15 April 2010

Anathema - Alternative 4 (1998)

"Alternative 4 is a rather dark album when compared to their more recent material (at this point in time, I have yet to hear their albums before Eternity so I can't speak for them). There isn't a weak point on the entire album, and there are many highlight. Before I got this album, the first song I heard was "Fragile Dreams", and it still remains one of my favorites on the album. "Re-Connect" is another great song, my favorite part being when Vincent starts yelling. The title song is a very eerie and creepy sounding song, but it sounds so good. The next two songs, "Regret" and "Feel" might be my two favorites on the album. I love the guitar in background in "Feel". Like the other albums of Anathema I have, this one also has a lot of emotion infused with the music." - darkmatter-ProgArchives

- Vincent Cavanagh / vocals & guitars
- Daniel Cavanagh / guitar
- Duncan Patterson / bass
- Shaun Steels / drums & percussion

1. Shroud of False (1:36)
2. Fragile Dreams (5:32)
3. Empty (3:00)
4. Lost Control (5:49)
5. Re-Connect (3:52)
6. Inner Silence (3:08)
7. Alternative 4 (6:17)
8. Regret (7:58)
9. Feel (5:28)
10. Destiny (2:13)

Bonus tracks:
11. Your Possible Pasts
12. One Of The Few
13. Better Off Dead
14. Goodbye Cruel World

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14 April 2010

Birth Control - Birth Control (1970)

"Birth Control is a German Krautrock band known for their progressive hard-rock sound and provocative album covers.
Birth Control formed in the middle of 1968 in Berlin from two other bands, the Earls and the Gents. The initial members were: Bernd Koschmidder (bass), Reinhold Sobotta (organ), Rolf Gurra (saxophone and vocals), Fritz Groeger (vocals), Klaus Orso (guitar), Reiner Borchert (guitar), and Hugo Egon Balder (percussion).
The name of the band was a response to Pope Paul VI's declaration that contraceptives were sinful." - Wikipedia

- Bruno Frenzel / guitar, vocals
- Bernd Koschmidder / bass
- Bernd Noske / drums, vocals
- Reinhold Sobotta / organ

1. No drugs (4:01)
2. Recollection (6:24)
3. Deep inside (4:40)
4. Foolish action (4:32)
5. Sundown (10:02)
6. Change of mind (4:42)
7. Light my fire (5:40)

Bonus tracks:
8. No Drugs (4:07)
9. All I Want Is You (4:13)
10. October (3:43)
11. Freedom (4:01)

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12 April 2010

Alcatraz - Vampire State Building (1971)

"Vampire State Building is a killer release from 70's Germany underground. The band delivers a bunch of bombastic, extremely freaked out fuzzy improvisations including jazzy tendencies. Simple Headphone Mind opens the album with a surprising hippie like groovy jazz variation that features powerful piano bases, enchanting flute line and a very catchy rhythm. The break session provides endless screaming fuzzy guitar solos accompanied by a very jazzy instrumentation. Tour chance of a Lifetime is a heartbreaking, cloudy compositions for dense, spacious melodies with beautifully dramatic vocals. Where the wild things are is an hyperactive freak 'n roll piece with killer riffs, mysteriously atmospheric jazz fusion links. Piss off is a bizarre, curious, fuzzy & druggy jam making a large part to atonal guitar / sax dialogues. Change will come is a retro jazz rockin' piece including a nice groove and agitated stoned vocals. Dirty, Heavy druggy psychedelica. An important musical document." - philippe-ProgArchives

- Rüdiger Berghan / piano, vocals
- Klaus Holst / guitar
- Klaus Nagurski / flute, tenor saxophone
- Ronald Wilson / bass
- Jan Rieck / drums, percussion

1. Simple Headphone Mind (10:00)
2. Your Chance Of A Lifetime (5:06)
3. Where The Wild Things Are (3:03)
4. Vampire State Building (13:10)
5. Piss Off (3:18)
6. Change Will Come (6:08)

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11 April 2010

Country Lane - Substratum (1973)

"COUNTRY LANE's "Substratum" seems to be well enough known, but it is very difficult to find information on the band itself. The album was recorded in 1973 with Raymond Amey on guitars, synthesizers, and vocals, Olivier Maire on organ, piano, spinet, and vocals, Jean-Francois Donze on drums, Giancarlo Duella on bass, and Freddy Von Kaenel on rhythm guitar and banjo.
Swiss bands generally fit well alongside German artists, but COUNTRY LANE managed to set themselves apart. Like the others, they were mainly influenced by British artists of the time. However, where most were taking after the likes of E.L.P., Genesis, and Yes, COUNTRY LANE sounds more inspired by Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, and psychedelic music. There are even some comparisons made to Nektar and Frank Zappa.
They jam heavy at times, but also keep it melodic. Epic concept is present, as well as humor (in the form of a little vaudeville). The lyrics are sung in English, and the accent is very good. Were they rebels? Maybe not, but it is a diversion form the usual mid '70s Germanic prog." - H.T. Riekels

