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All posts for the month May, 2018

This news story was originally published here: http://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2018/05/28/the-innocence-mission-sun-on-the-square/

I have been a fan of The Innocence Mission since the early 1990s. I have most of their CDs and love Glow, My Room in the Trees, and Now the Day is Over, so when I heard that their new album, Sun on the Square, was coming out in June on the Badman Recording Company via my favourite label, Bella Union, the excitement started to build.

The band hails from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and has been recording since their self-titled debut in 1989. Their music is the calm, uncategorisable type that few bands make any more. Yes, you could call it poetic soft rock, but that would miss the deep affection that lead singer Karen Peris brings to every song she sings. Karen sang on The Places We’ve Been from Lost Horizons’ 2017 album Ojalá and is one of my favourite singers of all time. Like Dolores O’Riordan, her voice stands out in a crowd, not because of its boisterous power, but rather the soft affection and deeply emotional lyrics she delivers. They stand tall for a world bruised by political strife.

I hoped that this new album would go in the direction of Glow, but after listening to Sun on the Square completely I now know why that would not have worked. Sun on the Square captures some of those moments of optimism that I do believe are coming, but first we must capture where we stand today, and the band has done that here. Glow was a happy, blissful, reflection of a time when I think the world was good. We’re not back there yet. Since the election of 2016, the United States and the world have been anything but blissful… or happy for that matter. So, Sun on the Square reflects that feeling of loss and confusion.

The album opens with the wonderful Records from your Room, reminiscing about playing vinyl albums in your own space as The Innocence Mission shine beautiful acoustic light on that glorious past when we had the time to listen to full albums in all their clarity. Karen sings, “Is there a word for this time, the changes we find, the music that blooms now out of your room, the kindness of strangers…”. The acoustic guitar and Karen’s voice is all you hear, with a melancholic wide eyed innocence to the vocals, not soundscape supported as Glow. A tempered happiness and reflection supported at times with a minimum of piano keys. A jarring opening for someone who innocently expected another Glow.

Green Bus is a wonderful song for which Karen created artwork, along with the video above. Another powerful statement as Karen sings, “If I could speak, if I could be as I would like to be now – I look into shops, I slip into rain”. More melancholy; wanting to be joyous but realising that the world has changed. The supporting orchestration of sitting bass, stringed instruments and acoustic guitar surround Peris’ vocals, as eerie ringing keyboards can be heard in the distance. A slow, plodding trip through the rain; not the glorious spirit of Bright as Yellow or Brave, reflective of the times, or the season in which it was written. Plenty of nylon string guitar, ukulele, and waves of violin.

Next up is Look out from Your Window, which is one of the more inspired tracks on the album, Peris singing, “All I cannot say I hope you know. All you cannot say I hope I can hear”. A song full of longing and beautiful baritone acoustic guitar, pump organ, tremolo, upright bass and viola from Anna Peris, Karen’s daughter. I’m feeling the warmth of a fire with some early Fleet Foxes as I listen to this track.

Shadow of the Pines may be my favourite track on the album and it comes early. I have probably listened to the full album only six or seven times; it’s a “grower”, not as easy as Glow to instantly love, but of course, you can’t keep making Glow. Peris sings, “Leaving the shadow of the pines, some lost things I hope to find again”, all set to piano, accordion, organ, harmonica, soft drums, bass, and more viola. Yes, we all hope to find lost things again.

Buildings in Flower opens like a cool jazz song, and could have fit well on the quieter parts of Glow. Acoustic guitar, bells, organ, Melodica and bass create a solid soundscape as Peris’ voice rises above; “All the leafiness of a thousand miles, is felt in the heart. A change that has started. The packing of things, the loading of cars, the farther and farther darkening dark”.

The title track was inspired by Brazilian bossa nova singer Astrud Gilberto (who Karen uncannily resembles). Karen speaks of her admiration “for someone going out into the world bravely and in kindness – the possibility for one person to be a light in the world. That love will prevail over fear”. That is Karen Peris in every song that I have heard. Another of my early favourites, Peris sings, “Let it ring out into the air – let there be more kindness in the world”. More sun on the square. Amen.

