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Diagonal es un periodico de información alternativa
+ info www.diagonalperiodico.net
Review by sinslice — Slowly Grow on Me.
Supersister include a select group of bands that did not attract me too much ( if anything ) the
first times I heard, it was not ' love at first sight '. Although in most cases a complex and
elaborate musical product needs time to be fully appreciated and gradually discovering it, with
this Dutch band I almost give up. But fortunately I did not.
When I first heard it over twenty years ago, I was expecting a Camel style with guitars (no
guitars here) and similar emotions conveyed in the music. It was a mistake. While it was a
good influence to Latimer, Bardens and company, Supersister is more inclined to a
Canterbury sound, to give a reference, but with a personal touch.
The sound of the first two albums is similar, but here the songwriting is stronger, almost no
fillers, and ironic humor is less present. There are good tunes, well-structured and more than
" A Girl Named You" is the best work of the band, from my perspective. Ten minutes of musical
ecstasy. Start with great energy, a driving hammond and electric piano, an electrifying Bass
and perfect jazzy drums. Paragraph for the great performances of flute, wich is heard in the
background accompanying almost all song.
"No tree will grow" contains an intriguing atmosphere and is more psychedelic, starting with
keyboards to create suspense. Then Robert Jan Stips starts singing with a piano
accompanying beautiful and skillfully; the song progresses slowly in intensity, without losing
the initial atmosphere.
"Energy (Out of Future)" begins with a percussive base, then keyboards and flute. The rest is
pure instrumental delight; accurate, with many changes and some interesting vocals. An
experimental and space end.
Higher is as simple as beautiful.
Review by BatBacon — "Hymn to the immortal wind" is ironically an a bit overblown album, but I always thought of it as
"Okay" in the background while sleeping. At least a nice substitute for Sigur Rós (thats a crazy
idea, there is no such thing!) or Godspeed you! Black Emperor. But today I made the huge
mistake to pay a bit attention to the immortal wind and actually listen to it. I found that the album
is missing two important things, the first is good songwriting and the second is a decent
I've listened to progressive rock for several years now and even though many of my favorite
albums are "progressive", many of the classic albums of this "genre" has a bit of a problem with
separating epic songwriting from good, inspirational songwriting. They are not necessarily the
same thing, which Mono is making a fine example of with this album.
Seven songs, over an hour of music, but nothing here is very memorable or touching. The ideas
behind the album seems to have been to write the most beautiful, sad and epic songs on the
planet and the first five minutes of the first song you actually believe that they will. It starts off
sooooo fantastic, you really can't put it into words. Sad but beautiful guitar playing, an
outstanding and very emotional string arrangement, everything slowly builds up to the epic
climax of the song. The problem is that it never stops building, like they ran out of ideas for this
part. It just goes on and on and nothing really happens. It sounded so very promising in the
beginning, but the only climax we get is when the drummer releases his great rhythmic powers
over his drum kit in a fantastically technical performance. I guess thats how the drummer likes to
see it, anyway. In reality its goes so wrong you really can't believe your ears.
When a drummer just tries to score points with advanced fills without listening to the song, the
rhythm or the mood, the song dies like a fly on a windshield. Yasunori Takada should have done
something like the drummer of pop group Glasvegas or Mumford and sons, a simple, marching
rhythm with a lot of emotion and power, something to give the song a lift without putting itself in
center of the song. No one can be Neil Peart in a Godspeed-ish song, it would make no sense.
Especially not this drummer who really can't pull off any of the stunts he takes on.
After the first song you might think the next would be better. Its not. Different song, exactly the
same idea - "lets play this sad but beautiful guitar melody for about ten minutes while the string
section slowly builds up to the songs great climax with epic drumming and loud sounds". One
song like this is okey, but two in a row? To tell you the truth, all of the songs on the album is like
this. A great build up to an epic final that never, ever comes. Track number five is my favorite
from the album, because its only four minutes and still its just as "epic" as the ten minute songs.
I guess its hard to make instrumental albums that keep the listener interested whole the way
through, but this is certainly not how to do it. I think some vocals could have helped them,
because now the song haven't got own identities. Its more like "epic song 1", "epic song 2"... and
Also, don't go for the epic stuff without ideas for it. The classic prog albums are considered
"classic" for great songwriting, not epicness. Thats just one really great thing to spice up the
songs with. But without a good song (and great rhythms) epicness is nothing at all. Dry, boring
and very very mindless.
Review by BatBacon — - Hello, Kind of Blue!
- Hi, Batbacon!
