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April 2008 - Issue 69
Progressive Rock CD Reviews
Abigail's Ghost - Selling Insincerity
Review by Gary Hill
Conventional wisdom (and the hype surrounding this group) put Abigail’s Ghost into the category of progressive rock. That, combined with some of the music is the reason I’ve put them here.
Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe - An Evening of Yes Music Plus
Review by Gary Hill
Voiceprint has just reissued this live set from the classic Yes spin off band. For those looking for the history of this release, please check out the review I did of the earlier version of the set.
Jon Anderson - Live From La La Land
Review by Gary Hill
When Jon Anderson embarked on his fully solo tour in 2005 it was presented as the DVD Tour of the Universe. It was also recorded and produced as this CD that, until now, was available only at live shows.
Astralasia - The Hawkwind Re-Mixes
Review by Gary Hill
I’ve got mixed feelings about remixes. For bands that I really enjoy, like Hawkwind, it lends a chance to experience familiar songs in new ways.
Ayreon - - 01011001 – Special Edition CD and DVD
Review by Gary Hill
Ayreon is Arjen Luccassen. He creates magnificent rock operas under that name and manages to bring in some of the most impressive musicians in the business to work with him on these projects.
Adrian Belew - Side Four
Review by Sonya Kukcinovich Hill
Side Four is The Adrian Belew Power Trio live follow up to his already well received Sides One, Two and Three.
Bushwhack - Bushwhack
Review by Greg Olma
Sometimes you just come across something that is so good you almost want to keep it a secret. Bushwhack is just one of those things.
Dave Cousins - Secret Paths
Review by Julie Knispel
David Cousin’s expansive career has seen him shifting styles on a regular basis.  From the earliest days of the Strawberry Hill Boys (soon to be shortened to the Strawbs), Cousins has explored bluegrass, folk, rock, blues, and progressive rock styles...often shifting modes within a single album. 
Dominici - 03 A Trilogy Part 3
Review by Gary Hill
Charlie Dominici is probably best known for his work in Dream Theater on their debut CD. While I’ve always like James LaBrie, for me, Dominici is the “real” Dream Theater vocalist and LaBrie the replacement.
Dr. Hasbeen - Signs
Review by Gary Hill
I have to admit, I’ve always wanted to be in Hawkwind – seriously. If I could play in any band out there, it would be Hawkwind.
Dream Theater - Greatest Hit (...and 21 other pretty cool songs)
Review by Gary Hill
You know, a band with one real hit might be bitter. From the humorous title of this set, it seems like that’s not the case with Dream Theater.
Expedition: Delta - Expedition: Delta
Review by Gary Hill
You would think that with a label called “Prog Rock Records,” pretty much everything would fall into the progressive rock category and be prime material for Music Street Journal. Well, I would think so, anyway.
Fish - Communion
Review by Gary Hill
Fish got his start as the lead singer in Marillion – or at least that’s when he got his first taste of fame. For my money, he is the greatest lyricist around.
Ghost Circus - Across The Line
Review by Gary Hill
I like the folks at Prog Rock Records; I really do. With a label named “prog rock,” I really need to support these guys, too
Invisigoth - Narcotica
Review by Gary Hill
I enjoyed Invisigoth’s last album quite a bit, so when this one arrived, I was excited. The excitement was well worth it.
Billy Jenkins - ~ Shot Clean Through With The Blues
Review by Billy Sheppard
You can dye your hair white, you can wear a white shirt out your pants and a vintage thin tie, and learn to fake the mad ass punk preacher of an attitude, but you can't play your guitar like Billy Jenkins, so stick with the hipster outfit and slug through your chord charts, because Jenkins and Blues Collective will break you heart.
Jet Jaguar - Space Anthem
Review by Gary Hill
Right out of the gate, let’s just say that these guys are not the most original band you’ll hear. In fact, you really need to look no further than the first dedication of the album (Nik Turner) to know where they draw most of their inspiration.
Latent Anxiety - Reaction
Review by Gary Hill
It’s a foregone conclusion that many will think I’m nuts for putting this in the progressive rock category. I do it more for the experimental nature of this music – and isn’t that really one of the first definitions of prog rock?
