New Release Spotlight: Randy McStine / Big Wreck / IO Earth

A list of new and recently released albums we recommend.

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

Randy McStine – Unintentional (Dec. 1st, 2023)

Multi-instrumentalist and recent touring guitarist for Porcupine Tree, Randy McStine, is well-known in Prog circles for always producing something unique and interesting. He always tries to challenge himself musically and rarely does the same type of album twice. Enter his latest album, the aptly titled ‘Unintentional’ which as he describes in a press release, as an album that was never meant to happen. McStine wrote some blues music for a power trio gig that was coming up and enjoyed it so much he got his frequent musical partner, drummer Marco Minnemann, to lay down some drums.  McStine then turned what were originally some throw-away demos into some pretty fiery blues-rock performances. His guitar playing is as raw and urgent as ever, and the arrangements are effectively direct. It might not be what you expect, but because of that, it should be exactly what you expect from Randy McStine.

Order here:


Randy McStine – Vocals, Guitar, Bass
Marco Minnemann – Drums
Written and Produced by Randy McStine
Mixed and Mastered by Rich Mouser


Big Wreck – Pages (Nov. 24th, 2023)

Canadian rockers Big Wreck have come a long way from their debut album in 1997, which landed them an opening slot on Dream Theater’s ‘Falling into Infinity’ tour. After disbanding in 2003, band leader Ian Thornley reformed the band in 2010, and the new lineup has been incredibly busy creating some of their best music. They recently released a series of EPs from 2021-2023 titled, 7.1, 7.2, & 7.3. They now follow those up with a new series of EPs which kicks with their proggiest collection to date titled ‘Pages.’ The 6 track set features two songs over 7 minutes, including the outstanding opener “In Fair Light.” They even channel Abacab-era Genesis on “Summerlong.” The brilliant ballad “Weightless” is a highlight, as is the epic closer “Bird of Paradise.” Had this been a full-length album, it could easily be a contender for Album of the Year. Highly recommended.

Order here:

1.In Fair Light
2.Bail Out
5.White Lies
6.Bird of Paradise

Ian Thornley – lead vocals, lead guitar, keyboards
Dave McMillan – bass guitar, backing vocals
Chris Caddell – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Sekou Lumumba – drums


IO Earth – Sanctuary (Oct. 20th, 2023)

UK band IO Earth have been on the Prog scene since 2004 and have seen a few lineup changes in the lead vocalist department. Their latest album, Sanctuary, features the return of previous vocalist Linda Odinsen, who takes over from previous singer Rosanna Lefevre. The album takes the band towards some slightly darker material, while still very much maintaining the band’s core symphonic prog metal sound. “Outside” is a dynamic opening track and also happens to have a pretty cool video along with it. The band incorporate a lot of electronic and synth sounds to go along with Odinsen’s vocals which are impressive throughout, particularly on tracks like “Sanctuary” and “The Child.” Meanwhile, lead guitarist Dave Cureton, fresh off his recent spectacular solo album ‘State of Mind,’ provides some incredible fretwork. Fans of the band will find a lot to enjoy here and as well as those not familiar.

Order here:

1. Outside (6:22)
2. Running (5:59)
3. Sanctuary (6:15)
4. The Child (8:42)
5. Close By (5:18)
6. Airborne (7:13)
7. Changes (9:06)
8. Sunshine (8:58)
9. Won’t Be Afraid (7:43)

Dave Cureton / guitars, bass, keyboards, vocals, percussion
Linda Odinsen / vocals
Adam Gough / keyboards, guitar, orchestration, percussion
Luke Shingler / saxophone, flute
Christian Nokes / bass
Tim Wilson / drums & percussion

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