Showing posts with label Progressive Rock Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Progressive Rock Reviews. Show all posts

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Rock-Progressive Review: 6 Turning 4 Burning-6T4B

Release Date: August 26, 2023

Label: Bomber Records


Those Hellraisers From Cleveland, Ohio, 6 Turning 4 Burning, have released a rock album for all true music lovers to give a spin or to blare from your vehicle while cruising down the roads of America. Listen to 6T4B, and I will tell you why track by track.

Indicative of the cover art, they will appeal to those who believe in the freedom of the U.S. and the open roads to travel anywhere. Their music is very eclectic, bordering or launching into full-on progressive.

"Crazy Peace" is an instant satisfying rocker, and the lyrics are a riot! It is about the lady friend or wife, as it may, having their crazy "time of the month." It is a great way to kick off the album. Also, you will hear some exemplary musicianship on the recording. It is bound to click when you assemble a group of seasoned players. The second track, which clocks in at 7:02, is a tribute to their all-around talents and a tight band exhibiting all their skills within one track. It is a killer track featuring all aspects of the band at each position. Notably, the vocals are outstanding.

"So Deep" was a famous track that got thousands of views. It is a rocking love song, a slow cooker, and a tremendous vocal performance. It serves as another dimension of the band to be admired and appreciated.

"Help Me Through This" differs significantly from the previous tracks for 8:29. The guitar playing is bluesy, which fits the lyrics nicely. I am getting more impressed the further I get into the album. The diversification is quite impressive. And because of that, it keeps things interesting. Also, with extensive songs, it is essential not to lose the listener. That never happens because of all the changes. This one is a progressive rocker.

"Something's Wrong" keeps up with the pattern of change. The track starts with a soft acoustic guitar as the bass and drums come in. The vocals are heartfelt and expressing the lyrics beautifully. If you like blues-country tracks, this one is a nice change from the previous track. They sound like a different band on this one.

"It's Over" starts with a funky bass line accompanied by a driving guitar line, then it changes into a slower pace to emphasize the lyrics about the abuse of drugs and all the struggles it can bring. It doesn't sound like any fun, and it should discourage those wanting to take drugs. I think that was the point. As the song lumbers along, the words hit you like a brick wall at 90 mph, saying, "Cocaine's got me down, rest in peace." About halfway through, the song turns into the fast line as the bottom end pushes it along. The guitar plays some fat chords and nice cutting lines to show off their chops. It is another excellent track with 8:44 of fantastic changes and music to keep you wondering what is coming next. Then, at the end, you can hear someone snorting coke.

"Karma" is another long one coming in at 9:34, so I am amazed at how they can keep pumping out all these impressive tracks with such length and complexities. It starts with some definitive chicken pickin', rapid drumming, and a big bass sound. It all changes as it goes back and forth with different paces and styles of playing. It's like a country-fried rocker with hints of the blues for extra color. You may wonder when the vocals will come in, but they finally arrive well into 3+ minutes. And in this case, that is a good thing, as I enjoyed the long instrumental intro. The vocals add their sentiments with lines like "Karma speaks to you all alone." Those words change how we can relate to and experience karma. Which, of course, works if you believe in it. I believe in it without question, so I found the lyrics relatable.

"Take a Hike" is their magnum opus, dialing in at 11:24. I did not know what to expect with a track this long; it had to be progressive. At least, that was my first thought. It starts epically with a hard-driving metallic power; then they start reciting lines from the bible to help save them from the dark master himself, the Devil. It is an incredible track with magnificent music. It is reflective, opaque, and anticipatory. This one convinced me what a superior group of players this band is. Fans of Black Sabbath would love this one for sure. It is most certainly a hike to the darker side of life. In typical fashion, at 4+ minutes, it completes changes in pace and sound. This bass is prolific here. The vocals reminded me of Ian Gillan of Deep Purple. It is so soulful and passionate, and if anyone wants to know how good this band can play, it should be your first track. It's a must! And remember what they say in the song "Don't listen to Devil!" "Take a hike, Devil, disappear!" All instruments are superb throughout the run of the song.

So, if all of that wasn't enough, they test their abilities by covering the ELP classic 'Lucky Man" within 10:07. Could they once again prove themselves as a legitimate force in music? It starts differently than the original, then changes to the more familiar melody you are used to hearing in 2+ minutes. The vocals are excellent, and the music from start to finish is outstanding. It was risky to close out such a superior recording like that, but they pulled it off like the five-star band they are.

6T4B is a title that may give people a different idea of what this band is all about, including the cover art. Trust me on this one; you are in for a treat for the senses with 6 Turning 4 Burning. Every track is entertaining and well-played, and you will be sorry it all ends, so play it again.

