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December 2022 - Issue 157
Progressive Rock CD Reviews
Aura - Underwater
Review by Gary Hill
This Italian act have produced a strong album here. The mix of metal and prog sounds is quite intriguing. They move toward space music and much more at different points.
Jeff Berlin - Jack Songs
Review by Gary Hill
This album from Jeff Berlin is a tribute to Jack Bruce.
Bethlehem Asylum - Commit Yourself to Bethlehem Asylum
Review by Gary Hill
This CD collects the two albums released by Bethlehem Asylum onto one CD.
Arthur Brown - Monster’s Ball
Review by Gary Hill
I really wish I'd gotten this CD a month or so earlier. It would have been a perfect fit in our October issue because it definitely has a spooky angle to it.
Kate Bush - Never for Ever (vinyl)
Review by Gary Hill
The third studio album from Kate Bush, I tend to feel this was the one where her sound started to move into more dramatic and cinematic territory.
Jeff Cotton - The Fantasy of Reality
Review by Gary Hill
Jeff Cotton was formerly the guitarist for Captain Beefheart. If you know that, you'll have an idea of what kind of music you are going to get here.
Erik Dahl - Music For Small Rooms
Review by Gary Hill
I previously reviewed a set by the Erik Dahl Ensemble, but this is a solo set. I landed that one under prog, although it wasn't a slam dunk.
Delay Tactics - Elements Of Surprise
Review by Gary Hill
This outfit is apparently billed as techno-pop. I consider them more instrumental prog.
Fearful Symmetry - The Difficult Second
Review by Gary Hill
This is apparently the second release from this act. I never heard the first one.
Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel (aka "2" or "Scratch") (vinyl)
Review by Gary Hill
This is Peter Gabriel's second solo album. It's definitely quite a bit different than the first one.
Gracious! - Gracious! (vinyl)
Review by Gary Hill
This is a long lost album from 1970. It's one of those things that is only known about by a select group of people, but that group is enthusiastic about it.
Kevin Kastning & Laszlo Gardony - Levitation I
Review by Gary Hill
This is an intriguing release. It's an instrumental set featuring piano (Laszlo Gardony) and 36-String Double Gontraguitar (Kevin Kastning).  
Lillian Axe - From Womb To Tomb
Review by Gary Hill
I never thought I'd include a Lillian Axe album under progressive rock, but honestly, that's where this fits.
Joe Macre - The Dream Is Free
Review by Gary Hill
Joe Macre came to fame as the bass player for Crack The Sky. I previously reviewed another of his solo albums and landed that one under progressive rock, in part because of that connection.
Marillion - Seasons End
Review by Greg Olma
This album was always going to divide the fans.  Some fans just can’t get past a change of vocalists and therefore don’t give the material a chance. 


Marillion - Somewhere Else
Review by Greg Olma
I don’t know why I always look at Somewhere Else as a companion disc to Marble,  because they are very different releases.  Marbles flowed from one song to the next whereas Somewhere Else has a more eclectic vibe. 
OTOOTO - Dosage
Review by Gary Hill
This is a Danish act, and they are considered jazz. This doesn't land under prog for fusion, though, although there are a couple points where it does get near to fusion.
Queen - Jazz (vinyl)
Review by Gary Hill
This 1978 release from Queen, still has a very classic sound, but they were experimenting with some new directions. It had several hits, and also quite a bit of meaty music.
Jussi Reijonen - Three Seconds I Kolme Toista
Review by Gary Hill
This album is pretty amazing. It defies classification, really, but fits under prog for a number of reasons.
Rocking Horse Music Club - Circus of Wire Dolls
Review by Gary Hill
This is a double CD that is essentially a concept album or rock opera, depending on how you look at it. It's packed full of great music that lands in the progressive rock zone.
Royal Hunt - Dystopia Part 2
Review by Gary Hill
I have enjoyed Royal Hunt's style of merging heavy metal with symphonic prog since I first heard their Paradox album when it came out.
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Tubular Bells 50th Anniversary Celebration
Review by Gary Hill
In honor of the 50th Anniversary of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells album, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra working with the London Contemporary Voices Choir have created a new studio interpretation of the work.
Cory Smythe - Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
Review by Gary Hill
The music here, like on the previous release from Cory Smythe I reviewed, is decidedly freeform and experimental.
