If there is one thing that recent Progressive Rock acts have done, it is once and for all putting to bed the notion of the genre being predominantly style over substance, with a reliance on over-playing as opposed to having heart. A completely unfair assessment from day one of course; even just a cursory listen to the contemporary Prog Rock leaders such as Riverside, Steven Wilson, and The Pineapple Thief shows both an unwavering sense of emotion and a balance of challenging yet accessible song structuring. Continue reading →
The Pineapple Thief have shared a new single, ‘Uncovering Your Tracks’ from their recent album Dissolution, out now through Kscope. They also recently announced more live dates for Feb/March 2019, where they will be once again be joined by Gavin Harrison (King Crimson/Porcupine Tree).Continue reading →
The bastion of progressive, challenging and heavy music in the world, Kscope is celebrating ten years in business in 2018! Cheers! To help us celebrate, music industry veteran Simon Glacken of For The Lost PR has shared his favourite releases from the Kscope label.Continue reading →
As one door closes, another opens. Or so the saying goes. Yet the conclusion of the A Natural Disaster (Music For Nations) run saw British Progressive Rock act Anathema complete their second cycle, one that had taken them from Doom (Serenades through The Silent Enigma) through a transitional period through more Progressive and emotional waters (Eternity through to …Disaster including the exceptional Judgement), alone in a room without an opening ahead of them, with apparently limited options. Externally, at least, the future of the band seemed shrouded, and their continued existence, let alone any future success, appeared unlikely. Continue reading →
Recent years have seen UK progressive art rockers The Pineapple Thief hit a sweet spot of a niche between explorative and catchy songwriting. With the likes of All The Wars and Magnolia leaning either side respectively, 2016’s Your Wilderness straddled both thresholds and resulted in their most successful album and, arguably at that point, their creative peak. Poised for their biggest European tour, both in terms of dates and venue capacities, their latest album, Dissolution (all Kscope), once again continues this trend. Continue reading →
Kscope Music is celebrating 10 years as a label in 2018 and has booked a grand concert at London’s Union Chapel on October 2nd. It will feature performances from Anathema, Paul Draper, Iamthemorning and Gleb Kolyadin. Tickets are on sale now. Continue reading →
In their long and storied career, The Pineapple Thief have simultaneously proven to offer a consistently excellent catalogue and yet have maintained a mostly, near cult status of being under the radar. Having garnered critical acclaim since their inception in 1999 but never truly hitting commercial peaks of some of their peers, 2016 seemed to be a major step forward for them. The addition of guitarist Darran Charles and iconic drummer Gavin Harrison also seemed to light a greater fire in the band and in part led to career highlight album Your Wilderness (Kscope) and a resulting tour which included their biggest headline show to date at London’s Islington Assembly Hall. Recorded on that very night, Where We Stood shows one of Britain’s premier alternative/progressive bands in their strongest and most vibrant form to date.Continue reading →
Ghost Cult once again brings you another “End Of Year” list, full of memories, and other shenanigans from our favorite bands, partners, music industry peers, and other folks we respect across the world. Today we have Simon Glacken of I Like Press, one of the top publicists in the UK. If you happen to not know his name, you certainly know the bands he reps due to his tireless work such as Anathema, Paradise Lost, Katatonia, Darkthrone, 65daysofstatic, Bloodbath, Black Moth, The Pineapple Thief, My Dying Bride, TesseracT, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, SikTh, Mos Generator, Crippled Black Phoenix, and Cradle Of Filth to name just a few. We thank Simon for his thoughtful and detailed list of his Top Ten Albums of 2016.Continue reading →
Recent years have seen The Pineapple Thief mastermind Bruce Soord in an experimental and pace changing mindset to say the least. From the electronica driven prog of his Wisdom Of Crowds album, his reflective solo album and PT’s previous, more hard rock and riff focused album Magnolia (Kscope); charting Soord’s course has been an unenviable task. So it isn’t too surprising that, against his own omission previously, that latest album Your Wilderness(Kscope) is somewhat a return to more familiar territory.
To say that this is a return to their roots is a quite a disservice but Your Wilderness definitely fits closer to the mold of the likes of Someone Here Is Missing(Kscope); particularly in its soothing and smooth atmosphere which proves, for the most part, uplifting with hints of melancholy. Ultimately however Your Wilderness performs a happy medium between such albums and the sharper counterpart Magnolia.
There is plenty of evidence of its predecessors more refined and harder edge, such as in the way “Tear You Up” builds into a more metallic territory, or in the majority of the album’s succinct song durations and structures. Not that fans lost on the way won’t find plenty to restore their faith, with plenty of exploration and layers and the near ten minute “The Final Thing On My Mind”. The addition of Gavin Harrison on has also added a much greater dexterity and dimension behind the drum kit.
