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August 2007 - Issue 65
Progressive Rock CD Reviews
Amaran's Plight - Voice in the Light
Review by Gary Hill
Here we have a band that shows a lot of promise. It’s a foregone conclusion that prog purists who don’t like any hints of heavy metal in their music will want to steer clear of this.
Asia - Fantasia – Live In Tokyo
Review by Gary Hill
Yes fanatic and general prog head that I’ve always been, when Asia released their debut disc, I was all over it. They were the progressive rock supergroup of the time and they delivered with a killer disc.
At War With Self - Acts of God
Review by Gary Hill
If you are a fan of dark, moody neo-prog, you should really check these guys out.
Aziola Cry - Ghost Conversations
Review by Julie Knispel
Aziola Cry is an instrumental trio from Chicago consisting of Chapman Stick, guitar, and drums. Their music is dark, unrelenting and complex, drawing as strongly from first generation progressive artists (such as King Crimson) as from today’s practitioners (Tool).
Black Bonzo - Sound of the Apocalypse
Review by Gary Hill
Fans of old-school progressive rock should love this CD. These guys have created a modern album that captures all the best of the older incarnation of the genre.
Dream Theater - Systematic Chaos
Review by Julie Knispel
Dream Theater really needs no introduction. As perhaps the foremost and best-known proponent of progressive metal, they have forged a more than 20-year career.
Fall of the Leafe - Aerolithe
Review by Gary Hill
When you talk about hard-edged neo-prog the easy approach is to compare it to Dream Theater. Well, there are moments here that do call to mind that band a bit, but really that influence is understated and pretty minor.
Jack Foster III - Tame Until Hungry
Review by Gary Hill
Jack Foster III is building up quite a catalog of killer hard-edged modern progressive rock. Tame Until Hungry is his latest, and as in the past he’s joined by (among others) Trent Gardner and Robert Berry on this.
Genesis - Duke (SACD and DVD set)
Review by Greg Olma
A lot of people were crying “sell out” when Genesis released …And Then There Were Three. Although they basically shifted their sound away from progressive and moved it more in a commercial pop sound, they still kept some of the elements to keep a few prog fans happy (but not many).
Guido's Hand - Ictus
Review by Julie Knispel
Guido’s Hand hails from Atlanta Georgia, though they were educated at Valdosta State University. With extensive musical schooling, one can be certain that the musicians (brothers Joe and Gabe Monicello and Kevin Williams) have the instrumental technique to play complex progressive rock and fusion.
Litmus - Planetfall
Review by Gary Hill
Fans of Hawkwind, rejoice, Litmus has arrived to help to fill your space rock craving. These guys are about as close as you can get to Hawkwind without Dave Brock and company actually being on board.
Lucifer Was - The Divine Tree
Review by Gary Hill
Never heard of Lucifer Was? That’s probably because you, like me, are not from the Norse lands.
Ludivine - Sexoterica
Review by Gary Hill
Related to the more recent band, Imogene, Ludivine has released a unique and very tasty disc in Sexoterica. While this might not be progressive rock in some people’s minds, I think the argument can be made to include it there.
Magic Pie - Circus of Life
Review by Josh Turner
I experienced much of this material live at RoSfest far before I ever heard the disc. While it was masterfully performed there, it is superbly done here. From the alluring intro to the clever finale, this seven-parter (a five-track plus two) shines with an intensity not entirely felt on the first one.
Magni Animi Viri - Heroes Temporis
Review by Rick Damigella
How long has it been since you did something adventurous and took a chance on a piece of music you knew nothing about and when listened to, couldn’t understand a word of what is being sung?
Mooch - Dr. Silbury’s Liquid Brainstem Band
Review by Gary Hill
This is a double disc set from Mooch and while you might be reminded of The Beatles’ Sergeant Peppers… by the title, I don’t get the feeling this is any kind of massive concept album. Instead it’s a series of slices of electronic space rock with a strong emphasis on the “space” part of that moniker.
