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December 2005 - Issue 5
Progressive Rock CD Reviews
Ajalon - Eternity
Review by Josh Turner
This band is near and dear to me, because its name originated from the same source as mine. That would be the Book of Joshua.
Alientar - Alientar
Review by Gary Hill
I have to admit it; I'm a sucker for Hawkwind styled space rock. For that reason, this disc appeals to me, but not only for that reason.
Russell Allen's Atomic Soul - Russell Allen's Atomic Soul
Review by Josh Turner
The Darkness can step aside. This is the real deal when it comes to rock retro.
Ian Anderson - Plays the Orchestral Jethro Tull
Review by Gary Hill
I have to go on record as saying that I am not always blown away by rock bands doing shows with orchestra.
Jane Anfinson - Precious Details
Review by Lisa Palmeno
A world music sound permeates theatrical vocals and pop alternative savvy on Jane Anfinson's Precious Details. Anfinson's strong, haunting voice is a mixture of Kate Bush, Debbie Harry and the singer from Siouxie and The Banshees, while she drones on inward themes.
Anyone's Daughter - Wrong
Review by Josh Turner
There is no doubt Anyone's Daughter makes great music. The real question is whether they are mainstream or progressive.
Art Rock Circus - Tell A Vision
Review by Gary Hill
John Miner's Art Rock Circus has released a new double disc set called "Tell A Vision". While his vision has elements that I like, frankly, I think the album could have benefited from a little editing to create one exceptionally strong CD.
Asia - Asia
Review by Gary Hill
When this group rose from the ashes of a dying Yes it seemed like a dream come true for progressive rock fans. Take two parts Yes (OK – one and a half maybe since Geoff Downes was only on one Yes album) in the persons of Geoff Downes and Steve Howe, one third of Emerson Lake and Palmer (Carl Palmer) and add in John Wetton (King Crimson, UK) and make a band.
Adrian Belew - Side One
Review by Gary Hill
All right, I realize the year has just started, so this statement is probably premature, but this album may well be the best prog rock release of 2005. Yes, I like it that much.
Adrian Belew - Side Two
Review by Gary Hill
This CD is the second in a trilogy axe-man extraordinaire Adrian Belew has on tap for release this year. While I find this one to be a very strong release, I don't like it as much as Side One.
Blackfield - Blackfield
Review by Gary Hill
When I first got this CD I hadn't heard of it, but knowing that Steve Wilson of Porcupine Tree was involved in the project was enough to get my attention. As it turns out the album is a duo between Wilson and Israeli avant-garde hero Aviv Geffen.
Tomas Bodin - I Am
Review by Josh Turner
This concept comes from the fantasies of Flower King's keyboardist Tomas Bodin. Right from the get go, you know I Am is going to grow on you.
Terry Bozzio - Prime Cuts
Review by Gary Hill
This disc by drum great Terry Bozzio is by definition a compilation album. Still it does include two previously unreleased numbers, one of which was recorded specifically for this CD.
Gary Paul Bryant - Imaginary Piano
Review by Gary Hill
Fans of keyboard instrumental music, rejoice, there is a new name in town and the man can play. Gary Paul Bryant's take on this medium touches on the sounds of such prog heroes and Rick Wakeman, Vangelis and Keith Emerson.
Kate Bush - Aerial
Review by Steve Alspach
I'm in year 19 of a 3-year sabbatical from graduate school, so I can't blame Kate Bush for wanting to take a year off and and missing the deadline, so to speak. Kate was feeling a bit burned out after "The Red Shoes" and the accompanying video "The Line, the Cross, and the Curve."
Kate Bush - The Dreaming
Review by Steve Alspach
There were signs of Kate Bush's musical maturity in 1980's "Never For Ever" but not too many people may have been expecting the curveball she threw with 1982's "The Dreaming." Often referred to as the "She's gone mad" album, "The Dreaming" is far removed from "The Kick Inside," the 1978 album that introduced the helium-tinged starry-eyed waif to the world.
Chain - Chain.exe
Review by Josh Turner
Henning is best known for his work with James LaBrie and Sebastian Bach in Frameshift. However, this artist can certainly stand on his own two feet.
Changing Modes - Aeroplane
Review by Gary Hill
While I can see people not agreeing with the classification of this one as prog, I put it in the section because just by the sheer weirdness of throwing off-kilter timings and strange progressions into something that seems to want to be accessible pop to me just about qualifies it as progressive rock.
Chroma Key - Graveyard Mountain Home
Review by Gary Hill
Chroma Key is the brainchild of Kevin Moore. You might remember Moore as the original keyboardist in Dream Theater.
Circus Maximus - The 1st Chapter
Review by Gary Hill
Norway is the home to Circus Maximus, and I don't know what they are doing up there, but whatever it is, I hope they keep it up.
Clark Plays Guitar - Clark Plays Guitar
Review by Gary Hill
Clark Plays Guitar is both a description and a name. Clark (Colborn) certainly does play guitar, and very well. Colborn does more than just that, though.
D'arcana - As Worlds They Rise and Fall
Review by Gary Hill
California band D' Arcana seem to be stuck in the past - the 1970's to be more specific. In the case of a prog rock band, that's a great thing.
Joe Deninzon - Live Wires
Review by Gary Hill
Violinist Deninzon and his band create a unique form of fusion laden progressive rock. As with most jazz oriented music, one can truly only really experience it when it is performed live, and as this disc shows, the band are really hot in that venue.
Divinity Destroyed - Eden In Ashes
Review by Gary Hill
These guys are one of the few bands out there truly capable of bridging the gap between prog metal and prog. I would definitely put them into the neo-prog category, although there is plenty of reason to consider them metal, too.
Djam Karet - Recollection Harvest
Review by Gary Hill
Djam Karet have worked hard to create their own unique brand of guitar dominated instrumental prog. They have been at it for twenty years now, and with their latest, Recollection Harvest, they are working to challenge themselves, their listeners and all preconceived notions about the band's sound.
Djam Karet - The Ritual Continues
Review by Gary Hill
This album is an early release by Djam Karet, but still shows plenty of signs of the band that they are today. This group is one of the few who can create entire albums of instrumental music that are satisfying and feel complete.
Troy Donockley and Dave Bainbridge - from silence
Review by Gary Hill
This CD from Donockley (best known for his work with Clannad) and Bainbridge (Iona) is an intriguing and unusual one for several reasons. First, all the material is improvised and recorded in one take with no overdubs.
Dream Theater - Octavarium
Review by Steve Alspach
For years I tried. Honest, I tried.
Echolyn - The End is Beautiful
Review by Josh Turner
After Echolyn steamrolled fans with a shockingly long and surprisingly well-written song, they are back at it again. This time, however, they opt for a more song-oriented approach.
Mattias IA Eklundh - Freak Guitar: The Road Less Traveled
Review by Gary Hill
I have to say that having heard an earlier disc by Eklundh I came at this with more than a little trepidation. That other album literally gave me a headache.
Emerald - Crown of Creation
Review by Gary Hill
I got this CD not having heard anything about the band. I put it in and was immediately captivated.
Keith Emerson and the Nice - Vivacitas - Live at Glasgow 2002
Review by Gary Hill
Billed as Keith Emerson and the Nice, this recent release is accurate with that name from a technical standpoint, but in some ways it is a little deceptive. While all of the music on the disc does feature Keith Emerson, only the first CD is actually with The Nice, and even then, it's only two of the members of the band (plus the keyboard wizard).
Epica - Consign To Oblivion
Review by Gary Hill
If I had to choose one word to describe this CD it would be "mind-boggling." OK, so technically that's two words - still it fits.
Famlende Fors0k - One Night I Had a Frightful Dream
Review by Gary Hill
Another album based on the works of H. P. Lovecraft, this is one of the cooler ones out there. It is a little hard to find, but well worth the effort.
Far Corner - Far Corner
Review by Josh Turner
This is unbelievably accessible for avant-garde. As far as instrumental music goes, it's as catchy and experimental as Kopecky.
Pamela Fleming - and Fearless Dreamer - Climb
Review by Gary Hill
Pam Fleming's second CD, Climb continues with the progressive rock rooted firmly in jazz fashion that her first disc presented. The disc is a fairly sedate one, but a definite winner.
The Flower Kings - BetchaWannaDanceStoopid
Review by Josh Turner
How can this be strictly improvisational jams? It's not possible.
Forever Einstein - Racket Science
Review by Gary Hill
I know it's early in the year, but I can say with certainty that Forever Einstein have cinched at least a couple of titles with their latest release. The winner for 2005 for the most unusual and creative song titles (and longest ones, too) will almost positively go to Forever Einstein.
Forms of Things Unknown - Cross Purposes
Review by Josh Turner
This is a rare breed meant for a niche crowd. It is part of clan that was prevalent in the soundtracks of seventies sci-fi movies.
Jack Foster III - Raptorgnosis
Review by Gary Hill
While I don't think this entire album truly qualifies as progressive rock, much of it does. Add to that fact the presence of prog rockers Trent Gardner and Robert Berry and it should be obvious why I put the disc into that category.
Frame Shift - An Absence of Empathy
Review by Josh Turner
The previous album, Unweaving the Rainbow, put forth a respectable effort. It was decent and the concept was certainly interesting.
Frame Shift - Unweaving the Rainbow
Review by Steve Alspach
I'm never sure where to classify albums like this - is it a concept album, a thematic album, or what?
Robert Fripp - Exposure
Review by Steve Alspach
Robert Fripp's first solo album (not counting the side projects with Brian Eno) was considered "A Day in the Life" for the 1970s.
The Gak Omek - Alien Eye
Review by Gary Hill
While there are several artists listed as being responsible for this release, a careful eye will note that the names of all but one are a shill. This is a one-man project by Robert Burge
The Gak Omek - Return of the All-powerful Light Beings
Review by Josh Turner
They have an extremely weird name, but the band makes seriously good music. It's structured entirely around neo-progressive instrumentals.
Gentle Giant - Free Hand - 35th Anniversary Collection
Review by Steve Alspach
Capitol Records got hold of Gentle Giant in the mid-70s, and the band's first Capitol release, "The Power and the Glory," may not have been up to standards. Though a fine album, it may not have been up to the standards that the band had set for itself.
Gentle Giant - In a Glass House - 35th Anniversary Edition
Review by Steve Alspach
Back in the early 1970s Columbia Records had Gentle Giant in their stable, but a problem of density kept Columbia (or anyone else in the states) from releasing "In a Glass House," the band's fifth album: density in the band's arrangements, and density on part of the A&R men who couldn't figure out the band or the music.
