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February 2006 - Issue 56
Progressive Rock CD Reviews
Age of Nemesis - Psychogeist
Review by Rick Damigella
It took a long time to get Psychogeist off the ground here in the US. Age of Nemesis (they were called Nemesis - they tacked on the "Age of" in August 2005) recorded the tracks for Psychogeist some 4-plus years ago.
The Amber Light - goodbye to dawn farewell to dusk
Review by Josh Turner
This finds itself on the elegant edge of the progressive ledge. It walks the fine line between the dark underground caverns of the dwarves and the light and airy woodlands of the elves.
Arena - Pepper's Ghost
Review by Steve Alspach
First off, I gotta admit that I had a college flashback with the CD booklet. The comic strip artwork by David Wyatt and Tim Bisley depicts the five members of Arena as men on a mission, each with a "mysterious" past, to clean up Victorian England. "Pepper's Ghost" is written loosely on this concept, and if you like comic art, "Pepper's Ghost" is worth buying just for that.
Circus Brimstone - Brimstoned in Europe (Live)
Review by Josh Turner
There wouldn't be any complaints if The Flower King's didn't make these official bootlegs available. As it is, they are so prolific it's profound.
Crazy World - Crazy World
Review by Gary Hill
Let me say this up front - had this album been released in 1975 it would have sold millions and millions of copies. These guys do an incredible job of capturing the 70's hard rock sound and making it work with an original twist on the sound.
D'arcana - D'Arcana
Review by Gary Hill
There are those amongst us who will tell you that a song isn't progressive rock unless it's (insert number) minutes long. Well, to all you, I challenge you to listen to this CD.
Terry Draper - Aria 52: A Five Year Mission
Review by Gary Hill
Terry Draper is probably best known for his work in Klaatu. After that band broke up he left music for a while, but eventually resurfaced, recording several albums.
Glass - Illuminations
Review by Gary Hill
Glass was a progressive rock band from the 1970's that many never heard about. For those who did, though, there was a wealth of talent to be had.
Glass Hammer - The Inconsolable Secret
Review by Steve Alspach
I admired Glass Hammer's previous work, "Shadowlands" - heck, anyone who would do a prog reworking of Dan Fogelberg's "Longer" has my vote - well enough to check out their latest offering, and I'm glad I did.
Hawkwind - Take Me To Your Leader
Review by Gary Hill
It's got to be hard to be Hawkwind. With a massive catalog that last time I checked (including compilations and live albums) boasted well over a hundred official releases, it must be very difficult to try to please your fans with each new release.
Izz - My River Flows
Review by Steve Alspach
Sometimes Amazon steers you right. I was on a CD-buying binge a few weeks ago and one of the links was to a band called Izz. "My River Flows," the fourth album by this NYC outfit, was ripe for the pickins, and I've found it to be full of well-crafted and innovative songs.
Jelly Jam - 2
Review by Gary Hill
Included in the prog section because of the line up (Ty Tabor (King's X John Myung (Dream Theater) and Rod Morgenstein (Dixie Dregs), not necessarily the music, this is the second release from Jelly Jam. Frankly, if you don't have the first album, pick that one up first.
Klaatu - 3:47 E.S.T. 25th Anniversary Edition
Review by Gary Hill
This is the 25th Anniversary Edition of Klaatu's debut album. I'm guessing some fans in the US are saying, "but the title of that album was just 'Klaatu.'"
Klaatu - Endangered Species
Review by Gary Hill
You really have to love the wisdom of record label executives. Let's say you are one of these guys and you sign a band like Klaatu for the unique sound and songwriting skills that they possess.
Klaatu - Hope 25th Anniversary Edition
Review by Gary Hill
While I am totally enamored with several songs from Klaatu's debut, this follow up is in many ways a better disc. It is certainly more consistent.
Klaatu - Sir Army Suit 25th Anniversary Edition
Review by Gary Hill
With their third album the signs of trouble were really beginning to show. The label was putting the band under a lot of pressure to get on the radio.
Liquid Scarlet - II
Review by Josh Turner
Coming off their impressive debut, II is another gratifying stick to chew on. This time, however, it doubles your pleasure.
Dee Long - Outside
Review by Gary Hill
This solo album from Klaatu's Dee Long doesn't sound all that much like that band. That's actually hard to believe because it has some of the key elements that made up the sound of Klaatu.
Moon Safari - A Doorway To Summer
Review by Josh Turner
If The Beatles were to go the progressive route, this is where they would have gone. This band shares great harmonies in the vein of those famous four tenors from Liverpool.