Keith “MuzikMan” Founder

December 6, 2023


1. Crazy Peace 5:26

2. Release Me 7:02

3. So Deep 5:28

4. Help Me Through This 8:29

5. Something's Wrong 4:25

6. It's Over 8:44

7. Karma 9:34

8. Take a Hike 11:24

9. Lucky Man 10:07

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Derek Sherinian and Simon Phillips - Sherinian/Phillips Live Review

Release Date: August 25, 2023

Label: Inside Out Music


Twenty years in the making, Sherinian/Phillips Live is documenting a special concert recorded at The Grape in Ventura, California, on August 29, 2022. There were 500 people in attendance.

Receiving the vinyl version of the release for review was a real treat for the ears. 

The Line-Up for the recording includes:

Derek Sherinian (keys/synth), Simon Phillips (drums), Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal (guitar), and Ric Fierabracci (bass). That qualifies as a supergroup as far as I am concerned.

Side A begins with "The Vortex." The track is an energized opener. The listener enters their vortex of sound with a series of rapid-fire keyboard strokes, a rock-solid rhythm section, and Bumblefoot at his best with his double-neck guitar. Of course, Simon's drumming keeps the engine running, which always drives this musical machine in top form with the help of Ric's bass during the entire performance.

"Empyrean Sky" opens with a heavy introduction and turns to a lower amperage to allow the six-string to sing. Catchy rhythms and melodicism are featured as Derek builds on it with his talented fingers. The rest of the instrumentation answers the call steadily and consistently. 

"Temple of Helios" has a solid bass line as the track goes through the paces of change. Powerfully blended prog rock is in their command, with touches of jazz peppering the composition. Derek shows how diverse he can be as different high points and drawing back on the volume and intensity make for more changes. The track is colorful and eclectic, and it reminded me of Return To Forever.

"Inertia" begins with computer-age sounds of electronics as it builds steadily, then Bumblefoot cuts loose with some riffs, and Derek adds a soft layer in the background and then steps it up to match the intensity of the guitar wailing away. The swift guitar playing is impressive, along with the keys, to keep it all intact. The bass and drums hold down the back end with steady hands. The ongoing exchange between the guitar and keys reaches a crescendo of sound.

"Alpha Burst” features a guitar intro that calls to the keys again and gets an answer, while the rhythm section holds firm and accurate. Compact and constantly moving, the side closes in a flourish of sounds!

Side B starts with "Barnacus" as the drums begin with tremendous authority as Simon leads into a heavy opener where the entire group's strength merges. Then it takes a mellower tone shift as the guitar offers some nice lines to enhance the track further. The keys change the course and then revert to the softer approach. The bass turns on the spotlight with a solo as Ric shows how much talent he brings to the stage. Jazz tones enter the mix briefly, then back to the stinging guitar lines to set the tone for the B side of the platter.

"Seven Seas" gives the listener time to sail away on the open water of sound. The music paints the necessary picture to mirror the track title with some tasteful guitar. The six-string leads the way as the keys add a layer. Then it takes off, and everything is moving at hyper speed. It was a reminder of the kind of song Liquid Tension Experiment would do!

"Ascension" is quick, clocking in at 2:48. A little ditty on the keys, then some guitar flexing with some pedal effects lead into the next track, "The Phoenix." The energy level again is like the phoenix being reborn out of the ashes. The instrumentation engages with a rhythm section that continues forward like a juggernaut on a mission.

Then, a short intro to the band addresses the audience as their epic "Aurora Australis" finishes the recording with plenty of musical fireworks. All their colors and talent are displayed for the audience as they hear 11:27 of masterful progressive metal.

Sherinian/Phillips Live is a superb live album and sounds fantastic on vinyl. This kind of performance is one that everyone involved will never forget. It is a must-have for your vinyl collection if you love prog metal or prog rock.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-PRMR Founder

October 16, 2023

Side A:

1.The Vortex (04:43)

2. Empyrean Sky (04:20)

3. Temple of Helios (06:17)

4. Inertia (04:32)

5. Alpha Burst (04:01)

Side B:

1. Barnacus (03:32)

2. Seven Seas (05:51)

3. Ascension (02:48)

4. The Phoenix (04:55)

5. Introduction (00:31)

6. Aurora Australis (11:27)

Friday, March 3, 2023

Progressive Rock Review: Jethro Tull-Rok Flote

Release Date: April 21, 2023

Label: Inside Out


Pre-Order Now

Ian Anderson found great interest in exploring his ancestral roots, which turned into the forthcoming Jethro Tull release Rok Flote (Rock Flute), their 23rd album. 

