Nekropolis 2

SKU: SPALAXCD14573
Label:
Spalax
Category:
Progressive Rock
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"Peter Frohmader is bound to his "Nekropolis" visions, by being both the ultimate artist, even when rich names and artists help around with composition ideas and groans or settle or diverse the mood of those vision, and the first in line to be absorbed by "Nekropolis"'s brand of imagination, impulse and histrionic character, launching and spiraling around the project for a lot of his rich and contentious desire and impact of music. The sense of "Nekropolis", coming from the physical choice and adventure of the bare project, helped him and disguised him as the artist very marked by avant-garde and experimental music, doing also a bit of jazz and hard rock, plus taking the progressive steps of complex music movingly literal - but, essentially, once he settled in electronic "mashterings" (the 80s's sunrise, most lately), it gives him the mask of a soundoholic artist, with lots of hard and hypnotic, technical and disturbed spirit in the genre. It is even an alluded thought that, among some clear and unmovable essential albums, the Nekropolis projects reflects a dynamic, endless and astounding part of Frohmader's artistic concentration and abscond psych-vision, throughout full sessions that may, at most, seem too undifferentiated (and without a complaisant feeling in them), nevertheless obtain a powerful music in a dark lock of genuine or dissimilar orientation.

Nekropolis 2 is the first-rated and best to recommended from the early Nekropolis project and emphasis, one that included a first volume in 1981, plus four mini-sessions Frohmader made even before his classic debut. If the size of the Nekropolis project ambition becomes needless to describe, each album, and Nekropolis 2 most precisely, has an independent layer and focus - even if the tendency is to called Frohmader the dark sage or the sound-rash visceral artist in most of everything that makes sense in his music.

The part extravagant part aleatory indite of Nekropolis 2 makes it an album of "soundtracks" and sound-forms, produced under a collaboration and a visual-motivation with H.R. Giger, who paintings celebrate (or must celebrate) the same dark affinity and rhetorical art as Frohmader's engines of electronic and improvised music. Similar to the whole idea of electronic nekro-vision and codification, we can relate how the grave artist Lustmord will combine the visual with the soundscape, the brutal flesh of a particular idea with the difficult sound of that idea's interpreted essence. Robert Rich and other ambientists try something in this particular movement too, but not so amazingly. As music, what I can't link is the classic scorches of artists like Kluster or Amon Duul, because it is simply of a different quality and a new homegrown effort. At least not by Nekropolis 2's chaotic and phantasmal installment.

Nine pieces are squeezed in two sides of an LP (I don't know for sure how limited has this album become, but a second year of release, 2001, made a benefical treat), all nine treating, psychologically and exasperatingly, sound experiments, screeches of impulses and blind movements, independent tastes and difficult to compel umbers and embers of electronic poly-morphic expressions. This album becomes strong, even terrifying, to much of the valorous impressions, even considering those that experience the clash of kraut rock and noise amphitheatric constructions. The style oscillates madly between electronic, dark ambient, rock and even goth-impelled music personality, since a lot of instrument power is used, Frohmader adopting a multi-instrumental implosion: from Rhodes to guitars, from waves to machinist impulses, from vibrations to an actually absent but credited vocal-infliction. It's a sort of humongous contracting and contrasting work-load, creating the 'simple' arrangements of experimental and avant-demonic electronic moves.

You can hardly associate the drastic music with anything but Frohmader's own neoplastic explosion of atonality and micro-experimentalism, under the heavy preach of electronic use and abuse. A few moments try some rhythm or some dubbed ambiance, but such thoughts are quickly forgotten, and the style returns to the blend of musical dark forces and electronic technical virtues. The best sounds are obtained not by finding the simplest experimental mix, but by actually building up a sinister monolith of musical flux and interference. The dark and impossible shrieks become a side of evil art Frohmader mostly resumes as electronic stability. Beyond the sugestive names (Hardcorps,Neutronen Symphonie), there is a continuous avalanche of rough and systematically incinerating sound systems, forcing the deepest mind to gasp an exclamation - or to collapse under the pressure.

