set in the darker amusement park as the performers come up with exotic dances for the group rumbles of psychopathic roars.

Phantasmagoria, which is an homage to Lewis Carroll, recalls a freak show resembling to Tod Browning’s controversial cult 1932 classic Freaks as if it’s a rock opera turned into a shattering composition as hissing vocals and middle-eastern guitar beats fill the atmosphere while the homage to Bigelf’s Cheat The Gallows of Inertia thunderstorms through a swirling pool of terror before the climatic horror show that it is out of this world. The 6-minute Dramatis Personae musical layered of the haunting sound from the duo and George enjoying together as they do a dance for Oscar Wilde with a set of performing music for him and writing a composition for The Picture of Dorian Gray before closing the album with an instrumental twist of piano and bass going haywire with A Dreadful Side Scene. Which is a perfect ending to the album to keep your blood flowing for Dakrya’s next adventure of the theatrics and who knows which road will lay ahead for them and rest assured, the journey has just begun.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Barclay James Harvest - A Concert for the People (Berlin)

It’s been nearly 30 years since Barclay James Harvest performed live in front of 250,000 people in West Germany in Reichtag which was next to the Berlin Wall which divided between the east and the west before tearing it down for freedom in 1989. It was also filmed as well which chronicled the band’s set list in their home town in England. At the time according to the liner notes, the Berlin Senate Cultural Committee decided on where would be the best place to put a free festival, so what BJH did was to return to Germany in August of 1980 to do a concert there only to find themselves between the two since the beginnings of the Cold War in 1947 and put them in lock down by the East.

A Concert for the People (Berlin) offers a definitive momentum in BJH’s career. It wasn’t just that the band was there to promote a concert for the fans, but a concert to bring peace and putting an end to the division of Germany between the East and West along with the Cold War. The booklet features pictures of the gig, promos, and screen shots of the filmed performance live including a 45 RPM of Child of the Universe and the B-side, Back to the Wall, which was off on Turn of the Tide in 1981. For this amazing performance, some of the classics were brought back including the favorites, Mockingbird, Hymn, and Child of the Universe to name a few.

As the band now a trio with Woolly Wolstenholme going solo with his band, Maestoso, they brought Kevin McAlea and Colin Browne, went onstage and brought a magnificent reception. When you hear this, not only the audience are getting a real kick out of this, but it brought power and magic in the atmosphere with the music and the touch they bring to the stage. You have the eerie emotional ballad, In Memory of the Martyrs, a haunting tribute to the brave heroes who fought and died for survival by jumping to get over the Berlin Wall and moving into the West while escaping from communism in the East. The roaring 6-minute introduction of ‘80s film-noir sound of Love on the Line, brings the new wave sound to a standstill while the lukewarm mysterious version of Mockingbird sends tears down in your eyes.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Lady sounds very much in the reminiscent of AOR (Album Orientated Rock) as if they were resembling the new prog sound with: Starcastle and Kansas combining together while guitarist John Lees creates a moody atmosphere on his solo that makes it very Floyd-like as Nova Lepidoptera starts off as a space symphonic orchestra with the moog and explosive string quartet on the keyboards and then it turns into a mourning and heartfelt futuristic journey into space as Lees and Holroyd create magic singing together in the bridge as if they were communicating with guitar and bass setting the tearful structure that is joyous and calm-like.

Sip of Wine sounds very much a tribute to Peter Gabriel’s Solsbury Hill but almost as if it was a sequel to Gabriel’s hit, it has strong vocals and better rhythm as well as the late Mel Pritchard creates a jazz beat on the drums to set the uplifting number to give John and Les creative structure. Same thing with Life is for Living as it becomes a message to bring peace to put an end to communism rather than being a dance and Hawaiian number, but it is an angelic piece that is well-done performed live as you can tell the audience are getting a real kick out it clapping and singing along to the band. Then we get to the goose bumping yet breath-taking stunning live take of the fan-favorite, Child of the Universe.

This is where the audience, in my mind, are fighting back tears and singing along to the number saying, “Always there to join in someone else's fight/I didn't ask to be born and I don't ask to die I'm an endless dream, a gene machine/That cannot reason why.” For me, this is about fighting for survival and dreaming to bring peace in Germany and never to die to surrender, but to join hands and live to fight for freedom. The soaring tribute of Berlin, is one of the most unbelievable songs that would send chills down your spine to give it a real punch in the gut.