├śresund Space Collective - ├śresund Space Collective
Review by Gary Hill
This Swedish/American outfit performs improvised instrumental space rock. Now, mind you this really isn't Hawkwind like space rock, but a more ambient, almost Tangerine Dream like version of the genre.
The Pineapple Thief - 10 Stories Down
Review by Josh Turner
This album surprised me. I felt earlier works lacked content and the production might have been a little shaky. It was okay back then, but this album brings the group to a new echelon of quality. To put it bluntly, this is extremely good material.
Proto-Kaw - The Wait of Glory
Review by Gary Hill
The second new disc for Proto-Kaw since they reunited, there isn't a bad cut on show here. The band was called "Kansas" in the early '70's and Kerry Livgren took that name with him when he joined another band that was destined for fame.
Rag I Ryggen - Rag I Ryggen
Review by Gary Hill
If you like Vanilla Fudge, you will probably like this disc. It's the only album ever released by this Swedish band.
Rush - Feedback EP
Review by Gary Hill
In the liner notes on this EP, Neil Peart explains "It was April of 2004, but Geddy, Alex, and I were channeling back to 1966 and 1967, when we were thirteen- and fourteen-year-old beginners.
Side Project - Our Last Album
Review by Gary Hill
I think it's pretty much a foregone conclusion that you've never heard progressive rock quite like this. If I had to put a label on it, I'd call it "funky urban jazz-oriented progressive rock."
Stereoscope - Stereoscope
Review by Josh Turner
Jérémie Grima and Sébastien Bourdeix from The Black Noodle Project makeup Stereoscope. While I enjoyed The Black Noodle's second album, I can't say I was burning for another, what with all the other great music coming out.
Roine Stolt - Wall Street Voodoo
Review by Josh Turner
As usual, this artist is hard-at-work and boy is he busy. It's ironic when you consider how many artists are so preoccupied with the promotion of a single album and then take years to develop it.
Tempest - Double Cross
Review by Gary Hill
The latest disc from Celtic proggers Tempest is Double Cross and it's a very strong addition to the band's catalog. While I personally don't find it as potent as their last one Shapeshifter, that's more a matter of personal taste than anything. 
Various Artists - A Tribute To Captain Beyond - Thousand Days of Yesterday
Review by Gary Hill
These kinds of tribute albums are always mixed bags, with some material coming across very strong and others not working very well. This one is no exception, but in many ways it is one of the most consistent you'll find.
Rick Wakeman - Two Sides of Yes, Vol. 2
Review by Gary Hill
I've read where people have been disappointed by this album because it was not full Yes versions of these songs. All I have to say is, if you want the original version, buy the original disc.
Yes - Drama - Remastered and Expanded
Review by Greg Olma
This is the bastard child of the Yes family. Many Yes purists don't acknowledge its existence with even Jon Anderson refusing to play any of the material live.
Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews
Annihilator - Schizo Deluxe
Review by Greg Olma
Annihilator should be up there with the big 4 of thrash. Jeff Waters has been and will always be considered Annihilator.
The Berzerker - World of Lies
Review by Mike Korn
The masks have come off but the brutality remains. Up until this release, Australia's The Berzerker have always been enigmatic and mysterious, the members never revealing their individual names and hiding behind grotesque monster masks.
Creozoth - Creozoth
Review by Lisa Palmeno
Creozoth released their first album on October 25, with a veteran packed line-up: lead guitarist Lars Johansson (Candlemass); Jan Lindh (Candlemass) on drums; lead singer Michael Storck (X-Plode, Yngwie Malmsteen); and Tobbe Moen (ex-Redfun, OZ) on bass.
Bruce Dickinson - Chemical Wedding (Remaster)
Review by Gary Hill
This re-release of Bruce Dickinson's Chemical Wedding album has a better sound to me by far than the original, and I guess time has worked on me as I really enjoy the disc this time around. When I first got the original release it didn't sit well with me and I wound up listening to it only a handful of times.
Exodus - Shovel Headed Kill Machine
Review by Mike Korn
Much like the bone-crushing juggernaut portrayed on this CD's cover, the thrashing beast known as Exodus continues to grind on. It sure hasn't been easy over the last few years.
F5 - A Drug For All Seasons
Review by Lisa Palmeno
Heavy Metal bassist Dave Ellefson is bandleader of F5, a new group that just released A Drug For All Seasons. Ellefson's masterful work on 4-, 5-, and 12-string basses (and rhythm guitar) provides the foundation for this merger of fine talents.
Iommi - The 1996 DEP Sessions
Review by Greg Olma
I can just picture it now. Tony Iommi and a friend are going through a studio to do some "Spring cleaning". They come across a tape labeled "With Glenn Hughes 1996 DEP Sessions".
