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December 2003 - Issue 3
Progressive Rock CD Reviews
Roye Albrighton - The Follies of Rupert Treacle
Review by Gary Hill
This solo release from Nektar guitarist/vocalist Roye Albrighton is definitely that, a solo release. Do not expect a Nektar album here.
Altura - Mercy
Review by Gary Hill
Many prog rock bands seem to be heavily influenced by Dream Theater. Altura is certainly one of those.
Attention Deficit - The Idiot King
Review by Gary Hill
Attention Deficit's second album, this one continues their trend of fusion oriented instrumental music. The album should appeal to fans of bands like King Crimson, Djam Karet and Frank Zappa.
Peter Banks - Two Sides of Peter Banks
Review by Steve Alspach
The initial string-slinger in Yes, Peter Banks appears to have been overlooked in progressive rock annals in favor of his successor, but his work in Flash has stood up quite well to the years.
Banned From Utopia - So Yuh Don't Like Modern Art
Review by Gary Hill
A strong debate rages among progressive rock fans as to whether or not Frank Zappa qualifies as prog. I know that I am in disagreement with my friend and prog authority Bill Martin over this matter, as I feel that FZ's music does fit under the banner.
Blackmore's Night - Past Times With Good Company
Review by Gary Hill
Ritchie Blackmore is certainly best known for his work in hard rocking bands Deep Purple and Rainbow. He has been showing a different face with his new band Blackmore's Night.
Tomas Bodin - Sonic Boulevard
Review by Josh Turner
This album features ten blissful songs from the masterful Tomas Bodin. As his third solo attempt, he has really hit a homerun.
Terry Bozzio & Billy Sheehan - Nine Short Films
Review by Gary Hill
Terry Bozzio wrote the lyrics to this and provides all the percussion and keyboard textures. The majority of the guitar sounds on this CD are not truly guitar but keys that sound like guitar provided by Bozzio.
Caravan - Canterbury Comes to London
Review by Steve Alspach
Though not really recording anymore, Caravan still gets together for the occasional prog rock fest or a concert. This concert, from London's Astoria Theater in September 1997, shows the band to be quite sharp when the need arises.
The Clinton Administration - One Nation Under a Regroove
Review by Gary Hill
George Clinton, both as a driving force behind Parliament Funkadelic (and its variants) and solo, has certainly been one of the most adventurous and powerful forces in funk music for many years, delivering music that captivates and entertains, while testing the boundaries of its musical form.
C2THype - Close To The Hype
Review by Gary Hill
OK, OK, this is definitely not progressive rock. However, it does include work by Jon Anderson, which in itself would get it listed in the prog section of MSJ.
Cobweb Strange - A Breath Of October
Review by Gary Hill
I think this is a first. When I originally reviewed a Cobweb Strange album I placed them in the progressive metal category.
Alan Davey - Bedouin
Review by Bruce Stringer
For those unaware, Bedouin is Alan Davey's outlet for material that is otherwise unsuited to Hawkwind, yet - ironically, is very Hawkwind-like. The songs are very bass driven and tend toward the Middle-Eastern influence that Hawkwind were known for with songs like Assassins of Allah (re-invented when Alan joined Hawkwind in the mid-80's).
Elton Dean Mark Hewins - Bar Torque
Review by Josh Turner
The album is a live rendition with an excellent production and two talented musicians. Much in the vein of John Coltrane jazz by way of Elton's sax along with a flair of Canterbury.
Djam Karet - A Night For Baku
Review by Gary Hill
This is arguably the strongest album Djam Karet has ever done, and they are a band with a history of producing strong discs! The group doesn't wander far from its tried and true method of creating instrumental guitar dominated prog that is both atmospheric and dynamic.
Dream Theater - Images And Words
Review by Gary Hill
Images and Words marked the debut of lead singer James LaBrie to the DT fold and his performance here showed him to be a powerhouse of talent. This disc is arguably the most metallic in the DT catalog, certainly fueling the prog versus metal debate in progressive rock circles.
Dream Theater - Train of Thought
Review by Josh Turner
When I heard Dream Theater was releasing another album, this immediately piqued my interest. Dream Theater had been my gateway into the Progressive Metal genre.
Emerson, Lake and Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery
Review by Josh Turner
I would not be the first to say that their music has not held up over the years, because it obviously hasn't. Before we count them out completely, it is important to point out that Emerson demonstrated many innovations in music long before the digital age.
Enchant - Break
Review by Gary Hill
With Break Enchant have created a concept album that is both personal and universal. Such a dichotomy is appropriate for this band, as they seem to be experts at dual natured concepts.
The Flower Kings - Unfold The Future
Review by Steve Alspach
Sweden's most prolific progressive band returns with another two-CD album of songs that shows the band's willingness to try any and all musical styles. Fans of this band will find this to be another excellent album in the band's catalogue.
Peter Gabriel - Up
Review by Steve Alspach
Peter Gabriel has always been one to have a keen lookout on where music is, or where it's going.
Genesis - A Trick of the Tail
Review by Josh Turner
There are substantial differences between the old and new Genesis. Some prefer one style to the other.
Genesis - Live
Review by Steve Alspach
