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February 2008 - Issue 68
Progressive Rock CD Reviews
Agua De Annique - Air
Review by Gary Hill
Anneke van Giersbergen is the main person on this project. She’s best known as the former singer of the band The Gathering.
Bruford and Borstlap - In Two Minds
Review by Gary Hill
This collaboration between drum and percussion legend Bill Bruford (Yes, King Crimson) and piano player Michiel Borstlap presents some intriguing jazz that seems to strive to exist without borders or preconceptions.
Canvas - Digital Pigeon
Review by Gary Hill
This studio outfit has released its second CD in Digital Pigeon. A killer piece of music this one features great hooks in strong prog rock arrangements.
Contrarian - Minor Complexities
Review by Tim Jones
Minor Complexities is the debut album from Contrarian, a band out of New Jersey.  The group was put together by Tim Boney (guitars, keys, and bass), who is joined by Michael White (drums) and Joseph Leming (vocals). 
Alan Davey - Captured Rotation
Review by Gary Hill
This solo album from former Hawkwind bassist Alan Davey has been out of print for a while. It’s been known to fetch some outrageous amounts of cash on internet auction sites
Alan Davey - Four Track Mind Volume 1
Review by Gary Hill
These recordings from former Hawkwind bassist, singer, keyboardist and songwriter are all essentially home recordings done on a 4-track recorder. They are items he’s had sitting around for a long time and has chosen to put together on a series of discs and release.
Alan Davey - Four-Track Mind Volume 2
Review by Gary Hill
A new disc of tracks that Alan Davey (best known for his work in Hawkwind) produced on a four track in his home. These were really not intended for release as they are, but the thing is, there’s no reason they couldn’t have been.
Engine of Earth - Engine of Earth
Review by Josh Turner
This trio represents the next generation of progressive rock. They borrow only from the masters of each epoch.
Fripp & Eno - Beyond Even (1992-2006)
Review by Gary Hill
This is a collection of previously unreleased collaborations between Robert Fripp and Brian Eno. As one might imagine the majority of this music is firmly rooted in atmospheric territory.
Gentle Giant - Santa Monica 1975
Review by Julie Knispel
Gentle Giant just recently celebrated their 35th anniversary with a series of reissues of their classic studio output.  Alongside this series of reissues, a number of live albums and compilations have been released, of varying quality and varying interest to both the hardcore Gentle Giant fan and the nouveau audient.
Mike Glendinning - Random Acts of Grunge Jazz
Review by Jeremy Seffens
With a unique sound that is entirely his own, Mike Glendinning sets up the perfect face for “grunge jazz.”
Hawkwind - Space Ritual Collectors Edition CD / DVD
Review by Bruce Stringer
EMI has released a series of special edition CDs for collectors, which include many rare recordings and some with video material. This edition of Hawkwind’s live psychedelic freak-out, Space Ritual, comes with the complete show of full-length versions of tracks (as some were previously issued in edited form to fit the vinyl format).
King Crimson - The Great Deceiver, Vol. 1: Live 1973-1974 Volume 2
Review by Gary Hill
This, along with Volume 2, is a reissue of a 4 CD set that came out in the 1990’s. It captures the Larks Tongues In Aspic / Starless and Bible Black era King Crimson in a series of live shows.
King Crimson - The Great Deceiver: Live 1973-1974 Volume 2
Review by Gary Hill
Here we have the second set of live Crimson tracks just reissued. See my review of Volume 1 for more information about this release overall.
Lana Lane - Red Planet Boulevard
Review by Gary Hill
There have always been those who have felt that Lana Lane belonged more under the heavy metal banner than progressive rock. This album will certainly lend fire to that argument.
Leonard and Leonard - Prog Bach
Review by Sonya Kukcinovich Hill
Brothers Glenn Leonard and Kevin Leonard may not be household prog names, but they are no strangers to progressive music.
Little Atlas - Hollow
Review by Michael Ostrich
At the inaugural year of RoSfest, Little Atlas blew crowds away at a time when some may have considered them amateurs. Back then all they had to go on was a single album to their name.
OSI - re: free
Review by Josh Turner
The songs are about as long as an aircraft carrier and in some ways better than the original strip whereas the album is shorter all-around. Taken from the initial messenger’s material, they downsize to something that’s leaner and meaner.
The Pax Cecilia - Blessed are the Bonds
Review by Julie Knispel
The Pax Cecilia hails from Rochester New York (according to their Myspace page). There’s not a lot of great info out there about them from a quick and dirty search of the net...while I have a band member list copied from the CD tray, I have no idea who plays what.
Spirits Burning & Bridget Wishart - Earth Born
Review by Gary Hill
Since this disc features performances from a number of people who have been involved with Hawkwind (most notably Wishart herself) comparisons to that band are obvious. A lot of the music lives up to that. In fact a good deal of this disc reminds me of a more pure progressive rock oriented Hawkwind with some serious jazz thrown into the mix.