Every season has its wonder, and the music of The Innocence Mission can capture the spirit and essence of all these seasonal moods so well. Light of Winter is for that time when we lose the light of the sun the most. However, snow brings the brightness we crave. Karen obviously loves snow, she has written many songs about the emotions surrounding it and this is another wonderful tribute that captures the stillness and solemnity of the season.

Star of Land and Sea is written and sung by Karen’s husband Don Peris. It reminds me of some of Lindsey Buckingham’s quieter songs, the baritone and acoustic guitars warmly capturing the spirit of the cry for peace and tranquillity; “Be a light to all, you shine into darker lands, you shine, a friend to friendless men, you shine”.

Another thing that is wonderful about The Innocence Mission is the song titles. An Idea of Canoeing – what more can you say about that title. Perfect. Peris sings, “Circles outreaching and growing wide, endlessly outreaching, into the hour, the idea of this, water in flower”.

Galvanic is the album closer, and a song we have been waiting for, with the best lyrics on the album, so please indulge me; “Days we will see. The radiant greens and the long strides. Galvanic lights over us all these miles. I believe we’re going to see, things will come right this time… And we will see, and leap to our feet, in songs of flights, and mark it down: the healing has now been authorized”. Amen again.

This album is full of references to change, loss, or reminiscence of the past. It is a soft, acoustic album reflecting the change of seasons and moods of the world. I love the album in all its integrity and hope for the future. Please pick this album up and join in the walk back to normalcy. If you have time, pick up some of their other albums, or at least songs like their covers of Edelweiss and Over the Rainbow, and please listen to My Room in the Trees with the songs God is Love and Spring.

TRACK LISTING
01. Records From Your Room (2:47)
02. Green Bus (4:29)
03. Look Out From Your Window (3:21)
04. Shadow Of The Pines (4:01)
05. Buildings In Flower (3:43)
06. Sun On The Square (3:28)
07. Light Of Winter (3:53)
08. Star Of Land And Sea (3:09)
09. An Idea Of Canoeing (2:58)
10. Galvanic (2:38)

Total Time – 34:27

MUSICIANS
Karen Peris – Guitar, Piano, Pump Organ, Accordion, Lead Vocals
Don Peris – Guitars, Drums, Vocals
Mike Bitts – Upright Bass

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: Badman Recording / Bella Union
Country of Origin: U.S.A.
Date of Release: 29th June 2018

LINKS
The Innocence Mission – Website | Facebook | Bandcamp

The Aaron Clift Experiment – ‘Faith’
Birdsongs Of The Meszoiac – ‘Peter Gunn’
Canvas – ‘Teen Town’
Deadwood Forest – ‘OCD’
Easter Island – ‘Face To Face’
Fireballet – ‘Flash’
Glass Hammer – ‘Porpoise Song’
Harlequin Mass – ‘My Place (Stubborn Puppet)’
Iluvatar – ‘Iluvatar’
Jellyfish – ‘Sabrina, Paste and Plato’
Kevin Gilbert – ‘A Long Day’s Life’
Live – ‘Shit Towne’
Man On Fire – ‘A (Post-Apocalyptic) Bedtime Story’
Nathan Mahl – ‘The Comfort Of Tears’
Orpheus Nine – ‘No Illusions’
Pinnacles – ‘Halos’
Queens Of The Stone Age – ‘The Vampyre Of Time And Memory’
Rausch – ‘Good Day’
Sonus Umbra – ‘Insomniac Blue’
Thank You Scientist – ‘In The Company Of Worms’
Underground Railroad – ‘Julian I’
Vermillion Skye – ‘Almost Perfect’
World Trade – ‘Pandora’s Box’
Xeaoxa – ‘Chronicle 7’
The Yellow Box – ‘Chasing The Squid’
Zriku – ‘Had It All’

This news story was originally published here: http://www.insideoutmusic.com/newsdetailed.aspx?IdNews=22324&IdCompany=8

Progressive Metal pioneers FATES WARNING are launching a second single and video clip off their upcoming new live album release entitled “Live Over Europe” (Out June 29th, 2018 via InsideOutMusic) today.
 
