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Review by nickel — Short samples of recording process for collectors only. Take note that this release is not the
Falling Into Infinity Demos and there are no complete songs on this disc (except one rehearsal mix
of "Take Away My Pain"). Each track on this disc is made up of short edits and snippets of tracks to
present the listener with a broad sampling of the recording process for what became the commercial
Falling Into Infinity release. Each song on the album is represented here.
The most interesting parts of this release, for me, are the moments where the band members are
talking. Talking about singing harmony in backing vocals, when John Petrucci talks during the
recording of his acoustic guitar parts in Hollow Years, and working on Hell's Kitchen are examples
of the most revealing and interesting segments. But not every track contains these kinds of moments.
NOTE: In case it concerns you, there is quite a bit of strong language on this disc.
Overall, there are three audiences that will find interest in this: (1) Musicians interested in the
"process"; (2) Collectors who must get everything; and (3) Fans of the band who might get a kick out
of hearing some of the silly moments.
Review by BatBacon — This is a record that always make me feel a bit stupid, because I just dont get it. No matter how
many times I hear it I cant see whats so interesting about it. To my ears it sounds like someone
done a whole album from the song 'Cans and Brahms' (from Yes classic album 'Fragile'), which
is a terrible idea!
To be a bit fair the concept behind the album is very cool, it about a game of chess starting of
with the song 'Opening Move' and ending with 'Checkmate'. Also the title of the album is really
clever, considering this to be the band's third album. And of course, great art for the cover, it
makes the record look beautiful and very classic prog.
So with all those things covered for, what could go wrong? Well, what if the band didn't really
have any ideas for the music? That would ruin it, wouldn't it? Yes, and if you ask me, thats
exactly what happens. I doesn't sound like chess (or any great progressive adventure, for that
matter), it sounds more like five guys playing something they didn't have time to finish writing.
Theres just a lot of playing around with half written ideas for some minutes, never leading into
anything exciting, no climax, no dynamics, no ups and downs. It doesn't happen anything at all.
I guess its a question of preferences, I'm not a huge fan of Camel's 'Snow goose' ether, and I
find the two albums to have quite a few things in common. To start with they are both
instrumental, which apparently is hard music to write. Also they are so busy with trying to tell a
story without using any words, they forget about the dynamics of a great song. Instead of building
a mood or a groove, sticking to an idea long enough to make the listener involved and interested,
they keep adding melodies to the song that just doesn't lead anywhere. Its too much going on
without filling any purpose and the result is a complex song that does nothing but fall flat to the
Review by SteveG — A real prog album from the originators of Symphonic Prog. This is the best and most progressive album released by Renaissance since Novella in 1977. Annie Haslem is still in great voice at this late stage (amazing!) and the songs are true classical symphonic works that never veer toward the clichéd. The standout songs are Symphony Of Light, The Mystic and The Muse and Blood Red Silver Moon (a beautiful duet with Annie sharing vocals with the great John Wetton. My only complaint that I have is that I find some of Annie's "all is love and bliss" lyrics a bit trying on a couple of the songs. Aside from that, this is a stellar effort. BTW, I purchased an expanded edition of this album retitled A Symphony Of Light which includes three additional songs; one composed and recorded in honor of late guitarist/songwriter Michael Dunford that was, I believe, recorded about 6 months after the Grndine Il Vento album was released. Look out for it if you do not already own this album.
Review by Second Life Syndrome — "We are being watched". This is the theme for the debut album from Germany's Osta Love. I
have to admit that it is a theme to which I can't help but relate. The inspired cover art of the
figure covered in red will certainly stay with you throughout this album. This three-piece
band has crafted an album full of fear and insecurity, but also of release and freedom. It's
quite an experience.
Osta Love plays a slower, atmospheric style of prog rock. They mix psychedelic Floydian
ambiance with the steeled guitars of Porcupine Tree, subtle drums, and a good dose of
their own ideas. Not only is it enjoyable, but "Good Morning Dystopia" is also an album that
will grow and grow on the listener. Full of feeling, dark atmosphere, and a subtle outrage,
this album matches its style to its message incredibly well. In fact, neither would have been
as effective without the other. In a good call, the vocals are also subtle, light, and even a little
unfeeling. You see, "Good Morning Dystopia" purveys its feeling through the dark/light and
hardened/smooth textures it contains. The vocals, then, seem to act like a counterpoint. The
unfeeling style of singing only accentuates the message of surveillance and discomfort with
this modern world.
