NOVALIS Vielleicht Bist Du Ein Clown ? (Symphonic Prog, 1978)

Review by Tarcisio Moura — My P.A. colleague and good friend Kenneth Levine claims that Novalis found its voice with this
album. I am not sure if I totally agree with that statement, since I still haven´t heard much of
their later material, but it is clear that Vielleicht Bist Du Ein Clown ? is a different LP of
sorts. I supposed everybody thought they would embrace the pop market after the previous Brandung,
but that was not what happened. Sure, the extensive, side long, opus are gone forever, but the prog
element is still here. And if they were courting the charts they probably would not open the new
album with an 8 minute+ song that is also drenched with mellotrons (who was still using that
instrument in the disco dominated year of 1978?).

Read more

BLACK SABBATH Black Sabbath (Prog Related, 1970)

Review by martindavey87 — Music fads come and go so quickly that it's hard to keep up with a lot of them. That's why when Black Sabbath firmly
established the genre of heavy metal (whether they solely created it or not is a different debate for another time) back
in 1970, it's amazing that's it's stood the test of time and is still going strong today as one of the most popular genres
of music in the world.

Read more

DREAM THEATER Hollow Years (Progressive Metal, 1997)

Review by martindavey87 — 'Hollow Years' is an incredible song, and definitely one of Dream Theater's most memorable and catchy ballads, and
releasing it as a single/EP is fully justified, however, it's the extra material that leaves this release feeling slightly
lacking.

First off, 'Hollow Years'... great song. No need to have the radio edit alongside the album version though. Does anyone
ever listen to these edited versions? Didn't think so. 'You or Me', a demo version of 'You Not Me' is a nice touch, but
not as polished as the finished track. The main reason I like these kinds of discs is for the b-sides and non-album
tracks, in which case here we have 'The Way It Used to Be'. It's an alright song. A bit bland if I'm honest. I can
understand why it wasn't included on the 'Falling Into Infinity' album.

Read more

PLATITUDE Secrets of Life (Progressive Metal, 2003)

Review by martindavey87 — 'Secrets of Life' is the debut album by the relatively unknown Platitude, and can best be described as a "generic power
metal album". I don't mean this in a bad way, but there's really not much that can be said about it. It's a solid record,
with some great compositions and polished production, and perfectly blends elements from power, progressive and
speed metal. There's also some strong neo-classical vibes to some of the songs, which always adds some nice flavour.
But overall, there's just nothing groundbreaking or amazing that sets them apart from similar bands.

Read more

LIFESIGNS Cardington (Neo-Prog, 2017)

Review by proghaven — A front page news: Galadriel's Calibrated Collision Course has laid a delayed egg. That studio album from 2008 was heavily criticized by
special collaborators, prog reviewers and ordinary members (here at Prog Archives, on the respective page, you can see how it was
criticized and how lowly it was rated). I nevertheless dared suppose that it could announce a new paradigm for prog music, and now, with
the release of a new studio album from Lifesigns, I see that this may be true. The opening track, lapidary entitled N (sic!), shows the band's
approach to building the relationships between musical sounds following... no, not Galadriel's 2008 prescriptions but Galadriel's 2008
algorithm for making up a prescription. It sounds very unusual and fresh.

Read more

GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress (Post Rock/Math rock, 2015)

Review by Warthur — Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress is a Godspeed album which might trip up even long-time listeners of the band; the
opening and closing tracks are masterful post-rock compositions of the standard we have come to expect from the
Canadian unit, but the middle two tracks get a certain amount of flak, being as they are wild improvisational jams.

Read more

PANDORA SNAIL War and Peace (Eclectic Prog, 2015)

Review by kev rowland —

Having really enjoyed the Russian band's live album from last year, I have now finally come across their debut studio album from 2015.
Yet again I am amazed at the quality of the music and just how enjoyable this is the very first time I played it, growing to love it even
more with each repeated play. Virtually instrumental, the band that one immediately starts to compare them with is Kansas due to the
way that the violin is often taking the lead role, but they are influenced by way more than just one band and acts as diverse as King
Crimson, Art Zoyd and Frank Zappa have all had their part to play with this album. It is complex and highly structured, with melodies
and counter melodies repeated on different instruments (always nice to hear pure piano take a lead role), yet there is a vitality and
breath of life through the whole piece. It is music that in some ways does take a lot of listening to, to gain the most benefit, yet at the
same time is also immediate and transparent.