- Say, Kind of blue! Do you consider yourself to be a progressive rock album?
- No, don't be silly! I'm just an totaly amazing jazz record!
- So how come the high rating then? You are aware that this is a site about progressive rock?
- Well, I guess people mostly are just looking for good music, progressive or not.
- So should I give you a high rating then, or what?
- Sure, I deserve it!
I was going to any way, because this is one of my favorite albums of all time. The best jazz
album of all time, no doubt at all. Its nothing progressive going on here, no Mahavishnu or Return
to Forever. Its just a bunch of really chill jazz songs and I guess thats the reason its so good.
Most of the musicians playing on this record is famous for being jazz virtuosos, playing quick and
complex music, demanding a lot from the listener. On this record it seems they all took a chill pill
before going in to the studio. With other terms, they kept it simple and minimalistic.
The album starts of with the cool "So What". The first thing you hear is the piano intro, setting the
mood for not only the song, but for the whole album. With Bill Evans in front of the piano you
know exactly which kind of jazz to expect, calm and thoughtful. He belongs to the pianists who
never play a note to many, picking out exactly the notes needed for the song. Think about how
Richard Wright would sound if he played jazz, and you get Bill Evans. But I don't think he ever
played with a band this good before or after the recording of Kind of Blue. Miles Davis, John
Coltrane and Cannonball at their best, finding great tunes within their passionate solos. They are
not famous for being this calm and minimalistic, but it suits them fantastically well.
The slow tempo creates a kind of sad mood, especially on songs like "Blue in Green" and
"Flamenco Sketches". Imagine sitting in a window looking out on a rainy town, lit by neon lights
and the moon itself. You can hear nothing but the rain against the window, except from the lonely
guy across the street, playing a sad song on his saxophone. Its really moody but oh, so beautiful.
This is what jazz should be like; More cool than awesome. Less is more, yes indeed!
Review by BatBacon — I had actually forgot how exciting this album was until I heard it on my way home from work some
days ago. I work in a small supermarket, stressful days and late nights. This night I was almost
dying of tiredness, could hardly get my ass on the bus. I guess everyone has this kind of nights,
so you probably know exactly what I mean. Then think of the feeling of finding a kind of
comfortable seat in a almost empty bus. Its almost midnight and its completely dark outside the
bus window, except for some street lights and a few cars passing by.
Usually I would listen to Dark side of the Moon or anything by Sigur Ros at nights like this, but
this night I just happened to find some old and forgotten Tangerine Dream albums on my iPod.
For some reason I remembered those as pretty hard to get into, a bit disturbing and noisy. "It was
so long ago though", I thought and put Rubycon on play and it was a great soundtrack for my
This isn't an album like you usually know it (you know, with songs and [&*!#]), but then again you
don't really expect an usual album from a german synth groupe in the 70s. That would be to
Here we have two songs only, but they stretch for over 17 minutes each. Also its hard to say if
there really is so much happening in the songs. I guess it is, but slowly and very floaty. Trying to
explain it in text would make a quite dry review, so Im not going to try that. A highly surreal
painting would probably make more sense than a text, because thats what the record seems to
be about. There is no story or any events here, this music is more like a journey to a very
strange, some how hunting but very beautiful place. Its the kind of music you can almost see
floating through the air, even though you couldn't possibly describe it to anyone.
To be a bit obiective about it (its very hard, but I´ll give it a try) this is probably not something you
listen to every day, your brain would probably transform into a mushroom if you did (a quite
fantastic mushroom with a smiling face though). This is something you listen to alone when its
really late and you are too tired for anything advanced but still want something wonderful to fill
your tired brain with. It sounds like Kraftwerk without structure, melody or vocals, which is exactly
what you need sometimes.
Review by BatBacon — This is one of my first adventures in the large and strange world of progressive rock, and what an
adventure! I have always loved everything with unusual sounds, long songs and lots of melodies.
Always been absolutely bored when listening to usual hit music. So when I heard about
progressive rock the first time, realizing it contained so many of my favorite bands (Deep Purple,
Pink Floyd, Osibisa, etc), I had to take a closer look. Emerson, Lake and Palmer´s Trilogy was
one of the most extreme things I had ever heard! So many wild rhythms, melodies colliding and
mixing with each other and the feeling of musicians who really knew how to play their
instruments! It hit me like a ton of bricks, but in a good way.
