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June 2007 - Issue 64
Progressive Rock CD Reviews
Amarok - Sol de Medianoche
Review by Gary Hill
I don't think there are a lot of people who would say that this doesn't qualify as progressive rock. On the other hand, I doubt you've ever heard prog like this before.
Beardfish - Sleeping in Traffic: Part One
Review by Gary Hill
The easy approach to describing this Swedish band would be to say that they are along the lines of The Flower Kings. The thing is, that would only be partly true.
Court - Frost of Watermelon
Review by Gary Hill
I first heard about this Italian prog rock band because they are playing in Rockford, Illinois and they contacted me in my role working for the Rockford based Entertainment site Beet Cafe. I wasn't sure what to expect.
Sifu Stephen Doe - Playing With Time
Review by Gary Hill
Fans of guitar oriented instrumental rock with visions of fusion and prog should really enjoy this independent release. Doe has a guitar skill and sound that puts him alongside the greats in the field.
Fish - Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors
Review by Tim Jones
Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors is Fish's first solo project after leaving Marillion. The singer-poet gets off to a great start.
David Galas - The Cataclysm
Review by Gary Hill
Prog purists – don't send the hate mail. I know this isn't what you'd call prog rock. Still, it's not far from some of the more modern Marillion or Blackfield.
Guthrie Govan - Erotic Cakes
Review by Mark Jordan
There's a lot of guitarists that are heralded as "The Next Greatest" but there are relatively few that actually live up to the hype. I came across Govan whilst surfing the web about 12 months ago and the demo clips of him improvising to some taped backing tracks blew my mind.
Bill Holt - Dreamies: Program Twelve
Review by Gary Hill
Coming with the subtitle, “Where Big Brother Meets Cowboys and Islam,” it seems a foregone conclusion that this adventure is going to be filled with political commentary – and it is. Fans of Hawkwind should really like this album (Holt's third release) quite a bit.
Imogene - Imogene
Review by Gary Hill
You don't see a lot of rock bands out there without guitar. Niacin is the first one that springs to mind – and a good picture when thinking of this album. The comparison goes deeper, though. Both bands' sounds are heavily rooted in retro textures.
Invisigoth - Alcoholocaust
Review by Gary Hill
I know all you prog purists out there will be saying that this disc isn't progressive rock. Certainly it doesn't fit into any sort of narrow vision of the genre.
Kaipa - Angling Feelings
Review by Gary Hill
I've heard such good things about this outfit, but have never really heard them before. Perhaps my expectations were too high because this really doesn't capture my spirit like I thought it would.
Magellan - Innocent God
Review by Gary Hill
I've always really enjoyed Magellan. This band, in many ways, is the quintessential neo-prog band. Certainly they've always put a lot of old-school progressive rock into their mix of sounds.
Magnum - Princess Alice and the Broken Arrow
Review by Mike Korn
This CD has really reawakened something in me that has been dormant for a long time. After immersing myself in the world of pure heavy metal, especially of the more brutal variety, I think I forgot how powerful pure melodic rock can be in the right hands.
Medium Underground - Second Sight
Review by Tim Jones
Medium Underground is a progressive rock band fronted by songwriter/guitarist/ vocalist/keyboardist Jim Noland. Four other members help fill in the holes.
Planet X - Quantum
Review by Gary Hill
I have to say that when I heard Alan Holdsworth was going to be featured on this disc, my interest skyrocketed. Don't get me wrong, I love everything Derek Sherinian has ever done.
Puppet Show - The Tale of Woe
Review by Gary Hill
When people start compiling their lists of the “best of 2007,” I'll bet this disc will make a lot of them. These guys have produced a killer album.
Rush - Moving Pictures
Review by Greg Olma
This is where Rush became a household (albeit a rock household) name. At this point, the band were also leaving their prog fan base scratching their heads wondering if Rush had finally sold out to the American dollar.
Rush - Rush
Review by Greg Olma
With the release of the new Rush studio album (reviewed in this issue also), I thought it would be a good time to revisit the past and give a listen to where it all began. 1974 saw the first output from Rush and no one could have predicted that 33 years later, they would not only be releasing new music but they would also be an international success.