Nekropolis 2 is not one of the most essential and perfect Frohmader compositions, but it tends to dangerously play with the biggest details of his grandest styles, in a way that it actually is simply one project of dark-experimental electronic impeach from many others. Tonic and technically valorous, this, much like anything by the artist, goes for those lovers of unconventional and harsh art. It is, however,a good example of the electronic 80s not being flask, but having their own kind of absurdity and gloat-impressionable art." - ProgArchives

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  • "Marillion seems to be appealing to a commercially-oriented buying demographic with this album. There are parts of this record you'll love, and there are parts ... you might not. The band's work in the Hogarth era is marked by its variability - or some might say inconsistency. Although there have been some dud CDs, arguably including Radiation, Anoraknophobia and marillion.com, each of those records had some excellent songs. Similarly, the great albums had songs that were less than stellar. So it's generally safer to think of Marillion's work in terms of the songs rather than the CDs. Having said that, though - Somewhere Else probably fits somewhere between Marbles and marillion.com stylistically, and it's closer to .com in terms of quality.Somewhere Else doesn't share all of Marbles's progressive elements, its subtleties, or its general appeal. This music is a bit more linear, and it's very vocals-oriented. Steve Hogarth's singing is as emotion-laden as ever, switching effortlessly in and out of falsetto, and very expressive - in the style of "The Invisible Man" or "Angelina" from Marbles, or Radiohead's classic "Creep". But you might wish that he would stop singing for just a few minutes and let some instrumentals shine through. Steve Rothery's legendary guitar work is heard in only a few places, and Mark Kelly provides some very appealing piano lines, but there aren't any instrumentals to into which you can really sink your teeth."Most Toys" is a hard-hitting rocker with very simplistic lyrics that won't have much appeal to Marillion's traditional fanbase, although it might win them some commercial radio time. "Last Century for Man" also has simplistic lyrics with little subtlety, and a catchy melody that stays with you for days. There are no epics here, with 10 songs in just 52 minutes, and the title track (the longest at 8 minutes) is the standout piece with a meandering structure, gently appealing delivery and an almost minimalist approach to the instrumentals. Some might call it sleepy - but it definitely goes into the list of Marillion's better songs. Other highlights are the opening track "The Other Half", and "Thank You, Whoever You Are" - a fairly straightforward piece that features some nice but all-too-brief moments from Rothery's guitar.If Marillion is chasing after radio time, or if they're wooing the Coldplay / Radiohead / Pineapple Thief audience, this song-oriented record will probably get them there. But it will do so at the cost of a significant portion of their progressive rock fanbase." - Sea of Tranqulity
    $13.00
  • Consider The Source are a brilliant instrumental trio from New York.  Their music touches on world music, fusion, prog rock and more.  All three members are virtuosos but the spotlight is squarely on guitarist Gabriel Marin.  He plays fretted and frettless guitars - single and double necks.  He triggers synth patches, he plays all kinds of acoustic stringed instruments.  The sounds he creates will utterly blow your mind.  If you caught the band on tour with Morglbl you know what I'm talking about.  Their music has a strong foundation in improvisation - so much so that they are well absorbed into the jam band scene but the band proudly embrace their appeal to prog fans as well.  His 2CD set burns from beginning to end.  Highly recommended."World War Trio (Parts II & III) is the second installment of Consider The Source's epic grand vision. Following the dense, nearly 24 minute, five part composition that comprised World War Trio (Part I), this double album begins with the trio of masterful technicians' progressive rock, metal and jazz foundation, then draw from Middle Eastern and Indian traditions- balancing shifting moods and tempos, cerebral and emotional jabs and intellectual and primal pursuits- into a dynamic audio experience that has been described by one critic as "the soundtrack to an alien invasion"."