Glass Hammer - Shadowlands
Review by
If you like your music with lots of keyboards and anywhere from 8 to twenty-some minutes long, Glass Hammer is the band for you. Led by multi-instrumentalists Fred Schendel and Steve Babb, Glass Hammer has released its eighth album.
Green Milk From the Planet Orange - City Calls Revolution
Review by Gary Hill
Once upon a time there was only 1970's style progressive rock. The musical textures were based on folk, classical, electronic fusion jazz, psychedelia and other forms of hard rock - but never any real heavy metal influence.
Tom Griesgraber - Whisper in the Thunder
Review by Gary Hill
Featuring guest appearances by Jerry Marotta, Pat Mastelotto and the California Guitar Trio, and with the fact that Griesgraber's instrument is the Chapman Stick, one might expect this disc to sound like Tony Levin's solo material.
Guitar Garden - China Rose
Review by Gary Hill
It's not uncommon these days to find Celtic or even Middle Eastern sounds incorporated into rock music. Traditionally Chinese music, though is a different story.
Happy The Man - The Muse Awakens
Review by Steve Alspach
Comic Ian Shoales once said, during the hubbub concerning record ratings, that it would be a good idea to have ratings , but only the right ones, such as "TMS" - Too Much Synthesizer, "NGL" - Needs Guitar Lessons, and "OFMTMMTR" - Old Farts Making Too Much Money to Retire. If that's the case, then "The Muse Awakens" gets a rating of "BTRWTI" - Band That Records Way Too Infrequently.
The Fareed Haque Group - Cosmic Hug
Review by Gary Hill
Cosmic Hug lives in sort of a wonderful area between jazz, prog rock and world music - close enough into the prog genre for me to include the CD review under that heading, but not content to be restricted by the title.
Hawkwind - Space Bandits
Review by Gary Hill
The only studio album to feature this lineup, this one leaves me wishing they had done more. It is difficult with the incredible amount of material this band have released to really pick out one or two best albums, but this one would definitely be in the running.
Edward Heppenstall - Parts That Hate Me
Review by Josh Turner
Take a Henning Pauly production and throw it in the oven. What comes out is sheet of well-baked Shrinky-Dinks severed into eleven elegant pieces. That's what this album is all about.
Hideous Sun Demons - Hideous Sun Demons
Review by Gary Hill
The names Ray Luzier and James Lomenzo are probably well known to anyone who has followed the career of Dave Lee Roth. The two of them (Luzier on drums and Lomenzo on bass) were Roth's rhythm section for quite some time.
Hourglass - Subconscious
Review by Josh Turner
Where has Hourglass been hiding all this time? Their latest album is awesome.
Steve Howe - Spectrum
Review by Gary Hill
Steve Howe never seems to be content to stay with one style or another for his solo albums. That means that every disc he does represents a bit of a surprise.
IQ - The Seventh House
Review by Steve Alspach
I don't know what it is about bands like IQ that I find endearing - well, they're not one of those "bobblehead" bands that are springing up on every corner, for one thing - but I get the impression that they do what they do not to make a grand statement, but simply because it probably never occurred to them to do anything else.
Izz - Ampersand Volume I
Review by Josh Turner
For those not already familiar with Izz, this is one of the best bands of the genre. As for their sound, there are many similarities to Spock's Beard in their songwriting and style.
Jadis - More than Meets the Eye
Review by Steve Alspach
Progressive music rarely gets more accessible than this. For those who haven't connected with the genre, Jadis would serve as an excellent introduction to prog.
Jaugernaut (a. d.) - Contra - Mantra
Review by Gary Hill
It's a band, it's a solo album, it's a band, it's a solo album - well, actually it's kind of both. Apparently the band Jaugernaut was around in the 1970's and after having broken up achieved a cult following in Europe in recent years.
Jethro Tull - The Jethro Tull Christmas Album
Review by Gary Hill
For those hankering for a Jethro Tull album that fits nicely into a similar style as their late 1970's albums, this disc was just the ticket. Adding the holiday theme makes a bonus.
Robert Jordan - Gypsy Curiosa
Review by Gary Hill
Coming out of groups like The Executive Slacks and Tubalcain, Robert Jordan was part of the industrial movement. Now he has taken his generally dark and gloomy bent and brought it to progressive rock in a solo album.
Kaipa - Mindrevolutions
Review by Josh Turner
I'm a big fan of Kaipa's "Keyholder". The year it came out, it was second in my book only to The Tangent's "The Music That Died Alone".
Mike Keneally - Dog
Review by Josh Turner
Nick D' Virgilio says he's done his best drumming on this album. With so much great material to date, it is hard to validate a statement such as this one.
King Chubby - Is
Review by Gary Hill
While this disc has elements of other music, feeling a bit like many of the instrumental experimental prog bands of today, the overall sound is all their own.
King Crimson - Discipline
Review by Steve Alspach
These were interesting times for Robert Fripp, ye olde scholastic of the progressive rock scene. In 1978 he had released Exposure, an album that he described as "A Day in the Life" for that period.
Kino - Picture
Review by Steve Alspach
Any prog-rock "conglomeration" will get my attention. From Emerson Lake and Palmer (they pretty much were the first ones in that genre, right?) to today, you really can't go wrong with any of them.
Klaatu - Sun Set
Review by Gary Hill
For me this 2 CD set has been like being reintroduced to an old friend. Klaatu is a band that probably more than any other has major supporters and major nay-sayers in the prog rock community.
Mark Klock Group - Tentacle Dreams
Review by Josh Turner
This album consists of eleven delicious ditties. Each dish is served in an individual snack size.
K2 - Book of the Dead
Review by Josh Turner
With an Egyptian on the cover, you'd expect something from The Bangles. However, this is much more progressive in nature.
James LaBrie - Elements of Persuasion
Review by Josh Turner
Whether or not you like this album probably hinges on how you felt about Dream Theater's "Train of Thought". This one has a tad more melody and quite possibly a bit more noodling.
Lana Lane - Lady Macbeth
Review by Gary Hill
Lana Lane has now been in the business for ten years, and in commemoration of that anniversary she has delivered her newest release - a rock opera based on the Shakespeare play "Macbeth."
Laserdogs - Frankenclown
Review by Gary Hill
The last time we caught up with up with Greg Lounsberry he was working under the name of Rocket4357 Project. This time around, he comes at us with his Laser Dogs project and Frankenclown the CD.
The Rob Levit Trio - Uncertain Path
Review by Gary Hill
While possibly "progressive jazz" might be a better description of this disc than progressive rock, there are enough prog influences and an overall experimental air to put this one into the prog rock category for me.
Magellan - Symphony for a Misanthrope
Review by Steve Alspach
I've seen pictures of the Gardner brothers, the backbone of Magellan, and if I didn't know any better I'd have sworn that I opened up a 401k with them.
Guy Manning - A Matter of Life And Death (The Journal Of Abel Mann)
Review by Josh Turner
Guy Manning is quickly climbing the ladder of progressive rock, and he is close to the edge of some real stardom. He was a featured guest on both Tangent albums.
Guy Manning - One Small Step...
Review by Josh Turner
Guy Manning makes intriguing music every time and this won't be the one to let you down. At this pace, he may never slip or fall.
The Meads of Asphodel - The Mill Hill Sessions
Review by Mike Korn
Every once in a while, a vague, undefined thing comes shambling out of the darkness and into the sterile, pre-packaged music scene. Yes, even in the world of extreme metal, where cookie-cutter bands are a lot more prevalent than hardcore headbangers would like to admit.
Lucia Micarelli - Music From A Farther Room
Review by Gary Hill
You often hear people describing the violin as a passionate or emotional instrument. Certainly it can create stirrings of passion in the hands of the right musician.
Kurt Michaels - Inner Worlds - Part One
Review by Gary Hill
Kurt Michaels has created an ambient piece of music here that fits loosely into the progressive rock heading. Understandably music of this type is not the most dynamic or powerful sound structures one will find - such goes against the grain.
Might Could - All Intertwined
Review by Gary Hill
It would be quite simple to do this review in one sentence by saying "if you like California Guitar Trio you will like this CD." The disc does sound that much like CGT.
Mohodisco - Kaloomith
Review by Josh Turner
If wacky had a middle name, it would be Mohodisco. However, unlike other odd incarnations, this band keeps its goofiness in check.
Neal Morse - ?
Review by Josh Turner
He did everything I would have asked of him and a whole lot more. This is his best album out of his most recent batches and one that rivals all the best from the year.
Steve Morse - Prime Cuts
Review by Gary Hill
Joining Magna Carta's Prime Cuts series is this release of music by Steve Morse. The majority of the material comes from three solo albums of his, Split Decision, Major Impacts 1, and Major Impacts 2.
Byron Nemeth - Group - 100 Worlds
Review by Gary Hill
Fans of Dream Theater should love this album, as should most fans of harder edged prog rock. The disc is 13 instrumental prog numbers that are quite strong.
Niacin - Organik
Review by Gary Hill
Niacin just keeps getting better. While all their albums are entertaining, the earlier ones seemed to be a little more low key in some ways - leaning more on the smooth jazz than the prog.
Nima & Merge - Separate Worlds
Review by Josh Turner
On this disc, there are many lurid instrumentals. The music is elusively melancholic with the most wistful flow.
Nox Arcana - Necronomicon
Review by Gary Hill
This disc is certainly different from any other progressive rock CD. Indeed the band might not even consider it to be such, and I'm not completely sure it is, but it really feels like prog in many ways.
Oz Noy - Ha!
Review by Gary Hill
Progressive rock is an unusual beast, difficult at times to put a collar onto. It crosses and shares lines with several other styles, including jam band music.
One World Project - Grief Never Grows Old
Review by Josh Turner
Out of all the progressive rock relief projects, this one features the biggest names: Barry and Robin Gibb (The Bee Gees), Paul Von Merten, Randell Kirsch and Brian Wilson (The Beach Boys), Boy George (Culture Club), Steve Winwood (Traffic), Rick Wakeman & Jon Anderson (Yes), Dewey Bunnell & Gerald Beckley (America), and a handful of others.
Orbit Service - Twilight
Review by Gary Hill
This CD is a very intriguing, if not fully successful one. The main elements here are sort of a combination of the more prog oriented modern Radiohead and Pink Floyd, but there are other sounds present as well.
Paatos - Timeloss
Review by Josh Turner
Like they say on Sesame Street, this is different, but the same. For those of you familiar with their sophomore release (that would be "Kallocain"), this is certainly what we've come to know as Paatos.
Alan Parsons - A Valid Path
Review by Gary Hill