Rush - Signals
Review by Greg Olma
If you want to set a “ground zero” for when Rush lost their prog sound, then 1982’s Signals was the album. The band had been slowly moving towards more concise and basic song structures starting with Permanent Waves but they still threw in a couple of tunes that would give a nod to their older prog fanbase.
Rush - Snakes & Arrows
Review by Rick Damigella
Legendary Canadian prog rockers Rush are back with their first new album of original material in five years with the release of Snakes & Arrows. Let’s face it, hardcore Rush fans are some of the most loyal fans out there.
Saga - Worlds Apart Revisited
Review by Gary Hill
If the only track you've ever heard by Saga is “On The Loose” you probably don't realize that they are really a prog band. Certainly they lean often times toward more mainstream pop rock, but there is plenty of real prog in the mix.
Secret Aging Men - Night Mowing
Review by Gary Hill
When I reviewed Secret Aging Men's last disc, Fully Functional, I commented on how their style of instrumental music was good, but there was too little variety. Well, the SAM (that's Secret Aging Men) gods have listened.
Alex Skolnick Trio - Last Day in Paradise
Review by Gary Hill
This new album by Alex Skolnick Trio is more than just a continuation. Sure there's a lot of great jazz trio music with elements of rock – the reason I put this under prog.
Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - In Glorious Times
Review by Gary Hill
I've heard about this band a lot. Until now I'd never heard them. What a challenge as a reviewer it is to write about this music.
The Source (California, USA) - All Along This Land
Review by Gary Hill
I love it when I hear a great new progressive rock band for the first time. Such is the experience with this CD.
Speechless - Time Out of Mind
Review by Gary Hill
You may have never heard of Speechless, but if you are a fan of instrumental progressive rock, you really need to know that name. These guys have put together a disc of fusion meets traditional prog and vintage Rush that should be one of the most played instrumental CD's in your collection.
Starcastle - Song of Times
Review by Gary Hill
When Starcastle first emerged in the 1970's many labeled them as a Yes clone. There was a certain amount of truth in that label, but if you dug below the surface there were other elements there.
Stratospheerius - Headspace
Review by Greg Olma
Stratospheerius is really a vehicle for the talents of Joe Deninzon. His electric violin is the main focal point of the music and although the other musicians in the band definitely hold their own, it would be hard to take him out of the equation.
Third Ending - Third Ending
Review by Gary Hill
This disc suffers from being quite uneven. If you were to listen to just the last half you might think that it's one of the strongest neo-prog discs to come out in a long time.
Steve Thorne - Part Two: Emotional Creatures
Review by Gary Hill
Steve Thorne's first Emotional Creatures CD was a masterpiece of melodic progressive rock. Well, this one is, too.
Various Artists - Magna Carta Guitar Greats – Volume I
Review by Gary Hill
These Magna Carta sampler discs serve as a great way for people to sample a number of their releases without having to shell out the cash for each and every one of them. I'd have to say that as these things go, this is one of the better ones – and they are all quite good.
Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews
Abramis Brama - Live
Review by Gary Hill
Swedish stoner rock – who woulda thunked it? Well, that's what Abramis Brama are.
Black Sabbath - Live at Hammersmith Odeon
Review by Rick Damigella
While the reformed Dio-era Black Sabbath (under the moniker Heaven & Hell) are touring to packed venues across the country right now, Rhino Handmade (the short-run, collector’s edition division of Rhino Records) has just released, and sold out of, Black Sabbath Live at Hammersmith Odeon to a rabid Sabbath following.
ChthoniC - Seedig Bale
Review by Gary Hill
Quick – name off your five favorite Taiwanese bands! OK, so you might not have heard of any bands from Taiwan – until now that is
Clutch - Beale Street To Oblivion
Review by Gary Hill
When I put together my list of top discs of 2007, I think this one is going to be the one to beat. With their retro groove textures and stylistic nods to classic musical giants like Black Sabbath, Mountain and Led Zeppelin you just can't go wrong.
The County Medical Examiners - Olidous Operettas
Review by Mike Korn
Just who do we trust our health and well-being to? What lurks behind the affable, white-smocked facade of our trained physicians?
