The Prog Report https://progreport.com The Source for the Latest in New Prog Rock Mon, 19 Oct 2020 12:38:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.1 https://secureservercdn.net/198.71.233.150/59z.ad8.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/cropped-Progreport-Sq-Logo-150x150.jpg The Prog Report https://progreport.com 32 32 Marillion announce The Light At The End Of The Tunnel tour for November 2021 https://progreport.com/marillion-announce-the-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel-tour-for-november-2021/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=marillion-announce-the-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel-tour-for-november-2021 https://progreport.com/marillion-announce-the-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel-tour-for-november-2021/#respond Mon, 19 Oct 2020 12:38:55 +0000 https://progreport.com/?p=14990 Marillion will tour in November 2021

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UK prog rockers Marillion have announced UK tour dates for November 2021. The tour titled The Light At The End Of The Tunnel would seem an appropriate name after the long period with no touring due to the long, dark days of Covid-19.

“We’re currently writing album number 19 and, as you might imagine, looking forward with every sinew to getting back on the road and playing it to you,” says singer Steve Hogarth. “Not as much as my wife’s looking forward to getting me out of the house though…”

Tickets for the Light At The End Of The Tunnel tour go on sale this Friday October 23. The Apollo Hammersmith shows will be – one night seated and one night standing.

Marillion Light At The End Of The Tunnel tour dates:
Nov 14 – Hull City Hall
Nov 15 – Edinburgh Usher Hall
Nov 17 – Cardiff St. David’s Hall
Nov 18 – Manchester Bridgewater Hall
Nov 20 – Cambridge Corn Exchange
Nov 21 – Birmingham City Hall
Nov 23 – Liverpool Philharmonic
Nov 24 – Bath Forum
Nov 26 – London Eventim Apollo Hammersmith (seated)
Nov 27 – London Eventim Apollo Hammersmith (standing)

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McStine and Minnemann to release follow up album ‘II’ in December https://progreport.com/mcstine-and-minnemann-to-release-follow-up-album-ii-in-december/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mcstine-and-minnemann-to-release-follow-up-album-ii-in-december https://progreport.com/mcstine-and-minnemann-to-release-follow-up-album-ii-in-december/#respond Fri, 16 Oct 2020 18:17:05 +0000 https://progreport.com/?p=14986 McStine & Minnemann - II, will arrive on December 4th, 2020

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McStine & Minnemann – the duo comprised of Randy McStine and Marco Minnemann – have announced their sophomore album, II. Just three months after the independent release of their self-titled debut, pre-orders for II are now available exclusively on Bandcamp.

www.mcstineminnemann.bandcamp.com

While 2020 continues to unfold with dramatic uncertainty, Randy McStine and Marco Minnemann have found inspiration in moving forward, together, as McStine & Minnemann. The two multi-instrumentalists established the band in March, then released their debut album in July. As the record continues to gather praise for its creative blend of musical virtuosity and melodic accessibility, McStine & Minnemann is finding a home within the hearts (and record collections) of fans who enjoy disparate genres such as Hard Rock, Power Pop, Progressive Rock, and Punk.

McStine & Minnemann – II, will arrive on December 4th, 2020 and can be pre-ordered now on CD and Digital on Bandcamp at www.mcstineminnemann.bandcamp.com. The duo’s description of the album and its pre-order details can be viewed below.

Ten Things You Should Know About McStine & Minnemann “II”
(by McStine & Minnemann)

1. There are 16 tracks on it.

2. It’s about ten minutes longer than our first album.

3. Stylistically, “II” locks in all of the elements explored in our debut, but significantly expands on them. Hard Rock, Art Pop, Thrash Metal, Progressive Rock, Folk Rock, Ambient, Noise, Punk, Funk, Spaghetti Western-style Film Music, Blues Rock, Jazz/Rock…

4. The two of us have written, produced, and performed everything on the record, with the exception of a song called “Big Wave,” which was co-produced by Tim Palmer (Robert Plant, U2). Tim added additional sprinkles of guitar, keyboards, and percussion to the song, making him the only additional musician on the album.

5. Forrester Savell (Karnivool, SikTh) is handling mixing and mastering duties for us again, with Tim Palmer mixing two songs; “Big Wave” and the album intro, “Love Before Algorithms.”

6. We started writing and recording “II” while our first album was being mixed, so none of the songs are leftovers from those sessions.

7. Pre-orders for “II” opened on Friday, October 2nd, exclusively at www.mcstineminnemann.bandcamp.com.

8. McStine & Minnemann II pre-orders are available for CD and download. CD copies will be signed by both of us. All supporters of the CD will also receive weekly updates, where we’ll be discussing the origins of each song on the record.

9. “II” will be released for download and streaming (only on Bandcamp) on Friday, December 4th. CD copies will ship at that time.

