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Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Top 20 Reissues of 2011

Well, here it is, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. It took a good while to see what were the best reissues to come out this year as we close out 2011 out with a bottle of champagne and bring out the BBQ with the top 20 reissues of 2011 and, ladies and gentlemen, let the list begin with a mighty sound of the Hammond organ with a roar and let the wild rompous start!

1. Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon (Immersion Edition) [Capitol]
2. Jethro Tull – Aqualung (40th Anniversary Edition) [EMI]
3. Barclay James Harvest – Once Again (40th Anniversary Edition) [EMI]
4. Aardvark – Aardvark [Esoteric]
5. Acqua Fragile – Mass Media Stars [Esoteric]
6. King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black (40th Anniversary Edition) [Panygeric]
7. Rush – Moving Pictures (Deluxe Edition) [Mercury]
8. Nektar - A Tab in the Ocean/Remember the Future [It’s About Music]
9. CAN – Tago Mago (40th Anniversary Edition) [Mute]
10. Caravan – In The Land of Grey and Pink (Deluxe Edition) [Universal]
11. Le Orme – Felona E Sorona (Deluxe Edition) [Universal]
12. Queen – The First Five Albums [Hollywood]
13. Rush – Sector I & II [Mercury]
14. Various Artists – A Visit to the Spaceship Factory [Start]
15. Robert John Godfrey – Fall of Hyperion [Operation]
16. The Who – Quadrophenia (Super Deluxe Edition) [Polydor]
17. Steel Mill – Jewels of the Forest: Green Eyed God…Plus [Rise Above]
18. Barclay James Harvest – Taking Some Time On: The Parlophone Years [EMI]
19. UFO – The Chrysalis Years: 1973-1979 [EMI]
20. Bill Nelson – Northern Dream [Esoteric]

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Robert John Godfrey - Fall of Hyperion

After (well I don’t want to get into the crossfire with this) creative and tensional differences with Barclay James Harvest with Once Again in 1971, Robert John Godfrey decided to take his symphonic and orchestral approach towards story-complex music and decided to release his own solo album. Originally released in 1974, Fall of Hyperion was a powerful and obscure gem that Godfrey wanted to take his classical sounds into a world of beloved dreams and showcased his keyboard and compositions with a Tchaikovsky-like rock opera.

Pomp and Circumstance, exploding rhythms, and wonderful singing (from the mind and lyrics of Christopher Lewis whose voice will remind listeners of the lost legend from the psychedelic pop world, John Howard), is the full evidence. This is obscure symphonic prog that would have given Yes a field day and yet there’s a bit of could have been the sequel to Atom Heart Mother and A Question of Balance. Now is Robert John Godfrey one of the explosive keyboard players ever? No, but what he does is to take the listener on a journey into a world of beauty and dramatic structures for the ballet that would have their knees tired after dancing to different time changes.

There’s the full on operatic roar introduction of the mellotron and piano concertos on The Raven in which Lewis pay an homage to Edgar Allen Poe and a small node to Hawkwind (The hawkwinds are silenced) while the romp turned militant clash of the drums on the edge of danger of Mountains, shows that Godfrey is no fluke when it comes to orchestral rock. The lushful turned pastoral emotional touch of Water Song, could have been used in Disney’s Fantasia (From the Night, Morning bright/Sunrise to a Clear Blue Sky/So warm the land around/Go endlessly, go rolling on to sundown), is spot on touching and dangerous.

Isault is another rumbling turned volcanic eruption as Lewis’ voice will take your breath away as Godfrey’s keyboard follow his voice as he takes his story-structured songs into another level into the soaring sky into the heavens, and you can tell that they lyrics have a bit of his touch and tribute to Pete Sinfield’s earlier days with King Crimson. There’s a bit of a reminiscent of Michael Powell’s The Red Shoes in the lyrics as Godfrey hits it hard while giving a small sense of boundaries throughout the number like a knife cutting through the tightrope and holding for dear life.

Now if Isault was soft and calm, the 14-minute finale, The Daemon of the World, that is his homage to Pink Floyd’s A Saucerful of Secrets, is one of the eruptive pieces that would have replaced The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and have Mickey Mouse use his magical powers for the brooms to dance to. There’s some tension structures, post-apocalyptic dooming percussion music, avant-garde balladry, angry voices, keyboard magical adventures of swirling, you get the general idea. When you listen to this piece, you get the feeling that Godfrey is writing his own version of Fantasia and giving Mickey Mouse a sheet to say, “This is how we’re going to do it. And we’re going to do it my way.”

Fall of Hyperion is not an easy album to listen to from start to finish, but Godfrey always wanted to push the envelope with wild experimentation that he wanted to go far from the solo album to the formation of The Enid. With Fall of Hyperion, he decided to give the temperature level a huge voltage of peaking at 100 and seeing where the symphonic structures will take him and he is the man who knows how the job is done and how it needs to be done.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Future Kings of England - Who is This Who is Coming?

Paying tribute to the short dark gothic story from M.R. James who wrote Oh Whistle and I’ll Come to You Lad, it’s hard to write a concept album inspired by James short stories in the early late pre 1890s into the early 1900s, their fourth album has more of an obscure and eerie strange film score as for The Future Kings of England shows their influences from Van Der Graaf Generator, King Crimson, Blonde on Blonde, early Floyd, and The Lamb-era of Genesis darker sounds of prog like you’ve never heard before in your life. Taking the haunting approach and staying true to the unknown ‘70s bands of Prog, The Future Kings of England show their love that genre and is quite an interesting surprise.

Though it has nine tracks from beginning, middle, and end, Who Is This and Who is Coming is not your daddy’s prog album. Now this is my first time getting into The Future Kings of England’s music and if you are interested in the haunting progressive rock bands, well you have come to the right place to discover this band and this is a must have in your collection. The opening Journey to the Coast has this gypsy dance between guitar and tambourine as it segues into the mellowing ¾ time signature of early space rock on The Globe Inn. It has these touches of Gilmour’s guitar work and mellotron, organ, and synth setting the mourning scenery to let you know what’s about to come.

Then you have the acid folk turned a funeral for the insane asylum done by the synth as it transforms itself into a pipe organ on Watcher parts I & II while Convinced Disbeliever goes into the doom metal approach. With the doom sound, they take the ideas from Black Sabbath, Blood Ceremony, and the Pawn Hearts epic, A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers, it is very psychedelic and has some Iommi guitar riffs to add a notch of heavily portrait that is owes a lot to sound of the year 1971. Now we get into the 9-minute title track.

It has a great furious sound almost as if they pay tribute to the Canterbury band, The Soft Machine’s 1970s album, Third and the track Facelift as the organ and guitar broad into atmospheric structures into a nightmarish world of hell and taking some disturbing concepts. Like Soft Machine, they also take the Krautrock sound, the bands from Germany who were different the British Prog bands like Ash Ra Tempel and early Tangerine Dream music from Phaedra and Zeit, with synths, stoner guitar licks, and take you on a drug-related adventure that you’ve never dreamed of, really is a dream world experience.

As with the Krautrock scenery, the 10-minute title, A Face of Crumpled Linen, is a train ride of; shrieking and screaming as it goes into the world of the asylum with a ‘70s funk guitar rhythm and screeching keyboard work turned into the again, Lamb Lies Down on Broadway-era that Genesis made it sound like it was 1982, though you might feel that The Future Kings of England have got something here, they make it something strangely strange but oddly normal.

The album closes with Spectacle of a Scarecrow, which shows the band going into the Meddle-era of Floyd in the realms of the last 9-minutes of Pink Floyd’s Echoes allowing them to go into the sunset through guitar and drums as dawn approaches with some spacey Gilmour guitar references and Nick Mason like drum patterns including soaring keyboard riffs into the blue sky. Almost they have something in them, Who is This Who is Coming is something that you really need to take notice of.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Various Artists - Prog Rocks!

The wonderful sound of Progressive Rock has been around since the psychedelic period in 1966, and its music still influence today’s younger generation. Critics and the so-called mainstream music scenery tried to kill it with darts and a shot gun, but they have failed miserably as it traces their patterns in them and makes it a difficult genre to draw a line in the sand whether you love or loathe it. Done by the good people at EMI, Inside Out, Superball Music, and Classic Rock Presents Prog and compiled by prog maestro’s editor-in-chief, Jerry Ewing, Prog Rocks is one of the best compilations that the three labels have done and the magazine itself.

Here, this is one of the most journeys from 1968 to 2011 as we go on a journey from a magic carpet ride throughout the 2-CD set track by track will have people enjoy, scratch their heads, and decide what bands should be considered prog and who shouldn’t be in the genre. Now if you would have a nice seat have a nice cup of tea, strawberry toast, scrambled eggs, and some pancakes, there’s an adventure waiting for you to take you to the ultimate dimension and beyond the stars. Since prog lovers are familiar with the sounds of Yes, Genesis, ELP, and Camel to name a few, what Ewing does is to let you know is that there is a huge step beyond the four bands and seeing where prog got its sound from.

On Prog Rocks, it goes through Point A to Point B and through the golden era of the artists in today who have been influenced by these bands, taking them from massive success to the obscure and bizarre territory that admired them. Starting the first CD off is Jethro Tull’s disturbing character Aqualung searching to become a pedophile in the booming disturbing classic, Cross-Eyed Mary, which is probably a twisted song, but really kicks the album off like dynamites going off out of nowhere. Meanwhile, Van Der Graaf Generator’s Darkness (11/11) and Rare Bird’s anti-war single, Sympathy, show the obscure and darker territories for more nightmares and views of hell that you’ve never expected.

