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Eventim Apollo, London
Friday, 17th March 2017

The Devin Townsend Project arrives in London after eight weeks on the road supporting his latest studio album, Transcendence. Prior to tonight’s concert, however, Townsend has created an eager sense of expectation by announcing on Twitter that the London show will be an exclusive performance of his very first album (as Devin Townsend) Ocean Machine: Biomech in celebration of its 20th anniversary. As a result, doors open earlier than advertised and an exuberant audience have plenty of time to take their places.

Devin Townsend Project - 2

Leprous are first on stage to encouraging applause and immediately launch in to a pulsating, throbbing set full of commitment, passion and energy. It is also ridiculously loud and I, along with a fair few others, leave the auditorium such is the physical discomfort it is causing. On the way out an usher kindly gives me a packet of ear plugs; she is stationed in the stairwell, wearing a pair herself, but is reluctant to go any further inside because of the overwhelming sound levels.

Once a noticeable decrease in decibels indicates the end of the set, we return again to the field of battle. One of the interesting features of the evening is the oscillating waveform music being played between sets so as to create an ambient sense of atmosphere and continuity. It’s a nice idea which works well and adds to the sense of occasion as well as creating a vibrant buzz of excitement.

After a quick change-over, TesseracT take to the stage. I last saw them early in 2016 as they toured with their newly released album Polaris. They keep getting better and better and the set tonight is absolutely flawless. There is an explosive sense of rhythm, of penetrating drive and a powerful, unrelenting musical momentum which pulls you in and carries you along. There is little doubt they are destined for great things and what is particularly pleasing tonight is the excellent song selection from across all three albums allowing for a clear appreciation of the ways in which they are growing and evolving as a band.

Devin Townsend Project - 1

After another brief change-over, Devin Townsend arrives to rapturous adulation. It’s the penultimate night of the European leg of the tour and the stage is a clean white minimalist set up with only the drums raised on a platform. He casually meanders to the front of the stage, happily acknowledging the audience, whilst launching into a blistering rendition of Seventh Wave which positively exudes a menacing power and profound significance.

What follows is nothing short of a master class in studied intensity. Here is a man totally caught up in the meaning of the music and completely focused on dredging the emotional content of the moment, seamlessly bringing both to the fore in a performance which is utterly spell-binding.

Every now and then he seems to emerge from his all consuming reverie, almost as if to satisfy and assure himself that the audience are indeed still with him. During one such moment he does appear to be irritated at the way security teams are escorting crowd surfers away from the front, but such acknowledgements become fewer and further apart as he becomes increasingly enveloped by the demands of engaging with Ocean Machine.

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And the truth is, we are engaged with him. Watching him play, it is easy to feel the sheer effort of will which seems to spring from somewhere deep inside, inspiring him onwards with compelling energy and spirit. By the time we reach Thing Beyond Things there is a palpable sense of physical and emotional exhaustion from both sides – a hard fought journey we have been invited to travel together, happily accepted and with no regrets.

After the briefest of pauses, he returns again with three songs from Transcendence. There is no respite from the dogged tenacity and the sheer rigour of the performance. No quarter is given. The commitment to the music, to the playing, to the presentation of what it is all about is absolute and unwavering. That he has done this for the best part of eight weeks is staggering.

Devin Townsend Project - 5

As the lights raise and the tumultuous applause begins to fade, the contrast between the first album and the most recent release are instructive. Transcendence leaves us with a sense of optimism, almost hope. The world maybe a dark, savage, ruthless place but there is beauty if you look and there are reasons to fight, to keep struggling, to keep on going in spite of and despite things always seemingly stacked permanently against us.

It’s a fitting way to end what has been a fascinating, draining and totally captivating evening.

Devin Townsend Project - 4

Ocean Machine: Biomech
– Seventh Wave
– Life
– Night
– Hide Nowhere
– Sister
– 3 A.M.
– Voices in the Fan
– Greetings
– Regulator
– Funeral
– Bastard
– The Death of Music
– Thing Beyond Things
~ Encore:

Dave Young – Guitar, Keys, Mandolin
Ryan Van Poederooyen – Drums
Brian ‘Beav’ Waddell – Bass
Mike St-Jean – Keys, Synths, Programming

Devin Townsend – Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | Spotify

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Beyond Creation

Beyond Creation are releasing a music video featuring their classic track “Coexistence” which was originally featured on their full-length The Aura (2011). Watch it below. The video was produced and edited by Xavier Bossé & Ismael Mossadeq (Loyal Visuals Footage).

