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Características del artículo

Colour:
Multi-Coloured
Country/Region of Manufacture:
Australia
Currency:
Decimal
Year of Issue:
2011-Present
Quality:
Mint Never Hinged/MNH
Region:
Australia

Australia 2013 Special Occasions Self Adhesive set SG 3923 - 392

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Last 50 reviews
Studio Album, 2022
4.83 | 9 ratings

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Epigone
Wilderun Progressive Metal

Review by Michael919

Buckle in tight. This one is a real ride.

What a fantastic piece of work this is. There are so many good moments of gentle and mellow progressing to (and often exploding into) moments of heart pounding, double-kick, wall-of-sound, mayhem. Strong composition and creativity pour through this album. It's clear that a lot of time and effort went into getting this just right. Just right.

Don't be afraid of references that you will read of death metal growls. They are tastefully and judiciously used to add contract to Barry's beautiful, smooth vocals. Fans of Opeth (mid and later) will likely enjoy this album. Speaking of Opeth, there are parts, particularly in WoolGatherer where I am reminded of moments in Storm Corrosion where Mikael and Steven Wilson were chasing some scary, Scott Walker vibe. There's also a haunting interlude reminiscent of those on Tool's FI.

This is a dark album. Dark is the dominant mood, but there are still many nice, acoustic or well-orchestrated parts to give some balance, and Barry's vocals have a nice, sound throughout. There's also Identifier, which rocks some fantastic quitar riffs and barely explores some slightly more upbeat, almost pop-rock themes. Well, not really, it's still melancholic as a whole and it mixes in completely anarchistic changes and metal. There's nothing wrong with that!

This album is a really enjoyable listen. It's full of surprises and very interesting. It's one that you can try to put on in the background, but you will find that it routinely demands your attention with it's twists and turns. When it isn't demanding your attention, you will find yourself moving along to the varied rhythms as it maintains a pull. Give it your full attention and enjoy it even more.

Don't miss out on the bonus tracks which include a good cover of Radiohead's, "Everything in Its Right Place". They are as good as the rest of the album.

I listened to this album three time's back to back last night and again today with a fresh set of ears. Yep. She's Epic. 4.5 rounded up! Well done!

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Studio Album, 2021
4.40 | 25 ratings

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Incidenti - Lo Schianto
Nichelodeon RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Carlsons Mossberg Shockwave Heavy Wall Barrel ported with fiber
Prog Reviewer

This might be Claudio's crowning achievement. Claudio Milano also might be the most talented composer and vocalist that we have on this site. I will also say that this is difficult music and way over my head, and my way of rating which doesn't include the word "objective" means I can't go more than 4 stars here because my enjoyment level plays the biggest part of my ratings.

Man so complex, so many innovative ideas. We have 44 talented people involved in performing here from 4 different bands including NICHELODEON, INSONAR, NOT ME and THIS ORDER. This was recorded between June of 2014 and July of 2019. This is a load people with all the info and instruments and different singers and we get 17 tracks over 77 minutes. Honestly to be fair I should be spending a month with this to properly appreciate it. There are songs dedicated to people(I think 10 in total) including Peter Hammill as THIS ORDER covers his "Jargon King" track.

Claudio explains "This is my panic scatter themed album(my thirteenth one) talking about the dispersion of those who flee or fall victim to an ideological system that represses, kills, reduces love to consumption through infatuation." He talks about those in a Soviet concentration camp or those fleeing death by crossing the Mediterranean on a boat or living on constant alert as a homeless man. That being constantly on edge in that state of panic. He goes on to say "With this album I wanted to express the alteration of perception that an individual can have of sound while a truck hits him."

Claudio has always been different with the visual being as important to the audio when it comes to live performances. Even the album itself has little info or track listing on the front and back covers but the focus is on a little story about a knife thrower. The liner notes though are filled with information as he has a "the places, the times" section about where and when but also the writing process is talked about and a section disclosing the credits of all who were involved and what they played and more.

