News

This news story was originally published here: http://www.insideoutmusic.com/newsdetailed.aspx?IdNews=23976&IdCompany=8

US Progressive Metal pioneers and innovators PSYCHOTIC WALTZ return in full original line-up with their highly anticipated 5th studio album and first new music in 23 years. Entitled “The God-Shaped Void”, the upcoming new album and InsideOutMusic debut will be released on February 14th, 2020.

A first new track off “The God-Shaped Void” is being debuted today. Check out the album’s opening track “Devils And Angels” in a lyric video by Cloud Music Typography here: 
https://youtu.be/2u1V8G43ytE

PSYCHOTIC WALTZ commented about “Devils And Angels” as follows:
“This was the second song we finished writing for the album, right after “The Fallen”. Brian had some chunky riffs to start with, then we all kind of added our own flavor of spices to it, some of which you can really pick up on headphones. It wound up being a lot more epic than we expected!”

The basic tracks for “The God-Shaped Void” were recorded with engineer Ulrich Wild in the band’s hometown of San Diego, then the rest of the recordings at Studio D in Austria and finally the material was mixed/mastered by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Devin Townsend, Fates Warning) at Fascination Street Studios in Sweden. Artwork (as also presented throughout the lyric-video) was created by longtime visual partner Travis Smith (Katatonia, Riverside, Nevermore).

Here is the tracklisting for “The God-Shaped Void”:
PSYCHOTIC WALTZ – “The God-Shaped Void”
1. Devils And Angels (06:29)
2. Stranded (04:49)
3. Back To Black (03:52)
4. All The Bad Men (03:59)
5. The Fallen (05:49)
6. While The Spiders Spin (05:49)
7. Pull The String (04:54)
8. Demystified (05:12)
9. Season Of The Swarm (05:57) *** Bonus Track
10. Sisters Of The Dawn (06:41)
11. In The Silence (05:16)

The album’s bonus-track “Season Of The Swarm” will be available on the limited Mediabook CD (which comes with expanded booklet and an exclusive logo patch), on the vinyl edition as well as on the Digital versions. A standard Jewelcase CD edition is available as well.

The vinyl edition of “The God-Shaped Void” comes as 2LP on 180gr. vinyl with gatefold packaging and with the entire album on CD as bonus in the following versions:
– vinyl, there will also be the following strictly limited coloured editions available:
– Black 2LP + CD: Unlimited
– Lilac 2LP + CD: 200x copies from IOM Webshop
– Transparent Blue 2LP + CD: 200x copies from Nuclear Blast
– Dark Green 2LP + CD: 300x copies from CM Distro

All formats are available for pre-order starting today here: 
https://psychoticwaltz.lnk.to/TheGodShapedVoid

PSYCHOTIC WALTZ line-up:
(Left to right on photo by Axel Jusseit)
Dan Rock – guitars & keys
Devon Graves – vocals
Ward Evans – bass
Norman Leggio – drums
Brian McAlpin – guitars

PSYCHOTIC WALTZ discography:
A Social Grace (1990)
Into The Everflow (1992)
Mosquito (1994)
Bleeding (1996)
The God-Shaped Void (2020)

PSYCHOTIC WALTZ online:
http://psychoticwaltz.com/
https://www.facebook.com/PsychoticWaltzOfficial/

This news story was originally published here: http://www.insideoutmusic.com/newsdetailed.aspx?IdNews=23971&IdCompany=8

The Neal Morse Band have returned to the InsideOutMusic family, re-signing with the label in 2019 and announcing the release of a forthcoming new live album – ‘The Great Adventour – Live in BRNO 2019’ for the 6th March 2020.

Neal comments: “The band and myself are super excited to be back with our friends at InsideOut! They are great people and I’m sure it will be a fruitful relationship as it al-ways has been.

InsideOutMusic label-head Thomas Waber adds: “There is obviously a lot of history be-tween Neal and InsideOutMusic and we are ready to make more history with one of the most important prog artists of our generation!

Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy, Randy George, Bill Hubauer & Eric Gillette, released their latest album ‘The Great Adventure’ at the beginning of 2019. This was the follow-up to their acclaimed 2016 concept album ‘The Similitude Of A Dream’, and shortly after the band embarked on a European headline tour. ‘The Great Adventour – Live in BRNO 2019’ documents these shows, which saw them performing the album in full, and closing with the renowned ‘The Great Medley’ – featuring tracks from across Neal’s solo career and each Neal Morse Band album. 

Available as a 2CD + 2Blu-Ray Digipak, the set also features two tour documentaries from both the US & European runs, as well as the official music videos for the singles taken from ‘The Great Adventure’.