Right from the start, the mysterious opening of The Endless Enigma with all the space sounds
and effects, I knew this was going to something different. And to hear the beautiful voice of Greg
Lake for the first time, mixed with Emerson´s keyboard playing was almost unreal. It felt both
romantic, exciting and really really smart. I came to love Trilogy because it had so many different
types of songs on it, still it all worked together really good as a complete album. From the
Beginning is a nice pop-song, not as crazy as the other songs. Living Sin had a bit of Deep
Purple to it and The Sheriff just felt happy and playful. Hoedown is probably the most famous of
the Trilogy-songs and is the song I most likely would define the group by. A piece of classical
music with some of Keith Emerson'sS Hammond/Moog-magic blown in to it, and some crazy
drumming to go with it! A very typical ELP-song and it always makes me think F**K YEAH!
Even though many might think of Hoedown as the best track, I have always considered the title
track to the albums absolute peak! The song melody is so touching and beautiful, showing of
Lake as one of the greatest singers of all time. Along with the piano playing it sets a somewhat
sad mood for the song, before sneaking into a beautiful piano solo. Then its time for some more
moog and the crazy stuff kicks in. I have no theoretical knowledge about music to show off, so I
choose to explain the feeling with a beautiful metaphor. It was like all the melodies was waves in
a stormy ocean, the jazzy rhythms came down on me like heavy rain while floating out there. It
was beautiful, exciting, scary and completely nuts! I loved it, and have loved it ever since the first
time I heard it! My ex girlfriend hated it, I could not understand why. Her father yelled at me to
turn down that destructive jazz, even though it most obviously was the greatest rock-song ever
created! Not until many years later I accepted the fact that people often prefer music that keeps
to ONE melody and a simple rhythm easier to dance to. How depressing is that? But at least I
could enjoy it by myself, and thats pretty much what progressive rock is to me. Something dirty I
only listen to when there is no one else around.
Yeah, and an excellent album closer to! Abaddon's Bolero is really slowly building up to not much
at all, and still its so dramatic! Just as a closing track should!
Review by BatBacon — This is my standard example of an album with a lot of great tracks, but as an album it doesn't
work at all. I have no idea how this is allowed to be one of prog rocks most iconic albums. I have
to admit Im not a huge Yes-fan, even though Close to the Edge, The Yes Album and Relayer is
some of the best albums ever created. It´s probably a bit unfair because the Yes-sound has
become kind of an blueprint for many of todays wannabe-prog bands who mostly just try to
imitate what the bands in the 70s did much better. To imitate old bands is not very proggy, if you
ask me. But thats not what this review should be about.
Fragile has never really been my cup of tea, because half of the songs feels like they're not
complete or just rushed through. "Roundabout" is a great album starter, its one of the best songs
of classic prog ever and it´s really gets me going and makes me hungry for the next awesome
track! But next come "Cans and Brahms", and it´s a mystery to me. Why is it there? I really hate
to say it, but it strikes me as unserious and badly written. It´s nothing but a short keyboard-
doodle with no real beginning, no real ending and nothing in between. Not a good follow up to the
great album starter, I tell you!
Next track "We have heaven" has a nice groove to it, but absolutely nothing more. Two album-
fillers in a row? What is this? After that comes "South Side of the Sky", which is exactly what Yes
should be doing! A real song with groovy rhythms, a strong melody and some attitude. The song
goes through some phases, with the middle part being the right kind of experimental before going
back to the songs lead theme. The song gets dynamic and exciting, just as Yes should be!
Next come "Long Distance Runaround" (yes, I am ignoring the fact that the hopelessly boring
album filler "Five Percent For Nothing" really comes in between). At the beginning I actually didn't
like this song ether, but its pretty happy and grows on you if you give it a chance. Also Long
Distance Runaround bleeds into a dramatic ending in "The Fish". Super Cool!
"Mood for the day" is a really nice guitar solo and may sound as just another of those album
fillers, but this one is great! Nothing but an acoustic guitar and is a great opportunity for the
listener to land after Long Distance? and The Fish, before going on to the grande finale, "Heart
of The Sunrise" It's a surprising track because I always assume Roundabout to the album's peak,
completely forgetting about Heart of The Sunrise. It´s a pretty even race, but I would say this is
the album's best track! It goes through all this different moods, without losing the listener on the
way. It starts out as really aggressive, then becomes slow and dreamy before going back to
aggressive again. It´s like the little adventure you was promised to get, but you started to doubt
that you would ever get it! Well here it is, and thanks god, it´s appears at the right place! It´s an
explosive way to end an album! Without that ending the listener would not have the same
experience of the album, it would be remembered by an awesome opening track and a bunch of
rubbish to follow! A good example how a nice ending can save a lousy album!
