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August 2019 - Issue 137
Progressive Rock CD Reviews
Act of Will - Retire to the Music Room
Review by Gary Hill

This is an instrumental set that lands in the progressive rock zone. It's built around lots of metal textures, but there is classical music here, fusion and lots more - often all packed into the same piece.

AKKU Quintet - Depart
Review by Gary Hill

It seems that a whole school of instrumental prog has emerged rooted in both the guitar based sounds of King Crimson and jazz rock. This act lands in that zone.

Aura Blaze - The Sparkling Black
Review by Gary Hill

I've landed this under progressive rock, but it should be noted that this is of the more AOR variety. That said, retro psychedelic rock (which could be argued was a precursor of prog) is ever-present here.

Baker Gurvitz Army - Elysian Encounter
Review by Gary Hill

I've reviewed a box set of this band in the current issue of Music Street Journal. In addition, I'm doing individual retro reviews of this album and the first one.

Baker Gurvitz Army - Since Beginning: The Albums 1974-1976
Review by Gary Hill

This brand new three-CD set is all class. It gathers together the three studio albums from Baker Gurvitz Army released from 1974-1976, but you probably get that from the title.

Baker Gurvitz Army - The Baker Gurvitz Army
Review by Gary Hill

I've reviewed this album, and another from this group, in this issue of Music Street Journal. They are also both part of a box-set, reviewed in the same issue.

Be-Bop Deluxe - Futurama
Review by Gary Hill

This is an expanded and classy reissue of Be-Bop Deluxe's 1975 album Futurama. The disc was aptly titled as the sound was really futuristic in a lot of ways.

Bruford - Gradually Going Tornado (original vinyl)
Review by Gary Hill

This 1980 release from Bruford features Bill Bruford (obvious, right?), Dave Stewart, Jeff Berlin and The Unknown John Clark. It has a number of instrumentals along with some songs with vocals.

Dizzy Mystics - Wanderlost
Review by Gary Hill

I'd bet you've never heard anything quite like this. I also won't be surprised at all if it makes my "best of 2019" list.

Electric Light Orchestra - All Over the World: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra
Review by Gary Hill

"Best of" sets are always weird. I mean, "greatest hits" are not subject to differences of opinion.

Mike Florio - Vanity Rock
Review by Gary Hill

This is quite an intriguing album. It has a range of sounds from mainstream AOR rock leaning on the arena side to pure symphonic prog and fusion.

Scott Henderson - People Mover
Review by Gary Hill

Scott Henderson is a great fusion guitar player. You might expect that his music, therefore, would be nothing but an excuse for guitar soloing.

Izz - Don't Panic
Review by Gary Hill

This new release from Izz could well be their best yet. It's also a contender to land on my "best of 2019" list. The modern take on classic prog sounds works very well.

Jeads - Nocturnal Signal
Review by Gary Hill

I've landed this one under progressive rock. While it's not a perfect fit, I think it's really the right place. This is instrumental music. It has plenty of fusion at its heart. It's also tied to things like Vangelis. While this is fairly mellow, it has plenty of magic and drama in the mix. It is also varied from piece to piece, keeping it from ever feeling redundant. It's always effect, too.

Frédéric L’Épée - The Empty Room
Review by Gary Hill

Frédéric L’Épée  is probably best known as part of the bands Shylock, Philharmonie and Yang. We've reviewed a couple of those acts here at MSJ in the past.

Magma - Zess
Review by Gary Hill

I don't think that these guys will ever have a huge following. Their music is too strange for the masses.

Mainhorse - Mainhorse (original vinyl)
Review by Gary Hill

The main claim to fame of this 1971 disc is the fact that it was Patrick Moraz' first band (at least in terms of first band with a release). The thing is, the music holds up really well as early progressive rock by itself.

Marillion - F E A R
Review by Greg Olma

Marillion are now a band that does not need to pander to any record label or current trend.  In fact, they create a sound that I can’t compare to anyone else.

The Moody Blues - Octave (original vinyl)
Review by Gary Hill

I recently saw a list of most disappointing albums, and this was on it. I decided to do this retro review as sort of my rebuttal to that.

Øresund Space Collective - Kybalion
Review by Gary Hill

These guys never disappoint. They always deliver effective instrumental space rock.

Øresund Space Collective - ØSC meets BMC - Freak Out In The Fjord
Review by Gary Hill

The first thing that needs to be mentioned is the artist name. I've put this under Øresund Space Collective, but technically it is Øresund Space Collective and Black Moon Circle as a joint project.

Procol Harum - Broken Barricades (Expanded and Remastered Edition)
Review by Gary Hill

This new edition of Procol Harum's 1971 studio release is a 3-CD set. The first disc includes the main album with some un-released alternate takes as bonus tracks.

The Keith Reid Project - The KRP – In My Head
Review by Gary Hill

One thing that needs to be dispensed with up-front is that I'm not sure that this is supposed to actually go under "The Keith Reid Project."

