After dabbling into more ‘mainstream friendly’ lands with their previous release “Altitude”, Autumn returns to the darker side of things with the highly emotional “Cold Comfort”. In this new release the band delivers nine beautifully crafted melodies that nicely combine Progressive Rock elements with more traditional Rock influences under a very melancholic atmosphere that had us completely hooked into the album since the first track.
The band’s vocalist Marjan Welman seems more integrated into the band’s sound and her sultry voice fits perfectly into the darker and more melancholic mood of this release than on the band’s previous ‘pop-goth’ release from 2009. Every song in “Cold Comfort” features a nice Progressive Rock/ Melancholic Rock blend of sounds, something like The Gathering with Anneke but in a less experimental way.
In this 2011 we have been treated to excellent Progressive album so far: Leprous “Bilateral”, White Willow’s “Terminal Twilight” and Dream Theater’s “A Dramatic Turn of Events”, however Dark Suns latest opus “Orange” comes just in time to find its spot between these gems in our top progressive album’s list of the year. After somewhat consolidating their change to Dark Progressive Metal/Rock in their last release “Grave Human Genuine”, the band comes back with a very cohesive and interesting sounding album with “Orange”.
Featuring all the elements of Progressive music we all have grown to love but with a dark and sinister twist, “Orange” delivers 10 tracks of excellently composed tracks that will demand your attention since the first minutes of this release. Opening with the very psychedelic “Toy”, the band quickly delivers crazy keyboards and very effective guitar riffs. The overall atmosphere of this song is very retro and magical. The vocals are excellent since they fit the music just perfectly.
As one of the most beautifully composed and yet perplexingly complex albums of 2011, today we have White Willow’s release “Terminal Twilight”. In this release, the band takes us on a journey lasting nine tracks of trippy synths, enchanting vocals, and a King Crimson-like atmosphere unlike anything we have heard before. After the excellent release by Leprous this year, we can’t help but wonder what is in the Norwegian water that drives musician’s creativity to this level of awesomeness.
Opening with “Hawks Circle”, this album starts in a very trippy and ethereal way. The vocals in this song sound like a mixture of Agnete M. Kirkevaag of Madder Mortem and Ann-Mari Edvardsen (ex The 3rd and the Mortal). The flutes nicely creep into the music making this song very dynamic and engaging. In an even more hypnotic way, “Snowswept” delivers a haunting atmosphere that will suck you right into the band’s own musical universe.
After four years since the band’s last release (“The End Is Begun”), 3 returns with a more consolidated but equally excellent release under the title “The Ghost You Gave to Me”. With a very eclectic mixture of styles in each of the band’s previous releases, it feels that they have now unified their style and deliver a very well crafted mixture of Progressive Rock elements with a modern alternative music edge, and a few surprises here and there.
Before you go running out the door after reading ‘alternative music’, 3 delivers plenty of powerful guitar melodies and well crafted riffs to satisfy any Progressive music fan. The vocals are very well crafted into the overall structure of the songs, allowing “The Ghost You Gave to Me” to have a very rich sound and never get dull (like many prog releases tend to get).
Usually all releases from Neurot Recordings are very interesting and Across Tundras seventh full-length release “Sage” is not an exception. Blending Psychedelic Rock, Sludge and some Americana elements, the band creates a very dense and multi-faceted album that will take a while to fully enjoy.
Opening with the very intricate “In the Name of River Grand”, we immediately notice the majestic guitar work paired with the pounding bass guitar line. Once the vocals find their way into the song the overall atmosphere shifts to a more direct combination of Psychedelic Rock and Americana influences. Clocking in at eight minutes, this track is the perfect appetizer for what is to come in “Sage”.
Keeping the flame alive of bands like YES and King Crimson, today we have Beardfish and their excellent release “Mammoth”. Being the sixth album under their belt, “Mammoth” moves forward with their super catchy and authentic old-school influenced sound. As you know from the band’s previous release, their sound is very listener friendly and excellently crafted.
Opening with “The Platform”, the band nicely shows their experience in crafting very engaging sounds that have both technical proficiency and catchy melodies. This song keeps getting better and better as it progresses. “And the Stone Said” in our opinion is the best track in this album. Clocking around 15 minutes, this epic song features very catchy melodies and great keyboard and guitar solos.
Progressive wizards the Tipton brothers (Zero Hour) come together once more with vocalist Erik Rosvold (ex-Zero Hour) in this very ambitious project of Progressive Rock/Metal brilliance. Cynthesis debut album “DeEvolution” sets new standards for this gathering of musicians in a very trippy and atmospheric context.
With the quality of musicians in this project there is little doubt that the music will be extremely good, and this is immediately confirmed in the opening track “The Man without Skin”. In this song we are treated to Jasun’s wizard-like guitar skills and atmospheric elements that create a very futuristic and interesting atmosphere.
As one of the most ambitious self-released albums we have received in years, we have Lebowski’s musical opus “Cinematic”. In this release, the band culminates a 5 year writing process in the shape of a sound track to a non-existent movie as they put it. Being the band’s first full-length release, we are sure they will turn some heads along the way with such a professional and rich production.
The variety of textures created by the moods and instruments is outstanding, all the elements come together magically in such a way that you can visualize the atmospheres created by the band in each of the 10 songs presented in this release.
After an 11-year hiatus after the release of “Ocean 2: The Answer” Germany’s progressive rock monsters Eloy returned with “Visionary” in 2009. Taking advantage of the new found momentum this legendary band has gained, Frank Bornemann (the only remaining original member of the band) and company have put out the double-DVD “The Legacy Box”.
In this new DVD we get a great documentary that takes the band release by release and talks about the things behind the scenes for the band’s iconic releases through the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. We get interviews with past members and their thoughts behind the direction of the albums, the music, and the state of the band through each release. During this 90+ minute “Mighty Echoes – The story of Eloy” documentary, we get great insight into the band’s career and if you didn’t knew anything about them you will almost become an expert on the band.
Hailing from Poland, today we have Coma, a band that has ‘dominated’ the scene in their home country and now it’s trying to make their way through the very crowded and highly competitive world-wide market. The band plays a perfect blend of rock with progressive elements and some hints of Metal. “Excess” is a re-recorded version (in English) of their best album, and you can clearly hear that with the quality of the songs presented in this release.
In an emotional rollercoaster, “Excess” takes the listener through many different moods and a wide variety of different elements fused together to create a near perfect release that will surely put the band in the world wide map. Being formed in 1998, the band has had enough time to craft their sound and be comfortable with it, the musicianship of this release shows that Coma is here to stay and that people should take note of them.