Check out “The Light and Shade of Things”, which was edited by Chris Anderson at Divine Digital based on live footage from Germany (Filmed by Bernhard Baran / b-light pictures) and several other locations on their recent European tour, with audio recorded in Milano, Italy on January 20th, 2018, here: https://youtu.be/rvT6GyrrhG4
 
The previously released first live single “Firefly” can still be seen here:
https://youtu.be/n90v_ZQ-d4s
 
The pre-order for “Live Over Europe” is available here:
https://FatesWarning.lnk.to/LiveOverEurope
 
Or order the 2CD or 3LP (+ 2CD as bonus) from the InsideOutMusic webshop here:
https://www.insideoutshop.de/Artist/Fates_Warning/20823?Page=1&PageSize=25&Sort=13

Gathered during the group’s most recent European headlining run for FATES WARNING’s much acclaimed latest studio album “Theories Of Flight” in January 2018, “Live Over Europe” includes recordings from 8 different cities (Aschaffenburg / Germany, Belgrade / Serbia, Thessaloniki and Athens / Greece, Rome and Milan / Italy, Budapest / Hungary as well as Ljubljana / Slovenia) and a total of 23 songs in over 138 minutes of playing time, spanning 30 years of the group’s seminal career.
“Live Over Europe” was mixed by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Kreator, Symphony X) and mastered by Tony Lindgren at Fascination Street Studios in Sweden and will be available as limited 2CD Mediabook, Gatefold 3LP + Bonus-2CD or as Digital Album.

Here is the complete track-listing for the release:

FATES WARNING – “Live Over Europe“

CD 1:
1. From the Rooftops
2. Life in Still Water
3. One
4. Pale Fire
5. Seven Stars
6. SOS
7. Pieces of Me
8. Firefly
9. The Light and Shade of Things
10. Wish
11. Another Perfect Day
12. Silent Cries
13. And Yet it Moves
 
CD 2:
1. Still Remains
2. Nothing Left to Say
3. Acquiescence
4. The Eleventh Hour
5. Point of View
6. Falling
7. A Pleasant Shade of Gray, Pt. IX
8. Through Different Eyes
9. Monument
10. Eye to Eye
 
FATES WARNING vocalist Ray Alder commented about “The Light and Shade of Things” as follows: “Hi everybody! We hope you’ve enjoyed “Firefly“ from the upcoming live release! We are really looking forward to the date when the new live album is finally out! In the meantime here’s another track from “Live Over Europe”… This is “The Light And Shade Of Things“ from our last album “Theories Of Flight“. It features live shots from a few different shows around Europe. Enjoy!“
 
FATES WARNING’s latest release, their 12th studio album “Theories Of Flight”, not only gathered critical acclaim (Some soundcheck results being: Deaf Forever / Germany – # 1, Metal Hammer / Germany – # 2, Rock Hard / Germany – # 2, Aardschok / The Netherlands – # 2, Eclipsed / Germany – # 4, Powermetal.de /Germany – # 1), but also entered the sales charts in several countries across the globe with the following highest positions: Germany: # 12, Italy: # 80, The Netherlands: # 70,
Belgium (Flemish): # 175, USA: # 2 Billboard Heatseekers / # 62 Current Top 200 Albums.
 
Check out FATES WARNING’s “Theories Of Flight” here:
“SOS” video clip: https://youtu.be/bRXFODSZSxM
“Seven Stars” video clip: https://youtu.be/0hguUU-VYug
“White Flag” (Guitar play-through video): https://youtu.be/oIGnVSX1sT0
”White Flag“ (Drum and bass play-through video): https://youtu.be/dwtknUNsCx0
“From The Rooftops” (Lyric video): https://youtu.be/8kkJ8qtgLBY
Album teaser clip (excerpts of all songs): https://youtu.be/q1O7W9PKMEE
 
“Theories Of Flight” is available is still available in various formats from the IOM webshop here:
http://smarturl.it/theoriesINOstore
 
FATES WARNING – Line-Up 2018:
Ray Alder Vocals
Jim Matheos – Guitars
Joey Vera Bass and Vocals
Mike Abdow Guitars and Vocals
Bobby Jarzombek – Drums

FATES WARNING Online:
www.fateswarning.com
www.facebook.com/FatesWarning
https://twitter.com/fateswarning



INSIDEOUTMUSIC online:
www.insideoutmusic.com
www.youtube.com/InsideOutMusicTV
www.facebook.com/InsideOutMusic
www.twitter.com/insideouteu

Edition 147 of Sounds That Can Be Made is now available as a podcast!