Renaissance - Ashes Are Burning (Expanded Edition)
Review by Gary Hill

Just paying attention to the songs from the original studio release, this is an exceptional album. It really captured the magic of Renaissance in all its splendor quite well.

Renaissance - Live at Carnegie Hall (Remastered & Expanded Edition)
Review by Gary Hill

This new reissue of a classic Renaissance live album is exceptional. You get the original album across two CDs (with a song from the show that hasn't been released on CD before).

Renaissance - Novella (Remastered and Expanded Edition)
Review by Gary Hill

Novella is one of Renaissance's most revered releases. It's definitely a fan favorite.

Alan Simon - Chouans
Review by Gary Hill

This new double disc set is a telling of the French Revolution. As Alan Simon tells it, the disc focuses on the dark side of the story, which has often been relegated to the forgotten section of history.

Sluka - Ready to Connect (digital single)
Review by Gary Hill

These guys were sent via their PR rep as heavy goth rock and post-punk. I can see that, but just based on this track, I've landed them under progressive rock.

Stratus Luna - Stratus Luna
Review by Gary Hill

This is an instrumental album. The sounds range from prog to fusion and the territory in between.

The Strawbs - Deadlines (Remastered and Expanded Edition)
Review by Gary Hill

This new edition of a classic Strawbs album is in itself, classic and classy. First, you get the remastered album along with a lot of bonus tracks.

Tangerine Dream - Tangerine Dream - The Official Bootleg Series Volume Three: The Ford Auditorium, Detroit, March 1977 & The Regent Theatre, Sydney, February 1982
Review by Gary Hill

You can likely figure out what this is about by reading the title. Each concert is on two CDs.

Marty Thompson - My Kind of Woman
Review by Gary Hill

This is such an intriguing set. It is perhaps not a perfect fit under progressive rock, but the non-mainstream approach with space rock and psychedelia as driving factors clearly aligns it there.

3.2 - The Rules Have Changed
Review by Gary Hill

Once upon the time there was a band called 3. That band was Robert Berry, Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer.

Lonny Ziblat - Dream Hunting
Review by Gary Hill

You might know Lonny Ziblat from his band Modest Midget. This set lands under progressive rock in part because of that connection.

Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews
Carmine Appice - Guitar Zeus
Review by Gary Hill

This set has some killer music. It might not be quite metal, but it might be.

Epitaph - Long Ago Tomorrow
Review by Gary Hill

This band is a hard one to pin down in terms of style. When I reviewed a previous disc a few years ago, I landed them under progressive rock.

Raven - Over The Top! Neat Years 1981-1984
Review by Gary Hill

Raven is considered to be one of the original bands from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. They are also considered to be a huge influence on thrash.

Raven - Rock Until You Drop
Review by Gary Hill

This 1981 release was Raven's debut. These guys never got the attention they deserved.

Non-Prog CD Reviews
Andy the Crocodile - Scars & Wounds EP
Review by Gary Hill

This set is unique. It probably best fits under an alternative rock heading, but there is a lot of variety here.

Auburn - Game of Faith
Review by Gary Hill

Over the years I've reviewed quite a bit of music from this act. While there is a definite range in terms of musical concepts, it's all high quality.

Ivan Beecroft - Liars, Freaks & Fools
Review by Gary Hill

If you like hard rock that's hook laden, but a bit rough around the edges, this set is for you. Every cut here works quite well, and some manage to stand out from there rest.

Lucinda Belle - Think Big, Like Me
Review by Gary Hill

Parts of this disc are likely to convince you that this is an old album. That's because so much of the music here is set in the jazz of the 20s and 30s.

Aaron Beri - Naked (digital single)
Review by Gary Hill

There is a clean radio version of this single, but I have reviewed the explicit mix. So, with that in mind, this gets a parental advisory.

Best Intentions - The Loser's Club
Review by Gary Hill

Call it "pop punk" or call it "emo." Either way, I have to admit that I don't really get it.

The Black City - Wake Up. The Funk
Review by Gary Hill

Given the album title, you would probably expect this to be a funk release. Let's be clear, there is a lot of funk here.

Black Oak Arkansas - Underdog Heroes
Review by Gary Hill

Black Oak Arkansas have always been a tough act to place into a box. They have never been willing to work within some pre-determined range of sounds.

Browsing Collection - Don't Want To Dance
Review by Gary Hill

The mix of sounds here is a bit hard to pin down. I almost landed this under metal.

Jay Clark Band - The Time Is Now
Review by Gary Hill

The blend of sounds here is intriguing. We get everything from country to raunch and roll, hard rock, southern rock and more.

Deep C Divers - We’re All Americans
Review by Gary Hill

This is quite an interesting set. In a lot of ways each song here feels like it could have come from an entirely different album, if not a different band.

Bonne Finken - Gauntlet
Review by Gary Hill

This is the newest set from Bonne Finken. I reviewed her last one.

