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December 2017 - Issue 127
Progressive Rock CD Reviews
Acqua Fragile - A New Chant
Review by Gary Hill

This act is an Italian prog band. Most of the lyrics here are in English, though.

AraPacis - Obsolete Continuum
Review by Larry Toering
AraPacis are from Canada, led by the husband and wife duo of Jerry Feilden and the amazing Shelle McPherson on vocals.
Aurganic - Distant Echoes & Close Encounters
Review by Gary Hill
I've reviewed these guys in the past and been impressed with their music. This new album surpasses what I've heard of their previous stuff. In fact, this is a contender to make my "best of 2017" list.
Black Moon Circle - Flowing into the Third Dimension (vinyl LP)
Review by Gary Hill

This album is made up of two epic length pieces of instrumental space rock.

Blackmore's Night - Winter Carols (2017 Edition)
Review by Gary Hill

Tis the season for holiday music. You can't go wrong with Blackmore's Night. This is a newly remastered version of their classic Winter Carols album.

A Devil's Din - One Hallucination Under God
Review by Gary Hill

I have gone back and forth on whether to land this under progressive rock or not.

Djabe - and Steve Hackett - Life Is A Journey: The Sardinia Tapes
Review by Gary Hill

I previously reviewed an album with these two artists. On that one Hackett got the first billing.

Echo Us - To Wake a Dream In Moving Water
Review by Gary Hill

I've covered several albums from this act in the past. They have a way of creating modern prog that has nods to the classic progressive rock.

Existence - Origins
Review by Gary Hill

Although I've reviewed these guys in the past, I'm not well versed in the band history. Apparently the concept and parts of the music here date back to the origins of the act.

Fracktura - Oculus
Review by Gary Hill
This EP probably lands closest to the type of modern prog rock that is tied to the Rock In Opposition movement.
Nature Ganganbaigal - Nature G - Stereotyping
Review by Gary Hill

This review will have to start with a statement about the artist's name. This has been released under the name "Nature G."

GEA - Butterflies
Review by Gary Hill

I don't know if I would consider this to be art rock. I'd definitely consider it to be art music. That comes close enough in my book to land it under prog rock.

Gentle Giant - Three Piece Suite
Review by Gary Hill

I've wrestled with how to handle this review. In theory the BluRay is the main part of this.

Green Cathedral - Winter's Veil
Review by Gary Hill

The progressive rock presented here is modern. It's dark and moody in a lot of ways.

Steve Hunter - Before the Lights Go Out
Review by Gary Hill

Steve Hunter's music always seems to create a middle ground between blues rock, fusion and progressive rock. This disc is no exception.

King Crimson - Live in Chicago
Review by Gary Hill

King Crimson has one of the most interesting and complicated histories in all of progressive rock. The lineup is one of the most dynamic, too.

Fabrizio La Piana - Almond and Coffee
Review by Gary Hill

Those looking for actual progressive rock will probably want to steer clear, but there are a few moments that come really close. We generally land fusion under prog, so that's why this is here.

Lucas Lee - Acceptances of Gravitational Collapsing Manifestations
Review by Gary Hill

This is a mostly instrumental set. It's what I could call challenging music.

Lochness Monster - Fables
Review by Gary Hill
I know there are those who will argue with this landing under progressive rock. This kind of shoegaze meets alternative rock post punk stuff really is progressive, though.
Moonlapse - Reversal
Review by Gary Hill

This is quite an intriguing set. The nearest comparison is to Nox Arcana, and that's actually pretty close.

Negativehate - Solipsis
Review by Gary Hill

There is a whole subset of prog bands (Wolverine, for instance) that started as death metal acts and evolved into progressive rock.

New Sincerity Works - Wonder Lust
Review by Gary Hill

Although I've landed this under progressive rock, it's of the modern alternative rock based sound that's tied heavily to Radiohead.

Noise Ratio - Songs on Fire
Review by Gary Hill

Perhaps this isn't progressive rock. It is clearly art rock, though. This is electronic music.

Nox Arcana - Season of the Witch
Review by Gary Hill

Nox Arcana always delivers. The brain-child of Joseph Vargo, this outfit produces a gothic, electronic sound that is creepy enough for Halloween events.

