A man who needs very little introduction: Steven Wilson, widely considered to be the flagbearer of 21st century progressive rock, has just released his fifth solo LP, To the Bone. Alongside its announcement earlier this year, Wilson stated that he would be departing from his usual brooding prog rock aesthetic in favour of more straightforward pop rock. As you may well imagine, this caused quite the stir amongst his followers.
Following 2015’s emotive Hand. Cannot. Erase., and the instrumental excellence of the 2016 EP, 4½, the singles released from To the Bone showed a big shift in Wilson‘s sound and songwriting. But is To the Bone on the same calibre of quality as his other albums? Can he still be considered the frontrunner of modern progressive rock?
Join Cerpin, Leth, Sacul, Frog and guest writer SirPent as they scrutinize To the Bone – the biggest, and potentially the most controversial, prog release of 2017. Will they commend or condemn Wilson‘s evolvement? There’s only one way to find out, it’s time for another Roundabout!
We’d like to remind you that our Roundabout reviews are compilations of each Prog Talk admin’s subjective opinions established after multiple listens of an album. While we may have expressed our thoughts on the album beforehand, we do not collude while writing our reviews. So without further ado, let’s talk Steven Wilson:
Boston-based art rock act Bent Knee have been about since their 2011 self-titled release, and on the playlists of almost every Prog Talk admin since their explosive 2014 sophomore release in Shiny Eyed Babies and the excellent Say So from last year.
The band has gained a reputation for pushing the boundaries of pop, rock and the avant-garde simultaneously, and many here at Prog Talk would gladly label them the most exciting upcoming act of the 2010s.
That said, does their most recent release, Land Animal, live up to our notably high expectations? Are we asking too much of the band? Will Leth, Cerpin and Symphony make it to the 21st Century? Find out the answer to all of these questions on this upcoming episode of… “Roundabout“!
As ever, we’d like to remind you that our Roundabouts are compilations of each Prog Talk admin’s individual and subjective opinions. While we may or may not have expressed our thoughts on the album in private beforehand, we do not collude while writing our reviews. So without further ado, let’s talk progressive art rock.
Five years after near complete radio silence, Tetrafusion are back.
Their last release, the crowdfunded 2012 EP Horizons, caught some attention in the progressive world, but progressive metal group Tetrafusion were somewhat eclipsed by the rising popularity of instrumental prog metal group Scale the Summit, of which Tetrafusion’s bassist Mark Michell and drummer J.C. Bryant were a part of. After a messy affair in late 2016, Scale the Summit was left with only Chris Letchford at the helm – but we’re not going to be opening that can of worms today. What’s important is that Tetrafusion released their 3rd full length album, Dreaming of Sleep, back in April this year, an album which was anticipated by Prog Talk admins, Frog and Cerpin.
And so Frog and Cerpin take to the Roundabout once more to muse over Dreaming of Sleep – but do they reach the same conclusions about the album?
We’d like to remind you lovely people that our Roundabouts are compilations of each Prog Talk admin’s individual and subjective opinions. We do not collude whilst writing our reviews, though some admins hold their tongues better than others. So without further ado let’s talk prog!
All the way back in 2012, Alt-J, aka ∆, created an awesome wave with their debut album and put Leeds on the map of relevant patrician music – and no, Kaiser Chiefs are not patrician nor relevant. Alt-J’s successful blend of electronica, indie, folk and art pop led to An Awesome Wave winning the 2012 Mercury Prize and their sophomore album, This Is All Yours, hitting #1 on the UK Albums Chart. Calling them ‘prog’ might be a stretch, but the band’s artistic flair and proficiency in the unlikely genre of ‘folktronica’ are certainly interesting enough to make Alt-J stand out in the world of popular music.
But what of their latest record? Leth and Cerpin take Relaxer for a special ‘Beyond the Wall’ trip on our Roundabout – but do they reach the same conclusions about the album?