The full track-listing is below:
1. Intro (Live in BRNO 2019)
2. Overture (Live in BRNO 2019)
3. The Dream Isn’t Over (Live in BRNO 2019)
4. Welcome To The World (Live in BRNO 2019)
5. A Momentary Change (Live in BRNO 2019)
6. Dark Melody (Live in BRNO 2019)
7. I Got To Run (Live in BRNO 2019)
8. To The River (Live in BRNO 2019)
9. The Great Adventure (Live in BRNO 2019)
10. Venture In Black (Live in BRNO 2019)
11. Hey Ho Let’s Go (Live in BRNO 2019)
12. Beyond The Borders (Live in BRNO 2019)
13. Overture 2 (Live in BRNO 2019)
14. Long Ago (Live in BRNO 2019)
15. Child Of Wonder (Live in BRNO 2019)
16. The Dream Continues (Live in BRNO 2019)
17. Fighting With Destiny (Live in BRNO 2019)
18. Vanity Fair (Live in BRNO 2019)
19. Welcome To The World 2 (Live in BRNO 2019)
20. The Element Of Fear (Live in BRNO 2019)
21. The Great Despair (Live in BRNO 2019)
22. Freedom Calling (Live in BRNO 2019)
23. A Love That Never Dies (Live in BRNO 2019)
24. The Great Medley [Encore] (Live in BRNO 2019)


As Randy George explains: “After the Similitude tour, expectations were really high, and we had more people coming to these shows than ever before. People were really excited to see it, so we had to make sure that we delivered.

Performing The Great Adventure flawlessly and in its entirety 47 times in 2019, Neal
Morse (vocals, keyboards and guitars), Mike Portnoy (drums, vocals and audience cheer-leading), Randy George (bass), Bill Hubauer (keyboards and vocals) and Eric Gillette (guitars and vocals) brought audiences to their feet night after exhilarating night: “The tour delivered every night. We never got tired of playing it, and it always paid off”, says George.

One of the countries was the Czech Republic, and it was there in Brno that the band chose to film THE GREAT ADVENTOUR 2019 – LIVE IN BRNO, the definitive record of the tour, as George explains: “This was our first time playing in the Czech Republic and this venue had a different look and vibe: the audience also turned out to be very ener-getic. They loved it!

THE GREAT ADVENTOUR 2019 – LIVE IN BRNO shows The Neal Morse Band at the very height of their powers: extraordinary, passionate, intense and intricate rock music played to perfection by five masters of their craft, backed by dramatic video illustra-tions by Christian Rios.

Look out for your first taste of the live album very soon.

THE NEAL MORSE BAND ONLINE:
https://www.facebook.com/TheNealMorseBandOfficial
https://www.instagram.com/thenealmorsebandofficial/
www.twitter.com/nealmorseband1


This news story was originally published here: http://www.insideoutmusic.com/newsdetailed.aspx?IdNews=23970&IdCompany=8

…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead bring fans another new song today with the release of “Into The Godless Void.” Everything kicks into full pelt with this noisy and thrilling existential anthem that follows the news of the band’s first new album in six years, their upcoming 25th year anniversary and a European headline tour. Just last month …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead announced the January 17th release of X: The Godless Void and Other Stories along with their first new song and video for “Don’t Look Down” which Rolling Stone called “…a bustling rock track carried by rushing drums and fuzzy guitars….

“Into The Godless Void” is a track that founding member Jason Reece says deals with “this existential woe that all humans tend to go through – feeling that weight that plagues the mind.” Fellow founding member Conrad Keely adds, “Songs have a life of their own. If you listen to them, they’ll tell you how they want to manifest.” 

Watch the video for the track here: https://youtu.be/qwPvnMdAXyA 

As they enter their 25th year together, Trail of Dead is back to their core with Keely and Reece at the helm and basing themselves in Austin where Reece has been holding it down since the band’s early days. Keely returned in 2018 after a five-year stint in Cambodia and earlier this year they took the band on the road for a 20th anniversary tour of 1999’s Madonna.

Watch the video for the album’s first single ‘Don’t Look Down’ here:
https://youtu.be/bbXNaERHIfA

The new album will be released as a Limited CD Digipak, 180g vinyl + album on CD & as digital album, all featuring the iconic artwork of Conrad Keely. Pre-order now here: https://andyouwillknowusbythetrailofdead.lnk.to/XTGVAOS


X: The Godless Void and Other Stories was produced by …Trail’s own Conrad Keely alongside engineer Charles Godfrey (Sinkane, of Montreal, Yeah Yeah Yeahs). Work on the new album began in earnest in 2018 after Keely returned home to Austin following five years in Cambodia, rejoining fellow founding member Jason Reece. As a result, the album sees Keely detailing “the sadness of moving away from a place that I loved,” while also taking inspiration from Steven Pressfield’s book The War Of Art to face his own demons regarding the creative process. “I feel like I’m writing pop music,”he says, “it’s just not Top 20 pop. It’s the pop music I wish was on the radio, the pop music I would’ve grown up with.”

Reece agrees, citing Talk Talk, Killing Joke and Laurie Anderson as inspirations. “There’s definitely the idea of loss, leaving someone or something important in your life, but it’s more abstract,”he explains, adding that the track “Into The Godless Void” in particular deals with “this existential woe that all humans tend to go through – feeling that weight that plagues the mind.”

X: The Godless Void and Other Stories comes as the duo enters their 25th year together as a band. After playing their first show together in 1995, they quickly became known for their powerful and cathartic live performances that often ended with them destroying their instruments on stage. They released their self-titled debut album in 1997 on King Coffey’s Trance Syndicate label and in 1999, sophomore LP Madonna followed on Merge Records. Three years later, seminal LP Source Tags & Codes would cement the band’s status in rock lore after it earned them a rare Pitchfork 10. The band subsequently released Worlds Apart (2005), So Divided (2006), The Century of Self (2009) and the triumphant Tao of the Dead (2011) which led to a live performance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon that had Questlove tweeting, “damn!!! @realtrailofdead came and kicked ass in 2 mins!!!”