An import for a number of years, Genesis Live is a rather good document of the band during its heyday in the early 1970s. Recorded in some small town halls, the sound may not be all that great, but there's no denying the talent displayed by Messrs. Banks, Collins, Gabriel, Hackett, and Rutherford in their early days.
Gentle Giant - Acquiring the Taste
Review by Steve Alspach
Few bands could throw a wider arsenal of musical styles then Gentle Giant in their early days. Acquiring the Taste, perhaps doomed by its gaudy album cover, may not have had the success it deserved, but musically it's second to none.
Evelyn Glennie - Drumming
Review by Steve Alspach
Never one to adhere to convention, Drumming is Evelyn Glennie in one of her frequent exploratory moods.
Steve Hackett - There Are Many Sides to the Night
Review by Steve Alspach
While reviewing this on my PC, Windows Media Player listed this album as "There Are Many Sides to Steve Hackett." And who can argue?
Steve Hackett - To Watch the Storms
Review by Steve Alspach
Steve Hackett's first studio in four years shows that he hasn't lost a step in creating albums that go in different directions yet still manage to maintain a sense of coherence.
Hammers of Misfortune - The August Engine
Review by Mike Korn
Here is one of the most delightful experiences I have ever had as a critic. Completely ignorant of this band and having no expectations at all, I find Hammers of Misfortune to be a totally original and invigorating unit.
Hawkwind - Canterbury Fayre, 2001
Review by Bruce Stringer
Hawkwind are one of those bands that fans tend to gravitate (or levitate) toward a particular era or period. My own favourite being the Levitation-era (with Ginger Baker on drums) followed closely by any of the 1980's material graced by genius guitarist Huw Lloyd-Langton.
Hawkwind - Family Tree
Review by Gary Hill
Family Tree or Friend and Relation albums are always weird things. It seems that many times the isolated parts have no where near the style or power of the whole.
Hawkwind - Hall of The Mountain Grill
Review by Gary Hill
Hall of the Mountain Grill probably represents the apex of Hawkwind's popularity in the US, arguably being their best-known album in that country. Arguments can also be made that it is the most straight progressive rock release they have done.
Steve Howe's Remedy - Elements
Review by Steve Alspach
After all these years Steve Howe is still exploring new territories or, at least, foraging in styles that interest him.
Jeremy - Kingdom Come
Review by Gary Hill
The latest effort by Christian prog artist Jeremy Morris, this one shows him to be progressing quite well in his compositional style. It is certainly the most dynamic and diverse release he has done to date.
Jeremy - Pilgrim's Journey
Review by Gary Hill
The first instrumental journey from Jeremy (Christian artist Jeremy Morris). This one is definitely in the classical tradition, leading one to think at times of Synergy, Genesis and classical music.
Kaipa - Keyholder
Review by Josh Turner
I was really curious to hear this album. At best, I digested the previous release, Notes from the Past, which left me with a little heartburn.
Karnataka - Delicate Flame of Desire
Review by Steve Alspach
In a very short time Karnataka have carved an interesting niche for themselves in progressive rock music.
King Crimson - Red
Review by Gary Hill
For my money, Red is King Crimson's most consistent and powerful album. The disc combines the hard edged sound that I think works the best for Crimson with both highly accessible and very creative song writing to produce an album that holds up exceptionally well.
King Crimson - The Power To Believe
Review by Gary Hill
Since its formation in the late 1960's King Crimson has never been content to stay in one musical place. They were one of the pioneers of progressive rock, and under the guidance of band leader Robert Fripp they have gone through many changes, both in terms of musical style and lineup.
King Crimson - USA
Review by Steve Alspach
Robert Fripp's decision to knock King Crimson on the head may have been a shock to some, but it seemed like the right thing to do at that time.
Kopecky - Orion
Review by Gary Hill
There is a form of instrumental guitar dominated prog that seems to almost share as much in terms of influence with the old surf bands like Dick Dale and the Ventures as it does with King Crimson and other prog outfits.
Lana Lane - Covers Collection
Review by Gary Hill
Lana Lane has one of the best voices in prog rock, and her band seems to do a better job of combining prog and harder textures in a palatable and accessible melange of sound. Here the group turns their attention to nothing but covers, and it is a mixed bag.
Lemur Voice - Insights
Review by Gary Hill
Lemur Voice certainly drew comparisons to Dream Theater, and somewhat rightly so. Indeed the main elements of this group surely seem to call to mind that sound.
Magellan - Hour of Restoration
Review by Gary Hill
Magellan really seem to have a knack here for rapid-fire changes. As some have described the weather in the Midwest, if you don't like it, just wait a little while, it will change.
Magellan - Hundred Year Flood
Review by Gary Hill
Taking their name from the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, one should see this group as wanting to take us on a musical journey of exploration.
Magellan - Impending Ascension
Review by Gary Hill
Fans of classic prog rejoice, Magellan has foretold the Impending Ascension.
Magellan - Impossible Figures
Review by Steve Alspach
Free of label problems, the fifth album by Magellan, Impossible Figures, is a welcome sight for fans of progressive rock's Bee Gees - Brothers Gardner.
Neal Morse - Testimony
Review by Steve Alspach
Neal Morse's first post-Spock's Beard album is a big pill to swallow - over two hours' worth of music that document Morse's conversion to Christianity.
Steve Morse - Major Impacts 2
Review by Steve Alspach

