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Latest Progressive Rock Music Reviews


Last 50 reviews
Studio Album, 2020
4.04 | 6 ratings

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Tragic Separation
DGM Progressive Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

It never ceases to amaze me that I can still come across incredible bands and then realise they have been around for years. My initial reaction that here we had a supergroup put together from established musicians, but at the same time it has a way more organic feel than that, so off I went and did my due diligence and was somewhat surprised to see that this is their tenth album in more than 25 years of existence. There may have been some line-up changes over the years, as is generally the case, which means there are no longer any founder members involved, but everyone has been in the band since at least 2008, and drummer Fabio Costantino has been there for more than 20 years, so it is certainly a valid line-up.

This is an Italian prog metal act, who interestingly are approaching the metallic side far more from AOR than what would normally be expected. There are nods to the likes of Stratovarius, with a grounding in incredibly quick runs on keyboards and guitar which tend to give this music a particular flavour. They are not always shredding, but more often than not we hear incredible note density from the guitar of Simone Mularoni in particular, but what makes this album stand out is that it is very much part of the song and not just an opportunity for someone to show off their skills: it feels far more holistic and controlled than material by Yngwie. The bass is often right up behind, with Andrea Arcangeli showing he can do the same on his instrument, yet there are also times when he backs away to join more in with the symphonic style of the keyboards to provide support and control. Then at the front we have Mark Basile, who is a superb singer with great breath control who cuts through the maelstrom beneath.

The result is an album which ticks boxes in multiple genres, including AOR, melodic hard rock and prog metal, and in each case one has to say this album is something very special indeed. It is immediate, with songs which hit hope from the very first play, but underneath the melody there is a wonderful complexity which takes it into different places. For anyone who wants to hear something that little but different that is also mainstream then this is worth seeking out.

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Studio Album, 1976
3.84 | 76 ratings

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The Fountain Beyond the Sunrise
Kyrie Eleison Symphonic Prog

Review by Menswear
Prog Reviewer

Nursery Cryme part deux

I won't digress too longly about this record, if you want the vibe of early Genesis, look no further. I love the fact that the album is gritty, with a loud bass in the mix and drenched in mellotron. I like those albums that could be ��the album so and so never made��, and this is frankly the best emulation of old school Genesis I've heard.

The music is stunning: loud (borderline distording) and dark, fantasy oriented and theatrical. Punchy and inspired, it's difficult to be as good as Tony Banks or Phil Collins. Just try.

The illusion is prefect. I'm delightfully baffled.

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Studio Album, 2021
3.58 | 10 ratings

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The Quest
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Soul2Create

Here it is! The long awaited new Yes album is very good. Okay, it's not Keystudio or Drama, but it's not really that far from there, and in my opinion is the best album that Yes has composed in the past 25 years. Yes, better than H&E, FFE, The Ladder, 80's Yes, ABWH, Tormato, and I like it more than Magnification because it is more rock-oriented.

So, what do we have here?

1. The ice bridge (8.5/10) - one of the best songs of the album, even if the core was composed some 40 years ago.

2. Dare to Know (7/10) - The first newly composed piece sets the bar a bit low. I like the orchestra, which reminds me of Magnification, but the keyboards and some vocals drag the song down a bit. Only the lovely guitar work by Howe saves it.

3. Minus the Man (4.5/10) - Well, this is your typical average Glass Hammer song with Howe on guitar...don't like it. Let's call it a filler.

4. Leave Well Alone (9/10) - My favourite of the album. It starts with some 80's flavour but it soon changes and takes us into full acoustic-symphonic Yes territory. The second part is pure bliss, it reminds me of some GFTO/Keystudio moments...

5. The Western Edge (6/10) - this is a good song by Sherwood and Davison, but it sounds too much like a Circa/Sherwood solo piece. Could be in any The Prog collective album.

6. Future Memories (6.5/10) - I like the voice of Davison and the guitar here, (reminds me of Steve Hackett). If this song had served as the introduction of a longer piece it would have been perfect, because it sets the mood so well.

7. Music to My Ears (7/10) - a piece elevated by the vocals and keyboards. I get the feeling that the band really enjoys playing together here.

