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Last 50 reviews
Studio Album, 1979
2.92 | 751 ratings

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I Can See Your House From Here
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Uruk_hai

Review #131

"I can see your house from here" was released in 1979 with a new CAMEL line-up that didn't include Richard SINCLAIR, Mel COLLINS, or even Peter BARDENS, only the two Andys remained in this record which was still in the Pop declined kind of album but this album had some songs more similar to earlier records of the band such as "Wait" and "Eye of the storm". The symphonic arrangements in "Who we are", the amazing ten- minute instrumental piece "Ice" (which is probably the greatest song CAMEL ever made after "Moonmadness"), and the beautiful "Hymn to Her" made this album a very interesting work of the commonly considered weakest era in CAMEL's discography.

The eighties was a very uncertain era for Progressive Rock: some of the better bands of the seventies made their less interesting albums in that decade and CAMEL was no exception, so this record from 1979 was a decent closing of the most interesting period of the band. This was slightly better than "Breathless" but not at all indispensable.

SONG RATING: Wait, 4 Your love is stranger than mine, 4 Eye of the storm, 3 Who we are, 3 Survival, 2 Hymn to her, 4 Neon magic, 3 Remote romance, 2 Ice, 5

AVERAGE: 3.33

PERCENTAGE: 66.67

ALBUM RATING: 3 stars

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Live, 2016
4.19 | 75 ratings

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A Stone's Throw from the Line
Big Big Train Crossover Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3.5 stars. At this point in the life of BIG BIG TRAIN they are an eight piece band as seen on the studio album "Folklore" released the same year as this live release. Actually they released two live albums in 2016 with five common songs but this is the longer release, a two disc affair recorded at King's Place in London August 14-16 2015. I must admit I have kind of lost interest in this band being a fan of their 2007-2013 period where they released 4 albums but after that I'm just having trouble appreciating their music. Give them credit though they have become fairly successful in the Prog world with their folky, GENESIS-like sound. Not like "Wind And Wuthering", not that ambient and folky as these guys can let it rip when they want to.

I had a peek at their 2021 release and see that they are down to a 4 piece but surprised that BEARDFISH's Rikard Sjoblom and SPOCK'S BEARD Nick D'virgilio are still full time members. Some nice pictures of this 8 piece band in the liner notes on stage arms wrapped around each other smiling away at the end of the show. There are five horn players listed as guests here and in the liner notes the band thanks Tim Bowness at Burning Shed. One thing I'm thankful for is that 9 of the 12 tracks are from my favourite period of the band. I really don't like "Wassail" or the opener to the proceedings "Make Some Noise" but the rest is pretty good. I am hard on double albums considering that consistent albums are my thing and doubles are rarely that. Still fans of the band will no doubt be rating this one a lot higher than I have. Lots of highs here, it was good to hear them once again.

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Studio Album, 2002
4.26 | 2613 ratings

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In Absentia
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by Argentinfonico

In absentia... of boredom!

And although some may have misinterpreted it, I want to say that this album is one of the most valuable and entertaining that has been produced in this century. In spite of its great quality, as far as my tastes are concerned it is not one of the most exciting, but here I always try to give an unbiased opinion, and it would be a foolish attitude not to recognize the greatness of this album. Its production is a master class! Steven definitely knew what he was doing when it came to creating this piece.

The mental fields are carefully set with typical alternative rock effects in guitar and vocals (and singing) and thus turned into grounds of nostalgia, reflection and comfort, but also darkness. "Strip The Soul" is one of the best examples of this, where the aggressive and perfect performance of bassist Colin Edwin must be highlighted. It is one of those albums that may not convince you the first time, but after a couple of times you start to become a fan due to its unforgettable riffs and choruses. At all times the sound is great and well achieved. This album couldn't possibly deserve less than 4 stars, and I've almost decided to give it 5. I wasn't sure at times due to repetitions and fragments that overwhelmed me, but little by little you get the whole essence of the album and, once the end comes, it's already won you over.