As for Deep Purple’s psychedelic hard funk of Bird Has Flown show a different take of Purple’s music with Blackmore’s signature guitar riff intro as The Nice’s Country Pie and Barclay James Harvest’s Mockingbird are symphonic trademarks that would have made them the early kings of Symphonic Rock and make it worth emotional and teary-eyed that is lush and beautiful at the same time while the rockabilly turned prog touch of Crimson of Glam on Roxy Music and dooming views of isolation with the early days of ELO, make it a touch of power. However, it’s the obscurity that counts with a little help from Eloy, Gong, Hawkwind, and the Canterbury jazz scene from Hatfield and the North, lets the listener know that the genre isn’t a four letter word as the first side closes with Gentle Giant’s time changing experience with On Reflection.

The second CD is where we are introduced to the new wave of British Prog and the new bands who are now carrying the torch as they take the carpet out into space with Tangerine Dream and Kevin Ayers as it goes down for a nice Garden Party from Marillion, but then it goes into a massive haywire of letting the dogs out screaming for vengeance with Pallas’ Dance through the Fire, The Flower Kings Monkey Business, and the 10-minute journey into another world with Frost’s Black Light Machine.

And while The Tangent, Ayreon, IQ, and Sweet Billy Pilgrim, shows the progressive movement has still going into fresh green tomatoes for musicians and bands to take over, it’s the Texas Punk-Prog band And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, closing the album off with mellow turned hard rock attitude and showing how the future is growing and giving Prog a wonderful revival and a fresh start.

Guitarist review

A couple of weeks ago, I just received an email from a guitarist. Not from James Beaudreau, Matt Stevens, and Josh Leibowitz, and now I completely forgot the name. I was busy and stressful last week doing my finals going through my emails and I accidentally deleted the one email that he asked me to review. And I feel so bad about it. So, whoever you are, please give me an email or a comment and I will get a chance to review the album. My deepest apologies of deleting it. I feel so bad about it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Wonders of Shin Chan

I’m a huge fan of the anime series, Shin Chan since 2006 when Adult Swim originally aired it on Tuesdays. It took me a while to enjoy the series, but after watching the first episode, I fell in love with it with not just the round headed character, but the way the show pushed the envelope like what South Park did back in 1997. The English dub is so spot on with Shin’s voice and bringing the late Yoshito Usui’s 5-year old character into an adult role.

I’m not a wild anime fan, but I have a love of shows like; Sailor Moon, Madlax, Excel Saga, Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid, Martian Successor Nadesico, Ouran High School Host Club, and Death Note, and they really take the shows into a different level and give the so-called pissy shows like Yo Gabba Gabba and Phineas and Ferb the middle finger. What Shin Chan does is take the work into a different level and see where the road would take the funny episode into a huge level.

Based on the manga which the launched the character back in 1990, Shinnosuke Nohara is sort of the Japanese version of Eric Cartman who has a rude personality who makes fun of his parents including his mom Mitzi (Misae) with her weight and breast and his Father, Hiro (even though he supports his views in an academic way), school teachers, friends, and the ways he would take it to a different direction. And his little sister Hima (Himawari), who is following in his brother’s footsteps who shows her how he takes his views, Usui was always one step ahead of the ball park.

It has been 21 years since Shin came to life, and he is still growing like a bullet going through wine glass with his crude funny comments and Mr. Elephant. Don’t ask me, just buy the series and know how Shin is one of the true genius of comedy and anime.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Magenta - Chameleon

For a band who’s been around since 1999 and have a huge following in Europe and in the States in Prog Festivals, it seems that Magenta show no sign of stopping and they prove that they are no flukes and bring the magic and feel to the scenery like closing your eyes and imagine you are there and seeing the band exploding like flaming gasoline. There’s a lot of energy in the music in what they have done to take a long break and let Christina Booth release her first solo debut album that shows her love of the punk and pop sounds of the ‘70s that she grew up and listened to as a kid. But with Chameleon, their new album, it proves that the band have finally let the lava flow quicker and faster to bring the volcano to a huge eruption.

The band have finally got the electricity going and this isn’t just an excuse, but a twisted and exploring listening experience, yet they know they want to keep the Prog genre going and not try to fluke it out and now as a trio; Rob Reed, Christina Booth, and Chris Fry, are now getting in the machine to see what they can do and with the realms of keyboards, bass, guitar, and drums, they have a combination of a hard rock version of the Drama and the Going for the One-era of Yes. The album sounds like it was recorded in 1980 and the three musketeers add a huge blimp to take it to a journey that would take them beyond the stars and beyond the beyond.

For example, the swirling dramatic symphonic rock introduction of Glitterball which starts off a-la Geoff Downes style before going into a dreamy a ballad-like waltz rock dance and into Egyptian rock guitar licks that Reed does to pay tribute to Steve Howe and Hackett to keep the Magenta train chugging while the mellowing emotional beauty of Guernica starts off like an epic film score before going into the heavy metal powder cake punch. Meanwhile on Turn the Tide, has this Andrew Lloyd Webber feel that could have been used on Tell Me on a Sunday and Starlight Express as it gives the listener a view on moving on in life after the death of a loss one as Reed and Fry play into a heavy experimentation between guitar and spooky synth’s that would remind listeners a little bit of Italian Prog maestro’s Goblin.

Reflections is Reed’s take of Ottmar Liebert’s classical guitar playing as if he’s paying tribute to him along with Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Randy Rhoads with this folk-like haunting instrumental composition as it segues into the terrifying torture of Raw. By now, you’ve probably seen the controversial music video that they posted on their YouTube site, where Christina is tied pleading to the man who is going to torture her and pleading her to let her go.

The song has this mini opera feel as if it was written as the ending theme song for The Human Centipede Part II (Full Sequence) as Booth’s emotional voice is touching as she is singing to be free and starting a new chapter in her life. The last track Red, which is 9-minutes long, starts off as an alternative rock mellowing beat before going into a soaring climatic climax that will have mouths watered and jaws dropped from the moment they kick in. The song uses a lot of melodic structures and effect that would have been in full control and right on target.

Chameleon is not just a great album, but it’s one of those albums that you have enjoyed over and over again for Magenta’s skin crawling over their arms. The music is touching and sad, but you couldn’t let go because it’s astonishing and breathtaking at the same time and their new album is a magical adventure and you need to buy it.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Mark Powell - Prophets & Sages: An Illustrated Guide to Underground and Progressive Rock 1967-1975

With a wonderful design cover and an excellent title, it makes you think that this isn’t just a book on the genre from the psychedelic to the golden-era from 1967 to 1975, but more of a history of the albums that influenced the genre and how it has been there from the beginning of the psychedelic-era. For Mark Powell, chief label manager of Reactive, Atomhenge, and Esoteric Recordings, knows his Progressive Music very well and he has scored it to a T. Some you probably know or may not know from the historic classics, to the obscure gems that have been on eBay on vinyl for a shitload of cash to buy for.

The pictures and reviews would bring listeners back memories of bands raging from; The Moody Blues, Caravan, Yes, Genesis, Soft Machine, Cream, and Barclay James Harvest to name a few while the obscurity from T2, Locomotive, Love Sculpture, Aphrodite’s Child, CAN, and Pete Brown’s Piblokto would make you realize that the genre is not just a four letter word. But from help including the late Ernesto De Pacale, Jon Wright, and Keith and Monika Domone to name a few, brings every detail and research on how the album was made and recorded that would make you feel that it’s the 1970s all over again and take your albums out and listen to it while reading the book from beginning, middle, and end.

Now with Powell’s book, there will be a drawing lines in the sand to decide whether what’s prog or not and be a little pissed off to find out why isn’t The Lamb or Dark Side in the book, what Mark did was, he’s not trying to say that he hates the albums, but he wants to go beyond the massive success they had and the goals they achieved. Again, with the pictures in B&W and in Color and the reviews from NME, Record Mirror, and the Melody Maker to name a few from the magazine era in that time period, is really astonishing and almost like wearing your old gym shoes you haven’t wore for a long, long time. Not to mention the top 10 singles and album-charting greats, and the top 30 that would make you save your money for Christmas or wait to find to bid on eBay.

Now this book, will probably be on someone’s Christmas or Hanukkah’s wish list for that one fan to sink their teeth into (if you leave some Milk and Cookies for Santa and ask him if he’s a huge fan of Emerson, Lake and Palmer and ask if his Elves and his wife have a love of Camel and Pink Floyd) However, this book is a must have for prog lovers and you need to buy it. Mark Powell knows his Prog very well and he’s a true teacher on the music genre and knows it and keeps it with his hand to take the torch up to the podium to light the Olympic fire.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The top 20 Progressive Rock albums of 2011

So to the fellow space cadets, looks like it’s been a lot of difficult decisions to make to figure out the best prog albums of 2011. Going through the year has been a painstaking year throughout the Thanksgiving weekend and its that time and it’s been a tug of war. So here it is. Keep staying tune to this blog for the top 10 reissues of 2011 as well.