Grave Digger - Liberty Or Death
Review by Gary Hill
Fans of True Steel rejoice! Grave Digger has given us another smoking slab of their brand of the genre. Opening and closing with epic metal cuts, the main core of the disc is in the vein of vintage Priest and Maiden.
Heavenly - Virus
Review by Greg Olma
Heavenly is a power metal outfit that has been around for some time. Virus is their 4th release and marks a bit of a change in their sound.
Holy Moses - World Chaos
Review by Greg Olma
The good folks at Locomotive Records were nice enough to release some of the earlier albums by German thrash metal outfit Holy Moses. Not many have heard of the band so it’s nice that this release (along with Queen Of Siam) is getting a second chance.
Horse The Band - The Mechanical Hand
Review by Travis Jensen
When I think of any of the bands that I’ve heard over the last 20 years, there are many that I like, but few that I’ve felt are innovative on developing their own, distinct style that sets them aside from the rest.
Mushroomhead - Savior Sorrow
Review by Gary Hill
I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting, but this, my first exposure to Mushroomhead, wasn't what I thought it would be. I guess I'd always expected the band to be a stoner rock/metal band.
Octavia Sperati - Grace Submerged
Review by Gary Hill
Fans of Lacuna Coil should enjoy this CD, but this band is no clone of that one. Often times Octavia Sperati seems more influenced by Black Sabbath than anything else.
Saxon - The Inner Sanctum
Review by Mike Korn
By now, there's not much to say about Saxon that hasn't already been said..."the venerable British metalheads remain as solid as a rock,” "the band should have been as big as Priest and Maiden,” "these English rockers prove old school metal isn't dead,” so on and so forth, etc. etc., etc. All of which is of course true.
The Vaseline Rats - The Vaseline Rats
Review by Gary Hill
Fans of old school bluesy metal should really dig this EP. It's a collection of four screaming hot jams that just plain scorch.
Vixen - Live and Learn
Review by Gary Hill
In the 1980's I had a big aversion to most of the metal out there, considering it to be “hair metal pop.” I know that I lumped Vixen in with that grouping.
We Are I - We Are I
Review by Greg Olma
We Are I are one of those bands that just hits you the first time you hear them. Although the “alternative” tag might seem dated, it fits the music perfectly.
Non-Prog CD Reviews
Gary Allan - Greatest Hits
Review by Gary Hill
This compilation of Gary Allan's biggest hits is a collection that is very good, but could have been much better. Since it's entitled “Greatest Hits” rather than “Best Of” there's a certain degree of limitation on what tracks can be included – that's just the nature of the beast.
Christine Anderson - Live Summer Session
Review by Gary Hill
At first musical glance you might think that Christine Anderson is a Tori Amos clone. Indeed, much of her music shares a lot with Amos' work.
Neil Carswell - Good Man's Journey
Review by Tim Jones
Carswell has put out a quality album with some good songs on it. Many of the numbers sound like Bob Seger, others like Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, or Rod Stewart.
Crushed - My Machine
Review by Greg Olma
My Machine is one of those albums that grows on you without you realizing it. It is almost insidious the way these songs infect you.
Brian David - Up Down Sideways
Review by Gary Hill
Fans of melodic pop rock based in the folky singer songwriter tradition will embrace this new release. Brian David has put together an EP that showcases a mature songcraftsmanship and musical talent. 
Seu Jorge - Live at Montreux 2005
Review by Gary Hill
While this disc probably won't be for everyone, those looking for a great slice of world music that cuts across borders should check it out. While all the lyrics are in Portuguese, it doesn't really matter.
The Lizards - Against All Odds
Review by Gary Hill
I have to say it, I love The Lizards! These guys just keep getting better with each successive album. They also seem to stretch the envelope of what is Lizards music as they continue on.
Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Ray Price - Last of the Breed Volume I
Review by Gary Hill
Whether you like country music or not, you have to have a deep respect for this double disc set. In an era of over-produced pop music that passes itself off as various genres – country in this instance - three greats of the early era of the musical style have gotten together to record an album deeply rooted in the old traditional flavor of country music.
