Arriving all the way from Italy, today we have a very mellow and atmospheric release with L’Alba Di Morrigan’s debut full-length album “The Essence Remains”. Combining elements of Art Rock with some Progressive and Post-Rock hints, the band delivers nine tracks of solid music that will nicely relax you after a hard day of work.
The album opens with the very Katatonia-esque “Snowstorm”, a piece that had the participation of Frank Default (of Katatonia fame) on percussions and keyboards, giving this track a nice ethereal sound to it. The band continues with more Katatonia worship on “The Fairies’ Circle”, mainly on the distant vocal sounds and the overall depressive vibe. Frank Default makes another appearance on “Silence”, our favorite track of this release thanks to its very moody passages.
With a very well defined Progressive Rock sound, Case in Theory really makes an impact with the 11compositions presented in this very professionally crafted release. “Cinematic” marks the full-length debut of this band and its atmospheric/melodic approach to music, very similar to 3’s “The Ghost you gave to me”. Funded through kickstarter.com, this release packs a lot of punch and hopefully lands the band a label deal.
Opening with the emotional “Mavericks”, the band showcases very ethereal and well crafted atmospheric elements. The guitar work is very engaging and the backing vocals nicely build up momentum, culminating in the hypnotic song “The Night”. In the second song of the release, the vocals of Jonathan Posadas add an extra dimension to the melodic aspect of this album. Paired with the atmospheric rock guitars and some progressive elements, this song is the perfect indicator of things to come.
If Neal Morse’s Testimony 2 – Live in Los Angeles DVD’s where not enough for a dosage of excellent prog, the same promo package we got included Transatlantic’s “More Never Is Enough: Live In Manchester & Tilburg 2010” DVD portion of the release, for another 3+ hours of orgasm-inducing musical experience.
The live DVD portion of this release features the complete Tilburg concert in all its glory and with seven professional cameras rolling. It also showcases the full band with the extra addition of Daniel Gildenlöw from Pain of Salvation. If you are a big fan of the band’s music and their latest release “The Whirlwind”, the first DVD shows the band playing this release in its entirety.
After being lost in the post-office oblivion for a few months, today we received a promo package containing the DVD portion of this 3CD/2DVD package that has been highly coveted by prog fans since it came out in November. Featuring around 3 hours of live material, Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy, Randy George, Eric Brenton, Rick Altizer, Mark Leniger, Nathan Girard and Nathan Brenton play some very intricate and exciting progressive music that has a very natural and free-flowing nature that only the best in the scene can achieve.
As a first thing to notice is that there is quite a lot of ‘praise and Jesus-stuff’ in this release to the point of being a bit annoying, but the music makes it quite bearable and when not focusing on the lyrics everything played in this release is excellent. Every since 2002 Neal has focused more on the spiritual side of things and this is very prevalent through the release. Nothing wrong with this and we are not against it, but we don’t really like it rubbed that much on our faces, especially on top of fantastic music.
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.