Anthony Phillips - Invisible Man (Remastered and Expanded Edition)
Review by Gary Hill

When I recently interviewed Anthony Phillips he mentioned his quirky catalog (my words not his precisely) and that it was caused by record label pressure.

Simon Phillips - Protocol 4
Review by Gary Hill

This disc features drum master Simon Phillips playing with Greg Howe, Ernest Tibbs and Dennis Hamm.

Podd - Cosmic Forces
Review by Gary Hill

This four-piece outfit creates instrumental progressive rock.

RTFact - Life is Good
Review by Gary Hill

If you were to spin this new album with no advance information, you might think that it's some long lost disc from the 1970s.

Seconds Before Landing - III: Now That I Have Your Attention
Review by Gary Hill

I've reviewed a couple other discs from this act in the past. It seems that every time they release something new, it's much stronger than the previous album.

           

The Security Project - Contact
Review by Gary Hill

This new set from The Security Project continues their cycle of re-envisioning Peter Gabriel songs, but brings new flavors and concepts to that idea, while also stretching it out a bit.

Shofar - Shofar
Review by Gary Hill

The sound these guys create is both intriguing and captivating. I've landed them under progressive rock, but their brand is modern and AOR based.

Slow Burning Car - Defection
Review by Gary Hill
There is at least one song here that definitely doesn't fit under prog rock. The thing is, there is plenty of prog built into this sound beyond that.
Staring into Nothing - Power
Review by Gary Hill
This new album is a concept work. The story-line talks about a dystopian view of the modern world.
Steeleye Span - Dodgy Bastards
Review by Rick Damigella

Folk rock legends Steeleye Span have been crafting their unique blend of ancient music-meets-modern instrumentation for the better part of five decades.

The Strawbs - The Ferryman's Curse
Review by Gary Hill

This band is certainly one of the founding pieces of the whole folk prog movement. This brand new album finds that they have lost nothing over the years.

Chandrika Tandon - Shivoham - the Quest
Review by Gary Hill

This is an unusual release in so many ways. First, there is just the configuration of the set. We have three CDs along with a nice book all in a box.

Madeline Tasquin - Future Telephone
Review by Gary Hill

I've included this under progressive rock. Clearly it's not tied to the prog of the 1970s, or perhaps it is.

Les Techno - Where Were You? (Digital Single)
Review by Gary Hill

This new single is apparently inspired by the Charlottesville violence between white supremacist groups and protesters.  

3rd Ear Experience - Peacock Black (Vinyl Edition)
Review by Gary Hill

To some degree I really think vinyl is the proper way to hear music like this. Despite what a lot of people will tell you, vinyl has a more open and real sound to it than CD (and certainly digital files or streaming) have.

3rd Ear Experience - Stoned Gold
Review by Gary Hill

One thing you can almost always say about space rock is that generally changes aren't quick within the music. That's true of this album for the most part.

3rd Ear Experience - Stones Of A Feather (Vinyl Edition)
Review by Gary Hill

While there are many who will argue with this assessment, vinyl and digital media do not sound the same. There is a vitality and resonance with vinyl that you just don't get with digital.

Nik Turner - Life in Space
Review by Gary Hill

This is the new album from Hawkwind co-founder Nik Turner.

Unitopia - More Than a Dream – The Dream Complete
Review by Mark Johnson

I have been a fan of the band ever since I first heard Unitopia’s Garden album.

Various Artists - One Way Glass: Dancefloor Prog, Brit Jazz & Funky Folk 1968-1975
Review by Gary Hill

This is a killer collection of music. It's a great way to sample a lot of fairly obscure acts without having to commit to a full album by any of them.

Mark Vickness - Places
Review by Gary Hill

Mark Vickness is being billed as progressive rock in some materials. If you compare him to California Guitar Trio, that label fits.

Violet Rose - Plastic EP
Review by Gary Hill

The mix of sounds here hasa lot of pop music in it. It's definitely electronic music more than anything else.

Rick Wakeman - Crimes of Passion
Review by Gary Hill

This is a new release of Rick Wakeman's 1984 soundtrack album. There are two songs here with vocals (one is a bonus track) serving as book-ends to the release.

