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Last 50 reviews
Studio Album, 2022
3.70 | 24 ratings

Kaipa Symphonic Prog

Review by Heart of the Matter

In my view, the more recent albums by Kaipa can't be compared with their early material, because they lack in the guitar department the original and sheer intensity of Roine Stolt.

Having said that, there is still a lot of musical quality infusing each track of this album: the vocalists are really good, even when I must confess that the alternation between male and female voices is not my favorite feature here, and the vocals in the beginning are too much in a Freddie Mercury vein to my taste, since that doesn't sound very authentic. Also the keyboards are good, supporting the vocalists with tasteful, yet really predictable, layers of harmonic grandeur, and alterning with the electric guitar and the violin in the solos. The rhythm section sounds perfectly capable of handling a wide variety of pace and accent changes, bringing a fine sense of dynamics and energy to the mix.

Anyway, in total honesty, I can't really say that I've found anything else that a good amusing time listening to this album, and the excellence certainly requires more. Originality, boldness, inspiration, who knows, but something seems to be missing.


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Studio Album, 1993
3.69 | 4 ratings

Alpha Collection 1.
Attempt To Restore Krautrock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3.5 stars. ATTEMPT TO RESTORE was the project of Holger Schmidt the former singer and lead guitarist for TIGER B. SMITH. He owns his own recording studio called Woodland Studios and here he has attempted to restore that "sound" of Krautrock from the early seventies. This is dark and heavy at times with distorted guitar leads, organ, bass and drums in this four piece out of Germany. Interesting to me that the drummer here is Wolfgang Baade who was part of the short lived AUS DEM NICHTS which consisted of him and members of XHOL and EMBRYO. On my "Wiesbaden 1972" archival release from EMBRYO the bonus track called "Clockwork Blue" is done by AUS DEM NICHTS who opened for EMBRYO that night.

The music here reminds me mostly of GILA and THE COSMIC JOKERS but also it reminds me of the darker music done by AMON DUUL II and ASHRA TEMPEL. We get three long tracks ranging from 16 1/2 minutes to 21 1/2 minutes allowing for a lot of trippy jamming and improvizing. No vocals but we get some cool sounding samples that I feel aren't used very well on this album. The opener "The City" opens with traffic sounds so we hear cars, sirens, horns etc. and it's all good but the problem for me is that during this 16 1/2 minute song they just randomly it seems throw this sample in there while the music is playing so it comes across as being noise affecting my ability to hear the actual music. A siren will pop up once in a while too.

The same on "Breath" the longest track, we get these samples of German Shepherds on the chase after this guy that comes into the sound soon as we hear him running then breathing hard as he's being pursued. Again awesome but then this stuff just pops up out of nowhere throughout the song. Dogs barking or man running or breathing hard but not sequenced just one of the three here and there. I listen too closely to my music maybe but it bugs me that two great samples just get overused and used at inappropriate times. Again the music itself is very good and 4 star material although it would have also been cool to make it 40 to 45 minutes like vinyl instead of an hour. But this was 1993 and 20 years after Krautrock's golden age. And we all know if it's not Krautrock it's Krapp. So check it out!


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Studio Album, 1982
3.19 | 566 ratings

Asia Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

What an oddity this was. Asia's debut album is called "Asia" but has nothing to do with that continent, and finds four prog guys showing a near-total disinterest in sounding like the prog of the 1970s, offering up instead a slick pop-rock album with just enough touches of art rock and progressive pop to feel prog-adjacent.

Let's do an audit of who's here: Carl Palmer's onboard, but this neither has the ferocity of his old stomping ground in Atomic Rooster or the classical complexity of his ELP heyday. Carl, in fact, is only credited as a co-writer on one song, Time Again, which is credited to all four members, and in general there's not much that's ELP-ish here in terms of actual compositional approach and style, though at some moments (like the outro to Cutting It Fine) the band do a fine job of attaining the same mood of gravitas that ELP were able to hit in their most serious moments even if the method by which they get there is a little different. (Fundamentally, Geoff Downes is not Keith Emerson and doesn't pretend to be.)