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Studio Album, 2021
3.95 | 158 ratings

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A View from the Top of the World
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by natjsbelza

This is definitely among the top DT albums: Images and Words, Awake, Scenes From A Memory & Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence. The A View from the Top of the World is an album of songs - of real songs - with chops! Great melodies and beautiful choruses! With lyrical moments too. It's groovy, it's heavy. It has plenty of instrumental wizardries. It's a very well-rounded release.👌 👌 👌 And the sound! It's one of the stars of this album. It sounds big. The space. It's crystal clear, everyone I can hear! It's "the" best-sounding Dream Theater album in recent years, no contest.

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Studio Album, 2016
4.01 | 190 ratings

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Evership
Evership Neo-Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

Review N� 478

The American Nashville based progressive rock band Evership is the brainchild of the songwriter, multi- instrumentalist and producer Shane Atkinson. Many of Evership's songs were written long before the project began. Some were between five and ten years old. So, the band had already enough material for four or more albums. After choosing the material for the debut album of Evership in 2009, life circumstances halted production until 2013, when Shane closed the music production company to focus on the release and production of the album. At that time Shane met Beau West, the lead vocalist. On the album Shane plays drums, keyboards, and a variety of other unusual instruments. Most of the electric, acoustic and classical guitars were played by the classically trained guitarist Rob Higginbotham. Shane's brother, James, played almost all the acoustic and lead guitars. Finally, the bassist Jaymi Millard completed the tracks.

So, "Evership" is the eponymous debut studio album of Evership and was released in 2016. The line up on the album is Beau West (lead vocals) and Shane Atkinson (vocals, keyboards, drums, percussion, Theremin, chapman stick, dulcimer, experimental guitar, sound design and orchestrations). The album had also the participation of many other musicians, Mike Priebe (backing vocals), James Atkinson (acoustic and lead guitars), Rob Higginbotham (classical, acoustic and electric rhytm guitars), Dan Smalley (classical guitar), Brandon Vestal (electric guitar), Jaymi Millard (bass), Nicelle Priebe (violin) and choir director Charles Heimermann and the singers of the Nashville Symphony Choir.

"Evership" consists out of five long tracks, each around ten minutes long and a concluding section of two minutes. It's a 70's inspired American prog album. Still, throughout this album, it never sounds like Evership are trying to emulate the great bands from the past. Instead they sound exactly like they are one of those great bands from the past. Kansas being the most obvious touching point, but Styx also enters the equation, as do early Queen, and to give an indication of just how strong the vocal and guitar melodies and many of the harmonies are, so do Boston. The performances are engaging, constantly drawing you into its enigmatic tracks. The music is brilliantly conceived and perfectly executed, unpredictable and engaging with its symphonic melodies with soaring vocals and complex energetic instrumental displays. The arrangements, the spiralling keyboards, driving guitars and buoyant bass lines are solely the instruments to convey the fragile beauty of the harmonies wrapped into the lyrics sang by West, who nails the vocal parts with a fantastic delivery. The juxtaposition of many synths leads and the choruses on it accentuates its magnificent sound.

Thus, about the six tracks, "Silver Light" sets the things up well with its sweeping keyboards and a fine solo guitar line before the vocals from West are introduced. With its excellent dynamics and the good use of the keyboards throughout, this is a great opening track. "A Slow Descent Into Reality" is divided into six parts, "Everyman", "A Slow Descent", "Wisdom Of The Ages", "Honest With Me", "The Battle Within" and "Anyman". This is a strong piece with echoes and stylings of Kansas in the era of the classic "Point Of Know Return", especially in the keyboard and guitar passages. West does a great job here. With its multi-layered harmonies, this is a very impressive piece. "Evermore" is divided into two parts, "Eros" and "Agape". It's a very well crafted love song, opening with more fine guitar lines before the delicate vocal emerges, accompanied by a piano melody. It has a gentle and heartfelt vocal. This is a very emotive song with some great harmonies, another strong piece on the album. "Ultima Thule" follows with a fine acoustic guitar and piano segment adding to West's voice. This piece develops into a beautiful ballad like song with great vocal melodies. I also love the keyboard parts and the choir in the end. "Flying Machine" is divided into three parts, "Dreamcarriers", "Dream Sequence" and "Lift". It's another epic with a fine vocal and some very interesting sounds in the background, adding emphasis and tone to a great track. Lovely piano and keyboards throughout and a gentle acoustic guitar add more Kansas touches, the song moving into a heavier section with a strong guitar rhythm and more keyboards supporting the vocals. "Approach" is a short closing to the album with a low rumbling noise, a curious ending for this great album.