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  • "Two years ago, a virtually unknown Russian band released a debut with chamber classical orchestration, gorgeous multi-layered vocals, and the occasional modern rock touch. Very few initially noticed it, but eventually by word of mouth, it became an unexpected favorite 2012 album in progressive rock, despite the scarcity of progressive rock elements. Listeners there mainly rated on songwriting and enjoyment.Now, we have a second iamthemorning album, expanding on the elements from the first album. A confident, mature album that will likely bring rave reviews all over the place given the band is not as obscure as in 2012.The music is once again heavily influenced by classical music. Vocals and piano continue creating the foundation of the music, with orchestral instrument, drums, and modern rock sounds adding layers whenever needed. Even the modern rock sounds are used in a very classical, 'iamthemorning' way.The added complexity of the music was a risk. After all, the debut's instantly rewarding melodies and its safe, if brilliant, songwriting approach made it very difficult for many listener to honestly hate such an album. Now, we're dealing with complexity levels more to the tune of classical music and progressive rock. This is now easily categorized as progressive rock, with less direct melodies, knotty musical ideas, occasionally long songs, more in-depth instrumentation and lyricism. The risk is that I enjoyed the first listen less than the first listen of the debut. However, I cannot decide which album I prefer now. I feel like this one has a few minor flaws based on the risk-taking approach, compared to the near-perfection pop of the debut. However, there are even more 'WOW!' moments here in my opinion, some of the very best musical passages I perceive to come across.Flaws? I seem to only gripe about the slow development of their last full song, the samples in 'Howler' and the beginning of 'K.O.S' with a repetitive, awkward drum beat and one-chord guitar riff. Luckily, the latter two songs are overall highly interesting and dynamic songs otherwise, which is why I said the flaws are not severe as they involve a small fraction of two songs.Strengths? It's hard to name them all. The intermissions remain impressive. The first one has such a captivating atmosphere, I can't imagine anyone being hard-pressed to say 'nah' and stop playing the album. The fourth intermission (titled XII) almost reaches song-like status in length, starting with classical violin and continuing with mesmerizing piano. The last intermission is almost transcendental in a spiritual sense.And then you have the songs and they are so, so good. All those subtle melodies and exciting instrumentation in 'Howler', the beautiful 'To Human Misery' with a very captivating main melody yet also with a lot of subtle instrumentation. I should try not to overuse the phrase 'subtle complexity', but I think that word really describes this album. Subtle complexity is what makes this album work so well: you latch on into some obvious melodies on first listen, but then all those little details won't make you lose interest. Every instrument plays melodies, sometimes simultaneously.'Romance' and '5/4' sound a bit like more intricate version of Tori Amos music. They are whimsical, enchanting yet quite complex in instrumentation. Those little details like the muted violin melodies and brief 'shredding' electric guitar that somehow sounds mellow. The '5/4' song is mostly in 6/4 actually, but when it shifts to a 5/4 meter playing a carnival-like atmosphere, it's pure genius, even if it sounds like a horrible idea at first listen. It's an odd choice for a single. I thought it would be 'The Simple Story' which is more instantly recognizable with its melodies and the great piano line near the end. 'Crowded Corridors' is possibly their most accomplished composition to date and also their longest by far at nearly 9 minutes. It begins relatively subdued with their typical instrumentation and vocalizations, if more haunting than usual. Something else going for it is the more 'epic', dramatic moments that work incredibly well. It'd be interesting if they revisit this approach to songwriting in later albums. A particular highlight, besides the obvious piano solo in the latter half, is a slow melody at minute 3 being revisited at the very end at a faster pace.By the way, most of these songs deviate from a typical song structure to help make it more impactful and dynamic. The song 'Gerda' starts very soft and delicate but later sounds very empowering and grand: it's yet another great song. 'Os Lunatum' starts as an outstanding piano + vocal duet, both at their very best, especially during the song's main hook. Guitars later become dominant on the song's instrumental section. The song concludes with a full band sound, the progression from the very beginning being very natural.'K O S' may be marginally a less enjoyable song here because of that first minute which sounds repetitive and lacks what I like about the band. The rest is an interesting experiment as they veer towards a progressive rock / alternative rock sound without fully losing their trademark vocals, pianos, and subtle way to adding melodic layers. I love the way it ends, reprising the intro in such a way that almost redeems it. The 'Reprise of Light no Light' is another lesser favorite, developing in a slow fashion that sometimes tests my patience. I do love that it, along with the last intermission, ends with peaceful, abstract noise.In the end, they have accomplished a very difficult feat, given the high standard the set themselves with their debut. This second album is very intelligent music as well as very deep, emotional music. It touches me. In the end, despite the occasional flaw, it's a masterpiece and I anticipate it being consistently among my favorite pieces of music regardless of genre alongside their debut." - ProgArchives
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  • Remastered edition comes with 8 bonus tracks - 5 of which are previously unreleased. This was the last album the band recorded for Charisma and was released in 1978. Bob Calvert is fully in charge here and features some of the band's most potent material: "High Rise" , "Death Trap", and "Uncle Sam's On Mars". A killer...
