New Release Spotlight: North Sea Echoes / Albion / Jane Getter Premonition

A list of new and recently released albums we recommend.

The New Release Spotlight is a roundup of new and recently released albums.

North Sea Echoes – Really Good Terrible Things (Feb. 23rd, 2024)

You would have thought that when Fates Warning essentially called it quits with their last album in 2020 that we would hear less of Jim Matheos and Ray Alder. But this has definitely not been the case. It seems they just wanted to make different music. The next project in the Fates Warning universe features just these two legends (here as North Sea Echoes) in a more acoustic and stripped-down format. Focusing on guitar and vocals almost exclusively, the album ‘Really Good Terrible Things’ highlights why these two musicians have been so important and relevant for more than 30 years. Tracks like “Open Book” and the haunting “Unmoved” are captivating and in fact are moving, while a far cry from their peak Fates Warning days. Alder is still one of rock’s best vocalists, no matter what he sings, while Matheos is still writing brilliant songs. This may be different than the heavy prog metal we love them for, but it still very worth listening to.

Order here:

1.Open Book 04:42
2.Flowers in Decay 04:33
3.Unmoved 03:42 video
4.Throwing Stones 04:37
5.Empty 03:21
6.The Mission 03:47
7.Where I’m From 03:46
8.We Move Around the Sun 05:35
9.Touch the Sky 03:49
10.No Maps 03:42

Ray Alder and Jim Matheos


Albion – Lakesongs of Elbid (Jan. 27th, 2024)

You may have heard a few mentions of Albion online. For the unaware, it features singer/guitarist Joe Parrish James who recently left Jethro Tull to concentrate this band. Albion has just released their latest album ‘Lakesongs of Elbid’. Albion ar edescrobed as a folk rock band, but that creates a very different image/ sound compared to what Albion actually are. The opening track “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” immediately draws my Irish attention, as the lyrics are from the very familiar poem by WB Yeats. This track is a very simple acoustic guitar rendition – one guitar, one voice – but it’s the appetiser for what’s next! “Arthurian Overture” is what comes next, and we are straight into heavy melodic shred territory, with themes from the soundtrack of the movie Merlin. When in Tull, Parrish-James also did some live doubling of flute parts, and so that instrument also has a place here. It’s a fantastic ride with many stylistic shifts. “Finding Avalon” is the highpoint, and sits at the centre of the album. The sword in the stone on the cover points towards this story of King Arthur. As well as the guitars and keys, the rhythm section of Peter Szypulski and Mikey Ciancio power this epic along, and prove a contrast to the acoustic guitar and flute track, Canens (Maya) which follows. If you are a fan of the folkier elements of Tull, BBT and similar bands, this one is definitely something you should give a listen to – but beyond that, the broad minded listener who enjoys heavier sounds should find plenty of interest in the album.

Order here:

1.The Lake Isle of Innisfree 02:11
2.Arthurian Overture (Based on themes from Trevor Jones’ ‘Merlin’ OST (1998)) 09:35
3.Pagan Spirit 07:56
4.The Dream of Rhonabwy 06:59
5.Llyn Cwm Llwch 03:26
6.Finding Avalon 07:18
7.Canens (Maya) 02:34
8.Barrett’s Privateers – A Tribute to Stan Rogers 05:35
9.Black Lake (Llyn y Fan Fach) 04:18
10.Llyn y Fan Fawr (Sister Lake) 05:33
11.Silvaplana Rock 07:55
12.Camlann 06:28

Joe Parrish-James – Vocals, guitar, flute, mandolin, programming
Jack Clark – Backing vocals, guitar
Peter Szypulski – Bass
Mikey Ciancio – Drums
Ollie Medlow – Additional drums on tracks 4 and 11

Jane Getter Premonition – Division World (Feb. 23rd, 2024)

The 3rd album from Jane Getter Premonition finds the guitarist presenting a more song-oriented album with vocals on all but 1 of the 11 tracks. Joining Getter is an extremely talented band with Alex Holzman on Keyboards, Alex Skolnick on guitar, Gene Lake on drums and Paul Frazier on bass. Randy McStine joins for vocals on 3 tracks including lead vocals on the closing track “Waiting for the Light.” There are hints of Porcupine Tree here alongside blues rock, making for an interesting mix, which can be heard right away on the first 2 tracks. “Compass” is a killer instrumental track with some fiery guitar work and outstanding rhythm and bass, while “End the Blame” is really interesting ballad with some wonderful piano from Holzman. “Devolution” is a heavy rocker with some outstanding solos near the end of the track. If you haven’t checked out the band before, you should absolutely check this one out. It will surprise you.

Order here:

1. Division World (4:24)
2. Dissipate (4:43)
3. The Spark (4:27)
4. Compass (5:38)
5. End the Blame (4:05)
6. Layers (4:37)
7. Devolution (4:20)
8. Another Way (5:05)
9. Mixed Up (4:12)
10. Rewind Regain (5:00)
11. Waiting for the Light (4:14)

Jane Getter / guitar, vocals
Alex Skolnick / guitar
Adam Holzman / keyboards
Gene Lake / drums
Paul Frazier / bass, vocals
– Randy McStine / vocals

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