Three - The End is Begun
Review by Gary Hill
Probably there are two things about this band’s music that impress me more than anything else. The first one is how they can take truly unusual and steadily altering compositions, complete with parts that go seamlessly together despite extreme contrast, and make the songs seem catchy and almost “pop oriented.”
Tiles - Fly Paper
Review by Julie Knispel
Detroit’s Tiles is back with a vengeance on Fly Paper, their fifth album (and first studio effort in four years).  The album reunites the band’s “classic” line-up for a full-length collaboration for the first time since 1997’s Fence the Clear. 
Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Beethoven’s Last Night
Review by Tim Jones
Trans-Siberian Orchestra began as a side-project of Savatage, a progressive metal band led by Jon Oliva and Paul O’Neill.  TSO’s first single, in fact, appeared first on the Savatage album Dead Winter Dead. 
Rick Wakeman - Aspirant Sunshadows
Review by Gary Hill
The third CD in a trilogy of “new age” discs from Rick Wakeman, this might be the best of the bunch. 
Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews
Annihilator - Metal
Review by Mike Korn
I have been a Jeff Waters fan from the early days of Annihilator so it should come as no surprise that I have been anxiously awaiting this release.  Pre-release information hinted at an “old school metal” vibe to the new material and then I heard about the special guest list which included a “who’s who” of the new metal breed. 
DC4 - Explode
Review by Gary Hill
Fans of Godsmack and Alice in Chains should like this band because the bulk of their repertoire comes close to the sound of those two acts. Their fanbase isn’t about to be limited there, though.
Electric Wizard - Witchcult Today
Review by Mike Korn
If there's a band out there today that typifies the druggy, Satanic side of the late 60's and early 70's more than Britain's Electric Wizard, I'd like to know who it is. This coven of grimmy and gloomy metalheads revel in such iconic archetypes as Hammer horror films, Anton Lavey's Church of Satan, the Spanish Inquisition, acid-fueled hippy devil cult and the warped weirdness of H.P. Lovecraft
Fight - K5 - The War of Words - Demos
Review by Gary Hill
The majority of the material here comes from the working tapes that Fight recorded before doing their War of Words album. “So, what does ‘K5’ mean?” you ask?
Imperia - Queen of Light
Review by Gary Hill
Isn’t it amazing how a new sound comes along, all original and unique and sparks a whole field of musicians who recreate it in their own image? Then, after a while, the style becomes so overdone that it gets clichéd and trite and feels generic.
Motörhead - Better Motörhead Than Dead
Review by Gary Hill
Motörhead are really an amazing band. Very few outfits can take a sound and essentially beat it into the ground and pull it off.
Opeth - The Roundhouse Tapes
Review by Julie Knispel
Sweden’s Opeth has been on an upward career trajectory ever since releasing their first album (Orchid) in 1995.  Successive releases have seen them honing their impressive instrumental, vocal, and production skills to a deadly razor-sharp edge, moving from label to label with their growing fan base following them. 
Overkill - Immortalis
Review by Mike Korn
Overkill is the most consistent band in American heavy far. That goes without saying anymore, as the band has found the secret to releasing incredibly heavy and entertaining albums on a near clockwork basis.
Pathosray - Pathosray
Review by Gary Hill
I definitely debated over whether to lump this one into progressive rock or metal. In the end I went with metal, but it was a close call. This band really does sit pretty well across both genres.
Non-Prog CD Reviews
Cocteau Twins - Four-Calendar Café
Review by Bruce Stringer
The Cocteau Twins were the accessible bridge between the Goth / Art sound of (early) Cure, Dead Can Dance, et al and the world of 80’s pop, spawning numerous clones and would-be sound-a-likes the world over.
Cocteau Twins - Lullabies To Violaine - Volume 1
Review by Bruce Stringer
Subtitled “Singles and Extended Plays,” this two part compendium of the Cocteau Twins EP’s, 7” and 12”releases, Lullabies To Violaine is a much-needed collection for the fan who missed out on any of the rarities that were released between albums.
Cy Curnin - The Returning Sun
Review by Eric Meli
In the 1980s  Cy Curnin was in this band called “The Fixx.”

Devil Doll - The Return Of Eve
Review by Greg Olma
This is one of those releases that defies a straight category.  There are so many elements in this CD (including rockabilly, punk, jazz, and 50’s rock) that you could be left scratching your head trying to figure out which section to put it in
Electric Prunes - Feedback
Review by Gary Hill
So, you say you remember the Electric Prunes from the Easy Rider soundtrack, the song “Too Much to Dream Last Night” or their old albums? Well, did you know that they are back together?
Firefall - Acoustic - Colorado to Liverpool - A Tribute to The Beatles
Review by Gary Hill
Firefall, a bit of a legend in the 1970’s, are still around and kicking and this is their latest CD. The disc is a collection of acoustic renditions paying tribute to The Beatles.
Fluid Minds - The (as) Mixtape
Review by Travis Jensen
Every once in awhile, an individual artist or band of talented musicians come along and change the pace for what may be the mainstream for music at the time. Some become the forefathers of a certain style of music and become legendary; Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Bee Gee’s, Metallica and Nirvana just to name a few.