Critical acclaim continued with Lost Songs in 2012 which Rolling Stone wrote, “…explosive indie-prog is defined by the push and pull of Conrad Keely’s epic mysticism and Jason Reece’s primal punk surge. ”2014’s IX had NME calling it, “…their most focused and thrilling…,” Uncut added that the LP did a “…a good job of tethering grand ambition to signature intensity”and Billboard said the album recalled, “the ponderous grandeur of 2002’s seminal Source Tags & Codes.”

After a steady flow of albums and touring, the six years between IX and X: The Godless Void and Other Stories made up their longest break and found both Reece and Keely working on other projects. “When Conrad moved to Cambodia, we both had time to live our lives and do different things,” Reece explains. “Coming back to the band, there was a new vigor to it. It all feels exciting still.” They’ve also reverted to the live format of their early years with Reece and Keely alternating between drums and frontman duties – a musical partnership that dates back to high school and feels fresh and familiar all at the same time.

The band have also announced European headline shows in support of the new record, find the full list below:

09.02.2020 – (FR) Dunquerque, Les Quatre Ecluses
10.02.2020 – (FR) Paris, Le Petit Bain
12.02.2020 – (DE) Cologne, Stadtgarten
13.02.2020 – (DE) Bielefeld, Forum
14.02.2020 – (CH) Basel, Sommercasino
16.02.2020 – (DE) Reutlingen, Franz.K
17.02.2020 – (DE) Munich, Strom
18.02.2020 – (AT) Vienna, Flex
19.02.2020 – (DE) Berlin, Festsaal Kreuzberg
21.02.2020 – (DE) Hamburg, The Stage Club
22.02.2020 – (DK) Copenhagen, Loppen
23.02.2020 – (SE) Stockholm, Nalen Klubb
24.02.2020 – (NO) Oslo, Vulkan Arena
26.02.2020 – (NL) Amsterdam, Melkweg
27.02.2020 – (NL) Nijmengen, Doornroosje
28.02.2020 – (BE) Brussels, Botanique
29.02.2020 – (UK) Brighton (Sussex) Patterns
01.03.2020 – (UK) Bristol, The Exchange
02.03.2020 – (UK) Nottingham, The Bodega Social Club
03.03.2020 – (UK) Edinburgh, The Mash House
04.03.2020 – (UK) Manchester, Night & Day
05.03.2020 – (UK) Newcastle upon Tyne, Riverside
07.03.2020 – (UK) Leicester, The Cookie
08.03.2020 – (UK) Hudderfield, The Parish
10.03.2020 – (UK) London, The Dome
11.03.2020 – (UK) St. Albans, The Horn

The full track-listing for ‘X: The Godless Void and Other Stories’ is as follows:
1. The Opening Crescendo
2. All Who Wander
3. Something like This
4. Into the Godless Void
5. Don’t look down
6. Gone
7. Children of the Sky
8. Who Haunts the Haunter
9. Eyes of the Overworld
10. Gravity
11. Blade of Wind
12. Through the Sunlit Door

…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead Online:
https://ww.facebook.com/andyouwillknowusbythetrailofdead/
https://twitter.com/trailofdead
https://www.instagram.com/realtrailofdead/

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/interviews/the-outsider-interview/

Mexican avant-garde one-man band The Outsider talked with Prog Sphere about the recently released single “Suicide is Peogress”,” which features guest performance by Shining vocalist and saxophonist Jørgen Munkeby.

Define the mission of The Outsider.

Musically speaking the mission of The Outsider is challenge people ears by making metal and music that breaks musical and music genres conventions, even break the conventional tonality system and the 12 tones musical system, thinking forward and fearing nothing. That’s why the new songs are highly experimental, not all of them and not in extreme ways, but it is a starting point in the musical evolution path I want to take, time will tell where it takes The Outsider in the future. Lyrically speaking the mission is spreading chaos and horror as an essential part of humanity.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your recent single “Suicide is Progress” and the themes it captures.

The creative process for my writing sessions is a ritual, I take a couple of weeks for that, usually on holiday seasons and start writting songs, I start with the most “conventional” ones, with traditional metal structures and then go into the most experimental and weird songs, “Suicide is Progress” was written in that point when I compose very strange stuff, I just wanted to do something very jazzy and electronic, so I explored a lot of jazzy chords and guitar tone and playing, also including the sax made it more experimental. What I want to capture is strangeness and make the listener somehow unconfortable, I wanted to capture madness, because it is closely linked to the lyrics.

The Outsider - Suicide is Progress

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

The theme is basically human psyche when it turns completely twisted and deranged, and how dangerous it can be for other people.

“Suicide is Progress” is the first single from your upcoming album. What can you tell me about the release? How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

The album is coming in march hopefully and it is a compendium of different kinds of horror lyrically speaking, and musically speaking is a very experimental album, of course there will be some “conventional” songs, but as I said before, I want to take my music to the next step in an avantgarde way, and this new album is the first solid step, all the songs are different and there will be a couple of very bizarre songs. I documented the writting process with a bunch of demos and unreleased songs and ideas, as well as primitive versions of the final songs, some songs that did not make it to the album will be used for the next (third) album becaused I composed the songs thinking in TWO albums, this one is the first of two or maybe three releases, but details about that will be unveiled later.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

Absolutely yes, something I am taking care a lot in this album is the production and the flow of the songs and the album as a whole. So every sound is placed there for an specific reason.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

It has been a long trip (because to this date, it is still in mixing process), it all started almost three years ago when I wrote the first song of the album, and for a year and a half I wrote many songs, after that I decided which songs would make it to the album and saved the rest for later releases, then I started working in the orchestral arrangements and production details, after that I took the demos to the studio and started recording them, it took months and the mixing process has taken some time too, another reason it took that time is that I changed logo and renewed my brand, and that took some time, but I rather wait for everything to be on point instead of releasing something mediocre or not finished.

