All posts for the month February, 2019

Northern Star 21st February  2019

Silloed Silliness!

Theme Pallas – Northern Star

  1. The Beatles – Here, There and Everywhere
  2. Soft Machine – Four Gongs Two Drums
  3. Phideaux – Thank You For Evil
  4. Tangerine Dream – Hyperborea
  5. Frank Zappa – It must be a Camel
  6. Van Der Graaf Generator – Orthenthian St
  7. Eskaton – Piti?
  8. Ming & FS – Is there Honey ?
  9. Ananda – Shankar – Metamorphosis
  10. Strawbs – The Hangman and the Pope
  11. Godspeed you! Black Emperor – Strung Like Lights At Thee Printemps Erable
  12. Riverside – Volte – Face
  13. Can – Bring me Coffee or tea
  14. Genesis – The battle of Epping Forest
  15. Tool – Reflection
  16. The Monkees – Pleasant valley Sunday!
  17. Miles Davis – Double Image
  18. Voivod – Death proof
  19. Ozric tentacles – Halflight in Thillai
  20. Marillion – Chelsea Mondays
  21. Iron maiden – Satellite 15… The Final Frontier
  22. Supertramp – Breakfast in America
  23. Porcupine tree – Anesthetize

Tunein on


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This news story was originally published here:
Exclusive: HOIA Premieres New Single Featuring Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree)

Experimental beyond expectations, HOIA is an infusion of musical interests by Prateek Rajagopal. Popularly known for being a virtuoso guitarist, budding film composer and writer/producer for death metal legions GUTSLIT and Indian/American prog metal supergroup The Minerva Conduct, his interest in genres and art forms beyond metal gave rise to HOIA, inspired by Avant-garde, progressive rock, experimental and industrial music. Prog Sphere is premiering a new single today. Titled “Electric Wizard,” it features guest appearances from Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree) on bass, and Wojtek Deregowski on drums. Stream it below.

Commented Prateek Rajagopal: “This song came about in a funny, funny way. I was eating burgers with my mum on vacation, and the restaurant had this smooth-jazz track playing in the background. The next day, I sat to demo out a song for my death metal band, but all these jazz influences that were triggered from the previous day just wouldn’t leave. So I began by programming some piano sketches, and within a day or two the song was done! Of course, it’s not a jazz track by any means, but random unsolicited inspiration & places can do funny things! The brief (for drummer Wojtek Deregowski & bassist Colin Edwin) was very simple – just do your thing and improvise like you’re in a jam room. The entire drum section till the piano-drone break was performed in a single take, and that’s exactly what was required for this song!

Electric Wizard is followed by ‘Part II’ on the album which I wrote a year later and should ideally be played together in one sitting, but I wanted to preserve the fact that this was written in a completely different headspace and hence split it into 2 parts!

After releasing two EPs with HOIA, Prateek is all set to release his debut album titled Scavenger on April 19th, 2019. The record has a more sophisticated songwriting approach compared to his previous releases, albeit still very ‘prog,’ and also features Prateek as a vocalist for the first time. The instruments used on the album are unlike his other projects, using samples of rotating fans and vehicle sounds, analog synthesizers and digital manipulation along with organic instruments like guitars (acoustic, electric), piano and strings.

Says Prateek, “The album deals with human-sentimentality concepts like nostalgia, demise, anxiety and the need to ‘scavenge’ to survive, bubbled in fictitious concepts as individual stories. It isn’t a concept album, but there’s a loose relation across the individual stories.

HOIA’s Scavenger has been in the works for over 2 years and clocks in at 33 minutes. The track-list is as follows:

1. Write Across
2. Escape Orb
3. Electric Wizard
4. Part II
5. Scavenger

Pre order the album from Bandcamp here.

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This news story was originally published here:

Canadian heavy music artist Devin Townsend recently announced the release of his forthcoming new album ‘EMPATH’ for the 29th March 2019, and today sees the launch of the first single from the album. Watch the epic new video for ‘Genesis’ here:

Devin comments:

Hey all 🙂

It’s with great pride (and a healthy dose of trepidation) that I can finally present to you a song from the EMPATH record. In each album cycle there is the dilemma over which track we ‘lead’ with, not only to get people excited, but also to give an accurate overview of the project.

As the musical nature of EMPATH shifts from track to track, (from musical theater, death metal, prog free jazz and more commercial things) it was a hard decision. Some people wanted the relatively straightforward song ‘Spirits Will Collide’ while others wanted a more cinematic banging track like ‘Evermore’. We ultimately chose to go with the opening track ‘Genesis’ as it not only features around 5 different stylistic shifts (some quite jarring, to be fair 🙂 but also includes all three drummers, the choir, the orchestra, and basically the kitchen sink as well.