The Canadian tech death masters are currently scheduled for two festival performances in Europe. The band will perform at Hellfest in Clisson, France on June 16th and next hit the UK Tech Fest in Winthorpe on July 9th.

Current line-up:

Simon Girard: vocals, 8-string guitars
Kevin Chartré: 8-string guitars
Hugo Doyon-Karout: 6-string fretless bass
Philippe Boucher: drums

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U.S. Progressive Metal pioneers FATES WARNING continue to tour in support of their much praised latest release “Theories Of Flight” and are now announcing a first run of dates for the album in North America in June.
FATES WARNING vocalist Ray Alder checked in with the following comment:
“We are very excited to finally announce the first leg of the US tour for ‘Theories Of Flight’. We know that this news has been a long time coming, but it’s finally here and we are ready to once again hit the States in support of a new album. The European tour was amazing, and we are anticipating nothing less from our home crowd. We can’t wait to see our fans again. Get your tickets now. Thank you all!”

Here is a list of upcoming dates for FATES WARNING:

FATES WARNING – Live 2017:
Fri 02.06.2017 London (UK) – Underworld
Sat 03.06.2017 Vaureal (France) – Le Forum
Sun 04.06.2017 Gelsenkirchen (Germany) – Rock Hard Festival
Mon 05.06.2017 Berlin (Germany) – BiNuu
Tue 06.06.2017 Bremen (Germany) – Tivoli
Thu 08.06.2017 Solvesborg (Sweden) – Sweden Rock Festival
Sun 11.06.2017 Poughkeepsie, NY – The Chance
Tue 13.06.2017 Clifton Park. NY – Upstate Concert Hall
Fri 16.06.2017 New York, NY – Gramercy Theater
Sat 17.06.2017 Patchogue, NY – 89 North
Tue 20.06.2017 Buffalo, NY – Ironworks
Thu 22.06.2017 Cleveland, OH – Agora Ballroom
Fri 23.06.2017 Detroit, MI – Token Lounge
Sat 24.06.2017 Joliet, IL – The Forge
Sun 25.06.2017 Milwaukee, WI – Shank Hall
Tue 27.06.2017 Pittsburgh, PA – The Rex
Fri 30.06.2017 Hartford, CT – Webster Theater
Sat 01.07.2017 Allston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
03.-05.08.2017 Wacken (Germany) – Wacken Open Air
More to come soon!

FATES WARNING’s 12th studio album, “Theories Of Flight”, was released worldwide via InsideOutMusic and not only gathered critical acclaim (Some soundcheck results being:
Deaf Forever / Germany – # 1, Metal Hammer / Germany – # 2, Rock Hard / Germany – # 2,
Aardschok / The Netherlands – # 2, Eclipsed / Germany – # 4, /Germany – # 1), but also entered the sales charts in several countries across the globe with the following highest positions: Germany: # 12, Italy: # 80, The Netherlands: # 70, Belgium (Flemish): # 175,
USA: # 2 Billboard Heatseekers / # 62 Current Top 200 Albums

Check out FATES WARNING’s “Theories Of Flight” here:
“SOS” video clip:
“Seven Stars” video clip:
“White Flag” (Guitar play-through video):
“White Flag” (Drum and bass play-through video):
“From The Rooftops” (Lyric video):
Album teaser clip (excerpts of all songs):

Next to the standard CD and Digital Download, “Theories Of Flight” is also available as limited edition Mediabook 2CD (with 6 acoustic bonus tracks) and as Gatefold 2LP (with full standard album on CD and the 6 acoustic tracks as bonus on Side D!).

All physical album formats are available from the IOM webshop here:



Visit the new InsideOut Shop:

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It has been over four years since the relentlessly foreboding Decline and Fall, and Colorado state’s favourite avant rock collective, the marvellously uncompromising Thinking Plague, are back, this time dredging optimism from the depths of black despair at the perverse ways of the world, or at least that was composer and band leader Mike Johnson’s original intention.