As I said earlier this is complex and difficult but my appreciation for great Avant music was on full display here even though I also feel it's hit and miss based on my tastes in music. If I was forced to pick one track that stands out for me it would be "Sabbia Scura", especially after 2 1/2 minutes. So good! I used the word "suspense" a lot when making notes about this record along with "lunacy". The Hammill cover is a top three track for me. Some "out there" vocals on this one and we get hit with some power too. Atmosphere galore before 5 minutes. I also love that closer which is dark and experimental bringing UNIVERS ZERO and ART ZOYD to mind.

There are so many instruments in play here that we do get a variety of sounds but it's all directed towards that awful feeling of being always on high alert, the dread, the fear that life has presented you with. One crazy thing I discovered in the detailed liner notes and why I do pour over these things is track 12 where the lyrics are actually excerpts from the reviews offered by Mellotron Storm, Votums, LearsFool, Zravkapt, Tszirmay, Guldbamsen, Silly Puppy, Octupus-4, Windhawk and more on Prog Archives. I told you this man is just so full of ideas.

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Studio Album, 2012
3.97 | 349 ratings

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The World Is A Game
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by ElChanclas

I can say that I like (and most of the times love) Mystery's catalog specially everything they've done post 2000's, however I just keep coming back to this album again and again, and I have come to realize why' Nick D'Virgilio and his spectacular drumming! It just adds that extra layer of greatness to all St-P're compositions. A while ago I recommended through this same account the title track in the 'Song of the Day' series, but now I think it's time to talk about the whole masterpiece, The World is a Game.

A Morning Rise opens the album with over a minute of instrumental acoustic guitars and flute lobbying the terroir for the upcoming Pride, the first epic of the album. Immense Neo Prog, immense guitar work (not a surprise there) and immense rhythmic section with an outstanding and masterful D'Virgilio. Great lyrical content and beautiful vocalizing by Beno't David, easy to understand why YES recruited him at some point to replace legend Jon Anderson, his tone is high but very melodic and catchy, hypnotic at times. 11 plus minutes of wonderful guitar riffs and licks, memorable.

Superstar is a slow builder, a cross between space-like prog from acts like Pink Floyd and Camel but with that nostalgic feeling so characteristic of St-P're's music. The opening line clearly depicts the mood - After all this time giving up is such a crime, if you look beyond the lies you'll be amazed, the truth you will find - Sad and hopeful at the same time? I'll let you be the judge! The Unwinding of Time works as an overture for the mouthwatering title track The World is a Game. I just can't get it out of my head! That I write with my recommendation back then, a BBB song I called it, brilliant bright and beautiful, and I feel exactly the same way still. Besides the already praised guitar work, the vocals and the drumming we now find ourselves also immersed in St-P're's piano-guitar inner t'ndem leading the way to an spectacular Neo Prog explosion where drums, bass and drilling guitar soloing collide in hooks so memorable it hurts. - You hold the world in your hand like a child with a ball, do you realize? You point a finger then you say one word and we fall, but who's the winner after all? - I'll move on before a make this review a sequel to the song recommendation.

Dear Someone accompanies the title track building together the most catchy and melodic 13 plus minutes of the album. Definitely radio friendly material and probably considered by many just as a power ballad but to me is much more than that, it was the first song that grabbed me and made me come back for further listens of the album and it does refreshes it a little before it enters its more complex and less bright moments. Musicianship is less virtuoso but flawless. I think the small flute interventions are genius and add an extra layer of beauty.

Time Goes By might be the saddest sounding tune here, but nothing is as it seems and the keyboards and guitars will take that feeling to a dark and inquisitive level. A very good song that becomes greater once the rhythmic section takes over to lead all instruments to the finale. Again, what Nick brings to the table elevates the musicianship of the band (or duo project at this point of time) unquestionably.

Another Day is the closer and clocking slightly under 20mins contains everything one would expect from a Neo Prog act that's evidentially highly influenced by legends as Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, Genesis, etc. The guitar sounds like a chainsaw opposing classic piano playing before the track enters an atmospheric weird symphonic moment perfectly interpreted by all musicians. Imposible not to hear/feel a Locomotive Breath unique rendition here in a way only Mystery could do it, combining it with melodic and catchy hooks, product of a genius. Heavy metal in its more pure form intervenes and leads the song back to the initial mood only with an uplifted tempo, and it goes back and forth, back and forth, and then Antoine Fafard who has been unconditionally tied to Nick's playing suddenly emerges with a powerful bass display to enhance the final quarter of the track. Michel St-P're is a magnificent guitar player and very talented song writer, and this album is amazing! THE END

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Studio Album, 1972
3.60 | 87 ratings

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Sognando e Risognando
Formula 3 Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Alestes

Sognando e Risognando is the third album of Formula 3 after Dies Irae and the eponymous Formula 3 (1970 and 1971).

