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All posts for the month August, 2019

This news story was originally published here: http://www.insideoutmusic.com/newsdetailed.aspx?IdNews=23829&IdCompany=8

German instrumental-rock group LONG DISTANCE CALLING are pleased to announce their first ever live album ‘STUMMFILM – Live from Hamburg (A Seats & Sounds Show)’, scheduled for release on the 1st November 2019 through InsideOutMusic. Filmed during a special run of dates in early 2019, it saw the band performing seated shows in some very special locations for a stunning experience. The band comments: “We are happy to unveil our first ever live album ‘STUMMFILM – Live From Hamburg’ which we recorded on the ‘Seats & Sounds’ tour earlier this year. After more than ten years on the road, we felt it’s more than about time to do a proper live album. We are very satisfied with the result, a lot of atmosphere, energy as well as some nice surprises have been captured at Kulturkirche Altona in Hamburg. We can’t wait to share this beautiful experience with you! Love LDC” To celebrate the announcement, the band have launched a live clip of the track ‘Black Paper Planes’, and you can watch that now here: https://youtu.be/sFAf3ugFeGI ‘STUMMFILM – Live from Hamburg (A Seats & Sounds Show)’ will be available as a limited edition Blu-Ray + 2CD, Gatefold 3LP Vinyl & as digital audio download. Pre-order now here: https://LongDistanceCalling.lnk.to/STUMMFILM-LiveFromHamburg

The full track-listing is as follows: 

1. Into The Black Wide Open 

2. The Very Last Day 

3. In The Clouds 

4. Like A River 

5. On The Verge 

6. Interlude 

7. Out There 

8. Apparitions 

9. Black Paper Planes 

10. 359° 

11. I Know You, Stanley Milgram! 

12. Sundown Highway 

13. Flux 

14. Metulsky Curse Revisited

For 13 years now, the Münster-based four-piece Long Distance Calling has been famed and cherished for its weightless yet massive music. After having returned to their instrumental roots Long Distance Calling sat down to carefully ponder their next step. When they got up again, they were ready for their most extraordinary live undertaking yet: Aptly entitled “Seats & Sounds”, this string of concerts saw Long Distance Calling take to the stage in very special locations in front on a seated audience. The band took the matter almost religiously and went to great lengths in pulling off their most daring effort. “We wanted to go one step further, highlighting the audio-visual quality of the band for the very first time”, the band states, referring to the phalanx of video screens and specially curated visuals corresponding to each song. One of those rare performances, the one at the Kulturkirche Altona in Hamburg, was captured on film and tape and is now being released. More an elegant silent film (visually speaking) than an ordinary live video, Long Distance Calling deliver a stunning performance in two acts: A “normal” Long Distance Calling set with songs from all their albums, and a special ‘Avoid the Light’ set, performing the dramatic album almost in its entirety. “This is one of the most important releases of our entire career”, the band continues, “and playing it felt like time travel.” Meticulously prepared and rehearsed, this is Long Distance Calling on another level. Backed by guest musicians Luca Gilles on cello and Aaron Schrade on percussion and electronic beats, the experimental rock veterans show their grandeur in cinemascope – elaborately filmed and monumentally staged. In the end, Janosch Rathmer (drums), Jan Hoffmann (bass), Florian Füntmann (guitar) and David Jordan (guitar) not only played their biggest Hamburg headlining show; they also peaked their stellar career. 

LONG DISTANCE CALLING online:

www.longdistancecalling.de/

www.facebook.com/longdistancecalling

www.instagram.com/longdistancecalling

https://longdistancecalling.merchcowboy.com/

INSIDEOUTMUSIC ONLINE:

www.insideoutmusic.com

www.youtube.com/InsideOutMusicTV

www.facebook.com/InsideOutMusic

www.twitter.com/insideouteu

I’m delighted to announce that the podcast for edition 303 of Live From Progzilla Towers is now available.