This album starts out with a wonderfully eerie "Prologue", and features not one poor track. In
the first half, "Alienation" and "Subway" are both standouts. However, this album really
wowed me when it reached "The Guards". The last four tracks, then are perfectly placed,
diverse, and incredibly well-written. "The Guards" is a guitar-driven spectacle while "Alaska"
is a soft, key-driven ballad that ends in a great instrumental. Then, a psychedelic trip is
found in "Shine", and a perfect ending note is "Epilogue". There is such a progression from
track to track that you will almost be caught up in it and not realize that there are four tracks
While the album centers around the discomfort and insecurity of living in this world, the
album ends on a good note. Finding that place of privacy and comfort is an important task,
and it will truly allow you to shine. The album, then, is not all dark or brooding, but, again,
features great progression of music and ideas.
So, I fully recommend this journey. Osta Love has many great ideas, and an awesome
foundation on which to build. To say that I am impressed is an understatement. Brooding
and light, atmospheric and grounded, "Good Morning Dystopia" is a fantastic start to Osta
Review by SteveG — Starts off with a bang but ends with a wimper. I know that many reviewers will wax poetic over this
album for the next few months but here is my honest opinion. Ian Anderson is a great prog musician
and songwriter but his concepts albums after TAAB simply don't work. Concept albums, like great
stories, require great conclusions. For example: a moral, an ironic twist, a revelation of some kind, a
feeling of growth and transcendence, etc., whether conveyed by lyrics or music. Marillion found this
out when they first came to the anti-climatic ending of Brave. (The song Made Again was hastily assembled and tacked on to the end of Brave in order to give the album a sense of closure. The result was less than stellar.) TAAB worked because it was a lampoon
of the concept album and, believe it or not, prog music with it's self indulgent grandstanding and it's
deep impenetrable poetic lyrics (hence the Bostock character). Once Ian and Co. took this concept album business seriously, the result was the ill-fated Passion Play album. The music on Home Erraticus is actually pretty enjoyable because it doesn't sound contrived. However, if anyone can make pre-conceived Tull-like music sound spontaneous, it's Anderson. I hope Ian Anderson sticks with prog in the future but goes back to stand alone song albums. If I remember correctly, Songs From The Wood, Roots To Branches and The Secret Language Of Birds were worth a listen or two.
Review by Anon-E-Mouse — Whatever happened to Lise (HIBOU) who contributed many Biographies (this band included)
with extreme precision and a lexical knowledge of artists and their material?
Thanks to my Finnish friends I had the first two albums on LP for decades. Both of them are
excellent and are treasured possessions.
"Demon Nights" was released much, much later and is very different, practically bears no
semblance to their earlier works. The band here falls into the common trap of trying to imitate
WEATHER REPORT, a band that I am rather fond of.
Many leading artists have attempted to do the same and those imitations were generally rather
poor efforts. Efforts that didn't enhance the artists' profile, but resulted in rather the opposite.
"Demon Nights" did just that for FINNFOREST, resulting in one of the most forgettable WR
imitations. This work is rather pointless and should never have been made public.
You have been warned!
Still, I would wholeheartedly recommend their first two albums which have been released on
one CD, sporting one of the finest presentations I know of.
Review by Guldbamsen — The forgotten prog album by The Police
I had the most amazing experience here the other day whilst listening to this album. Sometimes
music can illustrate brief encounters like nothing else. No words are necessary and you feel as if
your entire worldview is reduced to mere chords and sonic ambiance. I'll get back to that at the end
of this little write-up, but safe to say that this album not only challenges what most on here would
consider 'prog', it also tattooed itself on my brain in the most ingenious manner conceivable.
Here & Now is probably best known for being Daevid Allen's backing band for his punk prog release
'Floating Anarchy'. It's a sonic fingerprint they carried on with them on their subsequent debut album
named 'Give and Take' that also quite wonderfully bridged the two seemingly odd bedfellows in punk
and prog. I remember when I first heard that album. To say it was a revelation would be a small
understatement. It literally blew my socks off!
In finally getting hold of their second album 'Fantasy Shift', I realised just how closely knitted the
group was with the punk scene. Not that they continued the path of spikey riffs and floating
psychedelic Gong like sections, but moreover in the way they blossomed into something that from a
very early stage influenced the young punks: Reggae! No, I haven't lost my marbles ( not that many
at least - I still have some in me back pocket), I'm merely trying to explain the close ties these two
genres of music had back in the day. The folks who frequented the now infamous punk nightclub
'The Roxy' were obviously into the prevailing fad of 50s rock n roll tunes played at the speed of light,
but what many nowadays seem to forget is what the soundtrack to those days mostly consisted of.
Yep reggae. In between sets there'd be dj's spinning all kinds of exotic bouncy music emanating from
the lands of Bob Marley and Yellowman. When you think about it, that's probably also where The
Police got their white-boy ska vibes from..........and incidentally also where Here & Now got their
inspiration for this marvellous little record from.