I suppose it makes sense that if Steve Morse can't really be pegged to any one style, it's because his influences can't be pegged either. On Major Impacts 2 Morse continues to pay respect to the musicians who caught his ear.

Niacin - Live Blood, Sweat and Beers
Review by Gary Hill
Niacin have been quickly establishing themselves as a prog group that is at the top of the heap.
Mike Oldfield - Exposed
Review by Steve Alspach
I suppose the main question anyone would want to ask regarding this CD is whether or not Mike Oldfield could pull off a live version of some of his larger works such as Incantations or Tubular Bells.
Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells 2003
Review by Steve Alspach
There's an old joke that goes "Why does a dog lick himself? Because he can." Some may credit the same reason as to why Mike Oldfield has remade Tubular Bells.
Willie Oteri - Spiral Out
Review by Bruce Stringer
Produced, recorded and mixed by Ronan Chris Murphy, "Spiral Out" is an extension of the improvisational outings that made acts like John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra and Tony Williams Lifetime, King Crimson and even Frank Zappa the uniquely memorable experience that made musical history.
Pallas - The Cross and the Crucible
Review by Steve Alspach
One of Scotland's finest, and longest running, progressive bands strikes again with this album. It's an ambitious effort, full of gothic choirs and grandiose themes involving theology and the origins of man.
Pentwater - Pentwater (Reissue)
Review by Gary Hill
Pentwater may well be the best progressive rock band whose name you have never heard. The Chicago area band released one record on their own label in 1970's, their unique, innovative and quirky blend of humor, weirdness and musical virtuosity earned them a definite cult following.
Anthony Phillips - Private Parts and Pieces II
Review by Gary Hill
This is an album in a series of discs showcasing various unreleased tracks by Anthony Phillips.
Pink Floyd - Animals
Review by Gary Hill
I know a lot of people really focus on Dark Side of the Moon, The Wall, and possibly Wish You Were Here as the highpoints of Pink Floyd's career. Personally, I will take Animals over any of those discs, although I appreciate all of those, as well.
Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
Review by Josh Turner
In the commercial world, two albums from Pink Floyd were hugely successful. Unless you've been a castaway on a remote island for the past couple of decades, you'd know I was talking about Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall.
Porcupine Tree - In Absentia
Review by Steve Alspach
Steve Wilson's pet project (the group started as nothing more than just a fictional band several years ago) released their latest work, In Absentia, last year. The album is a thoughtful blend of melody, metal, and progressive.
Poverty's No Crime - The Chemical Chaos
Review by Josh Turner
You'd be hard-pressed to get these guys to admit it, but there are definitely some Dream Theater influences here. I'm thinking Scenes from a Memory era.
Proto-Kaw - Early Recordings from Kansas 1971-1973
Review by Gary Hill
This disc is exactly what the title says, a collection of early demos and two live tracks from the band that would eventually take the rock world by storm under the name of Kansas. Much of the material is far closer to old King Crimson than to the sound that we all know of as that Midwestern group.
Queen - A Night At The Opera
Review by Josh Turner
I had to scratch the dust off this album. The last time I heard it, I can't say I appreciated music as much as I do today.
Rama - Andy West With Rama-Rama 1
Review by Gary Hill
For this album Andy West (Dregs) has compiled an intriguing bunch of musicians who join him at various points on the recording. Among those he has a cast of drummers composed of Rod Morgenstein (Dregs), Jonathan Mover (GTR) and Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater).
RPWL - Stock
Review by Gary Hill
RPWL have created quite an interesting beast with this one. They have found a way to combine early prog stylings of bands like Pink Floyd and Genesis with a modern Europop texture and come up with a highly listenable CD.
Jordan Rudess - 4NYC
Review by Gary Hill
Jordan Rudess writes in the liner notes to this CD that the concert from which much of the material on this disc is from was set to raise money for the Red Cross in the wake of September 11th, 2001.
Rush - 2112
Review by Gary Hill
Where Rush's previous album, Caress of Steel first showed prog tendencies (arguably Fly By Night's Bytor and the Snow Dog was the first such hint) it leaned more to extremely progressive metal. This album is probably the one where they reversed that label to become metallic progressive rock.
Spock's Beard - Feel Euphoria
Review by Steve Alspach
Well, it isn't the Spock's Beard that we've all grown accustomed to. With Neal Morse's departure, the band bares little semblance to it's old self, but that's not to say that the band hasn't lost its edge.
Star Nation - Star Nation EP
Review by Bruce Stringer
The first thing to get my attention to this EP was the card CD sleeve design: didn't I see this in Chariots of the Gods? Dressed up as an independent CD single with lyric card inserts, this is a very interesting disc and a pity that it will probably never get the release it deserves.
Star Nation - The Silver Age
Review by Bruce Stringer
Hawkwind drummer Richard Chadwick and ex-Hawkwind guitarist Jerry Richards play alongside musicians Steve Hayes, Alex Hart, Steve Taylor and scribe Sophie Knight on this album of industrial, post-punk, space-rock. The Silver Age is a thematic CD with many a surprise in stall for the listener and many interesting lyrics to puzzle over.
The Tangent - The Music That Died Alone
Review by Josh Turner
Stop reading right here… Go out and get the album NOW!!! You should run, not walk.
Transatlantic - Live in America
Review by Steve Alspach

It takes cajones to record an album consisting of your fifth or sixth performance ever as a band. But if you're as talented as the guys in Transatlantic, nerves are perhaps the only problem.

