Dionne-Bregent (2CD BLOW OUT PRICE)

Long overdue reissue of the two albums from the French-Canadian duo of Vincent Dionne and Michel-Georges Bregent. When you look at the instrumentation of keyboards and percussion you expect some bombastic ELP-type extravaganza. The reality is that the duo had more experimental leanings, moving into the direction of electronic music like early Tangerine Dream. The first album "Et Le Troisieme Jour" finds the duo accompanied by choirs and solo soprano vocalist. The music is like a wall of sound with a variety of tuned percussion and drum kit integrated with Moogs, orchestron (like a Mellotron), Fender Rhodes, and organ. The sidelong "L'Eveil Du Lieu" has a dark quality that could almost pass for a horror soundtrack. The band's second album was called (appropriately) "Deux". It was recorded in 1977. Bregent again uses a variety of keys, this time incorporating Mellotron into his arsenal. Dionne's drumming has more of a propulsive rock feel. Accompanied by strings and horns it has a more balanced, fuller soundscape. I ultimately find it to be the more successful of the two albums. This gorgeous set features two unreleased tracks as well as a detailed booklet with photos and a band bio (in French). One of the best reissues that we will see in 2006. Highly recommended.

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  • Domestic jewel box edition has the identical contents to the European version."Tim Bowness, one of the most expressive voices in contemporary music returns with the second chapter of his brand new, solo sonic experiments. Released roughly a year after Abandoned Dancehall Dreams, Stupid Things That Mean The World can be seen as a direct follow-up that not only manages to consolidate his strengths, but also takes a step forward towards new territories. I was anxious to hear the results as the man never fails to create something interesting and gripping (at the very least).Although a sequel, STTMTW contrasts its predecessor in both the atmosphere it creates, as well as the emotions it evokes. Since the production is substantially airier this time around, it manages to unfold quicker than ADD, creating shorter, but profound tunes. We get cuts like the title track or 'Where You've Always Been' whose playful, sustained rhythms bring forth quite an unusual, uplifting side of Bowness we rarely get to see. However, this is only a part of a darker record that often feels tensed and frustrated. The characters he portrays have missed several opportunities over the years, feel overwhelmed by life, ugly or devoid of any feelings that once made them feel alive. The most representative numbers are 'The Great Electric Teenage Dream' and 'Press Reset'. There's anger in the powerful guitars and regret in the nostalgic piano lines, whereas the cold, industrial touch present especially on the latter, magnifies this uneasy vibe. Tim also delivers his parts with a poignant tone, boosting the tracks with some of his heaviest hitting moments.On the other side of the spectrum, we have two of the most gorgeous, subdued tracks on the album, 'Sing To Me' and 'Know That You Were Loved' lying in between the aforementioned rockers. They are a lot more comfortable for older fans as each shares similarities with previous helmed projects. 'Sing To Me' stemmed from a 20-year old No-Man demo, entitled 'Best Boy Electric', recorded somewhere in the middle of Wild Opera's recording sessions. Tim reworked it and created a lovely ballad with eerie guitar leads, warm bass and echoed piano lines. Sound-wise, it reminisces 'Smiler at 50' from ADD. 'Know That You Were Loved' is a mostly acoustic affair that brings to mind the low-key No-Man album, Together We're Stranger. Occasional lap steel touches and guitar solos embellish the stripped foundation, yet his voice is once more the focal point.There is a dark appeal to Stupid Things That Mean The World that some might or might not be fond of. Abandoned Dancehall Dreams was a melancholic yet grandiose affair that was easier to wrap your head around. This time, the often bare bones instrumentals push Tim's vocal melodies in front, usually focusing more on the lyrical content than the music itself. Moreover, helped by some elite members of the British nu-prog/art rock wave such as Bruce Soord of Pineapple Thief (who also produced the album), Colin Edwin of Porcupine Tree, long time collaborators Stephen Bennet, Phil Manzanera and Pat Mastelotto of King Crimson, Michael Bearpark or the classical composer Andrew Keeling (among others), Bowness has managed to avoid repetition and create a piece of work that truly complements its prequel. This is a beautiful, cohesive album that stirs so many emotions and speaks for itself. It might not be as immediate or as catchy as ADD, but does the most important thing: paving new grounds." - Sputnik Music
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  • Blazing new progressive metal band led by Marcel Coenen, former guitarist of Lemur Voice. It's nice to see a band develop. They went through many stylistic changes from their earlier demos and they seem to have finally settled into a style that fits their objectives. In addition, after much searching they finally found a vocalist, Andre Vuurboom, who serves the music appropriately. What we are talking about here is highly charged progressive metal with a bit more intensity and crunch than Lemur Voice. The obvious reference that springs to mind is Dream Theater - most notably due to Vuurboom's vocals that recall James LaBrie. The music has lots of twists and turns but never gets overly technical. Marcel does his thing - laser guided guitar runs that at times are simply jawdropping. The disc was mixed by Arjen Anthony Lucassen. The prog metal drought seems to be ending with Sun Caged leading the charge.