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  • New edition of Porcupine Tree's debut album. A mix of quirky pop and psychedelia the album has a naive charm about it that makes it stand alone.
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  • "YES - the combined age of the five guys on stage at the Hippodrome was more than 300 years - and some unkind souls would say that feels almost as long as some of their more indulgent numbers.But everybody knew why they were here. We all knew well in advance what Yes were going to play even down to the encore, and the scene was set with the entrance music of Stravinsky’s Firebird theme - just like Yes used 40 years ago. But although there were no surprises in what they played, there were plenty in how they played.Aggression isn’t probably a word that springs to mind when it comes to Yes, but there’s plenty present - along with the shifting rhythms, hardcore virtuoso musicianship, sheer power and soaring over it all the high clear harmonies and sweeping melodies that make Yes YesOriginal singer Jon Anderson is not currently with the band - but his replacement, 43-year-old American Jon Davison, is a more than adequate stand-in, sounding uncannily like Anderson at times but adding his own touches to the songs and a friendly vitality to the band onstage. The other long-standing Yesman not present is grumpy old Rick Wakeman. This time on an array of keyboards we have Geoff Downes, who has been playing with Yes on and off for 30-plus years but whom many may know best and possibly not too fondly for Buggles and Video Killed the Radio Star.The rest of the band - guitarist Steve Howe, bassist Chris Squire and drummer Alan White - are as Yes was 40 years ago - and although age may have had its impact on their hairlines or girth or ability to bop around the stage, it has totally failed to diminish their musical skills.Howe can still play lightning fast and pure, delivering faithfully favourite old solos but also bringing new embellishments and invention. And Squire showed just how important a part his melodic driving basslines have always been to the distinctive Yes sound. And when the band are playing as one they can still deliver moments that can take your breath away.It’s something of a rarity to have a rock concert at the Hippodrome - perhaps the fact the concert was being filmed meant they wanted a more theatrical setting. It seemed quite apt that there were occasional elements of pantomime - “Hello Bristol!” “Hello Steve!” - and the rather startling appearance of Chris Squire’s triple-necked bass. There was also a large screen showing films largely with New Age/old hippy themes - lots of fractals and turtles - and during Turn Of The Century what looked disturbingly like a cross between Game Of Thrones and a cereal advert. And the explosion of confetti towards the end during Perpetual Change could have seemed tacky - but it worked beautifully with the soaring optimism of the music and had the audience grinning like the children they were long ago.Highlights were too numerous to mention, but there were a few moist eyes around at the opening of And You And I; Yours Is No Disgrace sounded as good as it ever has; and the transition from the "give peace a chance” section of Your Move to the rocking abandon of All Good People might well have had a younger audience dancing in the aisles. As it was by the time the encore of Roundabout came around everybody was on their feet.It’s more than 40 years since Yes were first a huge name - able to release a triple-disc live album and have a top 10 hit with it. They and their audience may have aged a lot - but Yes still sound as good as ever when they hit those dizzyingly exuberant moments of wonder. And the audience wasn’t entirely grey-haired and wallowing in nostalgia - my 15-year-old daughter wasn’t the only youngster up and whooping at the end." - The Bristol Post
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  • Here's a nice archival discovery courtesy of Esoteric Recordings.  Fields was the post-Rare Bird trio consisting of keyboardist Graham Field, ex-King Crimson drummer Andy McCullough, and bassist Alan Barry.  Their 1971 eponymous release on CBS is a prog rock gem in which Field shows off his abilities as an organ player.Contrasts is a previously unknown to exist second album that sat on a shelf gathering dust since 1972.  It finds Alan Barry replaced by ex-Supertramp Frank Farrell on bass and vocals.  Field concentrates on organ but he does play some synthesizer.  The music has a melodic feel that reminds a little bit of Spring.  Comes with plenty of liner notes by Sid Smith.