Mike tells us that Hoping Against Hope is looking for any chink of light it can find, but was stymied by the evolving circumstances of these dark times: “After our Decline and Fall album we felt we needed to offer something with a more hopeful theme – maybe focus on themes based on positive developments and solutions…however…the substance of the album definitely grew more dark. There were just too many grim realities that we needed to deal with. Then with the tribulations of the long primaries and presidential campaign, the title took on a more sort of forlorn hope, which in light of the state of the world, seemed appropriate.”

With titles like The Great Leap Backwards and Dirge for the Unwitting it is certainly hard to see where the titular hope resides, and the lyrics retain their vision of undiluted dystopia. Singer Elaine di Falco wrote the words to Echoes of Their Cries and The Great Leap Backwards, and her themes of dichotomy and dislocation fit in seamlessly with Mike’s general malaise. Tales of making merry to hide cries of despair, technology being used for nefarious purposes by known and unknown powers, and the title track’s loss of hope in a rising tide of forlorn despair, all sung in Elaine’s matter-of-fact style, mean that Mike’s originally intended optimistic outlook for the album has indeed been somewhat lost in the process of its creation, as he pointed out above, at least lyrically.

“Love is falling
down the gullet of greed
…swallows hope.”

That is from the title track, where the protagonist is overcome with hopelessness. This is not music for the cheery optimist, but you have probably worked that out already. They say ignorance is bliss, and it has to be said the world doesn’t bear too much thinking about at the moment. Unfortunately, once that noggin is engaged, you can’t switch it off for any length of time, even aided and abetted by the poison of your choice. Time for another single malt, methinks.

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The music is not easy either, but then if you are at all familiar with Thinking Plague that should come as no surprise. The chamber rock of Henry Cow lives on in these zeros and ones, and only very occasional shards of guitar remind the listener that this music is ostensibly “rock” in the accepted sense. That is not a bad thing, and as in all walks of life perseverance is rewarded. There is an awful lot going on here as the instruments carry out rarefied conversations with one another, conversations the casual listener cannot hope to understand at first sitting. The impression given during these conversation pieces is of a letting in of light, for the music is less dense than on the previous album, and as a result it breathes easier. The structure of the music is closer to classical composition than it is to rock and jazz, and Mike tells us that his “goal was to allow the separate instrumental voices to move independently, but collectively creating shifting and morphing harmonies as they move – more along the lines of chromaticism in classical music.” We therefore find that the music he has composed for Hoping Against Hope is certainly less oppressive than that on Decline and Fall, but it still retains the distinctive Thinking Plague stamp of claustrophobic intensity.

The full experience of this intricate, expansive yet strangely inward looking world is revealed on the closing 14-minute mini epic A Dirge for the Unwitting, a piece that gives the listener a little more each time it is heard, and even after several listens the whole may seem elusive. Unlike some modern overlong traditional prog epics, it is not a case of a single idea being stretched way beyond the point of reasonableness, rendering it instantly forgettable, or of several ideas that do not really belong in the same piece of music being stapled together to appease the desire for a “long ’un”, but more that there is so much here to absorb in order to make sense of the whole, and a cogent whole it is, that it will take many listens for it to become apparent. Or, to use that good old reliable cliché, Mike Johnson rattles off more coherent ideas in one 14-minute composition than most bands have over the course of an album, or in some cases, an entire career. Not just that, but these ideas all belong on the same score.

Mike’s ambition for Hoping Against Hope is that “I hope that the album conveys Beauty. More than anything, I want it to resonate with deep ineffable feelings.” This may be a little hard to convey with something that is outwardly so very cerebral, but if you allow yourself to get lost in this labyrinthine musical world, something should be stirred within you.

Written to be played live, which sitting this side of the Pond is a tantalising yet far-off prospect, Thinking Plague have reportedly always been a stunning live proposition throughout their 35-year history, testament to the undoubted abilities of the folk in the group, now a relatively stable unit. Mike started Thinking Plague with the legendary Bob Drake back in the early 1980s, and the go-to producer of choice for any left-field band worth their salt maintains his links with his old friend, having mixed and mastered this album from his base in France. As you would expect, the sound is crystal clear, allowing every subtle nuance of the many hued instrumentation to be easily pinpointed, no easy task I’m sure.

