If the Nobel Prize judging committee are to be believed then we should start thinking about music as literature. The awarding of the 2016 literature prize to Bob Dylan may have had as much to do with attempting to appear “relevant” and garnering headlines as it did about celebrating the musical and lyrical genius of the American songwriter. Whilst this, in time, will be regarded as the last truly great hurrah of the Baby Boomer generation, the award, at the very least, asked you to start thinking about his music through a very different lens. Continue reading
Polish progressive band RIVERSIDE have released the new trailer for their upcoming album Love, Fear And The Time Machine (InsideOut Music) You can video the trailer at this link or below:
Releasing on September 4th, Love, Fear And The Time Machine is the bands 6th studio album features cover artwork by longtime design-partner Travis Smith/Seempieces (Katatonia, Opeth, Nevermore)
The band is tour in advance of the album drop, including this coming weekends’ “Night Of The Prog” festival in St. Goarshausen, DE on July 18th. Other bands appearing this coming weekend at NOTP include IOM labelmates Pain Of Salvation, Steve Rothery, Steve Hackett, Haken, Kaipa, Beardfish, Anneke van Giersbergen / The Gentle Storm, Neal Morse and many more. Get tickets here: http://www.wiventertainment.de/projekte/21-notp.html
RIVERSIDE – Love, Fear and the Time Machine track listing
1. Lost (Why Should I Be Frightened By a Hat?)
2. Under the Pillow
4. Caterpillar and the Barbed Wire
5. Saturate Me
7. Discard Your Fear
8. Towards the Blue Horizon
9. Time Travellers
10. Found (The Unexpected Flaw of Searching)
Marillion guitarist and founding member Steve Rothery is releasing his recently crowdfunded solo record The Ghosts of Pripyat on February 2, 2015 in Europe and February 24, 2015 in North America via InsideOut Music.
The Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign for the album reached its target in just 24 hours, with Steve stating:
“I have been amazed and humbled at the support I’ve received.” It wasn’t just the fans that helped create this album though, with two very special guest appearances from Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree) and Steve Hackett (Genesis), who both lend their guitar playing skills to tracks on the album. The cover image of the album (which can be viewed above) is an aerial shot of Pripyat in Ukraine by French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand and the artwork is by the legendary Lasse Hoile.
The full track-listing for the album is as follows:
Old Man Of The Sea
The Ghosts Of Pripyat
The band line-up for the album is:
Steve Rothery – Guitars & Keyboards
Dave Foster – Guitars
Yatim Halimi – Bass
Leon Parr – Drums
Riccardo Romano – Keyboards
If it’s true that a week is a long time in politics, a decade in the music industry must surely be the equivalent of a myriad lifetimes. Consider the amount of change; whether in terms of styles, tribes, technological advances, listening modes, business models, there is little doubt that life in the music industry has moved on significantly even in the last few years. Throw in life changes, marriages, kids, divorces and you can begin to see why it has taken Californian Prog band Enchant just over a decade to get a new record together.
The Great Divide (InsideOut) is a return to the musical fray for a band who, having been prolific during the 1990s, faded at the turn of the century and now find themselves betwixt and between being “underground prog legends” and “mates of Steve Rothery”. Having lived with their eighth studio release for a few weeks I suspect that this record will delight and infuriate in equal measure. Those of you familiar with their particular brand of progressive rock (for this is rock, albeit a keyboard drenched version of it) will be pretty happy, all things being told; for new listeners, I suspect that it’s going to sound, well, a bit dated, really.
This is a clean sounding and deeply polite record and in actual fact, it’s not that proggy. More, it’s not dissimilar to some of the late 80s melodic rock that the likes of Mr Mister used to put out. There are some nice harmonies, particularly on the title track and ‘All Mixed Up’ but the lyrics are, in the nicest possible way, straight out of “101 Good Uses for a Cliché” and anyone who pens “Round and round and round it goes, and where it stops, no one knows” needs, metaphorically, a good kicking. Oh, gentlemen, this is lyric writing for second-graders.
Part of me feels somewhat guilty for not liking this record more than I do – it’s got all the leitmotifs that I generally warm to; riffs, keyboard solos, big harmonies, (you know the drill) – but I can’t get excited by any of this at all. Part of the problem is I can see the joins. The Great Divide is really well put together and nicely produced; it feels immediately warm and comfortable. It’s not unassuming or apologetic. There are plenty of proggy flourishes but it is the sum of its parts and nothing more and you can more or less see the joins and the musical narrative is fairly well telegraphed. This doesn’t mean that The Great Divide is indulgent, but it fails to rise above the merely adequate or the pleasant enough to be truly memorable and, after nearly a decade out of the limelight that can only count as a disappointing return.
File under close, but, definitely, no cigar.
As All Seasons Die(Svart)…happy eh? This Finnish five piece, housing ex- and current members of Horna and Corpsessed, don’t come across as cheerful, and indeed theirs is the most funeral of doom.
Orchestral keys at a snail’s pace accompany the sparse yet crushing riff and drums of ‘A Reverie (Midsummer’s Dying Throes)’, the flattening qualities of the bridges when everything collides together, both awe-striking and ominous, Anssi Mäkinen‘s voice a crawling, seeping growl to terrify the hardiest soul. It is tolling and metronomic with an affecting organ solo a striking, mournful interlude which lingers and carries a titanic beat and riff, that builds the drama, the emotion and the oppression, yet never changing pace. It’s impossible to convey just how staggeringly effective this is, which is remarkable when you consider that there are periods when it seems as if nothing happens.
The reverberating chant of ‘Dead Are Our Leaves of Autumn’, delivered as if from God on high, is so gentle yet resonant as to caress the mind whilst cracking you in the face. Mäkinen’s doleful tones induce paradoxical feelings of misery and euphoria whilst initially understated lead work soon becomes the centrepiece escalating to stunningly emotive levels, imitating gulls on a barren shore à la Marillion’s Steve Rothery. It is an exercise in precision and control, yet feels as organic as the Yorkshire moors – harsh, desolate, yet staggeringly beautiful.
As the life cycle ends with the tolling, effortless yet pounding closer ‘The Dire Womb of Winter’, creeping with the speed and stealth of a hunting cat, it really does echo the seasonal despair’; portentous, weighty, and shudderingly affecting despite the occasionally soporific pace. A spearing riff shoots forth at intervals to prevent sleep, and replace the weight in slow motion. Yet when the keys begin to build to the crescendo there’s the slightest quickening, a lifting of mood. A rebirth…?
The disaffected listener who craves more action, the quick hit, is already dead inside. The clue is in the description: life affirming whilst lamenting the sadness of it, this is another winner from Svart.