In general however, the only sustained ELP-ish note I detect here is John Wetton's singing, since his style has a similar sort of stentorian tone to the one Greg Lake would use in ELP's more serious moments. Indeed, when John left the band for the first time in 1983 - returning for the Astra album later on - Greg filled in for him on a few live dates, and though I haven't heard any recordings of him with Asia I imagine he'd have been a fairly natural fit.

Indeed, if Greg was the least engaged of the band when it came to the songwriting here, John Wetton was the most - he's got a writing credit on every single track - and whilst there isn't really anything all that King Crimson-ish about the material here, I think you can sort of see Asia as the logical conclusion of the musical trajectory that Wetton followed from the end of Red-era King Crimson via UK. One could imagine the Danger Money-era UK having a stab at Wildest Dreams or Cutting It Fine, for instance, because whilst that project's debut album was an unabashed prog-fusion workout, Danger Money was a bit more interested in throwing in a few pop hooks here and there. If you set the proggiest moments here next to the poppiest moments of UK, the distance isn't all that great.

Rounding out the quartet are two refugees from some Yes drama - Steve Howe and Geoff Downes, to be specific. Howe's co-writing credits tend to be associated with the less poppy numbers here, but the material isn't really that Yes-like - or, rather, it isn't like anything Yes had preivously produced. (Howe's former bandmates would enter the studio to make 90125 about 8 months after this was released, and the influence of this release on their change of direction is noticeable.)

No, of the two Yes men here it's Geoff Downes who seems to have the stronger influence - Geoff's got songwriting credits on about two thirds of the album, and nearly half the songs are Downes/Wetton collaborations. This includes the biggest hits - Heat of the Moment and Only Time Will Tell - which probably explains why all but one of the songs on Alpha are Wetton/Downes pieces (and the exception was written solo by Wetton - The Smile Has Left Your Eyes). Rather than making Asia "Drama 2.0", Downes instead uses the same knack for pop hooks he used to such good effect in the Buggles, with the result that Video Killed the Radio Star is closer to the material on here than, say, Machine Messiah.

The sequencing of the album makes no bones about using the hooky pop numbers to lure you in before treating you to some of the more progressive material. If you're a prog purist, you'll likely be turned off the album before you get to the meatier stuff - but if you enjoy smarter-than-average AOR, it's rather good, and if you want to argue that it's nothing but empty pop rock you clearly didn't pay attention to the whole thing: I defy anyone to listen to Cutting It Fine and say it isn't a damn fine pocket epic, cramming into just over 5 minutes more ideas than some prog outfits manage in 20. The production on this has admittedly dated somewhat - it would have sounded absolutely futuristic on its first release, but some of those 1980s production techniques haven't lasted the test of time as well as others - but otherwise I'd say it's a fine release and certainly no embarrassment to any of the participants. Is it as good as the best of ELP, Yes, the Buggles, King Crimson, or UK? No - but you can miss that target and still be damn good.


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Studio Album, 2022
4.09 | 3 ratings

Good NightOwl Eclectic Prog

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

I would say we do need a thought collector now. Encounters in multiple. On one hand, okay, probably shame on me, because I'm late. As there are already a bunch of project albums available waiting for a try. Means, it's the first time that I came in touch with this interesting music entity, currently driven by the US boys Daniel Cupps and Joshua Cook. Eh, better late than never. But then furthermore, wtf, I began to ponder about any plausible reason why one would cut out the vocals regarding those amazing five compositions that are available on this production. Okay, scratching the surface a bit, let's say this is covered by the term artistical freedom, agreed? If you start while listening to the non vocal versions, would you really miss something? Such complex eclectic music assigned with vocals, is this successfully manageable basically? Oh, another phase, in the end this may turn into a highly philosophical issue.

You may call it a trickery, to present an album of round about 50 minutes running time, which turns out to be solely the half of it actually. Possibly justified, if it hadn't worked out sooooooo well. And then later, at some point, the current attitude of these night owls will make sense actually, in a very special manner. Okay, as noted beforehand, those two musicians are providing all the instrumental (and vocal) input, and also do share the songwriting and composing. No guests here, what I can see. Their music is made of a complex nature, that's obvious. At first glance it sounded somewhat bulky, less accessible. But this definitely needs time to become apparent, several attempts. Ever-changing presence, that's the mantra here. Who will find the right words to describe the offered inspiration, energy, skills, musicianship? I give up, can't get at it, I'll give you that.