It does show the influence of the Italian prog rock culture. Albero Radius was a fill in for Franco Mussida of the PFM while he was busy with his military service. Some of the PFM musicians will later participate in the group Il Volo,

The album is influenced by the psychedelic culture of the late 1960's as the listener who understands Italian might reduce from the lyrics.

Sognando e Risognando is a description of a trip away from the city in the company of a much coveted female, a week-end dedicated to exploration of human attraction and desire and the perils of it. Lust and excitement often is followed by disappointment and ennui, and the structure of the music does interpret well this common pendulum of human emotions.

L'Ultima Foglia is the description of angst and resolution, anxiety and final acceptance. It has a classical structure borrowed from symphonies and concerts of the late 1800's.

Recording quality is superior and stands the test of time: on a system with low distortion, full range and high power it shows the true color of high quality tecording and mastering.

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Studio Album, 1980
3.65 | 513 ratings

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Defector
Steve Hackett Eclectic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

Review N� 497

"Defector" is the fourth solo studio album of Steve Hackett and was released in 1980. This release doesn't stray so far musically from the early Genesis, containing a healthy dose of the traditional progressive rock music. This is also the last solo album of Steve Hackett's first musical era as a solo artist, with this style of music. He would go by a different musical direction after this album. This is also, in general, considered his last great musical work, for quite a while.

"Defector" represents also the second Steve Hackett's solo project with the same line up, the line up of his previous solo album "Spectral Mornings". So, the line up of the album is Steve Hackett (vocals, guitar, Optigan and Roland GR 500), John Hackett (concert and alto flute), Peter Hicks (vocals), Nick Magnus (keyboards), Dick Cadbury (vocals and bass) and John Shearer (drums and percussion).

"Defector" has ten tracks. The first track "The Steppes" is with any doubt an excellent opener and the highlight of the album. It's also, in my humble opinion, one of the best musical compositions ever written by Steve Hackett. This is a song with a simple musical structure, repetitive, but with great harmony between keyboards and an excellent typical Steve Hackett's guitar work. Like "Please Don't Touch" from the same album and "Clocks - The Angel Of Mons" from "Spectral Mornings", it's a song that needs no introduction because appears on many of his live recordings. The second track "Time To Get Out" is the opposite of the previous song and represents one of the weakest points on the album. It's a pleasant song to hear but it doesn't represent for me an attractive song. This is a melodic song with a very simple musical structure but to much poppy for my taste and to this album. The third track "Slogans" is, fortunately, the return of the album to the great songs. It's another song with great combination and harmony between keyboards and guitars. This represents also the magnificent technical virtuosity of Steve Hackett on guitar work. It's another of his legendary songs, also often performed live in his concerts. The fourth track "Leaving" represents another great musical moment on the album. Its musical structure is very classical and personal, and it reminds me strongly the good old times of Genesis. It's a very calm and mellow track exploring mainly keyboards, guitars and vocals. The fifth track "Two Vamps As Guests" is another song that reminds me once more Steve Hackett in Genesis. It's a very short acoustic ballad totally performed by Steve Hackett on acoustic guitar and where we can clearly hear the beautiful classical guitar style of him. It represents another great musical moment on the album. The sixth track "Jacuzzi" is another highlight of the album. It's another instrumental song that once more combines beautifully keyboard and guitar works and where once more Steve Hackett plays wonderfully. This is really another great song which also became as one of his favourite songs performed live. The seventh track "Hammer In The Sand" is a short and nice piano tune harmoniously combined with keyboards. It's a very calm, slow, melancholic and beautiful song with nice melody and wonderfully performed. This is another high point of the album. The eighth track "The Toast" is a very melodic song, very warm and with a very simple musical structure and a happy mood. It's another song with nice harmonies, very sentimental and that we can simply resume as simple and beautiful. The ninth track "The Show" is only a simple, nice and enjoyable song to hear. It's also, in my opinion, one of the Achilles' heels of the album and one of the motifs why I can't consider "Defector" as a masterpiece. It's too much pop and is dangerously too much close to Genesis' territory after Steve Hackett left them. The tenth and last track "Sentimental Institution" is a jazz style song with some sense of humour but it's for me the weakest song on the album. I don't really like this song and sincerely I think that it's completely out of the place on this great album. It isn't definitely one of the best songs on the album and represents also the worse way to end the album.