This song is ultimately about facing fear, as well as analysing one’s relationship with one’s past in order to progress. The record has an overarching theme of what I like to view as ‘hope’ in chaotic times. I have been working on this record for more than a year, and it represents a kind of shift for me in my personal and professional world that I am quite proud of. It’s the first time in quite a few years I have made an album like this, and I think if nothing else, ‘Genesis’ represents the chaotic nature of the project (and the world at large currently) in the most accurate way I can do at this stage of life.

I’d like to thank the entire team of wonderful musicians and artists who helped me actualize this material, as well as Inside Out records and Northern Music for their help and support.

Devin 🙂

He also recently announced dates for the ‘EMPATH Europe – Volume 1’ tour. The full list of dates are as follows:

15th November – Salle Pleyel, Paris, France
16th November – Trix, Antwerp, Belgium
17th November – 013, Tilburg, Netherlands
18th November – Grunspan, Hamburg, Germany
20th November – Logomo, Turku, Finland
21st November – Cirkus, Helsinki, Finland
23rd November – Münchenbryggeriet, Stockholm, Sweden
24th November – Sentrum Scene, Oslo, Norway
25th November – Amager Bio, Copenhagen, Denmark
27th November – Astra, Berlin, Germany
28th November – Roxy, Prague, Czech Republic
29th November – A2, Wroclaw, Poland
30th November – Barba Negra, Budapest, Hungary
2nd December – Simm City, Vienna, Austria
3rd December – X Tra, Zurich, Switzerland
6th December – Academy, Dublin, Ireland
7th December – Limelight, Belfast, UK
9th December – SWG3 Galvanisers, Glasgow, UK
10th December – Albert Hall, Manchester, UK
12th December – Roundhouse, London, UK
13th December – Rock City, Nottingham, UK

Tickets available here:

In the lead up to the album’s release, Devin will walk fans through how EMPATH came together with a series of documentary episodes recorded as phone conversations during the course of the albums recording.
Watch the first episode of that series here:

Two days prior to the release of EMPATH, on 27th March, a special cinema screening of the documentary will take place in London at the Everyman Screen on the Green. Devin will be in attendance to give a live commentary to the film, and to answer fans questions afterwards. Tickets are available here:

Over the past few years, the success that Devin has slowly worked for has fortunately come with the power to control his own creative destiny. The recent successes with the DVD from a sold-out Royal Albert hall, or his 2012 ‘Retinal Circus’, or last year’s ‘Ocean Machine’ live DVD with the Orchestra and Choir of State Opera Plovdiv has put him in a position where with the new album EMPATH, he will once and for all define himself as a musical force outside of any particular genre classification.

On this album Devin has decided to see what would happen if all the styles that make up his current interests were finally represented in one place. To finally shake the fear of expectation, and just do what it is he was meant to do creatively, EMPATH, true to the name, is about allowing the audience a feeling for a variety of musical emotions. The musical dynamics represented on this single album are broad, challenging, and immense. To approach this sort of work with a long history of what makes heavy music ‘heavy’, allows this to be done with a type of power rarely heard.

Joining Devin on this album is Frank Zappa alumni Mike Keneally as music director, as well as Morgan Ågren (Mats And Morgan, Frank Zappa, Fredrik Thordendal), Anup Sastry (Monuments, Periphery), Samus Paulicelli (Decrepit Birth, Abigail Williams), Nathan Navarro, Elliot Desagnes, Steve Vai, Chad Kroeger, Anneke Van Giersbergen, Ché Aimee Dorval, Ryan Dhale and the Elektra Women’s Choir.

A bold statement with massive production values and dynamic, uncompromised musicality. This is a statement about not only pursuing creative freedom in a conservative scene, but also trying to show that heavy music is truly a valid musical tool.

‘EMPATH’ will be released on Limited 2 CD Digipak in O-Card (including an entire disc of bonus material), Standard CD Jewelcase, Gatefold 180G 2LP Vinyl + CD + LP-booklet & as digital album. Pre-order now here:

The full track-listing is as follows:
1. Castaway
2. Genesis
3. Spirits Will Collide
4. Evermore
5. Sprite
6. Hear Me
7. Why
8. Borderlands
9. Requiem
10. Singularity Part 1 – Adrift
11. Singularity Part 2 – I Am I
12. Singularity Part 3 – There Be Monsters
13. Singularity Part 4 – Curious Gods
14. Singularity Part 5 – Silicon Scientists
15. Singularity Part 6 – Here Comes The Sun

Last year Devin announced a special ‘An Evening With’ tour that would see him performing acoustically, as well as taking part in a fan Q&A at each show.

