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December 2011 - Issue 91
Progressive Rock CD Reviews
Agents of Mercy - The Black Forest
Review by Gary Hill
The latest album from Agents of Mercy, this is arguably one of the best discs of 2011.
Morgan Ågren, Henry Kaiser & Trey Gunn - Invisible Rays
Review by Gary Hill
Sort of an instrumental prog summit, this set showcases a form of freeform jamming.
Tori Amos - Night of the Hunter
Review by Gary Hill
Tori Amos describes this album in this way, “I have used the structure of a classical song cycle to tell an ongoing, modern story.
The Anabasis - Back From Being Gone
Review by Gary Hill
This is a killer album. It’s a concept disc with three epic length pieces and several others that are still respectable in terms of length.
Jon Anderson - Open
Review by Gary Hill
At Music Street Journal we’ve joined a number of publications in a ban on reviews of digital only products.
Carrie Armitage - The Singularity Point
Review by Gary Hill
The first thing that jumps out about this album is the vocals. They really call to mind Tori Amos or Kate Bush.
Danny Barnes - Rocket
Review by Larry Toering
Danny Barnes is an interesting artist with a difficult to categorize sound.
Blue Mammoth - Blue Mammoth
Review by Gary Hill
This is a modern progressive rock album (the group’s debut) that will please fans of old school prog.
Boz - Exit Strategy
Review by Gary Hill
Boz got his start as the lead singer for a progressive rock band. For that reason, it shouldn’t be surprising that a lot of this music leans in the direction of progressive rock.
Camel - I Can See Your House from Here
Review by Scott Prinzing
This is an album I purchased based on its somewhat controversial cover, featuring a “crucified” astronaut floating in space looking down on Earth.  
Cosmograf - When Age Has Done Its Duty
Review by Alison Reijman
Cosmograf is the brainchild of Robin Armstrong, a very talented British musician, writer and producer whose influences are rooted in the classic prog songbook especially Pink Floyd.
Mario Cottarelli - Una strana commedia
Review by Gary Hill
Mario Cottarelli’s latest disc finds him performing some classic Italian progressive rock.
Cozmic Box - Flame of Truth
Review by Gary Hill
Flame of Truth by Cozmic Box fits into the realm of progressive rock and is quite a strong disc. However, it’s not perfect.
Dixie Dregs - California Screamin'
Review by Larry Toering
If I were to be asked if I thought this were among the best Dixie Dregs to be released over the years, I would have to reach for my soapbox and say “no,” for several reasons.
Fractale - Suranné
Review by Gary Hill
This is instrumental music that borders between progressive rock and jazz.
Glass Hammer - Cor Cordium
Review by Scott Montgomery
This one is a rather a guilty pleasure – a pleasure to be sure, but one that at times feels almost too derivative for comfort.  
Steve Hackett - Beyond the Shrouded Horizon
Review by Alison Reijman
With a career spanning some 40 years, Steve Hackett has continued to blaze a trail across the prog firmament of which most other musicians can only dream.
Hammers of Misfortune - 17th Street
Review by Mike Korn
If you've never experienced Hammers of Misfortune before, 17th Street is the perfect opportunity to discover why this California band is considered one of America's hidden music treasures.
Hawkwind - Space Chase: 1980-1985
Review by Gary Hill
Those looking for an introduction to the Huw Lloyd Langton period of Hawkwind in the first part of the 1980s might find this a perfect first purchase.
The Intangibles - I Woke up in the Future
Review by Gary Hill
The music of The Intangibles combines psychedelic sounds with both classic and modern progressive rock and some hard-edged classic rock.
Jethro Tull - Aqualung - 40th Anniversary Special Edition
Review by Gary Hill
This set is quite cool. It’s a double disc set of the classic Jethro Tull album.
Eric Johnson - Up Close
Review by Gary Hill
There are a whole slew of guitar geniuses out there who often seem more interested in the scorching solo than in creating “songs” that draw people in to listen.
Julian Julien - Strange
Review by Gary Hill