8. A Living Island (5.75/10) - sadly the third longest piece in the album is a miss... Too simple and undeveloped.

CD 2 1. Sister Sleeping Soul (4/10) - A Davison-led pop song that feels like a filler too.

2. Mystery Tour (5.5/10) - A playful Beatelesque song that would have better suited for Howe's recent solo album Love is.

3. Damaged World 7.5/10) - a very good song with Howe on vocals, this one also feels more like a band effort. The ending is so good!

Overall, a better album than I expected and a truly valuable effort coming from this great band.

I feel that the rating should be anywhere from 3.5 to 3.8 stars, so I'm rounding up to four.

Highly recommended!

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Studio Album, 1997
3.66 | 60 ratings

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Exiles
David Cross Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

First very Krimsonic and high quality prog album by Cross as far as I am concerned. Previous efforts had some bright moments but further away from KC and also a couple of tedious 80's songs. Thankfully, Cross never entered a commercial or sell-out path following and followed his current music preferences. Joined by quite a stellar line-up including previous bandmates, expectations are high.

"Exiles" is more a nostalgic than enriching listening experience, no necessarily a needed cover. Then follow some heavy 70's or 90's KC inspired numbers like "Tonk". Hammill makes a good vocal which surprised as I don't like his VDGG vocals. The interesting aspect is very subdued use of violin. "Slippy side" provides a more immersive experience, great irregular beats and hearable violin.

"Duo" is a showcase for lyrical violin and synths, not so memorable but relaxing. "Fast" is return to strong KC sounding numbers, a fast-paced piece bordering on progressive hard rock. I appreciate the sound of drums that are pretty audible in the mix. "Troppo" borrows from Bruford beats and is the most melodic track, one that should belong in the best of Cross compilation. Present are dark intermezzos by Fripp. It was this track and the next atmospheric "Here" which made me buy this album. Perfect ideas, well executed and they sound like list KC classics.

Not a masterpiece per se but better than most other Cross albums.

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Studio Album, 2009
4.02 | 50 ratings

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The Complexity of Light
Children of Nova Neo-Prog

Review by Gallifrey

Listening diary 27th July 2021: Children of Nova - The Complexity of Light (post-prog, 2009)

Children of Nova probably could have launched themselves after this, but a 5-year wait for a follow up and a hoard of clones and imitators coming in the in-between years stunted that growth. I don't know if I worship this like some do, but it's certainly a solid statement, perfectly balanced between the ferocious pomp of The Mars Volta with the pop-prog of Muse or Coheed & Cambria. It manages to be both catchy and technical, setting up a blueprint for much of the post-prog scene to come - the only criricisms I can really throw at it are that it wears its influences very strongly and has no real high points. But it's a solid slice of proggy pop-hardcore, that many tried to copy but few succeeded.

7.4 (7th listen)

Part of my listening diary from my facebook music blog - www.facebook.com/TheExoskeletalJunction

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Studio Album, 2020
4.05 | 173 ratings

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Le fantastique envol de Dieter B�hm
Lazuli Eclectic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

With 'Le fantastique envol de Dieter B�hm' they present another, particularly large piece, with the conceptual story about the fictitious Dieter B�hm, who plants a single note on a desert island, which is carried out to the melody and by the waves into the wide world, to the progressive-alternative music in every respect. We're talking about LAZULI, one of the great prog quintets in the here and now.

Divided like a classic dramatic stage piece, beginning with the prologue and ending with the epilogue after four acts, 'Le Fantastique Envol De Dieter B�hm' tells the fantastic story already mentioned, which vividly shows the relationship of a band like LAZULI to their original music and effect to their audience as a parable. Exactly in the sense of the classic dramatic triangle, the textual and musical action increases on the album after a (relaxed) introduction, reaches the (harder progging) climax towards the middle, then falls off (calmer) and experiences its completion in a grand finale . From the beginning to the end, the French's 2020 album is convincing, full of tension, varied and a showpiece in progressive dramaturgy, especially because it combines the different varieties of prog, rock, experiment and world music, which have almost classic structures, and alongside the progressive instrumentation also comes up with french horns, diverse percussion and marimbas. Of course, the charismatic singing in particular exudes its native charm. The entire album lives from the interplay of different styles. Sometimes relaxed acoustic pop like at the beginning of "Un Visage Lunaire", then more rock like at the beginning of "Dieter B�hm" or electronic elements that run through the entire album. What is very striking, however, is that the focus is always on the vocals and that it puts its stamp on the album.