10. One of the reasons we’ve been able to offer “II” in such a timely manner is due to your overwhelmingly positive support towards our first one. It’s incredibly gratifying to see that our music is connecting with so many people during these challenging times, and we thank you for encouraging us to continue.

Track Listing:
1. Love Before Algorithms
2. I Don’t Need It
3. (I Don’t) Feel
4. Girls At The Gig
5. Big Wave
6. Tired
7. REM
8. Love After Algorithms
9. The Flame
10. Old Sparky
11. Hello Dear Miss Swan Song
12. dumbdumb
13. Quarantine Sex Slave
14. Distant Bodies
15. Running In Place
16. The Horse Is Dead

Written and Recorded from April – September 2020
Produced and Arranged by McStine & Minnemann
“Big Wave” – Co-Produced by Tim Palmer
Mixed and Mastered by Forrester Savell
“Love Before Algorithms” and “Big Wave” – Mixed by Tim Palmer
Artwork and Design by Tom Colbie

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Daniel Tompkins announces new album ‘Ruins’; shares new single “Gift” https://progreport.com/daniel-tompkins-announces-new-album-ruins-shares-new-single-gift/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=daniel-tompkins-announces-new-album-ruins-shares-new-single-gift https://progreport.com/daniel-tompkins-announces-new-album-ruins-shares-new-single-gift/#respond Fri, 16 Oct 2020 15:48:21 +0000 https://progreport.com/?p=14979 Daniel Tompkins ‘Ruins’ will be out on December 11th.

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TesseracT vocalist Daniel Tompkins has announced the release on new album ‘Ruins’ on December 11th via Kscope. ‘Ruins’ sees Tompkins rework his recent debut album ‘Castles’ alongside producer Paul Ortiz (Chimp Spanner) showcasing re-written music with more aggression and a truer, darker tone.  The album features guest artists and additional co-creators including Paul Ortiz (Chimp Spanner), Plini and Trivium frontman and guitarist, Matt Heafy who features on new single ’The Gift’ which you can listen to now.
 

May 2019 saw TesseracT’s lead vocalist and songwriter release his debut solo album Castles, his first foray into a more pop rock electronic sound.

Ruins sees Tompkins rework Castles alongside producer Paul Ortiz (Chimp Spanner) showcasing re-written music with more aggression and a truer, darker tone. Castles was originally created by co-producer and friend Eddie Head (Haji’s Kitchen) and whilst the lyrical and conceptual side still represents the same ideas, the new version Ruins is significantly different to Castles with the addition of Tompkins’ signature aggressive versus clean vocal style. It was felt that renaming the album and each song was appropriate and aside from the lyrics, it is essentially a completely new album.

Ruins features guest artists and additional co-creators. Paul Ortiz (Chimpspanner) rewrote the music and acted as co-producer alongside Tompkins, and Plini plays guitar on opener ‘Wounded Wings’. First single ‘The Gift’ a brand new song to accompany the album, features Trivium frontman and guitarist, Matt Heafy, a friend of Tompkins who is also a prominent streamer on Twitch. When Matt agreed to contribute to ‘The Gift’, Tompkins wrote the parts and Heafy recorded them from his home studio and live on Twitch. “It was an honour to be featured on ‘The Gift’. Having been a longtime fan of Tesseract and Dan, this was a wonderful collaboration to take part of. People are going to be floored with this release.”

A diverse vocalist, Tompkins has established himself as a highly respected artist with a dedicated worldwide fanbase garnered from his work with the global progressive metal sensations TesseracT, Skyharbor and White Moth Black Butterfly. In addition, there is a new collaboration with percussive guitarist Jon Gomm (a recently-signed Kscope label mate) on his forthcoming album The Faintest Idea. His versatility as a vocalist and musician is showcased across all of these acts and also with his more accessible solo material.
Tompkins has confirmed he will be supporting the release of Ruins with his first solo live shows in 2021, already confirmed is the UK’s Radar Festival.

Ruins will be released on CD digipak with an 8 page booklet and digitally and is available to pre-order HERE (https://DanielTompkins.lnk.to/Ruins)

RUINS tracklisting

1. Wounded Wings (Feat. Plini)[05:53]
2. Ruins[05:29]
3. Tyrant [04:56]
4. Stains of Betrayal[04:52]
5. Empty Vows 03:58]
6. Sweet The Tongue [04:30]
7. A Dark Kind of Angel[04:38]
8. The Gift (Feat. Matthew K Heafy) (03:53)

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Jakko M Jakszyk – Secrets & Lies (Album Review) https://progreport.com/jakko-m-jakszyk-secrets-and-lies-album-review/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=jakko-m-jakszyk-secrets-and-lies-album-review https://progreport.com/jakko-m-jakszyk-secrets-and-lies-album-review/#respond Fri, 16 Oct 2020 15:05:40 +0000 https://progreport.com/?p=14977 Review of the new solo album from Jakko Jakszyk - ‘Secrets & Lies’ out on October 23rd, 2020.