Your Wilderness has a difficult role to fulfill coming after such a polarising and somewhat unique release in Magnolia, in that it has to appeal to both the fans perhaps lost at that point yet not feel like a backwards step for them; and they do so with seeming ease. Still as accessible as their brand of prog has always been but with enough deep intricacies to offer something new each time. Some will say this is back to form, but this is also a perfect evolutionary step for one of Britain’s greatest prog forces.
After the glorious weather of the Saturday, Sunday at Ramblin’ Man greets us with rain. Lots and lots of rain and some dampened (chortle chortle) moods. As a result the arena certainly seems noticeably emptier than yesterday; but alas, duty calls. Even Sweden’s Blues Pills and their brand of psychedelic, 60s rock can’t perturb the downpour. Despite their suiting to sunnier climes however they go down a storm (!), as Elin Larsson showcases her massive, Janis Joplin-esque voice.
Despite the grim weather, Icelandic rockers Solstifir have a sizable turnout. Their presence on the main stage and the warm welcome they receive is incredibly gratifying. In spite of their short set, their performances of what has become their signature song, ‘Otta’ will hopefully elevate them further into the rock arena. Which, judging by today’s performance, they will most definitely deserve.
The rain proves a problem for the Prog Stage particularly as its shallow shelter fails to protect equipment (and band members) from the downpour. For Knifeworld sound problems would prove very detrimental as many of their instruments (and backing vocals) seemingly fail to come out of the PA at all. Kavus Torabi’s drawling, quirky vocals are always clear, but their complex and diverse structures are damaged severely, such as on ‘Send Him Seaworthy’ where its prominent Bassoon sections sounded completely nonexistent.
The Blues Tent enjoys a significant audience for the day, bolstered by those seeking shelter from the rain; as a result catching Aaron Keylock proves impossible, but from the outside he sounds on fine form. Over at the Prog Stage, The Pineapple Thief play a triumphant set which balances between their more delicate songs such as ‘Magnolia’ and their rockier kin of the likes of ‘Alone At Sea’ with great fluidity, showing their dexterity and understated diversity, proving a highlight of the entire weekend.
There’s a lot of love for Polish lads Riverside, and with good reason. Since the release of Shrine of New Generation Slaves (InsideOut) they have worked their way into the hearts of countless devotees. Their set today is nothing less than triumphant, seemingly able to bring the sunshine despite the clouds, lifting the spirits and smiles of the now rather soggy crowd. Their delight at the live setting is obvious, playing with gusto and passion compositions such as ‘Hyperactive’, ‘O2 Panic Room’ and ending with an immaculate rendition of ‘We Got Used To This’. This has to be one of the performances of the weekend.
Finally the rain eases and the sun shines through, creating a beautiful and apt scene for Alcest and their melancholic but gorgeous shoe-gazing take on prog. Despite his very reserved, even shy nature, Niege grows each time into his role as the band’s centerpiece, talking at greater lengths and showing genuine appreciation to the crowd. Mixing their earlier black metal orientated songs with the latter, softer elements, their set is one of pure majesty and hypnotic beauty that completely draws everyone in. Closing with a mesmerizing “Deliverance”, the band gradually leave the stage, finally with Niege as he turns, humbled by the rapturous response.
Possibly one of the most anticipated performances from the weekend comes from Seasick Steve. He arrives on stage dressed in garb that you wouldn’t find out of place on a lumberjack, and unassuming persona makes him even more endearing to the huge crowd in front of him. He regales tales of the origins of his many handmade instruments to the amused crowd, who are seemingly baffled that he can produce such music from such rickety creations. Songs like ‘Thunderbird’ and ‘Walkin’ Man’ transform the ordinary to the extraordinary.
Very few people are as iconic and instrumental in the world of Prog rock as Ian Anderson, and, while his legacy needs not reiterating, today his performance is certainly enjoyable but far from perfect. Brimming with an ever present enthusiasm and his quirky sense of humour and personality, Anderson is a joyous presence with sadly but expectedly some signs of wear and tear setting in. What really detracts however is the ill fitting, over the top style of guitarist Florian Ophale which doesn’t seem to make sense. Given a spot to show off, Ophale certainly has skill but his virtuoso performance does not match to the rest of the set at all, as if a last minute addition. Songs like ‘Agualung’ are simply timeless and can never fail, but the presence of Ophale leaves too sour a taste.
Marillion are one of those bands that seem to have always been there. It would be difficult to imagine the progressive rock scene without them, as they are the reason why many in the crowd are here today. Opening with the fifteen minute marvel that is ‘Gaza’, Steve Hogarth and co prove their longevity. Their set is filled with relatively new tomes, the post pre-1995 entry being ‘Sugar Mice’ but to the delight of the crowd. Steve Hogarth’s stage-based eccentricities and his unique vocal style (apparently unaffected by time) are on top form. Much of the set comes from their latest release, ‘Sounds That Can’t Be Made’, arguably their best yet. The crowd sings ‘Power’ as though it was their last breath, and as they close all too soon with ‘The Invisible Man’; it is clear that Marillion reach stretches beyond the progressive world.