Mooch - 1967 ½
Review by Gary Hill
Welcome to a CD of contradictions. This latest release from Stephen Palmer’s group Mooch is a trip back to the summer of love
Moongarden - Songs From the Lighthouse
Review by Gary Hill
I don’t know much about this band. I do know that Andy Tillison of The Tangent guests on one piece.
Mother Gong - O Amsterdam
Review by Gary Hill
If Hawkwind were to perform with classical instruments it would sound a lot like this. That is, if every song were written around a poetry reading by a woman.
Arek Religa - In memory of the Greatests
Review by Gary Hill
I’ve never heard of this guy before, but he’s a great guitarist. He’s also an excellent songwriter.
RPWL - The RPWL Experience
Review by Gary Hill
The latest CD from RPWL is entitled, “The RPWL Experience.” The music on the disc seems to go a long way towards living up to that title.
Satellite - Into the Night
Review by Gary Hill
Polish band Satellite came from the ashes left behind by the destruction of Collage. This latest album by the band finds them showing a strong ability to blend neo and classic prog sounds into a mosaic that should please fans of both genres.
Simon Says - Tardigrade
Review by Gary Hill
Apparently the band Simon Says is a Swedish progressive rock band from the 1990’s. I had never heard of the band before, but after checking out this disc, I want more.
Soul Secret - Flowing Portraits
Review by Gary Hill
Prog purists will probably call this prog metal rather than crunchy prog. I can see their point, but I disagree.
Spirits Burning - Alien Injection
Review by Gary Hill
I reviewed the Spirits Burning and Bridget Wishart CD in the last issue of Music Street Journal. This CD is the album Spirits Burning record about the same time as that one.
Splinter - Dreamers
Review by Gary Hill
Those who think that there is no neo-prog that really encompasses the older world of progressive rock need look no further than this CD. It’s about as good as you get.
Chris Squire - Fish Out Of Water Deluxe Expanded Edition
Review by Bruce Stringer
Quite possibly the most satisfying of Yes-related solo efforts, Fish Out Of Water has many of the elements of greatness that were hallmarks of the early ‘70s Yes output.
The Tangent - Not as Good as the Book
Review by Julie Knispel
The Tangent grew out of a series of pieces written by Parallel or 90 Degrees front man Andy Tillison that he put off to the side for a solo project, feeling that their more retro-prog sound was not in keeping with the more contemporary areas he was exploring with Po90.
Triangle Exception - Cheesesteak Walleye
Review by Tim Jones
Cheesesteak Walleye is an eclectic collection of various sounds and songs. The sound quality isn't as strong as it could be, but the songs are fun and interesting.
Triangle Exception - Echo Papa Zero One
Review by Tim Jones
This EP, like their first album, Cheesesteak Walleye, came out in 2007.  It's another eclectic collection of interesting songs, influenced by progressive rock and adult alternative rock. 
Rick Wakeman - Aspirant Sunset
Review by Gary Hill
This is one of a series of three discs Rick Wakeman did in 1990 as a restful relaxing type of experience. Remember, this was the era of New Age music.
Saul Zonana - Love Over Money
Review by Sonya Kukcinovich Hill
Saul Zonana is a NYC product, but he currently resides in Nashville where he has escaped the harsh reality of Northeastern winters. He also remains close to Adrian Belew, who continues to supply mentoring support to this talented act.
Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews
Bullet For My Valentine - Scream Aim Fire
Review by Travis Jensen
Hailing from Bridgend, Wales, Bullet for My Valentine isn’t your typical British band. They really aren’t your typical United States band either, as far as that goes.
Denial Fiend - They Rise
Review by Mike Korn
Ever read horror comics when you were kid? Hell, do you still read them?
Jorn - The Gathering
Review by Greg Olma
This may be the 6th release by Jorn Lande (under the Jorn name of course) but this is the first one I have really listened to closely.  His other albums have always been caught in passing and now I am a bit disappointed in myself for not taking the time to really give them a chance.
Lillian Axe - Lillian Axe
Review by Gary Hill
Lillian Axe (at least in my head) got caught up in the "hair metal" movement of the 1980's. I recently discovered them with their latest disc and am now getting a chance to catch up on some of their back catalog.
Lillian Axe - Love + War
Review by Gary Hill
The second release from Lillian Axe, this has just been remastered and released. While their first disc was strong, this album showed them in a much more potent place in terms of songwriting and performance.