The Police is actually not that far off soundwise, if you're looking for an easy parallel. While coming
off decisively more adventurous, 'Fantasy Shift' still reminds me of what The Police would have
sounded like had they spent the better part of the 70s jamming alongside the likes of Daevid Allen.
It's easy on the ears, filled to the brim with hooks, memorable choruses, fickle ska rhythms and that
oh so persuasive bass boom that feels as if it was lifted directly from an underground reggae band in
I love everything about this album - even the cover of Bowie's 'Man who sold the World' is delightfully
fresh with all it's stuttering ska beats and melodic saxophone toot. There's a youthful exuberance
running through the heart of this record that continues to make my head bop and my feat stomp. It's
also an album you can spin with other folks in the same room (!!!!).....oh yes, I've even had females
dancing to this one, and I hadn't even spiked their drinks.
Going back to the start of my review, here the other day I was walking through the streets of 'lborg
Denmark - just chilling to this album, then decided to go for a wee pint in one of the more obscure
bars hidden far away from the high street. I sat there with my beer and noticed this middle-aged Afro-
American man looking at me from across the room. He looked like he needed someone to talk to,
and I was obviously right in my assessment as he then approached me with a big smile on his face
and a cold beer in his hand:
"Hey! I'm the invisible black guy! *laughs*"
"Why hello there! Gotta say, you're doing a pretty bad job at being invisible. I saw you the moment I
stepped in the door."
He laughed again and offered me his beer - trying his best to start a conversation with me. Those
who know me well also know that you don't need to do much in order to get me talking, so I instantly
welcomed him and commenced one of the most memorable conversations I've had in a long while. At
one point he was on about vibrations and how they effect the human body, which I in turn
mischievously directed towards music. He started talking about Daniel Lanois and how he once took
the studio out of the studio and placed it in old wooden homes to get that warm and sensuous feel to
it. He obviously had no hope whatsoever that I knew about the cat, yet I did and proceeded to talk
about his collaboration with both U2 and Bob Dylan, and that then lead to more music and we ended
up talking about his favourite bands such as Yes, King Crimson and a lot of the more well-known
acts featured on this very site. "Wow" I said.... I think he said the same. He was so happy that he'd
finally met somebody with the same taste in music as himself - hell even his first love, jazz, is
something I adore like the beach bathed in sunset.
After he'd given me a huge hug, I went on my way with my earplugs safely in place, and this album
returned in the most magical way. The dreamy 'Secrets' invaded my ears with it's No Wave synths
and pensive drum work, and as I proceeded to walk down the street with the sun going down behind
me, the music suddenly blossomed into this beautiful middle section and I had goosebumps rolling
through my body. I stopped and looked up at the baby night sky and saw one single star shining oh
so brightly. Just one. I thought to myself: this must be a coincidence and immediately thought of the
friendly encounter I'd just had. What a coincidence though.....and what an album!
Review by DrömmarenAdrian — I haven't listened so much to Banco del Mutuo Soccorso before, just some pieces here and
there and of course liked what I heard but now I bought the vinyl "Banco"(1975) which is the
band's fourth studio album and have listened to it some marvelous times. This is really so
fantastic music you could guess it to be. The wonderful cover with the singer looking at a
shining shoe on a brown background. The time of music on this record is very long, fourty six
minutes which is totally perfect because all the tunes here are so amazing.
We must thank Pier Luigi Calderoni(drums, percussion), Gianni Nocenzi(grand piano, clarinet,
synthesizer), Renato D'Angelo(bass, guitar), Rodolfo Maltese(guitars, trumpet, vocals), Vittorio
Nocenzi(organs, synthesizers, strings) and Francesco di Giacomo(vocals) for the music they
I have written it already but it couldn't be said too many times. This is incredible music,
amongst the best prog that exists on planet earth. From the lovely classical intro "Chorale" to
the end with "Traccia II" they deliver so good music that you become exhausted. I think I like
"Metamorphosis" and "Nothingäs the same" the two longest most but of course it's best to
hear it all on the same occation. The inspiration there comes from many direction, the classical
world, rock music, folk and another prog of course. This music and band makes my happy and
fileld with joy and I hope the rest will bring me just as satisfied as this. A highly recommended
record which is in masterclass! Five stars!