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Live, 2021
3.86 | 3 ratings

Leverkusen 2010
Allan Holdsworth Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by MaxnEmmy

Of the five live recordings released since the passing of Allan Holdsworth, this one is my favorite. It might have something to do with Chad Wakerman. I always liked his work with Mr. Holdsworth. He plays on the '97 recording which is only slightly less exceptional to the 2010 session. He plays the drums with a feel I don't quite hear with other jazz fusion drummers who spent sessions with the guitar wizard. Gary Novak and Gary Husband are outstanding and they are featured on other releases. However, I find Chad to be the best. The bass is held down by Ernest Tibbs and he really seems to be enjoying playing with this trio. This is a very mature Allan Holdsworth and he was in his prime, having abandoned the synthaxe for live touring, focusing on making the guitar sound fluid and very fine. Like an expensive bottle of wine.


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Studio Album, 1985
3.36 | 345 ratings

The Jewel
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

Review N� 532

"The Jewel" is the debut studio album of Pendragon and was released in 1985. This is a very different album when compared with their following studio albums "The World", released in 1991, "The Window Of Life", released in 1993, "The Masquerade Overture", released in 1996 and "Not Of This World", released in 2001. I left out of this comparison "Kowtow", released in 1988 because it represents a very special and unique album on the musical career of the group. At that time the band was facing a transitional phase in their musical career pursued a more commercial direction.

"The Jewel" is a kind of a pre-album from the band and where their classic keyboardist Clive Nolan and their drummer Fudge Smith weren't yet members of the group. So, the line up on the album is composed by Nick Barrett (vocals and guitars), Rick Carter (keyboards), Peter Gee (basses, guitars and bass pedals) and Nigel Harris (drums and percussion).

Originally, "The Jewel" had only seven tracks. The first track "Higher Circles" written by Barrett, Carter, Gee and Harris is a very nice and pleasant song to open the album. This is a song with the typical Pendragon's guitar sound and the typical charm and melodic Nick Barrett's vocals. It has also a good keyboard work and an unusual drum performance, which is also very nice too. The second track "The Pleasure Of Hope" written by Barrett, Gee, Harris and Barnfield is a kind of a song with a more romantic style. It's a song with good lyrics and a nice and melodic sound. The keyboard sound is also very good, but for me, the most impressive and interesting thing on the song is the drum work, which is superb. The third track "Leviathan" written by Barrett, Gee, Harris and Barnfield is one of the highlights on the album and that became as one of the all-time Pendragon's favourite song and it's still played in some live concerts nowadays. It's a very good song full of fast musical passages and where the keyboards are the great highlight on it. The fourth track "Alaska" is divided into two parts "At Home With The Earth" and "Snowfall", and it was written by Barrett. This is another highlight on the album. It's a song with an excellent musical composition, and once more, it has another great keyboard work. The guitar work is also excellent and the bass line of Peter Gee completes perfectly well the general picture of the song. It's a song that reminds me deeply, the sound of Camel especially due to the guitar and keyboard works, which are, in my humble opinion, very close to Andy Latimer and Peter Bardens' styles. The fifth track "Circus" written by Barrett, Carter, Gee and Harris is a very dramatic song with great instrumental parts and some breaks that sometimes reminds me Rush. By the other hand and once more, it has some parts that remind me Camel too. The song has some fantastic parts with a perfect harmony between all musical instruments, indeed. The sixth track "Oh Divineo" written by Barrett, Gee, Harris and Barnfield is a very beautiful and melodic song with a series of different musical passages and where, once more, I can see some influences of Rush, even on the vocal parts. This is another very good track in the same vein of the rest of the album keeping it at a good level of quality, really. The seventh track "The Black Knight" written by Barrett is another highlight on the album and it's still loved by Pendragon's fans and all prog rock lovers, even today. It's the lengthiest track on the album and it's a song surprisingly full of musical changes all over the song. This is an excellent track that gives perfectly well the glimpse of what would be the later Pendragon's music style. My version of "The Jewel" has more four bonus tracks, the eighth track "Fly High Fall Far" written by Barrett, the ninth track "Victims Of Life" written by Barrett, the tenth track "Armageddon" written by Barrett, Gee, Harris and Barnfield and "Insomnia" written by Barrett, Gee, Harris and Barnfield. The first two bonus tracks "Fly High Fall Far" and "Victims Of Life" appeared for the first time on their debut EP "Fly High Fall Far" and represent the side A of it. The other two songs "Armageddon" and "Insomnia", from what I know appeared for the first time on their compilation "Once Upon A Time In England Volume 1", released in 1999. As you know, usually, I don't review bonus tracks. So, I'm not going to do an exception in this case. However, if I did it, that wouldn't change the final rating of my review. In general, its quality level is perfectly at the same level of the rest of the album, with the problem to be less cohesive than the album itself.