Known for his band Fractale, Julian Julien has produced in Strange, a solo album that’s odd, but also very compelling.
Lunatic Soul - Impressions
Review by Gary Hill
One of the problems with a lot of moody neo-prog is that there’s not enough variation from track to track. 
Machine Mass Trio - As Real As Thinking
Review by Gary Hill
This outfit is quite an intriguing one.
Moraine - Metamorphic Rock
Review by Gary Hill
A live album from Moraine, their studio disc was described as heavy chamber music.
Nektar - Retrospektive 1969-1980
Review by Gary Hill
In their first incarnation Nektar were sort of an obscure band.
Nox Arcana - The Dark Tower
Review by Gary Hill
The latest musical adventure from Nox Arcana is The Dark Tower. It’s got all the dread and doom one expects from Nox Arcana, delivered with a sense of beauty that one might not anticipate.
Ozric Tentacles - Paper Monkeys
Review by Gary Hill
Ozric Tentacles brand of space rock meets jam band sounds always manages to entertain.
Tommy Peltier - Love Women and Song
Review by Gary Hill
Sure, this has short songs, but the musical leanings really land it in progressive rock territory.
Primus - Green Naugahyde
Review by Gary Hill
Love them or hate them, there’s not another band out there quite like Primus.
Janet Robbins - Song of the Gypsy Tree
Review by Gary Hill
Ambient music is the basic concept here.
Salim Ghazi Saeedi - Human Encounter
Review by Gary Hill
In some ways Iranian Salim Ghazi Saeedi’s previous disc was more purely progressive rock oriented.
William Shatner - Seeking Major Tom
Review by Gary Hill
What an interesting ride I’ve had leading into this album.
Billy Sherwood - What Was the Question?
Review by Gary Hill
Well, if there’s a question about this set, it’s "why wasn’t it done by Circa:?"
Sleepwalker Sun - Sleepwalker Sun
Review by Gary Hill
Folks who like their progressive rock with some heavy metal in the mix will dig this album.
Sleepwalker Sun - Stranger in the Mirror
Review by Gary Hill
This is such a cool album. It’s one of those discs where the music is really hard to pin down or describe.
Slivovitz - Bani Ahead
Review by Gary Hill
In a lot of ways this album is more accessible, and that means more successful, than its predecessor.
Stick Men - Absalom
Review by Grant Hill
Stick Men is a unique power trio. Founded by legendary and still cutting edge bassist / Chapman Stick artist, Tony Levin, Stick Men continues to expand the horizons of modern progressive music.
Styx - Regeneration Volume I & II
Review by Gary Hill
Styx has been selling this CD set as separate discs at their shows for a while, but it’s now been released as a two CD set for sale everywhere. 
The Tangent - COMM
Review by Alison Reijman
The Tangent is one of the current cornerstones in British prog rock whose roots can be traced back to 1999 when Parallel or 90 Degrees supported The Flower Kings at a Classic Rock Society gig. 
Tempus Fugit - Chessboard
Review by Gary Hill
Brazilian band Tempus Fugit have released an intriguing disc with Chessboard.
These Curious Thoughts - Let’s See What 2Moro Brings
Review by Gary Hill
Where this disc shines is in the songwriting that combines progressive rock sounds with classic rock textures and psychedelic elements.
UK - UK
Review by Scott Prinzing
Considered by many to be one of the greatest prog albums of all time, it is a shame that the line-up lasted only one album and tour.  
Viva Voce - The Future Will Destroy You
Review by Gary Hill
Viva Voce are a duo made up of husband and wife Kevin and Anita Robinson.
Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews
Black Sabbath - Born Again - Deluxe Expanded Edition
Review by Larry Toering
Born Again gets the deluxe treatment, and a proper effort was made to improve it as a product.
Charetta - A Nation Distracted
Review by Gary Hill
The newest release from Charetta is an EP that really rocks.
Chimaira - The Age of Hell
Review by Kat Heitzman
This CD is very different from other Chimaira music and is discernible from the rest.
Five Finger Death Punch - American Capitalist
Review by Mike Heitzman
This is clearly the best Five Finger CD so far.
Grönholm - Silent Out Loud
Review by Gary Hill
The line between progressive metal and metallic prog is an intriguing one.