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  • "Famous poet Jacques Werup formed this progressive band in Malmo in 1973. His Swedish-language lyrics on Stormvarning have a socialist message with a poetic, yet violent, touch. The band strove to make the music radical, with most of the music written by Rolf Sersam. The standout cut, "Snart Bryter Stormen Ut", was written by Werup and guitarist Mulle Holmqvist, who really shines here. Ek and Karlberg were ten replaced by Lasse Berggrensson and Percy Malmqvist? who both had played with Holmqvist in 60's band The Troublemakers. Storm At The Top saw the entire band mooning on the back cover. It featiured English-language lyrics and less experimental, but still progressive, music. EMI in London wanted Storm to have a big tour in Great Britain but bad wages made the band decline the offer. The third and final album was released in 1977 and featured a new rhythm section? consisting of former Lotus members Stefan Berggrensson and Hakan Nyberg. Casanova i Mjölby is an excellent Swedish-language concept album. It tells an anachronistic story about Italian legend Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798) coming to a small town in Sweden in 1977 to witness society in decay. Like its predecessors? the album was co-produced by the band and Gunnar Lindqvist (G.L. Unit). The vinyl is hopused ina great sleeve by painter Bo Hulten. Despite the album being the peak of Storm's career, the band quit soon after. Werup went on to release several solo albums, often collaborating with his former Storm colleagues." - The Encyclopedia of Swedish Progressive Music 1967-1979
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  • "The first thing that came to my mind when I put on the new release Smorgasbord by Norway's The Brimstone Solar Radiation Band was just how much good music is out there that most people never get to hear. In a perfect world these guys would be massive and deserve to have their music heard. Smorgasbord is the band's third full length album. They also have an EP that is no longer available.Consisting of R. Edwards (vocals, guitar), Erling Halsne Juvik (guitar), Thomas Grønner (drums), Øyvind Grønner (keyboards) and Biff (bass), The Brimstone Solar Radiation Band make music that is sometimes hard to pigeonhole into a specific category. You will hear progressive moments to be sure and so many infectious melodies you will probably begin to lose track. If there is such a thing as ear candy this is it, however, this disc contains so much more than that.Musically the band has roots in the sixties and seventies but also employs a modern sound that prevents this from becoming a rehash of the past. These are all very talented musicians but special mention should be given to Thomas Grønner's drum work. His ability to change speed and tempo really form the backbone of these twelve songs.From the opening notes of the quirky pop/rock of "Medic" where an irresistible guitar melody in the form of choppy rhythms playfully mix with organ sounds having a distinct Doors feel, one just knows there is something special here. Folk music can be heard in the beautiful acoustic ballad "Godspeed Mother Earth" a pleading lament to our planet that really pulls on the heartstrings. The saxophone solo combined with lovely background vocals is a real treat. One of the highlights among many has to be the sheer pop delight of "Happy" and that is exactly how I feel after listening to this song. There is a subtle jazz influence heard amongst the light splashes of piano, but the main melody is pure pop with a heavy nod towards XTC, especially in the harmony vocals. The feel good pop/rock of "The Great Yeah" with its killer vocal harmonies and Beatlesque guitar work is another winner that also features a tasty organ solo.There are also unexpected surprises like "Animal Riot Hill" where heavier riffs of organ and guitar come together only to morph into the slow burn of saxophone and jazzy drum work making this one of the CDs defining progressive moments. Beatle's fans will have a real appreciation for the melodic "Strings To The Bow" featuring strings and lovely harmonies. The album's last song is the melancholic "A Hill Of Beans" where lovely acoustic guitar and strings create a breath of fresh air ending the CD in fine style.Smorgasbord will surely make my 'best of' list at the end of this year. With its eclectic mix of prog, pop and psychedelic inflected rock, The Brimstone Solar Radiation Band are a force to be reckoned with. Highly recommended!" - Sea Of Tranquility
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  • New edition taken from the original tapes comes with a real suprise bonus. In addition to the regular version of the album the CD contains a previously never heard before mix done by Geoff Emerick. It is actually the original mix but the band/label decided to add more keys, choirs and effects. As much as I love Remember The Future, this is THE Nektar album for me. Not sure if it's Larry Fast's synth work but something about Recycled makes it the most solid of their albums. One of my all time favs...