Playlist:

Karibow – Remember (from The Unchosen)
3Rdegree – Connecting (from Ones & Zeros Vol. 0)
BaK – Too Soon (from Flower)
Motherjane – Namaste (from Nameste)
Thaikkudam Bridge – Saalaikal (feat. Jordan Rudess) (from Saalaikal)

Connect 4:
Brian May & Friends – Star Fleet (from Star Fleet Project)
Ennio Morricone – Lost Boys Calling (from The Legend of 1900)
Pink Floyd – Hey You (from The Wall)
Wings – So Glad To See You Here (from Back to the Egg)

Gazpacho – Missa Atropos (from Missa Atropos)

Jurassic Prog:
Fruupp – Old Time Future (from Future Legends)
Camel – Mystic Queen (from Camel)

Kaipa – The Glorious Silence Within (from Angling Feelings)
Anekdoten – Get Out Alive (from Until All The Ghosts Are Gone)
toe – Two Moons (from For Long Tomorrow)
KBB – Discontinuous Spiral (from Four Corners Sky)
Soup – Clandestine Eyes (from The Beauty of Our Youth)
Opeth – Windowpane (from Damnation)

Monsters of Progzilla:


Evanescence – Going Under (live)
Marilyn Manson – Beautiful People (live)
Linkin Park – Somewhere I Belong (live)
The Police – Message in a Bottle (live)
Muse – Plug In Baby (live)
Rammstein – Sonne (live)

Nine Inch Nails – Gone Still, (from And All That Could Have Been/Still)

Edition 146 of Sounds That Can Be Made is now available as a podcast!

Playlist:

Arena – Red Eyes (from Double Vision)
Art of Illusion – Able to Abide (from Cold War of Solipsism)
Ben Craven – No Specific Harm (Single Edit) (from The Single Edits)
For All We Know – We Are The Light (feat. Anneke van Giersbergen) (from Take Me Home)
Rainbow – Waiting For A Sign (from Memories in Rock II)

Connect 4:
Blue Öyster Cult – The Siege And Investiture of Baron Von Frankenstein’s Castle At Weisseria (from Imaginos)
Angel Vivaldi – Crystal Planet (feat. Dan Sugarman) (from Crystal Planet)
Scale the Summit – The Levitated (from The Collective)
The Contortionist – Language (Rediscovered) (from Language (Rediscovered Edition))

Maschine – Megacyma (from Naturalis)

Jurassic Prog:
The Pretty Things – In The Square, The Letter, Rain (from Parachute)
Yes – Perpetual Change (from The Yes Album)

Comedy Of Errors – Could Have Been Yesterday (from Disobey)
Sylvan – Hypnotized (from Presets)
Animations – 912 (The Day After) (from Animations)
Frost* – Toys (from Experiments In Mass Appeal)
The Dear Hunter – King Of Swords (Reversed) (from Act IV: Rebirth In Reprise)
Ray Wilson – The Actor (from The Next Best Thing)
Von Hertzen Brothers – Sunday Child (from New Day Rising)

Monsters of Progzilla:
Colouratura – Jekyll.Hyde
Field Music – Share The Words (live)
Knifeworld – I Must Set Fire To Your Portrait (live)
The Galactic Cowboy Orchestra – Odd Men Out (live)
Jack O’ The Clock – Shrinking (live)
Bent Knee – Terror Bird (live)

Diablo Swing Orchestra – Knucklehugs (Arm Yourself With Love) (from Pacifisticuffs)

Edition 136 of Steve Blease’s Heavy Elements is now available as a podcast.

Playlist:

Atma Weapon – Fair Weather
Periphery – Feed the Ground
Toundra – Cobra
Skyharbor – Dim
Yatin Srivastava Project – Alive

Live at 11: Vanden Plas live at the Elysée Montmartre in Paris on 13/02/2000

Into the Sun (live)
Kiss of Death (live)
You Fly (live)

Intervals – Epiphany

Symphony X – The New Mythology Suite

A Fool’s Paradise
Egypt
Rediscovery (Segue)
Rediscovery Pt 2: The New Mythology

Leprous – Thorn

This news story was originally published here: https://www.prog-sphere.com/specials/leprous-albums-ranked/
Leprous

Leprous have launched their fifth (technically sixth= studio album titled Malina in August 2017 via InsideOut Music.