1997 - ...A Better View of the Rising Moon
Review by Gary Hill
Chicago band 1997's debut disc is one that shows promise. Their blend of alternative college rock and emo with elements of progressive rock works pretty well.
The Paisley Tones - Happening – The Very Best of the Paisley Tones
Review by Gary Hill
Checking out the Paisley Tones' website I find that this group has been around pretty much forever. This disc is a compilation of some of their best stuff from their history all remastered and released for the first time on CD.
Michael Paul - Reach
Review by Gary Hill
I have to admit to being a big Elton John fan. I mention that because in a lot of ways this music reminds me of Reginald Dwight.
Dave Rave - Anthology Vol. I
Review by Gary Hill
I have to admit to never having heard of Dave Rave before this collection. Apparently the guy has been making music for a long time with a number of different groups.
The Ray Gradys - Die Mindless Fools EP
Review by Gary Hill
I suppose if you are used to listening to punk rock you'll know that “parental discretion is advised.” Just in case, though, I felt it appropriate to mention. I didn't count how many “f bombs” were dropped on this EP, but it has to be a big number.
The Tossers - Agony
Review by Gary Hill
I've got a love/hate relationship with Celtic music. Sure, my Maternal Grandfather came over from Ireland, so it's in my blood. And when it's good it can really get you powered up.
Various Artists - Mullets Rock Too
Review by Gary Hill
It's a safe bet you've heard every song on this disc – although you might not have heard the Ace Frehley track as performed by him. That doesn't mean this set isn't enjoyable.
Faith Yang (Yang Nai Wen) - Continuation
Review by Bruce Stringer
Australian-Taiwanese songstress, Yang Nai Wen (known in the west as Faith Yang) continues to evolve, breaking new ground with the release of her fifth album. Now signed to Silverfish Music, Yang decided against re-signing her contract with illustrious Taiwanese label, Magic Stone, to pursue a lighter, moodier, creative approach away from her heavier, angst-driven works from the One and Silence albums.
Richard Zeier - Phenomenation
Review by Tim Jones
Richard Zeier, in his first solo album Phenomenation, does a fantastic job of creating intelligent guitar music. He uses a wide variety of influences (including classical and electronic) to fuel his guitars.
DVD/Video Reviews
Charlie Daniels - Volunteer Jam DVD
Review by Gary Hill
Back in the 1970's when this was originally filmed it was released as a feature film. It is now showing up for the first time in DVD format.
Doro - 20 Years A Warrior Soul DVD
Review by Gary Hill
I've been a fan of Doro since the Warlock days. For my money that band (and Doro solo – which is really the same thing, but that's a long story) have always represented metal perhaps better than just about any act.
UB40 - Live at Montreux 2002 DVD
Review by Gary Hill
There's a lot going for this DVD. First off, there really aren't any dogs in the Montreux DVD collection. All of this are at least very good and many are spectacular.
Roger Waters - In The Flesh - 3 disc limited edition 2 CD + live DVD
Review by Bruce Stringer
Making the most of Roger Waters’ recent live appearances in the southern hemisphere, Sony has decided to re-issue the In The Flesh live releases as a single, limited edition pack.
Weather Report - Live at Montreux Jazz Festival 1976 DVD
Review by Gary Hill
The Weather Report is in and the forecast is for clear skies and a cool breeze. This DVD from the 1976 Montreux Jazz Festival finds the group in fine form. It showcases some exceptional musicians doing what they did best.
Snowy White - Introspective DVD
Review by Bruce Stringer
This release, by Voiceprint, serves as an in depth, documentary-style analysis of legendary British blues guitarist, Snowy White.
Snowy White - Live From London DVD
Review by Bruce Stringer
This release of British blues legend Snowy White’s 1984 UK TV appearance on DVD provides unique insight into the live performance of a session guitar hero wrestling with pop stardom.
The Who - Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 (2006 Edition) DVD
Review by Gary Hill
You have to love the labels. It seems like a virtual epidemic going on of labels releasing an item and then re-releasing a superior version a couple years (or even months) later.
