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August 2009 - Issue 77
Progressive Rock CD Reviews
Ian Anderson - Walk Into Light
Review by Gary Hill
This solo disc from Ian Anderson is not as meaty as one might think. It’s actually pretty mellow and keyboard oriented.
 
Anekdoten - Chapters
Review by Gary Hill
Anekdoten is a Swedish progressive rock band with a long history. For those in the United States, though, they might be a bit of a mystery.
Astral Travellers - The Truth Beyond
Review by Tim Jones
Complicated song structures, 10-minute songs, weird time changes--yep - definitely prog.
Kate Bush - Lionheart
Review by Gary Hill
Kate Bush’s second release, this showed hints of some of the powerful music that would show up in her catalog down the road. It’s a strong disc, but not every track is great.
 
Cailyn/Dani - True Lies and Other Fairy Tales
Review by Gary Hill
They brought it on themselves. By billing this CD as progressive rock Cailyn/Dani (Cailyn Lloyd and Dani Daly) set themselves up to have it judged in that light.
Camel - Nude
Review by Gary Hill
For those who have never heard Camel, they are revered as a great progressive rock band. Well, I have to admit, this is the only disc from them I’ve heard.
Caravan - If I Could Do It All Over Again, I’d Do It All Over You
Review by Gary Hill
This album from 1970 was reissued in 2001 and includes several demo versions as bonus tracks.
 
Days Before Tomorrow - The Sky Is Falling
Review by Gary Hill
I like this band. I’m not sure how comfortable I am putting them into progressive rock, but they do call themselves that – and honestly they are close.
Dream Theater - A Change of Seasons
Review by Gary Hill
This is an intriguing disc from Dream Theater. It consists of one awesome 20 minute plus epic that’s a pure roller coaster ride and a series of cover tunes recorded live.
801 - Live
Review by Gary Hill
What a superstar lineup this one is. Phil Manzanera on guitar. Brian Eno on keyboards.
Emerson, Lake and Palmer - The Atlantic Years
Review by Gary Hill
This compilation does a good job of representing a nice cross-section of ELP’s work.
Emerson, Lake and Palmer - Works Live
Review by Gary Hill
How you feel about progressive rock will really have a lot to do with how you feel about this disc.
Floydhead - The Floydian Propulsion Project
Review by Gary Hill
Pink Floyd fans will surely be the most obvious audience for this, but they will probably be the hardest to sell on it, too.
Genesis - Three Sides Live
Review by Gary Hill
There are actually two versions of this double disc set out there. Unfortunately, this is the harder one to find.
Gentle Giant - Giant For A Day
Review by Gary Hill
This is definitely not the most prog like album in Gentle Giant’s catalog. Still, there should be enough real progressive rock here to please fans of the genre.
Gentle Giant - Missing Piece
Review by Gary Hill
This Gentle Giant disc consists of a lot of fairly short compositions. The tracks are in many cases more straight ahead rock and roll.
 
Gentle Giant - Three Friends
Review by Gary Hill
This disc from Gentle Giant is a great one. All fans of old school prog should pick it up.
Kansas - Drastic Measures
Review by Gary Hill
I have to admit that the pop era of Kansas really turned me off to the band. That meant that I missed a lot of the discs in that period – and this was one of those.
 