Conclusion: "Evership" is a magnificent album full of great melodies and beautiful vocal lines. The sound has some AOR influences but with the violin I had to think strongly of Kansas really, which isn't a strange thing. Also the names of Queen, Boston and Styx crossed my mind, which isn't a strange thing too. But, it's much more than that. The music sounds fresh and uplifting to my ears. The style is bombastic in places yet moody and quiet in others. The singer Beau West impressed me with his vocal qualities. West has a great voice for this style of music and turns in some wonderful performances. The use of the choir on some of the pieces is very nice too. This is an album with no weak points. If you enjoy well crafted intelligent prog rock with a touch of romantic classical music, this album could be the right up to you.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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Studio Album, 2021
4.18 | 19 ratings

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Wither Down
Monarch Trail Neo-Prog

Review by Second Endeavour

MONARCH TRAIL is probably the finest Canadian exponent of retro-sounding progressive rock music. For the unaware, their new album 'Wither Down' is recently out. And what an impressive offer it is! In fact, this particular item should evoke memories of the days most people have thought were long gone and never to return. Yet the music here is also fresh enough to be unique with abundance of ebbs and flows, intriguing changes. Something that will bring lasting appeal to any fan of the older, epic style. Indeed, CD 'Wither Down' features a majestic progressive rock aesthetics with symphonic pretentions, characterised by gorgeous textures, exquisite melodies full of subtlty and elegance. Rest assured, there are spellbinding keyboards, nice guitar meanderings, close-knit rhythm backdrop, soft and emotive vocals. While you might assume a nostalgic 70's flavor only or just another attempt to copy the familiar trends, this new disk features a special build-up. A sign that this band can stand on its own feet. Sure, credit goes to Ken Baird for the creative songwriting and for guiding the new material to fruition in the studio with so admirable results. The use of vintage keys and piano passages are top-notch by any standards. Moreover, his fine singing complements the instrumental performance. The neat, clever rhythmic job of Chris Lamont and Dino Verginella contributes to lay out the whole canvas for the display of art. This album is a true teamwork in a collaborative sense. Aided by guest guitarists (Kelly Kereliuk and Steve Cochrane), Monarch Trail are providing the musical feast. Now I'd like to name the certain influences. Think of early Genesis along with Barclay James Harvest, and you won't be too far off the mark. Some other allusions do pop up once in a while, but they are much more vague. The sound is very well balanced, never straying away from the attraction. As result, an utterly absorbing delight in the 70-s spirit. Believe me, from the moment I got this amazing album, I can not bring myself to listen to anything else.. Unreservedly recommended!

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Studio Album, 1973
3.29 | 5 ratings

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Soaring
Don Ellis Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mirakaze

On Soaring, Don Ellis straddles a line between jazz fusion and more conventional jazz forms. In addition to electric guitar, bass guitar and electric keyboards, the trumpeter is accompanied by full big band with a large wind section and a string quartet, which fans of the typical 70s jazz fusion sound may not be particularly charmed by. I too must admit that on some of the weaker tracks like "Go Back Home" or the ballad "Invincible", the strings and general instrumentation make the music sound rather overblown and cheesy. "Image Of Maria" is the most mystifying track of all: it sounds less like a jazz song and more like a Morricone-esque piece of film music, although that comparison is probably overselling it. The main theme sounds pretty but it just sort of peters out anticlimactically after three minutes.

Still, there's enough to like about the album. The first three tracks show a funk influence but are sure to spice themselves up with uneven rhythms (as on "Whiplash", popularized by the 2014 movie of the same name), a gradual buildup of intensity (as on "Sladka Pitka") or with intricate contrapuntal melodic lines (as on "The Devil Made Me Write This Piece"). The latter two pieces especially showcase the big band at its best, with the orchestral timbre and large array of players helping these tracks come to life beautifully. Ellis himself also plays some great solos throughout, the best being on "Sidonie" near the end of the album. I don't think the album as a whole is consistently interesting enough to warrant more than a three-star rating, but there is in fact good stuff happening here.