I feel like I should say something about the musicians as well. Jon Anderson is for many people
the one and only voice of Yes. Understandable I would say, its a voice so unique and great! It
never really sounds as aggressive as the rest of the album sometimes sound, but that is a
beautiful contrast! Chris Squire is one of my all times favorite bass players, he's playing is both
groovy and very melodic! Probably he is responsible for much of the Yes-sound, there is no other
bass player like him. Rick Wakeman is a bit overrated, I never felt like I understood what he's up
to. He is great when it comes to a big mighty sound, like great organs and pipes, but otherwise I
think he's a bit lame... Don't kill me! Bill Bruford is a great drummer and he gave the band a nice
jazzy sound that sadly were gone when he left the band! Steve Howe is great, he can do (and
does) all kind of styles and is a perfect match for the dynamic and adventures songs of Yes.
Classical or rock, he does it all! Also the album cover is one of the best things ever! I love Roger
Dean for it! When I think of it, its probably answers my question in the beginning of this review;
How can this album be one of the true icons of progressive rock? Well, this artwork is really the
true face of the album! I just wish the album it self was just as good as the cover!s
Review by BatBacon — A collection of some of the most beautiful songs you will hear in life! I don't know why I didn't see
the beauty in this album the first time! Probably because its so different from Grace before
drowning, which is the kind of album you expect the first time you hear it. Instead of the instant
beauty of Grace? you get this typical neo prog-ish opening, pretty dirty and hard-rocking with a
complex, techy rhythm. The kind of opening of an album that makes you go "Aha, so thats what
its going be about. Boooooring", because you heard it so many times already in modern prog.
But those who know Steven Wilson well also know that he would not do anything even near that
boring neo-prog, and this is not an exception! Soon enough the opening song magically turns in
to the Wilson-songwriting we all know and love so much, painfully beautiful and sad enough to
make the sun cry. If you liked his other work, both solo and Porcupine Tree, you will be very very
satisfied with this album!
I will admit it, the first time I heard this album it thought of it as a collection of standard Wilson-
songs, sad sounding guitars, metallic but slow drumming and melodies that would fit perfectly at
your funeral. Depressing, beautiful, I heard it before. But after some listenings you start to get the
hang of the songs here, you start to sing the melodies and understand the strength in them, how
insanely emotional they are. You also find that compared to Grace before drowning, all the songs
on this album has a life on their own. They feel more memorable and its easier to get a relation
with the album.
I will not go into specific songs here, it would just sound pretentious, overblown and boring. Like
describing the girl of your dreams: beautiful, mysterious, impulsive, blah blah blah. But I HAVE to
mention the title track which is, honestly, one of the most beautiful songs I ever heard, it always
moves me to tears. It starts with a mournful and almost silent piano and Wilsons sad but beautiful
voice. Just like a great movie it slowly builds up to an epic and deeply emotional explosion with
mellotron and Wilson almost shouting out the pensive melody! Its a modern classic! And don't
forget to watch to music video for this one, its art when at its best!
When I think about it, its often the albums I hate in the beginning (Porcupine Tree´s "Fear of a
blank planet", Van der graaf generator´s "Pawn hearts", King Crimson´s "Red" to mention some
of them) that becomes my favorites. Just like a great relationship cannot always be great, it has
to have weak periods when everything is tough as well, maybe the favorite album has to be bad
and completely inconceivable before you can see the real beauty in it! I think me and The raven
that refused to sing have a great future together!
Review by JCDenton — "Appena un Po'" (8.5-9.0 / 10) - An epic that almost feels years ahead of its time. Everything's in
place here. The mellotron, the expressive drumming, the dissonant sections, the dramatic
sections, flute, harpsichord, but this is a track which has its own sound. A great opener that's
really fresh, while holding many Progressive elements that its English counterparts established,
there is its own sense of style with the guitar playing and lyrics (obviously). The timbre aspects
don't prohibit it from being its own stand-alone sound. Great tune.
"Generale" (7.5-8.0 / 10) - A more hectic piece, more electric guitar, violin, and piano feature.
Many passing and arpeggiated rhythms in a driving jam that make up this song. Many different
sounds to be heard and followed. It's an exciting tune full of fast melodies and soloing until
being taken over by a piccolo playing a fanfare and organ playing blocked chords in a
transitional few segments concluding with an almost confused-sounding guitar-violin-piano
segment before returning to the more hectic playing from the beginning of the tune to finish out.
Not a bad piece.
