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Showing posts from February, 2021

Sonus Umbra - 2016 - Beyond the Panopticon

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(43:14; Sonus Umbra) Track list: 1. Grotesquerie 6:33 2. Alone Together Alone 8:52 3. Blood and Diamonds 9:00 4. Paramnesia 5:06 5. Love Undone 4:33 6. Channel Zero 9:10 Line-up: Roey Ben-Yoseph - vocals, percussion Tim McCaskey - guitars Brittany Moffitt - vocals Luis Nasser - bass, effects, percussion Rich Poston - guitars, keyboards Steve Royce - flute, keyboards Andy Tillotson - drums, guitars with : Colleen Corning - clarinets David Keller - cello Prolusion. US band SONUS UMBRA, while initially starting out down in Mexico, have been a feature in the US progressive rock scene for close to two decades by now, releasing their first album under the Sonus Umbra moniker back in the year 2000. "Beyond the Panopticon" is the fifth of their six studio albums so far, and was self released in 2016. Analysis. Sonus Umbra is one more of those bands that can be challenging to pigeonhole into one specific tradition of progressive rock, and personally I'd like to attach the good, ol

Eyesberg - 2021 - Claustrophobia

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(48:48; Progressive Promotion Records) Track list: 1. Claustrophobia 11:01 2. Strange Boy 5:00 3. Walking in Storms 9:35 4. Salamander Tree 3:10 5. Sacrifice 6:31 6. We Want You Out! 3:43 7. Into the Asylum 6:27 8. Final Ride 3:21 Line-up: Georg Alfter - guitars, bass Norbert Podien - keyboards, programming Malcolm Shuttleworth - vocals Jimmy Keegan - drums, percussion Emma Edingloh - backing vocals with: Erica Van Gilst - voice Prolusion. German band EYESBERG has a history that goes back to the early 1980's, but as a creative and recording unit they didn't really get going until the band reformed back in 2014. Since then they have released new material at a steady pace. In February 2021 the band was ready with their third studio album, "Claustrophobia", which was released through German label Progressive Promotion Records. Analysis. Eyesberg have been categorized as a neo-progressive band ever since the release of their first studio album, and while they aren't t

Kenny Bissett - 2020 - Broken Wilderness

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(62:53; Kenny Bissett) Track list: 1. Overload 5:14 2. Drawing Shadows 4:34 3. Now 5:15 4. Lost 4:02 5. Broken Wilderness 8:35 6. Awoken 4:41 7. Landslide 4:10 8. Your Chance 3:57 9. Sometimes 5:26 10. Hope Hear Me Now 3:11 11. The Mourning After 5:41 12. World Around Me 8:07 Line-up: Kenny Bissett - vocals, guitars, bass, synthesizers, drums, programming Patric Farrell - guitars, Mellotron Prolusion. US composer and musician Kenny BISSETT can trace his history as an active musician back to the 1980's, although the demands of life have made it a spare time passion for most of his life from what I understand. A few years back he appeared as the vocalist for progressive rock band Built For The Future, and his tenure in that band appears to have inspired his own creative impulses as well. "Broken Wilderness" is Bissett's first solo album, and was self-released towards the end of 2020. Analysis. When reading up on the background of Bissett, it became clear that he is insp

Bruno Karnel - 2020 - Evaporation Des Voix Off (Live)

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(38:59: Bruno Karnel) Track list: 1. Apres-Demain 3:52 2. Nuit des Olmeques 3:28 3. Adour 5:26 4. Et Pourtant, Elle Tourne 4:41 5. Au Gre De Tes Planetes 3:34 6. Iles Espace 9:02 7. Wetaye 4:29 8. En Ti Solo 4:27 Line-up: Sonia - cajon, vocals Julien Waghon - bass Bruno Karnel - vocals, guitars, charango Prolusion. French composer and musician Brono KARNEL isn't an artist I am all that familiar with, but I see he has been quite the active artist over the past decade or so, with more than a dozen releases to his name from 2011 and onward. His most recent production is the album "Evaporation Des Voix Off (Live)", which was self released towards the end of 2020. Analysis. Despite the title of this album, it would appear that this isn't what you might call a proper live album, but rather a live in studio affair, with a small band given some aid by pre recorded instruments on a backing tape. From what I can hear it is a rather honest affair within this context though, as m