Porcupine Tree - Fear of a Blank Planet
Review by Julie Knispel
Fear of a Blank Planet, Porcupine Tree’s third album on major label Atlantic Records, shows them refining their mix of progressive rock, pop and metal influences, adding in a few twists and new/old touches to keep their sound from becoming static.
Portugal The Man - Church Mouth
Review by Gary Hill
OK, this one might not be progressive rock – or it might. It all depends on your definition of prog. If you think of it as a musical format that tends to borrow from numerous musical styles while creating a sound all its own, then these guys are all over it.
Pure Reason Revolution - The Dark Third (revised edition)
Review by Julie Knispel
Pure Reason Revolution is a young band out of Reading UK.
Quodia - The Arrow – a story in seven parts
Review by Gary Hill
You have to figure any project that involves Trey Gunn will be artistic. This is the quintessential example of that. In fact, this is such a cool concept that it would be worth having even if the music were lousy – and, of course, it isn’t. This album comes as a 2 disc set.
Shadow Circus - Welcome to the Freakroom
Review by Gary Hill
A new force in progressive rock, this band is a pretty cool one. Their musical arrangements are soaring and innovative and deeply rooted in traditional prog, but with a modern sensibility.
Spheric Universe Experience - Anima
Review by Gary Hill
I remember an old pun that said, “the problem with music today is too much sax and violins.” Well, you won’t find either of those here.
10 cc - Sheet Music
Review by Gary Hill
I have to admit, I haven’t listened to 10 cc in years and even when I owned their albums (yes, this was in the days of vinyl) this isn’t one I had. I remember really enjoying the hits the group produced, but didn’t remember much else about them.
Tuner - Pole
Review by Gary Hill
Wow, as strange as this CD is, I love it! A collaboration between Markus Reuter and King Crimson’s Pat Mastellotto, this thing conveys a dark sort of progressive rock that is very much focused on textures.
Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews
Chris Caffery - Pins And Needles
Review by Greg Olma
Many of you will know Chris Caffery from his work with Savatage or Trans-Siberian Orchestra but you may not know that he has also been a solo artist since 2004. Pins and Needles is his third solo release and it is also by far his most heavy metal record.
Candlemass - King of the Grey Islands
Review by Mike Korn
I have no trouble declaring Sweden's Candlemass the best pure metal band on the planet right now. They have mastered their sound so thoroughly and risen above all obstacles in their path with such resolve that there is really no one to compare.
The Cursed - Room Full of Sinners
Review by Mike Korn
Imagine it is 2:30 AM on the foggy, clammy streets of a nameless big city. You walk these mean streets restlessly, unable to sleep or sit still.
Dublin Death Patrol - DDP 4 Life
Review by Mike Korn
Ah, the joys of small town living - a relaxed pace, the comfort of knowing all your friends and neighbors, a closeness to the land...and raging thrash metal?
Meyvn - Splintered Skies
Review by Greg Olma
I just recently got turned onto a new band out of Illinois called Sacred Dawn and now I get this release. Meyvn is an outfit from Texas and like Sacred Dawn, play a harder prog metal that leaves them in a field out on their own.
Mothernight - MotherNight
Review by Greg Olma
MotherNight is a 4 piece out of Poland. Poland has its share of metal music but it just doesn’t seem to make it onto the international scene. When I heard MotherNight was from the land of my ancestors, I just had to see what was going on there now.
Syron Vanes - Property Of...
Review by Gary Hill
American that I am I’ve never heard of Syron Vanes before. Apparently these guys have been legends of metal in their homeland of Sweden for 25 years.
Torture - Storm Alert
Review by Travis Jensen
When you think of thrash metal, bands that naturally come to mind are probably Slayer, Sepultura and Biohazard just to name a few. Now you can add another band to that list if you haven’t already, which is Torture.
UDO - Mastercutor
Review by Mike Korn
People are always talking about Ozzy, Rob Halford or Dio being the most legendary frontmen in heavy metal. Actually, the most consistent is Udo Dirkschneider, the pugnacious former leader of the German metal masters Accept.
