This week on Prog-Watch: another great show of mostly new stuff! We’ll hear from The Tangent, How Far To Hitchin’, Big Big Train, Cosmograf, Nad Sylvan, Karmamoi, Aisles, and Karibow! Plus, our friend and resident reviewer, Dr. Rob Fisher, will take us on another trip of Progressive Discovery with the intense new solo album by Bjørn Riis, of the Norwegian band Airbag!

438: (Almost) ALL NEW Variety

This news story was originally published here:

A Day in the Life of a Universal Wanderer was Gandalf’s Fist’s fourth album, released in 2013. An enjoyable sci-fi musical romp based on signals from a stricken vessel on the edge of a wormhole and assembled by “the best signal decoders across all known dimensional rifts”. Played on instruments found in said craft, this is a great space/progressive rock concept.

Well, Dean Marsh and his merry band of space cadet minstrels decided to remaster and update this album for the futuristic listeners of 2017 by adding, for example, real cellos and violins and including a hitherto left off track, The Stowaway and The Endless Night. This adds a further narrative and clues from whence the signal came – some great guitar work here with stellar performances by all of the spacemen, with a timeless production that really will sound fresh in light years to come, and this applies to all of the files here.

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Opening with a radio drama scene setter, we know it’s 2520 and Mark Benton orates the story so far, with a timbre of accent that hints at Red Dwarf’s Lister, before we launch into The Nine Billion Names of God. Never to drift from the tale’s genre, this title taken from Arthur C. Clarke’s short story where all the stars “went out” after God’s nomenclatures were completed, so the many suns fade as the wormhole is entered. Guest astronaut Andy Bolper Floyds it up with some weightless sax playing and this track is redolent of the many styles within this band, with the folk and rock pushed to the forefront and again on The Battle for Tannhäuser Gate where the violin leads the fleet.

However, the heavier elements are never far from the dock door as Stefan Hepe’s drums show on Orphans of The Sky, contrasting with the beautifully sung ballad Somewhere Beyond the Stars, Melissa Hollick at her furthest apogee here.

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A Universal Wanderer and Nexus further progrockets the listener past the inevitable gravitational pull of the black hole, with some travelling synth, guitar, and sax solos leading to the Tolkien-esque North of the Wall.

The last section of spoken word is Ghosts of Spacetime and it’s as good as Blade Runner’s Tears in Rain, and in keeping the movie theme, The Wanderer Goes South ends the recording on an optimistic Dark Star resignation of the situation where high spirits dematerialise with hope.

Sonorous, imposing and widescreen, this is an album to be listened to as if in the cinema. The story is absorbing and attention keeping thanks to the many textures provided by the range of vocalists, especially the ladies who sing from the heart. Their sense of loss is portrayed with despair and alacrity in equal measure.

The frequency technicians have indeed worked tirelessly re-calibrating their devices. It is our mission to “comprehend the secrets of its origin”, be that by searching the universe or simply purchasing the many DigiPak variations available from their intergalactic web site, but be warned, A Visitation of The Mushroom People means that they’re not necessarily fungis to be with…

01. Another Night on the Far Side of the Universe (1:54)
02. The Nine Billion Names of God (7:56)
03. Where’s A Bloody Escape Pod When You Need One? (0:26)
04. Stowaway to the Mushroom Planet (4:38)
05. Message Home (0:54)
06. Somewhere Beyond the Stars (4:26)
07. Orphans of the Sky (7:04)
08. A Visitation of the Mushroom People (0:58)
09. The Stowaway and the Endless Night (11:41)
10. A Universal Wanderer (4:33)
11. Nexus (4:40)
12. North of the Wall (3:07)
13. The Battle For Tannhäuser Gate (5:12)
14. Ghosts of Spacetime (0:56)
15. The Wanderer Goes South (8:48)

Total Time – 66:41

Dean Marsh – Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
Luke Severn – Vocals
Stefan Hepe – Drums
Christopher Ewen – Bass
~ With:
Mark Benton – The Voice of The Captain
Melissa Hollick – Lead & Backing Vocals
Alicia Marsh – The Voice of the Ship’s Computer
William Stewart – Violins (on The Battle for Tannhäuser Gate)
Natasha Jaffe – Cello (on North of the Wall)
Andy Bolper – Saxophone
Davor Bušic – Flute (on The 9 Billion Names of God)
Suzanne Weller – Flute (on The Wanderer Goes South)
Beccie Watson, Jennifer Pederson, Dying Seed – Additional Vocals
Thomas Huth – Cover Artwork

Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: U.K.
Original Release: 2013
Date of Reissue: 18th September 2017

Gandalf’s Fist – Website | Facebook | Bandcamp


Edition 112 of Sounds That Can Be Made is now available as a podcast!