Vanilla Fudge - The Beat Goes On
Review by Steve Alspach
One criticism of progressive music is that it takes itself too seriously. This album is the poster child for that argument.
Various Artists - AMY-Cyberian Khatru
Review by Gary Hill
Out in cyberland there lives a news group called "alt.music.yes". It is one of the oldest of its kind, and one of the most lively. It is known to its members as "AMY".
Various Artists - To Cry You A Song: A Collection of Tull Tales
Review by Gary Hill
One of the first tribute albums ever done by Magna Carta, this one includes some intriguing arrangements of Jethro Tull songs. There are some definite winners here (witness Aqualung, To Cry You a Song, and Locomotive Breath) and no real losers.
Various Artists - Working Man
Review by Gary Hill
One of the early Magna Carta tribute CD's, this one is definitely not one of their finest. It does have some strong points, though, and the main area in which it is lacking is vocals.
Rick Wakeman - Out There
Review by Bruce Stringer
The first thing I noticed about this CD is the bizarre spaceship on the front red-coloured cover booklet, which looks like a weird marriage between V8 engine and mechanical fish with a protruding golf putter to add to its other-worldly imagery.
World Trade - Euphoria
Review by Gary Hill
There are many who claim that Billy Sherwood is nearly solely responsible for the song writing and arrangements on Yes' Open Your Eyes album. Listening to this album from him with his band World Trade, there are reasons to buy into this argument.
Yes - Close To The Edge
Review by Gary Hill
This is the first Yes album that I ever heard, and although it took me several listenings to get into it (I actually hated it first time through) it completely won me over. It is truly my favorite Yes album and the disc that got me interested in the band, and in progressive rock.
Yes - Fragile - Remastered And Expanded
Review by Gary Hill
Rhino has begun a series of remasters of Yes albums, restoring the original artwork and adding bonus cuts to the discs. This is their version of one of the more classic Yes recordings, Fragile.
Yes - Relayer
Review by Gary Hill
At first glance, Relayer resembles Close To The Edge in that it is composed of three cuts, one in the twenty-minute range, and the other two taking up about the same length of time between them.
Yes - The Yes Album
Review by Josh Turner
This marks the third album from this first class group. Its recording predates the membership of the legendary Rick Wakeman, who ultimately joined late in the tour of this album. While this might appear to be a huge drawback in the studio, the album is quite strong.
Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews
Akercocke - Choronzon
Review by Mike Korn
They say the Devil has the best music, but judging by the sartorial sense of Britain's Akercocke, he also has a pretty good wardrobe. Instead of opting for the usual spiked leather and chains, these fellows favor smartly tailored three-piece suits while engaging in their blasphemy.
The Berzerker - Dissimulate
Review by Mike Korn
Somebody is always trying to push the boundaries of extremity in heavy metal and the Berzerker have succeeded in pushing them right to the brink of the abyss. An enigmatic band of monster-masked mutants from Australia, these weirdos have no individual names: they are ALL known as The Berzerker.
Bloodbath - Resurrection Through Carnage
Review by Mike Korn
Rising from the moldy earth, the corpse of true Swedish death metal refuses to stay dead and buried. Its lust for blood can never be quenched and though it may sometimes slumber beneath the soil, it will always erupt from the grave and stalk human prey.
Celtic Frost - Into the Pandemonium
Review by Mike Korn
"Into the Pandemonium" remains a watershed album in the development of extreme metal but it has never been properly presented on CD until now. It's hard to figure out why it took so long, but at least it's finally here.
Cradle of Filth - Damnation and a Day
Review by Mike Korn
One thing's for certain - Cradle of Filth don't do anything half way. For their major label debut "Damnation and a Day", they have pulled out all the stops and unleashed an exhausting 76-minute opus featuring a 40 piece orchestra and 32 piece choir.
Dog Fashion Disco - Committed to a Bright Future
Review by Mike Korn
What kind of a band calls itself Dog Fashion Disco? And what kind of band features an open toilet and a grinning wash basin on its front cover?
Ghoul - Maniaxe
Review by Mike Korn
In the strange and rather ominous country of Creepsylvania, there is a forbidding old cemetery known as Monture Noir. It is here that most of the "Ghoul" sightings have taken place.
Grave - Back From the Grave
Review by Mike Korn
Here is proof positive that the dead can return. Swedish death metal champions Grave were supposedly buried back in 1996 but apparently the internment was a bit premature, as their rotting corpse has risen here in the new millenium.
The Heavils - The Heavils
Review by Mike Korn
Once in a great while, a band comes along that does something truly unique, something that gives the whole music scene a much needed kick in the rear , something that has never really been heard before.
Holy Mother - Agoraphobia
Review by Mike Korn
Now here is proof positive that you cannot judge a CD by its cover. The cover on this one almost certainly seems to indicate that you will be hearing some cheezy European power metal from a band of Hammerfall wannabes.
Incantation - Blasphemy
Review by Mike Korn
If you were to look beneath the dark underbelly of heavy metal, you would likely see Incantation staring back at you with a toothy grin. The very antithesis of good taste and musical technicality, this long-lasting band of sinister ghouls have cast a long dark shadow over death metal for over ten years.
Iron Maiden - Edward the Great
Review by Gary Hill
This compilation of songs by one of the most influential metal bands in history is a bit of a mystery. According to the liner notes the band chose what material to include.
Judas Priest - Unleashed in the East
Review by Gary Hill
Judas Priest really hit the mass market with the album British Steel, but before then they were building a loyal, almost cult, following with their truly unique sound. This album was a live album that was the culmination of that era of the band, and directly preceded British Steel.
Kataklysm - Shadows And Dust
Review by Mike Korn
Sometimes it takes a while to get it right. Montreal's Kataklysm has been prowling around the death metal underground for more than ten years and with their latest effort "Shadows and Dust", all the pieces seem to have fallen in place.
Korn - Issues
Review by Gary Hill
Korn is certainly a band that has not been lacking in the media coverage department. Many times this causes the more serious listener to overlook them.
Metal Militia - Perpetual State of Aggression
Review by Mike Korn
Milwaukee Metalfest is the annual gathering of head bangers that some have likened to a heavy metal cattle drive, with thousands of lowing fans plodding continuously in front of mostly unknown and unlauded bands.
Morbid Angel - Heretic
Review by Mike Korn
The grand old ghouls of death metal, Morbid Angel have a tough task to keep themselves from falling into the dreaded "influential but over the hill" slot.
Near Life Experience - Day of Silver Sun
Review by Mike Korn
After the first couple of listens, I thought this record was pleasant enough but nothing too special. But it suddenly dawned on me about 3 weeks after I got it...I still wanted to listen to the damn thing!
Overkill - Killbox 13
Review by Mike Korn