Kansas - Masque
Review by Greg Olma
I don’t know why I never considered Kansas a prog band.  I was always putting them in the classic rock genre and leaving it at that.
Leprous - Tall Poppy Syndrome
Review by Gary Hill
Make no mistake, prog purists will run from this in fear as if it were the monster from Cloverfield.
The Living - Bedd Tracks
Review by Gary Hill
According to the notes at their CD Baby site, “One of the group's primary objectives is to embrace some aspect of most existing genres of music in order to blend and fuse a diverse array of styles, creating a concoction of something decidedly unique, yet with an air of familiarity.”
Morglbl - Jazz for the Deaf
Review by Julie Knispel
Morglbl has been building quite a name for themselves in the United States, one which may someday match their reputation in Europe. 
Mostly Autumn - Heroes Never Die
Review by Gary Hill
I have to admit that before this compilation I’d never heard Mostly Autumn. My understanding of the band was that they were a Celtic based progressive rock outfit with a female lead singer.
Native Window - Native Window
Review by Gary Hill
It’s Kansas, but it isn’t. When you have Billy Greer, David Ragsdale , Phil Ehart and Richard Williams as the members of a band you can be sure the comparisons to Kansas well be rampant – since all of these guys have been in that group. 
Matthew Parmenter - Astray
Review by Gary Hill
Matthew Parmenter has created in Astray that most elusive of beasts – the prog rock album that should please fans of modern and old school progressive rock equally.
PFM - Premiata Forneria Marconi - Storia di un minuto
Review by Julie Knispel
Premiata Forneria Marconi is one of the “Big Three;” that is to say, one of the three most highly regarded Italian progressive rock bands. 
Phideaux - Number Seven
Review by Gary Hill
Phideaux might well be the best of the modern wave of progressive rock bands. They seem to be the most consistent.
Spheric Universe Experience - Unreal
Review by Gary Hill
I’ve always been fascinated about the progression of music. In this instance, I’m talking about one process in particular.
The Strawbs - Dragonfly
Review by Gary Hill
I know The Strawbs are considered a progressive rock band – and that’s why I’ve included them in that category.
 
The Strawbs - Strawbs
Review by Gary Hill
The Strawbs are an intriguing band. I know most people consider them progressive rock – and certainly some of their music qualifies. I put them in that category basically as a nod to general convention.
Styx - Cornerstone
Review by Greg Olma
When Styx released Cornerstone, they seemed to switch directions after the relatively harder Pieces Of Eight.  Here, the band gave Dennis DeYoung a little bit more space to explore his musical leanings. 
Tangerine Dream - Green Desert
Review by Gary Hill
If you like your prog with lots of keyboards and no vocals, this might well be one of your favorite albums. The music here is quite strong and comparisons to Pink Floyd are (at times) warranted.

Theo Travis - Double Talk
Review by Gary Hill
A modern legend in both progressive rock and jazz circles, Theo Travis and crew have crafted a killer album that showcases both sounds.
Triumvirat - Old Loves Die Hard
Review by Gary Hill
I remember hearing about Triumvirat and the thing you can’t avoid hearing when people talk about this band – how much they sound like Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
Troum - Eald-Ge-Streon
Review by Gary Hill
This kind of ambient, mostly instrumental music can be great to listen to. It is not so great to try to write about – or even listen to intently.
Various Artists - Pickin' on Pink Floyd: A Bluegrass Tribute
Review by Gary Hill
The idea of doing bluegrass versions of Pink Floyd songs is strange, but it works remarkably well.
 
Various Artists - The Shy Volcanic Society at the Bear and Bird Parade
Review by Gary Hill
This is a split release from both Volcano the Bear and La STPO. Both groups create a seriously odd form of prog rock that fits well within the Rock In Opposition movement. 
Viima - Kahden Kuun Sirpit
Review by Gary Hill
The latest disc from Viima continues the traditions that we heard on their previous one.
 