Kingbathmat – Feathers (from Dark Days)
Mostly Autumn – Changing Lives (from Sight of Day)
This Winter Machine – After Tomorrow Comes (from The Man Who Never Was)
The D/A Method – The Desert Journey (from The Desert Road)
Karibow – Inside You (from From Here To The Impossible)

Connect 4:
Leprous – Thorn (from Bilateral)
Ihsahn – Unhealer (from angL)
Porcupine Tree – Deadwing (from Deadwing)
Nine Inch Nails – The Great Below (from The Fragile)

Black Bonzo – Brave Young Soldier (from Lady of the Light)

Jurassic Prog:
Bram Stoker – Fingals Cave (from Heavy Rock Spectacular)
Curved Air – Back Street Luv (from Second Album)

Arena – (Don’t Forget To) Breathe (from The Visitor)
Spock’s Beard – Beware of Darkness (from Beware of Darkness)

Monsters of Progzilla:

Sparks – Fun Bunch of Guys From Outer Space (live)
The Sensational Alex Harvey Band – Tomahawk Kid (live)
Thin Lizzy – Emerald (live)
Pavlov’s Dog – Julia (live)
Kansas – Magnum Opus (live)
Camel – Lady Fantasy (live)

Comedy Of Errors – Tachyon (from House of the Mind)

Proving that prog isn't just for dinosaurs!
I’m delighted to announce that the podcast for edition 214 of Live From Progzilla Towers is now available.

In this edition we heard the following music:

  1. Toto – Jake To The Bone
  2. Gracious – The Dream
  3. Lahost – Dreams In The Witch House
  4. XTC – Green Man
  5. Osamu Kitajima – Benzaiten
  6. The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger – Moth To A Flame
  7. Rtfact – Life Is Good
  8. No Good Advice – Astronaut Superstar
  9. Boucle Infinie – 直線移動
  10. Ryuichi Sakamoto – Bamboo Houses
  11. Karma – Tigers In The Rain
  12. The Residents – Act Of Being Polite
  13. Mystery – Through Different Eyes
  14. Monarch Trail – Back To The Start
  15. Orvalians – Wrong Way
  16. Genesis – Do The Neurotic
  17. Second Hand – Revelations Ch. 16 Vs. 9-21
  18. No Brain Cell – Man Of Silence
  19. Nevesis – Arsefikker
  20. Paul Mccartney – No More Lonely Nights

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


Edition 101 of Steve Blease’s Heavy Elements is now available as a podcast.


Threshold – On the Edge
In The Presence Of Wolves – White Noise
SikTh – Days Are Dreamed
Progenie Terrestre Pura– [.oltreLuna.]

Live at 11: Circus Maximus
The Weight (live)
Architect of Fortune (live)

Redemption – Walls
My Soliloquy – Fire In the Blood
Concordea – Mermaid’s Song

Album of the Week: Fates Warning – Parallels
The Eleventh Hour
Eye to Eye
Leave the Past Behind

Zaedyus – Over the Cliff

This news story was originally published here:

The Bierkeller, Bristol
Sunday, 17th September 2017

If I may, I’d like to propose a toast to the Gods of Serendipity.

Now I don’t often pay homage to deities of indeterminate origin – or any others for that matter – but in this case I’ll make an exception as the recent goings on within The Pineapple Thief camp must be the result of intervention by some higher being.

And it would be easy to suggest that this ‘higher being’ is called Gavin Harrison, but that would be unfair to the legacy from which Bruce Soord and his band are now reaping richly deserved rewards.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, first up Godsticks. For the second time in a row I missed the start of their support set, the last time being a couple of years ago at this very venue with The Aristocrats. This tardiness – brought on by the vagaries of travel rather than any disrespect to support bands – is a great shame as I have followed Godsticks closely since the release of their first EP waaaaay back in 2008 (where does the time go?!).

Godsticks - photo by Mike Evans

During this near decade long journey the band have developed and changed their sound considerably, from a quirky jazziness to the harder edge of 2015’s Emergence and onward into the hugely mature Faced With Rage, due out next month on Kscope. During this time Darran Charles and his men have not only experimented with the music but also how to deliver it in a live setting, from the early shows where the band – and Darran in particular – came across as very nervous, through trying to integrate live keyboards and on to the current hard-edged two guitar line-up. Today the band have bags of confidence and a menacing intensity to their sound, well-drilled by this tour, the result being a storming performance of dexterity and power, all hung on Darran’s canny ear for a melodic hook. The band are on top form, the rhythm section of Tom Price and Dan Nelson have developed into a very impressive unit with Dan cultivating his stage persona, a million miles away from the 17 year old youth who originally joined the band. Gavin Bushell is the perfect companion for Darran and their techniques mesh well whilst adding variety to the performance. To cap it all Darran’s singing was majestic tonight, and overall the package appears complete. The sound levels were set a little on the loud side but the detail was still present so not a major quibble, and with the set split equally between Emergence and the unreleased songs from the new album to underline the band as they are now, it was a great performance and well received by a receptive audience.