Non-Prog CD Reviews
Deepfield - Archetypes and Repetition
Review by Greg Olma
I’m lucky enough to get new music to review because a lot of the stuff that passes through my CD player might never have gotten to me otherwise. Radio in Chicago is not what it used to be (I remember hearing Def Leppard’s On Through The Night in it its entirety when it first came out) and a new band will have a hard time getting on the airwaves other than a college station.
The Doors - Live in Boston 1970
Review by Gary Hill
The Doors were often times a study in contradictions. So, too, is this CD set. They are high points and low points – brilliant things and useless things.
The Junior Varsity - Cinematographic
Review by Gary Hill
OK, I don’t think anyone will ever use terms like “original” or “unique” to describe The Junior Varsity’s music. More than likely you’ll hear phrases like “high energy,” “fun” and “strong.”
Gary Moore - Close As You Get
Review by Gary Hill
When it comes to modern blues with more than just a passing nod to the roots of the genre, Gary Moore is one of those artists who are in the upper echelon. Here he has given us a new collection of tracks that stands up with the best of his catalog.
Mountain - Masters of War
Review by Gary Hill
I’ve always greatly admired Bob Dylan’s songwriting. I’ve not always been so impressed with his musical performances.
Poets & Pornstars - Poets & Pornstars
Review by Gary Hill
No, Poets & Pornstars is not some new fetish porn site. It’s a killer rock and roll band – and that’s with a “rawk.”
Real Be Easys - Lost Paradise
Review by Gary Hill
Red Hot Chili Peppers, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Red Hot Chili Peppers – OK, got that out of the way. Yes, these guys do have a lot in common with that band, but it’s only the starting point and not the full picture.
Social Distortion - Greatest Hits (iTunes version)
Review by Rick Damigella
For fans of the Orange County, California punk rock scene, it may seem hard to believe that nearly three decades have passed since Social Distortion came on the scene. Never has a band gone through so many starts and stops to end up succeeding in spite of itself.
Stormtroopers of Death - Rise of the Infidels
Review by Gary Hill
There used to be a time when punks and metal heads would literally fight each other. I’d like to think that Stormtroopers of Death were one of the bands that calmed the tide by giving fans some common musical ground.
Joe Lynn Turner - Second Hand Life
Review by Greg Olma
Joe Lynn Turner has been a solo artist for more than 20 years now. Since Rescue You, his first, he has been coming out with his own releases, guesting on other people’s records, and even hooking up for a pair of great albums with Glenn Hughes.
DVD/Video Reviews
The Chieftains - Live Over Ireland – Water From The Well DVD
Review by Gary Hill
With the title of this DVD one might think they are getting a concert video. That’s not what this is, so perhaps that’s the first thing we should clear up.
Deep Purple - They All Came Down To Montreux – Live at Montreux 2006 DVD
Review by Gary Hill
When it comes time to figure out a list of the best videos of the year, this one will be very close to the top. While I enjoyed the DVD of Purple’s earlier Montreux appearances, this one is heads above that one.
The Dresden Dolls - This is The Punk Cabaret – Live At The Roundhouse London DVD
Review by Gary Hill
This duo is billed as punk, but I don’t really hear it in their sound. Their piano and drum approach might convey some of the punk ideals, but really it’s quite experimental music that somewhat defies definition and genreification.
The Dubliners - On the Road – Live In Germany DVD
Review by Gary Hill
If you are a big fan of traditional Celtic music, you must have heard The Dubliners. Formed in 1962, the group has been playing their brand of the genre for 45, going on 50 years.
Bryan Ferry - Dylanesque Live – The London Sessions DVD
Review by Gary Hill
I’ve always enjoyed Roxy Music (the band for which Bryan Ferry is most famous), but never been what you would call a “fan.” I’ve never followed his solo career.