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Studio Album, 2018
3.66 | 13 ratings

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Angeli Mutanti
Reale Accademia Di Musica Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

In 2014, after a concert at Progressivamente Festival in Rome where he played with some old friends of the Roman prog scene of the early seventies, Pericle Sponzilli, original member and part of the creative core of Reale Accademia di Musica, decided to come back to music with a new band. Since he felt that over the years the name of Reale Accademia di Musica had been improperly used on projects with a different style, he took over the old brand for what, in his opinion, should be considered the authentic second album of the historic band. After a long, hard work the new album, entitled "Angeli mutanti", was released on the independent M.P. & Records label with a line up featuring Pericle Sponzilli (vocals, guitars), Fabio Liberatori (piano, keyboards), Erika Savastani (vocals), Andy Bartolucci (drums) and Fabio Fraschini (bass) plus the guests Gianfranco Coletta (guitar), Nicola Di Staso (guitar) and Fernando Fera (guitar). According to the official website, "the group works like an atelier, a school, an academy" and the art work by Daniele Massimi underlines the link with the past bringing back to light the band's logo that you can find on the 1972 eponymous album but also suggests a touch of modernity and the evolution of the overall sound...

The excellent opener "Angeli mutanti" (Mutant angels) conjures up in music and words some strange creatures, nameless shapes that can fly under the radars without wings and feathers, emotionally charged but innocuous, invisible demons without a plan... The vocal style of Pericle Sponzilli and Erika Savastani is very different from that of the original vocalist Henryk Topel Cabanes but the result is good anyway.

The following "Alba" (Dawn) tells of a metaphorical quest for the rising sun and a better day, beyond time and space. The music and lyrics show the way out from a dark landscape filled with lies... Then it's the turn of the melancholic ballad "Johnny e Adele", featuring the guest Gianfranco Coletta on guitar. The music and lyrics here evoke a beautiful girl dancing on the beach on the notes of a guitar and the dreams of a guitarist in love...

The dreamy, melodic "Cosa nascondono le nuvole" (What the clouds hide) features the guest Nicola Di Staso on guitar and tells of far horizons hidden by the clouds, white mountains hanging over the sea, far rocks that seem too steep for climbing. Then the clouds are blown away and a pure sky reappears, the obstacles melt, there are no more steep rocks to climb up and you can have a new start... Next comes "The Beat Goes On (Come la canzone)" (The beat goes on - As the song), a piece veined of nostalgia featuring Fernando Fera (from another historic Roman band, Alberomotore) on guitar who also wrote the lyrics. It's an acoustic ballad in a singer-songwriter style about the magic of music and its power to take you back in time and stir emotions...

"Tempo" (Time), according to the liner notes, was inspired by "When Marnie Was There", a 2014 Japanese anime psychological drama film written and directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi. It's a beautiful track evoking lakes, islands and exotic landscapes blurred by time and vivid memories of someone you can't forget... Here the music every now and again could recall Genesis and Pink Floyd.

"A dritta San Salvador" (To starboard San Salvador) is another dreamy track where the music and lyrics evoke a romantic adventure on the Caribbean Sea and conjure up black sirens and wild dances on a beach, emotional shipwrecks and dark magic... Next comes the ironic, carefree "Una sola immagine" (A single image) featuring lyrics written by Italian pop singer Nada Malanima, an old friend of the band, dealing in a light way with loneliness and time passing by.

Introduced by an almost solemn marching beat, the following "Io sono qui" (I am here) is a piece full of positive energy that depicts an experience of daily rebirth made with the help of a sensei, a spiritual master whose words are like a chant to follow in the morning light... Then beautiful instrumental "La pista e il miraggio" (The track and the mirage) closes the album mixing vintage sounds and exotic atmospheres.

On the whole, an excellent good album, even if very different from the sound of Reale Accademia di Musica eponymous debut work.

