Let’s start this review with the album sleeve. The artwork is very cool and makes me curious. It does give hints that it’s probably progressive or symphonic metal. It is the debut album of a Dutch band named Beyond God, which is a female fronted metal band. I’m not a big fan of female fronted metal, because there are sadly a lot of bands who try to copy each other in this genre. The usual guitar riffs, orchestral bits and pieces, and don’t forget the huge, dark, swaying dresses (and the occasional bats)!
Oh my, where to start? Well, I have to admit, I never heard of the band Big Big Train before, until I listened to Stacy Doller’s Prog Britannia show (which used to be on Progrock.com, and now on Progzilla Radio). I really liked the songs that I heard, so I started to do some research. I thought it was a pretty new band, but I found out that the band exists for quite a while! I also just started to work for Background Magazine back in the early summer of 2015. I got my first batch of albums, and it included the Wassail EP of Big Big Train. I was very impressed by that EP, especially because of the title track Wassail (you can read the review of that EP here).
Oh yes, I had expectations for this album! I never heard of artist Trond Øie before, and this album Expectations seems to be his solo debut. The sleeve looks very good and I really like the artwork that is used. The album is on the short side-only four tracks making the album 25 minutes long, so it’s more of an EP. The music is OK, but there’s not really something happening. It’s more straight rock than progressive rock. The drums are straightforward, the guitars, bass and keyboard parts are simple.
This is one of the bands who actually discovered me through my review work, and asked me if I was interested in writing an album review for their second album named Rise Of The Waterfowl. This was a though album to review, because these gentlemen made something quite brilliant. I love the album sleeve, the bright colours and the psychedelic look of it makes me curious… And the music fits the album artwork!
Not so long ago, I posted an article about the fact that I I’m only into progressive rock music, and that I’m also open for a lot of other genres too. Suddenly I got a message on Twitter from someone named 7sleepers. He asked me if I was interested in reviewing his album, so I gave him my email address. Robin Wylie (his actual name) found out we shared one mutual Facebook friend named Matti Laine (I reviewed Matti’s album too, you can read that review here), and that’s how he actually found me.
Lighthouse is the third studio album by duo Gleb Kolyadin (piano, keyboards), and Marjana Semkina (vocals), better known as Iamthemorning. A very good duo in my opinion, both are very skilled. Some great guest musicians are contributing on this album, including two members of Porcupine Tree. Colin Edwin provides the bass and Gavin Harrison the drums and percussion. Mariusz Duda (Riverside, Lunatic Soul) provides additional vocals on the title track Lighthouse. The album itself is a concept album about a woman fighting against the progression of a mental illness. I had no idea what to expect of this album, even though I’ve seen them perform live once as an opener band for Gazpacho (you can read my review of that gig here). Sometimes the musical compositions do remind me of that band. It’s a mixture of different music styles and genres, like folk and jazz. Some of the compositions lean towards classical music. The music sounds very good, and has its dynamic moments.
The first question that came to mind while listening to this album was “Does disco prog exist”? I’m sure some of the tracks on this album can be categorized as disco prog! All songs are created by Geoffrey Downes (Yes, Asia) and Christopher Braide, who does a lot of songwriting and producing for other well-known artists. Suburban Ghosts is the second album they made together, and it’s a wonderful album! It’s a concept album about isolation and loneliness in a small town suburbia, a subject that Christopher has experienced himself during his own childhood. You can hear certain themes and lyrics coming back from time to time in some of the songs. The album sleeve looks like it comes from the flashy eighties. The neon like colours, fonts and designs that are used make me happy.
This is a tough album to review. Not because it’s not my taste or that it isn’t good, but this is an album that demands your full attention and needs quite a few spins. There’s a lot happening in the music, even though most of the music is mostly on the calm and serene side.
I don’t know if this genre exists, but I would categorize this music under neo progressive metal. Neo prog metal with symphonic influences. The musical compositions have a neo progressive rock feeling, while most songs are filled with heavy guitars and typical metal guitar solos. There are also a few hunches of Tool here and there in some of the tracks. The guitar solos are good, sometimes very surprising and well thought about. Legrand is a good singer, but not spectacular in my opinion. The sound of the album is fine, but the drums sound a bit too compressed, and the total picture misses some dynamics.
The band consists of Tony Kaye, a former Yes member, and Billy Sherwood, who is a current member of Yes. Billy took over Chris Squire’s place as a bassist, who we sadly lost in 2015. However, mister Sherwood provides the lead vocals and guitars instead of bass on CIRCA:’s fourth album, named Valley Of The Windmill. Rick Tierney is providing the bass guitar parts, and Scott Connor does the drums and percussion.