In this edition we spoke to Hasse Froberg and heard the following music:

  • Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion – Never Alone
  • Utopia – The Road To Utopia
  • Be Bop Deluxe – Maid In Heaven
  • Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion – Someone Else’s Fault
  • Alice Cooper – Hello Hooray
  • The Flower Kings – For The Love Of Gold
  • The Flower Kings – Man Of The World
  • Chris Squire – Hold Out Your Hand/You By My Side
  • Bryan Scary & The Shredding Tears – Flight Of The Knife, Pt. 1
  • Leprous – Slave
  • Camel – Unevensong
  • Chris Robinson Brotherhood – Some Earthly Delights
  • Spellbound – Burnin’ Love
  • 10CC – Feel The Benefit
  • Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion – Only My Blood
  • Seinabo Sey – Truth
  • Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion – Rain
  • Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion – Time Waits

iTunes/iPod users*: Just search for ‘Progzilla’ or subscribe to: http://www.progzilla.com/media/podcasts/podcast.xml

Enjoy!

Northern Star 22nd August  2019

1969 Through the Ears of a child in Time!

Theme Pallas – Northern Star

  1. Zager & Evans – In The year 2525
  2. Slade – Genesis
  3. Uriel – Leg
  4. Fairport Convention – Reynardine
  5. Can – Father Cannot yell
  6. The Who – The Acid Queen
  7. Van der Graaf Generator – Aquarian
  8. The Velvet Underground – heroin
  9. Colosseum – Those About to Die
  10. The Moody Blues – Are You sitting Comfortably
  11. The Doors – The Soft parade
  12. Genesis – In The beginning
  13. Procul Harum – The Devil Came from Kansas
  14. The Nice – Rondo
  15. Captain beefheart & His Magic band – Ant Bee Man
  16. Edgar Broughton Band – death of an electric Citizen
  17. MC5 – Starship
  18. Yes – Survival
  19. Amon Düül – Luzifers Ghilom
  20. Frank Zappa – Son Of Mr green Genes
  21. Chicago Transit Authority – Guitar Freeform
  22. King Crimson – Epitaph
  23. Iron Butterfly – In a gadda da vida

Tunein on

http://tunein.com/radio/Progzilla-Radio-s242911/

www.progzilla.com/listen

Direct stream: http://stream1.hippynet.co.uk:8005/live

Repeat Shows Tuesdays 00.00 am GMT + 1 & 1.00pm GMT + 1

 Subscribe to the show here

http://www.progzilla.com/category/podcast/northern-star/feed/

Podcasts of all the shows are available here

http://www.progzilla.com/shows/northern-star/

If you have a requests or ideas about shows or anything else for that matter?

Contact me on Emma@progzilla.com

This week on Prog-Watch my special guests are Mark Zonder and Gary Wehrkamp who have formed a new project called Zonder-Wehrkamp! (Mark is perhaps best know as the drummer for Warlord, Spirits Of Fire, and Fates Warning. Gary is probably best known as a member of Shadow Gallery, but has also worked with Arjen Lucassen, James Labrie, Doug Rausch, and also contributed to the first Roswell Six album.) Tune in to hear some of our chat, some music from the guys’ pasts, and some from their brand new project!

634: In Conversation with Mark Zonder and Gary Wehrkamp

 

This news story was originally published here: http://www.insideoutmusic.com/newsdetailed.aspx?IdNews=23826&IdCompany=8

Two-time Grammy-nominated and millions-selling progressive music titans Dream Theater have just released an animated video for the song “Barstool Warrior.” The track comes from their recently released album Distance Over Time (InsideOutMusic / Sony Music) which was met with critical and fan acclaim worldwide. The song has become a live show favorite and tells the fictional story of a man and a woman reflecting on their life decisions.

“’Barstool Warrior’ is a fictional tale about two characters, unrelated but connected in their lament over being stuck in dead end situations.

The first is a local townie, alcoholic who never escaped the humdrum of his sleepy, maritime village. The second, a woman trapped in an abusive relationship trying to survive from day to day while questioning what makes her stay. Both are able to reimagine their lives and find the courage to embrace a better future by embodying the person they dream of being,” explains guitarist John Petrucci.

The video for the song can be seen here: https://youtu.be/x9b-Qc8e_vk.