For those who have followed the career of Alan Parsons this disc may seem rather strange at first. Parsons here embraces electronic music, with that sound driving the album. It even wanders into techno at times.

Pendragon - Believe
Review by Josh Turner
This was way more than I had anticipated. I had my hands full with this listening experience. Nick Barrett said that this would be more guitar-driven and I can certainly vouch for that.
John Petrucci - Suspended Animation
Review by Josh Turner
I'm not one for instrumentals, but I'll make an exception for this one. John Petrucci is one of my favorite guitarists, and I'm curious whenever his name is on the credits.
Planet P Project - 1931
Review by Josh Turner
Prepare yourself for some bold statements… This unknown commodity is one of my highlights from 2004 and deserves to be in any Top Ten Prog Album List for that year.
Porcupine Tree - Deadwing
Review by Steve Alspach
Porcupine Tree may be strangers to these shores, but 2002's "In Absentia" made people stand up and take note, and with good measure. This outfit may have found the perfect balance of prog, metal, and gothic melancholia, and "In Absentia" was met with excellent reviews all around.
Mike Portnoy - Prime Cuts
Review by Gary Hill
Mike Portnoy now has his own entry in the Magna Carta Prime Cuts collection. This disc, as the rest of the series, features selected tracks from albums that the artist has contributed to, presented here as sort of a slice of some of the best of the work from him.
Presto Ballet - Peace Among The Ruins
Review by Gary Hill
I have to say that there is a big buzz about this band. To hear many tell it these guys are the best new prog band to come out since the heyday of progressive rock in the 1970's.
Proto-Kaw - Before Became After
Review by Gary Hill
Proto-Kaw was one of the early groupings of the band that was later known as Kansas. When Cuneiform records released an album of their old material in 2002 it got the creative juices in Kansas/Proto-Kaw man Kerry Livgren.
Qoph - Pyrola
Review by Gary Hill
What a difference a few years make. When I first reviewed this group's 1999 disc, Kalejkoskopiska-aktiviteter, I found it to be solid music that showcased a lot of potent progressive rock instrumental virtuosity.
Renaissance - Scheherazade and Other Stories
Review by Gary Hill
Renaissance is a band that I never really followed closely, but always really enjoyed. In many ways I've always felt that they are a lot like Yes, but rather than focusing on the harder rocking styles, they were more interested in acoustic and organic sounds.
RPWL - World Through My Eyes
Review by Josh Turner
The new album from RPWL arrived on my doorstep at the exact same time as a much anticipated copy of Spock's Beard's latest. I hadn't even realized RPWL was working on a new release.
Rush - Hemispheres
Review by Gary Hill
While Rush started almost as a Canadian Led Zeppelin, as they moved forward they became more and more of a progressive rock band with each album.
Michael Sadler - Clear
Review by Josh Turner
The albums being released from Prog Rock Records these days exhibit exceptional production. This is by no means an exception.
Salem Hill - Mimi's Magical Moment
Review by Josh Turner
They don't even sound like the same band and I hate to say it, that turns out to be a very good thing. I'd sooner think this was a new album by Kaipa or Kansas than by Salem Hill.
Scenes - Call Us At The Number You Provide
Review by Gary Hill
While this band is being billed as prog metal, frankly, I think they fit more firmly into the progressive rock category. While there certainly is a lot of crunch on display here, they show a wider range of sounds than that limiting factor would seem to indicate.
Don Schiff - Peering Over Clouds
Review by Gary Hill
Over the years several musicians have started using The Stick - an instrument that combines both guitar and bass like ranges into one instrument.
Billy Sheehan - Cosmic Troubadour
Review by Gary Hill

The bass guitar is an instrument whose players are often overlooked, relegated to playing the rhythm hidden behind guitar heroes, singers and keyboard wizards. A few bassists have managed to put together chops and performances that allow them to rise above this status.