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by Geoff Bailie

For many reading this site, the mention of Jakko Jakszyk will be directly associated with King Crimson. I first remember hearing his name as the replacement in Level 42 for the revered guitarist Alan Murphy, and it was apparent that, like Murphy, he could pull off the Holdsworth-style guitar licks that were part of that band’s sound. Then he appeared as singer/ guitarist of the 21st Century Schizoid Band, among some former Crims, in a semi official tribute band… then a great solo album… then as guitarist in The Tangent… then Scarcity of Miracles, his collaboration with Robert Fripp which was augmented by Tony Levin, Gavin Harrison and Mel Collins, that proved to be a stepping stone to what has now been more than 6 years as the voice of the resurrected King Crimson. It has been more than 14 years since The Bruised Romantic Glee Club album, and Jakko has been far from idle – but what expectations have his recent activities left us with for a new solo album?

Well I am pleased to say that the album brings together the very best of his influences from throughout his career, and makes judicious but not excessive use of his address book! Opening track Before I Met You, begins with a Crim-esque angular guitar riff and may make you wonder are we stepping into an album that leans heavily on those influences but actually, that isn’t the case. The opener is blends his pop sensibility with great musicianship and edgy playing- the rhythm section here are particularly impressive, yet don’t detract from the lyric, which appear to suggest obsession of the singer with his muse/ inspiration.

The Trouble with Angels strikes a more mellow vibe, with some brilliant fretless bass playing and is similar in tone to some of the tracks from “A Scarcity of Miracles”. Fools Mandate incorporates some world music style percussion and more unusual instrumentation, with a distorted vocal, it leads to one of the album highlights for me… the intricate and fluid guitar solo midway through demonstrates an aspect of Jakko’s playing (assuming it is him!) which doesn’t regularly feature in Crimson and the legato lines are exquisite.

It’s amazing the variety of styles and sounds that have featured, and I’m not even halfway through. While the album boasts the names of Fripp, Harrison, Levin, John Giblin, Mel Collins and Level 42’s Mark King, the guests in no way distract from this being a Jakko album through and through. The ballad, The Rotters Club is Closing Down is gentle and flowing, with a great vocal, and stirring clean guitar lines.

A drastic mood shift kicks in following this track, as Uncertain Times is the first of 3 tracks which we are told originate from King Crimson writing sessions. Even if I hadn’t told you that, you’d arrive at the conclusion after a quick listen – but this is in no way a critique. This is a great track, certainly worthy of a Crimson release! It is followed by It Would All Make Sense and once again the guitar artistry of Jakko is housed within a melodic and listenable song structure which is accessible to those who may shy from the prog label, but yet has enough “meat” for those who like their music to have a lot of substance. The album also features two instrumentals, one of which is an electric guitar fanfare, the other, Trading Borders, is an acoustic piece, reminiscent of Mike Oldfield with its instrumentation and recorder.

Under Lock and Key and the final track Separation are songs cut from the Crimson cloth. The latter in particular proves to be a show stopping album closer, which dials up the prog – KC-ish riffing, saxophone and almost Gentle Giant style vocal interplay all bring things to a spectacular close.

Neatly timed at 49 minutes, it packs a lot into its relatively modest (in the CD era) play time, but also doesn’t overstay its welcome. If you are only familiar with Jakko as an interpreter of the KC back catalogue, this album is a fantastic showcase of the full spread of his talents as a singer, player and writer.

Released on Oct. 23rd, 2020 on InsideOutMusic
Key Tracks: Before I Met you, Uncertain Times, It Would All Make Sense

1.Before I Met You
2.The Trouble With Angels
3.Fools Mandate
4.The Rotters Club is Closing Down
5.Uncertain Times
6.It Would All Make Sense
7.Secrets, Lies & Stolen Memories
8.Under Lock & Key
9.The Borders We Traded
10.Trading Borders
11.Separation

Jakko Jakszyk / guitar, vocals
Mel Collins / saxophone, flute
Robert Fripp / guitar, keyboards
Gavin Harrison / drums
Tony Levin / basses, stick
John Giblin / bass
Mark King / bass
Peter Hammill / vocals, keyboards, guitar
Al Murray / vocals

Pre-order here: https://jakkomjakszyk.lnk.to/SecretsLies

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Devin Townsend shares live clip of “Why?” from upcoming Empath Live set https://progreport.com/devin-townsend-shares-live-clip-of-why-from-upcoming-empath-live-set/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=devin-townsend-shares-live-clip-of-why-from-upcoming-empath-live-set https://progreport.com/devin-townsend-shares-live-clip-of-why-from-upcoming-empath-live-set/#respond Fri, 16 Oct 2020 14:05:02 +0000 https://progreport.com/?p=14973 ‘Order Of Magnitude – Empath Live Volume 1’ is due out on October 23rd, 2020.