"Per un Amico" (8.0-8.5 / 10) - So far one weight carrying through the album is tight, but
expressive drumming. This piece even has a more ballady feel for some of its first half, and the
performances are still interesting, almost even exciting! Again there is the impression of many
textures creating a wall of sound through multiple instruments playing 16th notes. This song,
much like the rest of the album, has a really good pace with some explosive, exciting moments.
This piece flies by with many drum fills, melodies on acoustic, electic guitars, keyboard, and
with a rocking rhythm section, it's just a very full tune. Big wall of sound created. Great, great
"Il Banchetto" (8.0 / 10) - Most of my comments will remain the same with this tune as the
previous ones. The musicians just all have great, balanced sounds. This piece features some
acoustic interludes with some tension building in the first half of the song. Good melodies once
again. The contrasting keyboard versus the acoustic sounds work effectively. The song pulls
down into more confusion lead by the keys player in a random, unwarning transition. But the
following piano section is luscious and flows despite being atypical with some unusual intervals
between odd chord movements. The playing picks up, the sound thickens with tension before
the rest of the band come in with the earlier verses and finishes out nicely.
"Geranio" (7.5-8.0 / 10) - A more relaxed tune at the start. Though the previous few tunes were
very showy of the capabilities of the musicianship of the band, this song has a two-minute soft
more soothing feel before the big swing rhythm comes in to set the tone for the rest of the piece.
Some other sections are explored before terracing down to a dynamic low, where the build
starts up to reach another section that serves as the actual buildup to the climax of the pie-wait,
no. It actually just starts to fade out from there. Interesting choice for final track on the album.
This is a classic, and it is one of my favorite Italian Prog albums. It's overall very exciting and
solid, very very thickly textured! "Appena un Po'" is, in my opinion, the best track, but do not stop
listening right after it, cause the rest of the tracks are solid, too!
Review by Progrussia — Norway's Circus Maximius play a kind of slightly simplified progressive power metal with a strong emphasis on melodic hooks. They
are also blessed with a very good vocalist, who has a powerful and almost androgynous kind of voice.
All their 3 (as of 2014) albums are in same general style but have different production sound. This one is the brightest-sounding.
Comes across as a better version of 80s Rush and metal. Even when they sing about insanity (which is the concept here) its so
infectious. By now its evident that this is in no way original, but back in the day the idea of crossing prog metal with pop, led by
bands like Circus Maximus and Seventh Wonder, was fresh among all the usual doom and gloom.
Review by robbob — I have been a follower of Asia since their beginnings.
Yes Asia is prog related...is pop prog...but in this vein one of the best groups.
Maybe Asia Asia was the only one in a line of symphonic heavy prog.
Then...in a more popular line.
Maybe it got better(in my opinion yes) with their other singer(second era)
When Wetton returned ...it returned the Asia "Time Will Tell"..Asia" Astra" line again.
In the second era another sound ...solid..AOR rock ..a good heavy pop prog...
This album is more in that line and in the level of Arena...or Aura...the best albums of the
I found the last ones(before this) very bad pieces of music ...but I enjoyed this one...ans I
enjoyed it not as as very prog material but...as a quite good rock music.
So an improve since their last albums.
In this kind of prog related or pop prog for me 4 stars.
[Studio Album · 2014]
1.Beginning of an Hettangian 03:32
2.Dilophosaurus Eat Thyreophora 04:28
3.Eretmosaurus in Sinemurian Era 04:53
4.Steneosaurus of Deep Lake 05:36
5.Graphoceras: Noise of the Ancient 02:31
6.Belemnitina Monster Ocean 03:52
7.Atlasaurus vs Stormbergia 04:46
8.Hidden Dragon Yinlong 04:21
9.Hexinlusaurus Attack! 04:58
10.Kimmeridgian: Kimmerosaurus 03:12
11.Great Tithonian, End of Jurassic 12:48
Total Time 54:56
[Studio Album · 2014]
1. Fog by the Steep
2. Wind Seized
3. Sworn Collision
4. Once Levitated
6. Deep Hardened Woods
7. Point Growth
8. Spirit Knife
Review by DrömmarenAdrian — I am exploring the German symphonic band Wallenstein's discography and untill now I am
more than statisfied whit what I have heard, because it is really high class on this music. This
third record "Cosmic Century" doesn't either make me disappointed. Actuelly I think this is their
best record of the three I have heard. Cosmic Century contains the most you could want from a
progressive rock band. They mixture symphonic passages with heavy rock and jazzy
crazyness. If we add good vocals and excellent instrumentation on this it will be a perfect mix.