Simon Apple - River to the Sea
Review by Gary Hill
So many people these days give lip service to this charity or that, but you really have to admire the people who put their money (literally) where their mouth is. Such is the case with Simon Apple as they are donating a portion of the sale of each CD to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Alex Skolnick Trio - Transformation
Review by Gary Hill
Alex Skolnick is a true artist, not content to sit still in one musical genre. Certainly he is probably best known as the guitarist for the metal band Testament, his first professional gig.
Spiraling - Transmitter
Review by Josh Turner
You may be wondering how Spiraling fits into the music scene. That's simple.
Splinter - Devil's Jigsaw
Review by Josh Turner
There are so many mediocre bands these days that it's become like sand on a beach. I guess this proliferation of music is good in some ways.
Spock's Beard - Gluttons for Punishment (Live in '05)
Review by Josh Turner
It's been years since I've gotten to see Spock's Beard live. It's not for lack of desire or anything.
Spock's Beard - Octane
Review by Josh Turner
Octane is accessible, progressive, modern and diverse. It's delicate at times, heavy at others.
Stream of Passion - Embrace the Storm
Review by Josh Turner
Arjen Lucassen is a pioneer of the progressive as he can always be found engineering new and innovative projects. He finds talent in all the right places and involves many gifted artists in all aspects of his music.
Subterranean Masquerade - Suspended Animation Dreams
Review by Gary Hill
While Subterranean Masquerade are not the only progressive rock band incorporating death metal vocals these days, Suspended Animation Dreams may be the most unusual disc by any of these outfits.
The Syn - Syndestructible
Review by Gary Hill
 This is a reunion album from the band called "Syn." Haven't heard of them? Well, you probably will be familiar with their bass guitarist.
The Tangent - Stars and Pyramids
Review by Josh Turner
If you missed them at ROSfest 2005, you missed the best thing they've done so far. If you haven't even seen them live at all, it is essential you hear this disc.
Taylor's Universe - (with Karsten Vogel) - Once Again
Review by Josh Turner
I knew nothing about this band when I slipped this disc in. My first impression was one of confusion and utter uneasiness.
Taylor's Universe - (with Karsten Vogel) - Oyster's Apprentice
Review by Josh Turner
If you liked Robin Taylor's Once Again, this album makes the perfect companion. This is actually much of the same material, which makes it closely complement his previous creation.
Tempest - 15th Anniversary Collection
Review by Gary Hill
This box set shows just how much integrity and talent Tempest has. The Celtic based prog rock outfit could have simply put out a collection of their best known pieces and added in a few unreleased gems here and there.
Tin Scribble - Children of Saturn
Review by Gary Hill
Tin Scribble's Children of the Saturn is a good CD that takes a bit of getting used to. The main element that causes there to be a steep learning curve are Michael Moore's vocals.
Univers Zero - Ceux Du Dehors
Review by Gary Hill
This outfit from Belgium is one of the bands in the RIO (Rock In Opposition) genre of prog rock. I must admit that a lot of RIO is a bit too chaotic and dissonant for my tastes.
Urban Spacemen - Plainsongs
Review by Gary Hill
There seem to be some interesting new prog rock hybrids coming out these days. This disc definitely falls into that category, combining space rock sounds of Hawkwind and jam band type elements like The Grateful Dead with early Pink Floyd and more traditional prog textures.
Steve Vai - Real Illusions: Reflections
Review by Gary Hill
It seems Zappa alumni's make some of the most inspired and creative musicians. I suppose that makes sense consider the degree of talent necessary to get into that outfit.
Van der Graaf Generator - Present
Review by Steve Alspach
The Van is Back! Um, no.
Vanilla Fudge - Then And Now
Review by Gary Hill
No one can fault the musical performances on this one. Vanilla Fudge has always been an incredible band capable of creating and producing incredibly complex and powerful arrangements, and this album is no exception to that rule. No, the real problem here comes in the form of repetition.
Various Artists - Back Against the Wall
Review by Gary Hill
There are few people who haven't at least heard of Pink Floyd's The Wall. I would hazard to say that those who have never heard the album are in the minority as well.
Various Artists - Kinections: The ProgDay Support CD
Review by Josh Turner
There are two great things about this release. First off, it's for a charitable cause. Second, it is truly great music. Lew Fisher (on behalf of the ProgDay foundation) is the mastermind behind this project.
Various Artists - Subdivisions - A Tribute To Rush
Review by Gary Hill
Subdivisions is a new Tribute album devoted to the music of Rush from Magna Carta Records. Those paying close attention and with a good memory, may be saying now; "didn't they do one before?"
Vinyl Soup - Chasing Yesterday
Review by Gary Hill
Vinyl Soup is another of a growing list of bands that incorporate jam band stylings into their music, but the influences definitely don't stop there.
Steve Walsh - Shadowman
Review by Greg Olma
I have always been a Kansas fan so it must come as no surprise that I find Steve Walsh's voice one of the best in prog rock. I have followed his career through his band Streets (and his solo material) and have never been disappointed.
Robert Walter - Super Heavy Organ
Review by Gary Hill
Robert Walter has given us an album that, much like Niacin, combines a retro jazzy sound and prog sort of arrangements. This one grooves and still has enough musical integrity to please fans of instrumental progressive rock.
The Watch - Vacuum
Review by Josh Turner
Like Selling England by the Pound, Vacuum is the kind of album that you need to revisit many times over in order to gain a full appreciation of it.
Jeff Wayne - Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds 2005 Edition
Review by Gary Hill
In the world of rock opera's Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds stands far above the majority of the competition. A release that has shown lasting appeal, maintaining a following for all these years, has just been re-issued in this hybrid Super Audio CD.
Witsend - Cosmos and Chaos
Review by Josh Turner
When I first heard this album, I was driving away from the Alpine Valley festival grounds after a tiresome and draining day at Ozzfest.
Wolverine - The Window Purpose
Review by Gary Hill
Not many progressive rock bands can say that they started out as a death metal band. In fact, unless I'm missing someone Wolverine is the only one.
Yes - 90125 Remastered and Expanded
Review by Greg Olma
Yes needed to do something new to attract the music buying public. Punk and new Wave were trying their hardest to bury the classic rock sound and the older fans were moving on with their lives.
Yes - Yesyears Box Set
Review by Gary Hill
Released during the flurry of activity surrounding the Union tour, this four CD set is a pricey, but fairly solid addition to the Yes catalog. While any compilation will undoubtedly bring up complaints as to what was included and what was not, this album presents a fairly accurate representation of the chronology of the band.
Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews
Anthrax - Among The Living
Review by Patrick Hennen
I realize that this is an older disc, released in 1990. However, with the reunion of this powerful lineup for this year's tour, I had to say something about them.
Astral Doors - Evil Is Forever
Review by Gary Hill
When you review CD's like I do, you get to hear a lot of new music. The law of averages would tell you that only a handful will be terrible, and only a handful will be spectacular.
Black Sabbath - Volume IV
Review by Gary Hill
I must have a thing for falling in love with over looked albums. Some of my favorite discs in artists' catalogs are the ones that seem to have fallen by the wayside.
Brazen Abbot - My Resurrection
Review by Greg Olma
This is my first experience with Brazen Abbot. I knew of them because I have always been a Joe Lynn Turner fan but I never heard them.
Candlemass - Candlemass
Review by Mike Korn
Reunions are getting to be a dime-a-dozen in the metal world these days, but occasionally they bear worthy fruit. The recent comebacks by Judas Priest and Exodus would be good examples of returns that worked, but this new record from the legendary Swedish doom metal band Candlemass is the best yet.
Bruce Dickinson - Tyranny of Souls
Review by Gary Hill
This is the sixth solo album from Iron Maiden's lead singer Bruce Dickinson. While it's not perfect, it is one of the stronger discs from his solo repertoire.
Fireaxe - Lovecraftian Nightmares
Review by Gary Hill
Fireaxe is a one-man band in the personage of Brian Voth. The sound of Fireaxe certain falls into heavy metal, although there are other elements present as well.
Gamma Ray - Majestic
Review by Mike Korn
You can feel confidence and poise radiating from this latest effort from long-running German power metal band Gamma Ray. They have been a constant and steady presence on the European metal scene since their mastermind Kai Hansen split from the legendary Helloween back in 1987.
GZR - Ohmwork
Review by Gary Hill
Ohmwork is the latest album by the outfit Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler belongs to as his side outlet. The group is not really a solo project, but more band, therefore it is little like Sabbath in terms of sound.
Havochate - Cycle of Pain
Review by Mike Korn
Once in a while, a band makes such a leap in quality between albums that it takes your breath away. This has definitely happened with Havochate.
High on Fire - Blessed Black Wings
Review by Patrick Hennen
Welcome back headbangers, this disc is a treat for me to do. This is my pick for an up and coming band that is truly going to devastate the world of metal.
Hirax - The New Age of Terror
Review by Mike Korn
It may be a "new age of terror" but what we have here is a very familiar sound. That sound is old school thrash metal, and the band purveying it is truly one of the die-hards of that scene, Hirax.
Iommi - Fused
Review by Gary Hill
Tony Iommi is probably best known as the lead guitarist of Black Sabbath. Arguably along with the other three members of that group Iommi invented heavy metal.
Iron Maiden - Death on the Road
Review by Gary Hill
There seems to be a disease going around bands these days. I'm not sure what it's called, but I can tell you that the main symptom is releasing live album after live album.
Iron Maiden - Iron Maiden
Review by Patrick Hennen
As you all are quite aware by now, I'm sure, Iron Maiden are performing alongside of Black Sabbath at Ozzfest 2005.
Iron Maiden - The Essential Iron Maiden
Review by Mike Korn
"Essential" is a tricky term to use for a compilation like this. A legendary band like Iron Maiden has a lot of songs that can be considered "essential".
Iron Maiden - The Number Of The Beast
Review by Patrick Hennen
Back in the 1980's this was the album that was constantly under fire by Religious Fanatics, Politicians and anyone in general who wanted to try to give rock music a bad name.
Jorn - Out to Every Nation
Review by Mike Korn
Let's face it, it's almost impossible to find quality melodic heavy metal in the great tradition of the 70's and 80's today. Sure, you can find a "classic rock that really rocks" station in your area, but all that is is a trip down memory lane.
Judas Priest - Angel of Retribution
Review by Mike Korn
So here it is at of the most anticipated metal records of the last decade. Make no mistake, "Angel of Retribution" is an event, not merely a record.
Judas Priest - Hell Bent For Leather - Expanded Edition
Review by Gary Hill
Hell Bent For Leather was the first Judas Priest I ever heard, and for that reason has always been one of my favorites. While not all the songs are spectacular, it definitely has some strong material.
Judas Priest - Stained Class
Review by Gary Hill
Stained Class, the album Judas Priest released right before Hell Bent For Leather, has always been a favorite of mine. The disc includes some very strong material that fits nicely in between the Sad Wings of Destiny era and the later period of the band.
Kittie - Until The End
Review by Gary Hill
I have to admit I've never really listened to Kittie before. I saw them once at Ozzfest, and based on that performance I had decided that they were not all that much.
Lunatica - Fables & Dreams
Review by Greg Olma
The success of bands like Evanescence and Lacuna Coil has really opened the door for many female fronted bands. If I were to compare Lunatica with anyone, I would have to say they come close to Nightwish.
Mahavatar - Go With The NO!
Review by Gary Hill
This is the first album from New York band Mahavatar, and it shows a LOT of promise for great things to come. They have created an intriguing blend of numetal, classic metal, epic neo classical metal and a good many other sounds.
Yngwie Malmsteen - Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force - Unleash The Fury
Review by Lisa Palmeno
Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force released Unleash The Fury (Spitfire Records) on July 26, 2005. Rock fans will love this 18-song compilation of metal masterpieces.
Mastodon - Leviathan
Review by Mike Korn
There is a generation gap in heavy metal that seems unbridgable. The veterans who remember the great years of the 70's and 80's seem content to bask in the music of their youth, giving very little heed to newer bands such as Shadows Fall or Lamb of God.
Mennen - Freakazoid
Review by Gary Hill
Freakazoid is the fifth album from Swedish band Mennen. While they are well known in Europe and Japan, this might be the first time many music fans in America have heard of the group.
Nevermore - This Godless Endeavour
Review by Mike Korn
The American heavy metal scene is healthier than ever, with bands such as Mastodon, Shadows Fall and High On Fire each making a mark in their own unique style.
November's Doom - The Pale Haunt Departure
Review by Mike Korn
November's Doom singer Paul Kuhr disagrees with giving his band the label of "doom metal".
Of Infinity - The Essence Of Infinity
Review by Gary Hill
Of Infinity is a new name on the melodic/progressive metal scene. Don't let that fool you, though as they have a lot of talent.
Ozzy Osbourne - Prince of Darkness Box Set
Review by Patrick Hennen
I'm here today to let you know about the new 4-disc box set by Ozzy Osbourne, entitled, appropriately, "Prince Of Darkness".
The PB Army - Spine for the Snapback
Review by Mike Korn
When I heard the debut album "Inebriates, Equivocators and Mockers of the Devil Himself" from Toledo, Ohio's PB Army, I knew I had just encountered a band with a future in the heavy rock business. With their sophomore release, PB Army shows that they haven't lost any momentum.
Royal Hunt - Paper Blood
Review by Gary Hill
I came to this disc with a bit of trepidation. Frankly, having spoken with former Hunt vocalist D.C. Cooper on a couple of occasions and finding him to be one of the best hard rock/metal vocalists out there, part of me was afraid to hear what Hunt sounded like without him.
Satyricon - Volcano
Review by Mike Korn
This has taken a while to get a proper release in the States, but better late than never. "Volcano" is an album that takes some effort to appreciate, but if you take that effort, you may be able to understand why Satyricon is one of the top black metal bands in Europe, if not the world.
Skindred - Babylon
Review by Gary Hill
I have a definite interest in music that breaks down barriers and creates a unique hybrid of established musical formats. Such a sound is what makes up Skindred's Babylon.
Slough Feg - Atavism
Review by Mike Korn
Right now, Slough Feg is the best pure heavy metal band in America. That's a mighty bold statement to make, but one listen to "Atavism" will back it up.
Soulfly - Prophecy
Review by Gary Hill