1. William D. Drake – The Rising of the Lights [Onomatopoeia]
2. Within Temptation – The Unforgiving [Roadrunner]
3. Blackfield – Welcome to My DNA [KScope]
4. Pallas – XXV [Mascot]
5. Steven Wilson – Grace for Drowning [KScope]
6. The Fierce and the Dead – If It Carries Like This, We Are Moving to Morecambe [Self-Released]
7. Mastodon – The Hunter [Reprise]
8. Matt Stevens – Relic [Self-Released]
9. Catscans – Catscans [Self-Released]
10. Van Der Graaf Generator – A Grounding in Numbers [Esoteric]
11. Nicklas Barker – El Ultimo Fin De Semana [Self-Released]
12. Opeth – Heritage [Roadrunner]
13. Orne – The Tree of Life [Black Widow]
14. Porcelain Moon – As It Were, Here and There [Self-Released]
15. The Tangent – COMM [Inside Out]
16. Cryptex – Good Morning, How Did You Live? [Self-Released]
17. Cavalli-Cocchi, Lanzetti, Roversi – Cavalli-Cocchi, Lanzetti, Roversi [Esoteric]
18. Blood Ceremony – Living with the Ancients [Rise Above]
19. Altered Symmetry – Altered Symmetry [Self-Released]
20. Von Hertzen Brothers – Stars Aligned [Universal]

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Nicklas Barker - El Ultimo Fin De Semana

More like a combination of the duo Zombi meets the Italian prog maestros of Horror film scores, Goblin, keyboardist and guitarist Nicklas Barker from Ankedoten has finally come a long way and it proves that his inspiration from Goblin, would later get him a chance to do a horror score. He isn’t doing this to embark on a solo career, he’s doing this because he enjoys it and the soundtrack to El Ultimo Fin De Semana (Our Last Weekend), a story about four friends to go to one of their grandmother’s house in the village, but it is filled with secrets that would divide them, annihilation, and the barriers that it would be their last weekend.

Now when you think of the plot line, you probably may think of Suspiria meets El Topo meets Romero’s Living Dead trilogy, and what Nick has done he has combined the three elements and settling into a haunting yet twisted psych-prog late ‘70s, early ‘80s score like no other with a little bit of a touch of early King Crimson, gothic structure background work, and the disturbing stories from the realms of Edgar Allen Poe and HP Lovecraft. There are some eerie structures on the album that would send a shiver down your spine like the screeching scream of nightmares on Sisters/Phantasm.

There’s a bit of Museo Rosenbach in there, but with a haunting mellotron string sound sets the trees in shaking roots as if they are about to explode as it goes into a chaotic avant-garde noise of almost doors slamming and a little bit of whispered voices that is very hallucinated. Sonically, he goes into a ballad that is almost sending a warm feeling of emotions that sort gives a call and crying out with Celestial Ghost and the mellowing Rendezvous that is very strange but twisted at the same time that is almost left off during the sessions for Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

And the eruption of Chase/Purgatory and Entering the Lost Village from the mellotron and thermin that sort of jumps you out of nowhere about 12 feet high with goosebumps that makes you think that it sounds almost like In the Wake of Poseidon-era while Confrontation/Doom is a string and dooming piano sizzle ala Hitchcock style that is a high wire tightrope that makes you feel the cable is going to snap and fall towards your doom 100 stories down. Though he goes into the 1980s mode with Going Home/Ouija and Night Ambience that is almost in the realms of Tangerine Dream’s Sorcerer sessions, it is something that is delivered at the right time at the right place.

Though Anekdoten are taking a long hiatus and hopefully to come back to work on another album, Nicklas Barker could be the mad scientist of horror film scores that almost shows a sign of experiments that is destined to work and come alive as his monster fills the void to attack. Even though its one of the eerie and weird scores, Nicklas Barker has finally come in full circle to reveal his true colors and proved his appetite just gotten bigger to eat a lot.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Porcelain Moon - As It Were, Here and There

Finnish up-and-coming prog rockers Porcelain Moon, have something mysterious up their sleeves with their debut album. It has a combination of the 1970s rock feel of the golden-era almost a combination of Earth & Fire meets early Floyd meets Cristina Scabbi of Lacuna Coil and their album, As It Were Here and There, is one their finest achievements to open the door to give the retrospective rock sounds a mellowing yet haunting sound that you could have imagined it was recorded back in 1971 as if it was unreleased and then taken out of the shelves to finally given the treatment it deserves.

Having seven musicians in the band, seems unlikely, including a female vocalist whose voice sounds like Jereny Kaagman and a little bit of Annie Haslam meets Sonja Kristina on top of whipping cream while featuring a dooming organ sound that is in the realms of Black Widow and Blood Ceremony to name a few, is quite a soaring yet unbelievable album that carries the tightrope tight and hoping they don’t fall down towards their doom. The sound almost has this Middle-Eastern rock touch in this sci-fi affair to where the band would take the music into another direction as if they were recording for a film score for Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain.

Sometimes retro rock bands want to stay true to the original 1970s rock sound and don’t mess and flunk it around, and they get it right or don’t, with Porcelain Moon, they got pitch-perfect and they have finally got the touch going like finding a rare diamond in the rough. Interestingly, the Prog-Doom-Organ Rock sound is the real magic including the mellowing moog turned nightmarish beauty on Caught in a Dream while the homage to the Doors sole self-titled debut on Parts, is twisted but a rumbling rocking dance that is touching.

Meanwhile they go into the thunderous powerhouse with the opener Lost in Haze and the crisp angelic Rainbow with a folk rock twist, is quite mind-blowing. The homage to Czar’s Beyond the Moon combined with a soft-spoken word about going out gone wrong a-la Horror mode style in a ballad vocalizing mode on Someone and Love as the sinister futuristic twist of Lard Free on Markens Grode featuring a haunting Rhodes and organ solo that sends chills down your spine.

The hard rock homage to Uriah Heep’s Look at Yourself-era comes in full swinging on Vinden as they sing in their own language. The Guitar uses a fierce rhythm and solo section as the organ uses some fierce crunches in their own mix in a combination of Thijs Van Leer, Manfred Wieczorke of Eloy, and Jon Lord as it goes into a jazzy waltz that has a Thelonious Monk psych feel to close the album out. Quite mind-boggling that when a new band comes out to make something explosive is beyond the beyond, but this band have got a long way to go and this could be a huge start for them.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Jethro Tull - Stand Up [Collector's Edition]

As they were getting a huge following after the release of their explosive debut, This Was, released in 1968, Jethro Tull decided it was time for a change of music after the following first album. With Mick Abrahams leaving to form Blodwyn Pig and enter new guitarist Martin Farre, Ian Anderson had suddenly had full control over the music and the lyrics in what would later become their most turning point and influential albums of 1969. Stand Up is where the band moved from being a Blues-based band to progressive hard rock band mixed in with some Classical and Folk music influences that Ian adored when he was young.

Don’t forget the opening of the gatefold sleeve of the pop-up design that makes you feel like you’re a kid at a bookstore looking at some of the original pop-up books and knowing that the band had a sense of humor in them, however the music and the compositions on the album aren’t just classic rock songs that you hear on the radio, but more of a journey to take you somewhere that you’ve never been before for a long, long time. The guitar driven riff intro of the opening A New Day Yesterday, is one of the most explosive beginnings of the albums introduction between the sound of Cream meets Mountain.

Ian is no fluke when it comes to songwriting and various movements have come into full circle that go from haunting, melodic, and humorous quirky beauty to come along with the taste of his mind coming in. Songs like; Back to the Family, Fat Man, We Used To Know, Look into the Sun, and Nothing is Easy were showing the band’s sound still had the blues influence and the rompous stomping sounds they would suddenly go into and the direction they were about to go into a different road area. And not to forget, the jazzy ballad of Bach’s Bouree featuring Glenn Cornick’s walking bass line including the solo in the midsection that could have given the composers in the classical world, the middle finger.

But as this is the collector’s edition of the reissue of Stand Up, it proves that there’s more where it came from. We have the symphonic pop flavored single of Living in the Past, which also features the Mono version of the piece while the soaring rocking boundaries of Sweet Dream, 17, and Driving Song could have been FM radio staples and a live favorite among Tull fans and also included is four songs they recorded for the late John Peel for his Top Gear radio sessions at the BBC back in 1969. But wait there’s more!

The live performance of the band performing at New York’s Carnegie Hall in November of 1970 shows this is an volcanic explosive live recording performance of the band’s journey into the road they were about to embark on. They were there to promote Stand Up and their upcoming album, Benefit, it’s a goose bumping document and makes you feel that you are in the Hall watching the band, not give just a concert, but a breathtaking experience that you will talk about for years and years to come.

With dazzling versions of A Song for Jeffrey, To Cry You a Song, With You There To Help Me, and For a Thousand Mothers that had audiences jaw dropping of Ian’s singing and have them in tears when they blew the crowd away with their music. Meanwhile, there’s a thunderstorm performance of the 13-minute earlier version of My God which would later be on Aqualung, shows Ian’s mind-blowing flute solo as they would clap along to the rhythm to get them into the beat. It has some amazing compositions that had the band members enjoying themselves as if they were in a boxing match and duking it out to see who would win the match and take home the gold.