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Devin Townsend will release ‘Order Of Magnitude – Empath Live Volume 1’ on October 23rd, 2020, a document of his Winter 2019 European tour that saw him taking on possibly his most ambitious live show to date. Watch a new clip of the band performing the track ‘Why?’, taken from his latest album ‘Empath’, here:

 

Devin comments: “So once upon a time, in a land not much different than the one we’re living in now, there used to be things called ‘concerts’ where a bunch of human beings would assemble to watch awkward performances and get shitfaced on overpriced beer. Tour managers would solve problems while simultaneously hitting on women, and musicians would complain about not being home (until getting home, where they would then complain about not being on tour). During one of these ‘tours’, I myself assembled 10 brilliant people, confident enough to play challenging material, while simultaneously acting like goofs with me onstage. This is from the upcoming ‘Order Of Magnitude’ DVD, and the song is called ‘Why’. Kudos to Diego for being able to pull off a full symphony with only 4 limbs, and the rest of the band for not batting an eye when I presented the ideas I had for this show. Che, Samantha, Anne and Arabella came to me and said ‘look, if we have to wear this stuff, you have to as well…’ so my Tutu was a show of solidarity with band members, but as the saying goes ‘I’ve seen better legs hanging out of a nest’

I look forward to a time where we get to do this again, but if that’s not meant to be, I loved this, so thanks to everyone involved.”

Recorded in December 2019 in London, UK on the penultimate night of the tour in support of his latest album ‘Empath’, this run of shows saw Devin joined by an incredible line-up of musicians. The band was made up of guitarists Mike Kenneally (ex-Frank Zappa) and Markus Reuter (Stick Men, The Crimson Project), drummer Morgen Agren (Kaipa, Mats & Morgan, Frank Zappa), bassist Nathan Navarro, Haken keyboard player Diego Tejeida, and guitarist/vocalist Ché Aimee Dorval, as well as vocalists Samantha & Anne Preis and Arabella Packford.

‘Order Of Magnitude – Empath Live Volume 1’ will be released as a Limited Deluxe 2CD+Blu-Ray+DVD Artbook (including expanded artwork & photos), Limited 2CD+DVD Digipak, Standalone Blu-Ray, Gatefold 3LP+2CD vinyl box-set & as a Digital Album. The Blu-Ray disc includes a bonus behind the scenes documentary, and both DVD & Blu-Ray feature a 5.1 surround sound mix.

https://Devin-Townsend.lnk.to/EmpathLiveVol1/

The track-listing is as follows:
1.Borderlands
2.Evermore
3.War
4.Sprite
5.Gigpig Jam
6.Coast
7.Gato
8.Heavens End
9.Ain’t Never Gonna Win
10.Deadhead
11.Why?
12.Lucky Animals
13.Castaway/Genesis
14.Spirits Will Collide
15.Disco Inferno
16.Kingdom

 

 

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The Flower Kings release video for “Morning News” from upcoming new album ‘Islands’ https://progreport.com/the-flower-kings-release-video-for-morning-news-from-upcoming-new-album-islands/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-flower-kings-release-video-for-morning-news-from-upcoming-new-album-islands https://progreport.com/the-flower-kings-release-video-for-morning-news-from-upcoming-new-album-islands/#respond Fri, 16 Oct 2020 12:56:23 +0000 https://progreport.com/?p=14969 Islands will be out on Oct. 30th, 2020

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On October 30th, 2020 progressive rockers THE FLOWER KINGS will release their new double album “Islands” on InsideOutMusic, just a year after the group’s much celebrated “Waiting For Miracles”. Today they launch a new video for the third single from the album, ‘Morning News’, and you can watch it now here:

 

Roine Stolt comments: “When the world shut down – all shows at risk, or cancelled, we found a way out of the pandemonium & panic by doing what we do best. Write music and record it!
There was already so many great songs & ideas in stock that just needed work and some love & perfecting.
The plan was to write and record a very ‘intuitive & inclusive’ album where we could be free to do any style to fit in a multicolour tapestry.
‘Morning News’ was an acoustic piece that was a natural choice – sort of a simple McCartney style acoustic song – that needed little or no wall of sounds.
The song is about a beautiful end, realization and acceptance of our own mortality.”