I would guess that even the most fervent supporter of modern metal would have to admit that, like most genres, there are a lot of bands who sound like one another. There are far fewer bands with a truly unique sound. Soulfly is definitely such an outfit.

Southview - The Chaos of Ecstasy
Review by Gary Hill
With an abundance of new bands playing all the newer styles of heavy metal it's refreshing to hear a band cranking out "true metal" these days. You will hear a little thrash here, but no nu metal or rap metal is anywhere to be found. 
Space Odyssey - The Astral Episode
Review by Gary Hill
There is a lot to be said for expectations. Somehow I had heard that this project by Richard Andersson (of Royal Hunt fame) was a more progressive rock oriented endeavor than that band.
Starbreaker - Starbreaker
Review by Greg Olma
I have to admit, I was never really much of a TNT fan. They had all of the right elements (great vocals, shredding guitar, etc.) but somehow I found them to be ordinary - not bad mind you, just ordinary.
Terror - One With The Underdogs
Review by Patrick Hennen
If I had to describe this disc in one word, I'd say… "Can't" In order for me to describe this I would say…. "Extremely energetic, explosive, violent, aggressive, and at times, just plain mean!"
Thine Eyes Bleed - In The Wake Of Separation
Review by Patrick Hennen
Well, well, well, if you were looking for metal to keep your neighbors awake, make your parents flip out, and give you permanent neck damage: this would be the disc to do it.
Throwdown - Vendetta
Review by Mike Korn
Throwdown play forceful, angry music that is quite basic on the surface, but which makes tremendous impact due to the conviction behind it. These guys realize that it is heart and conviction that make a hardcore band truly outstanding.
Twisted Sister - Live at Wacken The Reunion
Review by Greg Olma
This CD/DVD set is real value for your money. The DVD is 105 minutes and contains their Wacken performance in 2003 along with a whole host of TV spots and behind the scenes footage.
Voodoo Hill - Wild Seed of Mother Earth
Review by Gary Hill
First, I have to state the obvious - outside of a handful of guys, Rob Halford and Geoff Tate come to mind, Glenn Hughes has the best voice in hard rock and metal - the man is incredible! So, anything Hughes sings on gets some points just for his appearance.
Whitesnake - Restless Heart
Review by Greg Olma
Looking back, I can't believe it was 7 years between Whitesnake albums. 1990 saw the release of Slip of the Tongue , undoubtedly Whitesnake's most "metal" long player. Seven years later, we were treated to an all together different Whitesnake.
Rob Zombie - Past, Present and Future
Review by Patrick Hennen
All right now all you spoooooooky kiddies. Sit down now around the campfire and sharpen your implements of destruction while I tell you all about this fine work from everyone's favorite musician turned director, turned cartoonist, turned director again and uh….
Non-Prog CD Reviews
Aerial - Caught Inside the Circle CD EP
Review by Bruce Stringer
Texas based Aerial have started to draw attention to themselves with their recent Peter Gabriel support and CD EP, Caught Inside the Circle. With influences ranging from Michael Hedges (whose Aerial Boundaries was the inspiration behind their name) to The Sundays, Tori Amos to U2, and Sade to Depeche Mode Aerial have managed to produce a mature and positive sound that highlights the song writing duo of Julie Lange and Kell Curtis.
American Zen - Level 1 - Peace of Mind
Review by Gary Hill
We're all familiar with Christian rock bands, but American Zen is most likely the first Buddhist rock band you've ever heard. They may well be the only one in existence.
Average White Band - Greatest and Latest
Review by Gary Hill
I have to admit that while I am a avid prog and metal fanatic, R & B, soul and especially funk have a special place in my musical tastes. So, Average White Band, the guys responsible for the CLASSIC funk song "Pick Up The Pieces" fit well within that range.
Bane - The Note
Review by Gary Hill
I am probably one of the more unusual progressive rock fans in that I always liked hardcore - you know that raw, frantic version of punk rock of which the most well known band was probably The Dead Kennedys - well, Suicidal Tendencies, but they were a bit more metal. While that may not seem a very progressive rock thing to admit, it's the truth.
Beautiful Creatures - Deuce
Review by Greg Olma
Bang Tango never got the credit that they deserved but as they say in business, timing is everything. They came out during the saturation period of glam/hair metal and got lumped in with them.
Eric Burdon - My Secret Life
Review by Josh Turner
This artist is best known for the hit House of the Rising Sun. During the song's golden era, he was the lead singer for The Animals.
James Christian - Meet the Man
Review by Greg Olma
Melodic rock has been maligned a lot in the press but I have always been a fan of this type of music. There is not much depth as far a lyrical content goes but what it lacks in lyrics, it makes up in good catchy melodies and flawless performances.
Colin Spring and the Band That Murdered Silence - Cancion De Pollo
Review by Gary Hill
I have to give kudos to any band whose name has a literary origin, and this is one such outfit. Their moniker comes from a passage by Joseph Conrad where he says that the house band in a club was "not so much making music as murdering silence."
Collective Soul - Dosage
Review by Lisa Palmeno
Collective Soul's Dosage is definitely "collective"; the sum of the the parts make a very cohesive, coherent, and unified artistic piece. The CD is percussively unique overall, with many different sounds that would appeal to gen x'ers, but loaded with influences from the '70s on up.
Robert Cray - Twenty
Review by Gary Hill
Robert Cray has always been lumped into the blues category, but this disc (along with the rest of his catalog) really shows that while his music at times fits well within that genre, more often than not it is far more wide reaching than the compartmentalized pigeon hole that the moniker creates.
The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets - Great Old Ones
Review by Gary Hill
This CD is a compilation of various songs by The Darkest of The Hillside Thickets that until the disc's release were only available on out of print cassettes with a few others added into to fill out the album. This one comes in and out of print rather frequently, but for the time being is still available.
Dog Faced Gods - Stoned Council
Review by Gary Hill
I have to make one thing perfectly clear. This review in no way supports or condones the usage of illegal substances. That said, I doubt very much that Dog Faced Gods could say the same thing.
The Duke - My Kung Fu Is Good
Review by Gary Hill
Rich Ward is The Duke. Ward is also better known for his work in metal bands Stuck Mojo and Fozzy. While this disc shows off some minor metal leanings, it is certainly not going to be confused with an album by either of those outfits.
Jerry Gaskill - Come Somewhere
Review by Gary Hill
What a wonderful surprise this one is! I had never been very familiar with King's X, so when I got this disc from King's X drummer Gaskill, I wasn't' sure what to expect.
Teddy Geiger - Step Ladder EP
Review by Gary Hill
Just when I'd nearly given up on looking for any talent in any artist that had been picked up by the major pop idol making machine along comes Teddy Geiger.
Hanzel Und Gretyl - Scheissmessiah
Review by Gary Hill
While Hanzel Und Gretyl began more as a techno outfit than anything else, by the time this, their latest release was recorded they had brought in plenty of heavy metal and goth sensibilities. The result is a disc that creates an interesting hybrid of these styles.
Heart - Bebe Le Strange (Remaster)
Review by Gary Hill
Bebe Le Strange found Heart moving between musical styles and eras. While it showed off plenty of the seventies influences that had made up the band's catalog to this point, it found more aggressive and faster playing and even some punk rock influences showing up.
Heart - Dog and Butterfly (Remaster)
Review by Gary Hill
Another of the Heart remasters coming out; this one is a strong disc, but not nearly as consistent or potent as Little Queen is. The album includes some strong material, but also suffers a bit from some weaker stuff being on show.
The Hollies - Reunion
Review by Gary Hill
This live set from 1983 has just been shown the light of day in 2004. While the Hollies have a reputation of being a great live act, this disc doesn't seem to hold a lot of evidence of that fact.
The H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society - A Shoggoth on The Roof
Review by Gary Hill
For fans of the author H. P. Lovecraft (particularly those with a good sense of humor), this is a pretty awesome album. I should admit here that since I generally am not a big fan of musicals, much of this music (although adapted from "Fiddler on The Roof") is new to me.
The H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society - A Very Scary Solstice
Review by Gary Hill
Sean Branney and the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society are a very talented bunch of people who have a deep admiration for the work of writer H. P. Lovecraft. That admiration influences what they do - and they do a lot.
Glenn Hughes - Soul Mover
Review by Gary Hill
Glenn Hughes should be a familiar name to fans of hard rock. He started out with the legendary band Trapeze and then worked with Deep Purple.
Insane Clown Posse - Hell's Pit
Review by Patrick Hennen
OK, Juggalos and Juggalettes this is part 7 of the Mighty 6 Joker's Card series. Yes, I do realize how that sounds, let me bring this to a better light.
Jet Motor Crash - Personal Space
Review by Gary Hill
The second album from California band Jet Motor Crash, this one is solid, but could be better. The band creates a blend of music that is all hard alternative rock, but seems to lean heavily on metal and punk.
King's X - Ogre Tones
Review by Josh Turner
This has the angst-ridden riffs they're famous for as well as majestic melodies in the vein of The Beatles. There's no doubt as to where they're from or whose been influencing them lately.
Kiss - Symphony:Alive IV
Review by Patrick Hennen
This is the fourth installment of the Kiss Alive series. The first Alive, which was recorded in Detroit Michigan takes us back to 1975.
Kosmic Horrör - Zarkov Protocols Vol. 1
Review by Gary Hill
This is probably a first - I'm willing to bet you've never read a review of Klingon music before. Well, that's exactly what this is.
Lenny Kravitz - Greatest Hits - Limited Tour Edition CD and DVD
Review by Gary Hill
Released to coincide with his tour, this is a somewhat expanded version of the Greatest Hits disc released in 2000. It has two new tracks added, "Dig In" and "Where are We Runnin'?" and a couple songs have been moved around.
Steve Laputa - Guitars and Christmas Trees
Review by Gary Hill
Guitarist Steve Laputa has put together a CD whose title both does a great job of getting you ready for the music within and also is a nice creative twist. The cover is much a similar twist, and both of these things fit very well with the music contained within
Led Zeppelin - Presence
Review by Gary Hill
Often overlooked, this is actually one of my favorite Zeppelin albums.
Madside - Madside
Review by Gary Hill
If you like alternative rock, nu metal or other recent forms of hard edged music, you probably should give these guys a try.
John Mayall - and the Blues Breakers - Road Dogs
Review by Gary Hill
John Mayall is without question a legend. The man has been making blues for more years than a lot of musicians around today have been alive.
Molly Hatchet - Warriors of the Rainbow Bridge
Review by Mike Korn
After more than 30 years of riding the highways of America and elsewhere and a year full of tragedy and trial, Jacksonville Florida's Molly Hatchet release a defining album that stands as a kind of Southern rock mission statement.
Mountain - Eruption
Review by Gary Hill
This live collection is a good album that probably could have been a great one. I have read reviews where people have full on trashed this one.
Necro - Prefix For Death
Review by Gary Hill
There are certainly two sides to be looked at on this CD, the music and the lyrics.
Beth Nielsen Chapman - Look
Review by Steve Alspach
Well, man cannot live on prog rock alone. Believe me, I've tried.
Pacer - Involuntary Movement
Review by Gary Hill
I really had to give a lot of thought to what section of MSJ this review belonged. In honesty, this almost made into the progressive rock section.
REO Speedwagon - Essential REO
Review by Gary Hill
The story is a familiar one - a band forms and creates their own sound, putting out a wealth of material, with some strong and others not so strong. Eventually they stumble onto a major hit, and suddenly their entire output seems to be based around trying to recreate that sound.
Julie Roberts - Julie Roberts
Review by Gary Hill
When I was younger I wouldn't have touched country music with the proverbial ten-foot pole. As I've matured, though, I've found that all musical forms have artists of merit within them, and by closing out an entire genre, you are depriving yourself of some very good music.
The Rolling Stones - A Bigger Bang
Review by Gary Hill
While the Stones have always produced entertaining albums, for a long time it has felt like they weren't entertained by them. It almost seemed like they were phoning in their performances much of the time.
Tim Russ - Brave New World
Review by Gary Hill
Often when you hear an album by an actor - some recent examples certainly come to mind - you might think that this person really is neither a singer or a musician and is just being force fed the lines one by one to sell the album based on their name.
Tim Russ - Bugsters Tunes and Tales by Tim Russ and Friends
Review by Gary Hill
This is a bit of an usual review for me and for MSJ - being that it is a children's CD. We've never done one before, in fact, I've never done one before, but there's a first time for everything.
William Shatner - Has Been
Review by Gary Hill
I have to confess to being a huge Star Trek fan. That is what drew me to William Shatner's first CD, The Transformed Man,
Sister Hazel - Lift
Review by Gary Hill
There is something to be said for the charm of leaving a few rough edges around both songwriting and production.
The Snaggs - Hot Tomato
Review by Gary Hill
The Snaggs are a band you may not have heard of, but if you like modern pop rock, you probably should give them a chance. If you are a Cheap Trick fan, you might find a reason to give them a listen, too. 

