Album Review: Azure. – Wish For Spring

AZUREConcept driven ‘classic’ progressive rock has had a bit of a bad run recently – well, for this cynic at least, anyway. Neal Morse’s album and Dream Theater’s He-Whomst-Must-Not-Be-Named have left a sour taste in the mouths of many, especially for the latter’s hollow and copious ballads. Imagine my surprise when Azure.’s debut album comes and flaunts classic prog worship; 19-minute conceptual narratives and power ballads like they’re going out of fashion. With Wish For Spring, Azure. has breathed new life into the seemingly doomed prog stereotype with daring vocals, exciting song concepts and a pinch of sex appeal that makes for one of the strongest prog records from this year so far.

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Album Review: Marillion – F*** Everyone And Run

image_72dd47c1-1b6f-4035-8cae-797c44db9514_1024x1024Imagine this: a progressive rock band with 18 previous albums and almost three decades comprising of the same line up, making a politically fuelled album titled F*** Everyone And Run that’s initialized as FEAR. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, doesn’t it? Surprisingly, Marillion avoid a potential blunder, and instead build on their strengths from their previous album, Sounds That Can’t Be Made, and salvage classic prog from the rather embarrassing state of affairs its big names have been in this year. Continue reading

Album Review: Watchtower – Concepts of Math: Book One

maxresdefault-2Watchtower 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

Album Review: Levin Minnemann Rudess – From the Law Offices Of

It speaks volumeslmr of a band when a musician’s side project surpasses it in quality. Such a case in the prog world is Transatlantic, which blew away The Flower Kings, Marillion and Dream Theater with their 2009 release The Whirlwind at a time where the parent bands weren’t faring all that too well. The same can be said of Levin Minnemann Rudess, well, at least a third of it – From the Law Offices Of is the trio’s second prog / jazz fusion showcase which flaunts the instrumental creativity and energy that many prog bands – namely Dream Theater – so sorely lack nowadays. Continue reading

Album Review: Plini – Handmade Cities

a2040672325_10Unless you’ve been living under a progressive rock, you’ll have heard of Plini – the budding Australian guitarist who has stormed his way to the forefront of melodic prog from the comfort of his bedroom. Handmade Cities is his first full length album following a trilogy of EPs and tests Plini‘s ability at lengthy songwriting, producing another display of self celebration.

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Album Review: Dream the Electric Sleep – Beneath the Dark Wide Sky

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzDream the Electric Sleep return with their third album Beneath the Dark Wide Sky following the highly acclaimed Heretics – an album which was commended for bridging the gap between modern prog and accessibility. However, here we see the American trio leaping over to the poppier side of nu-prog and burning this bridge behind them, ditching experimentation for a safe, arena rock record.

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Album Review: Haken – Affinity

haken_affinity_blogofeniaIt’s time… for the possible album of the year to get a review, without any mercy! Let’s do this!

Alright, for those of you who lived under a rock for the last 6 years: Haken is an English progressive metal band that is mainly influenced by Dream Theater, Gentle Giant, Devin Townsend, Opeth and, of course, King Crimson. In 2010 they released their debut album Aquarius. The album was dark, heavy but also jazzy. Two albums and one EP later they released their fourth album: Affinity. Continue reading

Album Review: IQ – The Wake

289788_1_fAt the end of the 70’s the progressive rock genre almost died. Peter Gabriel left Genesis, Yes wrote songs like Owner of a lonely heart and King Crimson seemed to be abandoned by the great Robert Fripp himself. Punk music and 80’s metal kicked in and prog became “uncool”. Fortunately there were bands like Marillion, and Asia. These neo-prog bands saved prog from its own grave! Continue reading