Conclusion: It's true that "Defector" isn't as good as "Spectral Mornings" and especially "Voyage Of The Acolyte", but is, without any doubt, as good or maybe even better than his second solo work "Please Don't Touch". "Voyage Of The Acolyte" is considered by many of us a kind of a Genesis' lost album, and in a certain way I agree with that point of view. Still, "Defector" can also be considered a kind of Genesis lost album too. "Defector" is, probably, the most melodic and sentimental album from Steve Hackett's solo musical career and it has, in my opinion, many of the traces of Genesis' music. I think we can consider "Defector" the turning point on Steve Hackett's music as a soloist, because from that moment, he is definitely leaving behind Genesis and its last traces in his music. "Defector" is truly an excellent album. Still, it's an album with some weaknesses that starts brilliantly with "The Steppes" but unfortunately ends not so brilliantly with "Sentimental Institution". However, it's a consistent, cohesive, catchy, mature and refined album, full of many great musical moments and where some of them represent some of his best musical moments ever.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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Studio Album, 2021
4.87 | 11 ratings

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UR-
Accordo Dei Contrari Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

Italian jazz-rockers set forth a goal of achieving Birds of Fire-like power and ecstatic energy. Result: Mission accomplished. Especially on the first two and last songs.

1. "Tergeste" (9:00) opening three minutes reminds me of FIVE-STOREY ENSEMBLE if Olga & Co. continued their meteoric development that began with RATIONAL DIET. When drums and electric guitars and bass join in, it starts to sound heavier than I've heard before. By the middle of the fifth minute, I'm totally immersed in MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA territory. Love the slow sonic and compositional fade in the eighth minute that leads to an organ drone over which bass, sax, and slowly re-build the complex riffs that the keyboards started in the first three minutes. Perfect execution of a perfect composition--complete with a guitar arpeggio at the very end that comes straight out of MO's Birds of Fire. (20/20)

2. "Così Respirano gli Incendi del Tempo / Thus They Breathe, Time's Fires" (7:45) inspiration is one thing, imitation another, but here we get almost too-close-to-differentiate replication: the song's chords, melodies, dynamics, and even sound engineering of the instruments sound too close to MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA--could be, in fact, lifted from particular songs from 1970s records. Don't get me done: It's masterfully done, with impeccable skill and virtuosity, but I was hoping for/expeciting a little more originality from this band. At least the directional change in the fifth minute takes them into different, more jazzy territory. And then the piano interlude in the sixth minute has a its own originality to it--like a Rachmaninoff �tude, but then the Rick Laird-like violin sound joins in... It's gorgeous- -incredible melodies on multiple levels making for a weave of compositional mastery, but? But I don't know what! These are just mind-blowing skills being dispayed in the form of beautiful music! Man! that went by fast! My favorite song on the album! (15/15)

3. "Più Limpida e Chiara di Ogni Impressione Vissuta (Pt. III) / More Limpid and Clearer Than Any Lived Impression (Pt. III)" (4:23) More clean power jazz-rock, this time with a little more Italian/ADC feel to it (until the Rick Laird violin enters to shred). It's the piano and clean whole-band power chord structures that make it ADC--especially that gorgeous piano-guitar-cymbal interlude at the end of the second minute. Sax solo in the third minute reminds me of some early KING CRIMSON, but then dirty organ solo brings us into different territory. Maybe MUSEO ROSENBACH, BIGLIETTO PER L'INFERNO, or even OSANNA? (8.7510)