Review by Guillermo — This live album, released in 1997, presents GTR sounding better playing in concert than in their self-
titled studio album from 1986. Recorded in Los Angeles in July of 1986, and with the addition of a
keyboard player (Matt Clifford) to the line-up because apparently the guitar synths technology from
those years was still not very reliable. The main "stars " in the band obviously were Steve Hackett
and Steve Howe, but the other musicians of the band played very well, particularly drummer Jonathan
Mover, whose drum kit sounds more at the front of the mixing than in the studio album. The playing of
all the musicians is more "raw" and clear than in the studio album. But having only one studio album
from the band forced them to play all the songs from the album (but "Toe the Line" was the only song
from their album which was not included in this live album or was not played at that concert, but it appears
in other live recordings from the band), so Hackett and Howe played some songs as soloists, with or
without the band, even playing "I Know What I Like" and some excerpts from other songs by Genesis
("After the Ordeal" and "In that quiet earth"), and "Roundabout" from Yes, plus a song called
"Prizefighters" which was not included in their studio album. The style of the band still is very Pop Rock
in most songs, like in their studio album, but maybe the most Prog Rock moments are from the songs
"Imagining", "Hackett to Bits", "Pennants", and "Spectral Mornings". GTR, like Asia, was a so-called
super-group from the eighties, put together with some very good Prog Rock musicians but with the
main aim to play Pop Rock music to satisfy the new audiences from that decade plus the money
making ambitions of managers and record labels. Apparently, GTR lasted for about two years, but like
in the case of a super-group from the late sixties called Blind Faith (not Prog Rock), it really showed
that despite some musical success it could not last for very long, leaving their
members not very happy. So, Hackett left the band after the tour was finished, unhappy with the way
the band was managed and the Pop style of most of their music. So, GTR remains as a memory from that
decade on which Prog Rock music lost some popularity and some of the Prog Rock musicians had to
adjust their music and looks to the "new tastes" of the record labels, managers, producers and the
"new" audiences. Anyway, this is a good live album from GTR. Still very Pop Rock in style, but good
Review by Chicapah — Like her or not, you gotta admit Bjork Gudmundsdottir has bucked some gargantuan odds to even
get noticed. She hails from Iceland, a country containing a population comparable to that of the
city of Wichita, Kansas and a mysterious realm that is completely isolated from the rest of the
planet. They don't have neighbors to fight with and they don't necessarily cotton to having visitors
show up unannounced. Their only indigenous music is of the primitive Nordic folk variety and,
though they've composed a boatload of droning spiritual hymns over the centuries, they've never
had a homegrown Elvis to shake things up. All other styles, whether they be derivatives of rock &
roll, R&B, jazz, or classical, are considered foreign invasions to its more conservative inhabitants
and that forced the younger generations to import all things radical in from somewhere else. Next
think about the fact that out of a third of a million people perhaps ten percent can play an
instrument. If one percent of the members of that group are good enough to be considered
proficient then you've got barely over 300 individuals that are worth tipping. If you're a female
that's going to be another serious drawback and if you aren't trying to be a Madonna copycat then
your chances of achieving notoriety are reduced the level of winning the lottery twice in a row.
What I'm asking of everyone who might scoff at her inclusion in the crossover prog category is to
give the girl a great deal of slack. She's overcome a lot of huge obstacles in her career and
managed to stay true to herself and her aural art at the same time so she deserves a certain
amount of respect, at least. When she first started to garner attention back in the 90s I didn't know
what to think of her (and didn't bother to investigate) but I could definitely tell she had some spunk
in her attitude. She was her own person in a world full of pretenders and that caused me to
withhold judgment until I could get a bead on what she was all about. I didn't realize it'd be over
two decades later before I got around to sampling her wares but earlier this year I finally acquired a
few of her albums and dutifully donned the headphones, starting with her 'Debut.'
I expected something strange and the first song, 'Human Behavior,' delivers. It features a shuffling
snare, booming tympani and an indecipherable bass riff that roils beneath Bjork's vocal melody
lines that seem to float without being tethered to a particular key. While I can't say I enjoy the
piece all that much I will hand it to her for bolting from the gate in a uniquely weird
manner. 'Crying' follows and it's a somewhat dated Trip Hop vibe riding atop a disco throb from
start to finish. Say what you will about this cute little frosted mini-wheat but she has some serious
RANGE in her arsenal and the tune itself has elements of Nine Inch Nails and Peter Gabriel woven
into its fabric. She coyly skips back and forth from a minimalist setting into a full-on orchestral
soundscape with relative ease and it's cool to witness. 'Venus as a Boy' is next and if there's a
genre known as eclectic adult contemporary this is an example. Imagine Peggy Lee on
mescaline. What sticks out most is Bjork's undeniable vocal acumen and her impeccable
accuracy. All in all it's a delightful, slightly askew modern jazz number. The intro for 'There's More
to Life Than This' gives the impression that one has stumbled upon a party-in-progress (the crowd
noise was taped at a London nightclub) where a solid R&B groove is shaking the room. The
inventive aspect is that she's willing to take risks aka making it sound like she's stepped away from
the soiree into a closet right in the middle of the song. One thing I can say is that if you don't like
one of these cuts then hang in there because variety seems to be her calling card as exemplified
with 'Like Someone in Love.' On this one you're treated to some splendid, angelic harp work from
Corky Hale and Bjork's unadorned singing of a sugary ballad as waves break peacefully upon a
nearby shore. Not exactly my cup of tea but her preferences know no boundaries and that earns
her a tip of my sombrero regardless. 'Big Time Sensuality' sports another Techno dance track
foundation and it wears out its welcome quickly. It's one of the weakest tunes on the record in that
it doesn't offer much in the way of surprises except for Bjork's remarkably aggressive mien. She
has quite a raspy growl for such a tiny lady.