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  • Heavy dark and a touch of evil is how I like my prog served up and October Equus ladles it up just perfectly. They are a new instrumental quartet from Spain drawing on a myriad of influences. You can hear echoes of classic 70s prog, particuarly in the keyboard work which reminds of Il Balletto Di Bronzo. Guitarist Angel Ontalva plays with real gravity that draws from King Crimson and Present without sounding like either Fripp or Trigeaux. Other clear influences are Goblin, Univers Zero and Shylock. The opener "Lupus In Fabula" even reminded me a bit of Anglagard. I reveled in the creepiness of it all. Obviously we'll be hearing a lot from these guys in the future. Highly recommended.
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  • Excellent US neoprog that will appeal to fans of Marillion and Iluvatar.
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  • Domestic jewel box version includes the bonus track "I Wish I Could"."At the very least, THRESHOLD may well be the UK's answer to DREAM THEATRE; progging on since 1988, 2014 sees a follow-up to 2012's "March of Progress", titled "For the Journey". Their brand of Prog Metal (let's face it, every band does it differently) involves less of a focus on instrumental technical showy-offy-ness, and emphasizes the heaviness of individual riffs, and the soaring atmospherics and ambience."Watchtower on the Moon" is teetering on the edge between classic prog motifs, and spacey, futuristic, sci-fi permutations. Upbeat, with a (largely) followable jive, a strong, groovy riff carries the first half of the track, slightly downplayed to best put the vocals out there, and what stellar vocals they are. The blend of delivery of catchy hooks, power and diction, that programs the 'Prog' name with unadulterated listenability. Interestingly enough, as the song evolves, instrumentals are brought to the forefront, and the fabrics of time signatures are toyed with, allowing melodic interplay between guitar and keyboard to flourish. "Turned to Dust" is quite the heavy piece, if not the heaviest on the album; the riffs punch through with a percussive power belied by the flamboyant melody arrangements, and also happens to contain my favorite chorus on the album."Autumn Red" is a smooth, liquid display Prog excellence, the chisel struck by the juxtaposingly heavy riffs; the "keyboards from the 70s' used to great effect, perhaps raking up nostalgia in the PINK FLOYD fans among us. Lyric enthusiasts among us will be drawn to this track; as I perhaps didn't emphasize enough, Damian is the man for the job, delivering poetry into a new artform; pure, melodic diction that embosses the expansive tapestry set by the band. "Siren Sky" is easily my favorite piece; perhaps one of the more "metal" track on the album. The first instance of riffage surged forth tall waves of pure 'epic'. Never a dull moment on this track, the riffs prepared on the piece are emotive like no other on the album; I'm legitimately without words.Easily in my top 3 of this year's Progressive releases, it is no wonder that veterans of the genre are behind this mastery." - Metal Temple
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  • Perhaps inspired by the passing of the legendary Jon Lord (who the album is dedicated to) or by the creative infusion from producer Bob Ezrin, Deep Purple's 19th studio album arrives firing on all cylinders.  Sure I miss Ritchie Blackmore.  Steve Morse is Steve Morse.  A legend...but he brings a different element to the band that to my ears was always defined by the neoclassical explorations of Blackmore.  Getting past that this album is a pure smoker.  Don Airey replaced Jon Lord over a decade ago.  He's always played the hell out of the Hammond organ and he doesn't disappoint here.  He's the perfect replacement for Jon Lord and even adds his own imprint in some not so subtle ways.  Oh yeah - Ian Gillan sounds great.  I wasn't a huge fan of the last couple of albums but this one sure does kick some major ass.This is the deluxe digipak edition.  It comes with one bonus track on the CD and a DVD that has interviews and bonus live clips.