Madonna - Wild Angel DVD
Review by Gary Hill
I’m not sure how many of you out there know the way MSJ operates, but we don’t do negative reviews. That doesn’t mean that we right positive things about items we don’t believe in, thoug
Magma - Mythes Et Legendes II DVD
Review by Julie Knispel
May of 2005, legendary French band Magma entered into an audacious and expansive project. Taking up residency at the legendary Paris club Le Triton for 4 consecutive weeks, the band worked up 4 totally different set lists, sequentially looking back at over 30 years of music.
Magma - Mythes Et Legendes III DVD
Review by Julie Knispel
In May of 2005, legendary French band Magma entered into an audacious and expansive project. Taking up residency at the legendary Paris club Le Triton for 4 consecutive weeks, the band worked up 4 totally different set lists, sequentially looking back at over 30 years of music.
Chris Caffery
Interview by Greg Olma
Interview with Chris Caffery from 2007

Interview by Mike Korn
Interview with Robert Lowe of Candlemass from 2007
Interview by Greg Olma
Interview with Doro from 2007
10 cc
Interview by Gary Hill
Interview with Kevin Godley from 2007
Joe Lynn Turner
Interview by Greg Olma
Interview with Joe Lynn Turner from 2007

Concert Reviews
Aziola Cry - Live at M.A.R.S., June 2007
Review by Josh Turner
With the inclusion of Jason Blake’s Chapman Stick, the music sounded a bit like OSI, Gordan Knot, or The Tony Levin Band. The drums were steady and precise, coming by way of Tom Murray. Mike Milaniak’s guitar, conversely, had a nice patchy tone.

Aziola Cry - Live in Madison, WI, June, 2007
Review by Josh Turner
Aziola Cry was the in-between band this night. From what I heard and saw, they should have been the headliner.
Doro - Live in Mokena, IL, June 2007
Review by Greg Olma
The “Metal Queen” has arrived to the US to do a short headlining tour. Yes, that’s right, Doro Pesch and her band Doro have finally made it out to the states to headline some shows in promotion of her new anniversary DVD.
Far Corner - Live at M.A.R.S., June 2007
Review by Josh Turner
I have seen William Kopecky five times in person: twice with his band Kopecky, another two with this band Far Corner, and a third time in line to meet Chris Squire. We just happened to be at the same place in the queue, and it turns out Squire is his hero too.
Hawkwind - Live at NEARFest, June 2007
Review by Julie Knispel
Hawkwind concerts in the United States are as rare as hen’s teeth these days. Following an all too brief tour in 1997, the band attempted to perform at the 1998 incarnation of the Strange Daze space rock festival in Ohio...only to see founder Dave Brock and bassist/vocalist Ron Tree detained at the US/Canada border due to visa problems.
Magma - Live at NEARFest, June 2007
Review by Julie Knispel
There are very few bands that can state that they have created an entirely new genre of rock music; that is to say, before their existence, the style of music they played simply did not exist.
Otep - Live in Rockford, IL, May 2007
Review by Mike Korn
Otep is the kind of band that works better for me live than on record. I am not a fan, to put it plainly.
Pure Reason Revolution - Live at NEARFest, June 2007
Review by Julie Knispel
One of the most interesting things about NEARfest, the NorthEast Art Rock Festival, is their willingness to book bands that might rest just outside the typical comfort area of the average progressive music fan.
Spock's Beard - Live in Quebec City, July, 2007
Review by Sonya Kukcinovich Hill
Spock's Beard has drawn many musical comparisons through the years, most often to progressive giants early Genesis and Yes. Indeed, Dave Meros' Rickenbacker sound is frighteningly close to Yes' Chris Squire, especially his sophisticated use of counterpoint in advanced rhythmic passages.
Static-X - Live in Rockford, IL, May 2007
Review by Mike Korn
The last time I saw Static-X at the Lodge, it was an experience I’d rather forget. Not in terms of the band’s performance, but more due to the fact that I locked my keys in my (running) automobile, I got stuck with an extra parking charge and it was hotter than August in the Sudan inside the club.
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