Thinking Plague make highly intelligent, angst ridden but not angsty music for those of us who want some other musical way to express our frustration at the world than the same old mind-numbing riffage grinding out sheet-metal grey, ad nauseam. As the first commenter says under the video featured in this review, Thinking Plague are “Incredibly disturbing in the best way possible.”

Mike concludes by saying “Perhaps we are an alternative for people who like deep, complex and adventurous music, but can’t abide the onslaught of in-your-face, hyper-aggressive, one dimensional ‘math metal’ or whatever it’s being called these days.” Too bloody right, and long may Thinking Plague plough their wilfully individual furrow for us miscreants and misfits. We’ll be back with more crowdfunding for the next one!

01. The Echoes of Their Cries (6:37)
02. Thus Have We Made the World (5:44)
03. Commuting to Murder (4:44)
04. Hoping Against Hope (10:06)
05. The Great Leap Backwards (4:01)
06. A Dirge for the Unwitting (13:45)

Total time – 44:57

Mike Johnson – Guitar, Samples, MIDI Instruments
Mark Harris – Soprano & Alto Saxes, B-flat Standard & Bass clarinets, Flute
Dave Willey – Bass, Drums (track 5), Accordion (tracks 2 & 6)
Elaine di Falco – Voice, Accordion, Piano
Robin Chestnut – Drums & Percussion
Bill Pohl – Guitar
~ With:
Adriana Teodoro-Dier – Piano (tracks 2,5 & 6), Toy Piano (track 2)
Simon Steensland – Bass (track 5)
Mike Boyd – Drums (track 2)
Kathryn Cooper – Oboe (track 4)

Record Label: Cuneiform Records
Catalogue#: Cuneiform Rune 421
Date of Release: 10th February 2017

Thinking Plague – Facebook | Bandcamp


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Recently, the British progressive protagonists Threshold have announced their 11th masterpiece called Legends Of The Shires, which is being produced by Karl Groom and Richard West and scheduled to be released later this year.

Furthermore, they have also announced the dates for the Legends Of The Shires Tour 2017 where you’ll be able to fully experience songs from the new album on stage!

Today, the band reveals the support acts for this tour: Get ready for Damnation Angels and Day Six!

Richard West comments: “We’ve got two excellent bands joining us for the tour. We met Day Six when they supported us for a few shows back in 2011 and we’re very happy to have them back for a whole tour. Damnation Angels were a crowd favourite when they opened for us last year, so it’s great to have them back as main support for 2017.

British symphonic metal act Damnation Angels was formed in 2006 and The Valiant Fire (2014) marked their fourth studio album.

They comment: “We’re excited and ready for round two with our good friends Threshold! The last tour was incredible, the fans were amazing and we can’t wait to return. This time playing a longer, more diverse set of our brand of symphonic metal. Let’s be ‘avin it!

Catch Threshold w/ Damnation Angels, Day Six live:

Legends Of The Shires-Tour 2017
(presented by ‘Rock Hard’, ‘Eclipsed’, ‘Rock It!’, ‘Blast!’ and ‘Wacken Radio’)

+ Special Guests

28.11. NL Bosuil – Weert
29.11. GER Hamburg – Markthalle
30.11. GER Berlin – Lido
01.12. GER Aschaffenburg – Colos Saal
02.12. GER München – Feierwerk
03.12. CH Pratteln – Z7
05.12. GER Stuttgart – Club Cann
06.12. GER Hannover – Musikzentrum
07.12. BEL Kortrijk – De Kreun
08.12. GER Essen – Turock
09.12. NL Zoetermeer – Boerderij
10.12. UK London – O2 Islington Academy

The last record of Threshold was their live album European Journey, which was recorded during the November 2014 For The Journey tour and consists of 15 live tracks.