The soundtrack for 'One Day' reminds me of what Porcupine Tree was producing in their 'Up the
Downstair' era and I find it engaging. She relies on her emotional, exaggerated vocal attack to
provide the dynamics here but there are times when she's less than successful in that endeavor.
Think Sade goes alternative rock or emo. 'Aeroplane' is a highlight. A Be-bop horn section opens
and then a Martin Denny-ish tropical rhythm glides in to give it a strong, irresistible current. (FYI,
Denny was a popular bandleader in the 50s and is considered the 'Father of Exotica.' His hit
instrumental 'Quiet Village' still exudes a hypnotic aura to this day. Check it out.) This track is an
intriguing mix of textures that's hard to describe yet difficult to dismiss out of hand. On 'Come to
Me' I detect a palpable Annie Lennox air hovering behind Bjork's vocal performance but it's not a
rip-off because nobody's voice sounds anything like this woman's. Something went disastrously
wrong with my download of the next tune, 'Violently Happy,' so I can't offer an assessment. I
assume it's another Pop Rock discoth'que ditty because I read where it climbed to #4 on the
Billboard Dance Club chart so I'm not going to fret over missing it. 'The Anchor Song' is unusual in
that it once again employs the brassy-but-subdued horn section as the number alternates
measures of Bjork's sung melody line with a complex jazz score. It's an unconventional approach
that I find very interesting and rather bold. As if to make up for the earlier botched download I
received a bonus track called 'Play Dead.' It possesses a large-scale symphonic score that'll pin
your ears back and, while it does border on being Broadway in a 'Days of Future Passed' sorta
way, one cannot ignore her ability to spur her voice to wherever she wills it to go. You have to hear
it to believe it.
I'll admit that I went into 'Debut' tentatively because I feared an onslaught of Yoko Ono-like wails
and screeches but it turns out my anxiety was unwarranted. This ain't bad at all. What I found
most appealing was Bjork's obvious ambitious nature and the character of her singing style. There
are a few songs that I could go the rest of my life without hearing again but then some are
unorthodox enough to make me curious about what she's done since July of '93 when this album
was released. I plan to find out. In the final analysis 'Debut' is a sassy casserole of musical
flavors and seasonings that unquestionably leans in a progressive direction. If you're in the mood
for something a little off the beaten trail this might tickle your fancy. 3.1 stars.
[Studio Album · 2014]
1. The Colour Of Time (4:44)
2. Dream-catcher (6:36)
3. High Flyer (4:00)
4. Pied Piper (5:51)
5. Grey Skies (4:43)
6. Havin' A Hell Of A Time (5:05)
7. Friend Of Darkness (6:52)
8. Platonic (4:22)
9. Shadows Of Love (3:34)
10. Night Time In The City (5:24)
11. Whichever Way The Wind Blows (3:02)
12. Eleanor Rigby (4:43)
Total Time 58:56
[Studio Album · 2014]
1. Nuevo Mesías
2. La Tabla Esmeralda
3. Espejo Del Alma
5. En Otro Lugar
8. Creados Del Fuego
9. Rumbo A La Eternidad
Review by SouthSideoftheSky — Let's make a song that sounds like Pink Floyd's greatest hits!
After the split with Eric Woolfson in the early 90's (or the late 80's depending on whether you count
Freudiana as an Alan Parsons Project album) Alan Parsons continued under his own name. Between 1993 and 2004 Parsons released four studio albums, but during the last ten years he has released only a couple of live albums and a couple of singles. In 2010 came the single All Our Yesterdays and in 2013 the present one called Fragile.
The digital version of Fragile that I have (available on Spotify and iTunes among other places) features only a single track (hence, no B-side). There is however a CD version that holds two further tracks, one of which is a radio edit of the same song and the other a live version of Luciferama taken from the upcoming live album LiveSpan.
Clocking in at under four minutes, Fragile is a rather straightforward, acoustically driven song. The
overarching goal of Fragile seems to be to sound as much as Pink Floyd as possible. Think Comfortably
Numb or Wish You Were Here (the song). Fragile is not a bad song as such, but it comes across as a
somewhat blatant attempt to mimic these of Pink Floyd's most popular and accessible tunes (of course,
Parsons is already strongly associated with that band in virtue of being the sound engineer on Dark Side Of The Moon) and thus maximizing the hit potential. It is too safe a bet really.