The full list of dates are as follows, many of which are already sold out:

7th March – The Piano Man Jazz Club, New Delhi, India SOLD OUT
8th March – Levi’s Lounge, Mumbai, India SOLD OUT
22nd March – Prognosis Festival, Eindhoven, Netherlands – Guitar Clinic
23rd March – Prognosis Festival, Eindhoven, Netherlands – Production Clinic & performance
29th March – Savoy Theater, Helsinki, Finland SOLD OUT
30th March – Savoy Theater, Helsinki, Finland SOLD OUT
31st March – Sodra Teatern, Stockholm, Sweden SOLD OUT
1st April – Edderkoppen, Oslo, Norway SOLD OUT
2nd April – Bremen Theater, Copenhagen, Denmark SOLD OUT
4th April – PassionKirchhe, Berlin, Germany
5th April – Stodola, Warsaw, Poland
6th April – La Fabrica, Prague, Czech Republic SOLD OUT
7th April – Freiheiz, Munich, Germany SOLD OUT
9th April – Kulturkirche, Cologne, Germany SOLD OUT
10th April – Grunspan, Hamburg, Germany SOLD OUT
11th April – Bravo Kerk, Haarlem, Netherlands SOLD OUT
13th April – Reading 3, Tel Aviv, Israel
24th April – Bush Hall, London, UK SOLD OUT
25th April – Bush Hall, London, UK SOLD OUT
26th April – St George’s, Bristol, UK SOLD OUT
27th April – City Varieties, Leeds, UK SOLD OUT
29th April – Jam House, Edinburgh, UK SOLD OUT
30th April – Glee Club, Birmingham, UK SOLD OUT

Remaining tickets can be found here:



This news story was originally published here:
Heavy Metal Rock Stars Who Enjoy Gambling

We will have heard of stories from the music industry about artists who love nothing more than enjoying themselves by playing their favourite casino games. Heavy metal rock stars are the type of people many would expect to see at the tables, especially with their gung-ho attitude. So it will come as no surprise there have been a few famous characters over the years who have really enjoyed gambling and have made a name for themselves at the casinos.

Sully Erna

Salvatore Paul Erna, more often referred to as Sully, is both lead vocalist and guitarist for Godsmack, an American heavy metal band. Erna, who also performs as a solo artist, was once recognised as one of the finest heavy metal vocalists around and is held in high regard by his peers within the industry.

There’s permanent proof of Erna’s love of poker in the form of a tattoo which covers most of his back. Erna had this done after flopping quad aces in a poker game, with his opponent going all in with a royal flush. After proclaiming “There’s no justice in poker”, Erna had the tattoo of four burning aces with the words “No Justice” done.

Scott Ian

Scott Ian is the last remaining founding member of thrash metal band Anthrax. The rhythm guitarist and vocalist, alongside his love for music, also possesses a deep passion for poker and spend much of his free time playing the game. In fact, Ian at one stage explored the possibility of making it as a professional poker player, which is something many of his fans thought could happen.

The stumbling block for Ian was that he found it difficult to combine music and poker, that was until the internet and improvement in technology came along, thus allowing him to play poker online. Ian has mentioned this as a turning point in interviews, with his victory at the VH1 Rock & Roll Celebrity tournament in 2016 seeing him take the game even more seriously.

Lemmy Kilmister

Rock stars don’t come much bigger than the late Lemmy Kilmister. Kilmister, who founded and fronted Motorhead, was a keen gambler and this was no secret. One of the band’s biggest hits was Ace of Spades, which Kilmister wrote, but unlike many other of his gambling loving peers, it was slot games Kilmister enjoyed playing, rather than being interested in learning the rules of blackjack or other table games.

A documentary on Kilmister’s life “Lemmy: The Movie” offers a great insight into the rock stars love of slot machines, with The Damned frontman Dave Vanian suggesting Kilmister would often been seen in gambling venues in London where he’d spend a lot of time spinning the reels of his favourite games. It seemed slot machines and cocktails of jack and coke were the perfect combination for the all-time great.

While there are bound to be countless other rock stars, both past and present, who love nothing more than escaping the hustle and bustle of the industry by enjoying playing their favourite casino games. The three artists we highlighted, have not only made it in the music business, but are also very much accomplished and at home in the casino as well.