Legends of the Shires tour

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“Alfred J. Prufrock would be proud of me”, declared Welsh Indie rockers Manic Street Preachers in 2001 on their song My Guernica. Musical adaptations or references to the works of T.S. Eliot in modern music have an interesting and sometimes chequered history, lest we forget Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats! The American progressive rock group Heresy follow in the footsteps of a variety of artists as varied as Hot Chip, Tori Amos, The Cocteau Twins, Frank Turner, Crash Test Dummies and Arcade Fire whom have all touched on that great poet in their work, even if only fleetingly. Bowie’s Low and PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake are also said to have been greatly influenced by Eliot’s poetic style. Even Bob Dylan referred to T.S. Eliot in his epic song Desolation Row, released shortly after Eliot’s death in 1965. The most obvious and notable example of a Progressive Rock band delving into the world of T.S. Eliot is Genesis’ classic Cinema Show, from Selling England by the Pound, which ‘borrows’ significantly from a section of The Wasteland. Therefore, Heresy are stepping simultaneously on hallowed ground previously trodden by Prog greats, whilst also tackling a classic of English literature.

Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock may seem a curious choice upon which to base a rock album. If you were to ask most men and women in the street what they knew about Eliot it is probable (if they even knew he was a poet!) that the poem that they would name would be The Wasteland. So what is remarkable about this relatively lesser known work, his first published poem in 1915? Literary critics now regard it as particularly significant, marking the change from Victorian Romantic verse into Modernist ‘streams of consciousness’, though some critics at the time entirely dismissed it. The poem deals with feelings of physical and mental inertia, with a sense of disillusionment about his human condition. Touching on regret, fatigue, embarrassment, sexual frustration and a growing sense of mortality, an interior monologue presented in a modern and dramatic way not previously seen in poetry. It was written shortly after the Edwardian era, giving it a tension between its modern mode of expression in a time of more mannered Romantic poetry. Therefore, in that context it would appear that this poem provides fertile if challenging grounds upon which to base an albeit idiosyncratic concept album.

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Do Heresy pull it off? The short answer is most decidedly – ‘Yes’.

Heresy clearly have a great respect and love for this source material and present it in a complementary way that engages the listener, drawing them into the anguished internal world of the protagonist. Apparently, Heresy have been considering setting this poem to music since before the release of their first album, At the Door in 1984. From the late ’80s the band went on an extended hiatus (presumably when ‘real life’ had to happen!), therefore this album has been gestating for over 30 years, which may explain the remarkable maturity with which it is presented.

The Italian radio dialogue of intro Dante’s Prelude is a reference to the apparent influence of Dante upon the structure of the poem. The music begins on Let Us Go with a lovely solo vocal of great quality and purity by Tony Garone, which is then accompanied by a subtle acoustic guitar and piano. The song develops gently with the refrain (which is a strange but real ‘ear worm’):

“In the Room the Women Come and Go, talking of Michelangelo.”

This refrain is then echoed at the beginning of Yellow Fog, with a delightful female harmony vocal by Andrea Ezekian, before the song flowers over a lovely guitar melody, akin to the band Renaissance at their best. Yellow Fog is a real highlight of the album with another male vocalist, presumably Scott Harris, singing with great emotion and clarity. The song builds with multi-layered vocals and even trumpet and flute before a flowing restrained guitar motif at its zenith takes us to the end. The opening triptych of outstanding songs is completed by Time, with Joe Meo on flute and some nice bass work from John Sergio, before the piece develops with subtle touches of trumpet over a piano led melody and string sounds. Another restrained guitar solo serves to punctuate the piece rather than dominate it. Similarly, a brief manic violin interjection by Alan Lin adds colour before we return to the ‘Michelangelo’ refrain to close the song. This opening trio of songs sets the bar very high for the rest of the album, and should be successful in drawing in the listener.

Night Vigil is a section of the poem that was previously lost and was only added to the poem posthumously after Eliot’s death. This is altogether darker and more sinister, as reflected in a very different tone of the music, with anguished vocals and an appropriately carnal sounding saxophone. I Was Afraid opens with strange xylophone sounds and keyboards introducing a strong vocal before expanding with guitars, violin and organ. The stabs of saxophone and folk-type vocals have echoes of A Passion Play by Jethro Tull.