Even though the band would go through various line-ups, Ian Anderson and the Tull train keeps on chugging to influence a new generation of fans to go deeper into their music and looking at Stand Up, proves it’s not just an album, but it’s like going through a time machine and seeing what real music is that you’ll enjoy listening to and this is one of them.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Catscans - Catscans EP

Now there comes a time with the digital revolution to startcoming out like sliding down towards the swimming pool and have a huge touch ofatmosphere and experimentations to might peak some listener’s interest andlooking through your parents or online to find the best prog album that youcould afford and not to pay a huge amount of cash to go with it. And let’s getthe facts, hearing the influences from Radiohead and King Crimson with a dosage of Curved Air to the mix, it seems like a perfect match made in heaven and hellof weird, obscure and musique concrete sounds like hearing different timechanges that you would hear from the late ‘60s and the golden era of the 1970s.

That and this new band, Catscans have finally come torealize that they have finally come in full circle with their sole self-titleEP and come to mind with a lot concepts that might come in handy to have musicsound surreal with feedback, scat-line vocals, high-pitch guitar lines,screeching violin work, and probably make sure that the kitchen sink is fulland set it on high voltage to let the dishes come synchronized and team up withthe beauty and the beast roar with a huge amount of anger inside their bodies.

Although the four pieces have made homage to the three bandsincluding the post rock sound of Mogwai, it is a process to bring the music ofthe genre and take the flaming gasoline burning bright and invent from melodicclassical guitar/violin structures and hope there is light at the end of thetunnel. With the hypnotic intro of the guitar virtuoso to surreal synths andthe dark atmosphere of Choeung Ek Memorial (Killing Fields), the twilight zonetouch of the Crimson-sque of the Red-era on Lost and Found and the dramaticviolin rock homage to Black Mountain and Wolf People on the 7-minute finale,Untergang come in as if it was recorded for a Horror Film.

They have a huge start in them in the new prog sound and notto mention the indie rock scene with a touch of film scores they might have inthe future for them, but here with the EP, Catscans has bright a futuristicsound of the future rock sound for a fine line in them and it shows they aren’tshowing off, but bringing an importance of not just to King Crimson, but thetorch for them has been given the full speed ahead to it. Not bad for a band,to give a haunting melodic sound of what the future of what was, is now a wasteland.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mastodon - The Hunter

The new space cadets of progressive sludge metal has come back in full swinging force is all that is needed to view the concept and view the other side of the post-apocalyptic world and seeing where the direction will lead them into. Following up to a previous album is not that easy and seeing which new sound will change and deciding whether they want to stay true to their roots or go into the realms of melodic structures in which the palms of the hand will take them to. But what we have here is full assumed control from a huge follow-up with The Hunter and it shows that Mastodon aren’t making any excuses, but to take the prog metal torch into the Olympics and burn the oil in the night time sky.

Already going into a psychedelic meditation experience with Crack The Skye released in 2009, they feel that it’s a twisted adventure that they must go on for their follow-up with sneering guitar sounds, prog-punk, thrash metal, and dealing with what’s happening on the news including the Wall Street protest and the 1% issue that’s been going on at the almost end of 2011. So if you’re into a swirling whirlpool of terror from the four-piece to lend out anger and story-telling complex, well, you’ve come to the right place at the right time for an adventure that you’ll never forget.

And The Hunter is one of the most explosive and most attention albums that is one of the band’s finest moment in Mastodon’s history. With their new album, it is breathtaking as when Crack The Skye got me introduce to the band’s music as if it was recorded in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s with a combination of early Genesis meets the Kill ‘Em All-era of Metallica. Now you’re not going to hear 10 and 15-minute epics that was on the previous album, but what Mastodon did so damn well is its time to let the beast run loose and go buckwild and The Hunter is like a roaring anthem with its spine-tingling centerpieces almost as if they have left some of these songs for the Crack the Skye or Blood Mountain sessions.

The opening disturbing cinematic touches of Black Tongue, gives a twist on what’s about to come while Curl of the Burl and Blasteroid give an ear shattering metallic guitar driven crunch as the mad scientists let loose of their experiments and seeing where the monster will take the compositions to where it takes them. Then they go into the Prog momentum in paying tribute to their heroes of Hawkwind’s In Search of Space-era on Creature Lives. It has this moogy atmosphere and a very melodic psych-rock momentum as if they pay tribute to the Space Rock warriors with a bit of the Beatles Sgt. Pepper-era and I gotta admit, it’s a mind-fucked track, but very cool at the same time.

As for the doom metal touch on The Sparrow and the hardcore punk attitude of The Ruiner and Deathbound, they sort of go in the ring and decide who will win the boxing match, but there is no idea had they might win: they switch through the three genres and they don’t have the faintest idea who will win, but the complex is tight and tugged really hard as if the rope is dangling towards the persons doom while the spookiness of Bedazzled Fingernails sounds like a crossover between Metallica and the Thrak-era of King Crimson with a touch of the Fripp guitar sounds from a satanic force.

Not to give any bullshit, The Hunter will have a drawing line in the sand between the fans and deciding whether they love the album or spit on it and jaw it out and say it sucks, but you can’t deny how fucking amazing that this is the perfect Christmas gift for a metal or proghead to really get a real kick out of this and seeing how awesome it sounds from start to finish. Like coming out of a disturbing cave, Mastodon have finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel and the journey for them isn’t over.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Rush - Moving Pictures [30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition]

Okay, I have to admit, I’ve been a huge fan of Rush since the late 1990s after hearing the roaring sounds of Tom Sawyer on the radio that got me hooked into this band and they still have a huge following and the train for them has never stopped for them. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 30 years since Moving Pictures has been released originally in 1981 and you can’t tell how they’ve done it from start to finish and all it takes is three men to really set the score and get the machine wagon rolling like a rumbling locomotive.

That and the CD/DVD deluxe edition of the album proved that they have got a lot going. Since they went on tour to promote the Time Machine tour that started last year and ended this year as the played the whole album in its entirety, they weren’t there to just play the album, they were there to perform the album and showed how much they have come a long way. And since the DVD/Blu-Ray features the 5.1 surround mix of the album including music videos and a never-before-seen music video of Vital Signs, it was quite surprising for me to see this and have watching it is one of the most breathtaking experiences I’ve ever watched.

Now let’s get to the facts. Here, we have the first disc which has been remastered that is the original album with no bonus tracks and no new stereo mix, it’s a mind-boggling taste that got Rush into the mainstream and showed how they can move away from the epics like 2112, Cygnus X-1, and By-Tor and the Snow Dog into ‘80s adventures of futuristic rock like no other. Songs like Limelight that deals with the frustration and reconciliation of being notice while the roaring Red Barchetta deals with a mysterious car that hasn’t been rode for a long time has finally got the gas and power to break the law.

You have to understand, Neil Peart is not a fool, nor an idiot, he’s writing the lyrics from the heart and how he and the band have to go through these rough situations and he gets it and understood where the band and the fans have to go through. The twist of the ‘80s Prog-Fusion time changing swift of YYZ is a fun instrumental fan favorite as The Camera Eye and Vital Signs, could have been used in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner as an opening scene of the wasteland in Los Angeles.

The album still has the kicks and the jams, the DVD/Blu-Ray features are a must see. And this will have Rush fans mouth being watery. The resotred pictures of the videos for Tom Sawyer, Limelight, and don’t forget Vital Signs are in a perfect condition and much, much better than seeing it on VHS. Hearing the new 5.1 sounds of the album is quite a jaw-dropping goose bumping warmth that is worthwhile. From the moment you hear the new mixes of Tom Sawyer, and the fierce intro opener of Alex Lifeson’s guitar on Limelight, almost as if you are in the studio in tears watching these guys having fun and enjoying a grand old time.

Still after 30 years since it’s original release, Moving Pictures continues to influence a young generation of fans and still keeps on growing. Alongside Dark Side of the Moon, Moving Pictures has still to keep growing and its quite amazingly the album that you must listen to while you’re in High School or in College to understand real good music. This is a must have Deluxe Edition that you must have in your collection and you’ll live in the limelight, the universal dream.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Altered Symmetry - Prologue

The cover of the album looks like something that was taken during the making of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy as the music is given with a wonderful and mind-blowing experiment. Combined with Metal and Story-complex songs, the band’s first debut album is something that you might want to take notice and pay full attention from the moment you hear this album from beginning, middle, and the end. Influences raging from Metallica, Dream Theater, Pantera, and the early days of Opeth, provides a huge resemblance in the city of Colombia.

Now I have a love of the Progressive Metal genre, no lie, but with Altered Symmetry, they certainly made a roller-coaster ride album with their debut, Prologue, as they take the music into a wonderous story into complex fairy-tales and a nightmare that will never end. Prologue could have been recorded as a soundtrack to the graphic novel, Batman Under the Red Hood and make it as a concept album, but with the stories influenced from Edgar Allen Poe and Charles Dickens, it seems as if they have done their research so damn well.

From Long Lost Love, A Joker’s Vengeance, and Justified Crime, there’s a combination between James LaBrie meets James Hetfield meets Mikael Akerfeldt in their soft, loud, operatic, and growling voice that makes it sound like it was recorded in 1988. The guitar’s sound almost like virtuosity meets a thrashing sneer that gives it a huge volcanic rock format that you can hear in the album as well. Also on A Slave Without a Master, sounds like a vicious metallic crunch that provides a rumbling element of the Six Degrees of Turbulence-era.