Read more

CLIVE NOLAN King's Ransom (Neo-Prog, 2017)

Review by The Jester — Clive Nolan is one of the greatest musicians in the modern Progressive Rock music scene. His name
is involved in a rather big number of bands or projects, such as Pendragon, Arena, Casino,
Shadowland and others.
However, as Clive told me once, he always has been a great fan of musicals. For that reason, he
co-operated with the Polish singer Agnieszka Swita, and together they established The Caamora
Theatre Company; a theatrical/musical project. In 2008 he released his first musical named as She.
(The story was based on the book with the same name, written by H. Rider Haggard).
His second musical was Alchemy and it was released in 2013. The plot took place in Victorian
England in 'Alchemy Universe', and it was based on a fictional story, written by him.
When I bought Alchemy, I couldn't believe how wonderful it was, and I have no idea how many times
I listened to it! (Even today, it still is one of my most beloved albums of the last decade).
When I learned about King's Ransom, which is the sequel of Alchemy, I wasn't very surprised,
mainly due to the fact that at the end of Alchemy there was a hint that the story could be continued
in the future. I was also a little bit worried, because Alchemy was a really great album and I
wasn't sure if he could repeat something like that again. Thankfully, my fears were unfounded'
I pre-ordered King's Ransom, and what I received was a box set, including 4 CD's, 1 DVD and 3
booklets. A very impressive and expensive production as it seems.
Now, let's take a look at the album itself.
It is divided in 2 parts (Act I & Act II), and includes 33 tracks in total. Don't forget that
this is not a Progressive Rock album, it's a musical.
For the recordings of the album, Clive used 6 musicians and 11 singers who play the different
characters of the story.
In comparison with Alchemy, I think that King's Ransom is more sophisticated, and a bit 'darker'.
The music is astonishing once more, and it changes according to the situations that the characters
find themselves in. As for the performance of the singers, it is excellent on most occasions. (But
that's totally a matter of personal taste).
I will not get into details for each song separately, because that is an unfair thing to do. The
songs follow a story line, and each of them has something to offer to the story. Therefore, there
might be some songs not so 'strong' like others, but they add something and they move the story
forward.
Also, I enjoyed the dialogues that bind the songs together, because it gives a theatrical touch to
the album.
Despite the fact that I put the CD's in my CD player and listen to them without skipping not even
one song, there are some songs that I enjoy more than others. Some of them are the following:
Act I: Poison Runs the Course, Silent Army, The Deal is Made, Legend of the Unicorn Orchid, and of
course the wonderful Solitary Man, with the fantastic voice of Gemma Ashley. (Goosebumps. Everytime!)
Act II: In Harm's Way, Stand Fast, Turning the Tables, St Paul's and Epilogue.
I will conclude this by saying that, King's Ransom is a definite must-have for every fan of Clive
Nolan, but not only for them. Every person can enjoy this, because it is definitely a serious piece
of art! I don't know about you, but I know I am going to enjoy it for a long long time.
And as Clive Nolan writes in the first page of the booklet; 'Turn the lights down, and the
speakers up' and immerse yourself once more in the 'Alchemy Universe''
My rating: 5 solid stars without a second thought.

Read more

FRESH MAGGOTS Fresh Maggots (Prog Folk, 1971)

Review by kenethlevine — The dawn of the 1970s was rife with music like this - acoustically dominated folk with string and acidic
accents, and idealistic lyrics with occasional protestations. Artists like FOREST, COMUS, JAN DUKES DE GREY,
SPIROGYRA, and DONOVAN passed through before or during this duo's brief brush with fame. Others like
STRAWBS and NICK DRAKE had merged folk rock with strings quite deftly. Yet somehow FRESH MAGGOTS
produced a single album that was distinct enough to warrant your consideration even in this overcrowded
field. Their brilliant harmonies, lush strumming style, instinct around economical arrangements, and sheer
youthful enthusiasm more than compensate for any shortcomings, which in any case they make no effort to
hide, only accenting their off the charts likability. That they were only 19 at the time of recording is hard to
fathom yet paradoxically might explain all.

Read more

GENESIS Abacab (Symphonic Prog, 1981)

Review by FalconBleck — #1 Review

This is the worst Genesis album (yes, worse than Calling All Stations), this will probably change since i'm still unable to understand why some people love this album... being the worst Genesis album, is not that bad and it's also not saying much, you just have to live here in latin america, hear the most modern radio and then you'll know what horrible music is.

Read more