Home Run - Black World
Review by Kat Heitzman
It looks like metal is sweeping through Italy, which this band calls home. 
Judas Priest - The Chosen Few
Review by Gary Hill
The concept of this compilation is intriguing. They let a bunch of rockers choose their favorite Judas Priest tracks.
Michael Monroe Band - Sensory Overdrive
Review by Larry Toering
Former Hanoi Rocks singer Michael Monroe has done it all, and that is why it sounds like it on his band's debut Sensory Overdrive
Non-Prog CD Reviews
The B-52s - With the Wild Crowd – Live in Atlanta, GA
Review by Gary Hill
I’ve always loved the retro rock infused sound of The B-52s.
Claudine - Wrestling Consciousness
Review by Gary Hill
This is the first release from the artist who just goes by the name of “Claudine.”
Steve Conte - Steve Conte and the Crazy Truth
Review by Larry Toering
I am a fan of Steve Conte, but I present this solo CD with as little bias concerning that as possible.
Counting Crows - August & Everything After: Live at Town Hall
Review by Gary Hill
Counting Crows got together for this concert to perform their debut album beginning to end.
Deep Purple - Live At Montreux 2011
Review by Larry Toering
As a major fan of Deep Purple, I am approaching this with a more informative angle, to not only shed any overly biased factors, but explain a few things from within the Purple frame of mind.
The Fun Police - Clown Control
Review by Larry Toering
This little band from the northwest is much bigger than meets the eye, as they are a rather complex mixture of musicians with a certain amount of authenticity not always found in the psychobilly genre.  
Rory Gallagher - BBC Sessions
Review by Gary Hill
This is a reissue and this two CD set is a “must have” for fans of Rory Gallagher or guitar rock or blues rock in general.
Rory Gallagher - Notes from San Francisco
Review by Gary Hill
This is essentially a lost album from Rory Gallagher.
Trevor Hall - Everything Everytime Everywhere
Review by Gary Hill
On Trevor Hall’s second disc he explores various musical styles from reggae to world music, R & B and pop rock.
The Hangmen - Lost Rocks: Best of the Hangmen
Review by Gary Hill
One of the troubles with punk rock, and according to some original punks, one reason it faded, is that the style is very limited.
HeadCat - Walk the Walk...Talk the Talk
Review by Gary Hill
Imagine combining the vocals and bass of Lemmy with the drumming of the Stray Cats’ Slim Jim Phantom and the guitar and piano talents of Danny B. Harvey (Rockats, 13 Cats, Lonesome Spurs).
Michael Lee Jackson - In A Heartbeat
Review by Larry Toering
Michael Lee Jackson's debut album has been out for some time, perhaps flying beneath your radar, but not mine. 
Journey - Greatest Hits 2
Review by Gary Hill
Journey is kind of a paradox.
Gary Moore - Live at Montreux 2010
Review by Gary Hill
One of the final concerts by Gary Moore, this features a classic collection of his hard-edged brand of blues rock. 
Maria Muldaur - Christmas at the Oasis
Review by Gary Hill
Maria Muldaur’s new CD of Christmas music played live is cool.
Mysticity - Ambassadors of the Hidden Sun
Review by Gary Hill
This thing is almost progressive rock. It’s also almost heavy metal.
Mike Potter - The Turning
Review by Gary Hill
Folk music in America is a time honored tradition. 
Rainbow - Live In Germany 1976
Review by Gary Hill
I never got the chance to see Rainbow live. I really regret that fact.
East Bay Ray And The Killer Smiles - East Bay Ray And The Killer Smiles
Review by Gary Hill
The most obvious comparison for this disc is the Dead Kennedys.
Paul Rodgers - And Friends - Live at Montreux 1994
Review by Gary Hill
As I mentioned when I reviewed the video release of this, I’ve never been a huge fan of Paul Rodgers.
Leon Russell - Carney
Review by Scott Prinzing
Leon Russell’s recent induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame should be enough reason for taking a second look at this classic rock icon.  
Michael Schenker - Temple of Rock
Review by Gary Hill
The newest release from Michael Schenker, this is quite a strong one. 
James Lee Stanley - Backstage at the Resurrection
Review by Gary Hill