Graveyard - Graveyard
Review by Gary Hill
Does anyone know if Sweden is using a different calendar than the rest of us? I ask because there is so much killer retro rock coming out of that country that I figure maybe they think that it’s still 1972.
Hermano - ...Into the Exam Room
Review by Gary Hill
With a sound that seems to marry retro blues rock with stoner metal and more alternative rock, Hermano have produced an album that’s very cool. While this might not be the most original thing you’ve ever heard, the group manage to stamp sounds you’ve heard before as definitely being theirs.
Bob Marley - Exodus- 30th Anniversary Limited Edition CD/DVD Set
Review by Gary Hill
For the 30th Anniversary of Bob Marley’s Exodus disc, they have re-issued it in this killer format. We get the full CD in all its glory – and this is a one great album.
Valentin Narvaez - The Lycanthrope
Review by Eric Meli
Valentin Narvaez is a very talented artist who has put together a well played and produced CD.
Seven Mary Three - Day&nightdriving
Review by Gary Hill
I’m sure a lot of people remember Seven Mary Three for their hit “Cumbersome.” That song was curse for the band that came disguised as a blessing.
VanVechten Smith - The Bridge
Review by Jeremy Seffens
VanVechten Smith definitely isn't afraid to let his mastery of the guitar show.
Rick Springfield - The Early Sound City Sessions
Review by Gary Hill
Rick Springfield pretty much ruled a big chunk of the music world for a while. He was one part rock star, one part TV Star (remember Noah Drake on General Hospital) and all pop idol.
DVD/Video Reviews
Buckethead - Young Buckethead Vol. 1 DVD
Review by Greg Olma
My first introduction to Buckethead was when he was a member of Guns ‘n Roses and I just didn’t get the gimmick.  He wears a Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket on his head and a plain white mask on his face. 
Buckethead - Young Buckethead Vol. 2 DVD
Review by Greg Olma
This second volume of Young Buckethead starts off really well but goes south with its last 2 parts.  The Deli Creeps make up the first half of this DVD and that is where this release shines. 
Cactus - Live DVD
Review by Gary Hill
I admit it; I’m a progressive rock and heavy metal junkie. That doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate good old blues oriented 1970’s styled rock – who doesn’t?
Estradasphere - Palace of Mirrors Live DVD
Review by Gary Hill
I remember when I saw Alan Holdsworth live. My mouth was open nearly the entire set because the band was so incredible.
Fight - War of Words - The Film
Review by Gary Hill
For my money you just can’t go wrong with Rob Halford. He’s the greatest vocalist in the history of metal in my opinion – possibly in all of rock. So, I’ve pretty much followed everything he’s done.
Marillion - Marbles On The Road DVD
Review by Greg Olma
There have been volumes written about Marillion and the debate of who is/was better, Steve Hogarth or Fish, stills goes on to this day.  While some will continue to bemoan the exit of Fish, most of us fans have given the “new” line-up a definite thumbs up. 
Patrick Moraz - In Princeton DVD
Review by Gary Hill
The core of this DVD is a solo concert by Patrick Moraz from 1999. It is professionally filmed, although, I have to say that the film quality is somewhere on the excellent side of very good – in other words, it’s not perfect.
Rat Skates - Born In The Basement DVD
Review by Greg Olma
When VH1 unleashed their “Behind The Music” series, music fans like myself rejoiced because we were able to get the stories behind the albums and tours.  As kids, we all thought KISS sat around in their make-up and stage clothes and wrote songs together. 
Blackmore's Night
Interview by Greg Olma
Interview with Candace Night of Blackmore's Night - January 2008
Electric Prunes
Interview by Gary Hill
Interview with Mark Tulin and James Lowe of the Electric Prunes - January 2008
Interview by Julie Knispel
Interview with Ivar Bjørnson and Grutle Kjellson of Enslaved

Interview by Mike Korn
Interview with Gary Holt of Exodus - January 2008
Leonard and Leonard
Interview by Sonya Kukcinovich Hill
Interview with Kevin Leonard of North Star and Leonard and Leonard - January 2008
Ted Leonard
Interview by Sonya Kukcinovich Hill
Interview with Ted Leonard - December 2007
Interview by Gary Hill
Interview with Christopher Godin of Morgbl  - January 2008
Spirits Burning & Bridget Wishart
Interview by Gary Hill
Interview with Bridget Wishart - January 2008
Spock's Beard
Interview by Sonya Kukcinovich Hill
Interview with Dave Meros of Spock's Beard - December 2007
Mike Visaggio
Interview by Gary Hill
Interview with Mike Visaggio - January 2008
Book Reviews
The Beatles - Can't Buy Me Love: The Beatles, Britain, and America written by Jonathan Gould
Review by Steve Alspach
In the course of Jonathan Gould’s book he speaks about how few true biographies have been written about the Beatles – as a band. Gould lists four – other than his own.
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