- Raymond Amey / guitars, synthesizers, vocals
- Olivier Maire / organ, piano, spinet, vocals
- Jean-Francois Donze / drums
- Giancarlo Duella / bass
- Freddy Von Kaenel / rhythm guitar & banjo

1. With A Sweet Whistle To My Ears (6:21)
2. It's Only Your Memory Playing Just The thought of a First Love (2:36)
3. Substratum (1:47)
4. In the Morning Sun (3:26)
5. Good Old Time (2:36)
6. Song To Ivan (7:00)
7. Letter to a Friend (7:39)
8. Captain Bloom (2:39)
9. Lilliput's Safari (2:16)

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9 April 2010

Agorà - 2 (1976)

"One of the few professional bands from the Marche, on the Adriatic side of central Italy, Agorà were formed in 1974 near Ancona, and played a jazz-rock very influenced by the likes of Weather Report or the italian group Perigeo, with a very limited use of progressive sounds. Some of the band members had previously been in a rock band called Oz Master Magnus Ltd.
The second album, in 1976, is much more jazz-rock oriented than the first.
The band also played in the 1976 Parco Lambro festival and is featured on the live album released at the time with Cavalcata solare, from their second album and also released on single.
Band decided to split in 1978. For a short time that year Pepe Maina played percussion with them, he's also featured in a concert filmed at Montreux but never officially released. Ovidio Urbani is still now an appreciated player in the jazz field." - ProgArchives

- Roberto Bacchiocchi / keyboards, vocals
- Ovidio Urbani / saxophone
- Renato Gasparini / guitar, vocals
- Lucio Cesari / bass, percussion
- Mauro Mencaroni / drums, vocals
- Nino Russo / saxophone, percussion

1. Punto Rosso (5:29)
2. Pyramid di Domani (6:06)
3. Tall El Zaatar (8:29)
4. La Bottega di Duilio (5:56)
5. Simbiosi (Vasi Comunicanti)(5:33)
6. Cavalcota Solare (8:42)

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7 April 2010

Cherry Five - Cherry Five (1974)

"This band included Tony Tartarini (vocals), Carlo Bordini (drums, he later started a captivating project with Rustichelli) and three musicians who later founded GOBLIN: Claudio Simonetti (keyboards), Massimo Morante (electric guitar) and Fabio Pignatelli (bass). The music on CHERRY FIVE's eponymous album is very YES-oriented (like DRUID, ENGLAND or MIRTHRANDIR) but the keyboards sound more virtuosic.
The album "Cherry Five" ('75) is a real treat for all progrock lovers: strong and fluent compositions, very melodic and flowing with many good ideas. The emphasis is on the keyboards (Hammond organ and vintage synthesizers), especially the "Tronmaniacs" will be delighted! This is one of the gems of Italian progrock from the Seventies, a bit overlooked due to the attention for PFM, Le ORME, BANCO and GOBLIN." - ProgArchives

- Claudio Simonetti / keyboards
- Massimo Morante / guitars
- Fabio Pignatelli / bass
- Tony Tartarini / lead voice
- Carlo Bordini / drums, percussion

1. Country Grave Yard (8:18)
2. The Picture of Dorian Gray (8:28)
3. The Swan is a Murderer Part 1 (3:53)
4. The Swan is a Murderer Part 2 (5:07)
5. Oliver (9:30)
6. My Little Cloud Land (7:43)

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6 April 2010

Khan - Space Shanty (1972)

"KHAN's bio reads like a who's who of former and future celebs from EGG, GONG, HATFIELD & THE NORTH and NATIONAL HEALTH. The initial line-up of this early 70's Canterbury outfit consisted of keyboard player Dave Stewart, guitarist Steve Hillage, bassist Nick Greenwood and drummer Pip Pyle. Before recording their one and only album, Pyle moved on to GONG and was replaced by Eric Peachy (ex-DR. K'S BLUES BAND). The group disbanded after the release of the album in 1972.
"Space Shanty" is made up of six ambitious tracks composed almost entirely by Hillage. All four musicians are in fine form but the album is particularly dominated by Hillage's spacey/bluesy guitar and Stewart's effervescent Hammond play. Although much of the material is based on a repetitive verse/chorus/verse cycle and has recurrent musical themes, the band frequently breaks out into extended instrumental freak outs, either soloing or engaging in formidable guitar/organ interplay. This album is a fine sample of early Canterbury/bluesy space rock.
A must-have for Canterbury fans, and not merely for its historical value." - Lise (HIBOU)