Interviews
Clutch
Interview by Kathryn Heitzman
Interview with Neil Fallon of Clutch from 2007
The County Medical Examiners
Interview by Mike Korn
Interview with Dr. Morton Fairbanks of The County Medical Examiners from 2007


Heavenly
Interview by Greg Olma
Interview with Ben Sotto of Heavenly from 2007
Horse The Band
Interview by Travis Jensen
Interview with Dash Arkenstone of Horse The Band from 2007


Kurt Michaels
Interview by Gary Hill
Interview with Kurt Michaels 2007
Otep
Interview by Michael Heitzman
Interview with Evil J of Otep From 2007
Anton Roolaart
Interview by Gary Hill
Interview with Anton Roolaart 2007
Testament
Interview by Mike Korn
Interview with Chuck Billy of Testament From 2007

Violent Storm
Interview by Greg Olma
Interview with Mick Cervino of Violent Storm From 2007
Concert Reviews
Horse The Band - Live in Dekalb, Illinois, April 15th, 2007
Review by Travis Jensen
Have you ever heard of dissonant techno-metal? Neither had I, until I saw Horse The Band on April 15th.
Machine Head - Live in Rosemont, IL, May, 2007
Review by Greg Olma
My first live Machine Head experience was in a small theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (reviewed last issue) so I was curious to see how their music would translate to an arena setting.
Magic Pie - Live at RoSFest, April, 2007
Review by Josh Turner
I once heard somebody say that this band deserved to be on the same playing field with Spock’s Beard and The Flower Kings.
Pendragon - Live at RoSFest, April, 2007
Review by Josh Turner
This band was awesome all-around. They had a great set list, but most importantly they really knew how to work the crowd. Nick Barrett (Guitar/vocals), Peter Gee (Bass), Clive Nolan (Keyboards) and Joe Crabtree (Drums) were all masterful this night.
Porcupine Tree - Live at the Grove of Anaheim May, 2007
Review by Michael Bader
Touring in support of their April 2007 release, Fear of a Blank Planet, Porcupine Tree rolled into Southern California for two nights, this stop being the Grove of Anaheim which sports one of the better sound systems for a 1,000 seat venue.
Puppet Show - Live at RoSFest, April, 2007
Review by Josh Turner
I was told about this band’s emblazoned album. It was said to be good, so I took the word of others on this claim and expected to see some magic performed by them this night.
Puppet Show - Live CalProg, May, 2007
Review by Michael Bader
It’s 7 a.m. Saturday morning. Most musicians have only been asleep 4 or 5 hours unless they are desperately trying to finish material for a pending new release deadline.
Rocket Scientists - Live at RoSFest, April, 2007
Review by Josh Turner
I was very surprised to see Rocket Scientists in this Saturday morning slot. Typically, this is earmarked for unknowns or up-and-comers.
Spiraling - Live CalProg, May, 2007
Review by Michael Bader
Spiraling’s 15 song set drew on songs from their two previously released CD’s, Challenging Stage and Transmitter. as well as testing pieces from their forthcoming untitled release this summer.
Spock's Beard - Live at RoSFest, April, 2007
Review by Josh Turner
Spock’s Beard was the ideal festival closer. After taking an exorbitant amount of time tuning up and an extensive raffle that proved little to no winners, this wick was lit and the act was underway.
Starcastle - Live at RoSFest, April, 2007
Review by Josh Turner
There was a lot of hype surrounding this band as they were back after several decades, a fallen member, and a new album. More so than all the rest, this was a band who had a history and legend with RoSfest.
Stratospheerius - Live in Chicago, IL, April, 2007
Review by Greg Olma
I always find it a little daunting to review a concert by a band that I know nothing about. Such was the case with the Stratospheerius show at Martyr’s on April 23, 2007.
Roger Waters - Live in Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, February, 2007
Review by Bruce Stringer
For the first time in 35 years, Roger Waters landedon Australian shores to ecstatic live audiences – and complete performances of the classic Dark Side Of The Moon album. Dave Kilminster played the David Gilmour role with finesse and technical perfection whilst legendary British blues guitarist, Snowy White, added the flavour of a seasoned Floyd session man, highlighting the esoteric energy of the first set.
 
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