“Islands” is now available as massive Limited 3LP & 2CD box set with slipcase and 180 gram vinyl housed in one gatefold, one single sleeve; as Limited Edition 2CD Digipak and Digital Album.
Presales are available now!
https://theflowerkings.lnk.to/IslandsID

Disc One (49:40)
1 – Racing With Blinders On 4:24
2 – From The Ground 4.02
3 – Black Swan 5:53
4 – Morning News 4:01
5 – Broken 6:38
6 – Goodbye Outrage 2:19
7 – Journeyman 1:43
8 – Tangerine 3:51
9 – Solaris 9:10
10 – Heart Of The Valley 4:18
11- Man In A Two Peace Suit 3:21

 

Disc Two (43:01)
1 – All I Need Is Love 5:48
2 – A New Species 5:45
3 – Northern Lights 5:43
4 – Hidden Angles 0:50
5 – Serpentine 3:52
6 – Looking For Answers 4:30
7 –Telescope 4:41
8 – Fool’s Gold 3:11
9 – Between Hope & Fear 4:29
10 – Islands 4:12

 

Line-Up:
Roine Stolt – Vocal, Ukulele, Guitars, Additional Keyboards
Hasse Fröberg – Vocal & Acoustic Guitar
Jonas Reingold – Bass, Acoustic Guitar
Zach Kamins – Pianos, Organ, Synthesizers, Mellotron, Orchestrations
Mirko DeMaio – Drums, Percussion
Guest: Rob Townsend – Soprano Saxophone

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Lunatic Soul release new track and video for instrumental “Navvie” https://progreport.com/lunatic-soul-release-new-track-and-video-for-instrumental-navvie/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=lunatic-soul-release-new-track-and-video-for-instrumental-navvie https://progreport.com/lunatic-soul-release-new-track-and-video-for-instrumental-navvie/#respond Thu, 15 Oct 2020 17:00:21 +0000 https://progreport.com/?p=14964 Through Shaded Woods is due for release on November 13th through Kscope.

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Following the premiere of “The Passage”, the first single to be taken from the forthcoming seventh album Through Shaded Woods, due for release on November 13th through Kscope,  Lunatic Soul have released a new track and video, the instrumental “Navvie”.

Watch the video here:

Of the new track Mariusz Duda explains  “Nav” (Polish spelling “Nawie”) is the name for the Slavic underworld, and also denotes the souls of the dead, so it gives me great pleasure to welcome everyone to my musical underworld. The new Lunatic Soul album, “Through Shaded Woods”, talks about breaking free from the great beyond, about making your way to the other side, about a second chance and coming back to life. 

The “dancing souls” from the album artwork and the new videoclip makes the world turn green. Green is the colour of healing, hope and freedom. In these incredibly trying times, I wish each one of us exactly that: healing, hope and freedom.”

On album number seven Mariusz Duda, the multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and mastermind behind Lunatic Soul is extending his musical explorations to include dark Scandinavian and Slavic folk referencing bands like Heilung or Wardruna. Following the heavily electronic sound of previous albums Fractured and Under the Fragmented Sky, Through Shaded Woods is completely devoid of electronics and is the first album in Duda’s discography, on which he plays all instruments.

Mariusz found his inspiration for the album from his childhood home, an area of Poland known for its forests and lakes, ” I think I have always wanted to create an album steeped in nature and woodlands. These bring to my mind freedom, breathing and a dance ritual of coming back to nature, so I wanted the album to include such ritualistic primal dances, shamanic, Slavic and Viking moods. I wanted to mix it all up and put it all together, making “Through Shaded Woods” the most intense, dynamic and the most danceable album in my career.”

Mariusz Duda appears to have put the personal darkness that inspired his previous albums behind him, as more optimistic elements shine through in his new music. The album becoming musically “brighter” as it progresses – from the atmospheric introduction of “Navvie” through to the title track, which leads the listener to a melodious, trance like “Oblivion”, echoing the style of Dead Can Dance.

Through Shaded Woods will be released on CD; 2 CD featuring a bonus disc of 3 additional tracks including a 26-minute suite called “Transition 2; black vinyl LP in gatefold sleeve and digitally and is available to pre-order HERE (https://lunaticsoul.lnk.to/ThroughShadedWoods)

Tracklisting:
Navvie [04:03]
The Passage [08:57]
Through Shaded Woods [05:51]
Oblivion [05:03]
Summoning Dance[09:52]
The Fountain [06:04]
Additional bonus tracks contained on disc 2 of the Ltd Ed CD format:
Vyraj [05:32]
Hylophobia [03:20]
Transition II [27:45]

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The Ultimate Top 20 Opeth Songs – Fan Voted https://progreport.com/the-ultimate-top-20-opeth-songs-fan-voted/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-ultimate-top-20-opeth-songs-fan-voted https://progreport.com/the-ultimate-top-20-opeth-songs-fan-voted/#respond Thu, 15 Oct 2020 16:37:03 +0000 https://progreport.com/?p=14959 The Ultimate Top 20 Opeth Songs as voted on by fans.

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We let you guys pick the Top 20 Opeth Songs and we have the final results.  Check out the list and a Spotify playlist of the top 20 below.