WD-41 - WD-41
Review by Gary Hill
WD-41 is collaboration between Willie Oteri and Dave Laczko. The music here is all improvised and recorded as it is being created.
Wishbone Ash - Pilgrimage
Review by Gary Hill
The second album from Wishbone Ash, most of this is pretty prog-like, but there are a couple straight ahead rockers.
Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews
Black Sabbath - Paranoid
Review by Gary Hill
The second album from Black Sabbath, this isn’t quite as revolutionary as their debut, but that’s probably because of how groundbreaking that one was and the fact that this builds on the music they created there.
Catacombs - In the Depths of R'lyeh
Review by Gary Hill
This type of music is a nightmare for someone who reviews things track by track. There’s only so much you can say to differentiate this music. And it changes so very slowly.
Bruce Dickinson - Accident of Birth
Review by Gary Hill
You’ve got to love these Bruce Dickinson reissues. When they put them out they give us a whole disc of rare bonuses. You can kind of look at those songs as just the icing on the cake.
Bruce Dickinson - Skunkworks
Review by Gary Hill
I love how most of these Bruce Dickinson solo reissues include a full CD of bonus material. I’d have to also say that this might be my favorite of Dickinson’s solo releases. 
Doro - Fear No Evil
Review by Gary Hill
You can never go wrong with a Doro album. Sure, the sound is not often cutting edge – or even surprising. But it’s consistently good.
Oceans of Night - The Shadowheart Mirror
Review by Gary Hill
When I heard about this project and knew that it was a new band featuring Scott Mosher, I figured that two things would be true.
Tim Ripper Owens - Play My Game
Review by Gary Hill
I like Tim Owens. The man has an incredible voice. I’m just not completely blown away by the music on this disc.
Stratovarius - Polaris
Review by Greg Olma
You can call me a newbie if you want but this is the first time I have ever listened to a whole Stratovarius album straight through.  I know they have many discs and they have a very strong legion of fans but I was always bored with what I thought was their style.
Without Return - Someone Else’s Eyes
Review by Gary Hill
In the modern era of "oh so perfect" recordings, we've forgotten the raw charm that is a disc with a little bit of an unfinished or "rough around the edges" production value.
Non-Prog CD Reviews
Blackalicious - The Craft
Review by Gary Hill
I know a lot of people out there think that hip hop is some sort of monolithic form of music where everything sounds the same. I’m here to say that’s not true.
Carbon 9 - The Bull
Review by Gary Hill
Carbon 9 have created a disc that does a good job of combining metal and techno with bit of prog rock. I wouldn’t really say that it fits into any of those styles, but the metal and techno are both reflected throughout.
The Crystal Caravan - The Crystal Caravan
Review by Gary Hill
The year is 1976. What, you say it’s 2009? Well you couldn’t tell it from this disc.
Jesse James Dupree and Dixie Inc - Rev It Up And Go-Go
Review by Gary Hill
This is an intriguing, if a bit odd, disc. The first half of the album is a combination of metallic hard rock with southern rock and bits of country. That blend is probably not all the unheard of for fans of Dupree’s main band, Jackyl.
Eve’s Burden - The Black Letter
Review by Gary Hill
This is a good album from a group who seem like they are capable of a great album. When the disc works, it really rocks. Where it fails it’s for one of two reasons. The first is production.
Justin Hopkins - & The Guilt - Vol. 1 - Here Goes Nothing
Review by Gary Hill
This is a good CD – no question about it. Every song here is quality.
P. Hux - Kiss the Monster
Review by Gary Hill
Take major helpings of The Beatles, blend in modern alternative rock and power pop and you’ll have a good idea of the sound of this disc. Hux and company take these ingredients and consistently mix them into one tasty pop morsel after another.