Dream Theater recently announced the next leg of the acclaimed The Distance Over Time Tour – Celebrating 20 Years of Scenes From A Memory. The first leg of tour gathered plenty of critical acclaim and fan praise due in large part to the diverse setlist the band created. The band featured tracks from their latest release Distance Over Time and selections from their 30-year career along with a nightly celebration of the 20th Anniversary of their seminal concept album Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory that the band performed in its entirety. The next leg of the tour will kick off at the end of September and run through mid-November. The 27-date trek will see the band making stops in Louisville, KY; Cleveland, OH; Baltimore, MD; Long Island, NY; and San Jose, CA to name a few. Information on tickets for all upcoming shows as well as VIP packages can be found at www.dreamtheater.net.

The world has now had a chance to experience the latest release, Distance Over Time. After landing at the #1 spot on the iTunes Top Album Chart the day it was released, the album has gone on to be an instant classic among fans and critics alike. The album landed at #5 on the Top Current Album Chart and debuted at #24 on the Billboard 200. The band also garnered over 10 million total streams for Distance Over Time through release week, a career high for the band in the streaming age. The album also reached number 1 in the German & Swiss album charts, as well as top 10 positions across Europe.

The latest addition to Dream Theater’s impressive catalog is now available to purchase in various configurations including a new deluxe version featuring a Blu-Ray disc containing videos for every song on the album at: https://dream-theater.lnk.to/DistanceOverTime.

Progressive metal pioneers Dream Theater— James LaBrie (Vocals), John Petrucci (Guitars), Jordan Rudess (Keyboards), John Myung (Bass), and Mike Mangini (Drums) — share a unique bond with one of the most passionate fan bases around the globe as evidenced by their two GRAMMY® Award nominations and 15 million records sold worldwide. The 1992 opus Images & Words received a gold certification and landed on Rolling Stone’s coveted “100 Greatest Metal Albums of All-Time. Guitar World placed the follow-up Awake at #1 on “Superunknown: 50 Iconic Albums That Defined 1994. 1996’s A Change of Seasons notably soundtracked NBC’s coverage of Downhill Skiing at the 2002 Winter Olympics. Fans voted the 1999 Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory the “Number One All-Time Progressive Rock Album” in a 2012 Rolling Stone poll. Not to mention, it ranked as the “15th Greatest Concept Album” by Classic Rock. 2009 saw Black Clouds & Silver Linings crash the Billboard Top 200 at #6 as A Dramatic Turn of Events [2011] and Dream Theater [2013] maintained a three-peat in the chart’s Top 10. Consequence of Sound dubbed 2016’s The Astonishing, “An absolutely unique experience. Beyond three platinum and two gold videos, the group was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2010. On its 14th full-length and first release for InsideOutMusic / Sony Music, Distance Over Time, the band recharge the brotherhood that has kept them creating music together for over 30 years. It’s Dream Theater at their most dynamic, direct, and definitive.

Dream Theater is: 

James LaBrie – Lead Vocals 

John Petrucci – Guitars, Backing Vocals 

Jordan Rudess – Keyboards 

John Myung – Bass Guitars 

Mike Mangini – Drums, Percussion

Find Dream Theater online: www.dreamtheater.net https://www.facebook.com/dreamtheater http://twitter.com/dreamtheaternet http://instagram.com/dreamtheaterofficial

InsideOutMusic online: www.insideoutmusic.com www.youtube.com/InsideOutMusicTV www.facebook.com/InsideOutMusic www.insideoutshop.de

This news story was originally published here: http://www.insideoutmusic.com/newsdetailed.aspx?IdNews=23824&IdCompany=8

Progressive rock legends THE FLOWER KINGS are pleased to announce the release of their brand new studio double-album ‘Waiting For Miracles’ on the 8th November 2019. The album is comprised of 15 new tracks, recorded over the summer at RMV studio in Stockholm, Sweden – a vintage studio space owned by ABBA star Benny Andersson. 

Band leader Roine Stolt comments: “We have gone back to the joyful and playful style that made the band famous in the late 90’s. So here ‘more’ is always ‘more’! At time the lyrics have a bit of a serious concern about the state of our world, but overall the theme is full of joy and colour.”