1.Deliverance
2.Ghost of Perdition
3.Reverie/Harlequin Forest
4.Blackwater Park
5.Drapery Falls
6.Bleak
7.Windowpane
8.The Grand Conjuration
9.The Moor
10.Lotus Eater
11.Burden
12.The Baying of the Hounds
13.Heir Apparent
14.Demon of the Fall
15.Hessian Peel
16.Dirge For Novemeber
17.Funeral Portrait
18.To Bid You Farewell
19.The Leper Affinity
20.Moon Above, Sun Below

 

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Jon Anderson to release remastered & expanded edition of 1980 album ‘Song of Seven’ https://progreport.com/jon-anderson-to-release-remastered-expanded-edition-of-1980-album-song-of-seven/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=jon-anderson-to-release-remastered-expanded-edition-of-1980-album-song-of-seven https://progreport.com/jon-anderson-to-release-remastered-expanded-edition-of-1980-album-song-of-seven/#respond Mon, 12 Oct 2020 14:07:18 +0000 https://progreport.com/?p=14951 The set features fully restored artwork and notes, as well as two bonus tracks.

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Esoteric Recordings are pleased to announce the release of a new remastered and expanded edition of the 1980 solo album by JON ANDERSON, SONG OF SEVEN.

The album was recorded during Jon’s first hiatus from YES, with whom he had become an internationally known vocalist and songwriter and followed on from his 1976 solo album OLIAS OF SUNHILLOW. Working with keyboard player RONNIE LEAHY, Anderson created an optimistic album of varying influences and he gathered together a fine ensemble of musicians to assist him such as celebrated bass players JACK BRUCE and JOHN GIBLIN, guitarists CLEM CLEMPSON and IAN BAIRNSON, saxophonist JOHNNY DANKWORTH and percussionists MORRIS PERT and SIMON PHILLIPS.

SONG OF SEVEN was a UK top forty hit upon its release by Atlantic Records in November 1980 and spawned a solo tour which established Jon Anderson as a regarded artist in his own right. This Esoteric Recordings edition has been newly remastered from the original Atlantic Records master tapes and is expanded to include two rare US single edits previously unreleased on CD and restores the original album artwork in a digipak. The booklet also features a new essay with an exclusive interview with Jon Anderson.

So great to listen again to where I was musically 40 years ago…still dreaming the same dreams, and in my early years of orchestration ideas…very gentle reminders to stay cool…don’t hurry, all will be well, ‘take your time’…wonderful bass work, and all the wonderful friends and musicians just came into my life for a couple of months…Jack Bruce even!!! Everybody Loves you, but I love you a little bit more…sweet lyric, and then the wild and crazy Song of Seven lyric..most of it was spontaneous and feeling very open about life…and the mystery of it all…still do….

As always I’m here in my studio still juggling lyrics and music and songs..I’m excited that this can be heard again..

Best wishes to everyone…be well be safe…Love and ‘Light’…Jon Anderson

Track List:

1. FOR YOU, FOR ME
2. SOME ARE BORN
3. DON’T FORGET (NOSTALIGIA)
4. HEART OF THE MATTER
5. HEAR IT
6. EVERYBODY LOVES YOU
7. TAKE YOUR TIME
8. DAYS
9. SONG OF SEVEN

BONUS TRACKS
10.SOME ARE BORN (US SINGLE PROMO EDITED VERSION)
11.HEART OF THE MATTER (SHORT VERSION)

https://www.cherryred.co.uk/product/jon-anderson-song-of-seven-remastered-expanded-edition

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The Flower Kings – Islands (Album Review) https://progreport.com/the-flower-kings-islands-album-review/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-flower-kings-islands-album-review https://progreport.com/the-flower-kings-islands-album-review/#respond Mon, 12 Oct 2020 12:54:04 +0000 https://progreport.com/?p=14947 Review of The Flower Kings album - Islands, out on Oct. 30th, 2020

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by Prog Nick

Roine Stolt is a remarkably prolific musician. It is quite astounding to think that in and amongst his various other projects, Stolt and his band-mates in The Flower Kings (TFK) have already recorded and released the follow up to ‘Waiting for Miracles,’ just eleven short months after the release of the latter in November 2019.

Of course, it has been an unusual eleven months. The Global Pandemic has yielded a flurry of releases that might otherwise have been delayed due to touring and other activities. ‘Islands’, TFK’s 2020 release, may be one such album, but you should not think for a moment that it is some hurriedly-compiled collection of songs that might not have seen the light of day if not for Lockdown. On the contrary, this album is as accomplished as anything previously released by these Prog gurus.