4. "UR-" (10:50) Are they really? Are they really taking us into the hallowed ground of their own countrymates, AREA? or is it BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO they're trying to honor here? Whatever it is, the opening 90 seconds of this are truly captivating--even when they start to feel like their tip-toeing through GOBLIN territory, it's great. Then the sax-and-electric guitar join in to introduce the main melody--sounding like Cervello's CORRADO RUSTICI (who was imitating and inspired by John MeLaughlin) and Corrado's brother, Danilo's band, Osanna's ELIO D'ANNA (who would later team up to form the great NOVA lineup). The odd, repetitive motif that is played out over the next few minutes sounds more like Van Der Graaf Generator or Norway's wonderful SEVEN IMPALE. What great sound! What a wonderful tribute to so much of the best of avant prog and 1970s jazz-oriented Rock Progressivo Italiano! (17.75/20)

5. "Secolo Breve / The Short Century" (4:35) Here we get a complex jazzy rock tune that feels more avant garde and yet follows some standard jazz and rock rules and forms. Again, the talents of these instrumentalists--especially the keyboard player, but even the bass and drums--are on full display here. Not as engaging or "beautiful" as the previous two. (8.75/10)

6. "Contrari ad Ogni Accordo / Opposed to Any Agreement" (5:53) piano and plaintive sax perform a duet that almost sounds like a VINCE GUARALDI jazzed up a little but still maintaining that deep, timeless beauty in its melodies. Violin and then drums and bass join in during the third minute bringing us back to Mahavishnu territory (reminding me that some Mahavihsnu songs often had a very simple foundational chord structure--this while the soloists went bat-ape [&*!#] crazy over the top). Great tune; great work by all, somehow managing to keep that understated Vince Guaraldi essence throughout. (It was the piano, of course!) (9.25/10)

Total Time 42:26

Well, if capturing the magic of Birds of Fire was their goal, then, mission accomplished--only, with modern day production values, they may have surpassed any of Johnny Mac's early 1970s expeditions--especially in terms of sound clarity/quality.

A/five stars; an indisputable masterpiece of progressive rock music. Composition and performance of the VERY highest levels. In my humble opinion, this is the BEST album of 2021.

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Studio Album, 1997
3.92 | 657 ratings

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Stardust We Are
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by A Crimson Mellotron

This is the big deal now! The first double album by The Flower Kings came to life in April of 1997, and has since remained an iconic release for the genre and especially for the late 90s period of the retro prog revival; Not to mention that 'Stardust We Are' is often cited as the band's best work and it is not too hard to see why, as this 130-minute album is packed with awesome compositions that pretty much top the band's work up to that point.

As with the band's first two releases, 'Stardust' was also released on Foxtrot Records and was produced by Roine Stolt himself, who is playing all guitars, sings, and handles some of the keyboards on the album. Alongside him we see Tomas Bodin on keyboards, Michael Stolt on bass, Hasse Fr�berg on vocals (this time as a proper band member), Jaime Salazar on drums and Ulf Wallander contributing once again some saxophone bits and Hasse Bruniusson playing some percussion as well as H�kan Almkvist who plays sitar and table on a couple of songs. With this mighty ensemble of very talented and inspired musicians, it should come as no surprise that the music they have created is quite fantastic, very memorable and perpetually impressive.

The 10-minute extravaganza 'In the Eyes of the World' opens up the double album, a song that bombards the listener with quirky sounds and an upbeat tempo that gradually reaches the middle part guitar crescendo, one of the best things you will ever hear on a Flower Kings album. Tomas Bodin is quite impressive, so is Roine Stolt and drummer Jaime Salazar. Then we have a small instrumental piece written by Bodin; the album sees several of these splitting the longer songs. 'Just This Once' is a very 70s Genesis-sounding piece, where the band display their mellower side. 'Church of Your Heart' sees Hasse Fr�berg doing some majestic vocals. However, this is hardly one of the album's highlights as it falls into the cornier category of prog songs. The next four tracks are all instrumental, the most impressive of which is the 12-minute 'Circus Brimstone', a composition on which the band really go all in, each member explores the full capabilities of his instrument and the end result is quite impressive. Finally, disc one concludes with 'Compassion', another mini-epic that sets the tone for the next disc.