Jeff Scott Soto - Lost In The Translation
Review by Greg Olma

I have always thought that it was a crime that Jeff Scott Soto is not mentioned in the same breath as David Coverdale, Robert Plant, and all of the other greats.

Summer Rain - Tye Dye
Review by Gary Hill
There is a certain sound that bands from the midwest have, especially on the vocals. All you have to do is listen to such diverse groups as Cheap Trick, Off Broadway and Enuff Znuff to hear what I mean.
3 Kisses - Wings
Review by Gary Hill
Texas based 3 Kisses describes their music as alternative pop, and that pretty well sums it up. This group has a lot in common with Blondie and the Go Go's in terms of their retro brand of pop rock, but they also have a more garage sound like the indie and alternative rockers of today. 
Tishamingo - Wear N' Tear
Review by Gary Hill
Alright, so first off, it is a weird name. As it turns out the name is taken from the movie "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"
Tokyo Dragons - Give Me The Fear
Review by Greg Olma

This CD is the second gem I have been asked to review for this issue. I read a little blurb in Classic Rock Magazine but I really did not have a clue to what Tokyo Dragons is all about. 

Tony C & The Truth - Demonophic Blues
Review by Gary Hill

This is the debut for this outfit, and I have a hunch these guys may make some serious movement in the music business - at least if talent, chops and just plain coolness will still get you anywhere.