The band, currently comprised of Roine Stolt, Jonas Reingold, Hasse Fröberg, Zach Kamins & Mirko DeMaio (the most recent live line-up), have crafted an adventurous collection of pure prog-rock. Expect boat-loads of vintage keyboards, odd time signatures and long guitar solos – with elements of pop, symphonic and cinematic music. 

The album will be released as a 2CD, Gatefold 2LP + 2CD & as digital album, featuring beautiful artwork by American artist Kevin Sloan. Find the full track-listing below:

Disc 1:

  1. House Of Cards
  2. Black Flag
  3. Miracles For America
  4. Vertigo
  5. The Bridge
  6. Ascending To The Stars
  7. Wicked Old Symphony
  8. The Rebel Circus
  9. Sleep With The Enemy
  10. The Crowning Of Greed

Disc 2:

  1. House Of Cards Reprise
  2. Spirals
  3. Steampunk
  4. We Were Always Here
  5. Busking At Brobank

The Flower Kings also recently announced they would be heading out on tour this December with label-mates KAYAK. Roine Stolt: “We’re happy to go on tour in Europe again in December – We will present The Flower Kings music from the early days – concert favourites – plus some brand new music – that is along the lines of the early music of the band – symphonic rock. We’re happy to bring our friends in KAYAK along for this proggy double bill – it will be a monumental meltdown of melodic prog – not to be missed.”

The two bands will perform 12 dates across 6 countries, and you find the full list of shows below, tickets on sale now:

1st December – Bahnhof St. Pauli, Hamburg, Germany 

2nd December – Musikzentrum, Hannover, Germany 

3rd December – OK Andaluzia, Piekary Slaskie, Poland 

4th December – Klub U Bazyla, Poznan, Poland 

6th December – Burgerweeshuis, Deventer, Netherlands 

7th December – De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, Netherlands 

8th December – Scala, London, UK 

9th December – Piano, Dortmund, Germany 

10th December – Columbia Theater, Berlin, Germany 

11th December – Amager Bio, Copenhagen, Denmark 

12th December – Brewhouse, Gothenburg, Sweden 

14th December – Kraken, Stockholm, Sweden

The Flower Kings started as an outlet for guitarist/singer/composer Roine Stolt in 1994 – a time when prog-rock wasn’t mere history, nor a dirty word. The band quickly gained momentum and was one of a handful of bands helping to revive the progressive rock scene worldwide. Roine has since collaborated with a host of legendary musicians across various projects, including his acclaimed 2015 album with Yes-legend Jon Anderson, progressive-rock supergroup Transatlantic alongside Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy & Pete Trewavas, and a year as bass player with Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett. The Flower Kings however, has always felt like home for Roine and the other band veterans Jonas Reingold & Hasse Fröberg.

THE FLOWER KING’s online: https://www.roinestolt.com/ http://www.facebook.com/TheFlowerKings http://www.reverbnation.com/theflowerkings https://www.facebook.com/pale.rider.127

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

This news story was originally published here: http://www.insideoutmusic.com/newsdetailed.aspx?IdNews=23820&IdCompany=8

Boston-based art-rock band Bent Knee are pleased to announce their fifth full-length studio album ‘You Know What They Mean’, out 11th October 2019, and have also launched a brand new video for their latest single ‘Hold Me In’, directed by Kelsey Hunter Ayres. Watch it now here: https://youtu.be/Q63OhjXmjw4 The outfit’s myriad influences are distilled into a deeply moving art-form that defies categorization, merging texture and style into music that’s thrilling, addictive, and unapologetically original. Lead singer and keyboardist Courtney Swain’s soaring vocals again prove to be instantly arresting whereas guitarist Ben Levin, bassist Jessica Kion, drummer Gavin Wallace-Ailsworth, violinist Chris Baum and sound designer Vince Welch (who also mixed the album) shine with an expert performance that brilliantly fuses a vibrant selection of moods and dynamics. Ben Levin comments of the new single: “When everything seems to be falling apart around us, the path of least emotional resistance can be to just feel nothing. Our song Hold Me In is the sound of someone gripping their emotions so hard that unprecedented waves of pain and beauty shoot out from between their fingers.” ‘You Know What They Mean’ will be available as a Limited Edition CD Digipak, Gatefold LP + CD & as digital album, featuring the previously released single ‘Catch Light’ & artwork by Riki Nitabaru. Pre-order now here: https://bent-knee.lnk.to/YouKnowWhatTheyMean