Side two, if compared track-by-track and as a whole, as a listening experience, is certainly weaker than side one. The songs might seem a bit harder to digest, the listener might be tired after the first hour of music on disc one, and yet, it is still full of interesting sounds, beautiful vocal harmonies, and grandiose instrumental work, with Roine Stolt doing some magical things on his guitar. 'The End of Innocence', 'The Merrygoround', 'Don of the Universe', 'Kingdom of Lies', 'If 28' are all very good songs that can be found here, but none of them can compete with the final song on the album - the 25-minute title track, a prog epic that is certainly on par with things like 'Supper's Ready' or 'Thick as a Brick' (Yes, I said that). The band are at the very top of their creativity and writing on this mighty composition that has deservedly remained a staple of theirs.

'Stardust We Are' is a great album that encapsulates quite accurately what The Flower Kings are all about. This makes it not only an excellent addition to any prog lover's collection but also a very good introduction to anyone who might dare to investigate this colorful band's majestic world!

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Studio Album, 1996
3.75 | 572 ratings

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Retropolis
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by A Crimson Mellotron

'Retropolis' is the sophomore studio release by the legendary symphonic prog act The Flower Kings. The Swedes were quick to release their second album some months after their very impressive and intriguing debut, indicating that creativity is hardly lacking when the band members get together in the studio. Released in May, of 1996 on Roine Stolt's own Foxtrot Records (and produced by himself, too, under the Don Azzaro moniker), this album also features Tomas Bodin on keyboards, Michael Stolt on bass, Jaime Salazar on drums, Hans Bruniusson on percussion, and additionally, Hasse Fr'berg on vocals on two tracks and Ulf Wallander playing the saxophone on a couple songs, too.

Musically, 'Retropolis' sounds just like the album you would expect to hear from the band after you've heard the preceding one - it is so predictable actually that it almost sounds like 'Back in the World of Adventures' Part 2. Not to dismiss the many qualities of this very good record, it has to be said that it presents some majestic melodies, mind-altering instrumental passages, and once again, abstract and thoughtful lyrics that are sung beautifully by Roine Stolt (and on a few occasions, by Hasse Fr'berg, not a proper band member yet).

Particular highlights would include the 11-minute instrumental title track, a powerhouse of a composition on which each member shines and displays enviable amounts of skill, talent, and imagination, certainly of the strongest instrumental compositions in The Flower Kings' entire catalogue; The more ballad-y 'Rhythm of the Sea', a song that is quite melancholic and tranquil when compared with the madness of 'Retropolis'; 'The Melting Pot' is also very interesting, a song that could only appear on a TFK album for sure with its unwelcoming structure, peculiar sounds and memorable hooks; 'Silent Sorrow' and 'Judas Kiss' are excellent songs as well, all of these tracks strongly reminisce the debut album.

The difficult second album stereotype kind of applies for 'Retropolis', as the album suffers mainly because of its similaritirs to the record that precedes it, and is probably a bit overlong, on top of the fact that the band sees itself meandering on a couple of tracks. Despite all of this, there are some pretty strong compositions that make this sophomore release a valuable moment in the band's history; Still, they have released much better material throughout the years.

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Studio Album, 2021
4.42 | 94 ratings

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Shamblemaths 2
Shamblemaths Eclectic Prog

Review by 2 Pkgs - American Greetings Multicolor Tissue Paper 8 Sheets
Prog Reviewer

I must admit I get intimidated reviewing certain albums like this one and so I keep holding off the review plus I want to keep it in my play list for as long as I can. SHAMBLEMATHS is the project of Norwegian Simen A Ellingsen who is a multi- instrumentalist and composer. I gave his debut 4.5 stars and I feel that this is just slightly better and enough to hit that magical 5 star rating. Man I love the retro sound here with the mellotron then add Simen's adventerous sax work and compositions and man this is my album of the year right here. I was reminded of ANGLAGARD and that Swedish sound and it doesn't hurt that the liner notes contain some cool pictures of the "woods" in Norway which ANGLAGARD liked to do showing off those Swedish forests. There just seems to be a connection between the land and the music. This is often dark, mysterious and romantic.