U2 - How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb
Review by Josh Turner
When I first heard Vertigo on the radio, I had to hear the album. Many bands these days release an album on the merits of one good song, tour, and rake in the cash.
Vampire Beach Babes - Beach Blanket Bedlam
Review by Gary Hill
Toronto has a new claim to musical fame. While Toronto's favorite musical sons, Rush, are probably in no real danger of losing their title, there is a new kid in town Vampire Beach Babes.
Various Artists - Drum Nation Vol. 2
Review by Gary Hill
The concept is simple but unique: put together a number of tracks from various artists showcasing influential and potent drummers. This was the concept for Magna Carta's first drum nation CD, and they continue it here - why mess up a good thing?
Various Artists - Strange Aeons
Review by Gary Hill
According to the liner notes, Strange Aeons is "a musical tribute to H. P. Lovecraft and the ever expanding 'Cthulhu Mythos'". Steve Lines "directed and produced" the disc, but there are a number of artists who contributed to it.
Ricky Warwick - Love Many Trust Few
Review by Gary Hill
Listening to this disc I never would have pictured Ricky Warwick to be from Ireland. Truly his Mellencamp like roots rock approach conjures up images of the Southern United States far more than of the Green Isle.
Brian Wilson - Smile
Review by Steve Alspach
Some albums have been labeled ahead of their time, but this one takes the cake. The quantum leap that Brian Wilson tried to take between the "Fun, Fun, Fun" Beach Boys of two years prior to this sprawling paean to American music left him severely fried and made for great fodder for rumors and speculation.
DVD/Video Reviews
Ian Anderson - Plays the Orchestral Jethro Tull DVD
Review by Gary Hill
I find that often when groups play with orchestras the result is somewhat disappointing. Often the orchestra simply serves as icing on the cake and the power of the music is tempered in trying to lend room to the new found instruments in the arrangement.
Average White Band - Live At Montreux 1977 DVD
Review by Gary Hill
I've always had a soft spot in my heart for funk, and therefore Average White Band. This Scottish outfit had a killer funky sound and always managed to entertain. This DVD captures their 1977 appearance at the Montreux Jazz Festival.
The Beatles - From Liverpool to San Francisco DVD
Review by Gary Hill
This new DVD is a pretty interesting look into the history of arguably the most important band in the history of rock music. To begin with there is a documentary of the band covering their history from 1963 in Liverpool to the end of the band in 1970.
Before the Dawn - The First Chapter
Review by Gary Hill
This is a DVD from the Finnish band Before The Dawn. I have to say, any band with the same name as a Judas Priest song gets my attention - it's just a matter of whether or not they can keep it. Let me say upfront that these guys definitely sound nothing like Judas Priest.
George Benson - Live At Montreux 1986 DVD
Review by Gary Hill
As part of the Live at Montreux series, this DVD of George Bensen's 1986 performance has just been released. Bensen is sort of a paradox.
Body Count - Smokeout DVD
Review by Gary Hill
I have to say upfront that I've always had a deep respect for Ice-T. The guy has a lot of talent and also seems to me to have a lot of integrity.
Brazen Abbot - A Decade of Brazen Abbot DVD
Review by Mike Korn
The name of Brazen Abbot is not all that well known in America but if you were to judge the band by this combined concert/documentary DVD, you'd think they were one of the biggest rock bands in the world. Well, even if you are not, act like you are and maybe success will follow.
California Guitar Trio - Live @ Sinnissippi Park 7/23/05 DVD
Review by Gary Hill
Produced by Snapshot Music in cooperation with California Guitar Trio, this DVD captures a 2005 show from the band in Rockford, Illinois.
Chain - Chain.exe DVD - Limited Edition
Review by Josh Turner
This artist is known best for the dynamic duo of Frameshift albums: Unweaving the Rainbow & An Absence of Empathy. Yet, fans of Frameshift will certainly like the Chain projects too.
Danzig - Il Demonio Nera DVD
Review by Gary Hill
This collection should be a welcome treat for fans of Danzig's brand of goth/techno/metal. It has 13 videos of six different songs - yes, that means you get several versions of most of the songs.
Doro - Classic Diamonds DVD
Review by Gary Hill
The first thing that's apparent with this DVD is that you get a lot for your money. There are two full concerts one 43 minutes long and one 61 minutes, but that's only the beginning.
Eminem - The Complete History DVD
Review by Gary Hill
Eminem is certainly embroiled in controversy and image, but who is Marshall Mathers?
Green Day - Suburbia Bomb DVD
Review by Josh Turner
It's like a Michael Moore movie without the politics. It's like "Super Size Me" without the food.
Steve Hackett - Once Above A Time DVD
Review by Gary Hill
This new live DVD from Steve Hackett shows a vital and powerful progressive rock band creating an awesome musical landscape on the live stage.
The Isley Brothers - Summer Breeze - Greatest Hits Live DVD
Review by Gary Hill
I came at this one with a slightly blasé approach. I mean, I had heard the name, and knew that I had heard one or two of the band's songs.
Rick James - Superfreak Live 1982 DVD
Review by Gary Hill
The funk master himself, Rick James may not be with us anymore, but this 1982 concert is now available on DVD. The release has its good and bad points, but overall is an enjoyable record of the live power of this musical legend.
Jethro Tull - Nothing is Easy: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970
Review by Josh Turner
This DVD is about a historical band playing a historical venue during a historical era. It's both a concert and a documentary.
Metallica - Out of the Loop DVD
Review by Gary Hill
This documentary showcases the history of one of the most influential metal bands of all time. That said, there are some definite strengths and weaknesses to the film.
The Mission UK - Lighting the Candles DVD
Review by Gary Hill
Wow, this is some package! This is what I would call a "massive" set. The Mission - a spin off of Sisters of Mercy has just released this 2 DVD one CD set, and it's simply a lot of bang for the buck.
Joni Mitchell - Painting With Words and Music DVD
Review by Gary Hill
This DVD is a new reissue of an out of print music video. The film, made for TV, captures Joni Mitchell in a very cool and intriguing concert format.
Mostly Autumn - The V Shows DVD
Review by Josh Turner
This DVD was my first encounter with the band, and I must say it had really impressed me. Now I can understand all the hype around this band.
Nazareth - Homecoming - The Greatest Hits Live in Glasgow DVD
Review by Gary Hill
This video (recorded in 2001, but released in 2005) captures a "homecoming" concert by Nazareth to their hometown of Glasgow. This one is excellent both in terms of sound and video quality.
Niacin - Live In Tokyo DVD
Review by Gary Hill
First, for anyone looking at this DVD and wondering, "what's different about this one from Live: Blood, Sweat and Beers that I bought a couple years ago?" - the answer is just the cover and the title, this is the same video.
Pain of Salvation - Be
Review by Josh Turner
This is one of the coolest music videos since Michael Jackson's Thriller. It's one of the best concepts since Queensryche's Operation: Mindcrime. Without hesitation, I'd put this in step with Pink Floyd's The Wall.
Prong - The Vault DVD
Review by Gary Hill
This new double DVD from Prong captures 3 shows of the band during 2002 and 2003. The set has its good and bad points, but overall I would say it definitely falls into the very good range.
Testament - Live In London DVD
Review by Josh Turner
It's the classic line-up in a trouble-free DVD. Drenched in blood red and decorated with gold trim, this simple gatefold booklet contains nothing more than a single disc.
Travers & Appice - Live DVD
Review by Gary Hill
Anybody remember the power trio? Well, have to say that I do, and I generally found that when a power trio was on - they rocked!
U2 - The Complete Story DVD
Review by Gary Hill
As someone who has followed U2 on and off for the majority of their career, they have always been an enigma to me. On the one hand they have the tendency to be one of the most creative and passionate bands around.
Various Artists - Blues Guitar Shootout - Sinnissippi Park Music Shell 7/9/05 DVD
Review by Gary Hill
Fans of the blues from outside the Illinois area may not have heard of the musicians featured on this disc, but they really should find out about them.
Various Artists - Legends Live at Montreux 1997 DVD
Review by Gary Hill
Well, they couldn't have titled this one better. This DVD is an excellent film record of a concert from the renowned Montreux Jazz Festival, and all these guys are legends.
Various Artists - Let It Rock DVD
Review by Steve Alspach
"Let It Rock" by Eagle Vision is a DVD that gives us a thoughtful look at the origins of rock and roll. The main occasion was a 1995 concert in Toronto's Massey Hall for Ronnie Hawkins, one of the pioneers of rock and roll in the 1950s.
The Who - Live At The Isle of Wight DVD
Review by Gary Hill
As someone who has always been sort of a periphery fan of The Who, this video is truly an interesting rock and roll document. I had seen little live footage of the band, and watching this brings a lot of revelations.
Yes - Yesyears DVD
Review by Gary Hill
Before there was Yesspeak, there was Yesyears. In some ways this documentary is superior to the more recent one.
Frank Zappa - The Dub Room Special DVD
Review by Gary Hill
Envisioned by Zappa in 1992, this is finally seeing the light of day as a DVD in 2005. The video is a very cool one.
Interview by Josh Turner
Interview with Randy George of Ajalon from 2005

Interview by Mike Korn
Interview with Jason Mendonca of Akercocke from 2005
Interview by Mike Korn
Interview with Joey Belladonna of Anthrax from September 2005
Interview by Greg Olma
Interview with John Payne of Asia from 2005
Tomas Bodin
Interview by Josh Turner
Interview with Tomas Bodin from 2005
Brazen Abbot
Interview by Greg Olma
Interview with Nikolo Kotzev of Brazen Abbot from 2005
Joe Deninzon
Interview by Gary Hill
Interview with Joe Deninzon from 2005
The Duke
Interview by Gary Hill
Interview with The Duke (Rich Ward) from 2005
Interview by Josh Turner
Interview with Brett Kull of Echolyn from 2005

Interview by Josh Turner
Interview with Doug Ott of Enchant from 2005
Far Corner
Interview by Josh Turner
Interview with Dan Maske of Far Corner from 2005

Interview by Steve Alspach
Interview with Fish from 2005
The Flower Kings
Interview by Josh Turner
Interview with Jonas Reingold of The Flower Kings from 2005
Frame Shift
Interview by Josh Turner
Interview with Henning Pauly from 2005

Teddy Geiger
Interview by Gary Hill
Interview with Teddy Geiger from 2005

Steve Hackett
Interview by Josh Turner
Interview with Steve Hackett, 2005
Happy The Man
Interview by Steve Alspach
Interview with Stan Whitaker and Frank Wyatt of Happy The Man from 2005
Interview by Mike Korn
Interview with Katon Depena of Hirax from 2005
Interview by Josh Turner
Interview with Brick Williams of Hourglass from 2005

Judas Priest
Interview by Mike Korn
Interview with Ian Hill of Judas Priest from 2005

Interview by Josh Turner
Interview with Hans Lundin of Kaipa from 2005
King Diamond
Interview by Mike Korn
Interview with Mike Wead from 2005

King's X
Interview by Josh Turner
Interview with Ty Tabor of King's X from 2005
Interview by Gary Hill
Interview with Dee Long of Klaatu from 2005
Kosmic Horror
Interview by Gary Hill
Interview with Christian Kumpe of Kosmic Horrör from 2005

Yngwie Malmsteen
Interview by Lisa Palmeno
Interview with Yngwie Malmsteen from 2005

Guy Manning
Interview by Josh Turner
Interview with Guy Manning from 2005

Frank Marino
Interview by Greg Olma
Interview with Frank Marino from 2005
Angie Mattson
Interview by Josh Turner
Interview with Angie Mattson from 2005
Molly Hatchet
Interview by Mike Korn
Interview with Bobby Ingram of Molly Hatchet From 2005
Neal Morse
Interview by Josh Turner
Interview with Neal Morse from 2005

Interview by Arnold Hablewitz
Interview With Nonpoint's Elias From 2005

November's Doom
Interview by Mike Korn
Interview with Paul Kuhr of Novembers Doom From 2005 
Interview by Mike Korn
Interview with Blitz Ellsworth of Overkill From 2005
The PB Army
Interview by Mike Korn
Interview with Keith Bergman of PB Army From 2005