- Nick Greenwood / bass, vocals
- Steve Hillage / guitars, vocals
- Eric Peachy / drums
- Dave Stewart / organ, piano, skyceleste, marimbas

1. Space Shanty (8:59)
2. Stranded (6:35)
3. Mixed Up Man Of The Mountains (7:14)
4. Driving To Amsterdam (9:22)
5. Stargazers (5:32)
6. Hollow Stone (8:16)

Bonus tracks on 2004 Eclectic Discs re-issue:

7. Break The Chains (3:31)
8. Mixed Up Man Of The Mountains (First version) (4:28)

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4 April 2010

Kayak - The Last Encore (1976)

"This major Dutch Progressive band that started out heavily in the GENESIS mode with their first couple of albums. But they were also developing a short-song style at this point, which ballooned into a full-fledged prog-pop style that (surprise!) actually works well.
This band performs an elaborated and velvet music with sweet vocals in the style of MOODY BLUES. Their music is based on weel-built and elaborated melodies and efficient instrumental parts. KAYAK was considered a subtle mix of GENESIS with the best SUPERTRAMP." - ProgArchives

- Pim Koopman / drums, percussion, piano, backing vocals
- Ton Scherpenzeel / keyboards, mellotron, accordion, double bass, backing vocals
- Johan Slager / guitars, backing vocals
- Bert Veldkamp / bass, double bass, saxophone, zither, backing vocals
- Max Werneer / lead & backing vocals, percussion, mellotrons

1. Back to the front (4:31)
2. Nothingness (3:57)
3. Love of a victim (2:50)
4. Land on the water (2:27)
5. The last encore (3:59)
6. Do you care (2:49)
7. Still my heart cries for you (4:32)
8. Relics from a distant age (4:54)
9. Love me tonight / Get on board (2:40)
10. Evocation (3:50)
11. Raid your own house (3:35)
12. Well done (0:52)

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3 April 2010

Kansas - Kansas (1974)

"Original members Kerry LIVGREN (guitar) and Phil EHART (drums) combined their two separate bands into one large band. Kerry's band was called SARATOGA, and Phil's was called WHITE CLOVER. The band changed its name to KANSAS. They were from the beginning just an ordinary rock band, but were quickly compared to other progressive bands in the 70's like GENESIS, YES and KING CRIMSON. Combining the musical complexities of British prog-rock with the soul and instrumentation of the American heartland, KANSAS became one of the biggest selling and most successful touring acts of the 1970s. With huge hits like "Carry On Wayward Son" and "Dust In The Wind", they helped define the sound of "classic rock". They are loved all over the world." - ProgArchives

- Phil Ehart / drums
- Dave Hope / bass, backing vocals
- Kerry Livgren / lead & Rhythm guitar, backing vocals, keyboards
- Robbie Steinhardt / violin, lead vocals
- Steve Walsh / lead vocals, organ, piano, congas
- Rich Williams / lead guitar

1. Can I tell you (3:31)
2. Bringing it back (3:33)
3. Lonely wind (4:15)
4. Belexes (4:22)
5. Journey from Mariabronn (7:55)
6. The pilgrimage (3:42)
7. Apercu (9:43)
8. Death of Mother Nature suite (7:43)

Bonus Track
9. Bringing it back [Live] (9:41)

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2 April 2010

Klaatu - 3:47 E.S.T. (1976)

"Tagged with the misperception that these guys were the BEATLES under a new mystery name KLAATU got the attention of the world. Of course this was not the case, but the truth is that the music is just as brilliant and anything the BEATLES ever did. "3:47 EST" is essential for all symphonic prog lovers with beautiful songs and amazing arrangements. In many ways this music does rival the "Sgt Pepper" era of music and has a strong BEATLES'ish flavor to it with no mistake. KLAATU's musicanship is exceptionally high and the recording offers nice speaker seperation. Essential...!" - loserboy-ProgArchives

- John Woloschuk /bass, guitar, keyboards, lead vocals
- Dee Long / guitar, bass, lead vocals
- Terry Draper / drums, percussion, trombone, vocals

1. Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft (7:14)
2. California jam (3:01)
3. Anus of Uranus (3:16)
4. Sub Rosa subway (4:36)
5. True life hero (3:25)
6. Doctor Marvello (3:37)
7. Sir bodsworth rugglesby 3 (3:22)
8. Little neutrino (8:25)

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