If there had been an original B-side on this single, perhaps an instrumental like there was on the All Our
Yesterdays single, and not only some radio edit or familiar live track, then I would probably give two stars. But as it stands, this lone track is not interesting enough to justify investigation. Only completionists will need to get hold of this single.
Review by Neu!mann — The first album by Finland's Magyar Posse (named after a cheap local wine, or so I'm told) announced
the arrival of a promising new band: yet another gem from northern latitudes. Their style was always a
little too unique for the Post Rock pigeonhole, resembling instead a series of atmospheric, ersatz film
score instrumentals, but with a melancholy Krautrock vibe.
The group was still a quartet at the time, and hadn't yet patented the edgy, angular rhythms that would
later define their 2006 studio swan song "Random Avenger", arguably the peak effort of a sadly
abbreviated career. Missing too was the evocative violin of Sandra Mahlamäki, not yet drafted into the
posse, although the musical saw wielded by producer Sami Sänpäkkilä added an appropriate spell to
the song "Witchcraft".
The sound of the album is simplicity itself, but with a gray sub-arctic moodiness, like a children's fairy
tale gone awry. The bittersweet chords and haunting, hypnotic melodies (with colorful titles
like "Singlesparks are Spectral Fires") are equally introspective and aggressive, if sometimes a little
too homogenous. Brian Eno may believe that "repetition is a form of change" (quoting from his deck of
Oblique Strategies), but the lockstep unison of a song like "The Endless Cycle of Violence" needed a
better payoff after six long minutes of escalating monochrome tension.
The intermittent motorik beat recalls the momentum of classic NEU! (more accurately, the secondhand
facsimile of bands like Stereolab), almost verbatim in the album closer "Lufthan". Magyar Posse may
have been driving a similar highway, but the detours they took were more intuitive, and no less inviting
despite the occasional cul-de-sac. Like the road films of kindred Finn Aki Kaurismäki, it's more about
the journey than the ultimate destination.
Review by GruvanDahlman — To say that you don't like Frank Zappa is like saying you don't like food. There are
thousands, millions of dishes to eat (or try) world wide and there are a plethora of musical
styles to discover when it comes to Zappa. Never standing still too long on the same spot,
ever moving, ever progressing. With that said, I need to point out that not all Zappa, as with
food, is to your taste or personal preference. However, I am of the most certain mind when
saying that anyone into prog is able to find at least one album to love and enjoy. That is the
case for me. I cannot claim to love all of Zappas enormous production. I cannot even claim
to love half of it. I care for only a fragment of all these albums on the market.The best of
these fragments is the underrated (in my opinion) Chunga's revenge.
Funnily enough, this album was the first I bought. When I decided to explore Zappa back in
the 1990's I decided upon this one. I knew there were other albums proclaimed to be his
masterworks but I chanced on this one, giggling at the cover and that odd title. I could not
have picked a better album to start off with at that particular time and Chunga's revenge is
still my favorite, both by musical standards aswell as nostalgic reasons.
It must be said, that Chunga's revenge probably is one of Zappas most accessible albums.
There are very few hard nuts to crack. It is, basically, a collection of great semi-progressive
tunes leaning towards an array of styles. Anything from jazz and eastern moods to ballads
and hard rock. Though being a highly varied album it never looses the focus and the result
is a very tight and cohesive record. It has some loose and laidback grooves, reminding me
of the late 1960's jamming found on many an album. It is inspired and groovy, played with a
lot of joy and love of music.
I think that the best songs are the eastern flavored "Transylvania boogie", the hard rock of
"Tell me you love me" and the concluding "Sharleena". The tracks in between are very
enjoyable as well and provides a wonderful template of moods and styles. This album
proves that Zappa really could take a bite off of anything and create the most extraordinary
One often reads about the guitar of Frank Zappa and on Chunga's revenge it is ever so
wonderful. He manages to be both masterful and raucious, a combination not always found
in guitar wizards.
All in all, Chunga's revenge is a wonderful rock album with progressive leanings. It is not
overly complex. Instead it is a collection of quite easily digestable and enjoyable songs with
great variation. It is still my favorite and if you want to find a starting point where the humour,
irony and craziness is a bit subdued in favor of musical seriousness (without being boring,
naturally) this might be a good place to start.