Whenever Overkill releases a new album, the public is bombarded by a series of clichés such as "Overkill avoids all trends with their tried and true metal", "Overkill is the Motorhead of American bands" and "Overkill follows their own path".
Pharaoh - After the Fire
Review by Mike Korn
This is a beautiful piece of work. I daresay that if Pharaoh had existed in the 1980's, they would now be releasing box sets in elaborate packaging much like Iron Maiden . They are that good.
Probot - Probot
Review by Mike Korn
It seems a sad fact that many artists forget the music of their younger days when they "mature". It's not unusual to find a successful musician trying to deny or belittle his time in punk, heavy metal or hard rock bands.
Queensr├┐che - Tribe
Review by Gary Hill
This disc is certainly the hardest rocking album the Ryche have come out with in a while, it is their strongest at least since Empire, but I would hazard to say since Operation Mindcrime. That is not to say that this CD is in the vein of that one, it certainly isn't.
Shadow Gallery - Carved In Stone
Review by Gary Hill
As prog metal goes, Shadow Gallery in many cases comes the closest to crossing the line into pure prog. With Carved In Stone they created a work that foreshadowed great things to come from the group.
Shadows Fall - The Art of Balance
Review by Mike Korn
In the zine biz, you hear a lot about bands who are supposed to be the "future of heavy metal". If I had a buck for every time I heard that, I could buy myself my own harem of Japanese geisha girls.
Six Feet Under - Haunted
Review by Mike Korn
When lead vocalist Chris Barnes abruptly left Cannibal Corpse, the band he had guided for so long, it sent shockwaves through the world of death metal, the world that Chris and Cannibal Corpse had helped to create.
Tool - Lateralus
Review by Gary Hill
Tool quite probably get lumped by many in the Nu-metal category. That fits to a degree, but as this album shows, the group are not good at being tied down to one musical label.
Twelfth Gate - Summoning
Review by Mike Korn
We are not very far into 2003 but we already have a candidate for album of the year. Twelfth Gate and their debut "Summoning" have burst out of nowhere (Chicago, actually) with a furious rush.
Usurper - Twilight Dominion
Review by Mike Korn
No one can deny there's a certain amount of cheesiness in heavy metal. That's part of its charm.
Voi Vod - Voi Vod
Review by Mike Korn
Voi Vod has always stood apart from the crowd. The French-Canadian mutants have been offering their own warped version of cybermetal since the early 80's and their crushing debut "War and Pain".
Within Another - EP
Review by Gary Hill
This independent four-track release shows a prog metal band that will probably go places. The group seem to have very solid instrumental and compositional skills.
Non-Prog CD Reviews
Peter Brown - Warm
Review by Bruce Stringer
A CD landed on my doorstep from Malaysia a short while ago which took my interest and inevitably ended up doing it's revolutions in my CD player on and off over a few weeks.
Celldweller - Celldweller
Review by Mike Korn
For those who like plenty of electronic beats and bleeps mixed up with their rock and roll, Celldweller is a new name to conjure with. Looking like a cross between one of the Misfits, the Cure's Robert Smith and pro wrestler, the enigmatic maestro named Klayton is the mind behind the madness of Celldweller.
Concrete Blonde - Live In Brazil
Review by Gary Hill
With Live In Brazil Concrete Blonde have given us a solid album showcasing their live performance. Those whose only introduction to the band are the singles might find this to be a bit raw, but truly that edge really adds something.
Frou Frou - Details
Review by Bruce Stringer
Frou Frou means the sound that makes men go wild and the first thing that struck me about this CD - beside the succulent, breathy vocals of Imogen Heap, was the texture of the production: something I hadn't experienced since the Cocteau Twins.
Grand Funk Railroad - Grand Funk
Review by Gary Hill
Another in the series of Grand Funk reissues, this one shows the band not straying too far from their home turf musically. Still, when your home turf is such a great blend of bluesy rock laced with fuzz bass and tasty guitar riffing, why not stay close to home?
Grand Funk Railroad - Live Album
Review by Gary Hill
Once upon a time if you wanted to buy a Grand Funk live disc, this was the one to get, because it was the only one. Now, however, there are others to choose from.
Guns N' Roses - The Spaghetti Incident?
Review by Gary Hill
Well before Metallica's Garage Inc., Guns and Roses did their take on their own influences. The result is The Spaghetti Incident?.
The House Popes - Cleaning House
Review by Steve Alspach
You can argue who the best band is in America, but few are better educated than Akron, Ohio's Housepopes, who sport three Ph.D's, an MD, and a few other scattered degrees amongst the ranks.
Tenry Johns - The King Kong Rocker-In Here Tonight
Review by Gary Hill
Far too often the blues can come across as generic and lacking in variety. There are few artists who manage to pull off a form of the style that is based in a traditional vein and is still varied enough to entertain.
KMFDM - WWIII
Review by Mike Korn
KMFDM have been hovering around the edges of my musical awareness for a decade now. I knew who they were and I sure noticed all the goth/punk kids wearing their distinctive cartoony T-shirts but I never bothered to listen to them.
Liz Larin - The Story of O-Miz
Review by Steve Alspach
One tends to feel sorry for people living in Detroit. It's not the most picturesque city around, the economy isn't that good, and don't even mention the Tigers.
Led Zeppelin - The Song Remains the Same
Review by Gary Hill
Few bands have ever achieved the level of success that Led Zeppelin did, and certainly not any that only released  a handful of albums.
L,I.N.T. - Day 1
Review by Bruce Stringer
L.I.N.T. are, to me, a curious Swedish mix of Voivod and Blink 182. I dig Voivod. I don't dig Blink 182, however I can appreciate their pop sensibilities.
The Lizards - The Lizards Rule
Review by Gary Hill
The second CD from the Lizards is entitled "The Lizards Rule". That title is quite appropriate because for fans of 1970's styled blues oriented hard rock, the Lizards do rule.
Off Broadway - Live At Fitzgerald's
Review by Gary Hill
In the mid to the late 1970's it seemed that there was a prevailing sound on the local music scene in the Chicago area. Based on hard edged guitar, Beatles leanings, catchy pop arrangements, and an almost punky texture, this sound was dubbed "power pop".
Linnea Quigley - and the Bi-Polar Bears-Surfboards and Chainsaws
Review by Gary Hill
Linnea Quigley is best known as a queen of scream in such b-grade horror movie nuggets as "Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowlorama", "Creepozoids" and "Return of the Living Dead".
Santana - Shaman
Review by Gary Hill
Carlos Santana has certainly had a long and wonderful career, and with the talent and spirit of the man he deserves it. His most recent effort is Shaman.
The Skirts - The Skirts
Review by Gary Hill
This is a short CD by the band which is fronted by Linnea Quigley. The music here is fun and punky, at times coming across a bit like the Ramones, at other times a bit like the Runaways, and even very old Blondie.
Will Smith - Big Willie Style
Review by Gary Hill
As Eminem once pointed out, "Will Smith doesn't have to swear to sell records". Non-vulgar rap/hip hop is certainly a rarity these days, but Smith pulls it off.
Stank Willie - History
Review by Gary Hill
Recorded with their horn section The Red Hots (who technically are credited in the name on the CD. This reviewer left that off for brevity in the title of the page), this album is an interesting one in many ways.
 