Since breaking onto the scene, Leprous has gone through a not-unnoticeable development in their sound. With only five releases under their belt, the Norwegians have come a long way since their inception in 2001.

We have revisited the band’s catalog and ranked their previous work. See what we think below.

Aeolia (2006)

Aeolia sees Leprous following somewhat in the footsteps of Dream Theater, only without the same devotion to instrumental indulgence. What Leprous aims here for is highly vocal-driven progressive metal, something they still aspire to today, in some regards. As the vocals are arguably the most important aspect of Leprous at this point, it should be noted that Einar Solberg has an excellent voice, and is able to pull off some jaw- dropping vocal acrobatics, without losing any of the emotional intensity.

Halvor Strand‘s jazzy bass lines also stand out as one of Aeolia‘s better aspects. In short, it would be difficult for just about anyone to say bad things about the way Leprous plays. The band’s performance is largely what holds Aeolia together. Although this is a full-length, it is described on the band’s website as a ‘demo’, and rightly so; it has a very muffled production, often to the point where the warmth and detail of the guitar performances are obscured. Aeolia is certainly listenable in regards to the sound quality, but it totally lacks the studio dynamic I would hear even on their second album, Tall Poppy Syndrome.

Of course, everything about an album boils down to the composition and songwriting. With Aeolia, it is something of a double-edged sword. Most of the musical concepts here have plenty of potential, and some of Einar‘s vocal melodies are almost painfully catchy to listen to (the chorus of “Black Stains” will testify to this). Where Aeolia goes wrong, however, is its predictability. Once the layout of Leprous‘ music is digested, it becomes easy to tell where melodies, ideas, or even entire songs are going to go, long before they’re done. Perhaps it doesn’t help that the production dulls the range of sound, but the dynamics in these songs feels bland. Paired with an inconsistent flow and unsteady use of ideas, Aeolia comes across as being an album with plenty of potential, but misses its mark.

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Tall Poppy Syndrome (2009)

While not well-known at this point by many, with 2009’s Tall Poppy Syndrome Leprous delivered a familiar style of dark melodic progressive metal, with overtones of classical music clearly heard in the songwriting. As with many similar bands, Leprous‘ highly impressive technical abilities are among their greatest strengths. Through tight, often melodic writing, the band’s skills are still able to show. Leprous are always sure to include an ample dose of beauty and melody to metal, especially through the vocal work, which is quite simply brilliant. Solberg‘s higher register vocals may remind some listeners of Pain of Salvation‘s Daniel Gildenlow, and the comparisons to that band probably won’t stop there.

Perhaps the best thing that Leprous does here isn’t necessarily the songwriting—which is strong albeit derivative—but moreso the brilliant way in which things are arranged. The background vocals are enriched with lush harmonies, and intelligent riffs that play over each other. However, much like other bands like Circus Maximus, the music itself may be great and the band may be as talented as any other in melodic metal, but the lacking originality is what really holds back the band from reaching a level of mastery they can truly call their own.

As with any excellent album though, the promise and potential shine through clearly here. Put simply; Tall Poppy Syndrome is one of the best melodic progressive metal albums released in the new millennium, and it’s a needed step in the band’s growing discography.

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Malina (2017)

In the follow-up to this album, Malina, many fans were confused by how the band seemed to be softening their sound, something that they’d never done before.

Make no mistake, there are still some heavy moments on this album, such as in the last 2 minutes of the opening track, “Bonneville,” the penultimate song “The Weight of Disaster” and in the song “Mirage”, which is one of the highlights of the album as a whole. On top of this, all of the usual traits of the Leprous sound are still there, like the vocal harmonies (“Bonneville”), as well as the moody atmospheres they began to introduce more on their previous album The Congregation. The third song, “From the Flame” is a good example of this. The vocals are, once again, one of the main focal points of the music here, a trend which has continued since frontman Einar Solberg has taken on more of the songwriting duty. It’s hardly a bad thing, as his vocals are distinctive and excellent. However, with more focus on the vocals, the instrumentation seems to have taken a bit of a backseat. This may be in part due to the band recently gaining a new guitarist, Robin Ognedal, but the instrumentation just doesn’t seem to be as interesting as it was on previous albums. Guitar riffs are definitely still here, though, and when they show up, they’re just as good as anything off of the band’s previous work. “Mirage” is probably the best example of this. Overall, the best instrumentation is presented on the second portion of this album, and whilst the first half is still very solid, it is overshadowed by the latter half.