There are some breathtaking moments in there and the eruption of the album adds to the atmosphere and gives it a mighty explosion and takes the machine going without any stop sign for them. A 7-minute fierce and energetic roadrunner epic, Lies and Fairy Tales comes off with a mighty bullet from the shotgun and has a touch of the running sections of the guitar, drums sounding like a machine gun that is going on without any stopping to shoot through the story structures. You have to admit there’s a bit of a mini metallic opera in there as if they were paying homage to Pete Townshend and Mike Portnoy as if they were watching them and giving them a huge pat on the back.

And by the time you listen to Prologue, you can’t just put it down, you might have a few listens to it and may have mixed opinions on their politics, whether you love or loathe it, it takes a good while to understand where the direction the band are going into. To put in more precise, if you admire Dream Theater and Metallica, you probably might want to check this album out and see where the trio are going for them, because the road for them, is just the beginning.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Various Artists - Prog Rocks!

Now if you want to look at the geniuses of Progressive Rock that is an excerpt on what is about to come in a 2-CD set, well, you’ve come to the right place. But you must place your right hand to know these things before I move on. A; Prog is no longer a dirty word, Justin Bieber is a dirty word and B; listen to real good music. In what is here in this free CD compilation done by the good people at Classic Rock Presents Prog and the editor-in-chief, Jerry Ewing in which comes with the magazine featuring the Yes issue dedicating 40 years of Fragile, it seems the fairy tales has gotten a lot bigger.

Not only that the campaign that the magazine has been helping out with labels including EMI and InsideOut/Superball have been working hard on their butts to stay true to the music, but it’s time to go back on the magic carpet and enjoy the ride that you’ll never forget. This isn’t your typical compilation album, but an emotional and fabulous, majestic journey that you will embark on as the ride keeps you going as you reach to the edge and the passages of time. As the small booklet says, “A Unique Celebration of the Progressive Rock genre, past and present”, let’s start it off with a roar.

Starting off is the new stereo mix done of Jethro Tull’s Locomotive Breath which is from the 40th anniversary release reissue of Aqualung, is a wonderful mix. You can hear the drums and bass lines loud and some of the pieces I never expected from the original 1971 release, just got a beautiful treatment that Steven Wilson has done and has make sure to stay true to the effort of Tull’s music like a volcanic eruption as the highlight CD shows some bands you’ve heard of and up-and-coming bands you might want to take notice.

Van Der Graaf Generator’s melancholic tribute to Susan Penhaligon on Refugees, Barclay James Harvest’s orchestral symphonic fantasy rock sound of Galadriel, and Eloy taking the Space Rock sound into uncharted territory with Castle in the Air, with swirling guitar and bass lines that is out of this world. Then we go into the Canterbury land of Jazzy whimsical compositions done by Hatfield and the North with Lounging There Trying for more different time signatures while Steve Hackett goes into the Symphonic mode ala early ‘80s style with Cell 151 as neo-prog maestros Marillion tell a story of a marriage go into a fucked up world on Punch & Judy.

But then it’s the new waves of Progressive Rock of the 21st century that makes you want to say, “Wow!” With the Flower Kings and Riverside helps the campaign a wonderful touch into the new sounds of the genre, it is a fabulous ride, not to mention the disturbing and humor elements on Monkey Business and Conceiving You while Ayreon’s Comatose carries the spirit of the Concept Album-era and revise it and feel like the Sci-Fi rock opera elements has gotten a warm handshake.

But it’s the return of Transatlantic line-up as they carry the spirit of the Close To The Edge-era on Overture/Whirlwind and the reminiscent of early Genesis ala Jazzy style done by The Tangent that lets listeners know that the genre just roared with a huge alarm clock as it sends radio waves to let them know that we’re back with a vengeance. And as texas’ own answer to experimental metal from And You Will Know By The Trail of the Dead with futuristic ride into space on Pure Radio Cosplay seems in the realms of Prog, Metal, and Punk makes it feel like it’s going into another room.

Sweden’s Beardfish and Karmakanic close the compilation up with the ‘70s retro rock Tightrope and Turn It Up, would give the listener a chance to provide a chance to hear these new bands and see where they are going to take the music with them and focus how Prog has influenced a new generation of fans and bring the future brilliantly and it is a new dawn and a new day.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Cavalli-Cocchi, Lazetti, Roversi - Cavalli-Cocchi, Lazetti, Roversi

Now, the Italian Prog scene has now sort of revived in a new way here in the 21st century. This time, it’s a trio piece featuring vocalist Berando Lanzetti from Acqua Fragile and PFM, Keyboardist and Chapman stick player, Cristiano Roversi, and drummer Gigi Cavalli-Cocchi, has come to life in a new beginning of eternal life in the realms of the super group format in the realms of ELP, but in a relaxing, dramatic, and melodic atmosphere with their sole self-titled debut album released under the wings by the good fellows at Esoteric. There’s a bit of the Symphonic Prog touch in the styles of the early days of the Nursery Cryme-era of Genesis that has sort of come out of the cavernous cave to embrace it with open arms.

Listening to this album, is a very warm reception because what we have here is emotional and breathtaking from the first and second time you hear it from start to finish as if the trio who not only have a love of the British and Italian Prog sound, but they want to stay true to the roots and close to the sound and make it sound like its 1975 all over again. The pieces that Roversi does on the keyboards including the wonderful roar of the mellotron, will remind listeners of Tony Banks and sometimes Thelonious Monk with some jazzy bits in there including the upbeat whimsical touch on Why Should I? Meanwhile, Lanzetti, vocal sounds still can belt it out.

He has a combination of Peter Gabriel, Roger Chapman, and an older version of Geddy Lee, not in a menacing way, but he really can hit the singing notes so high, that it would make you feel like its Chocolate Kings all over again. Some perfect examples are the cover of Acqua Fragile’s Morning Comes and the opening track, New Life on Mars, which are wonderful songs, dealing with childhood reading sci-fi books and have this classical ballad that it would have been a perfect opening film title that deals with the loss of a child and how to deal with moving forward. And they really add the perfect ingredient’s to the songs and make it their own to see how they would handle the pieces like the oceans crashing throughout the thunderstorm.

The most important thing about these compositions, they are almost like theatrical songs that could have been the perfect score for a ballet dance set to the music in which they created and it has very laid-back warmth and still has the mighty eruptive finale with the punch in the gut that will make you say “Wow!” Their touch on Eno’s By This River, makes it very futuristic and post-apocalyptic while Great Love Does Burn Fast sounds like something that was left off the sessions for Selling England By The Pound with its Gentle Giant meets Beatlesque flavor to it.

The Gypsy-flavor touch of The Late Hour has a dark-like moody piece as Roversi sets the mood like its 1945 all over again almost as if they drew heavy influence of the Black Dahlia murder scenery in LA as if they pay tribute to the disturbing crime as the closing, Blue Boy Under an Ethnic Sky, with its PFM sound to the touch, is a wonderful way to close the album as the curtain comes down with a heavy applause. Now if this is one hell of a debut album, you guess it! Let’s see what CCLR have up their sleeve because they have a long journey ahead of them.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cressida - Cressida / Asylum

While they were sort of similar to the Moody Blues with a jazzy art rock orientation to their sound, Cressida’s music could have given the band a huge burst with their sound just as more layered upbeats and groove elements as their songs would fit the landscape. Formed in the late ‘60s, the band considered; Peter Jennings (No not the Peter Jennings from Nightline) on keyboards, lead vocalist Angus Cullen, late guitarist John Heyworth, bassist Kevin McCarthy, and drummer Iain Clark. The band had an eerie and dark passage with a lot of material that was moody, sad, and touching.

That was with their first sole self-titled debut album originally released on the Vertigo label in 1970 and a touch of the soothing psych-pop meets landscape dreamland beauty in the mixes, you could tell that this was a band that could have been bigger than The Moody Blues and would have had Paul McCartney’s feet tickled if he had heard this, he would have signed the band to Apple and would have been prog’s answer to the Beatles. Touched with the Jazz-Psych-Pop flavor of the dance crowd that would have the mods going crazy over such as the opening track To Play Your Little Games, Home and Where I Long to Be, and the flourishing roar of Depression also view the psych freak out work out exercise that John Hayworth does that would have a jaw dropping momentum and would have had Jimmy Page bowing down to him.

With Jennings ballad-like swirling keyboard work, Angus Cullen’s voice, lays the groove down and for Peter, he gives Angus a chance to breathe in and its makes perfect sense. On One of a Group, you could hear a pre-Genesis sound on Firth of Fifth as if he had replaced Peter Gabriel , the band would have continued to be in a Prog-soul touch. But with a flourish organ exercise and fuzzy guitar solo, it works like a charm. Not to mention the Thelonious Monk piano feel at the end that is laid-back.

With Asylum, released in 1971, Cressida moved into an earlier reminiscent of the symphonic rock sound, but they still had the Jazz Rock flavor in them. It was darker and hidden from their previous debut album. And John Heyworth left as John Cullen along with session musicians Harold McNair and Paul Martin Layton, it was almost an experience that you would never forget. It had more of a sadness of sorrow which dealt with moving compositions and uplifting soars like no other.

You can hear the orchestral sounds on the title track, which is a killer. Featuring a crisp string quartet, explosive organ and guitar solo as it could have been a live favorite for the fans to have their mouths water over. There’s also some pop flavored soul to it on Goodbye Post Office Tower Goodbye and the mourning acoustic folk finale, Let Them Come When They Will while Reprieved and the mystical Summer Weekend of a Lifetime could have been written for the 1978 animated film, The Last Unicorn.