‘Islands’ is a double CD (triple LP) release that was recorded during Lockdown with each member contributing remotely. The liner credits state that it was ‘recorded at locations in Italy, California, Austria, Sweden and Denmark.’ Stolt apparently had an interesting time producing it, having to instruct various members on matters such as microphone placement, via digital platforms.  On listening to the album, the only possible indication of this is that the individual songs comprising the album’s 96 minutes are somewhat shorter than TFK fans would traditionally expect. Yet every song is linked as a constituent part to the central theme of isolation – hence the album’s title. Each song taps into a common vital force – like an inherent sense of Chi. Fans may therefore hear ‘Islands’ not as a collection of individual songs, but rather as a continuous, long-form double concept album. That choice is the listener’s to make, but other than that, there is no ambivalence here – one should expect, for the most part, another excellent double set of classic, expansive, melodic TFK Prog, as required by the band’s loyal followers.

Listen to the interview with Roine Stolt here.

With melody, majesty, harmonies, signature guitar and keyboard lines galore, always underpinned by the mammoth bass-lines of Jonas Reingold, ‘Islands’ does much to entrench TFK’s place as one of the altar-bearers of modern Prog. With only scattered and minor departures from TFK’s trademark sweeping melodic style, it is safe to say that fans are unlikely to encounter any ‘lockdown difference.’ They will most certainly not be disappointed. Sweden’s Swami of Prog and his international cohorts have done it again – only this time perhaps with a slightly more focused air of contemplation. Call it a musical meditation, if you will.

The music is typically varied and polished, but the lyrics deserve special mention. Evidently, many of them were created on the spot during the recording process as a ‘stream of consciousness’. Considering how polished the album sounds, this is a remarkable fact. Get ready to meditate with Roine Stolt.

The sheer proportions of the release coupled with the number of songs (21) makes a track-by-track analysis impossible. Suffice it to say that the album ventures in many directions and could well be TFK’s most intrepid to date, while conjuring just the right amount of familiarity. There are a few highlights that should be mentioned:

‘Broken’, released as first single, is just staggering from start to finish. This Prog masterwork begins with a yearning guitar line, leading to a simple but brilliant verse in two part harmony, and goes everywhere from there. It rocks and it rolls. It is progressive and jazzy. It is heavy and it is light. It is unpredictable and it is immensely satisfying. ‘Broken’ is a transcendent song that will ensnare you like a Shaman Chant from its first moment – it is right up there with the best that TFK have ever done.

‘Black Swan’ is an excellent song that sees the band channel its love of Queen. Stolt’s guitar has a very deliberate Brian May sound and the harmonies very obviously and intentionally sound like Freddie Mercury at his best. TFK in an alternate Queen universe – you will love it.

A surprise awaits in ‘Morning News.’ If you had ever wondered what TFK would sound like as a Country and Western band, wonder no more. Complete with twanging guitars and barn-dance drumming from the excellent Mirkko DeMaio, you can almost imagine Stolt singing in a cowboy hat with a piece of long grass in his mouth. Yet somehow it still sounds like TFK, and the lyrical content is highly sophisticated.

Stolt’s admiration for Frank Zappa makes itself apparent at various points, including the songs Journeyman, Hidden Angles, Fool’s Gold and Solaris. The latter, a huge, lumbering rhythm with a full choir, is a cosmic marathon about the race around the sun. Expect much musical mayhem from these Zappa stylings.

An undoubted fan favorite will be the song ‘Tangerine’. The song may sound as polished as burnished brass, but the remarkable fact is that the vocals (traded like oriental spice between Stolt and the wonderful Hasse Fröberg) were composed while recording. There could not be a better lead vocalist for TFK than Fröberg, and one of the reasons is his compatibility with Stolt. Their voices have for years combined to create a unique harmony and counterpoint – it is just something about their tonal qualities – and this song is a stunning demonstration of that fact. A moment of Zen.

Fully entitled to count Jon Anderson as one of his collaborators, Stolt is not afraid to show his affection for Classic Yes in a few songs, including the excellent ‘Heart of the Valley’. Any follower sitting at the feet of the Yes yogi will acknowledge that the devotion in this song reaches a different plane. While it sits well with the cover art, and is clearly a nod to early-70’s Yes, ‘Heart of the Valley’ is still TFK throughout. No-one channels Classic Yes with more integrity than this band.

‘All I Need is Love’ may be simpler than many other TFK arrangements but it is one of the band’s finest. There is a very human feel to it, with beautiful personal touches like a gentle Flamenco handclap during the opening chords. With a fabulous hook and soaring vocals built around the line ‘Living in a Limbo…This castle is a prison…All I need is love to get me out of here’, it soon becomes the Hasse Fröberg show – in other words, Nirvana.

The radiant ‘Man In a Two-Peace Suit’ is one of several breathtaking instrumentals, but the stand-out is ‘Looking for Answers.’ This track will take you to church with its cathedral organ and majestic Zach Kamins keyboard sweeps, all built around Stolt’s omniscient guitar. If you are looking for answers in these strange days, put this one on. You might not get your answers from the song itself, but you will feel like going to your temple, church, mosque, ashram or other place of worship to ask.