Conclusion: "The Jewel" is, in fact, the second Pendragon's album after their mini-album "Fly High Fall Far" released in 1984. That mini-album appeared on "The Rest Of Pendragon" compilation's album released in 1991. "The Jewel" is clearly a very good musical effort by Pendragon and constitutes an excellent debut album for any band. It's clearly a very different musical proposal from the band but it also represents a very solid and cohesive beginning for Pendragon. It's true that here we can't see clearly what the band want for their music, because the musical influences are probably too much varied for a single album. However, the high quality level of its music and its musical cohesion make of "The Jewel" a good prog rock album. This was their break-through album. In the slipstream of Marillion, Pendragon with this album was responsible for the revival of prog rock in Europe. If you love prog music this could be in your collection.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)


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Studio Album, 2021
3.51 | 35 ratings

Ascension Codes
Cynic Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

"Ascension Codes" is the 4th full-length studio album by US progressive rock/metal act Cynic. The album was released through Season of Mist in November 2021. It�s the successor to "Kindly Bent To Free Us" from 2014, although the "Uroboric Forms - The Complete Demo Recordings" compilation album was released in 2017, and Cynic also released the "Humanoid" single in 2018 (the first new music from the band since 2014), and the "Integral" single in 2021.

It�s safe to say that Cynic have been through some years of turmoil and tragedy since the release of "Kindly Bent To Free Us" (2014) as drummer/original member Sean Reinert left in 2015 and subsequently tragically died of a heart attack in January 2020. A few years after he left and some disputes over the continued use of the Cynic name later, Reinert was replaced by Matt Lynch in 2017, who plays on "Ascension Codes". Bassist Sean Malone stuck with lead vocalist/guitarist Paul Masvidal, but another tragedy struck as he chose to end his own life in December 2020. Masvidal opted not to recruit a new bassist, and "Ascension Codes" actually doesn�t feature bass at all. Instead Masvidal hired keyboard player Dave Mackay to record the bass parts using a bass synthesizer.

Although Masvidal was always the main composer in Cynic, losing 2/3 of the lineup who have recorded most of the band�s previous material is bound to be a big loss and to have an impact on future material. Anyone familiar with Cynic knows how skilled, unique, and important for the band�s sound both Reinert and Malone were, and "Ascension Codes" is therefore in many ways a new beginning for Cynic.

Stylistically there is no doubt that you�re listening to a Cynic album though. Although Max Phelps is creadited for performing additional vocals, the extreme metal vocals are very few and far between. When they occur they are layered with the clean vocals and buried in the mix, which means they sound more like rough whispers than anything else. Masvidal performs his usual effect laden and futuristic sounding clean vocals. The atmosphere of the music is tranquil, spiritual, and mellow, although the album does feature more heavy parts. The complex heavy riffs aren�t the primary focus of the music though, so it�s the fusion influenced rhythms, futuristic synths, and mellow atmospheres which the band have opted to make their focal point. "Ascension Codes" is generally a layered and very busy album, but the great dynamics in the music make it a slightly more accessible release than what it may appear upon initial listens (at least in terms of being a pleasant listen).