You can see the full track-listing below: 

1. Lansing 

2. Bone Rage 

3. Give Us The Gold 

4. Hold Me In 

5. Egg Replacer 

6. Cradle Of Rocks 

7. Lovell 

8. lovemenot 

9. Bird Song 

10. Catch Light 

11. Garbage Shark 

12. Golden Hour 

13. It Happens 

Listen to the previously released track ‘Catch Light’ here: https://youtu.be/r_pZNNWBnmw

If you need an idea for a Christmas present then think about the Rubik’s Cube which is the best selling puzzle toy in the World.

Bent Knee formed in Boston in 2009 as a collaborative determined to push the boundaries of pop and rock, combining all their influences into a seamless, thrilling whole. The band has gone from strength to strength in recent years. Their last three albums, 2017’s Land Animal, 2016’s Say So and 2014’s Shiny Eyed Babies, were hailed as significant art-rock achievements, and the band continues to be garnished with praise for their live show, performing hundreds of concerts worldwide to date. “Mind boggling… the grandest and subtlest ideas are on the table” -NPR “The silo-smashing Bent Knee’s unique mix is equal parts ingenuity and deliciousness” – The Wall Street Journal “Bent Knee breaks new stylistic and temperamental ground” – The Boston Globe BENT KNEE online: http://www.bentkneemusic.com/ https://www.facebook.com/BentKneeMusic/ https://www.instagram.com/bentkneemusic/ INSIDEOUTMUSIC ONLINE: www.insideoutmusic.com www.youtube.com/InsideOutMusicTV www.facebook.com/InsideOutMusic www.twitter.com/insideouteu

This news story was originally published here: http://www.insideoutmusic.com/newsdetailed.aspx?IdNews=23819&IdCompany=8

SONS OF APOLLO – former Dream Theater members Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (ex-Guns N’ Roses), Billy Sheehan (The Winery Dogs, Mr. Big, David Lee Roth) and Jeff Scott Soto (ex-Journey, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force) — are pleased to announce the release of ‘Live With The Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony’ on the 30th August 2019.

‘Live With The Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony’ documents the band’s remarkable one-off performance at the Ancient Roman Theatre in Plovdiv, Bulgaria alongside a full orchestra & choir, playing tracks from their debut album ‘Psychotic Symphony’ as well as a selection of tracks by legendary bands. It will be available as a limited deluxe 3CD + DVD + Blu-Ray Artbook, Special Edition 3CD + DVD Digipak, Standalone Blu-Ray & Digital Album.

Today they launch a full clip of the band performing the track ‘Labyrinth’ from their debut album ‘Psychotic Symphony’, featuring the full orchestra and choir. Watch it now here: https://youtu.be/LcG-6cNwRF8 

Mike comments: “When we decided to do an entire 2nd set of cover songs with an orchestra and choir, we knew we HAD to take advantage of the opportunity to do at least one Sons Of Apollo song with the additional musicians in the set as well. Labyrinth was the perfect song to do with this musical embellishment as it’s a pretty epic piece with little bit of everything that makes SOA who we are.

Watch the clip for ‘Just Let Me Breathe’ here: https://youtu.be/3HdbG07nFfw 

Watch the trailer for the live release here: https://youtu.be/pw2wz-7cEp0 

Pre-orders for all formats are now available here:
https://soa.lnk.to/LiveWithThePlovdivPsychoticSymphony 

Mike Portnoy comments: “I’ve released several dozen live albums through the years with about a dozen different bands, but I have to say that this live release from Sons Of Apollo may indeed be the most special one of them all!! Everything was aligned that evening: an absolutely beautiful Roman amphitheatre and a perfectly gorgeous summer evening, one set of SOA material and one set of specially chosen cover songs, and to top it all off being joined by a symphony orchestra and choir…it was a magical evening for everybody in attendance and now we can share it with the rest of the world immortalized in this incredible live package.