Gary Wilson - It's Christmas Time with Gary Wilson
Review by Gary Hill

Gary Wilson's music is not really progressive rock. "Eccentric electronic sounds" might be a better label.

Zenxienz - Cosmosis
Review by Gary Hill

This set is electronic music. Perhaps it's not the tightest fit under progressive rock, but it's clearly progressive music.

The Zodiac - Cosmic Sounds
Review by Gary Hill

I've read that both Roger Waters and Justin Hayward listed this album as an influence on them at least once. Listening to this reissue, it's obvious.

Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews
Jackfoolery - Come One, Come All
Review by Larry Toering
Four rockers from the Pacific Northwest come together for what is a throwback of great rock songs that you’d swear you’d heard before.
Jag Panzer - The Deviant Chord
Review by Mike Korn

Jag Panzer has returned, and it’s like they never went away. This classic American metal band has been plying its trade in one form or another since 1981.

Kinlin - The Last Stand
Review by Gary Hill

This act creates a brand of modern heavy metal this is tied to old-school stuff, but stretches that sound out quite a bit.

O.D.D. - The Disorder
Review by Gary Hill

These guys really show that they can create some raw, driving metal that still manages to bring some hooks to the table with this set.

Riot - The Official Bootleg Box Set Volume 1 1976-1980
Review by Gary Hill

In terms of sheer quantity you really can't beat this set. It's a six CD set of live Riot shows. These all started as bootlegs, and as such the sound quality leaves a bit to be desired.

Warrior - Featuring Vinnie Vincent / Jimmy Waldo / Gary Shea / Hirsh Gardner
Review by Gary Hill

This album has never been released before. The story behind its creation is unusual. 

Non-Prog CD Reviews
Michael Askin - Road by the River
Review by Gary Hill
There is a definite incentive to label this "roots music." That clearly sells it short, though.
Charles Billingsley - It's Christmas Time Again
Review by Gary Hill

When looking for new holiday music, this album is a great place to start. The arrangement here are generally traditional (leaning toward jazz mostly, but also classical music).

Black Note Graffiti - Volume II: Without Nothing I'm You
Review by Gary Hill
There is a lot of nu-metal in the mix on this album. It has plenty of alternative rock and more, too.
Blakeley - Caffeine and Nicotine
Review by Gary Hill

This new single has a real pop edge, but is overall tastefully raw and rough around the edges.

Joe Bouchard - Playin' History
Review by Gary Hill

Joe Bouchard is best known as one of the members of the classic lineup of Blue Oyster Cult. You wouldn't really need to know that if you heard this album.

Patrick Campbell-Lyons - Me and My Friend
Review by Gary Hill

This is a new reissue of Patrick Campbell-Lyons' 1973 album. It has two bonus tracks added to it.

Rick Derringer - Joy Ride: Solo Albums 1973-1980
Review by Gary Hill

This four CD set is a great package. It comes in a nice box and includes four separate CDs, each a full album from Rick Derringer.  

Dirty Hearts - General Bitterness and Inner-City Moonshine
Review by Gary Hill

There is something to be said about bands that play solid, no frills rock and roll. This is one such act.

Dust of Days - Analog Mind Bender
Review by Gary Hill

This album is a bit uneven, but it has some real peaks.

Aretha Franklin - Divas Live: The One and Only Aretha Franklin
Review by Gary Hill

Aretha Franklin is a legend. There is no debate about that. This new CD/DVD combo showcases a pretty amazing concert. =

Free Willy - Remember the Alamo
Review by Gary Hill

If you are a big fan of down-home old school country music, particularly of the bluegrass variety, you will find plenty to like here.

Geoff Gibbons - Buffalo Hotel
Review by Gary Hill

This is an intriguing set. It has a real timeless, classic quality to it. The single word explanation for this would be "Americana," but there is quite  a bit of wiggle room within that label.

Steven Allen Gordon - All Over the Map: Music for Solo Guitar and Solo Viola
Review by Gary Hill

I'm not sure if I'd consider this "all over the map." The vast majority of this is classical music.