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  • After all these years, Marillion guitarist Steve Rothery has finally released a solo album and frankly it isn't at all what I expected.  First off the album is all instrumental (not a bad thing frankly).  Don't expect insane shredding here.  Rothery presents a very refined symphonic rock album that, to these ears, owes a big debt to Pink Floyd.  Steve Hackett and Steven Wilson appear as guests and that is a nice plus but to be honest even without their contributions the album would satisfy anyway.  Rothery has put together a nice band, drawing musicians from British neoproggers Mr. So & So and Italian symphonic band Ranestrane.  Expect  mellow parts that meld with sections that have an electrified smoldering intensity.  As long as you don't expect an instrumental Clutching At Straws I think you'll find a lot to dig your teeth into here.  Highly recommended."Steve Rothery is best known as guitarist for those whipping boys of the mainstream press, the progressive rock band Marillion. For over 30 years, Marillion have surprised and delighted fans old and new with some truly outstanding music. Musical fashions have come and gone, governments have formed and fractured… and Marillion are still here, not just unbowed but positively revelling in their role as eternal underdogs, having now delivered more than 15 studio albums of tremendously well-wrought and highly emotive music. The cornerstone of Marillion’s music, perhaps, is Steve Rothery’s elegaic guitar. Influenced by players such as Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour and Camel’s Andrew Latimer but with a style all his own, Rothery – as the longest-serving member of the band – is in many ways the core of the band and one of its chief writers.Yet in all those 30-plus years, Rothery has never released a solo record. He has enjoyed a largely-acoustic based side project in the shape of The Wishing Tree, who have now released two albums (1996’s Carnival Of Souls and 2009’s Ostara), but has never released an album under his own name. Until now. A strikingly successful Kickstarter campaign – for a brief time, the Ghosts Of Pripyat pre-order was the most successful Kickstarter project in the world – has allowed Rothery the time and supporting talent to produce something very different to his day job; yet familiar enough to fans of Marillion to forge a strong link to Rothery’s work in that band.Whilst The Ghosts Of Pripyat is a solo album in name, Rothery has assembled a strong band to record it. A reflection of the strength of the band is that two previous live albums that Rothery has released in the run up to the release of this, his first studio album, were billed as being by ‘The Steve Rothery Band’. The band form a next-generation progressive rock supergroup of sorts: Dave Foster (Mr. So & So, Panic Room) on guitars, Leon Parr (ex-Mr. So & So) on drums, Yatim Halimi (Panic Room) on bass and Riccardo Romano (Ranestrane) on keys & acoustic guitar. Throughout the album they add further colour and crunch to Rothery’s instrumental flights of fancy, giving it an appealing earthbound energy.The album opens in almost cinematic style with ‘Morpheus’. Marillion fans will delight in the way this track builds with an almost sensual slowness from barely audible ambient wash to a circling riff comprised of Rothery’s signature guitar sound, a crystalline chorused sustain that is powerfully evocative in its simplicity. ‘Morpheus’ is half over before the band puts its full weight behind Rothery’s playing, but this is one of this album’s strengths. It is not a ornate shred-fest, nor is it a somnolent none-more-authentic bore; the music – like Rothery’s playing – is effortlessly melodic and atmospheric, almost a film soundtrack without a film. It is here that Rothery’s fondness for the playing of Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett is most evident, and it’s entirely fitting that Hackett himself makes a guest appearance on this track. The two veteran guitarists trade off against each other beautifully, as if they’ve been playing together for years.Like any good soundtrack, each part of the album is very different in tone. Where ‘Morpheus’ was dreamy and reflective, ‘Kendris’ toys with a