Heresy sensitively reflect the variations in the tone of the poem as they skilfully change the atmosphere and instrumentation of the different sections, whether it is short quiet piano led interludes or more dramatic pieces. Worthwhile II provides an achingly melancholic reflection of piano and violin with suitably angst ridden male vocals, counterpointed by an emotional female voice. In contrast Prince Hamlet commences with Sergio on mandolin, with a flute interweaving through the song over a flowing keyboard foundation by Harris. Jaquin Lievano lays down a flowing guitar part, but like so much of the album this is subtle and only as long as it needs to be – serving the song rather than taking the main focus. Mermaids is a weaker song, and veers towards ‘easy listening’ territory, but it would be difficult to completely sustain the very high quality established at the beginning of the album. The album proper concludes with great quality in Chambers of the Sea, underpinned by some tasteful drumming from Chris Camilleri and Jason Brower. This piece is an undoubted highlight of the album as guitars and keyboards build with the drums under the chilling repeated refrain;

“‘Til human voices wake us and we drown.”

A frantic finale ensues with guitars, discordant saxophone and trumpet interplay in a manic conclusion, with echoes of Van der Graaf Generator.

In a song which feels like a soothing coda We Watch the Stars, from Tony Garone’s solo album Too Little, Too Late, serves to pacify after the storm of the final ‘Prufrock’ song. However, a further six additional songs taken from Heresy’s first album feel like unnecessary ‘filler’ and, frankly, do not add anything to the album.

Prufrock is an ambitious and imaginative album. In some ways it sounds very ‘English’, which may seem odd for a band from the U.S., however this is apt as T.S. Eliott grew up in America before moving to Britain in his twenties, staying for the rest of his life. During an interview in 1959, Eliot said of his nationality and its role in his work: “I’d say that my poetry has obviously more in common with my distinguished contemporaries in America than with anything written in my generation in England… It’s a combination of things. But in its sources, in its emotional springs, it comes from America.”

Similarly, it may have needed an American band to interpret his work so sensitively, conveying the tension between the English post-Edwardian atmosphere in which the protagonist is conversely undergoing a very modern internal monologue full of anguish and doubt. Heresy have pulled off a fascinating album in which each individual section of the poem is expressed very distinctively through music, but they are very much integral to a cohesive whole.

One of the more unusual releases, but it certainly helped to encourage me to discover more of the poetry of T.S. Eliot. The music and the poetry are inextricably entwined, but it also works just fine as a progressive rock album of subtlety, variety and imagination.

T.S. Eliot wrote in this poem; “And would it have been worth it, after all…”, and whilst the poem casts doubt on the answer to that existential question it does seem fair to say that as an album Prufrock is definitely worth it!

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock [tracks 1-6]
01. Dante’s Prelude (0:20)
02. Let Us Go (2:59)
03. Yellow Fog (3:45)
04. Time (4:30)
05. How Should I Begin (2:50)
06. Narrow Streets (0:50)

07. Night Vigil (Prufrock’s Pervigilium) (5:22)

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (continued) [tracks 8-16]
08. Ragged Claws (0:57)
09. I was Afraid (3:39)
10. Dilemmas (2:03)
11. Worthwhile I (2:48)
12. Worthwhile II (3:08)
13. Prince Hamlet (3:37)
14. Mermaids (2:47)
15. Lament (1:27)
16. Chambers of the Sea (4:43)
~ Bonus Tracks:
17. We Watch the Stars (3:17)(from Tony Garone solo album Too Little, Too Late (2015))
Songs from At The Door (1984) [tracks 18–23]
18. Out Of The Blue (4:30)
19. The Headless Horseman (2:13)
20. London 1941 (3:37)
21. An Age Old Recipe (3:56)
22. Wasted Moments (4:25)
23. Love Sleep (5:33)

Total Time – 73:23

Tony Garone – Vocals, Guitars
Scott Harris – Keyboards, Vocals
John Sergio – Bass, Mandolin, Flute (tracks 4 & 18–23)
Chris Camilleri – Drums (except track 7 and opening section track 16), Vocals
And on Electric Guitar:
Ed Clark – Electric Guitar (tracks 5,14,15,18,19 & 23)
Dave Kaelin – Electric Guitar (tracks 3,4,6 & 11)
Joaquin Lievano – Electric Guitar (tracks 2,7–10,12,13 & 16, Additional Guitar track 5)
~ With:
Jason Brower – Drums (track 7 and opening section track 16)
Max Darche – Trumpet
Andrea Ezekian – Vocals
Alan Lin – Violin
Christian Lourenco – Spoken Word Introduction
Joe Meo – Saxes & Flute
Ann Marie Garone – Additional Vocals (track 17)