Simen has a new musical partner who is a drummer plus we get many guests adding a variety of vocals, keyboards and bass. There's really only six tracks here spread over 47 minutes as that long track at 18 minutes translated "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence" is divided into 4 separate tracks. That title reminds me of a combination of Zechariah 2:13 "Be still before the Lord all mankind because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling" and Habakkuk 2:20 "But the Lord is in his holy temple, let all the earth be silent before him".

Speaking of mysterious how about that short 1 minute opener called "Maneskygge" where we get that melancholic alto sax with the double bass helping out. "Knucklecog" is my least favourite only because of the bombast which isn't my thing but that's just a part of this 10 minute piece. Love those psychedelic calms as the keys echo. Jazzy drums and and picked guitar as well. Vocals arrive with mellotron in tow. It kicks in again as sax joins that beautiful atmosphere. Complex is the word 4 minutes in. Check out that sounds after 5 1/2 minutes! A calm follows as themes continue to be repeated then some female vocals after 7 minutes with sax, atmosphere and jazzy drums before kicking back in.

I am blown away by the remainder of this album beginning with the 6 1/2 minute "D.S.C.H." which starts with baritone sax before we are hit with power. Some nasty organ and man SINKADUS comes to mind, this is so good. It settles again quickly with some soprano recorder but that organ is nasty that comes and goes boiling away. Some mellotron as soprano female vocals arrive and other sounds that come and go. It kicks in after 3 minutes with the guitar out front. Soon it's a stampede! The sax is great here and the tempo continues to shift. So much going on at 5 minutes then a calm with piano only. Again it's brief as it kicks back in.

Next is that monster 18 minute piece called "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence"and it opens with solo female vocals before mellotron then some depth kicks in as vocals continue. Oh my! Check out those heavy outbursts. Jarring and powerful. She will step aside as the sax takes the lead in a powerful setting. Some beautiful keyboard sounds after 4 minutes as it has settled followed by mellotron at 5 1/2 minutes. It's building bringing ANGLAGARD to mind before we get another calm.

The next section is dark with sparse sounds. The piano echoes as we hear cymbals and atmosphere. So good! It turns fuller around 2 1/2 minutes. Man this section ends so amazingly with those nasty keyboards, mellotron, sax and heaviness. Come on! Mellotron storms in to end it as we get the next section that begins with female vocals then heaviness with sax. Complex. Love that electric piano and intricate sounds as we get a calm. Picked guitar and xylophone too. Bassoon! Mellotron is ravaging the soundscape 2 minutes in then check out the sound after 3 minutes! The final section opens with a child singing in a reserved way in atmosphere.

"Been And Gone" is a short 2 minute track that is haunting and dark like those woods in Norway. Double bass with experimental sounds along with some mellotron and whispers. "This River" ends it with Simen's understated vocals with piano. I am surprisingly drawn to this. We do get some mellotron, bass and female vocals joining in. Sax will follow as it gets a little fuller and check out that mellotron before 4 minutes. It ends with dual vocals and piano.

What a ride or should I say adventure. I need to do a retro list of my favourite albums I just love this style of music. So many great ideas on this album. I wasn't expecting the mellotron and Simen told me he thought I would like this new direction he went in given my penchant for Rio as he put it.

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Studio Album, 1997
4.01 | 336 ratings

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Ocean Machine - Biomech
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by eduardico21

There are some LPs that are more than only music. I have nothing against music as entertainment. In fact, I would say that the majority of what we consume will fall into that category, music that has the only objective of being a fun time. However, from time to time you'll find artists that are more than simple music, who are feelings too. Who hasn't that special band that achieves making you drown in a sea of feelings such as sadness, melancholy, happiness, love... And that's what this album does for me. Devin achieves to surround me in all his feelings of loneliness and sadness.

Ocean Machine: Biomech is a journey, and it has to be faced has such. In fact, if I'm being completely honest with you, the first time I listened it I didn't even finished it. I faced it in the wrong way, taking it as a simple combination of songs, so when the interludes started fallen upon me I was completely lost. Because the correct way to handle this work is to flow between its songs as a whole, as a river which ploughs through its line steadily until it reaches the ocean.