Opeth - Ghost Reveries
Review by Josh Turner
This album is not as dire as Deliverance or as docile as Damnation. Instead, it finds itself in the middle layers of their muddy dark waters.
Slave to the System - Slave To the System
Review by Gary Hill
How you feel about this album depends on a lot on what you are expecting going in. The math seems simple enough.
Supermercado - Scary Baby
Review by Mike Korn
Here's another one of those surprises that makes being a music critic so interesting and worthwhile. I had zero expectations of enjoying this record, especially when I got a look at the frankly second-rate cover.
Non-Prog CD Reviews
Steve Ditzell & Blue Lightning Band - Blues For Theresa
Review by Gary Hill
The latest release from Rockford Illinois' Steve Ditzell and Blue Lightning Band, this disc shows a very traditional blues style to their music. While in live appearances they sometimes wander more into the harder rocking territory popularized by people like Stevie Ray Vaughn, this album stays closer to its old school roots.
Angie Mattson - Monarch
Review by Josh Turner
This album's short and sweet, but gets the job done. Angie Mattson is sugar and spice and everything nice.
My American Heart - The Meaning in Makeup
Review by Lisa Palmeno
The Meaning in Makeup is categorized as rock/alternative/indie, but My American Heart's power pop influences can be heard right away. Cynical, new wave vocals, upbeat tempos, and story-telling lyrics dominate the album.
Orange Sky - Upstairs
Review by Josh Turner
As I listen to the new wave jazz being pumped over the office's intercom system, the headphones quickly come on. For this morning's selection, I have chosen Orange Sky to save me from this awfully irreverent elevator music.
Tim Russ - Kushangaza
Review by Gary Hill
Kushangaza is Tim Russ' second album, and it definitely was a step up from the debut. Frankly, the majority of that was in the production department because his self-titled disc suffered more than anything from some over polishing and augmenting.
Tim Russ - Tim Russ
Review by Gary Hill
This debut from Tim Russ (best known as Tuvok on Star Trek Voyager) came out on the Crescendo label. If you are familiar with that label, you'll know that a lot of the material they have released is Star Trek related - including various soundtracks and albums by cast members.
Spin Doctors - Nice Talking To Me
Review by Gary Hill
After breaking up for a while funky jam band hit makers Spin Doctors are back with a new album, and it's a hot one. It captures the sound that made them famous, but also shows a band that has grown and matured from the time away.
Dusty Springfield - Live at the Royal Albert Hall
Review by Lisa Palmeno
Dusty Springfield's 1979 album was recorded at The Royal Albert Hall "In the presence of her Royal Highness Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon."
Styx - Big Bang Theory
Review by Gary Hill
There are those who don't give a second glance to albums of covers. Well, in this case that would be a big mistake.
Toto - Live In Amsterdam
Review by Greg Olma
I remember hearing Toto's "Hold the Line" on the radio back in the '70s. Here we are 27 years later and Toto are still going strong.
UFO - Showtime
Review by Greg Olma
This is a difficult CD to review. When a band comes up with an album that defines their career, no matter how good the subsequent releases are, they are always compared to that album.
Various Artists - La Guitara: Gender Bending Strings
Review by Gary Hill
The brainchild of Patty Larkin, this compilation showcases women who excel at playing guitar. While there is no one particular style most of the music here is instrumental.
Wet Animal - Wet Animal
Review by Lisa Palmeno
Wet Animal's debut album is original, traditional metal with modern flavors. The founder of Chicago's Trouble Rick Wartell recently formed the group with singer/guitarist Shane Pasqualla, bassist Michael "Vito" Diprima, and drummer Jeff "Oly" Olson.
DVD/Video Reviews
Body Count - Live in L.A. DVD
Review by Gary Hill
When I reviewed their Smokeout performance DVD I remarked how it was the only video available from the group, and that was a shame. It wasn't that their performance was bad, but just that there were technical issues and a less than enthusiastic crowd to pull down the energy of the band.
Dio - We Rock DVD
Review by Greg Olma
Do you remember when metal was fun? Well if you need a reminder, pick up this DVD and be transported back in time to 1983-1984.
Duke Ellington - Love You Madly/A Concert of Sacred Music at Grace Cathedral DVD
Review by Gary Hill
There are few out there who know anything about the man, or jazz in general, who wouldn't call Duke Ellington "a genius." His musical concepts were heads above so many who were his contemporaries.
Enchant - Live at Last DVD
Review by Greg Olma
Enchant have been around for 12 years now and for a band that receives extremely little media coverage, they do have a considerable fanbase. I read about them in Classic Rock Magazine and based on their description, I decided to pick up this DVD.