Cosmic Century was recorded 1973 and the cover picture is blue and shows an unsharp band
picture. The cover is actuelly among the worst components on the album. Bill Barone plays
guitar, Jürgen Dollase keyboards, mellotron, vibraphon och vocals, Harald Grosskopf drums
and percussion, Dieter Meier bass and Joachim Reiser plays violin.
The record is even and every song has a high quality and is worth to hear; therefore I
recommend them all to all of you. "The Symphonic Rock Orchestra ? Rory Blanchford" is a
creative starter with something for many tastes(8/10). "Grand Piano" then is a fantastic piece
with mostly piano playing, I would say massive symphonic piano playing(8/10). "Silver arms" is
a nice rock song with strings and cool synthesizer sounds(8/10). "The Marvellous Child"
though isn't as fantastic as the other songs here(6/10). It is more common but "Song of Wire"
is lovely with a typical seventies feeling and nice isntrumentation(8/10) and in the end "The
Cosmic Couriers Meet South Philly Will" which is a fantastic song(8/10).
Over all, every second here is pleasant listening and Wallenstein is a surprising band for me
which I will continue to explore. This record will get a strong four by me, but perhaps you think
it's even better!
Review by Tarcisio Moura — Oh, well, it took a long, long time to write this review. I really had mixed feelings about Funfaeir
Fantasy. I guess they are all related to this band´s past. Their debut album was a pleasant enough
surprise. After all, who could guess that members of Flamborough Head an Odyssice would put out an
entire work dedicated to instrumental prog based on the sounds of the ol´ mellotron? And make it
much more than a curious experiment? And who could have guessed their second efford would be so
powerful and remarkable as Pilgrim was? So the stakes were high. Too high, maybe.
For Funfair Fantasy is an excellent syphonic instrumental prog album. Still, it took some time for
me to fully appreciate it. It has no real stand out track like The New Moon or Walk On Land, not to
mention the massive and wonderful 24 minute epic of Frank (something one can expect to achieve once
in a lifetime, if he´s lucky). But that does not mean that the CD´s tracklist is inferior: in fact
the selection is very good and the overall quality of their work remains more or less the same. As
usual we have the brilliant keyboards sounds os mastermind Edo Spaninga (yes, lots of mellotrons
sounds!), the melodic and moving guitar lines of Eddie Mulder (who is still in the band although no
longer a member of Flamborough Head) and the precise drumming of Memmo Boomsma.
Also as usual the production is crystal clear and the music is varies from the bombastic to the
pastoral, with great flow and harmony. There´s no low moment in the entire album, although, as
mentioned before, no real surprises either for those who know their previous output like me. The
longest track, clocking at 11 minutes, In The Distance, is surely the most adventurous and
interesting of the lot, with its several different sections and swinging moods, all very well done
and performed. And I never get tired of listening to Spaninga´s tasteful keys neither Mulder´s
beautiful guitar solos (oh, echoes of Latimer and Akkerman!)
So in the end, another winner CD from Holland. if Funfair Fanttasy maybe deserved a 3 star rating
compared to their earlier works, it is nevetheless at least a four star piece of music when you
listen to it on its own merits.
Are you a fan of great instrumental symphonic prog in the vein of Focus and Camel at their peak?
Then you have to check this out. Highly recommend it.
Review by rdtprog —
When you think the man is going to slow down to make big concepts albums with huge epic songs, there
is a voice from god that tell him to continue. Neal Morse brings his little orchestra to Los Angeles
to play the complete Testimony 2 CD plus many more epics. The songs are complex and intense like a
big piece of symphonic music that are interrupted by some straight forward acoustic passages with
Neal on the guitar.
The visuals of the DVDs are a bit of a disappointment, they added nothing to the performance, while
the camera work is professional with some split screen effects. With the 3 hours performance of the
show, we have a additional 10 minutes performance with Neal and Spock's Beard in the High Voltage
festival. The stereo sound is nice, so you won't be disappointed listening the audio CDs that goes
with the DVDs.
If it's impossible to enjoy every minute of this long concert, i really enjoy the first half of the
first set, were it seems that every songs was flowing together very well. As usual a concert of Neal
Morse is not complete without his "Gentle Giant moment" and a emotional moment when he talks about
the miraculous recovery of his daughter from heart failure.