"Ascension Codes" features 18 tracks and a total playing time of 49:09 minutes. Only half of the tracks are regular length (3-5 minutes long) songs though and the remaining tracks are short intros, transitions, or outros. Very few would probably despute that Masvidal is a musical genius and that his approach to writing and performing music is very unique, but even after repeated listens "Ascension Codes" is an album which is hard to crack. For all it�s technical finesse, gorgeous melancholic melodies, and multible layers of intruments and vocals, the tracks seem to melt together into one long flowing listening experience, and a few more memorable hooks would have been welcome. The album has a tendency to become a little too ambient and atmospheric, and just a little more attitude or edge could have made the album a more interesting listen. The whole UFO, celestial beings, ethereal spritual lyrics/imagery isn�t a surprise and fits with the general impression of how Masvidal appears as a person, but again the whole thing ends up a little light weight new age tinged. It�s proabably exactly what Masvidal is aiming for, but a few darker moments wouldn�t have hurt.

Upon conclusion "Ascension Codes" is still a quality release by Cynic, but it�s audible that it�s now the work of only one man, and the lack of Malone�s fretless bass playing and Reinert�s creative virtuosic drumming (although Lynch is definitely a capable replacement) do have a slightly negative impact on the music. Masvidal is also credited for producing "Ascension Codes" and therefore there are simply no one left to make a constructive (and sometimes necessary) criticism of his songwriting ideas or song arrangements. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved, although "Ascension Codes" is the type of album which may (or may not) grow on repeated listens, and therefore my rating is prone to change.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)


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Studio Album, 2022
3.98 | 17 ratings

Animals As Leaders Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by DangHeck

As has been a trend and almost a custom, released by Sumerian and produced by Periphery's own Misha Monsoor, this, Animals' fifth--it's honestly amazing I've been following them for at least three of their releases now--is finally here! Finally arrived onto the stage (I actually literally saw them the other month and it was incredible) and into our earholes after a wait of 6 years since The Madness of Many (2016). This is Parrhesia, from the Ancient Greek which can roughly mean "free speech" and more specifically defined as the seeking of forgiveness for the way in which one said something: we have such timely and pertinent titles toward the end to this effect, such as "Thoughts and Prayers" and "Micro-Aggressions". [Forgive my infantile (in my infancy) leftism/progressivism, if you will, but I can only imagine what sort of things Tosin has experienced as a black man (and likely Javier, as Latino) in Metal at large. He's not the first. He won't be the last. But there will likely always be something in that that I, as a white guy, will never quite understand.] Back to the album: I think my friend who saw them with me was right that it's best to have gotten that live experience first. Tosin and Co. had mentioned, too, that this was the first more or less collaborative album, that the excellent Matt Garstka had written material here specifically. Needless to say, especially after all that, I've been very excited.

"Conflict Cartography" opens with layers and layers from this trio, featuring at times soaring and soft soloing. Very familiar, really. Pretty good opener, but I feel like much of it we've seen from them before. I feel as though 2014-2016 was such a turning point for Progressive Metal (and also a point of reference even still), of course with the proliferation and popularization of "Djent" specifically (out of Progressive Metalcore, I think it's important to recognize). Albums therein that came out at this time include A Dream In Static (Earthside), The Congregation (Leprous), Language (The Contortionist), The Violent Sleep of Reason (Meshuggah), Periphery III: Select Difficulty (Periphery), [the 2013 exception] The Migration (Scale The Summit), and Animals As Leaders' most melodic album, The Joy of Motion. Can you blame anyone for taking this as a point of creative pivot?