With such conceptual-musical intentions, let's just call them 'musical message in a bottle', LAZULI enchants on 'Le fantastique envol de Dieter B�hm' on the one hand as gifted musicians and on the other hand as exciting storytellers. It is a strong album, progressive rock friends who are looking for new influences should definitely have a listen.

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Studio Album, 2019
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Ecosystem
Botanist Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Gallifrey

Listening diary 28th July, 2021: Botanist - Ecosystem (blackgaze, 2019)

The points for originality are always there with this band, who use distorted hammered dulcimer as their weapon of choice for making some surrealist avant-garde black metal, but I'm not sure the points for songwriting are there as often. The dulcimer is definitely an acquired taste, but the chaotic buzziness of it definitely does suit black metal, and when it really gets going there are some dissonant runs which you could never possibly achieve with guitars. But this album really only starts to draw me in right towards its end, where some really interesting vocal and other arrangements crop up. I'll keep my ears on this project since it is really fascinating, but I'm yet to hear a record from them that would stand without the gimmick.

5.4 (2nd listen)

Part of my listening diary from my facebook music blog - www.facebook.com/TheExoskeletalJunction

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Studio Album, 2021
3.94 | 44 ratings

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Colors II
Between The Buried And Me Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Necrotica
Prog Reviewer

Colors II is a loaded album title if I've ever seen one. 14 years down the line, it seems our friendly neighborhood prog-tech-core-death-etc. band has seen fit to draw from the well of their breakthrough masterwork; and really, why shouldn't they? Colors remains one of the most acclaimed metal albums of the 2000s, practically redefining what it meant to be a progressive metal band going forward. Between the Buried and Me's penchant for creative musical set pieces and genre-bending craziness really hit a stride on the landmark record; however, as with any album that garners that much adoration, there will always be that lingering pressure to top it. But let's be real here: 2021 Between the Buried and Me is quite different from 2007 Between the Buried and Me. So much has changed, whether that be the inclusion of even more off-the-wall avant-garde elements or the growing prominence of vocalist Tommy Giles as a keyboardist. But I think the reason for Colors II being a loaded title is fairly obvious; it's a title intended to cause excitement for fans - especially longtime ones - but that could quickly turn into crushing disappointment if Colors' level of quality isn't at least somewhat met.

On a surface level, Colors II does seem to provide exactly what it should: a highly enjoyable followup to Colors that mirrors it stylistically. The same techy riffs, blazing solos, crazy genre experiments, atmospheric synth excursions, and juxtaposition of clean and growled vocals? they're all still here. And if stuff like that is your criteria for loving the record, I can't blame you. "Monochrome" is a pretty dead giveaway that there will be references to the original album, the song taking on a similar "piano intro to extreme metal" crescendo to "Foam Born A: The Backtrack" which opens Colors. On the other hand, there are a few experiments that really surprised me, as they likely wouldn't have found a place on the original record at all; the hardcore punk elements of "Fix the Error" and random fife-driven folk breaks in "Never Seen/Future Shock" immediately come to mind. Meanwhile, you'll find more familiar territory with songs such as the chugging extreme-yet-melodic approach of "The Double Helix of Extinction" or the "White Walls"-esque rolling drums and complex web of riffs that comprise closer "Human is Hell (Another One With Love)".

The performances, as you'd expect at this point, are fantastic. The members really haven't lost a beat since the original Colors in regards to playing such complex and technical material with grace and confidence. Paul Waggoner and Dustie Waring remain a formidable guitar duo, whether it be navigating the crazy rhythm parts of the Dream Theater-esque intro to "Prehistory" or the beautiful - and vaguely jazzy - chords found on "Stare Into the Abyss". Waggoner is particularly noteworthy for some of the striking leads he pulls off on this record, especially in the fantastic? uh, Latin circus section(?) (that's probably the best way I can describe it) at the end of "Revolution in Limbo". And obviously Dan Briggs and Blake Richardson still bring the thunder on the low end of things. However, the member who deserves the most recognition for Colors II is definitely Tommy Giles. He's often the member who garners the most criticism from both fans and detractors, but he sounds so much better here than he did on the original Colors. His growls have stayed largely the same, but you can tell his cleans have come a long way - both in technique and confidence behind the mic. Plus, on songs like "Prehistory" and "Never Seen/Future Shock" his way of hamming up the more theatrical bits is just so fun.