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

In terms of goals I got influenced by bands that do not fear in changing their style like Ulver, Sigh or Therion. And musically speaking for this release I had some more doom infuences like Triptykon or Paradise Lost, for the orchestral parts my biggest influence is still Septicflesh and Therion but also composers like Penderecki, Xenakis and Stravinsky, but he new influences are towards the avantgarde and progressive parts, King Crimsons has been a HUGE influence for this album, also Sigh. I also explored jazz performers like John Zorn and very experimental and dark stuff like Diamanda Galas or Lingua Ignota, even if they are not exactly metal

What is your view on technology in music?

I think is great that technology makes music easier to do, specially when you want to experiment a lot. Times change and I think is better to take advantage of that instead of trying to fight it. The next single will actually take advantage of some kind of technology that is not very common in music, we are using 8D technology for some tracks of the song, the result may blow people’s mind.

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

Asolutely yes, I don’t know exactly how. But for me music purpose can be more than just entertaining.

What are your plans for the future?

Keep on releasing music, after this upcoming album there will be another album and maybe a complementary release like an EP, Unfortunately there are no plans for live shows.

Check out The Outsider on Bandcamp.

The post THE OUTSIDER: Breaking Music Conventions appeared first on Prog Sphere.

This news story was originally published here: https://www.prog-sphere.com/interviews/the-outsider-interview/

Mexican avant-garde one-man band The Outsider talked with Prog Sphere about the recently released single “Suicide is Peogress”,” which features guest performance by Shining vocalist and saxophonist Jørgen Munkeby.

Define the mission of The Outsider.

Musically speaking the mission of The Outsider is challenge people ears by making metal and music that breaks musical and music genres conventions, even break the conventional tonality system and the 12 tones musical system, thinking forward and fearing nothing. That’s why the new songs are highly experimental, not all of them and not in extreme ways, but it is a starting point in the musical evolution path I want to take, time will tell where it takes The Outsider in the future. Lyrically speaking the mission is spreading chaos and horror as an essential part of humanity.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your recent single “Suicide is Progress” and the themes it captures.

The creative process for my writing sessions is a ritual, I take a couple of weeks for that, usually on holiday seasons and start writting songs, I start with the most “conventional” ones, with traditional metal structures and then go into the most experimental and weird songs, “Suicide is Progress” was written in that point when I compose very strange stuff, I just wanted to do something very jazzy and electronic, so I explored a lot of jazzy chords and guitar tone and playing, also including the sax made it more experimental. What I want to capture is strangeness and make the listener somehow unconfortable, I wanted to capture madness, because it is closely linked to the lyrics.

The Outsider - Suicide is Progress

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

The theme is basically human psyche when it turns completely twisted and deranged, and how dangerous it can be for other people.

“Suicide is Progress” is the first single from your upcoming album. What can you tell me about the release? How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

The album is coming in march hopefully and it is a compendium of different kinds of horror lyrically speaking, and musically speaking is a very experimental album, of course there will be some “conventional” songs, but as I said before, I want to take my music to the next step in an avantgarde way, and this new album is the first solid step, all the songs are different and there will be a couple of very bizarre songs. I documented the writting process with a bunch of demos and unreleased songs and ideas, as well as primitive versions of the final songs, some songs that did not make it to the album will be used for the next (third) album becaused I composed the songs thinking in TWO albums, this one is the first of two or maybe three releases, but details about that will be unveiled later.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

Absolutely yes, something I am taking care a lot in this album is the production and the flow of the songs and the album as a whole. So every sound is placed there for an specific reason.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

It has been a long trip (because to this date, it is still in mixing process), it all started almost three years ago when I wrote the first song of the album, and for a year and a half I wrote many songs, after that I decided which songs would make it to the album and saved the rest for later releases, then I started working in the orchestral arrangements and production details, after that I took the demos to the studio and started recording them, it took months and the mixing process has taken some time too, another reason it took that time is that I changed logo and renewed my brand, and that took some time, but I rather wait for everything to be on point instead of releasing something mediocre or not finished.

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

In terms of goals I got influenced by bands that do not fear in changing their style like Ulver, Sigh or Therion. And musically speaking for this release I had some more doom infuences like Triptykon or Paradise Lost, for the orchestral parts my biggest influence is still Septicflesh and Therion but also composers like Penderecki, Xenakis and Stravinsky, but he new influences are towards the avantgarde and progressive parts, King Crimsons has been a HUGE influence for this album, also Sigh. I also explored jazz performers like John Zorn and very experimental and dark stuff like Diamanda Galas or Lingua Ignota, even if they are not exactly metal

What is your view on technology in music?