What feels new is the brutal assault of "Monomyth" to follow. Always awesome hearing what sort of melodies Tosin and Javier can pull out and place within wild, rhythmically complex and unbelievably heavy songs such as this one; it's just insane. And compositionally complex over just 3 minutes. "Red Miso" is of a different, more feeling tone. More melodic and more rhythmically "natural" (until around 1:30, and even still haha). This song is sooooo pleasing. It becomes more and more brutal, even in its weird effect-laden quirk. Another to start though in a more ambient beauty is "Gestaltzerfall". I'm not sure how to explain the phenomenon of Gestaltzerfall, so definitely look it up and it will hopefully be clearer. What I can say is that it's interesting to have this sort of focus in mind for a musical composition. Could it be that we have, hidden within otherwise simple, straightforward movements, slight variations that can be picked up on when we mentally focus on them? I'm sure that's true of AAL many times over, if any band can accomplish this--and all this to say that I'm assuming I'm understanding the term and the phenomenon itself correctly (again, just look it up haha). Beautiful song though, nonetheless. I love when they're in a more melodic mode (I didn't mention above that Joy of Motion has been my forever favorite from them for this reason).

As for "Asahi", I must say, I'm more familiar with Sapporo. Is that alright with y'all? haha. "Asahi" is a short 2- minute ambient tune, with swelling strings-like padding and clean, reverberating guitar soloing. What a lovely breather. It flows right into the second shortest track, a more electronic number to start, the gorgeous and hypnotic "The Problem of Other Minds", one I certainly remember from their live performance. And it is great when your mind gets stuck into these intricate rhythms that they place in what seemed before a straightforward track. A lot to focus on and I'll definitely have to listen to this one in particular soon (hopefully the whole album, too, of course). There is a familiarity in this, that it is in fact Animals here, but they have found different ways over the years, especially starting with Joy to freshen and mix things up. Up next is the aforementioned "Thoughts and Prayers", which starts off with a very intriguing sort of intensity. Beautiful, now less uncommon soloing here, too. The rhythm is straight-ahead. The melodies are ominous and the tension continues on throughout. A lot more to take in than how it appears on the surface. But even still, I'm not as drawn as to some of the tracks from before. Maybe too familiar? Is that unfair?

We get the second track mentioned above next, "Micro-Aggressions", here in all of its wild and untamed brutality. From the start, this is one of the most impressive things, technically, that I've ever heard from any one of them. Incessant. Complex. Just plain incredible. And then we get a very, dare I say, traditional guitar solo in the middle. And then it's right on back into the crazed battle from the get-go. They have outdone themselves on this one. Finally, we have "Gordian Naught" (aha! haha), which has a very classic AAL intensity, yet somehow a level above, say, what you'd expect from the material off of Weightless or their self-titled debut. I didn't know they could gel any better as a band from before...

True Rate: 4.25/5.00


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Studio Album, 2022
5.00 | 1 ratings

Withered Flowers and Cinnamon
iPhone 6/6S Skin - There is a Light by Mat Miller - Sticker Deca Progressive Metal

Review by alainPP

— First review of this album —
ENNEADE is a progressive metal band from Lyon formed in 1995. Three demos then the "Remembrance" came out, containing a compendium of what was best at the time, fusion before the hour of bass, drums and heavy riffs, all sprinkled with parsimonious acoustics with dark intensity; I described them as a compendium of 80's KING CRIMSON, GENESIS and RIVERSIDE, more than OPETH and ANATHEMA, in short complex progressive metal, original neo melodic. Well, what about this baby coming out of a difficult gestation?

"A Foul Taste of Freedom", heavy attack, reverberating bass, phrasing vocals, acoustic base, a sumptuous and intimate break; it's heavy, nervous, can we do that in France? Yes !!!! A bit of the heavy, cantankerous, grumpy going RIVERSIDE; the hard riff finishes me off; medieval break for a time before setting off again on an invading, superb melodic rhythm. Acoustic "Illumination" in intro starting on a hellish rhythm, it's heavy a bit of SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE, the sound that shows the importance of the work, the 11 years of waiting have been put to good use; a little ANATHEMA and RIVERSIDE for the guitar which oozes, which languishes and it starts again, clean, it looks like a very good English group with the worked voice of Christian who does not suffer from an accent, it's well done and "Tinkling Forks" continues on a marimba then the Chapman bass � la KING CRIMSON; aside eyeing the Japanese and Genesis atmosphere all of a sudden with this spleen guitar from another world, stunning, simple but effective.