Unfortunately, there's one thing holding Colors II back from the heights of its predecessor, and I think it's a pretty big one. That being: the glue that holds everything together. The original Colors was unapologetic about having wild flights of fancy and not giving a damn what direction the music was going, but there was always some centralized location the music could come back to. And that was usually in the form of a cathartic release, whether it be the beautiful "feed me fear" section of "Informal Gluttony" or the soaring Pachelbel-esque melody that rears its head twice on "Ants of the Sky". Not only were these moments anthemic and memorable, but they were also a great way of ensuring the more technical and crushing sections didn't kill the record's focus. More importantly, the music would have simply become riff salad without these moments of restraint, and that's where Colors II all too often hits a wall. 79 minutes is already a beefy album length to begin with, and there simply isn't enough focus to maintain that runtime. This is particularly felt in "Human is Hell (Another One With Love)", which just meanders on without much of a reason for being 15 damn minutes long. Even the pleasant soft section that builds up the song's conclusion is just kinda? there. Sure, there are a few potentially anthemic moments on the record, such as the "monotonous drought" section from "Revolution in Limbo", but the album really could have benefitted from more of these segments.

With all of that said, I think Colors II can be enjoyed more for its craftsmanship than as an emotional journey. The compositions and diverse arrangements are still a lot of fun and the performances are incredibly solid, but the album often comes off as a jumbled mess when compared to its predecessor; it doesn't help that so many parts mirror that record as well, thus constantly inviting further comparison. But then again, that's what happens when you brand it as a sequel, right? The callbacks were inevitable. However, given a lot of the amazing material that's here, it's just a shame that I don't feel much of anything when listening to it like I did with the original Colors. Still, it's worth a listen for its abundance of great riffs and impressive technical acumen, so don't miss out on it if you've enjoyed Between the Buried and Me's more recent work.

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Studio Album, 1989
3.57 | 15 ratings

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Utopian Fields
Utopian Fields Neo-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

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UTOPIAN FIELDS were a six piece band out of Norway who released two studio albums starting with this their self titled debut from 1989. Two guitarists, organ, bass, drums and vocals. Two guests add harmonica and flute. In the liner notes we get this line taken from the closing track "Beyond your heart in darkness, there's a light shining bright. He's the key to Utopian Fields..." Love it! This was recorded in August of 1989 and we get five tracks covering about 45 minutes worth of music.

I was surprised to see this band listed under Neo-Prog here. I really like the male singer along with the lyrics. The organ tends to create atmosphere by floating along. The opener is my favourite with that relaxed and uplifting sound often created by the guitar. "Sun" is similar in sound to the opener as again vocals come and go. "Cloudless Sulphur" has a flute intro and I really like when it all builds after 2 1/2 minutes then it settles right down again, harmonica too. Vocals around 4 minutes in this 10 minute song. The closer is the longest at over 12 minutes and there's some FLOYD moments with the floating organ and guitar. Vocals at 5 1/2 minutes and it turns powerful after 6 minutes but then settles back again.

I just enjoy their sound and while I'm not blown away by any means this is worthy of the 4 stars.

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Studio Album, 1979
2.50 | 134 ratings

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Rhapsodies
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by DangHeck

When the creator of an album or any piece of art themselves are somewhat baffled by it, you know you're in for something that is... less than desirable. Rick said of the album at one point that Rhapsodies as an album was "probably the most confusing I have ever made," apparently because of it's untethered diversity(?).

That's certainly a good way to view this album. But not all is lost. The least I figured I could do (as I often enough try) was provide personal highlights. Most notably is "Stand-By," the strongest of all the tracks in my opinion. Most exciting, most interesting, and least grating (and that's to say that a good half of the tracks were indeed grating or even unlistenable). The other two tracks I would suggest if you're going to otherwise write off this album are "Big Ben" and "The Flasher."