I think is great that technology makes music easier to do, specially when you want to experiment a lot. Times change and I think is better to take advantage of that instead of trying to fight it. The next single will actually take advantage of some kind of technology that is not very common in music, we are using 8D technology for some tracks of the song, the result may blow people’s mind.

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

Asolutely yes, I don’t know exactly how. But for me music purpose can be more than just entertaining.

What are your plans for the future?

Keep on releasing music, after this upcoming album there will be another album and maybe a complementary release like an EP, Unfortunately there are no plans for live shows.

Check out The Outsider on Bandcamp.

The post THE OUTSIDER: Breaking Music Conventions appeared first on Prog Sphere.

This news story was originally published here: https://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2019/12/09/nine-skies-sweetheart-grips/

This review concerns the latest album from French Neo-Proggers Nine Skies, a collection of twelve thematically linked songs that unfold a story of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as experienced by soldiers in wartime. Appropriately, the review was written on the day that we remember those fallen during those dreadful conflicts of World Wars One and Two, and other wars that have occurred since.

The album is a double CD with some very interesting tracks and guest musicians who lend their talents, and in doing so add significantly to make this a very well-crafted album that deals with its concepts with both dignity and sympathy.

The album opens with a brief piece called Vestige which includes the sounds of war to a gentle musical backdrop and the sound of a woman sobbing. This is a very sad piece, but it sets the tone for much of what follows, it’s not an easy listen as the album addresses the horrors and the futility of war head-on. It is best enjoyed with the lyrics close to hand so you can follow the story, I certainly found that very useful.

Burn My Brain features Craig Blundell, of Steve Hackett and Steven Wilson fame, on drums and percussion, using some complicated, almost fusion stylings to drive the song along, and that ties in very well with a stylish guitar line from Eric Bouilette. His work is spot on here, very moving, elegiac and with great feeling. The song is based on words from Lord Byron which adds some weight to its feelings, tone and mood.

The third track is The Thought Trader, featuring well-established and critically acclaimed drummer Johnny Marter, but on this occasion he shows another skill, playing guitar with some great parts that add excellent colours to the sound. All in all, this is a fine song with some interesting ideas and thoughtful lyrics; the next track is somewhat different. Catharsis is primarily a gentle acoustic song, but one that contains some soul searching lyrics as it explores the feelings of the soldier regarding what he has seen and experienced. This is an emotive and thought-provoking piece.

Alone features a spoken voice reciting Edgar Allan Poe’s poem of the same name. Suitably macabre in tone, it acts as a prelude to the major song on the album, the title track Sweetheart Grips, which tells of the practice whereby soldiers would take a photo of a loved one or their girl and use it as a part of their gun’s grip or the trigger, encased in plastic (usually from bomber plane’s broken windows) to create what became known as ‘Sweetheart Grips’.

This song is sung by Riccardo Romano (of Ranestrane and Steve Rothery Band fame), and it is a very emotional piece with heartfelt lyrics and an equally strong musical backdrop. Somewhere Inside Mankind is much lighter, more dreamy type song with some lovely fluid guitar work from either David Darnaud, Eric Bouilette or Alexandre Lamia. I’m not sure which it is, but I suspect it’s from Eric’s finger that this great playing originates. The stirring synths are from Alexandre Lamia though, that I can say with confidence. It’s not an overlong piece but it has lots going on throughout and it conveys a sense of emotional turmoil which adds real class to this great song, also eloquently present in the magnificent saxophone of Laurent Benhamou.

The shorter Fields of Perdition takes us into the last section of the album, more mood focused and generally instrumental in nature. Here we hear from the soldier’s mother who laments that her son has gone to potentially meet his end on a foreign field somewhere unknown, followed by the instrumental Tyrant or Nothing with some gentle acoustic guitar and a fine violin solo from Eric Bouilette. It’s again very moving with some great tones and sounds to portray the scene. Soldiers of Shame features Pat Sanders of London proggers Drifting Sun on keyboards, adding some great soundscapes to an impressive song with nice guitar work throughout, all anchored with those fabulous keyboards. The lyrics speak of the horrors he now has to live with every day, another sad song that brings the effects of war all too much into focus. The outro is gently acoustic and lighter in tone.

Flowers of Pain opens with what sounds like a jolly hunting section, but after 30 seconds it becomes somewhat darker, although the tune is subsequently repeated. This is rather a strange track and seemingly out of place – or is it? We then move to the final song, Isolation, another instrumental that showcases the fluid and skilful, not least to say tasteful, bass guitar of Bernard Hery, playing what could be a fretless. It sounds wonderful and evocative in equal measures, you can feel the atmosphere and almost picture the setting, very continental in some ways, it’s a worthy close to a very interesting and satisfying album.

The performances throughout are strong and solid and this represents a good step forward for Nine Skies. It’s an album I highly recommend and endorse as being worthy of investigation. It’s a moving listen with a sense of solemnity to it. Any proceeds will be used to help suicide prevention by supporting a charity called Ian’s Chain, a most worthy cause and all respect to the group for doing this so selflessly. So, this is a difficult subject, but it is handled with much dignity and maturity and the resulting music is very fine indeed.