Various Artists - OST-KRAUT! - Progressives aus den DDR-Archiven 1970-1975 - Teil 1
Review by Gary Hill
This album chronicles a lot of the early progressive rock scene in Germany. It's a double disc set and has some great music.
Vertacyn Arc Materializer - Phlodd
Review by Gary Hill
This act is not precisely a progressive rock outfit. They are definitely art rock, though.
VIVIAN - Pressure Makes Diamonds
Review by Gary Hill
You might expect, from the name of this act, that it's a solo artist. That's not true.
Walking Cliché Sextet - Micro-Nap
Review by Gary Hill
This release is made up of a lot of freeform jazz compositions.
Yes - The Royal Affair Tour: Live From Las Vegas
Review by Gary Hill
This live album from Yes is a couple years old. It has some interesting songs that aren't often performed by the band.
Frank Zappa - Chunga's Revenge (vinyl)
Review by Gary Hill
Released in 1970, this was the third solo album from Frank Zappa. The disc saw the debut of Turtles members Flo and Eddie as part of Zappa's band. 
Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews
Anthea - Tales Untold
Review by Gary Hill
While Anthea doesn't reinvent the wheel, their version of symphonic and progressive metal is an intriguing blend of sounds.
Evermore - Court Of The Tyrant King
Review by Gary Hill
This act is a metal band from Sweden. I have seen them billed as melodic metal, but I tend to think of that style as more AOR mainstream stuff.
Gutter Creek - Gutter Creek
Review by Gary Hill
While this gets a little technical at times, I think it lands more along the lines of bands like Accept, AC/DC and Saxon a lot of the time.
Mourning by Morning - A Step Away From Light ; A Step Into Abyss
Review by Gary Hill
I have to admit to not being the biggest fan of extreme metal. Yet, sometimes it really works for me.
Ty Morn - Last Villain Testament
Review by Gary Hill
This album has a great classic metal sound. It has s lot of symphonic and epic metal in the mix.
Wheel - Preserved in Time (vinyl)
Review by Gary Hill
This recent vinyl album from German doom metallers Wheel would have probably made my "best of 2021" list had I heard it last year when it was first released.
Non-Prog CD Reviews
Anti-Flag - 17 Song Demo
Review by Gary Hill
This is the first CD release of a previously self-released cassette from Anti-Flag. The music here is tastefully raw.
Fred Argir - Despair & Ecstasy
Review by Gary Hill
This is the third album from Fred Argir that I've reviewed. Like the others it is a good, but not great release. 
Chris Beland - What I Believe
Review by Gary Hill
This album is quite entertaining and intriguing. If there is one complaint, it's that at times it seems to be all over the place in terms of styles.
Blind Uncle Harry - Visualize Industrial Collapse
Review by Gary Hill
Home-made folk music is probably the best description of this music. I would say that the music works better than the vocals for me, but your mileage may vary.
c h i - hddn Snd
Review by Gary Hill
This is very unusual. There is a real artsy quality to much of this.
Captain Danger - Love Sweet Love
Review by Gary Hill
This EP from Los Angeles band Captain Danger is so cool. It has a lot of funk, but that's not the only thing here.
Conner Cherland - Call Waiting
Review by Gary Hill
This new set from Conner Cherland seems to me as a set that would benefit from a little shuffling around of songs. The first four tracks here are a bit samey, landing in the zone of 80s music.
Come The Spring - Echoes Revived
Review by Gary Hill
This is a compilation disc gathering up two releases from this band and assembling them all on one CD. The group have a sound that walks a fence between alternative rock and punk.
Cleveland Crochet - & The Sugar Bees - Hillbilly Ramblers And The Sugar Bees
Review by Gary Hill
Cleveland Crochet was a Cajun fiddler who had a hit with "Sugar Bee" in 1961.
Tennessee Ernie Ford - Classic Trio Albums, 1964 & 1975 featuring Billy Strange and Glen Campbell
Review by Gary Hill
This CD gathers together two trio albums released by Tennessee Ernie Ford. The first batch of songs are decidedly less fully arranged, while the second set are a bit more involved.
Brian Hutson - From Dreams to Screens
Review by Gary Hill
It's probably no surprise to those who read Music Street Journal regularly that I'm not the target audience for modern pop music. I often find it to be lacking.
