Saturday, March 11, 2017

Synaptik, England

News: Synaptik's second release Justify & Reason has just been released as of yesterday!

Location: Norwich, Norfolk

Overview: Synaptik  is the 3rd iteration of the Inner Sanctum/Fifth Season technical metal genealogy and comes 17 years after their last studio album. Imagine Watchtower but with those irresistible blazing Mekong Delta riffs propelling it all forward in an exciting way.

Reviews (click on album covers)

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Il Tempio delle Clessidre, Italy

News: According to a post from the group in January, mixing is done for their new 3rd album! No date has been given for release yet, though late April has been reported. Il Ludere is the working title.

Location: Genoa

Overview: Il Tempio delle Clessidre's debut is one of the finer new retro Italian progressive rock in the landscape today. Lead by the beautiful keyboardist Elisa Montaldo, Il Tempio delle Clessidre is the classic five piece Italian band working their way through increasingly complex compositions, but with melody and passion.

Reviews (click on album covers)

Homunculus Res, Italy

News: According to a post in January, the band are working on their 3rd album. Recordings are planned to done by April and released later in the year. Excellent news!

Location: Palermo, Sicily

Overview: Homunculus Res is a tremendous new Canterbury styled band from Italy that have perfectly captured the spirit of another era. Brilliantly mixing melody and complexity, with a jazzy undertone.

Reviews (click on album covers)

TEE, Japan

News: TEE just performed in Feb, 2017 with Cichla Temensis and Yuukai Kenchiku for the Progressive Flute Vol.2 concert at Silver Elephant.

Location: Tokyo

Overview: TEE are absolutely one of my favorite contemporary bands. They have zeroed in on that instrumental European warm progressive rock sound that was most prominent in Spain, France, and Germany during the late 1970s. Few do it as well as TEE.

Reviews (click on album covers)

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Free System Projekt, Netherlands

News: A new 2 CD album will be released in 2017! This will be the first studio album (not counting collaborations and live recordings) since Moyland from 2005!

Location: Huizen (east of Amsterdam)

Overview: Of all the current bands playing in the retro Berlin School of sequencer based electronic music, Dutch ensemble Free System Projekt may be the closest in imitating the original pioneers. Especially the Tangerine Dream variant circa 1976 to 1977.

Reviews (click on album covers)

La Torre dell'Alchimista, Italy

News: There's been rumors of a new album in the works, but with a non working website, and a year removed from a Facebook post, one wonders just how active they really are.

Location: Bergamo, Lombardy

Overview: La Torre dell’Alchimista are one of the many current Italian progressive rock acts that are recreating the sounds of the past and moving it forward to the 21st century. They are a bit more purist than most groups in this space (at least in 2007 they were, now it's more common), eschewing modern tendencies such as metal, electronica and post rock.

Reviews (click on album covers)

Tusmorke, Norway

News: Great news here as Tusmorke have announced their new 4th album will be titled Hinsides and released on May 12! Also bumping this post forward for new notes on their 3rd album. The band also seem to have a new logo, which I've pasted in here. Very odd indeed.

Location: Oslo

Overview: Tusmørke started their career as a band very much influenced by Jethro Tull. Today they are far more native ,and recall some of the great 70s Norwegian bands like Host and Hades.

Reviews (click on album covers)

Eye, USA

News: Eye are playing live shows no doubt enjoying performing their new album. We're bumping forward as well since we have fresh notes on said album.

Location: Columbus, Ohio

Overview: When you name your band Eye and your first album is entitled Center of the Sun, then you are more than likely to draw comparisons to early Nektar. And indeed that is just what Eye seems to be aiming for: Journey to the Center of 1971 Nektar.

Reviews (click on album covers)

Agusa, Sweden

News: Agusa have announced their 3rd studio album is currently being recorded. Great news! No release date as of yet.  Also bumping forward to  highlight new notes for their live album which comes highly recommended.

Location: Malmo

Overview: Agusa's blueprint is instrumental psychedelic rock like the early 70s masters (think Flasket Brinner here) with Hammond organ, acoustic and fuzz guitar, wordless voices, pounding percussion - all with that distinct Nordic touch (while occasionally looking east towards Asia), that shows up in their melodies and overall atmosphere.