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Studio Album, 2019
3.73 | 32 ratings

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Summarisk Suite
Panzerpappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

Three years after "Pestrottedans" there is a new, meanwhile seventh album by Panzerpappa. The line-up has remained almost identical to its predecessor and currently consists of: Steinar B�rve (saxophone, Akai EWI, keyboards), Trond Gjellum (drums, percussion, samples, sounds), Anders Kristian Krabber�d (bass, Chapman Stick, keyboards), Jarle Storl�kken (guitar, keyboards, accordion) and Torgeir Wergeland S�rbye (keyboards). On the musical side, the band from Oslo has not changed very much either, because a purely instrumental, rather loose-fluffy Jazz Rock / Avant / Progressive Rock style of playing still determines the approach of the five-piece.

The six again completely instrumental pieces on the album, apart from the short Permutert Panzerrock, all in the range of seven to nine minutes, offer the well-known Canterbury-inspired jazz rock with some chamber rock and retro-prog outings. Twisted guitar runs combine with a gentle but concise saxophone (often soprano) and various key sounds, the latter sometimes lending the music a slightly symphonic note, especially when it sounds like Mellotron (e.g. in Algerisk Symfo). Every now and then an accordion provides additional timbres, brass-like music can also be heard from time to time (from the EWI- electronic wind instrument).

The music slides out of the speakers quite loosely and melodiously and at the same time quite tricky, sometimes at a leisurely pace as in Belgerisk improv and Revidert Malist, but mostly quite brisk and voluminous. Variety, colorful arrangements and complexity ensure that, despite all the exhilaration, the music never runs the risk of drifting into shallow waters. The band can also rock a little harder, like towards the end of Algerisk Symfo, where the strings are touched a little more robustly. The final serial ballad, which in phases dissolves into largely free sounds, is quite out of the ordinary.

Even if the band is sometimes associated with the not always easy-to-appreciate style of Rock, the Norwegians are by no means always too bulky in their musical interpretation. The lively compositional approach of the formation, which has been active since the 90s, on the one hand, and the pensive, melancholy moods on the other, ensure a lasting listening impression, which is held together by a largely harmonious, melodic basic orientation.

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Studio Album, 2016
3.96 | 83 ratings

BUY
Second Split
Amoeba Split Canterbury Scene

Review by prog_traveller!!

Amoeba Split from Galicia released their last record in 2010. I almost assumed that the formation no longer exists. So in 2016 they present "Second Split", and as the title suggests, it is only the group's second full-length album. The disc was released on CD by the Mexican label Azarafan Media. However, the album can be found in the distribution of Musea and therefore also in Europe. Otherwise you can of course download the material from the relevant pages (e.g. the band's bancamp page).

The line-up of Amoeba Split has changed little despite the 6 years that have passed since its predecessor was released. The rhythm department is the same and there were no changes on keys and sax either. Maria Toro is no longer there. A new flutist (or another saxophonist) came for them. A brass player has also been hired, so you there is no vocals on this album.

In terms of style, Amoeba Split's music has hardly changed. However, this Canterbury-inspired retro jazz program comes out of the speakers even more colorful, voluminous and complex than on "Dance of the Goodbyes". Keys, bass and drums create a dense jazzy-prog base over which the winds solo is sounding particularly like brass rock. Keys (swirling and honking synthesizers, sparkling electric piano, piano and also Mellotron-like things) and bass (which sometimes growls in large numbers) are very dominant and provide clear Canterbury references. Hatfield and the North, National Health are not too far away from this music, but Amoeba Split produce something related with a character of their own. The compositions are very varied and provided with a rich, wonderfully warm sound. Sax and trumpet add lots of splashes of color, the flute often swings up to lively solos, plus guest musicians on vibraphone and string instruments, in "The book of days" even a complete string quartet. The band is very dynamic and powerful, almost hypnotically intense. In addition, there are also more delicate moments, often determined by acoustic guitar interludes, sometimes enriched with electronic and tape recordings ("Backwards all the time"). Whether fast or carried, the music is always very sonorous and colorful.

The Spanish colleagues from Planeta Imaginario, make (or have made) similar music, with Amoeba Split playing is a bit more rocky and retro-prog. Anyone who appreciates Canterbury-like and jazzy retro-prog (in a modern way) is definitely in the right place. Strong!

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