TRACK LISTING
01. Vestige (1:18)
02. Burn My Brain (7:00)
03. The Thought Trader (7:11)
04. Catharsis (6:00)
05. Alone (4:45)
06. Sweetheart Grips (10:13)
07. Somewhere Inside Me (7:15)
08. Fields of Perdition (3:03)
09. Tyrant or Nothing (6:17)
10. Soldiers of Shame (6:50)
11. Flowers of Pain (2:11)
12. Isolation (4:47)

Total Time – 66:50

MUSICIANS
Aliénor Favier – Vocals
David Darnaud – Guitars
Eric Bouillette – Guitars, Keyboards, Piano, Violin, Vocals
Alexandre Lamia – Guitars, Keyboards, Piano
Anne-Claire Rallo – Keyboards
Bernard Hery – Bass
Fab Galia – Drums
Laurent Benhamou – Saxophones
Penny Mac Morris – Flute
~ Guests:
Craig Blundell – Drums (track 2)
Dave Foster – Guitar (track 8)
Johnny Marter – Guitar (track 3)
Clive Nolan – Keyboards (track 2)
Riccardo Romano – Vocals (track 6)
Pat Sanders – Keyboards (track 10)

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: France
Date of Release: 1st November 2019

LINKS
Nine Skies – Website | Facebook | Bandcamp

Marillion – Gazpacho (Michael Hunter 2019 remix)

Yes – To The Moment

Jethro Tull – Orion (live)

The Flower Kings – Steampunk

Thieves’ Kitchen – Uffington

Jethro Tull – Dark Ages (Steve* Wilson 2019 remix)

Lee Abraham – Numb parts 1 & 2

Opeth – The Garroter (English version)

Karamoi – The Day is Done

Tangekanic – A spark In The ether (live, excerpt)

*Don’t call him Steve, he’ll throw his shoes at you. 

Edition 187 of THE PROG MILL for Progzilla Radio (407 in total), which is also the 8th birthday of the show, first broadcast on Progzilla Radio 8 December 2019, is now also available to stream anytime or download.

Two hours of superb melodic and symphonic progressive rock. Just click play (or download) and dive into this stunning music!

This Week’s Playlist

The playlist for last night’s PROG MILL (edition 187 for Progzilla Radio and 407 in total), the shows 8th birthday! first broadcast Sunday 8 December, was:

1 Downes Braide Association – Tomorrow (Live in England)
2 Cromwell – Waiting for the Prince (Burning Banners Remastered)
3 Exploring Birdsong – The Downpour (Things With Feathers)
4 Sound Diary – Reprise/Windows (Anamnesis – Letter in a Bottle)
5 Finally George – Life is a Killer (Life is a Killer)
6 Yesternight – Solitude (The False Awakening)
7 Bjorn Riis – Stormwatch (A Storm is Coming)
8 Kaprekar’s Constant – All You Wish Yourself (Single)
9 Media Octava – Like Soft Days (The Abolition of Skyscrapers)
10 Seconds Before Landing – 36 Dogs (Cosmonaut)
11 Beggars Opera – The Witch (Pathfinder)
12 Dandelion Charm – Isolate Resolve (Maybe Dreamers)
13 John Lennon – How Do You Sleep (Imagine)
14 Affinity – Three Sisters (Affinity)

You can hear The Prog Mill on Progzilla Radio at these times every week (www.progzilla.com/listen – via the tune in radio app and on internet radios):

Sundays 10pm – Midnight UK (2200UTC) – main broadcast
Tuesdays 0300-0500 UK (0300UTC) – For North America – Mon 7pm Pacific/10pm Eastern
Tuesdays 2300-0100UK (2300 UTC) – 1500 Pacific/1800 Eastern
Saturdays 6-8pm UK (1800 UTC) – Family friendly Saturday evening repeat

Your melodic and symphonic progressive rock music suggestions for the show are very welcome. Just email shaun@progzilla.com, or message via twitter @shaunontheair or facebook.com/theprogmill

This news story was originally published here: https://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2019/12/08/the-decade-in-review-basil-francis/
Arabs in Aspic
Strange Frame of Mind – 2010
Arabs in Aspic - Strange Frame of Mind

Continuing the theme of prog bands who don’t take themselves too seriously, Arabs in Aspic were firing on all cylinders when they produced their good-natured second album at the beginning of the decade. One only needs to hear the opening ⅞ theme to The Flying Norseman to tell that this will be quite the romp. Combining English and Norwegian lyrics with no discernible pattern, the songs themselves don’t seem to fall into one camp either; Camel-y atmospherics will lead into Heep-y heaviness which will, in turn, lead to Zappa-esque satire with shades of Genesis or Pink Floyd just round the corner. And all of it is done with the light-hearted touch that ensures the album feels brisk and effortlessly entertaining.

Moreover, with the longest song lasting no longer than eight minutes, this is a masterclass in how to write good, concise prog rock. Interestingly, one of the album’s heaviest rockers Mørket would spawn a pair of epic sequels totalling half an hour in the band’s most recent studio album, 2017’s Syndenes Magi.

Anubis
A Tower of Silence – 2011
Anubis - A Tower of Silence

Listening to this band from down under, one starts to ponder what makes them so ‘neo-prog’. Is it the fact that the rhythms are all quite straight, with no jazziness to them? Is it those squeaky clean lead guitar hooks? What about the lack of eclecticism between songs or the envelope failing to be pushed? While it’s easy to get drawn into academic squabblings over what category the group belong to, the quality of music on this album is clearly undeniable.