Proving that prog isn't just for dinosaurs!

I’m delighted to announce that the podcast for edition 277 of Live From Progzilla Towers is now available.

In this edition we heard the following music:

  • Rick Wakeman – Catherine Of Aragon
  • Grand Tour – Shadow Walking
  • Antimatter – Between The Atoms
  • Bent Knee – Black Tar Water
  • Bent Knee – Leak Water
  • Haken – Veil
  • Jethro Tull – Locomotive Breath
  • Fright Pig – Barque At The Lune
  • Ellesmere – Tidal Breath
  • Ellesmere – Marine Extravaganza
  • Lazuli – Ouest Terne
  • Jolly – The Pattern
  • Yggdrasil – Birds Still Flyin In The Rain
  • Crack The Sky – Ice
  • The Reign of Kindo – Feeling In The Night
  • The Flower Kings – Garden Of Dreams (First Six Tracks)
  • Mr. Radio – All That I Could Do
  • Eddie Jobson – Theme Of Secrets
  • Tom Robinson Band – Bully For You
  • Soen – Penance
  • Discipline – America
  • Syndone – Caterina
  • Unitopia – To One In Paradise

iTunes/iPod users*: Just search for ‘Progzilla’ or subscribe to:


This week’s Prog-Watch is a variety program with a few special features! There will be a little feature on Thomas Thielen and a sneak peek at the next “t” album called Solipsystemology! (Thomas loves those titles that just roll off the tongue, doesn’t he?) I also have a Guest DJ, Bill Dunaway of High Ridge, Missouri, USA! Bill checks in with some of his Prog Rock favorites, and I mix in a few newer tracks, as well. So in addition to the “t” music, you can expect a boatload of great stuff, new and old, from the likes of Bill Bressler, Yes, Duke 72, Vangelis, Red Bazar, Big Big Train, Dreamwalkers Inc, and Spock’s Beard!

608: Variety, a ‘t’ Feature + a Guest DJ Feature



Edition 174 of Steve Blease’s Heavy Elements is now available as a podcast.


Evergrey – Weightless
Karnivool – Goliath
Atma Weapon – Autumn Leaves
Crush It To Death – The Infinite Refrain
Poem – The End Justifies The Means

Epic at 11: Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins – Pawn and Prophecy

Coheed and Cambria – Black Sunday
Earth’s Yellow Sun – Part III Betrayal

Album of the Week: Meshuggah – obZen

Pineal Gland Optics
Dancers to a Discordant System

Borealis – Finest Hour

Universe Effects – Desolation

The Neal Morse Band – The Great Adventure

Bill Bresler -The Walk

Vermillion Skye – Tottenham

Cheap Trick – He’s A Whore

IZZ – Late Night Salvation (live)

Bubblemath – The Sensual Con (live)

Spiraling – Tempus Fugit (live)

Evership – Wanderer

Laktating Yak – Stampede of Yak

Half Shell – How To Measure Happiness

Djam Karet – Night of the Mexican Goat Sucker

Kinetic Element – All Open Eyes



CIRCU5 – the project of multi-instrumentalist Steve Tilling (TC&I) – is now a full band and hitting the road in a series of shows. Joining CIRCU5 are Mark Kilminster (ex-Tin Spirits) on bass and vocals, drummer Greg Pringle (Roger Daltrey band), and Matt Backer (Julian Lennon) on guitar and vocals.

CIRCU5 (pronounced ‘circa five’) debuts live at Fusion festival, The Civic, in Stourport on 24 March, followed by shows at The Fiddler’s Elbow in London on 28 March (with IT and Tom Slatter), The Water Rats in London on 14 June (with Mellotronanism), and The Cellar Bar in Devizes on 16 June.


“It’s great not being the sole freak in CIRCU5 anymore,” said Steve. “Mark, Matt and Greg are world-class and bring a fresh edge to the music. We can’t wait to get out there.”


Mark Kilminster is equally fired up. “I’m honoured to be part of CIRCU5,” he said. “The songs are all gems. Complex, demanding and an absolute joy to play. A bass player’s dream.”


Steve only considered turning CIRCU5 into a live act after playing six sold-out shows with TC&I (the band of XTC’s Colin Moulding and Terry Chambers) in November last year. “The shows proved anything’s possible. Like CIRCU5, XTC songs are quite knotty and many had never been played live before. We had to weave them into new shapes to suit the live format. It worked – and I wanted to do the same with CIRCU5.”