In conclusion, i think its always better to see the band playing their instruments than listening
only to the audio portion on CDs. But don't expect to see a visually entertaining video to watch
here like his previous live ones. Testimony 2 is a nice piece of music, not as strong as Testimony
1, but strong enough to fit in the discography of this passionate composer and musician who continue
to gives us something to satisfy our hunger for symphonic prog rock music. (3.7 stars)
Review by apps79 — There are two scenarios how the ''Ammerland'' album came up.First one says that Eduard Schicke had already parted ways with Fuehrs and Froehling, even if a third studio album by SFF had been recorded but not yet released.Second one appears Schicke to be still involved with SFF, but Fuehrs and Froehling had found time to create their own work in absence of drums and ''Ammerland'' was the fruit of their collaboration.One way or another this album marked the first effort of Fuehrs and Froehling as a duo, released in 1978 on Brain. Heinz Froehling appears to handle only acoustic/classical guitars, while Gerd Fuehrs plays Mellotron, Moog synth and grand piano.
As expected this work is quite different from the album of Fuehrs and Froehling with SFF, even if it has a strong symphonic flavor.Armored only with a guitar and some keyboards they leave SFF's powerful, symphonic textures for good to deliver dreamy, sensitive and very mellow instrumental music, which flirts with New Age and tends to be pretty minimalistic.First side actually sounds very one-dimensional, where the talent of Froehling is much highlighted and Fuehrs remaining in the background.So this is dedicated to classical guitar-drenched soundscapes with basically some nervous keyboard notes performed by Fuehrs.The exception comes from the short title-track, which contains some beautiful Mellotron waves next to atmospheric synths and the classical guitar alternating between cinematic and more sweet textures, while ''Circles'' has slightly more pronounced keyboard flavors in the vein of TONY BANKS, but even so it sounds pretty hypnotic.''Every land tells a story'' clocks at 14 minutes and seems to be not only the centerpiece of the flipside but of the whole album as well.This comes closer to SFF's classic works, switching from the melodic and ethereal lines to decent synth soloing and evident Classical vibes during the guitar parts, having a more balanced performance and sounding somewhere between SFF, MIKE OLDFIELD and STEVE HACKETT.The New Age atmosphere is still present and the absence of drums holds down the energy level, but this arrangement overall sounds charming and interesting.''Ammernoon'' will close the album in a spacey way with orchestral keyboards and cosmic synthesizers providing a not very familiar mood by Fuehrs and Froehling.
I would not recommend this work to fans of rich, progressive and intricate compositions, because it sounds rather hypnotic and extremely sophisticated.Basically the fan base should be New Age afficionados and lovers of minimalistic textures along the attempts of MIKE OLDFIELD.Rather dissapointing effort after the previous work of the duo with Schicke.
Review by apps79 — Tiziano Rea is an Italian musician, journalist and concert organizer, involved in several music projects related to Metal and Experimental Music fields since the 90's with his most notable work coming at the end of the decade with the Gothic Rock act River Deep.However Rea was always fascinated by the freedom of Prog Rock music and decided to launch his own project Giardini d'Autunno, the sole work of which was supervised by the mighty Fabio Zuffanti.In the recordings Rea handled the guitars, bass, sound effects along with various modern and vintage keyboard equipments.He was complemented by Andrea Scala on drums and Emiliano Germani on vocals, both members of the Italian Prog Metal group Moonlight Comedy.Titled ''Frammenti di idee perdute'', the album was released in 2003 on Mellow Records.
The background of Rea in both experiemental and more artistic Rock music are evident throughout an album, that flirts with NODO GORDIANO's haunting, dark soundscapes, evolving from a KING CRIMSON-ian guitar dominated Prog Rock to long, atmospheric ambiences with a relaxed mood.Comparisons with KING CRIMSON do not stop here.The weird FRIPP-ian guitar workouts with the psychedelic overtones are often supported bya fair dose of orchestral Mellotrons, string textures and smooth organ soundscapes.The tracks contain often bizarre effects akin to FRANCO BATTIATO's experimental offerings and natural sounds, which serve as an intro or outro to pure, progressive instrumentals with complex guitar moves, dark-flavored Mellotron and some mellow passages with a light symphonic mood.The combination of calm and powerful parts works fine for the majority of the album, which often sounds as a tribute to KING CRIMSON repertoire over the span of three decades.
Rea's Giardini d'Autunno appeared also the following year on King Crimson's tribute album ''The letters: an unconventional Italian guide to King Crimson'', covering ''Formentara Lady''.Rea would later form the live project Elektromantik with Maurizio Di Tollo, Cristiano Roversi and Alessandro Bruno, leader of Roma Guitar Ensemble.