Fates Warning - Live in Athens DVD
Review by Josh Turner
Over time, Fates Warning has experienced a few changes at its core. The astronomical John Arch was their original singer.
The Gathering - A Sound Relief DVD
Review by Gary Hill
Wow, I never heard of this outfit before, and that's a shame. Apparently these guys started out as a metal band, but from this DVD it's obvious that they are no longer.
Judas Priest - Rising in the East DVD
Review by Gary Hill
Well, what a time it is to be a Judas Priest fan. Over the course of the last couple years we got the news that Rob Halford (the metal god) had returned to the fold, then we got the reunion showing at Ozzfest followed by the awesome Angel of Retribution album and two legs of a tour (at least here in the US) and now this DVD!
Lana Lane - 10th Anniversary Concert DVD
Review by Gary Hill
You really can't go wrong with Lana Lane. She consistently puts out killer music, and this DVD is no exception. Of course, a big part of that is the musicians with whom Lane surrounds herself, and along with husband Erik Norlander, this DVD finds her in the company of Mark McCrite, Peer Verschuren, Kristoffer Gildenlow and Ernst Van Ee.
Yngwie Malmsteen - Yngwie Johann Malmsteen's Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra in E Flat Minor, LIVE with the New Japan Philharmonic DVD
Review by Lisa Palmeno
Yngwie Johann Malmsteen's Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra in E Flat Minor, LIVE with the New Japan Philharmonic introduces the master with a rock opera opening, sans the singers.
Lou Reed - Live at Montreux, 2000 DVD
Review by Gary Hill
Fans of Lou Reed should eat this up. It's a live performance captured on DVD, and the videography and performance are both quite solid. Reed's trademark singer/songwriter sound is captured here in a series of 16 tracks. I'd have to say that more casual fans would probably not be overly pleased as his most famous cut "Walk on the Wild Side" is not here.
Rush - R30 DVD/CD set
Review by Greg Olma
I can't believe it has been 30 years since Rush have unleashed their Canadian brand of Led Zeppelin influenced riffs. Where has the time gone?
Michael Schenker - Live in Tokyo 1997 DVD
Review by Greg Olma
Michael Schenker is regarded as one of the best guitarists in the world. He has influenced many respected players including current UFO guitarist Vinnie Moore.
Dusty Springfield - Live at the Royal Albert Hall -DVD
Review by Lisa Palmeno
Dusty Springfield's concert was recorded in 1979 at The Royal Albert Hall "In the presence of her Royal Highness Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon."
UFO - Showtime DVD
Review by Greg Olma
This DVD is the visual counterpart to the Showtime CD with the main concert containing the same songs in the same running order. That being said, it is a great concert to view.
Interviews
Age of Nemesis
Interview by Gary Hill and Dan Hanley
Interview with Zoltan Fabian of Age of Nemesis from 2006
Annihilator
Interview by Greg Olma
Interview with Jeff Waters of Annihilator from 2006


Robert Berry
Interview by Gary Hill
Interview with Robert Berry from 2006
The Berzerker
Interview by Mike Korn
Interview with Sam of The Berzerker from 2006
F5
Interview by Lisa Palmeno
Interview with Dave Ellefson of F5 from 2005


Glass
Interview by Gary Hill
Interview with Greg and Jeff Sherman of Glass from 2006


Steve Lukather
Interview by Greg Olma
Interview with Steve Lukather From 2006
Mastodon
Interview by Marc Leider
Interview with Brann Dailor of Mastodon from 2006


Moon Safari
Interview by Josh Turner
Interview with Simon Åkesson, Petter Sandström and Johan Westerlund of Moon Safari From 2006
Niacin
Interview by Gary Hill
Interview with John Novello of Niacin From 2006


Jeff Wayne
Interview by Gary Hill
Interview with Jeff Wayne from 2006
Concert Reviews
Kurt Michaels - Live in Milwaukee, January 2006
Review by Josh Turner
Kurt Michaels was selected to tag along with The Syn on their most recent Syndestructible tour. As I discovered, he was a suitable fit and a fulfilling choice.
The Syn - Live in Milwaukee, January 2006
Review by Josh Turner
When I got to the venue, I was surprised to see Alan White on the marquee. As my friend Adam said when I called him after the show, it would be great to see Chris Squire, but an event with both of them is something special.
Book Reviews
Yes - The Extraordinary World of Yes written by Alan Farley
Review by Gary Hill
On the one hand you have to ask, "do we really need another book about Yes?" Still, one of the charms/downsides to books is that they represent a static point in time.
 
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