Loving is Easy is in the similarities of Progressive Pop. It’s a very interesting number yet in the style of the Lennon/McCartney reminiscent, but very quirky and heavy at the same time and the closing finale, Hymn, has more of an edgier sound performed live with its prog folk acoustic sound in the mind of John Lennon that is the answer to Give Peace a Chance. A moving live album representing peace and joy of the beginning of the new sound for BJH lays straight ahead for the band and would have mixed opinions for the fans by drawing lines in the sand, but this is the last real album for Barclay James Harvest that is worth the price.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Gods - Genesis

Often as regarded for the blueprint for Uriah Heep and thanks to the presence of former Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor, The Gods was a band with a psychedelic flavor to offer rather than being a giant sound of prog arena rock. And their debut album, Genesis, released in 1969, is a fascinating work blending with Beatlesque lyrics lurking with the Psych-Pop sound meets The Piper at the Gates of Dawn-era and a flair of soaring organ sounds thanks to Ken Hensley’s compositions to the tone with a bit of Avant-Garde chipmunk voices to help out at the end.

Formed in 1965, they started as schoolmates in Hatfield and soon opened for Cream combining love-song lyrics and picking interesting covers they worked on. Can you imagine Paul McCartney giving the band, Hey Bulldog as a single for the movie, Yellow Submarine? Not only did The Gods did a remarkable job capturing the spirit of the song, but the result is magnificent and very wonderful – they would have made the hippies at Woodstock go batshit crazy of melodic wonderous flaming fire as Ken Hensley unleashes a pounding piano work that have expected from The Beatles surprised reaction along with adding a horn section by making it pastoral, you got yourself a weekend. But this is the complete measure from the band’s talent – they could have been signed to Apple Records, but here on Genesis, it’s all here as evidential proof from start to finish.

However on the reissue released sixteen years ago on the Repertoire label, it proves that The Gods weren’t just the turning point for Ken Hensley. The band features – John Glascock (Carmen, Jethro Tull) on Bass Guitar, Lee Kerslake (Uriah Heep, Toe Fat) on drums, and Joe Konas on guitar and vocals. The opening track, Towards The Skies, is very aggressive done by Ken’s organ work and Lee’s rumbling drum work as it features dazzling guitar work in the rein of Hendrix meets The Move with a lot of heavy grooves to fill the atmosphere while the mellowing mellotron dreamland beauty of Candles Getting Shorter represents the balladry of Procol Harum’s self-titled debut album.

You’re My Life is very much proto-hard rock as Joe Konas does some crazy guitar solo as if he was Ritchie Blackmore while Lee battles with him on the drums as they look at each other to see who can create the best composition work they would do. On eerie numbers such as Looking Glass, The Gods almost could have recorded this album with Bo Hansson and Janne Karlsson (or maybe an early version of Spooky Tooth thanks to the falsetto vocals and disturbing numbers) than becoming the best band in the beginnings of Progressive Metal they are with Uriah Heep as if Lewis Carroll would have lived, he would have written lyrics for them

Misleading Colours is in the realm of the west coast sound of the psychedelic scene of the U.S. mostly almost a sequel to Hendrix’s Purple Haze, but with a vengeance thanks to wild guitar and organ sound as they do some Psych-blues in the midsection. Radio Show is a driving rocker, thanks to Ken Hensley’s upbeat sound as he would do with Uriah Heep. The song has a horn section, pop lyrical background in the realm of the Revolver-era, time signature changes the arrangement, but it’s very much something that The Beatles could have worked on.

Ken Hensley takes the microphone as he sings in a mournful beauty with the somber uplifting number, Plastic Horizon. It has the disturbing tones that Hensley does with the organ and adding a lot of his harmonic vocalization and you could feel that he’s written the score for Michelangelo Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point. Farthing Man is another upbeat number with a lot of the harmonic vocals in the background and pop melodies while the guitar comes into play with a lot of psych-work and making it one of the most unbelievable numbers out there. The title sounds very Dr. Seuss in a comic book type of way, but it fits perfectly.

I Never Knew, is the 5-minute epic and making it very Prog-Psych thanks to the fairy tale lyrics, sweet mellotron string sounds, vibrative organ works, and excellent rhythm section to make it twisted and mind-boggling as the guitar solo comes back into the frame to close the track with a vengeance while the finale, Time and Eternity, ends with a heavy metal psychedelic romper. The guitar rhythm, drums, and organ, including a la-la section makes the band sound like if they could have been in Roger Chapman’s Family.

The bonus tracks feature the eerie psych vibration of Somewhere in the Street, the pastoral version of the Beatles (before they recorded their version) Hey Bulldog, and harmonica blues rock in the style of Them meets Cream on Real Love Guaranteed. Genesis is an essential lost underground psychedelic album that deserves attention and offers the beginnings of Uriah Heep.