Catchy turns into epic turns into heart-wrenching on this bold album that pulls no punches. Shades of Pink Floyd are masterfully incorporated into pieces such as the 17-minute The Passing Bell and the epic The Holy Innocent which features a four-minute coda in ⅞ showcasing a beautiful saxophone solo. While it may sound derivative, A Tower of Silence is more like a tower of gratitude presented to its forebears, and what a lovely tribute it is too.

A Tower of Silence by Anubis

Steven Wilson
Grace For Drowning – 2011
Steven Wilson - Grace For Drowning

When compiling my list, I decided I’d only include one album per artist in order to give a more diverse selection of albums for you to peruse. That being said, it’s clear to me that two of Wilson’s album easily make my actual top ten, his second studio album Grace for Drowning and 2013’s crowd-pleasing follow-up The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories), which will no doubt feature heavily in other folks’ top tens. Looking over the two, I had to make the difficult choice of which to include here. While Raven certainly stands as a dazzling, consistent work – if somewhat derivative – Grace for Drowning is the more daring and innovative of the two, and for that, it clinches the victory.

Like Astra’s The Weirding before it, Grace does also suffer from the problem of too much fat, but in perspective, it’s a lot leaner than most double albums. Bangers like Sectarian, Deform to Form a Star and Remainder the Black Dog crowd Disc 1 with their brilliance, while the avant-garde 23-minute epic Raider II takes centre stage in Disc 2. Notably influenced by King Crimson’s oft-maligned epic Lizard, Raider II confidently opens with several lengthy periods of silence which apparently caused audiences to go quiet at concerts too. The lengthy periods of dense, technical prog that follow are sure to keep all fans of the genre happy.

Moogg
Le ore, i giorni, gli anni – 2011
Moogg - Le ore, i giorni, gli anni

Le ore, i giorni, gli anni could feature on this list for its sterling sound quality and outstanding production, featuring crisp drums, warm bass and keys as well as clear guitars and vocals. Fortunately, this Italian quartet have the chops and songwriting ability to back it up and turn this disc into a shimmering jazz-prog experience. While frenetic moments are peppered throughout the album, this is a mostly laid-back affair though never dull.

The songs all feel organic with the band seeming to know instinctively how to make every moment count. Impressively, the highly skilled drummer also acts as the singer on a few tracks – a feat not mastered by many. In crowd-pleasing style, the band supply a fourteen-minute epic to finish the album, which surprisingly fuses jazz fusion with symphonic prog with considerable success.

Astra
The Black Chord – 2012
Astra - The Black Chord

You might have forgotten that Astra released their sophomore album this decade and I can’t say I’d blame you. Astra’s only studio albums, 2009’s The Weirding and the follow-up The Black Chord have such a classic feel to them – no doubt enhanced by the retro instruments and sound production – that they feel as if they may as well have been released in the ’70s. Moreover, with the band’s unexpected hiatus now continuing into its eighth year one can’t help but feel as if the modern world has left Astra far behind.

While The Weirding was an impressive double album – OK, it technically all fit on one CD, but the track times all supported the 2LP format – it suffered from the same flaw as nearly every other double album: too much fat that needed to be trimmed, resulting in some unfortunate unevenness. The Black Chord consolidates the mindset behind The Weirding into the single LP format, trimming that fat and delivering a powerful, driven album that thrills from start to finish. The highlight, of course, is the fifteen-minute title track that showcases everything great about the band in a single sitting. Let’s hope Astra will make their comeback soon.

The National Orchestra of the United Kingdom of Goats
Vaaya And The Sea – 2012
The National Orchestra of the United Kingdom of Goats - Vaaya And The Sea

One of the biggest surprises of the decade was the National Orchestra of the United Kingdom of Goats whose atmospherically epic first studio album helped me understand the meaning of soundscapes. Cinematic at every level, never has 43 minutes felt more like an odyssey. Though the album is split into several tracks, it’s quite clearly meant to be listened to as a whole – starting in the middle just feels like cheating.

Organically written songs ensure that you’ll feel on the same page as the band throughout the whole story; musical ideas are allowed to ride out their full potential and are finished when it feels correct. Vaaya and the Sea is also a perfect showcase of how to use dynamics properly, to build tension, to relieve that tension and to move the story along. It’s a pity their third album Huntress was such a disappointment, as I had UKOG pinned to be one of the best bands of the decade. Vaaya and the Sea remains a sonic masterpiece.

Panzerballett
Tank Goodness – 2012
Panzerballett - Tank Goodness

If you consider yourself to be an aficionado of prog rock, you might think you have a pretty high standard for musical technicality. Panzerballett are here to smash through any conceptions you might have of what it means to be a tight, technical and dazzling musical troupe. I don’t think I’ve been quite as impressed by anybody since I first heard their fourth studio album Tank Goodness – the album name happens to be one of my favourite as well. Put on the album and be prepared to be blown away by sharp twists, changing time signatures and complete unpredictability all in the first ten seconds of Some Skunk Funk. Stay for the remaining 47 minutes to experience musicianship on a new level as this 5-piece of German jazz experts find more ways to mangle your mind with all the force of a tank.

Panzerballett are known for their covers too, turning simple pop tunes into dark-jazz-metal nightmares, and (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life does not let down, barely recognisable from the original. The Brubeck classic Take Five also receives the Panzerballett treatment, now filled with more polyrhythms than you can shake a stick at. Tank Goodness indeed!