We have all become distant spectators in the world, and ‘Telescope’ makes this point with passion. Stolte watches humankind through his telescope, and then sympathises with one of his most searing and cosmic solos. This, dear reader, is what a guitar should sound like. Stolte and Fröberg observe: ‘The world is opening like a rose, I’m watching from my telescope…and its heart is cold’ – precisely.

For its sheer vocal beauty, ‘Northern Lights’, also featuring Reingold on fretless and fretted basses, is one of the year’s most beautiful and spiritual musical awakenings. ‘Serpentine,’ featuring a typically stellar appearance from saxophonist Rob Townsend, could not have been more aptly titled, with its writhing arrangement and scything social commentary.

There are many other surprises and treasures on ‘Islands.’ Cinematic moments lead to almost balletic imagery; eerie theramin wails give way to oddball Beatles-bop; technicality stands side by side with searing emotion. But always, the standard that you would expect from TFK is present, like a familiar daily meditation – only one that becomes more and more intense with every listen. From majestic Prog to quirky and catchy pop choruses, from terrifying bass eruptions and twisting keyboard runs to monastic choirs, from the sweetest melodies to the most intricate instrumentation, it is all there – and throughout, the lyrical theme of the album continues to ring true.

The production of ‘Islands’ deserves special mention. Despite its technicality and progressiveness, there is a lightness to the album that is at first difficult to fathom. It is, for a 2020 album, an unusual mix, featuring a drum sound that is lighter, more ambient and less prominent than on most albums produced these days. This allows for the detail in the vocals, keys, guitars and bass to be more fully exposed, and creates an effective counter-point to the grand arrangements. I must admit that at first, this took a bit of getting used to, but soon enough, I grew to like it immensely. The fact was that from the outset, the sound was strangely familiar. Stolt consciously decided to produce the album in this way to free up the elaborate melodies and give it a classic feel. The final drum mix is mildly reminiscent of Bill Bruford in the 70’s and, true to Stolt’s intention, it will not be long before you feel that it is as natural as a light rain in springtime. These bold production choices give the album a lightness and brightness that will last a lifetime. While my preference has always been for a big, up-front drum sound, for TFK, this is better.

The cover artwork by the legendary Roger Dean suits the album perfectly. As Kismet would have it, Dean was working separately on a common artistic theme about islands and isolation, completely independently of the album. Talk about stars aligning.

If you are a TFK fan, when you first look at the track-list, you will most likely think ‘This can’t be a TFK album – the songs are too short.’ But do not be deterred, dear reader. Everything you desire from a TFK album, and more, is present. Easily and highly recommended, ‘Islands’ is at once sublime, sophisticated, soulful and spontaneous. Stolt’s omnipresent guitar, Reingold’s intricate bass-lines, Fröberg’s range and emotion, Kamins’ extravagant flourishes and DeMaio’s technical competence, are all fully exposed not just because they are stellar performances, but because the compositions presented (by Stolt and the other members) are uncommonly good.

‘Islands’ may have been recorded remotely, but its combined soul, passion and yearning are unbridled, and there is a distinct feeling of brotherhood in its delivery. We, the listeners, are indeed human islands at the moment, and if anything will reconnect us in this strange and alienated world, it is music like this. The Sanscrit phrase ‘Namaste’ means ‘I bow to you.’ Namaste, Mr Stolt.

Released on Oct. 20th, 2020 on InsideOutMusic

Key Tracks: Black Swan, Morning News, Broken, Tangerine

Disc One (49:40)
1 – Racing With Blinders On 4:24
2 – From The Ground 4.02
3 – Black Swan 5:53
4 – Morning News 4:01
5 – Broken 6:38
6 – Goodbye Outrage 2:19
7 – Journeyman 1:43
8 – Tangerine 3:51
9 – Solaris 9:10
10 – Heart Of The Valley 4:18
11- Man In A Two Peace Suit 3:21

Disc Two (43:01)
1 – All I Need Is Love 5:48
2 – A New Species 5:45
3 – Northern Lights 5:43
4 – Hidden Angles 0:50
5 – Serpentine 3:52
6 – Looking For Answers 4:30
7 –Telescope 4:41
8 – Fool’s Gold 3:11
9 – Between Hope & Fear 4:29
10 – Islands 4:12

https://theflowerkings.lnk.to/IslandsID

Line-Up:
Roine Stolt – Vocal, Ukulele, Guitars, Additional Keyboards
Hasse Fröberg – Vocal & Acoustic Guitar
Jonas Reingold – Bass, Acoustic Guitar
Zach Kamins – Pianos, Organ, Synthesizers, Mellotron, Orchestrations
Mirko DeMaio – Drums, Percussion
Guest: Rob Townsend – Soprano Saxophone

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