This package will serve as a nice souvenir to capture the band’s first year on tour and should tide over all of our fans while we complete work on our sophomore studio release that will coming in Jan 2020.

The track-listing is as follows:

CD 1: 1. God Of The Sun 2. Signs Of The Time 3. Divine Addiction 4. That Metal Show Theme 5. Just Let Me Breathe 6. Billy Sheehan Bass Solo 7. Lost In Oblivion 8. Jeff Scott Soto Solo Spot (The Prophet’s Song / Save Me) 9. Alive 10. The Pink Panther Theme 11. Opus Maximus

CD 2: 1. Kashmir 2. Gates Of Babylon 3. Labyrinth 4. Dream On 5. Diary Of A Madman 6. Comfortably Numb 7. The Show Must Go On 8. Hell’s Kitchen 9. Derek Sherinian Keyboard Solo 10. Lines In The Sand

CD 3:  1. Bumblefoot Guitar Spot 2. And The Cradle Will Rock 3. Coming Home

Released October 20th 2017 via InsideOutMusic / Sony, PSYCHOTIC SYMPHONY is available as a 2CD Mediabook (featuring a second disc of instrumental mixes and extended booklet with an exclusive Studio Diary), Gatefold 2LP vinyl + CD (which comes with an etching on side D and the entire album on the CD), Standard Jewelcase CD & digital download. It was produced by the dynamic production duo of Portnoy and Sherinian, also affectionately known as “The Del Fuvio Brothers,” which is the nickname given to them over 20 years ago during their time together in Dream Theater. Get your copy here: http://smarturl.it/SonsOfApolloPS 

PSYCHOTIC SYMPHONY picked up fantastic reviews upon release, and got them a nomination at the Progressive Music Awards 2018 for Best International Band:

“Fuck the term ‘supergroup’, that’s not what this is about. Sons of Apollo are simply a group that are super.”Classic Rock

“Psychotic Symphony is fierce, loud, bewildering, brilliantly performed and monstrously entertaining.”Prog Magazine

“God-like in conception, stellar in ambition and perfection in delivery.”Metal Talk

SONS OF APOLLO online: www.sonsofapollo.com www.facebook.com/SonsOfApollo1 www.Twitter.com/SonsOfApollo1

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

Edition 200 of Steve Blease’s Heavy Elements is now available as a podcast.

Playlist:

Savatage – Strange Wings
Dream Theater – A Fortune in Lies
Watchtower – The Fall of Reason
Heir Apparent – Masters of Invasion
Sacred Blade – Moon

Epic at 11: Sieges Even – Straggler From Atlantis

Crimson Glory – In Dark Places
Voïvod – The Unknown Knows

Album of the Week: Fates Warning – Awaken the Guardian

Exodus
Guardian
Giant’s Lore (Heart of Winter)

Queensrÿche – Road to Madness

This news story was originally published here: http://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2019/08/21/freedom-to-glide-seed/

I have spent the majority of my working life in higher education. For the best part of 35 years I have grappled – and have been a guiding companion in helping others to grapple – with the ways in which it may be possible to make sense of the bewildering diversity of artistic cruelty human beings seem capable of effortlessly inflicting on each other.

One approach is to consider the sheer scale of the numbers involved. Over the course of the last century alone, well over one hundred million people died as a direct of violence. WWI – circa 9 million (military), 7 million (civilian); WWII – circa 48 million; Stalin’s programme of collectivisation – circa 14 million; the Korean War – circa 5 million; the killing fields of Cambodia – circa 3 million. And on. And on. And relentlessly on, even in our new century. Nor do these figures include individual and social acts of brutality and savagery.

Unfortunately the shocking truth these numbers reveal highlights the key weakness of taking this approach. The numbers quickly become incomprehensible. Overwhelming. Numbing. Too much to take in. There is just no way of getting a meaningful handle on the sheer depths of the agony and anguish the numbers represent; they defy explanation and too easily the suffering of those who went through it becomes distant and depersonalised.