However, despite the slight inconsistency in the quality of the material, overall the album still flows very nicely and it shows that Leprous can still deliver the goods. “Coma” is a short but sweet piece of glitchy heavy prog, and “The Weight of Disaster” is a fantastic penultimate song and one of the best songs Leprous has ever written, with well-contrasting heavy and soft sections and Einar’s vocals once again shining through the moody instrumentation. Album closer “The Last Milestone” is probably the most interesting song on the album, featuring only vocals and a string section, with no guitars or drums. It’s a beautiful and haunting song, although it does seem to run on for a little too long, but it shows the band’s continued willingness to experiment with their sound, for better or for worse.

Overall, this album is another fine addition to the band’s discography. It represents the band growing and exploring some different sounds, which don’t always produce the best material they’ve written, but nevertheless is a very enjoyable experience for long-time fans and newcomers alike.

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Coal (2013)

Though I’ve never once had the fleeting impression that Leprous might follow up Bilateral with a subpar album, I was self-aware of the exceedingly high standard I would hold the new record up to. After hearing Coal, it seemed impossible to meaningfully compare the two albums. Leprous have once again maintained an incredibly high musical standard, with regards to both the composition and execution. However, though it’s clear that Coal is cut from the same cloth as Bilateral, the tone and mood have evolved significantly. While the second album revelled in being all-over-the-place and pleasantly quirky, Coal puts a much greater emphasis on atmosphere and focused compositions. There remains a playful, catchy element to the music, but the tracks here come across more directly and purposefully than before. Neither approach is inherently superior to the other. The songs on Coal have less surprises and twists to them, but the epic payoffs have never tasted so sweet.

Many of the songs here unveil a more static side to Leprous. By “static,” I do not mean dull by any means, but rather emotionally unchanging. Coal earns points for variety as an album holistically, but it’s as if each track focuses in on one particular atmosphere, and fleshes it out until it reaches a critical mass. More often than note, that atmosphere is one of sombre reflection and melancholy; quite the departure from the zany antics of Bilateral. Though Leprous have very little in common stylistically with Summoning, the approach and structure of the compositions here is reminiscent of Summoning‘s Old Mornings Dawn in the sense that there is a notable emphasis on realizing the potential of a handful of really strong ideas, rather than filling out the album’s length with a bunch of smaller-sized components. Tracks like the breathtaking “The Valley” and gorgeously morose “Echo” spend much of their time building up to a rapturous climax. The arrangements tend to dwell on certain ideas for longer than one might tend to expect from a “progressive metal” release, and though I might have missed that “everything but the kitchen sink” approach of Leprous‘ earlier work, it’s a joy in its own right to see an idea develop and mature within the context of a track.

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The Congregation (2015)

Much like their considerably more uplifting British counterparts in Haken, Leprous have paired their startling quality with a prolific work ethic. Every two years, the band have taken their sound a step further, and two years after Coal, The Congregation brokers no exception to the pattern. Whether or not the album was going to be fantastic wasn’t even a question in my mind; rather, I was more intrigued by how they might change their sound. If Bilateral was defined by its sporadic urgency, and its follow-up Coal responded in turn with greater focus and minimalism, then The Congregation may be seen both as an advance on this trajectory, as well as an acknowledgement concerning things Coal didn’t do as well as its predecessor. Namely, the new album brings a revitalized emotional immediacy to Leprous‘ music, and in this respect I am more affected than I have been by an album in many a while

This is a masterpiece of a sort, to be sure, and though it bears strong resemblance with Coal, the vocal few who rightly declaimed the band’s last album as a weaker offering than Bilateral might find themselves pleasantly surprised here. No, The Congregation doesn’t strike me with the same impetuous spontaneity as Bilateral, nor does it keep my left-brain quite as much on the edge. However, I also think that repeating that same formula would have proved fruitless, both on this and Coal; being sporadic and jumpy is a trait of youth, and Leprous have long since matured as a group.