Happy Freuds - Echo of Sounds
Review by Gary Hill

This release is quite strong. It's overall based in a riff-driven hard rocking sound.

Nick de la Hoyde - Animals (digital single)
Review by Gary Hill

One thing that I really can't stand about most modern pop music is the over-production. They tend synthesize and alter every sound (seemingly just because they can), sucking the very humanity out of it.

INViDA & Muza - featuring Juliette Reilly - Chameleon (digital single)
Review by Gary Hill

This is a new single. It has an electronic pop sound to it. 

Jane in Space - Gorerunner
Review by Gary Hill

This is the second release from this act that I've reviewed. This thing features an intriguing blend of sounds.

The Jolly Pops - Bad Bad Dinosaur
Review by Gary Hill

This is the second set from this act I've reviewed. This is children's music.

Paul Maged - Fight to the Death
Review by Gary Hill

I've reviewed quite a few releases from Paul Maged so far. He always manages to deliver.

Erich Mrak - Riptide (digital single)
Review by Gary Hill

The latest in a string of singles being released as a seven-month project, ultimately to be assembled into an EP, this has merits. It's also stumbles a bit by getting into the over-produced zone.

1919 - Futurecide
Review by Gary Hill

Apparently this band was around for the first half of the 1980s. After breaking up in 85, they reformed in 2014.

Leslie Rich and the Rocket Soul Choir - Kidder's Son EP
Review by Gary Hill

This is a strong mainstream rock album. Of the five songs here, three are what I would consider exceptional.

Mark Schirmacher - Losing Things
Review by Gary Hill
Americana is the order of business here. More often than not this is folk music.
Seneko - Soul Numbers
Review by Gary Hill

There is a real timeless quality here. This feels very much like it could have been released in the 1970s.

Jillian Shea - Talk Too Loud (digital single)
Review by Gary Hill

I need to allay some confusion here. I've previously released another single from this artist.

Skold - Never Is Now
Review by Gary Hill

It's hard to review something like this without mentioning Nine Inch Nails. Really NIN probably is at the heart of the entire industrial, techno style of music.

Sundogs - Legends In Their Own Minds
Review by Gary Hill

In a lot of ways this feels like something that would have been at home on the radio in the 1970s. The music here most often calls to mind Steely Dan, but there are plenty of other retro reference points built into it.

Various Artists - Wake Up! Music Remixes DJ Wall Of Sound Volume 1- Matt Warren’s Music Is My Life
Review by Gary Hill

Doing a Music Street Journal type review of something like this is a bit challenging. These are dance mixes, designed more for grooving to than analyzing and listening deeply.

Kevin West - Story of My Life
Review by Gary Hill

While there is a modern edge to this thing, it is well-rooted in classic sounds. At points it leans more toward country music.

DVD/Video Reviews
Bachman - Bachman BluRay
Review by Gary Hill

This documentary is quite strong. I was always a big fan of The Guess Who, but a bit underwhelmed by BTO.

The Police - Everyone Stares - The Police Inside Out BluRay
Review by Gary Hill

The short form on this is that it is a film that documents the inside track of The Police from the beginning all the way through. That doesn't do this justice, though

The Rolling Stones - Bridges to Bremen BluRay
Review by Gary Hill

This new release is pretty amazing stuff. It includes both a BluRay and a double audio CD set of the music from the German show presented here as the main feature. The show dates to September 2, 1998 and finds the band in fine form.

Various Artists - Woody Guthrie: All-Star Tribute Concert 1970 DVD
Review by Gary Hill

In the modern era it might be fairly simple to overlook Woody Guthrie's contribution to music, but it would be unwise. The man really was responsible for writing so many folk standards and influencing a generation (or more) of performers.

Interviews
Alters
Interview by Gary Hill

Interview with Alters from 2019

Robert Berry
Interview by Gary Hill

Interview with Robert Berry from 2019

Paul K
Interview by Gary Hill

Interview with Paul K from 2019

Frédéric L’Épée
Interview by Gary Hill

Interview with Frédéric L’Épée from 2019

Lonny Ziblat
Interview by Gary Hill
Interview with Lonny Ziblat from 2019
Concert Reviews
Collective Soul - Live in Rockton, Illinois, June 2019
Review by Eric Meli

As the lights went down, and you could see the Collective Soul banner, the audience was cheering with anticipation.

Judas Priest - Live in Dallas, Texas, May 2019
Review by Greg Olma

Judas Priest rolled into Dallas on the third leg of their Firepower tour and they brought with them a number of surprises.  Sure, the stage set looked similar to the previous dates, but the set list was much different.  

Uriah Heep - Live in Dallas, Texas, May 2019
Review by Greg Olma

It has been a while since I saw Uriah Heep on stage and (after seeing them recently in Dallas), I can firmly say that are still one of the most exciting live acts around.  

 
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