G.H. Hat - I Got a Problem (I Wonder...) [feat. Mickey Shiloh] - The Versions
Review by Gary Hill

Doing a track by track review of this is challenging. This disc is made up of 12 different mixes of the same song.

Erin Hill - Christmas Harp
Review by Gary Hill

First of all, I have to admit that this album was actually released last year. Unfortunately, I got it after our December issue was live, and it didn't seem to make sense to review it for the February issue.

Glenn Hughes - Return of Crystal Karma (2 CD Edition)
Review by Gary Hill

This is part of a series of reissues of Glenn Hughes solo albums. It's one of the stronger releases in the set, too.

Glenn Hughes - The Way It Is (2 CD Edition)
Review by Gary Hill

This is one of the entries in the new series of Glenn Hughes reissues. Like the rest, they add a second CD, this time a concert from 2000.

Indubious - From Zero
Review by Gary Hill

If you like reggae but feel rather adventurous, this might be for you. On the one hand this is well rooted in traditional reggae music.

Tom Killner - Live
Review by Gary Hill

Classic rock and blues are the order of business here. These guys do such a great job of revisiting this music.

Liverpool Express - Albums
Review by Gary Hill

This act was made up of a number of music veterans. If you listen to the sound of these three albums, that should be clear.

Lunar Lander Dance Commander - Liquid Smooth
Review by Gary Hill

This is an intriguing set. It is almost mainstream pop music, but twisted a bit to the side. There are definitely comparisons to be made to acts like The B-52s and The Tubes.

Paul Maged - Light Years Away
Review by Gary Hill

This set is a bit uneven. Personally, I tend to think that opener is the weakest cut here.

Man Called Noon - Everybody Move
Review by Gary Hill
The three songs here all fit under the "fun" category. This is best described as "good times pop rock."
Big Jay McNeely - Honkin' & Jivin' At the Palomino
Review by Gary Hill

This is a two-disc set. Still, it's basically in the range of 41 minutes.

Monsters and Miracles - The Silk Road (feat. MRS) digital single
Review by Gary Hill

This is a new single for an act that goes by the name of "Monsters and Miracles." It's set in the vein of Electronic Dance Music (EDM).

Night Herons - Relevant Noise
Review by Gary Hill

The mix of glam rock, punk and more here is nothing exceptionally unique. These guys just do a great job of making this sound work.

Joe Olnick - Joe Olnick Band - Downtown
Review by Gary Hill

This new instrumental album is classy stuff. Previously I reviewed an album by Joe Olnick that featured him playing every instrument but the drums.

Roadcase Royale - First Things First
Review by Gary Hill

So you say you like Heart? You probably should check this album out, then. This is not a carbon copy of that band, by any means, but it definitely is a close relative.

Tokyo Rosenthal - This Minstrel Life
Review by Gary Hill

I've been reviewing Tokyo Rosenthal music for quite some time now. His brand of roots music meets singer/songwriter sounds is always compelling.

Jennifer Saran - Soulful Christmas
Review by Gary Hill

When it comes to jazzy, adult contemporary type music, Jennifer Saran's vocals are just about the best around these days.

Richard Schroder - Drive
Review by Gary Hill
This disc has a pretty wide range of sounds. Parts of it land firmly in country music territory.
Sereda - I Got You (digital single)
Review by Gary Hill

I have to say that I'm not a big fan of a lot of modern pop music. This new single from Sereda, though, is an exception to that rule.

Sleep Science - Sounds of the Underground (digital single)
Review by Gary Hill

Here is a brand new single from a band called "Sleep Science." If you dig alternative hard rockers, you are likely to enjoy this.

Soul Messengers - Vision & Faith
Review by Gary Hill

This is a new release from a modern Australian band. I started the review with that statement because if you just start spinning this, it will definitely not be apparent.

Talia - Bastards of the Young (digital single)
Review by Gary Hill

This digital single is a cover of a song originally done by the Replacements. I have to admit that while I've heard the Replacements in the past, I don't think I've heard this song.

Miriam Tamar - Firedance
Review by Gary Hill

This EP is probably best described as "dance music."

UFO - The Salentino Cuts
Review by Gary Hill

The whole "do an album of covers" thing is cool, but perhaps a bit overdone. Here UFO gets into the trend.