rolling, almost African-style drum pattern. Romano’s keys are especially important to this track, colouring in the backdrop to a musical safari whose shimmering heat haze makes for a warm, feelgood part of the album. This contrasts wonderfully with ‘The Old Man Of The Sea’, which is in many ways the centrepiece of the album. A near 12-minute track, it covers a range of moods very effectively. Opening with wave sounds, whale song and a mournful, lonely guitar fed through a Leslie effects pedal, it sounds beautifully Floydian – an effect only magnified when Rothery’s more familiar signature sound emerges to pick up the story. From these tentative but wonderfully evocative beginnings, the track gradually builds in intensity, musically and emotionally until it becomes as powerfully elemental as the sea that is its muse. The closing section in particular is one of the feistiest things that Rothery has committed to tape recently, featuring some forthright riffing built on top of a powerful performance by the assembled musicians, notably the muscular rhythm section of Halimi and Parr. In mood and subject matter, ‘The Old Man Of The Sea’ sits comfortably alongside Marillion’s epic ‘Ocean Cloud’. Steve Hackett makes another guest appearance at the end, as does progressive rock wunderkind Steven Wilson – with Rothery’s presence, there are essentially three generations of progressive rock’s finest all delivering some great playing; a rare treat.‘White Pass’ was inspired by a treacherous icy path used by prospectors during the American gold rush, and its steadily rising tension is perfectly matched to its subject matter. A chugging, almost metallic riff crunches in midway through the track, the ideal accompaniment to this immersive tale of survival in a hostile environment. You can almost taste the icy chill of the howling winter winds. ‘Yesterday’s Hero’ also builds slowly, although the mood is almost antithetical to ‘White Pass': the track – a remembrance of Rothery’s late stepfather, a World War II veteran – forms a delicate and deeply emotive elegy that displays some of the most restrained playing on the album. Here, more than anywhere else, Rothery evokes the feel of mid-period Dire Straits, the gentle washes of keys and E-bowed guitar building to an affectionate but achingly sad solo that Mark Knopfler would have been extremely pleased with. This is the essence of Rothery’s playing, bottled in concentrated form: less is most definitely more. The closing two minutes display another marked influence, as the band dial up the blissful introspection into a dynamic gallop, accompanied by some very Latimer-esque playing, as Rothery tips his hat to another formative influence. Perhaps understandably the most intensely moving track, this is very special indeed.The penultimate track, ‘Summer’s End’, is another slow-burner, building from a sleepy, bucolic opening into an organ-driven hard rock riff that powers along, with a number of solos built over it, as Rothery trades some intense workouts with Foster, both of them clearly egging the other on to greater and greater heights. The magnificent atmospherics of ‘The Old Man Of The Sea’ and the emotional intensity of ‘Yesterday’s Hero’ are hard to top, but if the restraint shown on the rest of the album leave you longing for heads-down rock and roll, here it is.The closing title track was inspired by photographs of the now deserted town of Pripyat in Chernobyl. After the nuclear accident there in 1986, the town was abandoned after radioactivity rendered the region uninhabitable. Reclaimed by nature, Pripyat makes for an eerie monument to those who died, and the displaced workers whose lives have never been the same. That same uncanny sense of loss and aftermath informs the track, which almost serves as an epilogue to the album. Rothery and Foster, joined by Romano on 12-string acoustic, build a slowly expanding web of limpid acoustic lines, almost like a musical round that becomes more ornate as it develops. The rest of the band arrive a few minutes later, developing the pattern of the round into a cyclical, almost Zeppelinesque riff. In five minutes the track goes from reverent near-silence into a muscular rocker, and you barely notice it happening; it feels effortless, utterly