Even though they split up to pursue other projects with Uriah Heep and Black Widow, these two albums are now considered the unheard gems of the obscure Progressive Rock sound of the ‘70s and they are a must have in the fans collection. You won’t be disappointed, enjoy the fabulous ride of Cressida.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Steven Wilson - Grace For Drowning

Steven Wilson has been a very busy man lately since working on the new stereo mixes for the King Crimson catalog and also with Caravan’s In The Land of Grey and Pink, and the upcoming 40th anniversary remix of Jethro Tull’s masterpiece, Aqualung. Even though he’s been working really hard on the King Crimson catalogue and Porcupine Tree taking a long vacation, it proves that he’s not just a solo artist, but a true visionary in the 21st century of Progressive Rock reviving out of the dead and coming back to life in a new life and a new beginning in the 2010s.

He once said to Classic Rock Presents Prog in February of this year, “I wanted to create a musical journey, hold it in my hand and say, ‘I made this.’” And he does to make the progress work step by step and seeing how the work is done including fixing it, if it doesn’t work, start all over again. The concept of going into a darker era has shown much in Wilson’s new follow up to Insurgentes and that has taken a haunting course that’s very retro and beautiful at the same time.

One of the most perfect examples on Grace For Drowning is Deform to Form a Star. It has some beautiful Floyd-like guitar solo and a melancholic piano introduction done by Dream Theater’s Jordan Rudess. You could tell that Wilson has a love of the early Floyd material from 1968 to 1972 (pre-Dark Side) and a touch of the mellotron makes you feel like this track could have been recorded in 1970 and almost recorded in a dark and cavernous cave.

Going into the ballad mode is not from what you hear from the mastermind of Porcupine Tree, but the acoustic melody, Postcard, is very much one of the touches of Thom Yorke’s songwriting that Wilson influences on his writing for a touch of electronic and orchestral rock that has been around the frontyard. One of the most mind-blowing songs that Wilson does here is Remainder The Black Dog as it starts off as a ‘70s space rock homage to Eloy with Steven speaking through a leslie speaker as it goes into a dramatic sinister Crimson mode that brings a dosage of Fusion and Frippertronics combined together.

Then we go into the scary mode. You got to admit, Steven Wilson has a love of the darker side as its shown with his touches on his admire on Radiohead’s experimentation’s on Index , an evil piece that deals with a collector who’s been misunderstood while Track One, almost could have been a sequel to Paranoid Android into disturbing and dangerous territory. But it’s where he begins to go into the epic mode with the 23-minute piece, Raider II.

With a touch of jazz gone haywire, an homage to King Crimson’s Lizard-era, and dooming mellotron beauty to make you get ready for a touch of melodic hell, Wilson really is the mad scientist of doing an epic so beautiful that its almost could have been recorded for the graphic novel, Batman: Knightfall. With a touch of sinister electric guitar passages, pound cake drum sections, and an explosive flute solo from Theo Travis, this is a powerful epic that is about to become a live favorite among PT and Prog fans to go ga-ga over this.

You might be familiar that some of the people with names you might recognize who worked with Wilson on Grace For Drowning like Steve Hackett, Trey Gunn, Tony Levin, and Pat Mastelotto to name a few, is quite an understatement for Steven to give them the OK. Grace For Drowning is one of the most dynamic and explosive albums for a musician to push the envelope and blowing the door down so hardcore, that you won’t come out alive. Steven Wilson makes some haunting and evil pieces of music that would give the so-called mainstream music scene on the top 40 the middle finger. The product and reception means it’s a must have to have Wilson to go beyond the dog fence and see which direction he goes to.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Matt Stevens - Relic

The sounds of Porcupine Tree and Radiohead are really kicking the door down with a mighty fist and they know a thing or two about dark and haunting music sounds that are perfect for Halloween music beyond their compositions and dark territory. Here, we get the same views of the dystopian future gone horribly wrong in a sci-fi plot twist, but here it goes to show that the 21st century looks bright and the future is uncertain and the genre of experimental futuristic rock really goes into the atmosphere.

Here with Relic, Matt’s third follow up to Ghost, sounds almost like it could have been recorded as an alternate soundtrack for the 1982 cult classic, Blade Runner. It’s almost as if he’s doing the score with Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree to help him out for Harrison Ford’s character Deckard to find out if he’s human or one of the replicant’s at the very end of the director’s cut version of the film and taking Sean Young’s character to a new beginning, and not to mention that plot twist that comes with at the end.

There’s a lot of views of the future and goose bump motions to lend your skin crawling for Matt Steven’s new album for his new album and it’s pretty damn good. I’ve been now a fan of his guitar playing since hearing his first album Echo back in 2010 when he contacted me to review his debut album, and believe me, he’s going to become the next Jonny Greenwood or the next Robert Fripp. Pieces like 20 goto 10, Nightbus, and the title track, shows his love of the electronic sounds of the Krautrock-era of the early ‘70s. But it proves that he doesn’t just love the prog genre, he takes it and understands where the music and its origins come from.

Along with his side project, The Fierce and the Dead, Stevens takes the guitar as his best friends and his experimental sounds with synths, electronic drumming as if he’s recording the pieces as if its 1980 all over again. But there’s some alternative instrumental rockers like Rushden Fair and Up that would be well worth listening to that has some dance values with a Spanish way of dancing the tango in a flourishing way.

Then he’s back at the atmospheric quality that comes in with a ‘70s obscure progtastic adventure that would have your jaws dropped like Scapegoat. With heart thumping drum beats, guitar double tracked between rhythm and lead, and keyboard spooky sounds, its almost as if this piece was almost used for Aphrodite’s Child's infamous concept album, 666. You can imagine Peter Hammill of Van Der Graaf Generator fame playing this album to his band and suggesting that Matt is the right guy to open for them and he would come in and sing about the dystopian world of hell and singing about Total Annihilation. That would get the crowd going. Sounds like one hell of an idea!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Von Hertzen Brothers - Stars Aligned

Taking the influences of Muse, Pink Floyd, and the Foo Fighters up a notch, the Von Hertzen Brothers have really got a huge influential sound of Progressive and Alternative Rock like no other and it’s hard to imagine that this trio know the score about taking the indie sound into a different level. What they do is put a little bit of prog into the punch and the result is phenomenal and with those three bands and add a little sugar of early Queen into the mix, the Brothers really make music into something that is quite out of this world.

Here on Stars Aligned, the trio put a touch of Prog-Pop with a vengeance with a bit of the song and melodic touches. While the ingredients work and having achieve a cult status in their hometown in Finland and a wonderful job at High Voltage according to Classic Rock Magazine, the future is ready for the Von Hertzen Brothers. Are they the next Muse? Maybe, but let’s get to the album and see what makes it a kick-ass album.

Miracle opens the album off as a moody 20-second dreamland nightmare before going into volcanic guitars, synths, and pounding drums that sort of realms in the Mars Volta’s Bedlam in Goliath-era while Gloria almost sounds like a sequel to Knights of Cydonia with its spaghetti western guitar licks and epic vocalization in the background that is quite breathtaking and could have been used in the Man With No Name trilogy and would have Ennio Morricone’s feet tickle for joy over this roller-coaster track.

Meanwhile on Voices in Our Head, which has a ‘80s electronic synth new wave retro sound, deals with isolation, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and hallucinations with a mesmerizing eerie haunting guitar synth attitude, sees the Brothers going deep into the caves of lunacy and dealing with darker issues of schizophrenia. Angel’s Eyes, the Middle-Eastern Alternate Rock with a touch of an homage to Dave Greenslade’s keyboard sounds in the midsection, keeps the album growing like a tidal wave as Down by the Sea brings a haunting view of the dystopian world of hell in a touch of Radiohead’s OK Computer-era.

And while Always Been Right has a Celtic Hard Rock edge to it with a folky crisp flavor, I Believe the final track on the album closes the album with a gospel ‘70s rock edge to it, they go far beyond the ideas in what Muse are doing right now and knowing how Prog is done and the way it’s meant to be sound for the 21st century. Stars Aligned has the Von Hertzen brothers in full circle and the adventures of their music has only got the better of it this year and seeing where the road will take them into.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Barclay James Harvest - Taking Some Time On: The Parlophone-Harvest Years (1968-73)

This 5-CD set contains the first four albums that Symphonic Prog Rock band Barclay James Harvest released at the time they were on the Harvest (Parlophone) label as it features unreleased material from the BBC Sessions, Singles, and alternative tracks that were used before they polished it up before the release date. It has been a rocky ride for BJH that has been on. First they lost drummer Mel Pritchard from a heart attack in 2004 and the loss of keyboardist and founder of Maestoso, Woolly Wolstenholme who took his own life after battling mental illness that he was suffering from in 2010.

And if anyone like a young teenager who wants to take a huge swim into the deeper voyages of obscure progressive rock and want to know who BJH really are, this is a must have of the band’s collection and here in this set including liner notes from Classic Rock Magazine writer, Malcolm Dome about the band’s history, this is it. Before the band released their sole self-titled debut album in 1970, the group debut as a singles band at first with the release of Early Morning and Mr Sunshine in 1968.

These two tracks showed the band into a little bit of psychedelic prog pop as the first track almost has a reminiscent of the Zombies Odyssey & Oracle-era while the flipside folk rock beauty, could have been used for the sessions of To Our Children’s Children’s Children. Meanwhile, the band did some sessions for John Peel’s Top Gear Sessions showed the band at their earlier flower psych rock glory.