The easiest way to classify James Lee Stanley’s music would be to say “acoustic dominated singer songwriter stylings.” 
The Stone Chiefs - Drive On
Review by Gary Hill
This group produces a blend of classic rock, blues and other elements that calls to mind various acts at various points on the disc.
Stone Temple Pilots - Core
Review by Scott Prinzing
It’s interesting listening to something nearly two decades after it was first released and trying to recall your first impressions.  
Ten Years After - Cricklewood Green
Review by Larry Toering
Ten Years After came full circle on Cricklewood Green, achieving something they hadn't before or since, as none of their albums pack quite this sonic quality.
Sal Valentino - Dreamin’ Man
Review by Gary Hill
Sal Valentino is perhaps best known as the vocalist for the Beau Brummels.
Western Family - Wish Upon A Scar
Review by Larry Toering
This northwest band has a great line-up of first class musicians that pull off a strong alternative rock album of the heavy persuasion.
Stevie Zee - The Stevie Zee Band – Wail
Review by Larry Toering
Stevie Zee is one amazing singing, songwriting and guitar playing talent, and this set of songs showcases his skills and lays it all out on the table with a fearless performance.
DVD/Video Reviews
Black Country Communion - Live Over Europe BluRay
Review by Larry Toering
Since Black Country Communion arrived on the scene, still less than a year ago, they have managed two studio CD releases, and to top it off they have produced what is an absolute state of the art video, and it's tailor made for the Blu-ray experience.
Lindsey Buckingham - Songs From the Small Machine - Live in L.A. BluRay
Review by Gary Hill
What a great video this is. Lindsey Buckingham, for the casual fan like myself, is probably mostly thought of as part of Fleetwood Mac.
Ray Charles - Live In France 1961 DVD
Review by Gary Hill
Anyone who doubts the talents and skills of Ray Charles, or who regards him as anything less than a real musical powerhouse, really needs to watch this DVD.
Copernicus - Live! In Prague DVD
Review by Gary Hill
This is an intriguing beast. Of course, one could say that Copernicus is an intriguing person.
Cream - Live at the Royal Albert Hall 2005 BluRay
Review by Gary Hill
I remember when I first heard about the Cream reunion I really wished I could have made the shows.
Deep Purple - + Orchestra Live At Montreux 2011 – BluRay
Review by Larry Toering
You have to respect Eagle for all they do concerning their artists’ current work and re-issues, as they have been on a serious roll lately in particular. 
Doro - 25 Years in Rock DVD
Review by Mike and Kat Heitzman
If you think Doro’s 20 year DVD was great, then her 25 Years in Rock  DVD must be recognized as phenomenal.
Dream Theater - Live at Budokan BluRay
Review by Gary Hill
I’ve got to admit that I go through phases with Dream Theater.
The Hollies - The Hollies: Look Through Any Window 1963-1975 DVD
Review by Gary Hill
I really forgot how cool the Hollies were. What a great band. 
Steve Howe's Remedy - Steve Howe's Remedy Live DVD
Review by Gary Hill
I really enjoyed the Steve Howe’s Remedy album.
Index - Ao Vivo DVD
Review by Gary Hill
Huge stage shows are a good thing. On the other hand, they are also a bad thing sometimes. The stage show can be used to distract or otherwise hide a musical deficiency.
Ozzy Osbourne - God Bless Ozzy Osbourne BluRay
Review by Gary Hill
This documentary is quite good, but not without its flaws. I mean, the insights into the personal life of Ozzy are pretty interesting.
Queensrÿche - Mindcrime at the Moore BluRay
Review by Gary Hill
For my money the first Operation: Mindcrime album is the best album ever released by anyone.
The Rolling Stones - Some Girls - Live in Texas '78 BluRay
Review by Gary Hill
This is a killer video! I’ve always loved the Some Girls album, it’s one of my favorite Stones discs, and they play a lot of music from that album.
Usher - OMG Tour Live From London BluRay
Review by Gary Hill
This video has both a great picture and great sound. The stage sets and dance choreography are top-notch.
Various Artists - Fested (A Journey to Fest 7) DVD
Review by Gary Hill
Apparently Fest is an annual festival that takes place in Florida.


