Back in 2015, Irish-based progressive rock band The Dystopian Project released their debut album, Death Leaves an Echo. I had mixed feelings about it… It was promising, but failed to grasp my interest and illuminate my imagination with a firm hand and a brilliant light. Two years later, almost day for day, Dublin’s quintet comes back with Paradigm, their sophomore album. Will they succeed or will this be their second strike?
What better, thought I, than to celebrate our fathers, and those among us who father, than to share some of the best dad prog out there. As you may know, I have quite a history of opposing that rather subjective subgenre, but, despite all its cheesiness and retrogressive flaws, I do have a soft spot for some songs. A few indeed are able of breaching the shell and reach my hard, cold heart and warm it ever so slightly. Father’s Day is usually celebrated on the third Sunday of June, but many countries digress. But since I’m in a country that’s part of the majority, I’m writing this today, in honour of the fathers who are there for their children, for the fathers who aren’t, and for the fathers who have been there. I’ve gathered the opinions of the other admins of the page as well, so here’s a list of some good dad prog.
Neal Morse – Cradle to the Grave (One)
This duet with Neal Morse is the emotional tale of a father and his child, and though it’s simple, cliché, and not inventive the slightest, it’s effective, and struck a chord with me. I hope it does with you as well. The album, and whole Neal Morse solo project, is very Christian and preaching, but some of his compositions manage to get us through it all.
The Tangent – A Crisis in Mid-Life (Not as Good as the Book)
This whole (double-)album is just the pinnacle of dad prog. On one side, it’s a concept album about a midlife crisis – you could hardly get more dad than that -, but on the other side, the music is really inspired, progressive, and interesting Canterbury-style progressive rock. It deals lyrically with some subjects that are difficult to get right, as they can sound fake, edgy, or cliché, but on this album they have all ben executed to near perfection. Even the mini-novel that comes with the physical edition of the disc is an emotional tale of nostalgia and futurism centred around progressive rock that manages to work.
Crucis – Recluso artista (Crucis)
Crucis are one of Argentina’s most iconic prog bands. Although some obvious influences like Yes and Genesis, and even Jethro Tull are notorious, they still hold that special sound and style that made our national progressive rock stand out. Their balance between complex arrangements, technical passages, and catchy melodies and good jams, are sure to make you sing along to it!
Happy Father’s Day.
The new prog supergroup Nova Collective, encompassing the bands Between the Buried and Me, Haken, Cynic, and Trioscapes, is soon releasing The Further Side. They play some damning good tunes, as demonstrated in the video above, and in the other ones that they’ve published, but everyone calling their music ‘new’, ‘pushing boundaries’, or ‘next level’ is only putting their musical illiteracy in broad daylight. Here’s why, in a relatively short rant. Continue reading
The Tangent is one of my favourite progressive rock groups, or, in this case, supergroup. Admittedly, their delivery is far from being consistent, and ranges from the tremendous Not as Good as the Book (2008) and Le sacre du travail (2013) to the very lacklustre Comm (2011) and A Spark in the Aether (2015). So, it’s always a case of cautious excitement whenever Andy Tillison’s Canterbury-inspired prog rock outfit announces something new. Here comes ‘A Few Steps down the Wrong Road’, a 19-minute epic that was released in August of last year, in anticipation of the band’s upcoming album, The Slow Rust of Forgotten Machinery. Continue reading
After I completely shat over all that you love, I think it’s time to counterbalance with something more positive. No, 2016 wasn’t only shit, and yes, I do love well-executed progressive music. Maybe the bigger names did disappoint, but many smaller ones surprised, or, at least, met the expectations. So, without further ado, here’s a short, unranked list of the great things the year had to offer. Continue reading
There are countless websites posting their ‘best-of-the-year’ lists. Much fewer, in comparison, write about the worst releases. And, since I’m apparently now well-known for having a passionate love for the prog – which means I’ll immediately repugnate bands and artists who make poor prog -, I thought this would be quite fitting for me.
Let’s establish some standards, before we begin. First, of course I won’t be discussing the absolute worst releases of the year. That would mean listening to an innumerable number of practically unknown bands and garbage with practically no resource, talent, and inspiration. I’ll be focusing my sights on the progressive rock and metal genres, with a particular attention to the bigger names of the scenes. Why? Because, as renowned artists, they have to live up to higher expectations. Whether this is good or bad will not be discussed, here, but it’s a fact. Failure to do so will summon a strong divide in their fan base: on one side, the fanboys and fangirls of the band, and, on the other side, the reasonable persons. Continue reading
Unexpect is a band that’s gone longer than most imagine. The Montreal progressive death metal formation started out in 1996, three years before releasing their debut, Utopia. This album sounds like a totally different band, with its melodic death metal and black metal influences. After a few lineup changes, including the apparition of singer Leilindel and bassist Chaoth, the band released _wE, Invaders, an EP that foretells their now-famous avant-garde death metal style.
In a Flesh Aquarium was their breakthrough album, and Unexpect then saw global popularity and were now a widely acclaimed band. Five years later, Fables of the Sleepless Empire came out and would prove to be the band’s final album, after deciding to pull the plug on the project in 2015.
Neal Morse has an extensive and respectable history, in progressive rock. His first album was Spock’s Beard’s The Light, out in 1995. After many other albums, he also went as a solo artist (1999), founded Transatlantic (2000), Morse Portnoy George (2006), Flying Colors (2012), and, most recently, The Neal Morse Band (2015). In total, he’s now behind 25 studio albums (and that’s without counting his worship and exclusive albums). His progressive rock compositions, especially after leaving Spock’s Beard, have a very characteristic sound to them, recognizable among many.
Silo – Noah’s Lark (progressive rock/math rock)
Burial in the Sky – Persistence of Thought (progressive/technical death metal)
Noise Trail Immersion – Womb (progressive mathcore)
Strobes – Brokespeak (progressive/math rock/electronica/jazz)
Animals as Leaders – The Madness of Many (progressive/technical metal/djent)
The Neal Morse Band – The Similitude of a Dream (progressive rock/metal)
Saor – Guardians (progressive/atmospheric black metal)
Troika – My Brain Is a Receiver (progressive/post-rock)
Second to Sun – Blackbound (progressive metal/djent/black metal)
Hieroglyph – Ouroboros (progressive symphonic death metal)
Maschine – Naturalis (progressive symphonic rock)
Protest the Hero – Pacific Myth (progressive metal)
A Sense of Gravity – Atrament (progressive death metal/metalcore)
Oni – Ironshore (progressive death metal/djent)
Watchtower might be the antithesis of a prolific band, with two albums and an EP in over twenty years, but they show they are still alive with Concepts of Math: Book One, a five-track EP serving as a foreplay to their upcoming full-length, Mathematics.
In the years between Control and Resistance and Concepts of Math: Book One, main guitarist Ron Jarzombek has gone through a lot: Spastic Ink, Gordian Knot, Blotted Science, Terrestrial Exiled, and a solo album, as well as many guest appearances. His works on twelve-tone serialism, most important in Blotted Science and Terrestrial Exiled, have clearly made a huge impact on his compositional style and overall sound. So much so that the new Watchtower doesn’t sound like it used to, but rather a new form of Ron’s serialist composition. Continue reading