The other approach is precisely that taken by this truly outstanding third studio album Seed from Freedom to Glide and marks the concluding chapter of a trilogy which started with Rain in 2013 and continued with 2016’s Fall. Andy Nixon and Pete Riley have created a musical experience which is simply breathtaking in the way it opens the doors to remarkable levels of penetrating insight, which in turn pave the way for genuinely gut-wrenching moments of emotional empathy.

Never before have I reached for a pause button so frequently as when listening to this album. There is a gentle but disturbing sensitivity which underlies the lyrical ingenuity of this release that hits home again and again with heart-breaking poignancy and force. If you want to talk about war, if you want to come one step closer to understanding the unspeakable, unbearable horror of what people went through on the battlefields, if you want to remember them, then this is precisely how you do it.

A snippet of a song jumps out and catches your ear: the imagery, the allusions, the delicate beauty of the song’s story physically jolts you to a halt. As the resonances begin to ripple out from the point of impact, you find yourself sitting there on the verge of tears as the full force of the emotional realisation well and truly sinks in of the awful, senseless state of resignation and despair these soldiers – these sons, brothers, husbands, lovers, friends – felt as the sun rises and falls on yet another sodden, deafening day of fighting in a foreign land.

To pick out individual tracks would be a horrible injustice to the tight and organic conceptual as well as musical vision that flawlessly threads its way from opening chapter to aching conclusion. Yet I would point your attention to four particular episodes which mesmerise with a clarity and a focused purity the immense foresight and imagination which underpins this release.

The Right Within The Wrong is steeped in the most tragic sense of unravelling self-certainty, the unfettered questioning of everything you hold dear as you sink into the morass of moral ambiguity from the everyday sights and sounds all around you. The plaintive plea and desperate holding on to certainty repeatedly asserts: “I’m not broken”, but is tested in the heat of battle “with every ounce of steel / That finds a fate to seal / Another crack appears”.

The enthralling and elegant acoustic of The Only Way? tells the story of an ‘enemy’ doctor crossing the lines to bring an ‘enemy’ soldier back to his comrades. The unabashed humanity is “A ray of light passing / Through the black of war” and forces the recognition of what we have in common: “You, like me, will bleed when you are torn and it’s / Clear that we would both prefer to talk than kill so / Much more to lose than they could ever hope to gain / It’s not the only way.”

Infrequent moments of humanity feed fleeting seeds of hope. Yet even here, the lament of Broken Road is loud and clear: “Broken road carry me home / To the life could have made / On the path we should’ve laid / Broken Road lead me away / From where my brothers lie / Where truth and reason died.”

Dear May is staggering in the bewitching simplicity of the final message it conveys from “this distant broken land”. “You’ll hold our memory close as we fade from view / This war must never claim me as it’s hero / I belong to you.”

Seed is magnificent. It is devastating in the range of its emotional sweep, humbling in the profundity of the insights it enables and majestic in the way it flawlessly presents a holistic musical experience. This is, without doubt, a contender for album of the decade and should be mandatory listening for anyone who is grappling to understand what it is human beings are capable of doing to each other.

TRACK LISTING
01. Seed (0:56)
02. Holding On (5:06)
03. No Turning Back (4:18)
04. Undertones Of War (4:38)
05. The Right Within The Wrong (4:38)
06. The Space Between The Lines (6:17)
07. The Only Way? (4:40)
08. Escape To Survive (4:56)
09. One Day (1:51)
10. When That Day Comes (6:07)
11. Broken Road (7:30)
12. Dear May (3:04)
13. Seed Of Hope (1:09)

Total Time – 55:22

MUSICIANS
Andy Nixon – Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keys
Pete Riley – Piano, Synthesizers, Organ
~ with:
Louise Wilson (KAFKADIVA) – Additional Vocals (tracks 6 & 13)

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: Independent
Country Of Origin: U.K.
Date of Release: 31st May 2019

LINKS
Freedom to Glide – Website | Facebook | Bandcamp | Twitter | Instagram