Songs like So Tomorrow, Eden Unobtainable, Pools of Blue, and the bluesy trip to Small Time Town capture the innocence of freedom and power. Even though these were rare songs, the band moved into Prog territory as they teamed up with Robert John Godfrey who would later form The Enid, decided to give the band a huge kick into Orchestral Rock territory and almost were the answer to the Moody Blues Days of Future Passed-era.

Their first album was a combination of hard rock and theatrical rock with a huge rumbling attitude with mind-blowing homage to the Pretty Things S.F. Sorrow on Taking Some Time On, the spooky folk haunting ballad of The Iron Maiden, and the garage rocker Good Love Child showed a touch of Power Pop with their sound reminiscing of Badfinger’s Magic Christian Music. And bringing the thunder down with electricity of the rumbling 12-minute eerie punch as Woolly acts almost like something out of a Shakespeare play as he gives a disturbing opening speech before going into mass madness with the orchestra on the epic, Dark Now My Sky.

Then all of a sudden, their second album which has become a fan favorite and a classic in their career in 1971 with the release of Once Again, the album itself isn’t track by track, but the songs and emotional beauty including the swarming swoosh opening of the mellotron on She Said, the political theme on pollution of Happy Old World, homage to Tolkien with Galadriel, and the fan favorite, Mockingbird still brings a tear. The bonuses which were featured on the 40th anniversary edition is almost like seeing what tracks were left off.

Including the non-orchestral version of Mockingbird, the dazzling BBC version of She Said for Whistling Bob Harris of the Old Grey Whistle Test that they did including the atmospheric heavenly version of Someone There You Know could have been used for the anniversary edition as a 2-CD set. After tensions and disagreements over Godfrey’s charts on Once Again, the band moved on as they released And Other Short Stories.

The follow up to Once Again, And Other Short Stores was a darker and mellowing album and the band still had the symphonic touch in them and knowing that trouble between them and their record label wasn’t going to be easy. But the songs like the sci-fi opener Medicine Man is another live favorite while Ursula (The Swansea Song) could have been written for the Last Unicorn as they go into a little bit of a Beatlesque attitude with Blue John’s Blues and the dooming After the Day are jaw dropping and breath-taking.

Then came Baby James Harvest, their last album on the Harvest label was done very quickly and they knew that it was time to move on after the release of their fourth album in 1972. The FM Rockin’ sing-along song Thank You could have been a massive single anthem while 100,000 Smiles Out and Moonwater are lukewarm touching swan songs as the upbeat rockin’ single Child of Man, I’m Over You, and the funky glam rock bliss of Breathless showed the band had a touch of healing the world and having a ball to get a sense of humor.

Now while they moved to Polydor label, it’s hard to describe which era of Barclay James Harvest the fans they prefer whether it’s the early days of the mid ‘70s period. It’s almost like drawing a line in the sand and they have to jump which they prefer. But it doesn’t matter, this box set will take you on amazing journey that you’ll never forget forever and ever.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Opeth - Heritage

Now there will be a drawing a line in the sand for some Opeth fans whether they prefer the death-growling era or the Prog-soft sounding arrangements that is exampled on Damnation, but might I digress as we move forward as Mikael Akerfeldt goes into the ‘70s prog sound with a mellowing taste on their new album, Heritage. This is moving leap forward for Opeth because even though they were giving the growling voices which they are known for in their early days in the ‘90s in the Death Metal scene, Heritage is a home run in the baseball fields of Prog Rock like no other!

We have the jazzy piano haunting opening title-track to get us going that is almost set to a mournful apocalypse aftermath as it kicks in with the time signature changing speed racing rocker The Devil’s Orchard, filled with the King Crimson Red-era with some meaningful and angry chords and not to mention the line “God is Dead!” It looks as if Mikael is paying homage to thrash metal heroes Slayer as if to let them know, he still has the Metal spirit in him and never let’s go the genre.  I Feel The Dark has a gothic folk touch, but kind of carries the Bo Hansson treatment.

And even though there’s a bit of a chugging mid-section, I just wish that he could have worked on the track a little bit more and give it a real bullet speed. Speaking of bullet speed, a perfect example is Slither, this time they go through the race track as it goes 600 miles per hour with some impressive guitar lines, organ crunches, drums flying off the wall, and Mikael’s vocals will give you a mighty touch like no other.

Nepenthe gets the prog genre up a notch, cranking the volume up a notch in the realms of the Gentle Giant album, Acquiring the Taste homage with a bit of Martin Mendez’s bass lines going through a Jaco-like reminiscent as Per Wiberg pays homage to Kerry Minnear and Martin Axenrot goes through the patterns in the realms of Neil Peart, shows that the band are not ripping off the old guard, but sort of paying tribute to them and lets them know they still have the touch and the power. 

With the homage of the Acid Folk touches of Haxprocess and the middle-eastern turned Mars Volta powerhouse on Famine, and The Lines in the Hand gives Opeth a time to move away the boundaries for a while as they do a psychedelic jam session that would have made the fans open their mouths saying, “What the hell just happened?” It gives them time to go into the mellotronic Crimson Lizard-era sinister beauty of Folklore with a pure midas touch as it segues into the finale, Marrow of the Earth, a wonderful finale to close the album with an acoustic mellowing Ottmar Liebert classical boundary that gives Mikael and Fredrik Akesson a chance to pay tribute to Liebert and Hackett. But wait there’s more!

The two bonus tracks which are featured on iTunes if you buy the Special Edition version of the album, Pyre is a mellotron space rock sound while Face in the Snow which at first sounds like a Wes Montgomery guitar intro as it goes into a haunting Moody Blues and Barclay James Harvest-era which might have had Mikael interested to listen to them and could have a touch of the emotional feeling on Heritage. Though it will piss people off that Opeth had moved away from the Death Metal sound, Heritage sees the band going forward into a new light and a new chapter.

So let’s see what Mikael Akerfeldt and the four musketeers will have up their sleeves and see where the new direction that Opeth will take them to.

17 Pygmies - CII: Second Son

Like a soundtrack to Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner with a mellow atmospheric new age soundtrack, you could honestly believe that something had just opened the door and taken the ‘80s Tangerine Dream sound in the realms of Hyperborea or in the Gilmour-era of Momentary Lapse of Reason with an electronic attitude, Now I’m not crazy of electronic sounds of the ‘70s and ‘80s, but I do respect the music very much and the sound they carry to the core and this band who was launched in 1982, have a real sci-fi taste of Orwell and Philip K. Dick.

17 Pygmies have a real approach of the Space Rock and New Age sound and the second part of Celestia (CII: Second Son) is a dark and eerie twisted album that the band carries on like a cabbage of unbelievable territory that you are about to embark on. It’s not an easy album to listen to, but with spooky female vocals, soaring keyboard chords, and not forgetting moog-like dreamland sounds that have the solar system unique to it and would have Jean-Luc Picard jumping for joy in the Starship enterprise.

Meaning, they have a bit of the Space Music sound in their background almost as if it was a rock opera to the 1950s classic, The Day The Earth Stood Still for this lukewarm 22-part pieces almost as if its written for a classical symphony. But this might have some scratching heads with some ‘80s Neo-Prog elements with some moody and quite breathtaking simplicity that comes in with a nice fresh clean jewel that is destined to be restored.

Some of its Free-Jazz, Radiohead meets Sigur Ros with an electronic touch as if OK Computer and Aegits Byjurn had teamed up to create a disturbing yet spiritual journey, symphonic, moogy, and avant-garde at the same time. It may look like that Jonny Greenwood would have appreciated this album and he and Thom Yorke would have done something like this during the Kid A sessions and not to wonder, the journey into space has only just begun.

It took me a few listens to understand what the band is going through, a touch of new age space rock and prog like no other that you’ve heard before. And again while it may give you a few listens to get into the music, it’s not a great album, but is still a fresh and twisted disturbing adventure that you might want to sit back and close your eyes.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pink Floyd: A fan's point of view

Since I’m a huge fan of the Progressive Rock genre from bands like; Rush, early Genesis, Van Der Graaf Generator, and the Annie Haslam-era of Renaissance and having an iPod filled with obscure and the big giants of Prog, the band that got me into the genre of Prog was the Floyd and the Post-Barrett era of Floyd was one of the best that I really get a huge kick out of.

As we approach the Floyd reissues on September 27th, I've been a huge Pink Floyd fan since 1996 far beyond anything I could sink my heart into. Space, Haunting, Deep, Heartfelt, and Sonic Sound that would have my blood veins pumping of the Syd Barrett and the Post-Barrett era of Pink Floyd from The Piper at the Gates of Dawn to The Wall. The first Pink Floyd song that got me into them, was Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2). I first heard the song on the radio when I was 11 years old, and I thought to myself, “now that’s one hell of an anthem! Who is this band?” It was the Floyd. When I was in Elementary School, my music was top secret.

I was into real good music like; The Beatles, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and The Who. So it was a hush-hush for these bands to keep it a low profile while some of the people at school and at camp were into bullshit music like; No Doubt, Salt-N-Pepa, TLC, Mariah Carey, Green Day, U2 and all that lovely-de-love crap, it made me want to puke. Anyway, my Mom bought The Wall for me as a surprise after I finished up Elementary and headed towards Junior high I played the whole album and that was where I became a Pink Floyd fan.