Interviews
The Anabasis
Interview by Gary Hill
Interview with Barry Thompson of The Anabasis from 2011
Boz
Interview by Gary Hill
Interview with Boz from 2011
Chimaira
Interview by Kathryn Heitzman

Interview with Mark Hunter of Chimaira from 2011

Cozmic Box
Interview by Gary Hill
Interview with Cozmic Box from 2011
GWAR
Interview by Mike Korn

Interview with Oderus Urungus from 2011 (note, this interview was conducted BEFORE the death of Flattus Maximus.)

Tony Levin
Interview by Grant Hill
Interview with Tony Levin from 2011
Moksha
Interview by Gary Hill
Interview with John Heishman and Sam Lemos of Moksha from 2011
These Curious Thoughts
Interview by Gary Hill
Interview with These Curious Thoughts from 2011
Doogie White
Interview by Larry Toering
Interview with Doogie White from 2011
Concert Reviews
Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman - Live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, October, 2011
Review by Gary Hill

Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman might be best known for their work in Yes, but that’s just part of the picture.

Anthrax - Live in Chicago, October, 2011
Review by Mike Korn

Thrash is back and you better get used to it.

Adrian Belew - The Adrian Belew Power Trio Live in Buffalo, New York, October 2011
Review by Grant Hill

The “Two of a Perfect Trio” tour was a well-publicized series of concerts by the Adrian Belew power Trio and Tony Levin’s Stick Men.

Chimaira - Live in Joliet, Illinois, October, 2011
Review by Mike Heitzman

We were all pretty excited to see this show. It is great seeing a powerhouse like Chimaira in a little establishment up close and personal.

Death Angel - Live in Chicago, October, 2011
Review by Mike Korn

Thrash is back and you better get used to it.

Guns N' Roses - Live in Rosemont, Illinois, November 2011
Review by Josh Turner

Welcome to the rundown of Axl Rose’s band in the windy city. The act was almost three hours late and the opener wasn’t pretty.

Michael Monroe Band - Live in Portland, Oregon, October 2011
Review by Larry Toering

Getting out to see the Michael Monroe Band wasn't as easy as it could have been, but that aside, it turned out to be a fabulous experience. 

Leon Russell - Live in Billings, Montana, October 2011
Review by Scott Prinzing

The Babcock Theater in Billings, Montana, rocked and rolled when Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Leon Russell and his band pounded out a mix of hits and familiar covers.

Saxon - Live in St. Charles, Illinois, October 2011
Review by Greg Olma

It had been almost a decade since Saxon last graced the stages of the Chicago-land area.

Stick Men - Live in Buffalo, New York, October 2011
Review by Grant Hill

The excellent “Two of a Perfect Trio” tour was a well-publicized and equally well received series of concerts featuring the bands of King Crimson legends Tony Levin and Adrian Belew.

Testament - Live in Chicago, October, 2011
Review by Mike Korn

Thrash is back and you better get used to it.

Yes - Live in Birmingham, England, November, 2011
Review by Alison Reijman
There was something ominous about the date of this concert -11.11.11 so it was very much a case of going for the one on the night.
Book Reviews
Various Artists - A Hart Life – The Life Story of Deep Purple and Rainbow's Tour Manager written by Colin Hart and Dick Allix
Review by Larry Toering
This is the first book to be written by one of Deep Purple and Rainbow's entourage, and a most interesting story it is, told by Colin Hart, their long running tour manager. 
Various Artists - Citizens of Hope and Glory. The Story of Progressive Rock written by Stephen Lambe
Review by Scott Montgomery
This is an enjoyable read that saunters through the chronology and culture of progressive rock.
 
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