T. M. Stevens - Shocka Zooloo
Review by Gary Hill
Although this disc was released worldwide in 2001, it is just now being put out in the US, so I am considering it a 2003 release.
Sunn 0))) - White 1
Review by Mike Korn
Readers, it's pretty hard to describe what this album sounds like, but the term "music" is applied very loosely! I would not call it heavy metal either, though it is marketed through a mostly metal label.
Sunset Black - Common Ground
Review by Gary Hill
Common Ground shows a band that seems a bit green and in-experienced, but with a lot of potential. If these guys do it right, expect great things from them.
Pete Teo - Rustic Living for Urbanites
Review by Bruce Stringer
This review was probably one of the hardest that I have ever had to write about. Pete is Malaysia's answer to Leonard Cohen or Suzanne Vega.
Suzanne Vega - Suzanne Vega-Retrospective : the best of Suzanne Vega UK 2 CD edition
Review by Bruce Stringer
Suzanne Vega is one of my all time favourite artists and has continued to compose compelling, thought-provoking material which has made her one of the music industry's most prolific songwriters of our time.
DVD/Video Reviews
Black Sabbath - The Last Supper-DVD
Review by Gary Hill
As both a die-hard Black Sabbath fanatic and one who was fortunate enough to see the band several times on their reunion tour, I was really looking forward to this DVD. The quality of the performance, the videography and sound all lived up to my expectations, showing just how phenomenal of a tour this was.
Phil Collins - A Life Less Ordinary DVD
Review by Gary Hill
This video is not perfect, and is not quite what I was expecting, but is pretty darn interesting. Indeed, I was thinking that I would find a lot of musical snippets and clips, and while there are some (from all phases of Phil's career, I might add), they are short and far and few between, but that is not the true purpose or beauty of this video.
Hawkwind - Classic Rock Legends DVD
Review by Bruce Stringer
Another video from the Classic Rock Legends archives and this time it's the Space Bandits line-up of the mighty Hawkwind. Alan Davey (bassist) has claimed this to be one of his favourite periods and, given that it is a mixture of older as well as new talent, one can see a fresh injection of energy in the band's live sound.
Heart - The Road Home DVD
Review by Bruce Stringer
One of my all-time favourite bands, Heart, has finally released The Road Home DVD in the UK with a few bonus items. The DVD is of fantastic quality and in 5.1 surround sound.
Steve Howe - Classic Rock Legends DVD
Review by Bruce Stringer
Classic Rock Legends has released a series of 1980-90's concerts on video (and now DVD) for fans to enjoy over and over again. Some of their catalogue simply smells like old rockers trying to cash in on reunion gigs, yet thankfully there have been a few notable quality releases.
Iron Maiden - Rock In Rio DVD
Review by Gary Hill
The year 2001 marked the triumphant return of the classic Iron Maiden lineup. The band undertook a tour to promote the critically acclaimed Brave New World album.
Kansas - Device-Voice-Drum DVD
Review by Gary Hill
This DVD is one that has both positive and negative aspects. On the positive side the performance here is very strong, and it is just plain nice to have a Kansas video.
Manowar - Fire And Blood DVD
Review by Gary Hill
All hail the kings of true metal! Yes, these guys are a bit over the top at times, even bordering on silly, but man do they rock! T
Rush - Exit...Stage Left DVD
Review by Bruce Stringer
Writing about this band is a labour of love. I grew up with Rush (not literally!) and learnt to play guitar by emulating Alex Lifeson's playing.
Rush - Rush In Rio DVD
Review by Bruce Stringer
After only one studio release between the 1998 triple live CD, Different Stages, and the Rush In Rio DVD and CD releases of recent months could this be the definitive moment to bring Rush back into the limelight in grand fashion? I believe so.
Saga - Silhouette DVD
Review by Gary Hill
As an American, Saga always seemed to be a one hit wonder band known for the track "On The Loose" that was in fairly heavy rotation in the early days of MTV.
Triumph - A Night of Triumph Live DVD
Review by Bob Cooper
The most recent installment from the Triumph camp comes in the form of this 1985 show which was recorded at the Metro Centre Arena in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada during their Thunder Seven Tour.
Van der Graaf Generator - Masters From the Vaults DVD
Review by Bruce Stringer
One of the most underrated of the 70's prog-rock acts, this Van Der Graaf Generator TV appearance (looking to possibly be from French or Belgium TV) demonstrates the incredible chemistry that these guys had.
Yes - Yesspeak DVD
Review by Gary Hill
This DVD is documentary (remember when these things were called "rockumentaries") on Yes. It focuses on interview segments with each of the current members of the band (Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Rick Wakeman and Alan White) but focuses on the entire history of the band.
Interviews
The Berzerker
Interview by Bob Cooper
Interview with The Berzerker from 2003
California Guitar Trio
Interview by Bob Cooper
Interview with Paul Richards of California Guitar Trio from 2003