[Studio Album · 2014]
1. Hocus Pocus
3. House Of The King
4. Focus 1
6. Focus 3 & 2
7. Aya Yippie Hippie Yee
Review by BatBacon — I think "apocalyptic musical" would be a fair way of describing this album (and most of the Magma albums). Talk about drama, this album opens with a bang! After a short second of silence a dead serious voice speaks to you in a languish you don't understand. Then comes another bang! Typical for a Magma creation, very serious and very very exciting. I can't say that I have any idea at all about what´s going on, I never have any idea at all when it comes to Magma, but thats not a bad thing.
The music is melodic and, in some weird way, very beautiful. At the same time its dramatic and very haunting, and even though all the lyrics are written in Kobaïan, the strange languish created by Christian Vander, you get the feeling of something terrible going on. I don't know, but I like to think the story got something to do with the destruction of some civilization somewhere in universe, as it is known to be a common theme for the conceptual music of Magma.
Drummer and bandleader Christian Vander´s playing is as driving as it is mindblowing! Who ever thought jazz drums could create a feeling this ominous, its like he´s playing theater with his drums. He also provides the album with his scary, almost preaching voice, which in combination with the choir of destruction (thats the sound of it, anyway) should be able to lay ground for some really nasty nightmares for those listening to Ëmëhntëhtt-ré just before bedtime.
Just like a great movie, this album has a great dramaturgy. There is ups and there is downs, often the songs builds up really slow to keep the excitement on top and the listener very alert. It goes from slower and more atmospheric phases to fast and action packed phases. Also the end pursues this dramatic way of storytelling; with some very serious words the album comes to an dramatic but quick conclusion. Those last words will keep on echoing in your head (even though you still don't have a clue what they meant), thats exactly how powerful this piece of music is. The silence after the music is over is almost as important as the music itself.
Review by GruvanDahlman — The late 1960´s produced some of the most groovy and interesting pieces of jazz-rock. The
melting and fusion of jazz and rock results in a blend of extremely delicious chops and
music. Blood, Sweat & Tears, Chase, Chicago and several other bands really took the
development of rock music several steps further. This was, of course, before the jazz-
rock/fusion side of music turned into the severely slick fusion of the later 1970's. The slick
side of things is not my cup of tea. The grittier, dirtier and harder rocking sort is more in line
with my taste.
So, having established my love of jazz-rock, I now proclaim the immense impact the world of
Marvel had on my childhood. Batman and the Hulk was always my favorites among the
superheroes but the all filled up my imagination, back then. I guess that is why I have
always had a soft spot for this, the only album, by the british jazz-rock outfit Icarus.
Jazz-rock and the superheroes of Marvel. Now that's a great way to start off the day. It must
be. The cover suggests a whole lot, as does the mythical status of this album. Severely
affected by Marvel wanting 50% of the sales and the record company's (Pye, that is)
decision to withdraw the whole thing because of that, crippled the band and left them
without an album to promote. The reviews of the time were not raving either, so in hindsight
the band struggled.
The musical content, apart from the great cover and mythical mumbo jumbo surrounding
the album, is, however, not all that it is cracked up to be. There are great moments and
there's good ones but the album is really not that brilliant or fantastic. The musicianship is
nigh on perfect but the material is in itself mostly alright. The lyrical content is entertaining
and fun, which makes this listenable.
Though the songs have slightly differing styles, the overall feeling is one of more or less
similar tracks. There are really no fantastic stand-outs. The ballad "Madame Masque" is
really on of the more recognisable ones, due to it's mellowness. Most of the tracks are
harsh jazz-rock, performed with great intensity. "Conan - The barbarian", "The Hulk" and
"Black Panther" are among the best tracks of the lot.
When listening to this album I dig the music. It is groovy and great but it is not among the
greater albums of the genre. It is sort of a novelty act. Fun and entertaining, not bad at all but
not brilliant either. The only album Icarus made is primarily, I think, known for it's obscure
nature and lyrical themes, rather than the music on the vinyl. I would not really recommend
this album if approached with the oppurtunity to promote the jazz-rock record of all time. It
would not even end up in the Top 10. That does not mean you shouldn't give this album a
go. It is fun, entertaining, groovy and certainly an interesting piece of a time and musical
landscape long gone. I cherish my CD edition and play it every once in a while. It is, like I
have said often enough in this review, great fun and full of good though not outstanding
Review by Second Life Syndrome — I thought I'd try something different this time 'round: I feel like reviewing an album that is not
new, but deserves your attention all the same. As my biography states, I run a page on
Facebook called The PROG Mind. Well, I get all kinds of music sent to me there, and Dam
Kat, the singer for a band named Children in Paradise, introduced me to her band's first
album. I want to say right now---I'm ever so grateful.
Children in Paradise's debut album "Esyllt" was released in 2012, so it's not overly old.