Lions Share - Emotional Coma
Review by Greg Olma
Lions Share have returned with a new CD after a 6 year break.  It also marks the debut of Patrik Johansson on vocals and they have come up with a very good melodic heavy metal record.
Primal Fear - New Religion
Review by Greg Olma
I always liked Primal Fear because they carried the Judas Priest torch when Priest wasn’t making music. It's not that they were necessarily a copy band but they did take that blueprint of Painkiller and added a little Euro metal to the mix.
Primordial - To The Nameless Dead
Review by Mike Korn
It's pretty hard to shoehorn Ireland's Primordial into any kind of musical box. Their sound is unique and has influences from a lot of different quarters.
Rebellion - Miklagard
Review by Mike Korn
More than any other variety of ancient warrior, the Vikings have fascinated heavy metal bands. Sure, you'll hear occasional tunes about rampaging Huns, Roman gladiators and sword-swinging samurai, but only the Vikings have an entire sub-genre of metal dedicated to them, featuring bands like Amon Amarth, Tyr and Thyrfing.
Non-Prog CD Reviews
Black 47 - Iraq
Review by Gary Hill
Black 47 has been outspoken with their criticism of the Iraq war from the onset. This CD finds main man Larry Kirwen and company turning in a disc full of their own brand of music that shows that critical outlook.
Albert Collins - Live At Montreux 1992
Review by Eric Meli
I remember seeing Albert Collins play at Rockford's On The Waterfront  in  September of 1993, it was one of the most energetic shows I've seen.
Flogging Molly - Float
Review by Gary Hill
The motif of Irish based hard rock always works pretty well. It can have a tendency towards sameyness, though.
Loretta Lynn - Coal Miner’s Daughter
Review by Lisa Palmeno
Loretta Lynn starts off this classic country masterpiece with a story about her youth in Butcher Hollar, a bleak mining town. As she reminisces about her childhood home and the family she grew up with, the “tear” in her voice never leaves.
Matt Martino - Let It Shine
Review by Gary Hill
I should make full disclosure here and say that when Matt Martino was living in the Chicago area, he and I were good friends and I even managed his band for a while.
Randy Sabien - Rhythm and Bows
Review by Gary Hill
Rhythm and Bows is the latest CD by Randy Sabien. Billed as a “jazz” violinist, Sabien shows that he’s not willing to be tied down to any one musical motif.
Simply Red - Stay
Review by Gary Hill
I remember dismissing Simply Red as some ‘80’s pop vehicle that had no substance. Well, as my tastes have become more and more diverse over the years I’ve found that a lot of bands I used to write off have some merits.
George Strait - 22 More Hits
Review by Gary Hill
Best of compilations are always a tough bet. On the one hand you can be pretty sure they’ll have a number of songs you like.
Then There Were Two - Then There Were Two
Review by Bruce Stringer
Suzanne Vega bassist, Mike Visceglia, and Australian vocalist Fiona McBain have recorded a 10-track CD of covers re-arranged for bass guitar and vocals with some very interesting results.
Toto - Falling In Between Live
Review by Gary Hill
I’ve never seen Toto live, but I’ve always enjoyed their music. I’ve only ever owned a handful of the albums and had kind of written them off, but I’ve always respected them as musicians.
The Ventures - Alive Five-0 Greatest Hits Live
Review by Gary Hill
Jimi Hendrix may have said, "May you never hear surf music again," but he wasn't really trashing on the musical style. He and a whole host of guitarists were actually influenced by the musical style.
The Wake - BLACKlist
Review by Julie Knispel
The Wake is a Columbus Ohio based gothic rock band, most heavily active in the early to mid-1990’s.  Their extensive output on Cleopatra Records exposed them to a wide audience around the world, while live they opened for a number of popular bands, including And Also The Trees, Skinny Puppy, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, Shadow Project and Nine Inch Nails.
Sandy Zio - All That I Am
Review by Gary Hill
Do you remember when soft rock and great songwriting with a strong voice dominated the airwaves? If you long for those days, then get this CD and feel like you are back there – at least for the duration.