There was this darker side of isolation, hallucination, loneliness, and aftershock that the Floyd had embarked on. Then the three albums after my love of the Wall were; Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, and Meddle. Dark Side had become like a huge mentor for me during those High School years where it lets you know that the World isn’t a safe place between greed, betrayal, war, empathy, and death. Songs like Brain Damage/Eclipse, Time, The Great Gig in the Sky, Us and Them, and Money, was like something exploded out of nowhere and the flaming fire that was run by gasoline made me realize there’s no stop sign there.

Right about there, I went through their catalogue trying to look at what treasures I was looking at inside the chest. I would listen to the Ummagumma live version of Careful With That Axe Eugene with Roger’s high pitch scream that would flood the room as Set The Controls For the Heart of the Sun and Pigs (Three Different Ones) were my obsession.

Although they dealt with political issues of the big business and corporate greed, the space rock sounds were the Floyd’s sound in their early days. The atmospheric music of the keyboards shows that they were making music for not just progressive rock, but the future and the 21st century to allow the music to go beyond where the listener to see where the Floyd was taking them. The ‘70s Floyd surely was cup of tea and coffee and really became my baby and seeing where the lyrics were taking the listener and dealing with the issues I’ve mentioned and how time stands still.

While I was in my Senior year, I did a project on why Dark Side of the Moon stood the test of time. It was an easy project for me to do back in 2003 and I’ve made an A+. I was describing how the music and the structures that the music had encounter. My friends were blown away when I did that including my English teacher as well. Some of them wanted to know how they could have done a better project in what I’ve done, I said, “Practice man, Practice.” (My Jeff Bridges Dude style came in, folks)

As I am in College, I feel the music of Floyd inside me, it felt like the emotions that prove to me I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now we are in this Post 9/11, Post Kartina, Post Ike and now approaching Hurricane Irene, I feel that my political brain has just knocked on the door and said, “It’s time to smear the shit written all over the Graffiti wall!” There was tension, bringing dead soldiers from Iraq in a casket, I remember watching the towers being hit by terrorist on the TV in High School and asking myself, “What the hell did we do wrong here?!”

“Can’t we all just get along?! I’m sick of the fucking killing and the murdering is going on here.” The Floyd’s music was there to comfort me and there was no one like Pink Floyd that dealt in where we are right now, the New America. People were protesting against wars and saying to Bush and FEMA to fix the god-damn levees, felt like the door had been open. You think that The Beatles were the soundtrack of our lives; well The Floyd was like the soundtrack of our lives.

My music love of Progressive Rock has still keep me growing and while some of them say Pink Floyd’s overrated, they can go fuck themselves. Since it’s been 15 years and my love of the Floyd’s music train hasn’t stop chugging and I still realize how much affection that Syd Barrett plays an important role in their music. His madness and destruction shows how much they love Syd before he went crazy. I have a soft-spot of the Floyd’s later days including Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell, but it wasn’t the same without Roger Waters and dealing Syd’s destruction was not there. Now does that say I hate them? absolutely not.

Since there’s been a drawing of a line in the sand on whether they prefer Syd or Post-Syd era of Floyd really has people deciding where to jump to. I still can’t jump out of the boat and feeling some sadness of Syd’s life as he was the heart and soul of the band (no doubt about it!) They all cared for him and the songs that dealt with his life still struck a chord with me in my life as you can hear it on Shine On You Crazy Diamond.

There’s a lot of structures and walking the yellow brick road for me where to go to. Why the Floyd still stood the test time? I think its because not just the music, but dealing with what we’re going through and what’s it like to live in this new world that we’re living in right now, the human race of hell, and the regret of not being there to support your friends, family, and loved ones. The Floyd are one of the best bands to come out of the ‘70s and let me say there is no stop sign for the music to grow on a new generation.

Pink Floyd are one helluva band that would make your mind blow away.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Fellow Bloggers, I will be taking a HUGE long break from writing reviews for September because of school next week for me at HCC (Houston Community College). So I'm not saying I'm finished with the blog, I'm taking a break and concentrating on my studies and also looking forward to the Pink Floyd reissues that are coming out in late September.

So I will be Blogging again in October.

See you around,


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Titus Groan - Titus Groan

How would you describe Titus Groan? A psychedelic version of Jethro Tull or homage to the raga-rock pioneers Quintessence? How about all of the above? If the answer is yes, well you’ve come to the right place at the right time for this. The band was named after the gothic Gormenghast trilogy by English writer and poet Mervyn Peake and their music was a touch of obscure prog-raga music from the 1970s and it was one of those unearthed bands who had a bit of a small following including as an opening act for ELP in the fall of 1970.

The band was formed out of the ashes of Jon in the summer of love in 1967 and according to the liner notes by Marco Rossi, they released two singles from the EMI label to keep it private that its quite impossible if the songs existed. Before they released the album on the Dawn label in 1971, they released a maxi-single which has been released as bonus tracks by the good people at Esoteric Recordings, but the songs that could have gotten them into the top charts in the UK, faded into the darkness.

It’s hard to describe about the band’s music as from the first notes of the opening track. It Wasn’t For You, which has a psych guitar solo and jazzy horn section that is almost straight out of Chicago Transit Authority (Chicago’s first album) as the 11-minute epic Hall of Bright Carvings, which is the highlight of the album, starts off as a middle-eastern rock sound before becoming a psychedelic freak out section that is a reminiscent of Jefferson Airplane meets an English version of Buffalo Springfield.

The music becomes very interesting after the first two tracks. First, there’s the dooming sound of Jethro Tull on I Can’t Change with a mourning flute work that could have been used from the Stand Up and Benefit sessions and then on It’s All Up With Us, is a heartfelt tribute to their childhood days in Manchester with a upbeat melody that is very much Beatle-sque.

Meanwhile, the closing 6-minute track, Fuschia, is raw volcanic rock finale. Mixed in with some early reminiscent of Barclay James Harvest’s first album and some fierce guitar work combining with some eerie bass lines and Nick Mason like drum work is quite breathtaking and yet disturbing.

Now we’ve come to the Maxi-Singles. They come into the picture like a breath of fresh air – the country rock tinged touch of Dylan’s Open The Door Homer, the Folk Rock beauty Woman of the World, and the Pete Townshend-sque strumming roller coaster sound on Liverpool.

When you listen to the three tracks, you can tell how obscure and different in what the band was coming. Liverpool, is a strange track with its melodic twisted vocal harmonies and the sound of the Question of Balance-era of the Moody Blues, this song would have been the love theme song for HBO’s Deadwood. It’s a shame to see where Titus Groan would have gone to if they had sticked around, but their sole self-titled debut album is like a nice hot cup of tea served with some LSD biscuits to come with it and enjoy the ride.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Heavy Glow - Midnight Moan

After releasing The Filth & The Fury last year that sort of brought the sound of Psychedelic Hard Rock to grab you by the throat and making you scream and shout, ‘70s retrospective rock trio, Heavy Glow have decided they have scored another touchdown and looks like they decided to give it a huge juice and powerage to bring it to an explosive shockwave of mind-boggling proportions. Midnight Moan is one of those albums that the trio decided to give it a real tug for all of its glory for moving into the sounds of Zeppelin, early Floyd, Sabbath, and fierce reminiscent of High Tide’s Sea Shanties that qualifies the energy and fierce electricity of the golden-era.

Jared Mullins vocals and guitar playing has certainly come a long way and his sound brings a Iommi like sound on the guitar while bassist Joe Brooks psych fuzz bass lines will remind listeners of Geezer Butler and Jack Bruce and drummer Dan Kurtz brings a lot of the ingredients for his drum work throughout the entire album and here they bring the force like a blazing fire flaming the gasoline. This is an album that should really get filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino to get the band to do a film score for one of his upcoming films and make it a mind-blowing movie set to wonderful ‘70s rock like no other.

That mentioned, such explosive tracks will get your blood vessels going like the train chugging blues metallic opener Lose My Mind and the psych garage rock fuzz warmth of hell on Slave Drive. Meanwhile, get exercised and pumped up for the lukewarm haunting atmosphere on Today is Technicolor (One Step Closer) which could have been used in Lars Von Trier’s controversial film Antichrist as All My Children goes into the realm of Zeppelin’s second album as Jared Mullins takes the guitar into Jimmy Page-sque roar into town and makes it deal with greed and betrayal.

They aren’t just a rip-off band to say they messed up this or that, just the way they got it right and the sound of these three men make you realize that something’s going on here as you put them in the studio and finding out that the roller-coaster ride has only just begun. Thus, the swirling whirlpool of terror of fierce obscure proto-prog hard rock comes in handy on Collide and the homage to Black Mountain’s In The Future-era with a bluesy feel on Purgatory Blues.

More of the haunting beauties come in handy are Smithereens in which it makes it sound like a sequel to Stone Temple Pilots Big Empty as the closing 7-minute track, Diggin’ A Ditch sees the band going thru the realms of Doom Metal in a fierce and wonderful tone as Joe Brooks rises in to shine to take turns as he brings sneering bass lines to help Jared out and lets him know that he’s with him all the way.

It may have some music lovers scratching their heads to decide whether they want to put them in the category either in Prog or Doom Metal, but here’s a little warning, play this Motherfucker loud and you will be completely blown away. It’s a must have who admires High Tide, Mighty Baby, early Zeppelin, Wolf People, and Black Mountain.