The debut CIRCU5 album was released in September 2017 to global acclaim. Reviews highlighted its strong melodies, layered harmonies, and instrumental twists and turns – with an intriguing story about a child raised as a psychopath in a secret government experiment. Steve performed almost all instrumental and vocal duties, with guest spots from musicians including Dave Gregory (Big Big Train, XTC) and Johnny Warman.


To find out more about CIRCU5’s shows and album (available on CD in a book-style package with a 28-page booklet, download card and ‘secret’ document), visit

This news story was originally published here:

Hailing from Montreal, Fayne is a progressive metal five-piece with a goal of “delivering their own blend of heavy-driven drums with crushing guitar riffs and basslines, topped off with a powerful mix of clean and screamed vocals.” Back in November 2018, the group released their new album titled ‘Journals‘ which was mixed and mastered by Jamie King of The Basement Recording (The Contortionist, Between the Buried and Me). Singer Justin Furtado spoke for Prog Sphere about the album.

Define the mission of Fayne.

To make music that’s as much about you as it is about us.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your recent album “Journals” and the themes it captures.

Well, we talk a lot about death, but we feel that we’ve approached it uniquely. Each song is about what we would think or feel in our last 5 minutes on this planet and every song is about a different feeling, or person, if that’s easier to interpret. The idea that we all walk different paths in life to inevitably all end up in the same place is something that we can think humbles us and teaches us to respect each other’s decisions. The lyrics may not be the easiest to decipher but they actually talk about things that are quite inclusive like loss, knowing purpose, and how to cope with these challenges. We swear the message is somewhere underneath the metaphorical nonsense.

Fayne - Journals

What is the message you are trying to give with “Journals”?

During the writing process I had begun writing the lyrics based on how a person feels in the last 5 minutes of their life, which was inspired by a short film I had come across on the internet and based on my own mortality as well. A few songs in, I started to see that the themes I was writing about related to pretty much everyone and not just myself. We will all experience that final 5 minutes one day, regardless of how we feel in that moment and regardless of everything we’ve done in our lives prior. The whole idea is dark and at times very metaphorical (and I can’t help it) but it sends a positive message that no matter how different we all may be, we all end up in the same place in the end. So be kind to each other, even when you don’t want to be.

How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

Some song ideas were documented with mobile phone videos but the most part were done via Reaper. When the songs were brought to the jam space, the live rehearsals were recorded to gauge how they sounded in the field and adjusted accordingly.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

The songs inherently had a cohesiveness to them as they stemmed from the same/similar headspace and mindset. There was a lot of discussion on how the album track list should be and this was decided on the “feel” of the songs, in addition to the lyrical content. Stimpak acting as the “mid-point” of the album were the rest has a more groove-prog oriented vibe and of course…darker :D .

Describe the approach to recording the album.

Most, if not all songs were initially created by Alex, where the drums, bass and, guitars were presented to the band and later worked on and refined. They foresaw many changes, especially once we integrated vocals after the fact. All the demos were done in Reaper using Superior Drummer and LePou cab sims and went through several revisions as time passed. “Holding on” to demos for some time before actually entering the pre-prod phase is very helpful to gauge perspective and to let them “sink in”. Although unintentional, the songs definitely took a better form in our opinion due to this.

How long “Journals” was in the making?

We started to focus on the idea of making a new record back in 2016, but some ideas and riffs on the album date back even before then! There were a couple of hiccups along the way, so to give you a rounded number, we’d say about 3 years in a very staggered way.

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

We can all agree that The Contortionist have been a big influence on our band’s release. We’ve seen them evolve from this deathcore band to a prog-rock band. They still continue to inspire us as musicians and as people. They’ve helped us explore beyond our boundaries and push the bar when it comes to writing music.

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What is your view on technology in music?

We fully support anything to facilitate the music writing process. We continue to write music in its most organic form however, we feel it’s easier to layout ideas using software like Reaper and Superior Drummer than it is to guess what’s going on in your guitar player’s head. We stick within our boundaries as musicians as well. We won’t write music at 300 bpm if we can’t play it live.

Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?

We’ve always tried to send a message to whoever is listening. Most of the time we’re trying to invoke awareness, whether it be a message about anxiety, death, social issues, and the constant struggle within. If it can help start a conversation between us and our listeners, then our purpose beyond the music has been achieved.

What are your plans for the future?

We’re working on a live studio performance video for one of the songs off of Journals, booking shows, writing new songs, and trying as many different ways as we can to get our music out there. Touring will always be necessary, but there are other corners of the music industry that metal bands can explore, and we’d like to experiment with that.

“Journals” is available from Bandcamp. Follow Fayne on Facebook