DVD/Video Reviews
America - Live in Central Park 1979 DVD
Review by Gary Hill
Having seen America live I can tell you that they are an interesting animal in the concert setting. It's amazing how they can take laid back soft rock songs and use them to create an invigorating and powerful concert experience.
Albert Collins - Live At Montreux 1992 DVD
Review by Gary Hill
The Live at Montreux series is a pretty sure thing. These shows are always quite good in terms of audio and video production.
The Dead Boys - Return of the Living Dead Boys - Halloween Night 1986 DVD
Review by Gary Hill
For my money when you are talking old school punk you just don't get any better than The Dead Boys. On Halloween 1986 the band did a reunion gig at the Ritz in NYC.
Dream Theater - Bucharest, Romania 7/4/02 DVD
Review by Greg Olma
Dream Theater have decided to beat the bootleggers by releasing their own material and cutting them out of the picture.  Now, I know that you can't do that completely because the band tours constantly and they only have a limited amount of product on their label Ytsejam Records.
Duke Ellington - Norman Granz Presents Duke: The Last Jam Session DVD
Review by Gary Hill
Duke Ellington was an American treasure. As a musician, but more so as a composer and band leader he had few equals.
Fairport Convention - Tony Palmer's Film of Fairport Convention
Review by Gary Hill
Fairport Convention die hards probably know all about this DVD. That's good because they are certainly the primary audience.
Flipper - Live Targetvideo77 1980-81 DVD
Review by Julie Knispel
Flipper is one of the more influential West Coast punk/noise bands of the second punk wave.  While other bands were ratcheting up the speed and volume, creating some of the roots of hardcore, Flipper was slowing things down, sometimes to a crawl.
Genesis - Remember Knebworth 1978 DVD
Review by Gary Hill
I like this video. I just wish there had been more of it.
Gillan - The Glory Years DVD
Review by Gary Hill
For fans of Ian Gillan – or fans of hard rock in general, this is a “must have” DVD. Many fans consider the lineup of the band on this video to be the quintessential one and as such this solo concert from Ian Gillan is essential.
Iron Maiden - Live After Death DVD
Review by Gary Hill
How many Maiden fans have not owned this on VHS? If you are talking the old school fans, the answer is probably a small number.
Janet Jackson - Live In Hawaii DVD
Review by Gary Hill
Say what you will about Janet Jackson, but one thing rings true, she really is a performer. Unlike many pop acts out there today Jackson (for the most part) doesn’t lip synch.
Quincy Jones - 50 Years In Music: Live At Montreux 1996 DVD
Review by Gary Hill
Quincy Jones is a musical legend. For those of us who have come to our musical maturity since he quite playing it might hard to grasp his importance as a musician, but this DVD should go along ways towards bringing the picture into focus.
James Last - Live at the Royal Albert Hall DVD
Review by Gary Hill
James Last and Rodney Dangerfield seem to share one thing. They can't seem to get any respect.
Van Morrison - Under Review 1964-1974 An Independent Critical Analysis DVD
Review by Gary Hill
This series of DVD's is one of the better ones out there. I say that not because of any official participation from the artists, as they generally do not have that.
Naturally 7 - Live at Montreux 2007 DVD
Review by Gary Hill
How you feel about this DVD will probably be influenced most by your interest in acapella sounds. I've always loved music where voices create sounds that emulate instrumentation.
Rush - Grace Under Pressure Live DVD
Review by Julie Knispel
Rush has done a more than decent job over the past few years in offering their rabid fanbase plenty of concert footage.  For the potential audient unable to attend a show due to scheduling conflicts, DVD releases like Rush in Rio and R30 have done a great job of creating a "you are here" feel for the viewer, documenting the band’s more recent tours.
The Smiths - Inside The Smiths DVD
Review by Gary Hill
How you feel about this DVD probably has a lot to do with how involved you've been in the music and history of The Smiths. Those obsessed with the band will probably be drawn to, and quite happy with this film.
Tangerine Dream - Tony Palmer's Film of Tangerine Dream Live at Conventry Cathedral 1975
Review by Gary Hill
How you feel about this video probably depends a lot on how you read the title. If you see the title as "Tangerine Dream - Live at Coventry Cathedral 1975" there's a good bet you are going to be disappointed.