uncontrived.It’s striking, on an entirely instrumental album written and produced by a guitarist, how few solos there are on this album given its running time. Rothery’s economy is admirable in that it is never forced; this is just how he takes care of business. That in itself is one of the reasons he is so beloved as a guitarist: yes, he can be truly devastating when delivering a solo; yes, he can crank out a chunky riff with the best of them; but his playing is always in the service of the piece. His reliably deft hands deliver not riffs or solos so much as they paint with six strings. Here, freed from the constraints of delivering songs – as in Marillion and The Wishing Tree – those sound paintings are given centre stage 100% of the time, and it’s testament to Rothery’s abilities as a player and a writer that the results never fail to hold your attention.Those familiar with Rothery’s work in and out of Marillion have waited a long time for his first solo album, but it has most definitely been worth the wait. Richly atmospheric, dynamic, emotive and beautifully recorded and mixed, The Ghosts Of Pripyat is everything that those who waited for it with baited breath were hoping for. For everyone else, the album is a stunning showcase for one of the UK’s least-acknowledged guitar maestros; the perfect introduction to a talent whose indefatigable muse continues to serve up some truly extraordinary music." - Echoes & Dust
    $12.00
  • "Even back in the day, and I was there, I was only a modest fan of UK band King Crimson. My quirky music fans introduced me to In the Court of the Crimson King and then In The Wake of Poseidon. These two became the extent of my 'Crimson' experience. I largely don't recall the Wetton period of three albums in the early Seventies. But there's no denying King Crimson's influence upon many musicians and the progressive rock genre in general. It's substantial.And not wasted upon Chicago proggers District 97 who had a chance to play and tour with John Wetton in 2013. It appears that Wetton is also quite the fan of this promising band. For which there's good reason: they have a boatload of talent and creativity. Both Hybrid Child and Trouble With Machines are prime examples of the best of American melodic progressive rock. The band has both the skill and ambition to conquer most an King Crimson complexity, and they do so with One More Red Night - Live in Chicago. And I imagine that District 97 was more than thrilled and honored to work with Wetton on this material.The set list is nearly entirely from Wetton's Crimson catalog: Larks' Tongues in Aspic (1973), Starless and Bible Black (1974), and Red (1974). The odd song out is the seminal, and likely most familiar to many, 21st Century Schizoid Man from King Crimson's very first album. As for the treatment of the remainder, I can't speak to these new recordings versus the originals as I haven't heard the latter in probably 40 years. What I can say is that the District 97/Wetton interpretations definitely revive the character and flavor of early English progressive rock with energy and enthusiasm. The listener will catch the development of melody and rhythm with the technical individual instrument parts, the inherent improvisation and experimentation, and the heaviness that marked the end of the Wetton era.Therefore, in the best sense, this live recording revisits history, introduces you to Wetton-era Crimson, and and so recognizes prog rock's emerging and ongoing creativity. Oh yeah, and it's performed by District 97, a great American prog band who could be John Wetton's kids, maybe grandkids." - Dangerdog.com
    $15.00
  • Mother's Ruin is the second album from the band formed from the ashes of Black Bonzo...and its a sprawling 2 disc set.  The agenda is the same - to recreate the sound of 70s hard rock.  The Swedes nail it in spades.  When the keys are out front you'll immediately think of Deep Purple and Uriah Heep.  The guitar driven songs are a bit more reminiscent of Humble Pie and Rolling Stones.  Vocalist Magnus Karnebro (ne Lindgren) is the perfect front man.  I'd love to hear from him more often.  If I didn't tell you otherwise I could easily convince you this album was recorded in 1974 (and I think that was the objective).
    $17.00