It's more than acceptable, I would say, to, at most, flip through this release. A lot of the textures and sonic choices did not age well at all. Hokey. Cheesy. Bad. Something I try to do, regardless of how I actually rate an album is to see for myself an aggregated average rating for all the tracks (sometimes this gives me a better idea what to rate the album overall). In the case of this one the average was 2.6875. What's nice about that is how near it is to what I was going to say anyway: 2.5/5.0

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  35. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
    Genesis
  36. The Yes Album
    Yes
  37. Crime of the Century
    Supertramp
  38. Octopus
    Replacement Value Crankshaft Sensor / 31331765
  39. Metropolis Part 2 - Scenes from a Memory
    Dream Theater
  40. The Power and the Glory
    Modern Self-Adhesive Removable Peel Stick Wallpaper for Kitche
  41. In the Land of Grey and Pink
    Caravan
  42. Meddle
    Pink Floyd
  43. The Snow Goose
    Camel
  44. The Grand Wazoo
    Frank Zappa
  45. Ommadawn
    Mike Oldfield
  46. Images and Words
    Dream Theater
  47. The Silent Corner And The Empty Stage
    Peter Hammill
  48. Zarathustra
    Museo Rosenbach
  49. Still Life
    VENMO Date A Live - Kurumi Tokisaki 2 Way Tricot 180 x 60cm(70.8
  50. Hand. Cannot. Erase.
    Steven Wilson
  51. Ansyny 3D Wallpaper Blue Geometric Space Living Room Restaurant
    Genesis
  52. Permanent Waves
    Rush
  53. The Raven That Refused to Sing (and Other Stories)
    Steven Wilson
  54. The Mothers of Invention: One Size Fits All
    Frank Zappa
  55. Rock Bottom
    Robert Wyatt
  56. Free Hand
    CESULIS Bathroom Chrome Bathroom Towel Rack 304 Stainless Steel
  57. Depois do Fim
    Bacamarte
  58. Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
    Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
  59. Still Life
    Opeth
  60. Acquiring The Taste
    5304475169 Wall Oven Microwave Control Panel Frame Genuine Origi
  61. The Inner Mounting Flame
    Mahavishnu Orchestra
  62. Fear Of A Blank Planet
    Porcupine Tree
  63. A Drop of Light
    All Traps On Earth
  64. Dwellers of the Deep
    Wobbler
  65. Hatfield and the North
    Hatfield And The North
  66. Romantic Warrior
    Return To Forever
  67. In Absentia
    Porcupine Tree
  68. Mekan�k Destrukt�w Kommand�h
    Magma
  69. Space Shanty
    Khan
  70. Misplaced Childhood
    Marillion
  71. Voyage of the Acolyte
    Steve Hackett
  72. Script for a Jester's Tear
    Marillion
  73. Arbeit Macht Frei
    Area
  74. ZKS-KS 2PCS Iron Candle Stand Table Decorative Black Candlestick
    Gong
  75. Viljans �ga
    �nglag�rd
  76. Symbolic
    Caltric Starter And Relay Solenoid Compatible With Yamaha Rhino
  77. Spectrum
    Billy Cobham
  78. Obscura
    Gorguts
  79. Felona E Sorona
    Le Orme
  80. In A Silent Way
    Miles Davis
  81. If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You
    Caravan
  82. Emerson Lake & Palmer
    Emerson Lake & Palmer
  83. Bitches Brew
    Miles Davis
  84. Ghost Reveries
    Opeth
  85. Hamburger Concerto
    Focus
  86. Second Life Syndrome
    Riverside
  87. Maxophone
    Maxophone
  88. The Road of Bones
    IQ
  89. K.A (K�hntark�sz Anteria)
    Magma
  90. Blackwater Park
    Opeth
  91. Operation: Mindcrime
    Queensr�che
  92. Remedy Lane
    Pain Of Salvation
  93. Rubycon
    Tangerine Dream
  94. Elegant Gypsy
    Al DiMeola
  95. The Perfect Element - Part 1
    Pain Of Salvation
  96. We'll Talk About It Later
    Nucleus
  97. Anabelas
    Bubu
  98. Sing to God
    Cardiacs
  99. Doomsday Afternoon
    Phideaux
  100. Ys
    Il Balletto Di Bronzo

* Weighted Ratings (aka WR), used for ordering, is cached and re-calculated every 15 minutes.

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