This matured Leprous—occasionally better likened to an avant-garde, theatrical Anathema than the metal of their heyday—was proudly introduced on Coal, but it’s only on The Congregation that the emotional resonance has built up to match their obvious technical abilities. So many of the ways I would describe the last album could again apply to this one: heavy, but not for the blunt force of the parts so much as the way they are used. Vivid and occasionally dissonant instrumentation, like an unchained King Crimson. Secretly more groove-oriented than any prog rock band has any right of being, and, not least of all, indelibly fuelled by the voice of frontman Einar Solberg. All of these might go on to describe The Congregation even moreso than its predecessor, but the amplification of Coal‘s best elements has resulted in a much different tone and experience. The Congregation may be the most emotionally hard-hitting album of Leprous career thus far.

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Bilateral (2011)

The most evident development for Leprous in their early years has been largely in terms of ambition; what they are willing to do with their sound. There have been some steps taken toward a more sporadic style. on 2011’s Bilateral the songwriting is more packed with ideas; some of them quite experimental and unexpected, although the memorable melodic component of Leprous is not toned down at all. Bilateral is quite a bit to take in all at once, and I am finding that it is very much a “grower” album; the constant flow of ideas can make it a little disorienting at first, and while the flow between these ideas can sometimes be a tad off-putting, the sheer excellence of the melodies and newfound weirdness makes Leprous all the more interesting of a listen.

As one might judge even by the surreal album cover (whose artist is also known for composing some of The Mars Volta‘s artwork), Leprous was not afraid to try new things here. The title track contrasts remarkably layered vocal hooks with a mellow section of deep electronics. “Painful Detour” is a slower, powerful song that gives the “epic” impression of Muse as it hits its climax. “Thorn” even shows the band’s friend Ihsahn doing a quick vocal cameo before letting a trumpet solo pop up for a moment. All of these things come as a huge surprise at first. While I would say at this point that Leprous has found their own sound with this album, they do remind me of a younger Pain of Salvation here, in the sense that they are a prog metal band that is focusing more on emotional impact and surprises rather than the sort of power-metal derivative that many newer prog metal bands go for. The Pain of Salvation comparison hits its peak with the vocal technique of Einar Solberg, whose diverse vocal register and complex ad-libbing accents his performance in a way that really reminds me of Gildenlöw.

Bilateral is an album that tests what you know about progressive rock and music in general. It ambitiously strives to do all it can within the confinements of its ten songs, with its instrumentation being some of the best the genre has ever offered up. And if the album art is any indication, it’s also one of the most random and unpredictable albums you’ll ever hear… in the best kind of way.

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This news story was originally published here: http://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2018/05/27/panu-pekka-rauhala-60-songs-in-60-minutes/

The instant I saw this title it put me in mind of Morgan Fisher’s curated compilation Miniatures. No doubt there have been other attempts at the concept. I believe The Residents tried a similar thing on their mere 40-song long Commercial Album. Any similarity between Panu-Pekka Rauhala’s artistic endeavour on display here, and the other two I mentioned is contextual only.

Panu-Pekka Rauhala is a Finnish composer and sound designer, and his website cover picture has him looking owlishly into the elevated lens, and surrounded as he is by a plethora of instruments, he gives off a suitable boffin-like air. Intellectual approaches such as that on 60 Songs… demands such a stance, I would think!

Once you get past the headache-inducing cover art, which may or may not be indicative of a twisted sense of humour in the land of the pickled herring, the music therein, as indicated on the Bandcamp description, is indeed highly filmic, and tends towards a classical or jazz approach, with compositional traits linking the whole thing together.

The best way to play this is in one sitting, and paying full attention, but conversely it also works as background music. Make sure you play it on a device that does not insist on inserting a gap between the tracks, as that is more than a little off-putting, I can tell you!

Snatches of melody permeate these one-minute snapshots, the linking themes borrowing from modern classical theory as expounded in the works of Philip Glass. The spotlight occasionally falls on individual instruments, but for the most part this is a fine example of ensemble playing. The percussive clatter of Glimpse (track 7) is followed by the disembodied chatter of Holography (8), which adds interesting use of electronica to the mix, a tool used sparingly but effectively throughout.