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  • I Califfi made a killer prog rock album in 1972 called "Fiore Di Metallo".  Unfortunately this isn't it.  This is a 2CD collection of their earlier beat/psych sound from the last 60s.  If you like that sound there is a lot of material to dive into here.  Put your nehru jacket on and be happy.
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  • "The debut recording from the Dixie Dregs (The Great Spectacular is considered a demo) stands as one fusion's high-water marks. This music is wholly original and played with a freshness and vigor that had begun to wane in a genre that was becoming a model in self-parody. The influences here are plentiful, but it is the country roots that provide the music with its vitality. Founder/guitarist Steve Morse proved to be an important new guitarist, offering an inimitable style with the technique the music demands. The music is complex and challenging, but that's easy to overlook due to the band's sunny approach. While they would go on to create more fully realized recordings, this one proved that fusion had a soul." - Allmusic Guide
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  • Now here is a killer prog metal release from Australia.  Mechanical Organic is a new band led by former Vauxdivhl keyboardist Eddie Katz and ex-Neue Regel/Fracture vocalist David Bellion.Its the second part of a conceptual work.  If you are familiar with Bellion's voice you know he bears an uncanny resemblance to vintage Geoff Tate.  Katz has had other projects since Vauxdivhl, mostly in the experimental metal realm.  This Global Hive is an incredible marriage of different aspects of prog.  The result is a band that has created a sound that sounds like a mash up of Zero Hour and Queensryche.  Within the context of Mechanical Organic, Bellion has toned down the Tate-isms but the similarities are there.  He's a bit of a vocal chameleon - add in some Erik Rosvold and Chris Salinas and you'll get the overall picture.  Think Towers Of Avarice meets Operation: Mindcrime.  The music is melodic and atmospheric and full on prog metal.  Highly recommended.
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  • White Willow's third album receives new treatment from Jacob Holm Lupo's Termo Records.  This remastered edition comes with new artwork and liner notes as well as 3 previously unreleased bonus tracks.White Willow is one of the most significant progressive groups of the current eraThe Billboard Guide To Progressive MusicWhite Willows third album "Sacrament" is a mystical blend of gothic atmospheres and intricate, classically influenced progressive music. Having firmly established themselves around the world as one of the premier progressive ensembles, "Sacrament" is one of 2000s most anticipated progressive rock releases.The Norwegian bands 1995 debut "Ignis Fatuus" is enshrined in the Top 100 releases of Billboards Guide To Progressive Music. This album launched the band into the world spotlight culminating in a highly acclaimed performance at Progfest 95 in Los Angeles. The 1998 follow up "Ex Tenebris" brought further attention to the group with its mystical blend of gothic, folk, and classical music within a progressive rock framework."Sacrament" shows the maturity of the band. Perhaps a bit heavier than before but with all their trademark ingredients in place, White Willow will easily once again capture the attention of progressive rock fans around the world. Imagine a blend of The Gathering, King Crimson, and vintage Jethro Tull and you have just scratched the surface of the intense sounds this band creates. Soaring female vocals, mondo-Crimsonoid guitar leads, and blistering flute work set against a backdrop of symphonic rock keyboards will effortless ignite the imagination of the dedicated progressive music listener.Also of note is the stunningly transparent and three dimensional audiophile sound.