"Grand Buffet" always chained tumbles and launches into a rhythmic fusion, a sort of medieval, folkloric and Crimsonian tribal dance; confusing short title which questions the purpose of the music in its general sense, a car leaves and "Autumn" for the river title, 12 minutes of pure happiness: we regress on the Moog of yesteryear, a hovering side of the late SCHULZE in the preamble also makes a sign; the acoustics and the pads of Fr�d�ric make the taf bringing the air on a dark bucolic ballad, always this divine mixture of zests of GENESIS and KING CRIMSON; the guitars of Christophe and Georges-Marc accentuate the mischievously melancholic atmosphere. The Crimsonian break goes from dark to rustic, challenges just like this jet of sax from Olivier recalling the progressive wanderings of the SUPERTRAMP, quickly assisted by the Genesis keyboard, in short the musical fusion brought to its paroxysm, between jovial depression and crystalline notes.

ENNEADE seduced me, directly, without detour! I don't need details on their delivery to tell you that it's a must, that it's simply my album of the month. A compendium of metal reminiscences, free jazz metal by keys, melodic prog metal, a singular sound that makes you think about these sounds mixed together in the progressive crucible and emerging in a new musical alloy of the 2020s. makes haste to put it back on track, again and... again.


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Studio Album, 2022
4.11 | 9 ratings

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Ghost Story
Salva Crossover Prog

Review by alainPP

SALVA, Swedish group which started when S. GAVIK and P. MALMBERG played handball and found themselves with the same love of music. They started in 2003, immersing themselves in many musical genres! Personally, I have known them since 'Left to burn' from 2007, a flowery, Hispanic and colorful prog with a very particular sound; uncompromising progressive rock, heavy rock, AOR and adventurous pop. Note that R. REED has worked to make them known; this 7th album is a concept about the story of an introverted boy discovering an overwhelming passion for music; slightly self-taught in itself.

'Awakening' tumbles on a hovering then symphonic neo prog intro to launch the title river with a melodic heavy prog declination; varied, thunderous, that's how we could classify it, reminiscent of the ROYAL HUNT for the twirling side; it starts on a long classic crescendo with melodies that quickly catch the ears, between heavy and neo prog. "Discovery" in radio edit shorter, nervous and fits in, AOR limit; a synth solo followed by an evolving guitar moment in break then the majestic voice of Per giving a solemn tone; second more airy solo then return to the chorus on this basic synth sound and finally heavy. "Gig" arrives on a soaring psychic note from the intro starting on notes that JETHRO TULL could have played for this nervous and intuitive guitar; the voice and the rhythm still launch on a ROYAL HUNT boosted by airs of ALAN PARSONS harder, strange and disconcerting; we can find on the keyboards of Johan and Per a rather marked groovy side sailing on ELOY, HAMADRYAD, all sprinkled with a last vibrating guitar solo reminding me of the good period of MANFRED MANN.

'Ghost' aerial piano intro, SUPERTRAMP symphony; vocals pulling on the desperate energy of a MIDNIGHT OIL, proof of the variety of this sound off the beaten track; good thunderous sympho prog rock stretching pleasantly thanks to the fat instrumental part which gives intensity and charm; a sudden cathedral break, the voice as a megaphone, a title with a striking and intoxicating melody; note again a fruity guitar solo juggling between neo and heavy prog decked out with fat synths as one wishes; a finale that reminds me from afar of the BLUES & TRAVELERS just for the flute and the folk accordion. "Everysong" arrives for the uplifting, soulful ballad with lead vocals and piano. "Score" and the final, divine intro...listen; Per with his characteristic high-pitched voice here offers a slow melodic declination; the sound of the synths is unlike any other except IQ; the evolution is as symphonic as it is intimate and launches juicy guitar solos; it goes away it comes back it goes away to distant spaces where the musical sap flows freely; it is especially better over time, a sign of unmistakable quality.

SALVA makes neo heavy symphonic prog different from current sounds, a positive point. SALVA offers long titles with adventurous developments and damn chiseled breaks to offer a rich air entangled with various reminiscences. SALVA makes integral art music surfing on neo and heavy, offering a singular escape on the cold Scandinavian lands; a very good disc pushing the multi-colored sound in its most ardent buttresses.


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