Jacky and Strings - New Era
Review by Gary Hill
Latin elements blend with jazz and even modern urban sounds in Jacky & Strings New Era. The result is an intriguing disc that has a lot of great music.
Harlan Jefferson - You’re All I Need
Review by Gary Hill
You’re All I Need is the third CD from Rockford, Illinois based jazz saxophonist Harlan Jefferson. It’s a disc that is at times sheer brilliance. It’s also a disc that, while not perfect, is consistently very strong.
Joetown - Pills and Ammo
Review by Gary Hill
If you like your rock hard edged and raw with lots of retro music textures in the mix, then this is an album you need to check out. With plenty of 1970’s rock woven into this, it’s a great album that’s sure to entertain.
Elton John - Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy
Review by Gary Hill
When you think about your first real music purchase, how does it make you feel? How does that purchase reflect on you? Well, this one might date me, but it was mine.
Johnfish Sparkle - Johnfish Sparkle
Review by Gary Hill
When you first put this disc in it’s easy to think it’s an alternative rock disc. I suppose to a degree it is. The truth is, though, it’s more retro rock (with several aspects of that genre demonstrated) than anything else.
Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy
Review by Gary Hill
For those who think Zeppelin was always nothing but bluesy hard rock, this flies in the fact of that. Much of this disc really fits into a progressive rock category.
Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin III
Review by Gary Hill
This album was certainly a shock to Zeppelin fans when it came out. Accustomed to the bluesy hard rock of the first couple albums, much of this had to have seemed like a different band.
Marsupial - Genus Thylacinus
Review by Gary Hill
I’ve seen these guys listed as prog rock. They definitely have some progressive rock in the mix, but really they are far more of a jam band.
Ted Nugent - Motor City Mayhem
Review by Gary Hill
Ted Nugent – love him or hate him you have to agree that he is at his best in the live performance venue. 
Reverend Agony - Staring Into the Abyss
Review by Gary Hill
Hard rocking and quite industrial in nature, this is a cool disc. These guys are from my hometown area and I really never expected to hear a band this good at this type of music from Northern Illinois.
Gregg Rolie Band - Rain Dance Live
Review by Gary Hill
This live recording by the Gregg Rolie Band will certainly please fans of Santana. Rolie was the original keyboardist and vocalist in that band before moving onto Journey.
The Romantics - Super Hits
Review by Gary Hill
Compilation discs are always a tricky thing. When you have one that’s entitled “Greatest Hits” or, in this case, “Super Hits,” though, it takes away the guess work of “Best Of” or “The Definitive Collection.”
Arrica Rose - La La Lost
Review by Gary Hill
Take a singer songwriter type of sound. Give it some country and some Mazzy Star. Now you’ve got a good idea of what this music sounds like.
Sister Hazel - Release
Review by Gary Hill
The latest Sister Hazel disc is an exercise in the democracy of a band. Each member of the group brought a couple songs to the table to create the disc.
The States - The Path Of Least Resistance
Review by Gary Hill
The States have produced an intriguing album. It’s strong, but with a  little different lineup in terms of song sequence it could have been even better.
Ray Tarantino - Recusant
Review by Gary Hill
This is a pleasant disc with moments of brilliance. While the musical motifs change pretty dramatically from one point in the set to another there’s still a consistency and cohesiveness here.
Telling on Trixie - Telling on Trixie
Review by Gary Hill
If you like hard edged alternative indie rock, you’ll enjoy this disc. It’s got it in spades. All the songs are entertaining and Telling on Trixie seems to know how to create a disc full of music that’s both cohesive and varied.