Interview by Josh Turner
Interview with Peter Gee of Pendragon From 2005

Porcupine Tree
Interview by Steve Alspach
Interview with Porcupine Tree's Steve Wilson from 2005
Interview by Greg Olma
Interview with Geoff Tate of Queensryche from 2005

Interview by Marc Leider
Interview with Michael Wilton of Queensryche from 2005
Tim Russ
Interview by Gary Hill and Mike Korn
Interview with Tim Russ From 2005

Interview by Mike Korn
Interview with Satyr of Satyricon From 2005 
Simon Apple
Interview by Josh Turner
Interview with Jeff Miller of Simon Apple From 2005
Alex Skolnick Trio
Interview by Gary Hill and Mike Korn
Interview with Alex Skolnick From 2005
Slough Feg
Interview by Mike Korn
Interview with Mike Scalzi of Slough Feg From 2005

Interview by Josh Turner
Interview with Tom Brislin of Spiraling From 2005
Interview by Josh Turner
Interview with Marcel Everts and Menno Broer van Dijk of Splinter From 2005
Stream of Passion
Interview by Josh Turner
Interview with Marcela Bovio of Stream of Passion From 2005
Interview by Mike Korn
Interview with Dom Macaluso of Throwdown From 2005

Interview by Greg Olma
Interview with Phil Mogg of UFO from 2005
Rick Wakeman
Interview by Gary Hill and Josh Turner
Interview with Rick Wakeman from 2005
Concert Reviews
Anthrax - Live in Rockford, IL, September 28, 2005
Review by Mike Korn
It's been a long and twisting road for Anthrax, but things seem to have come full circle for them. The band has once again settled into the same classic configuration that unleashed seminal albums like "Among the Living" and "State of Euphoria" upon the world and I must say, it seems very natural and comfortable.
Asia - Live in Chicago, July 2005
Review by Greg Olma
I hate these guys. I hate 'em, I hate 'em.
Collective Soul - Live in Beloit, Wi, July, 2005
Review by Lisa Palmeno
Collective Soul first blasted onto the stage in 1994 with their megahit CD Hints Allegations And Things Left Unsaid. This summer's tour marks a decade for them, and the May 24, 2005 release of From The Ground Up has thrust the alternative rock gods back into the limelight.
Robert Cray - Live in Rockford, IL, August, 2005
Review by Gary Hill
If you had to sum up Robert Cray's performance at the 2005 On The Waterfront Festival it would be "expressive". Fortunately I have more than one word to do it in, though.
Deep Purple - Live in Rockford, IL, 2005
Review by Mike Korn
Deep Purple don't play all that many dates in the U.S. anymore, preferring to concentrate on the more lucrative foreign markets, so it was quite a surprise to see they got a gig here in Rockford. This is a band that got its start the same year that Led Zeppelin did and they have been prolific since that long ago year of 1968.
Dream Theater - Live in Boston, MA, August 2005
Review by Josh Turner
Dream Theater was pretty good, but not excellent. With the exception of a couple songs, most of them have been performed untold times in past concerts.
Far Corner - Live in Milwaukee, WI, September 2005
Review by Josh Turner
While Kopecky was the main act, I actually came for Far Corner. I've seen Kopecky play live on a separate occasion.
FireHouse - Live in Beloit, WI, July 2005
Review by Lisa Palmeno
FireHouse opened "The Rock Never Stops" Tour performance at Beloit Riverfest on Sunday, July 17. Complete with high-whining guitars and vibrato-laden vocals, Firehouse kicked off the show, loud and proud.
Robert Fripp - Live in Milwaukee, WI, October 2005
Review by Josh Turner
This was an odd opener for Porcupine Tree. It took me awhile to unravel how they came up with this strange selection.
Teddy Geiger - Live in Peoria, IL, 2005
Review by Gary Hill
With the current state of pop music it's often difficult to sort out the talented artists from those bulk of those who are simply manufactured products of the "music" industry. It would be easy to assume that anyone caught up in the massive image-making machine is a talent-less image driven entity.
Iron Maiden - Live at Ozzfest, 2005, Alpine Valley, WI
Review by Arnold Hablewitz
Let's just cut to the chase…Iron Maiden Killed! They owned Ozzfest tonight!
Jethro Tull - Live in Chicago, IL, November, 2005
Review by Greg Olma
I love concerts like this. More and More bands seem to be dispensing with the opening acts and doing two sets of their own.
Judas Priest - Live in Chicago, IL, June, 2005
Review by Gary Hill
Judas Priest stormed into the greater Chicago area on their Angel of Retribution tour, and although the evening air was on the hot side of warm, their performance was even hotter. This reviewer has seen Priest many, many times, but this may have been the best performance I've ever seen from them.
Judas Priest - Live in Rockford, IL, September 28, 2005
Review by Mike Korn
Let me first express my disappointment in the size of the crowd. I am enough of a realist to know that a classic metal band like Judas Priest is not going to sell out the Metro Centre on a weeknight.
King Diamond - Live at House of Blues, Chicago, April 27,2005
Review by Mike Korn
There are a lot of good bands in the heavy metal scene today, but how many real entertainers are there? By "entertainer", I mean individuals who go out and put on a complete package that offers more than just going on stage and playing songs with enthusiasm?
Kopecky - Live in Milwaukee, WI, September 2005
Review by Josh Turner
I saw this trio open up for The Flower Kings at this very same venue back in 2001. At the time, it was one of the best shows I had ever seen.
Marillion - Live in Chicago, June, 2005
Review by Josh Turner
If you get a chance to see Marillion in concert, don't miss the opportunity. They were much better live than I could have ever imagined.
Frank Marino - Live in Schaumburg, IL, October, 2005
Review by Greg Olma
The full text of this review and a large gallery of pics from the show are available in our members area.

Frank Marino doesn't care about trends or the musical "flavor of the month".
Mountain - Live in Rockford, IL, 2005
Review by Mike Korn
What an absolutely gorgeous night for a concert this was. After weeks of scorching above 90 degree heat, we had finally gotten a break in the last two days.
Nile - Live at House of Blues, Chicago, April 27,2005
Review by Mike Korn
These disciples of the pharaohs have a very strong following themselves, and it was clear some were here to see them rather than King Diamond.
Nonpoint - Live in Rockford, Illinois, 2005
Review by Mike Korn
There was going to be a kind of chill over this event before it ever started.
Queensrÿche - Live in Chicago, IL, June, 2005
Review by Gary Hill
One certainly can't complain about Queensryche doing the same set year after year. In fact, if you see The Ryche on more than one tour, the odds are you will see very different sets.
Queensrÿche - Live in Merrillville, IN, October, 2005
Review by Greg Olma
Queensryche was continuing their "Back with One Foot in Hell" with a stop at Star Plaza in Merrillville, Indiana. The best thing about this tour was that it was a complete evening of Queensryche music.
Shadows Fall - Live at Ozzfest, Alpine Valley, WI, 2005
Review by Arnold Hablewitz
Proof that American thrash metal has been resurrected, Shadows Fall took the stage and slayed us all. 
UFO - Live in Chicago, July 2005
Review by Greg Olma
There was a UFO that landed in Chicago on a hot July evening. No, not the kind that transport little green men but the English rock institution.
Whitesnake - Chicago, IL July 2005
Review by Greg Olma
Whitesnake is one of my guilty pleasures. I'm not a hair metal fan and unfortunately, Whitesnake gets lumped into that genre.
Book Reviews
The Beatles - Get Back: The Beatles' Let It Be Disaster written by Doug Sulpy and Ray Schweighardt
Review by Steve Alspach
If there was ever a band that was in need of a vacation, it was the Beatles in January 1969. They were in a 16-month slump starting with Brian Epstein's death in August 1967, the less-than-flattering critical response to the Magical Mystery Tour movie, and the PR fiasco of their jaunt to India with the Maharishi.
Keith Emerson and the Nice - Hang On To a Dream: The Story of the Nice written by Martyn Hanson
Review by Steve Alspach
One of the more popular bands in progressive rock during the 1960s, at least in England anyway, was the Nice. A band that got its start providing backup for r-n-b singer Pat (P.P.) Arnold, the band then found its own ground by playing straight-ahead rock, but then eventually paying homage (in their own iconoclastic way) to such classical composers as Sibelius, Bach, and Tchaikovsky.
King Crimson - In the Court of King Crimson written by Sid Smith
Review by Steve Alspach
Few bands in progressive rock have a more colorful past than King Crimson. As Sid Smith says in the preface, the history of King Crimson is the "triumph of spirit over adversity. And sometimes the triumph of adversity."
Rush - Traveling Music: My Life and Times in Music written by Neil Peart
Review by Steve Alspach
For someone who is content to avoid the spotlight, Neil Peart picked a lousy occupation, drumming for one of the most popular bands in the world. He sure doesn't mind talking about himself, either, but unlike most, he resorts to the printed word to do so.
Various Artists - Hell Bent For Leather: Confessions of a Heavy Metal Addict written by Seb Hunter
Review by Lisa Palmeno
Hell Bent for Leather is Seb Hunter's account of his love affair with heavy metal music. He details the courtship beginning with AC/DC's "Let's Get It Up", and chronicles what he calls metal's "golden years" from 1969 with Led Zeppelin's first album to 1991 with Nirvana's second album, Nevermind.
Various Artists - Using Your Art and The Media To Comfort People written by Anne Leighton
Review by Gary Hill
This is a little change of pace for MSJ. Normally we review books "about" music. This book however is less about music than it is a resource for musicians.
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