Various Artists - A Tribute to Edith Piaf: Live at Montreux 2004 DVD
Review by Gary Hill
It's always good to see an appearance at the Montreux Jazz Festival that's actually jazz. Don't get me wrong, they have a lot of great music there, but a lot of it isn't jazz.
Various Artists - Aural Amphetamine: Metallica And The Dawn Of Thrash DVD
Review by Gary Hill
The first thing the observant reader will notice is that the review of this DVD is included under "Various Artists" rather than under "Metallica." There is a good reason for this.
Various Artists - I-Crusher Complete DVD
Review by Mike Korn
Looks like it's time for Earache Records to clear out the vaults and see if they can make a buck. I-Crusher Complete is a slapdash DVD combining two previous videodiscs throwing together old video clips from bands that have either left the Earache roster, broken up or are underperforming.
Various Artists - Reggae Nashville - Deep Roots Music 3 DVD
Review by Gary Hill
This is one of a series of DVD's showcasing a reggae documentary produced shortly after the death of Bob Marley in the 1980's. This is a quality release.
Interview by Gary Hill
Interview with Arjen Lucassen of Ayreon from March 2008
Adrian Belew
Interview by Sonya Kukcinovich Hill and Grant Hill
Interview with Adrian Belew from March 2008
Adrian Belew
Interview by Sonya Kukcinovich Hill and Grant Hill
Interview with Eric Slick (drums) and Julie Slick of The Adrian Belew Power Trio from March 2008
Electric Wizard
Interview by Mike Korn
Interview with Jus Osborn of Electric Wizard from February 2008
Then There Were Two
Interview by Bruce Stringer
Interview with Mike Viceglia of Then There Were Two from February 2008
Saul Zonana
Interview by Sonya Kukcinovich Hill
Interview with Saul Zonana from March of 2008
Concert Reviews
Adrian Belew - Live in Buffalo, New York, March 2008
Review by Sonya Kukcinovich Hill and Grant Hill
Adrian Belew: A legendary name, brought into the limelight by the great Frank Zappa, mainstay of King Crimson fame for the past 27 years, edgy contributor to Nine Inch Nails, David Bowie, and The Talking Heads, session guy to countless others of nearly every modern musical persuasion, and intricate, creative band leader of his power trio,  lyricist and fine artist, and a  middle aged bundle of energy.
Iron Maiden - Live in Los Angeles, February 2008
Review by Rick Damigella
Iron Maiden has just recently wrapped up the first leg of their ambitious “Somewhere Back in Time” world tour. To call a tour where the band’s lead singer pilots the band and its whole entourage and gear in a custom 757 across five continents to play 22 concerts over a 45 day period ambitious is really an understatement.
Loretta Lynn - Live in Rockford, IL, March, 2008
Review by Lisa Palmeno
Loretta Lynn and her family appeared in concert at the historic Coronado Theater in Rockford, IL on Friday, March 14. Speculation and rumors were whispered before the show that night about Lynn’s ability to last the entire show.
Suzanne Vega - Live in Melbourne, Australia, February 2008
Review by Bruce Stringer
After a 16-year hiatus, Suzanne Vega returned to Australian shores with a new album, new band and capacity-crowd drawing show. Due to this gap in touring "down under," there seemed to be a sense that Vega was making some type of comeback from retirement, which couldn’t have been further from the truth (if European shows in the last decade have been any indication).
Saul Zonana - Live in Buffalo, New York, March 2008
Review by Sonya Kukcinovich Hill
Saul Zonana was introduced to us through Andre Cholmondeley, the Project Object guitarist who has acted in the role of tour manager for both Al DiMeola and Adrian Belew. Belew had produced Zonana's 2006 release entitled 42 Days.
Book Reviews
Dream Theater - Dream Theater - Lifting Shadows written by Rich Wilson
Review by Greg Olma
Dream Theater have always been a band of the fans and whenever it came to releasing product, they always went the extra mile to give the fans something special. This book set is proof of that.
Various Artists - A View From The Side written by Mike Visceglia
Review by Bruce Stringer
As members of the entertainment industry feel their way via hazy borderlines, many crossover products arrive on the shelves well intentioned but, sadly, missing the mark. Occasionally, an article manages to intelligently steer its way to attaining a shelf life and gain the respect of peers but rarely does an item stand out above the competitors in a totally separate field.
More Issues
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