This album had a very long preparation, as it was in the making since the promotional tour of Sex and Religion ended in 1994. Townsend keeps saying to this day that what he really loves about this album is that it was the only time in his whole career that he dind't have to finish it in a hurry, and that's the reason why he believe it's one of his best. Besides the long writing process, problems that escaped from his hands made the delay even bigger. In the words of Devin, the album was recorded in M�laga (Spain), in a dump of a studio in which the famous actor Antonio Banderas used to go partying, and the noises from his parties ended contaminating the recordings. In the end, Devin even fighted with the owner and had to sneak in to grab the masters of all what he had recorded.

For all this reasons he decided to re-record all the album in a little home-studio, achieving that way the sound he was looking for. But the problems didn't end there, as no record company wanted to release it. Finally, the album saw the light through HevyDevy Records, an independent record company founded by Devin himself.

And what can we expect from the brilliant mind that only 4 months before had released the acclamied City with Strapping Yound Lad? Well, something completely different. In the word of Devin this was the music that really moved him, stating that when he was writting this album he started to see the music of Strapping Young Lad even as a parody. And that's clear when we hear "Seventh Wave", a lot of Dream Theater influence, heavy riffing and above it all a lot of feeling. The voice of Devin is capable of moving anyone, both when he uses soft registers and when he rips us with heavy guttural voices.

"Life" is a more commercial song, and one of the better ones Devin has released on this vein alongside the legendary "Chisteen" from Infinity. On the other side, "Night" is much more darkest, alternative and melancholic, with the synthesizers taking the reins, something that he will continue to take advantage of troughout his career. "Hide Nowhere" drives us to the part of the album that was an uphill climb on my first listen, and it is one of the ones that I enjoy the most today. "Sister" and "3 A.M." aren't songs in the traditional meaning of the word. Rather they are ambient passages, showcases used by Devin to make some melodic ideas flow in them. Said this way it could appear like it's filler, but I can't imagine the album without this two songs, just like I can't imagine this songs outside of the album. As I said before, this album is not a combination of songs, is a whole that cannot be shred into his parts.

"Voices in the Fan" is similar to the first songs of the album, while "Greetings" takes more of a minimalist approach, one that could even belong to a sci-fi movie OST. "Regulator" is the most metal song of them all, and for me, although not being bad, is the worst the album has to offer.

Until now we have a very good album. However, it's what comes next what makes Ocen Machine: Biomech a masterpiece. "Funeral" starts enigmatic, slithering slowly upon the cemetery, and when it finally blows into full force it makes me question myself: How is it possible that a song which talks about the funeral of a friend can transmit melancholy and happiness at the same time? Melancholy beacuse he's not with us anymore, and you will never hug him again, and happiness because, in the end, you have been able to be part of his life.

And if "Funeral" has taken your breath away prepare for the magnificence of "Bastard". Blueprint for songs that would come later such as the famous "Deadhead", and for me the best one from his career. A heavy riff travels with us for minutes, but it never tires you. And that's because the music, that riff, the synthesizers which help in the making of an ambient landscape... are only the basis so that Devin could give us one of the best vocal performances I've listened on my entire life. Do you believe that is not possible to move someone using guttural voices? Well, I believed it until I heard that raging scream that sounds at 5:55 and it moved me to tears.

And to end this trilogy of great songs we've got "The Death of Music", a song that may not please everyone, since it moves away from metal to take the ambient side of Devin's music to the forefront for more than ten minutes. I don't understand ambient music that well, and I don't usually listen to it. In fact, the first time I listened to this song it did nothing for me, but in the long term it made an impression on me. Now I believe is one of the three best songs from the album alongside "Funeral" and "Bastard".

Devin's career continued in leaps and bounds up from this point. However, he would never make a masterpiece like this later on. Maybe it was beacuse he was not in an hurry by a record company, or maybe the feelings he was experiencing were more intense at this stage of his life. The only thing I'm certain about is that he gave us one of the albums that more things has made me feel in my life, and that goes beyond simple music.

[Originally written for El Portal del Metal in spanish - translated for Prog Archives]

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