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  • After releasing a lengthy EP a few years ago, this eclectic French jazz rock band have returned with a full length release. I say eclectic only in that the instrumentation is a bit unusual: harp, vibes, electric guitar, bass, drums, trumpet, ao. The band's music is very melodic with a lot of energy. There is an obvious influence from Frank Zappa at his instrumental best (and they manage to leave Frank's humorous aspect behind). The band's name also gives away their affectation for the music of Gong - but of the later period when Pierre Moerlen was at the helm. The music of Forgas Band Phenomena also comes to mind. Very highly recommended.
    $18.00
  • Now here is a beautiful slice of contemporary progressive rock.  Anubis is an underrated band from Australia - bands down under don't seem to get the attention they deserve.  Hitchhiking is their third full length album.  2011's A Tower Of Silence was a big hit around here and frankly when it arrived it came as a huge surprise.  This long awaited follow up reinforces that the prog rock world needs to take notice.  The music has a cinematic Floyd-like feel.  Vocals from Robert James Moulding are emotion driven and have plenty of impact.  This is not a band who's music is filled with tons of soloing but what's here is solid.  In other words this is not old school prog - its very forward thinking but with a modern sound.  Highly recommended."I have long dreamt of an Australian progressive rock album that would inspire me to click the repeat button, in order to drift through its world all over again, and I am happy to declare that Hitchhiking to Byzantium has been on constant rotation for weeks at this point. Bringing an enchanting blend of Floydian melancholy and the energy of Rush to the table, Anubis have come to stake their claim as heavyweights in the Oz scene with their third opus.Whilst being equally impressed with their 2011 album A Tower of Silence (which I have only just heard recently also), I have found myself returning to Byzantium more to explore the subtle nuances contained within the album’s ten tracks. ‘Fadeout’ as an opening diddy is like riding a gentle breeze for just a short while before being swept up in all the drama and opulence of ‘A King with No Crown’, a reference quality track on every level, cinematic in scope and full of drama and tension and certainly an inspired choice as opening single for the album. ‘Dead Trees’ is a classic prog cut with all the bells and whistles sporting a vocal performance that harkens to a young James Labrie and a chorus that will have you by the balls from the first time you hear it.I mentioned a notable influence from Floyd and Rush earlier, but if I was to be honest, I would love to ask them if they are fans of American prog band Tiles and those wonderful Brits Anathema, because both bands are called to mind on this album amongst others like Sweden’s Anekdoten. The title track is a sublime centrepiece and features a plaintive aura that is sent soaring when spine-tingling female backing vocals lace the chorus. It’s so hard to choose a favourite song when they are all so filled with creamy goodness, but any of these three  - ‘Blood is Thicker than Common Sense’ (a seductive groover), ‘Tightening of the Screws’ (a majestic slice of melancholia reminiscent of early The Pineapple Thief) or ‘Partitionists’ (a lyrical and musical marvel) - could easily take the title for this humble listener.The final triptych features dark drama in ‘Crimson Stained Romance’, a song that reminded me most of a classic Floyd epic, the 15+ minute ‘A Room with a View’, which is nothing short of a sweeping symphony of moods and tones and the closing ‘Silent Wandering Ghosts’ sounds exactly like its title would suggest, haunting and transcendent with an outro to die for.These seven talented lads are a gifted lot, with every performance of outstanding quality, enhanced by a jaw-dropping production that let’s every instrument tell its own little story and play its part in this emotionally resonant work that as the band state themselves: "I feel that there's more of us in there - the hurdles that life throws at us and the only way to feel true inner peace - by examining the love around you. It's certainly an introspective record - but it's real life. It's about you, it's about me, it's about all of us. Hitchhiking to Byzantium. That journey is life."And somehow I believe them." - Loud Mag
    $15.00