– At The Door (1984) (Vinyl only)
– A Far Cry (1989) (CD)

Record Label: Toll House Records
Country of Origin: U.S.A.
Date of Release: 5th December 2016

Heresy – Website | Facebook
Source information on Musical Adaptations of T.S. Eliot partly drawn from an article from The Guardian – ‘Why Pop Music Loves T.S. Eliot’ (2013)


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This news story was originally published here:

I have had this album a while, and it was only thanks to a Facebook friend raving about it that I remembered it, and it was a darn good thing I did, I can tell you. Formed in Rome in 2001 as a ’70s-centric prog covers band, La Bocca della Verità (The Mouth of Truth, so named after an ancient marble mask located in the Roman capital) have finally released their own work, a sprawling science fiction concept album that starts in the year 2161 and presumably tells the story of the planet Avenoth. I say presumably as, being a linguistically-challenged Brit, I can only get a gist of what the story is about as no English translations are offered, and quite right too. The “booklet” is in the form of a decent sized fold-out poster that anyone like me who struggles to get maps to fold up the right way will have minutes of fun vainly attempting to get it to fit back into the slot in the lavishly designed tri-fold cover.

Although the lyrics, sung in his gravelly tones by Fabrizio Marziani and ably abetted by the rest of the band’s backing vocals, are no doubt important, for me they will have to remain in the “voices as instrument” category, and in any event they do not dominate proceedings, allowing plenty of long instrumental passages to hold one’s attention.

There are four tracks over ten minutes on Avenoth, and three more over six minutes. Although all the music is superbly executed, it may have been better to have made this a double CD, with two discs of traditional album length, as it does get a bit wearing listening to all of it in one sitting. I suppose having no doubt written all this music over a long period of time, when given the chance the band just wanted it all out there, but maybe the judicious split into two discs, production costs aside, would have been a good idea.

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The first of the long tracks is in my opinion the weakest, as the band throw everything including the kitchen sink at La Suite Dei Tre Planeti, and it is slightly incoherent as a result. It’s one of those long tracks I struggle to recall anything about once it’s over, bar Roberto Bucci’s superb Mick Box-like solo. However, perseverance pays off as from the title track onwards the album finds its mojo and doesn’t let up, apart from the respite granted by the soft hearted, gorgeously filmic and hymnal Perduto Avenoth, simply the loveliest thing I have heard this year.

The bombastic Hammond, swirling and occasionally cheesy synths, thunderous rhythms, and soaring guitar make me think that had Uriah Heep in their early ’70s prime been an Italian band, their brand of Rock Progressivo Italiana would have sounded a lot like La Bocca della Verità. This is not a bad thing, and when you add in a Rickenbacker bass guitar, a dash of PFM, Banco, and Genesis to the mix a heady ’70s brew is the result. With Avenoth, this fine band of proud-to-be-regressive rockers have shaken and stirred a near 80 minute highly enjoyable cocktail of pompous and deliciously overblown ingredients into a fizzing whole that explodes in your ears, an experience that only the most witheringly cynical could fail to appreciate. In fact, if La Deportazione degli Avenothiani and the following La Rivolta – Il Massacro dei Terrestri do not make you want to turn it up to 11, there’s something missing from your soul.

01. Intro 2161 (2:06)
02. Ouverture (2:03)
03. Contro Luna e Luce (4:11)
04. La Suite dei Tre Pianeti (17:43)
05. Avenoth (8:12)
06. La Festa (3:59)
07. Antico (2:29)
08. La Deportazione degli Avenothiani (9:55)
09. La Rivolta – Il Massacro dei Terrestri (12:55)
10. Perduto Avenoth (5:48)
11. Reprise (Speranze Distorte) (10:23)

Total Time – 77:39

Jimmy Bax – Hammond, Mellotron, ARP Prosolist, Digital Synth, Piano, Backing Vocals
Massimo di Paola – Piano, Keyboards & Synths, Backing Vocals
Fabrizio Marziani – Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, 12-string Guitar, Flute
Roberto Bucci – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Ivan Marziani – Drums & Percussion

Record Label: Fading Records
Catalogue#: FAD025
Country of Origin: Italy
Date of Release: 21st November 2016

La Bocca della Verità – Facbook | Bandcamp


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