The Warlocks - Vevey
Review by Gary Hill

I really went back and forth on where to put this. There was a time when I thought I'd land it under prog rock.

Widowmaker - Running Free: Jet Recordings 1976-1977
Review by Gary Hill

I've never heard this band before. That's a shame. Don't get me wrong, I've heard of them before.

DVD/Video Reviews
Black 47 - Fanatic Heart: The Story So Far of Black 47 DVD
Review by Gary Hill
I've been a big fan of Black 47 since their Fire of Freedom album. I've followed their career from that point all the way to the end of the band - and even beyond.
Black Sabbath - The End BluRay/CD
Review by Gary Hill
I have to admit to being a huge Black Sabbath fan. I've seen them live quite a few times. They are one of my favorite bands.
Glen Campbell - Live Anthology 1972-2001 DVD/CD set
Review by Gary Hill

I can't imagine a better tribute to the music of Glen Campbell. The man had so many hits and transcended so many musical styles.

Deep Purple - From Here to inFinite BluRay
Review by Larry Toering
This is an upgrade to the movie that came with Deep Purple's latest album, for which they just released a Gold Edition.
L7 - Pretend We're Dead DVD and BluRay set
Review by Gary Hill

You really get a lot with this video package.

L7 were (and still are) in many ways the classic example of a band that didn't fit into any molds. I suppose by definition they were alternative rock, but their sound was packed with metal, punk, pop and a lot more. The footage here will really give you quite an in-depth look at the band, their history and more. I can't recommend this one enough for both the casual and hardcore fans. It's great.

Magma - To Life, Death and Beyond: The Music of Magma DVD
Review by Gary Hill

Given that the music of Magma is set in their own language, it seems appropriate that most people will need captions on for this film.

Sonny Rollins - Saxophone Colossus DVD
Review by Gary Hill

This is a new DVD based around a vintage remastered film about Sonny Rollins. Rollins is a legend of jazz music.

Slipknot - Day of the Gusano DVD
Review by Gary Hill

This is part live concert video and part documentary. The documentary part comes from clips of fans talking and such.

Spock's Beard - Snow Live DVD/CD set
Review by Gary Hill

Who says progressive rock can't be serious and showcase a spirit of fun at the same time? Obviously anyone who says that has never seen Spock's Beard live.

Sting - Live at the Olympia Paris DVD
Review by Gary Hill

This new video from Sting is highly recommended in my book. The video is quite good, but it does have a tendency toward quick cuts.

Richard Thompson Band - Live at Rockpalast DVD/CD Set
Review by Gary Hill

This is another set that includes both DVDs and CDs, leaving it a bit confusing as to placement at MSJ.

Vanilla Fudge - Live At Sweden Rock 2016 DVD/CD Set
Review by Gary Hill

Vanilla Fudge might be one of the strangest but also coolest bands to come out of the 1960s. Really, progressive rock didn't exist yet, but their sound was such a part of the kind of the thing that would become prog. 

Various Artists - A Tribute To Les Paul: Live From Universal Studios Hollywood DVD
Review by Gary Hill

Come for the performances, stay for the documentary type stuff. A big chunk of this is all about some incredible live performances with musicians ranging from Joe Satriani to Buddy Guy to Slash, Neal Schon and Steve Lukather and more.

Interviews
Curved Air
Interview by Gary Hill

Interview with Sonja Kristina of Curved Air from 2017

Jag Panzer
Interview by Mike Korn

Interview with Mark Briody of Jag Panzer from 2017

Concert Reviews
The Toadies - Live in Portland, Oregon, October 2017
Review by Larry Toering
Another Toadies show is something I’m always up for, and this night was no exception to that rule.
Book Reviews
Motörhead - Beer Drinkers And Hell Raisers: The Rise Of Motorhead written by Martin Popoff
Review by Greg Olma

When I first started listening to Motorhead (around the Iron Fist era), I would have never thought that they would be as revered as they are now.

 
More Issues
June 2018 - Issue 130
April 2018 - Issue 129
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December 2017 - Issue 127
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December 2016 - Issue 121
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December 2015 - Issue 115
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December 2000 - Issue 0
 
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