Markus Reuter - 2020 - Sun Trance

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(36:24; Moonjune Records) Austria based composer and guitarist Markus REUTER has had a solo career going for more than 20 years, and in the last decade in particular he has become increasingly productive in his non-band related projects. In 2020 he released half a dozen albums or thereabouts, and I believe all of them came to life through US label Moonjune Records. "Sun Trance" is one of those albums, and was made available towards the end of the summer season of 2020. Unlike most of the other albums by Reuter in 2020, "Sun Trance" is a live recording, and it is from a performance that took place in 2017. It is also a commissioned work, and what further separates it from many other albums by Reuter is that he is backed by a full ensemble here, Mannheimer Schlagwerk, as well as vibraphonist Dennis Kuhn. 12 musicians in total, including Reuter. The intriguing bit here is that the music itself is of a very delicate and careful nature. Layered, gentle metal percussion d

Matterhorn - 2020 - Outside

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(45:48; Apollon Records) Norwegian band MATTERHORN  is a venture that has developed at a slow but steady pace ever since 2013 as the creative vehicle of composer and vocalist Tommy Sebastian Halseth. The end result is the album "Outside", which was released through Norwegian label Apollon Records at the end of the fall season of 2020. While I understand that Halseth has his main background from the Norwegian heavy metal scene, he explores some rather different aspects of his creativity with Matterhorn. The atmospheric laden landscapes conjured here are much closer to what one might find on the albums made in the Gilmour-era albums of a band like Pink Floyd, with gentle guitar motifs, floating keyboards and a liberal amount of of Mellotron effects coming and going to create layered, majestic and mournful soft eruptions. Complete with some fine guitar solo runs in the same tradition, controlled and often delicate, fragile lead vocals and the obligatory presence of female backin

A Gardening Club Project - 2021 - The Time Trilogy

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(14:45; Melodic Revolution Records) Canadian project THE GARDENING CLUB is the creative vehicle of composer and musician Martin Springett, named after his solo album from 1983. In recent years this project has sprung to life releasing new material at a steady pace, with two albums appearing in the last three years or so. At the start of 2021 an EP appeared, with A Gardening Club Project named as the artist name, something that indicates that this production is something of an offshoot from the regular one I presume. The EP is named "The Time Trilogy", and was released through US label Melodic Revolution Records. The material on this trilogy does take a few steps away from what I can recall The Gardening Club explored on their first two albums. At least the opening two songs, that to my ears mainly revolve around world music instruments and rhythms, with a wee bit of jazz thrown in for good measure alongside elements that may be pulled from either progressive rock or classical

Flight 09 - 2020 - 10515

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(43:49; Iosis) Veteran Uzbekistan band FLIGHT 09 have been around in one form or another for a good 35 years at this point, and have been releasing material at a fairly steady pace ever since 1990. Their most recent album "10515" appeared towards the tail end of 2020, and was released through the Tashkent based label Iosis. In many cultures, 13 is regarded as an unlucky number, and if one were to be superstitious that would be a bad omen for this veteran band, as "10515" is their 13th studio album to date. In this case I rather suspect that any bad omens will be laid to rest though, as from what I have heard by this band so far, this most recent album of theirs is also their most interesting one by far. It would appear they have changed their line-up a bit since their last album appeared a couple of years back, and while I cannot trace detailed information about just how much I am reasonably sure that their current vocalist is a new one, and a singer that goes in gu

Tool - 2019 - Fear Inoculum

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(79:10; RCA Records) I first came across Tool back in 1996 when I was sent a copy of ‘├ćnima’ to review by the record label. I knew they were special, and I knew they were going to be big, but no-one back then knew just how big they would become. To put them into context, prior to this album there had just been two others since 1996, and prior to the album release this had already sold 13 million copies in the States alone. Oh, and along the way they have picked up four Grammy Awards to go with the multi-platinum discs on their walls. One wonders what many of their fans would say to hear them being described as a truly progressive artist, but that is what they are. They are experimental, post metal, prog metal and so much more, all wrapped in a style which is commercialised and somehow makes sense while never following any particular fad or fashion. No other band really sounds like Tool, often Tool do not sound like Tool, and while it is possible to create a massive list of potential

Traumhaus - 2001 - Ausgeliefert

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(77:54; Progressive Promotion Records [2014 Edition] ) Although released in 2014, this is actually a reissue of the progressive band’s self-titled debut album from 2001, here with new artwork, a new title, plus two bonus songs “Die Reise” and “Die andere Seite”. These were originally recorded in 2005 and were intended to be released on an EP, but that did not happen and although they were included on the second album ‘Die Andrere Seite’, they are no longer available on the current version of that release. For whatever reason, this German band has never been the most prolific in the genre, with only four albums in the last 20 years, but signing to Progressive Promotion for their third, ‘Das Geheimnis’ in 2013, saw that label reissue the first two. Although I had heard the last two albums, this was the first time I had come across the debut so was interested to see how it stood up against the more recent material and the answer to that is very well indeed. To my ears they are an incr