Cradle of Filth
Interview by Bob Cooper
Interview with Paul of Cradle of Filth from 2003
Alan Davey
Interview by Bruce Stringer
Interview Alan Davey from 2003


Frou Frou
Interview by Bruce Stringer
Interview with Imogen Heap from 2003
Hawkwind
Interview by Bruce Stringer
Interview With Richard Chadwick, Tim Blake and Dave Brock of Hawkwind from 2003
Incantation
Interview by Mike Korn
Interview With Interview With Incantation's Joe Lombard  & John McEntee in 2003


Jethro Tull
Interview by Bob Cooper
Interview with Martin Barre of Jethro Tull from 2003


Karnataka
Interview by Steve Alspach
Interview with Karnataka's Ian Jones from 2003
KMFDM
Interview by Mike Korn
Interview with Sascha Konietzko of KMFDM from 2003


Tony Levin
Interview by Gary Hill
MSJ Chat Transcript Tony Levin from 2003


Magellan
Interview by Gary Hill
Interview with Magellan's Trent Gardner from 2003
Morbid Angel
Interview by Arnold Hablewitz
Interview with Steve Tucker of Morbid Angel From 2003
Neal Morse
Interview by Bob Cooper
Interview With Neal Morse From 2003
Nektar
Interview by Gary Hill
MSJ Chat Transcript Derek "Mo" Moore of Nektar from 2003
Overkill
Interview by Mike Korn
Interview with Overkill's Blitz Ellsworth From 2003
Pentwater
Interview by Gary Hill
Interview Pentwater's Mike Konopka and Tom Orsi From 2003