However, it's definitely one of those albums that flew under the radar. This French band has
quite a style of progressive rock, infusing it with atmosphere, cinematic style, and Celtic
flavor. If there's one thing that I'm a sucker for, it's Celtic elements in music. And Children in
Paradise deliver on ALL fronts here. "Esyllt" is a wonderful work, full of gorgeous melodies,
incredible ambiance, ethereal soundscapes, and an emotional connection that one will not
I have to laugh as I look at the list of influences this band claims. Everything from Dead Can
Dance and Pink Floyd to Howard Shore and Led Zeppelin is present, and I laugh because I
love almost every band they mention! First and foremost, I can hear Pink Floyd and Dead
Can Dance, but the mighty Tull and others are definitely present, as Children in Paradise
display a dark, moody, folksy atmosphere in much of "Esyllt". However, it isn't dark in the
creepy sense, but instead it's blackened with tears and depth of topic.
The band pulls all of this off with an array of instruments. First of all, Dam Kat's voice is the
centerpiece. Her voice is a celestial palette of emotion and feeling, and you can almost
hear her tears. She makes this album what it is, and I believe she has become one of my
favorite female singers. Just as important, though, is Gwalchmei's guitars. This is where
the Gilmour influence is evident, as he plays soaring, complex solos with ease. These
guitars only add to the emotion present, and are easily one of my favorite parts of the album.
Patrick on drums, Stephane on bass, Loic on pipes and whistles, and Jean on the keys all
add their own touches to the mysterious music, from the folksy vibe added by the pipes to
the pure beauty added by the keys. The band feels tightly knitted already, and no one is
competing for showtime. This is a band with emotion and art as their goals.
But what about the album itself? "Esyllt" is a variety of legends and myths, from King Arthur
to Tristan and Isolde. I love this sort of thing, and so I was excited to hear how the band
would portray the stories. The band outdoes themselves in crafting music that just seems
to fit. Right away, they give us the sad "Little Butterfly", the sacred "King Arthur's Death", and
my favorite track, the supremely emotional and sorrowful "My Son". The heartache and the
pain in the deaths of loved ones are only matched here by the sublime music and emotive
guitars and pipes. Each and every track on "Esyllt" is a treat, from the haunting "The Battle"
to the hopeful "I'm Alive". And, as the ethereal atmospheres swirl around you, you can't help
but feel the spiritual and inspired nature of the music as a whole. It's truly a mesmerizing
experience from beginning to end.
As of now, Children in Paradise are working on their second album, and I, for one, can't
wait. I can't wait to experience the sounds and powerful ambiance again. This band has
something truly special and truly unique here, and I can't get enough right now, either of the
amazing vocals or the musical perfection. And, so, Children of Paradise, certainly
influenced by many of my favorite bands, are certainly not caged by their influences. They,
on their very first album, have created something new, beautiful, and unforgettable. This, my
friends, is an album to own and share with those you love. I know I will.
Review by BatBacon — Usually I'm very sceptic to progressive rock with the main goal to recreate the music of the 70s
with todays sound quality, the result is more than often horrific and annoying. Ã?nglagÃ¥rd is one of
the few exceptions I know of bands succeeding to create "classic" prog with a modern touch (not
to modern, though) and actually make something interesting from it. With a lot of Crimson
blended with some classic swedish melancholy their "Hybris" is a modern classic and a fine
example on how great progressive rock is to be done!
The sound of first song "JordrÃ¶k" is raw, mysterious and crazy with all the melodies colliding into
each other and a drummer going completely mental over his drum kit. It goes through all this
different phases, from the scary piano opening to something absolutely wild and then back to
slow and calm. It goes on like that for eleven minutes without losing the listener for a second. Its
a fantastic and beautiful mess!
I think all the songs have pretty much the same characteristics (and I don't mind at all), wild and
crazy, slow and beautiful, all in one. Howling guitars, flutes and bass playing that reminds you a
little of Yes. Drummer Mattias Olsson sound a lot like Bill Bruford at times, which adds an extra
dimension of complexity to the songs. Its as close to perfection as you get. Also Hybris got one of
the best closing tracks I know, "Kung Bore" is so epic it almost makes you faint in the end!
So why four stars? Why not five? Its with a great deal of sadness I tell you that I absolutely hate
the vocals on the album, its terrible! I dont really know if its the singer or the vocal melody, but
there is something about it that just doesn't work for me, it just sounds so awkward, like the
singer doesn't really wants to sing. Im from sweden, so I know the texts aren't that good, but I
think its more the way the singing sounds.
But I don't know if Hybris would have been that good without any song at all either, instrumental
music is hard to write. The first song is of course instrumental, but for an whole album?
I can't end this review like that, because it IS an awesome album and deserves better. The music
is as good as it gets, overblown and probably too majestic for most people, but thats the point
with progressive rock! And I got to say (except from the vocals) Ã?nglagÃ¥rd nails it big time!