Robby Steinhardt, who helped create the iconic sound of Progressivle Rock greats Kansas has died. He was 71. He passed away on Saturday, July 17th, 2021 of complications from acute pancreatitis. A classically trained violinist, Kansas native song who named the band and sang harmony vocals on all of the bands’ biggest songs, including “Carry on Wayward Son,” “Dust in the Wind” and “Point of Know Return.” Steinhardt relocated to the bay area in the early 1980s and with guitarist Rick Moon formed the band Steinhardt-Moon, which morphed into Stormbringer. Over the years he re-joined the other founding members of Kansas for reunion tours and albums. Robby’s family shared a message with the news of his passing.
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While bands such as Pallbearer and Khemmis have been roundly lauded as the prime exponents of modern Progressive Doom, Boston’s Magic Circle has received less attention but is no less of a creative talent. The third album Departed Souls takes up where predecessor Blind Journey (both 20 Buck Spin) left off but sees positively lumimous advances from a whole host of instruments.Continue reading
Sometimes modern bands can forget the lineage of Progressive Rock – if we go back in time to the seventies and early eighties, it was an experimental style of music that often incorporated twinges of Psychedelia, Pop and Rock whilst still allowing for extensive sonic exploration with elements of Blues, Folk, and Jazz along with constructs such as longer song formats.Continue reading
The Loudwire Awards in Los Angeles prove that hard rock and heavy metal are still kicking live.Continue reading
“The Killthrax Tour” will be wrapping up next week in Boston, and what a run it’s been. Anthrax and Killswitch Engage have put on incredible shows each and every night, while adding in some memorable moments in different cities. Continue reading
Anthrax released their For All Kings 7-Inch Box Set last week via Megaforce Records, and it’s a must have for every Anthrax fan. Continue reading
In Part 2 of our chat with Richard Williams of Kansas, we discussed the new make up of the band, and how it made the difference their new album The Prelude Implicit. We also discussed their relationship with their label, touring, and when and if the band plans to retire at some point.Continue reading
Kansas is one of the greatest bands of all-time, and certainly the best progressive rock band to ever come out of America. The band is best known for their slew of radio friendly cuts from the 70s, but always had strong rock albums musically, and were top-tier musicians, especially live. They are back this month with their first new album in over a decade and half, The Prelude Implicit, from InsideOut Music. Longtime guitarist, and band leader Rich Williams chatted with Keith Chachkes of Ghost Cult to discuss changes in the group, their bright new future.Continue reading
You can’t call yourself a proper prog band until you’ve attempted those two most indulgent of propositions… the ten minute long epic and the concept album. For their fourth album, Swedish retro rockers Horisont haven’t just attempted both, they’re brazenly flaunting it, kicking the Rise Above released album off with ten minute prog opera and title track ‘Odyssey’.
“The whole thing started when we were joking around saying “Let’s do a 10 minute song”,” laughs vocalist and keys man Axel Söderberg. “We really did think of it as a joke at first. But then we came round to it saying “You know, we should really do that, it’d be really cool”. So we proceeded from there, building the other songs around the same subject and it came together. It’s one of those songs where a 10 minute song doesn’t feel like a 10 minute song, so, then it’s a good 10 minute song!!”
And what a subject it is, too. Raiding such luminiferous source materials as an entire book-shelf full of sci-fi paperbacks, and a life-time worth of Blakes 7 and Buck Rogers ideals, via a touch of War of the Worlds, the story of Odyssey “concerns a supreme race of mysterious beings” confirms bassist Magnus Delborg. Of course it does… but just what do we encounter these beings doing? “(they) experiment with the creation of life and start to populate planets around the universe. This is the story of one of those planets…”
“The main theme of the album is Magnus our bass players story,” affirms Söderberg before explaining how the title track served to feed the rest of the album. “When we started with this 10 minute song, that started with me buying a synthesizer and trying out the main riff and finding something that the song was going to evolve from.”
The main keyboard lick reminds me of Magnum (a band I never thought I’d reference when talking a new release in 2015). “Ha, yes, I like them. Well, the first album only” grins the voice of Horisont, before diverging more about his additional input to the album; synthesizers… “I’ve always played the keyboards and we never got around to using them live before. So now I’ve bought myself 3 proper keyboards, so it’s going to be nice trying it out live. I can’t drink as much, anymore, though…” he muses on his new live responsibilities with just a pang of regret in his voice.
The introduction of synthesizers has rounded out the Horisont sound, like the pair of Doc Martens that have finally stopped giving you blisters and now fit like a foot-glove. “I’m not really sure why it works better now”, is the shrugged reply. “It’s like, this album is more a mix of what we actually listen to. I listen to lots of Kansas. Not the “proper” prog groups like Yes or that, but more AOR prog-ish stuff is really what I like. So that shows on this album more than the others. We’re into UFO and Black Sabbath as well, obviously, but this one really reflects what we listen to.”
“We probably would have liked to have played this stuff before, but I don’t think we had the skills back then!”
It’s been a natural evolution, and a return to the music that is in their hearts. “We’ve played this kind of music for ten years now and genres and new kinds of music they come and go, but the classic rock sound is something that will always come back. Everyone that listens to rock in general always goes back to the classic bands.”
The amiable frontman gets sheepish about his love of the retro… “I started out singing in a Misfits and Danzig covers band! That was what pulled me into playing music, made me realize I could play music and it sounded OK! Then I proceeded from there, so I guess that’s my musical background – punk and hard rock.
“I’m actually really not that good at listening to new bands, because there’s no other bands like the classic bands. I do try to check out newer bands, but it’s been a long time since I bought a new record, put it that way.”
Not content with breaking new ground with Odyssey, the upcoming tour will also see the band pushing their horizon(t)s (#SorryNotSorry). “Yes, I just came back from practicing vocal harmonies… and we’ve got a lot of work, as that’s something we’ve never done before! We’re rehearsing hard for the tour and realizing how much work we have to do in learning the songs!”
But it seems like it is hard work that’s paying off. There seems to be a genuine buzz and interest in Odyssey and the bands fourth, most organic and natural album, appears to be the one set to raise their profile all across the board.
“I can feel it; it all feels promising. Yes, it’s looking good! We had more time writing and recording this album than before. All the other albums were a bit stressful, this one, though, just feels really good.”
Odyssey will be released on Friday 18th September via Rise Above Records
WORDS BY STEVE TOVEY