Point of Ares
Interview by None
MSJ Chat Transcript Karen Michalson of Point of Ares
and Rich Newman of TagYerit From 2003


RPWL
Interview by Gary Hill
Interview with Yogi Lang of RPWL From 2003


Six Feet Under
Interview by Mike Korn
Interview with Chris Barnes of Six Feet Under From 2003
Roine Stolt
Interview by Josh Turner
Interview with Roine Stolt From 2003


Symphony X
Interview by Arnold Hablewitz
Interview Symphony X' Michael Lepond From 2003


Usurper
Interview by Mike Korn
Interview Usurper's Jon Necromancer From 2003


Voi Vod
Interview by Mike Korn
Interview Voi Vod's Jason Newsted From 2003


Rick Wakeman
Interview by Gary Hill and Steve Alspach
Interview With Rick Wakeman from 2003
Concert Reviews
Black 47 - Live in Rockford, IL, 2003
Review by Gary Hill
There are those who say that no one parties like the Irish. Having seen Black 47 live twice now, I must say that they bring some support to this argument.
California Guitar Trio - Live in Eugene, OR, 2003
Review by Bob Cooper
After many failed plans to catch the California Guitar Trio in performance, my wait was finally rewarded when they came to Eugene's WOW Hall. As some of you may know, Eugene is a college town where the "hippie era" is still thriving and alive, so I believe I picked the ultimate venue to see these three guitar virtuosos perform for my first CGT show.
Concrete Blonde - Live in Chicago, May 10th, 2003
Review by Gary Hill
Never having seen Concrete Blonde live, I wasn't sure what to expect really. I had only heard three of their discs, the brilliant Bloodletting, Mexican Moon and Live in Brazil.
Dream Theater - Live in Chicago, July 19, 2003
Review by Gary Hill
As someone who has seen Dream Theater live quite a few times, let me say that this show has me a little perplexed. First, I was never one to fall into the bandwagon of their detractors who said that they were all about playing millions of notes with no passion or musical theme.
Halford - Live In Chicago, 2003
Review by Mike Korn
For this reviewer, this was the tour of the year...a chance to see the Metal God himself, Rob Halford, accompanied by a sextet of topnotch metal bands of various stripe. In short, the tour is like a stripped-down Milwaukee Metalfest of all beef, no filler.
Immortal - Immortal Live in Chicago, 2003
Review by Mike Korn
From the frozen wasteland of Blashrykh (or Norway, at least) came Immortal, the most intriguing and "different" of the bands on the Metal Gods tour. I was really looking forward to them, and they did not disappoint.
Huw Lloyd Langton - Live Newcastle-under-Lyme April 11th, 2003
Review by Bruce Stringer
Sometimes, against all odds, there are people who not only manage to perform well in their given field but offer unique insight into their developed techniques. Last Friday's Lloyd-Langton Group gig, just outside Stoke-on-Trent, was indeed an event of insurmountable obstacles and bad timing.
Tony Levin - Live in Madison, WI, March 23, 2003
Review by Gary Hill
This band never fails to deliver a smoking show! They came into Madison on a mini-tour for their Double Espresso live album.
Primal Fear - Live in Chicago, 2003
Review by Mike Korn
For this reviewer, this was the tour of the year...a chance to see the Metal God himself, Rob Halford, accompanied by a sextet of topnotch metal bands of various stripe. In short, the tour is like a stripped-down Milwaukee Metalfest of all beef, no filler.
Queensr├┐che - Live in Chicago, July 19, 2003
Review by Gary Hill
Queensryche made their way into Chicago touring their new "Tribe" album, arguably their finest disc in years, and the quality of that album seems to have brought a renewed vitality to the band. Indeed, they were in great form as they worked their way through material both old and new.
Stank Willie - Lincolnshire, IL, February 15, 2003
Review by Steve Alspach
There's a new band in the Chicago/Rockford area that mixes a load of different styles into one seamless blend. Stank Willie is a band that originated in downstate Carbondale, Illinois, but have migrated north.
Rick Wakeman - Live in Nottingham, UK, 2003
Review by Bruce Stringer
I was very excited when I heard that Rick Wakeman was to be appearing at the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham and, being my first time ever seeing any member of Yes perform live, I didn't know quite what to expect. Originally, I had tried to arrange a brief interview with Rick however that fell through at the last minute.
Yes - Live In Nottingham, England, June 6, 2003
Review by Bruce Stringer
Firebird Suite / Siberian Khatru was not the smashing introduction to the set that I had hoped, but none-the-less quite strong. The crowd had been stamping and yelling and were quite worked up over the 65 minute wait for Yes to arrive on stage.
Book Reviews
Hawkwind - The Time of The Hawklords (reissue) written by Michael Butterworth
Review by Gary Hill
Long out of print, this book has recently been reissued. That is reason for Hawkwind fans to rejoice.
 
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