Reviews (click on album covers)

Moogg, Italy

News: There hasn't been any recent activity from Moogg in the last couple of years, beyond the CD release of Italian Luxury Style, which took some time to find its way to a physical asset (being download only for some time). Let's hope the group resurfaces again. Bumping post forward to highlight fresh notes on their latest album.

Location: Brescia, Lombardy

Overview: Moogg are an Italian band who's heart is in Canterbury. They also have a fondness for 70s jazz rock in general.

Reviews (click on album covers)

Avatarium, Sweden

News: Avatarium have announced their third album will be titled Hurricanes and Halos and is slated to be released on May 26th. Otherwise the band is playing festivals and racking up awards. It appears they are doing quite well!

Location: Stockholm

Overview: Essentially, Avatarium are Candlemass with an organist and a female vocalist who sings as if its 1970. A potentially awesome combination, though there's no mistaking this is still doom metal.

Reviews (click on album covers)

Friday, March 3, 2017

Ingranaggi della Valle, Italy

News: Ingranaggi della Valle will be playing some festivals and are enjoying the reviews praising their latest effort. A well earned time off for certain. Not sure why the band doesn't have any sample pages out there. Moving up to celebrate their new album with fresh notes.

Location: Rome

Overview: Ingranaggi della Valle started their career as a classic Italian styled prog band with a jazz undercurrent recalling the great DFA. Their second album is more international, now sung in English, with a more global progressive rock sound. I prefer the former, but the new album is superb despite that.

Reviews (click on album covers)

Goat, Sweden

News: No news to speak of. Moving page forward to highlight latest album review.

Location: Gothenburg

Overview: Goat are a band that mixes ancient mystic rituals and Swedish folklore, combined with a 1970s exploratory jazz rock sound. The best way I can describe them is like a mid 1970s Embryo, Archimedes Badkar, and Kebnekaise all mashed up and distilled for the modern age. The fact that Goat have achieved commercial success with such a sound is even more remarkable. Amazing to find a band like this on one of the top indie American labels like Sub Pop. Because of that, it's tempting to tag the band with the derogatory hipster designation, but it's entirely unfair. We're 3 albums in, and every one of them is great.

Reviews (click on album covers)

Corsair, USA

News: Corsair appear to be taking an extended break with no activity in the last 7 months or so. Hopefully it's not permanent. This is their debut on UTR, even though I own all of their albums going back to their initial EP's. More updates will emerge eventually.

Location: Charlottesville, Virginia

Overview: Corsair's blueprint comes from that exciting time when the late 70s hard rock movement first transitioned into heavy metal. It was a period where muscle and might met thoughtful compositions and progressive ambitions. And most importantly, melody was front and center, not an afterthought or an inconvenience.

Reviews (click on album covers)

Purson, England

News: All is quiet on the Purson front. It appears they have a new website, but it's down as I write this. We've recently penned fresh notes for their newest album Desire's Magic Theatre.

Location: Southend-on-Sea, Essex

Overview: The Circle & The Blue Door was an homage to 1971 England, whereas Desire's Magic Theatre seemed more geared toward 1969. They're going in the wrong direction for my tastes, but still intriguing enough to leave as an A-lister.

Reviews (click on album covers)

Syd Arthur, England

News: Syd Arthur are currently on tour supporting their latest album Apricity. We've also penned notes for the new album.

Location: Canterbury

Overview: When you name your band Syd Arthur, you're just begging to be compared to late 60s Pink Floyd combined with any number of whimsical early 70s UK progressive bands. And in Syd Arthur's case, given the band's home locale of Canterbury (really? you have to be from there, huh?),  I think the indigenous reference has Pye Hastings' Caravan all over this. Well, one could do worse than be the missing link between Caravan's first album and If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You. Apricity sees the band moving away from progressive rock into a more neo psych / indie style. It's still quite good for what they are trying to achieve, but it's getting outside of my interest area. For now, I'm removing them from my A-List and we'll keep a close eye on them.

Reviews (click on album covers)

Phlox, Estonia

News: Phlox are still going strong with plenty of live shows. They are also hinting at a new album soon (2017). So great news there!

Location: Tallinn

Overview: Phlox are a band that play in the VERY heavy fusion category (no metal though). Hard driving, fast, complicated and downright exhilarating. A 6 piece group with guitar, sax, Moog, and electric piano being the primary solo components.

Reviews (click on album covers)