Davey Johnstone - Deeper Than My Roots
Review by Gary Hill
Davey Johnstone is probably best known as the guitarist in the classic Elton John Band. In fact, he's been part of that band for decades.
Guy King - Joy is Coming
Review by Gary Hill
I was under the impression that Guy King was a blues guitarist. That is one part of his picture. He's also a jazz musician, though.
Marsden - Tune It Out
Review by Gary Hill
This is quite an interesting album. It sits firmly in the alternative rock zone, but there is a good range within.
Charlie McCoy - Screamin', Shoutin', Beggin' And Pleadin' - The Rock 'n' Soul Recordings 1961-69
Review by Gary Hill
This collection of music from Charlie McCoy covers a lot of territory. I really like parts of this a lot, particularly the more rocking stuff.
Motörhead - Iron Fist 40th Anniversary Vinyl Box Set
Review by Gary Hill
Apparently I'm in the minority as someone who loved this album from the day I bought it, and that was the day it was released.
Orleans - New Star Shining
Review by Gary Hill
This album was released last year. I didn't get a copy in time for our December issue last year, so I've been hanging onto it until now.
The Poppermost - Hits to Spare
Review by Gary Hill
I have to admit at the beginning of this review, I didn't get the Beatles for many years and I still don't really get the early years of the band.
Revolushn - 3
Review by Gary Hill
This is an album that is hard rocking and at times leans toward progginess. It's psychedelic, alternative and fun.
Cary Shields - Radio's Playin'
Review by Gary Hill
This set has quite a range of sounds. I suppose roots music is an underlying element throughout, but this is nothing close to monolithic.
Skids - The Saints Are Coming: Live And Acoustic 2007-2021 (6CD Box Set)
Review by Gary Hill
This massive collection of music from Scottish punkers Skids gathers up five live recordings and one acoustic studio release. It's all included in a cardboard clamshell box.
Sugar Lime Blue - The Blackbird Sessions
Review by Gary Hill
The mix of sounds on this album is great. There is a real classic vibe to much of this.
Various Artists - Have Yourself Another Swingin' Little Christmas: More Fingerpoppin' Tunes for Your Holiday Season (vinyl)
Review by Gary Hill
You can always count on Bear Family for quality products. This new record is a fine example of that.
Various Artists - Ski Jump: 31 Ice Cubes For Your Après Ski Party
Review by Gary Hill
As you can probably gather, this is a collection of songs held together via a loose thematic thread of being winter-related. There is a very wide range of styles here, although all are retro.
Junior Wells - Blues Legend
Review by Gary Hill
This is a compilation album featuring music from Junior Wells. The singer and harmonica player is something of a legend, hence the title.
DVD/Video Reviews
Gordon Lightfoot - If You Could Read My Mind DVD
Review by Gary Hill
I am a huge fan of Gordon Lightfoot. I got to see him live and meet him a little over a decade ago.
Abbey Lincoln - Great Women Singers: Abbey Lincoln - Live at the Promenade Theater in New York City DVD
Review by Gary Hill
I have to admit to having more knowledge of rock music than I do jazz. Additionally, my tastes in jazz, and consequently my knowledge of it, leans more toward the instrumental variety than the vocal.
Various Artists - The Tubular Bells 50th Anniversary Tour Blu-Ray set
Review by Gary Hill
I reviewed a CD set with a similar cover and title in this issue of Music Street Journal.
Nancy Wilson (jazz) - Great Women Singers: Nancy Wilson - Live at the Blues Alley, Washington, D.C. DVD
Review by Gary Hill
I mentioned in my review of the Abbey Lincoln video from this series that I am not all that familiar with a lot of jazz singers. Nancy Wilson is clearly one of the exceptions.
Interviews
Jeff Berlin
Interview by Gary Hill
Interview with Jeff Berlin from 2022
Book Reviews
Rush - The Making Of A Farewell To Kings: The Graphic Novel
Review by Greg Olma
I have to admit that I was never one of those kids who went through a comic book phase in my early adolescence.  I was always outdoors and didn’t enjoy reading until later in life.
Rush - Wandering The Face Of The World – The Official Touring History 1968-2015
Review by Greg Olma
The death of Neil Peart unfortunately put an end to Rush ever touring again.  Like Led Zeppelin, you can't just replace an integral member easily, nor should the band even try.


 
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