Much Sinister
Hard to face
Exit stage right
We are leaving
Lack of Scrutiny

Darran Charles – Guitars, Vocals
Dan Nelson – Bass
Gavin Bushell – Guitar
Tom Price – Drums

Godsticks – Website | Facebook | Twitter

A quick turnaround and The Pineapple Thief emerge, expectations high based on the praise forthcoming for the previous tour with Gavin Harrison and Darran Charles, including the London show in February which is set for release as the Where We Stood Blu-ray package at the end of the month.

The Pineapple Thief have never fully clicked with me; I’ve heard a number of the albums and saw them once, in a sports hall in Chippenham back in 2004, but I was never really engaged.

This has now changed.

Last year’s Your Wilderness was a great release and Where We Stood underlines what this band have now become, but catching the majesty of a full live performance is where it all falls into place. Quite rightly, the whole of Your Wilderness is played, Gavin and Darran fully integrated into these songs, and they are fabulous. Bruce has always written songs of real quality, but now he has the vehicle to properly deliver them, and you get the feeling that the rest of the band have stepped up in the process, growing in confidence with every turn.

TPT - Bruce Soord - photo by Mike Evans

Darran Charles puts in a fine second shift of the evening with some exquisite soloing, his virtuosity augmenting Bruce’s playing to expand the sound and give it additional depth. Darran has proved his versatility over the years and is a player of real note. Here he is a vital component, both in the performance and as a comedy foil for Bruce, his pithy comments adding to the good humour of the evening (I particularly liked the wicked goading of Bruce to actually remember the name of the forthcoming Godsticks album after Soord told the audience how good it was!).

The laugh out loud banter adds to the show, but it’s the man at the back who sprinkles the magic dust over the music. Gavin Harrison is rightly lauded as one of the finest drummers of his generation and you can’t help but marvel at his skills. As the perfect choice to lead the three drummer front line of the current incarnation of King Crimson, his profile has been raised to a higher level and to a far wider audience, but here he is playing to a pleasingly rather full Bierkeller. I had to pinch myself that the last time I saw him was in the regal surroundings of Birmingham’s Symphony Hall with King Crimson, pounding seven bells out of his kit in one of the most dexterous displays of precision I’ve ever witnessed.

TPT - Gavin Harrison - photo by Mike Evans

And his playing tonight is nothing short of exquisite. For example, No Man’s Land is just fantastic; little fills, tinkling percussion at all the right moments, slide rule kick drums and power as and when required. Absolutely astonishing, and if the rest of the band just stopped playing it would still be a wonderfully melodic experience. He’s the master of the perfectly weighted augmentation, in no way showy whilst defining everything by his playing. Some of the fills were just so outrageous that I laughed out loud, and with the wonderful sound quality every tiny movement and addition could be heard. However, the finest quality in Gavin’s playing is the sensitivity and understanding of the source material; he did not take over but added exactly what was required to raise Bruce’s songs to the place they deserve to be.

TPT - photo by Mike EvansTPT - Gavin Harrison - photo by Mike Evans

The Pineapple Thief have never sounded as good and Bruce is clearly rightly proud of what they have achieved, a vindication of what he has been doing all these years as they play to more people with a fantastic line-up and the technical support to deliver a beautifully judged show. The quality of the songs speak for themselves, the setlist consistent with the previous tour with Shoot First, 3,000 Days and Where We Stood added, Reaching Out and Simple As That dropped with Fend for Yourself pushed forward in the running order.

The encores were a celebration with an audience completely on side, the result being a fantastic evening, completely enthralling from start to finish. Should this line-up get to tour again – and hopefully they will – then attendance is a complete no-brainer. Just get a ticket and marvel at it all.

Tear You Up
The One You Left to Die
No Man’s Land
Shoot First
Alone at Sea
That Shore
3000 Days
Fend for Yourself
In Exile
Take Your Shot
Show a Little Love
Where We Stood
Part Zero
The Final Thing on My Mind
~ Encore:
Nothing at Best

Bruce Soord – Vocals, Acoustic & Electric Guitars
Steve Kitch – Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Jon Sykes – Bass, Backing Vocals
Gavin Harrison – Drums, Percussion
Darran Charles – Guitars, Backing Vocals

The Pineapple Thief – Website | Facebook | Twitter

All photos by Mike Evans and used with his kind permission.

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This news story was originally published here:
What to Expect from STEVEN WILSON's "To the Bone" Album

Steven Wilson has launched a video for the song “Nowhere Now” taken from his recently released, fifth studio album To the Bone. Watch it below.

The video, directed by long-time collaborator Lasse Hoile, was shot on location at the Atacama Large Millimeter Array in Chile. The song was described as a “gloriously soaring paean to the joys of everyday escapism.

Along with the release of the new video, Wilson has also announced that he will play a third show at the Royal Albert Hall in London on March 29th next year. About this third concert, Steven commented:

I know that some fans may consider attending all 3 nights, and to those people I say that while each night will have a fair amount of overlap in the repertoire, I will aim for there to be at least something special and unique on each night, though I’m not quite sure what that will be yet!

Tickets for this show will go on sale on Friday (September 22) via Gigs And Tours.

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