Witches in Bikinis - A Scary Kind of Love
Review by Gary Hill
The second CD from Witches in Bikinis, this is a good release – and in some ways better than the original.
Louie Zagoras - Twenty Fingers
Review by Gary Hill
There’s a lot of good music on this, but it’s really all over the map musically. Variety is a good thing, but if you wander to far it seems like you don’t have direction.
DVD/Video Reviews
The Black Crowes - Warpaint Live DVD
Review by Gary Hill
I’ve already reviewed the CD version of this set, so, for the most part I’ll leave it to that one to talk about the concert and focus here on the video itself.
Deep Purple - History, Hits and Highlights ’68-’76 DVD
Review by Gary Hill
So, you are a Deep Purple fan? Have you been looking for some quality DVD and wanting it all in one place?
Gong - Gong Ungong 06 DVD
Review by Julie Knispel
The 2006 Gong Unconventional Family Gathering was for many fans the moment they had been waiting on for decades.  
Iron Maiden - Flight 666: The Film DVD
Review by Greg Olma
Iron Maiden has never been a band that rested on their laurels.  They continue to challenge themselves, whether it’s a new CD, tour, video, etc. 
Michael Jackson - The Trial and Triumph of the King Of Pop DVD
Review by Gary Hill
Hmmm…this DVD is not really what I was expecting. That said, it’s still entertaining. My thoughts were that this was going to be a documentary focusing on the facts of Michael Jackson’s trial.
Jethro Tull - Living With the Past CD and DVD Collector’s Edition
Review by Gary Hill
Let’s make things clear here – this is the same DVD Greg Olma reviewed before. The difference is, this set has a bonus CD added to the mix.
Quincy Jones - The 75th Anniversary Birthday Celebration DVD
Review by Gary Hill
This is an unusual performance because Quincy Jones isn’t performing here. Instead this is a powerhouse group of musicians and performers Jones has influenced over the years performing music that’s connected to him. All this is with Jones in the audience.
B. B. King - Live at Montreux 1993 DVD
Review by Gary Hill
I caught B. B. King live once, and I think it was about the same time as this show.
Ted Nugent - Motor City Mayhem DVD
Review by Gary Hill
Detroit, the Fourth of July and Ted Nugent – what goes together better than those three things? Not much.
Renaissance - Song of Scheherazade DVD
Review by Julie Knispel
Only one thing has been missing over the years for devoted fans of Renaissance, that band combining rock and classical music more completely and seamlessly than almost any other band in progressive music…a video document of the classic band (Annie Haslam, Michael Dunford, John Tout, Terrence Sullivan and Jon Camp) live in concert.
Various Artists - Punk in England DVD
Review by Gary Hill
When Bob Geldof talks about punk rock it leads you to really question the genre. He begins by talking about how so much great rock and roll is from England.
Various Artists - Punk In London DVD
Review by Gary Hill
London, England was certainly an epicenter of punk rock. For that reason this documentary really is important and interesting.
Various Artists - Reggae in Babylon DVD
Review by Gary Hill
I’m not so sure about this being a real documentary. I say that because it really doesn’t have a coherent pattern to tell a straight-line story.
Interviews
Echo Us
Interview by Gary Hill
Interview with EM of Echo Us From 2009
Saxon
Interview by Mike Korn
Interview with Biff Byford of Saxon From 2009
Concert Reviews
Beardfish - NEARfest 2009, Bethlehem PA
Review by Julie Knispel
It’s a cliché in most genres that long time fans are always looking for the next "big thing"…that band that picks up from where the past masters left off and drives the musical style forward.
DFA - NEARfest 2009, Bethlehem PA
Review by Julie Knispel
DFA has the privilege of being one of a select group of bands invited back for an encore NEARfest performance. 
Godsmack - Live at Crufest 2 July 2009, Tinley Park, IL
Review by Travis Jensen
Here we are fellow metal fans, in another summer concert season, and it’s time to get Smacked! You too can come see one of hard rock’s loudest bands as part of the lineup for Motley Crue's Crüe Fest 2 tour.
Gong - NEARfest 2009, Bethlehem PA
Review by Julie Knispel
The announcement of Gong as Saturday night headliner for NEARfest may have caught a lot of people off guard.  Certainly Gong has a history and importance level great enough to merit headliner status.
Judas Priest - Live in Chicago, July 2009
Review by Greg Olma
I am officially getting old.  Wait, scratch that; I am old.  I can not believe that it is the 30th anniversary of British Steel. 
Mötley Crüe - Live at Crufest 2 July 2009, Tinley Park, IL
Review by Travis Jensen
The undisputed kings of rock and roll are back once again to prove that they can stand the test of time and come back stronger with every passing year!
PFM - Premiata Forneria Marconi - NEARfest 2009, Bethlehem PA
Review by Julie Knispel
Throughout the entire weekend of NEARfest, one of the biggest wonders (other than whether the food at the on site caterer was edible…it was, by the way…or at least the bison burger was) was what kind of set Italian legends Premiata Forneria Marconi would be playing.
Whitesnake - Live in Chicago, July 2009
Review by Greg Olma
It has been a while since David Coverdale and his band graced a stage in Chicago.  In fact, it has been almost four years and that is really way too long a wait for us Whitesnake fans. 
 
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