The one word track titles read like scene cues in a sci-fi movie: “Displacement”, “Imagery”, “Jovian”, “Replicant”, “Waken”, “Xenomorphic”, and so on. I half expected Thomas Jerome Newton to make an appearance at any point. Mournful cello creeps across the surface playing with the linking melody on Jovian (10), machinery marches to the orchestral heft of Krypton (11), and we are only 11 tracks/minutes in.

Rock arrangements are uncommon, and the appearance of some highly technical and off-kilter guitar work in a Holdsworth mode on Unhuman (21) comes as a nice surprise. The guitar continues into the lightly stirred ambience of Vision, Waken and Xenomorphic (22 to 24) with an eerie e-bow effect as the suite becomes becalmed somewhere way out in a far galaxy.

Xenization (26) pops its head round the corner of a smoke-filled jazz club, Bivious (28) finds some be-bop under a stone, Gamma (33) with its lovely piano flourishes presaging the re-introduction to the linking theme is a little marvel, Kiloyear (37) glistens like sunshine on a rain-soaked pavement, Ominous (41) stomps around, muttering and dread into Perplex (42). Moods change quickly on this album, the film is a cut-and-paste arthouse movie seemingly randomly zigzagging through the human condition. A circus freak charging about in a house of mirrors.

The last five minutes commence with the piano-led sturm und drang of Darkening (56), continue with almost Univers Zero heaviosity of Emotions, creep creepily into Fatalistic and the rising tension of the tick-tock rhythmic tension of Gnomon, and end with vocal countdown of Hour, and the film has become as noir as can be.

The entire performance of the album by a full ensemble on the video above reveals all. This is intelligent music for folk who like to venture several steps beyond verse-chorus-verse-chorus-middle eight-chorus in their esoteric listening habits.

TRACK LISTING
01. Aeon
02. Braintape
03. Coexistent
04. Displacement
05. Ecstatic
06. Frenetic
07. Glimpse
08. Holography
09. Imagery
10. Jovian
11. Krypton
12. Luminous
13. Muse
14. Nerve
15. Oblivion
16. Protean
17. Quest
18. Replicant
19. Sentient
20. Terraform
21. Unhuman
22. Vision
23. Waken
24. Xenomorphic
25. Yu
26. Xenization
27. Aura
28. Bivious
29. Caliginous
30. Distant
31. Essence
32. Frenzy
33. Gamma
34. Hydra
35. Iridescent
36. Janiform
37. Kiloyear
38. Lore
39. Messenger
40. Noegenesis
41. Ominous
42. Perplex
43. Quotum
44. Refluent
45. Strength
46. Tenacity
47. Ultrageous
48. Vigilant
49. Wandering
50. Xenial
51. Yearth
52. Zetetic
53. Archetype
54. Beneficus
55. Culmen
56. Darkening
57. Emotions
58. Fatalistic
59. Gnomon
60. Hour

Total Time – (Guess!)

MUSICIANS
Panu-Pekka Rauhala – Piano, Composing
Vili Itäpelto – Synthesizers
Ossi Maristo – Guitar
Tuomas Rauhala – Drums
Paul Uotila – Double bass
Erik Hippi – Tenor Saxophone, Flute
Matti Laaksonen – Cello
Riku Vartiainen – Cello
Lotta Ahlbeck – Violin, Electric violin
Aino Rautakorpi – Violin

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: Finland
Date of Release: 14th January 2018

LINKS
Panu-Pekka Rauhala – Website | Facebook | Bandcamp

This news story was originally published here: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ProgNewsProgarchives/~3/_1lz9MRg74U/forum_posts.asp

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  Quote cstack3Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Rick Wakeman’s new YouTube channel
    Posted: May 26 2018 at 20:17

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  Quote octopus-4Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 hours 29 minutes ago at 01:48

subscribed, thanks a lot!

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  Quote verslibreQuote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 minutes ago at 11:53

Lovin’ all the uploads.

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  Quote verslibreQuote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 minutes ago at 11:56

Rare soundtrack. Love this theme.

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This week’s Prog-Watch is part variety show and part feature! On the variety side we will hear great (mostly newer) stuff from Perfect Beings, Kayak, Drifting Sun, and Skeptosphere! As for the feature: Aaron and Devin of The Aaron Clift Experiment drop by to talk about their brand new album If All Goes Wrong, and we check out three tracks from the album!

521: Variety + Aaron Clift Experiment feature