As ever, we’d like to remind you that our Roundabouts are compilations of each Prog Talk admin’s individual and subjective opinions. While we may or may not have expressed our thoughts on the album in private beforehand, we do not collude whilst writing our reviews. So without further ado let’s talk… indie pop?
In lieu of the sad news of Greg Lake’s passing weeks back, our second Classic Roundabout could only suitably be In the Court of the Crimson King – Greg Lake’s debut album with progressive godfathers King Crimson. Like our previous Classic Roundabout, Yes’ Close to the Edge, this album is one of classic progressive rock’s most iconic records, and is widely regarded as the epitome of the genre. Released on October 10th 1969, it’s argued that In the Court of the Crimson King was the definitive album that first formed the beginnings of progressive rock.
The original line up consisted of vocalist and bassist Greg Lake, drummer Michael Giles, Ian McDonald on woodwinds and keyboards, Peter Sinfield providing backing vocals and, of course, the sole remaining original member, Robert Fripp on guitars. King Crimson’s current incarnation, 47 years later, is miles apart from this, as the band now includes three drummers, Pat Mastelotto, Gavin Harrison and Jeremy Stacey, which makes for interesting live renditions of the band’s classic songs.
As ever, we’d like to remind you that our Roundabouts are a compilation of each Prog Talk admin’s individual views; there is no collusion or collective discussion of these albums between us during the time we write our respective reviews, so any similar comments are completely coincidental. What do you make of In the Court of the Crimson King? Do you agree with our comments? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below, and we hope you enjoy reading our thoughts. So without further ado, let’s talk classic prog:
Whilst I don’t believe that we’ve gone into any in-depth discussion on this album, we at Prog Talk feel that Thank You Scientists’ Stranger Heads Prevail deserves a little bit more attention on our part – well, at least the people who are part of this mini-Roundabout. Thank You Scientist are a progressive rock band hailing from New Jersey that flaunt a heavy jazz fusion flair, and have been making waves in the progressive music scene with their sophomore album, Stranger Heads Prevail, released July 29th 2016 through Evil Ink Records, founded by Claudio Sanchez of Coheed and Cambria fame.
But what do we make of Stranger Heads Prevail? What do YOU make of it? Feel free to share your thoughts about the albums or our reviews in the comments section below!
As ever, our Roundabouts are a compilation of each admin’s independent reviews, and collectively, Prog Talk does not have an official, unanimous stance on any album – any circle-jerking or lack thereof is completely incidental. Anyway, without further ado, let’s talk prog:
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.
While we at Prog Talk love talking about all the new progressive acts hitting the music scene, sometimes it’s great to simply revisit the classics. As such we’re starting a new segment dedicated to precisely that; where all interested admins will discuss the albums and artists who have shaped prog history.
To kick it off with a bang, we have an album which many would argue to be the most iconic prog rock album of all time. It’s time to dive into Yes and their magnum-opus, Close To The Edge.
Let’s face it; this album needs little introduction. Originally released on 13 Sept. 1972, this was Yes’ fifth studio release and quickly became one of the defining works of the progressive rock genre. In this Roundabout, we will be tackling only the three tracks found on the original version of the album.
As per usual, all reviews are written independently to avoid influencing each other. Prog Talk as a collective never has an official view on any album, but the admins each have their own. So if your opinions differ from ours, let us know! So without further ado, let’s talk prog.
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.
It’s time again for a new iteration of our Roundabout column, where all of us who desire to contribute write an independent, short review on their own before putting them all together on the site. Today’s victim is Meshuggah‘s eighth studio album, The Violent Sleep of Reason. It came out on October 7th through Nuclear Blast. Differently from their previous albums, this one has been recorded live, to capture a more honest and raw sound. It bears ten songs, and clocks in at just under an hour. Listen to the official ‘Born in Dissonance’ and ‘Clockworks’ tracks and read our views on the record below!