Dedicated to all die-hard fans of KING CRIMSON's sinister soundscapes.From guitar complexity to Mellotron showering to slightly orchestral soundscapes.Recommended.
Review by b_olariu — Fibonacci Sequence is for sure one of the most intresting bands I've come across in last years.
Numerology the is the debut from 2010, they release also a little EP in 2009, and is an instrumental
affair of the highest calibre. This US band manage to capture my attention big time. The
musicianship is top notch , all 4 musicians delivers high class skills and above all the ideas
offered are among the best I've heared onan instrumental album. There are few invited guests who
also done a fantastic job here. As I said the music is excellent is a blent of prog rock with jazz
rock and even some prog metal elements are to be found here, each piece showing mature songwritting
and captivating arrangements, is enough to listen just to Neap Tide, a 9 min pure delight, One of
the mest instrumental pieces I've ever heared, kick ass passages and the interludes between
musicians are brilliant. The rest of the pieces are also great, energic playing, fresh and catchy
parts, not a boring minute here. Is quite sad that this band is not so well known in prog circles,
Numerology definetly needs a far more recognition worldwide. From me easy 4 stars and recommended,
among the most intresting instrumental album sever made. The band is preparing for a new album to
come this year.
Review by b_olariu — One of the most unknown and obscure bands from entire american prog rock scene, Atavism of Twilight
for sure delivers a quite competent heavy prog with psychedelic and spce overtones who will pleases
most of the fans of the genre. The self titled album issued in 1992 at already famous Greg Walker's
label Syn-Phonic offers 4 instrumental pieces with intricate arrangements, complicated parts and
sophisticated songwritting with solid musicinship all over. Maybe the production is not top notch,
but the rest for me is quite enjoyble. This band and implicit this album gone under the radar of
prog, is quite strange because in early '90s prog was in a revival world wide. For me 3 solid
satrs, maybe 3.5 stars in places. For fans of Djam Karet or those who incorporated some retro heavy
psychedelic prog in their music.
Review by JCDenton — I believe the Spock's Beard is evident. But it is evidently not the classically-inspired Spock's
Beard. It's the epic, driving Transatlantic.
"All of the Above" (9.0-9.5 / 10) - This is a fantastic song. It's full of balance, great input from all
members (though later works from this group will be appreciated for having all members take
shots at vocals). Everyone came to play, and this song was executed so well. There's no idea
that's lacking. I must praise the melodic sense of this group of artists. One of my absolute
favorite moments from a bass guitarist is the absolutely tasteful "Soldier of Fortune" bass line.
The song is so melodically pleasing, with occasional great harmonic moments in vocal lines.
The rhythm section is solid, as is everything about this song! It's solid. There's nothing overly
ambitious about the song at all. It's just a very complete, thorough 30 minutes of timeless
Progressive rock music. I'm so inspired listening to this song.
"We All Need Some Light" (8.0-8.5 / 10) - A more laid-back tune than the first, but relaxed is not
a way to describe it. It's passionate and moving. The Morse influence is evident on this track,
but the song is filled with heart, is uplifting, and by many many can be generically summarized
as "real". Though not too "progressive" I consider it for what it is. Really good track.
"Mystery Train" (7.0-7.5 / 10) - A decent jam. I like the noodling and stylings of Portnoy with his
unhinged sense of time. The song makes some pretty good use of dissonance. Overall it isn't
anything established as its own. It's just a fun song.
"My New World" (8.0-8.5 / 10) - This is another song that emphasizes the Transatlantic sound.
Even though it may not be as significant as "Duel with the Devil" on the next album or "All of the
Above", this style really represents the group well and gives some distinction between it and
Spock's Beard Part II. The Portnoy influence with the tasteful bass playing of Trewavas to Roine
leading on vocals and guitar melodies. I feel Spock's Beard also tried to show off more
classically-inspired prowess, while these guys have a sort of emblematic "epic"ness about
them. This is a fine tune. Not the best song, but it emphasizes what's distinguished about this
group as its own and not just another puppet of primarily Morse influence.
"In Held 'Twas in I" (8.5 / 10) - This was an excellent choice for a cover! These guys sound
fantastic putting their own spin on an old record while still keeping the original song intact. I like
the modified time sigs, changed chords, and the added flare to the performances. Only minor
quibble is I would've liked to see what Roine could've contributed to the psychedelia that roots
the song, giving more spacey textures and changing some of the atmosphere, but never mind.
The song works very well the way it is. Great cover. Great closer.
This album deserves a solid 4 out of 5 stars. Maybe even 4 and a half?. If only ratings worked