Plastic Overlords
Sonic Astronomy – 2012
Plastic Overlords - Sonic Astronomy

Plastic Overlords follow in the rich tradition of obscure American prog bands such as McLuhan, Babylon and Birds And Buildings of taking everything including the kitchen sink, throwing it together and seeing what sticks. Plastic Overlords differ by having the greatest sense of humo(u)r about the whole thing, with track names like Star Avenger Vs. the Winged Hippopotamus and The Sunburst Going Sour?. Each song on the album is unique and magical, such as A Moment of Silence for Unsynchronized Watches which takes the listener through an onion-like structure, travelling through different layers before repeating those layers in reverse order.

Though it may be prog for prog’s sake, the band are all enormously skilled and pull off a very convincing ’70s sound replete with retro keyboards and melodic bassline. Very tasty indeed.

Haken
The Mountain – 2013
Haken - The Mountain

Above everything else we’ve heard in the last ten years, the 2010s were the decade that brought us Haken, the new kings of the progressive metal oeuvre, coincidentally taking over right at the moment Mike Portnoy left Dream Theater. The band’s seminal first album Aquarius – which would have also featured high on my top ten list, if not for my self-imposed rule mentioned above – was released in 2010, which amazingly means any of the band’s five albums to date would qualify for this list, and I’m sure they’ll all be featured in some order. However, the top pick for me has to be 2013’s The Mountain, the most complete, consistent and extraordinary work put out by the group to date. While the band have since followed a more technical, punishing, math-rock route since The Mountain which I simply cannot follow – though I have tried – in the early days, Haken had a talent for blending diverse genres seamlessly to create cinematic soundscapes with epic payoffs.

Nowhere was this more present than on songs like Atlas Stone, Cockroach King and the sublime Falling Back to Earth. Aquarius may have been a more inventive album, but The Mountain is where the band finally found their wings and flew.

Accordo dei Contrari
AdC – 2014
Accordo dei Contrari - Adc

If Panzerballett were able to supply the blistering musical chops and Moogg, the smooth Italian jazz fusion, Accordo dei Contrari manage to take the best of both worlds on their instrumental third album AdC. However, while Moogg were warm and welcoming, the swiftly changing rhythms of AdC give off a sense of anxiety and melancholy, which turns out not to be such a bad thing. Without lyrics to distract from the music, you can expect the cold, bracing rhythms wash over you for a fully refreshing experience.

No pretension here, just some really great progressive jazz fusion, and further proof that the AltrOck label really is one of prog’s best-kept secrets.

AdC by Accordo dei Contrari

This news story was originally published here: https://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2019/12/08/noisepoetnobody-concrete-vitalist/

When the opportunity came to review Concrete Vitalist, I had to review it. I didn’t know why, but I felt compelled.
It turns out that, some time ago, while I was dabbling with making some ambient music, I’d been listening to Noisepoetnobody (AKA Casey Jones from Seattle) on Soundcloud, but having a brain like Swiss cheese…

“The album was inspired by concepts of musique concrète, sonic construction and modern portable recording. A plethora of bus transfers and miles walked into public and remote recording locations over a year’s time are represented.”

Concrete Vitalist by noisepoetnobody

Music is defined as “vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) combined in such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion”. Are all these elements present?

Arguably, no. But music is in the ear of the beholder. You can hear music in the rhythmic breathing of a sleeping loved one, or the footfall on a dark street on the way back from the pub.

Whilst one word that springs to mind is “ambient”, another is “experiment”. One might be tempted to associate ambient music with music to which you might relax, do yoga, chill, accompanied by whale and bird song (though probably not in the same track). There is also a darker side. In these instances, Ambient music sometimes borders or overlaps experimental sound design.

It is, therefore, sometimes a blurred distinction. Perhaps this is why sound design is a big thing in certain types of video game. There are some games where you spend time hiding in cupboards from monsters and the sound design is an intrinsic component to that… ambience. It frames your imagination, whether you’re the prey to some kind of predator made of pixels or imagining dancing below the waves with a Humpback while you’re chilling in the dark on a beanbag.

To my mind, this experimental music thrives on one person’s audience participation. Your imagination is a vital instrument that you must employ to derive any kind of reward from such music. Concrete Vitalis shows this perfectly.

Case in point: In Part 2, seemingly arrhythmic pulsing and throbbing mechanical noise forms the backdrop to the sound of a bowed instrument. Much like the band who played on while the Titanic sank, I imagined a lone woman, playing a two-stringed Erhu while all around her the burning village is decimated by a helicopter gunship. On the other hand, sometimes the images are too faint to name, but there’s a menace to this intangible collection of noises from machines and modular synthesisers, marshalled together to make something that is unconventional but truly interesting.

I like it.

TRACK LISTING
01. Concrete Vitalist, Part 1 (9:26)
02. Concrete Vitalist, Part 2 (9:32)
03. Concrete Vitalist, Part 3 (9:50)
04. Concrete Vitalist, Part 4 (8:54)

Total Time – 37:42

CREDITS
Noisepoetnobody – Field Recordings, Contact Mic Performances, Analogue Modular Synthesizer, Audio Production, Mixing and Mastering

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: Scry Recordings
Country of Origin: U.S.A.
Date of Release: 22nd November 2019

LINKS
Noisepoetnobody – Facebook | Bandcamp | Soundcloud