Ian Anderson (Flute, Guitar, Bouzouki, Mandolin, Harmonica, Vocals), Joe Parrish (Guitar), Scott Hammond (Drums and percussion), John O’Hara (Orchestral conductor, piano, keyboards, and accordion), David Goodeier (Bass guitar and double bass) have created a stellar exhibition of prog rock.


What starts as an interest turns into a commitment to excellence and the musical journey of yesteryear for Ian and the band. 


Ian stated: I am not here to promote the old Norse religion or, indeed, any religion. My own preference is for the ultimate esotericism of Panentheism (the belief or doctrine that God is greater than the universe and includes and interpenetrates it). I see no need for imaginary man-made visual representations of God. No need for symbols, idols, icons, relics and the ritual of prayer to an interventionist god. Problem is, it might make for rather a dull rock music album....


Whether you are in sync with the creator of this music or have no opinion, the music and lyrics paint an accurate picture of the subject matter. You even get a taste of some of the Scandinavian dialects. As expected of any Jethro Tull album, the lion’s share of this release moves along and rocks progressively. Superlative flute and guitar lead the way, as the bottom end is a rock-solid foundation for them to remain consistent from start to finish.


The movements in each track range from fast-paced to joyous, profound, and outright toe-tapping rhythmic flute passages. Keeping that all in mind, you will not get any bombastic 6 to 8-minute-long tracks, the longest being “Wolf Unchained,” complete with the said wolf baying at the beginning and end of the track and clocking in at an economical 4:58. It is one of the best songs along with “The Navigators,” “Ithavoll,” and “Guardians Watch.” If anything, I was surprised by how quickly each track passed. That did not seem to matter; it made an impact and was completely enjoyable for this long-time fan.


Elements of Rok Flote reminded me of some of my favorite JT albums of the 70s (Warchild, Minstrel In The Gallery), particularly with the guitar passages. The flute, as usual, is outstanding and fits like a glove with the rest of the music, serving as the engine that drives this unstoppable locomotive of prog rock. This is one of the essential JT classics that should not be missed!

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-TFOV Founder

March 3, 2023


01. Voluspo

02. Ginnungagap

03. Allfather

04.The Feathered Consort

05. Hammer On Hammer

06. Wolf Unchained

07. The Perfect One

08. Trickster (And The Mistletoe)

09. Cornucopia

10. The Navigators

11. Guardian’s Watch

12. Ithavoll

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Progressive Rock Review: Mobile Fidelity- Electric Light Orchestra-Eldorado

Release Date: April 8, 2022

Label:  Mobile Fidelity


Source Link

Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs, or Mo-Fi, is a label known to many music enthusiasts worldwide. They know how to take music and bring out its best for discerning ears.

Audiophiles will be buzzing once they have a chance to purchase Electric Light Orchestra's classic progressive orchestrated rock album Eldorado.

This version is the 180-gram single LP, cut at 33RPM and pressed on SuperVinylTM. Mastered from the original analog master tapes, pressed on 180-gram SuperVinyl at RTI, and housed in a tip-on jacket, Mobile Fidelity's numbered, single-LP edition. There are other editions to choose from as well here.

It has been many years since I had the opportunity to work with Mo-Fi, and I am grateful for the opportunity. The detailed and critical process to produce this pristine vinyl is priced at $79.99 for the single LP version I received for review. What I found fascinating about this black vinyl is when you hold it up to the light, you can see it in a transparent black. The process of pressing each of the copies individually allows for this quality.

I got the album when it was released in 1974. At the time, I was not too impressed because of my need to be a teenager and rock out. I still like to rock, but my mind has expanded considerably since that time. Eldorado receives an injection of new life through the Mo-Fi process. For those younger fans in the audiophile audience, the picture on the cover is from the original Wizard of Oz movie.

Side one begins with the short-lived and epic beginning "Eldorado Overture (Instrumental)" then segues right into the immensely popular "Can't Get It Out of My Head," which still sounds great to this day. It is one of their most memorable and beloved tunes. Every track segues into the next on the entire album, with no pause to cue you that a new one is starting; you have to get a feel for it, which comes with time. I could tell when there was a change into the next track, even though the album is full of many distinct and progressive changes.

"Boy Blue" has a regal intro like the queen is entering the palace to her receiving line, and they all are bowing to her grace and symbolic power. The changes come quickly in an upbeat fashion with some solid rock and an excellent rhythm section. There are some lovely transitions over to some piano, then to guitar, and a mixture of violin and cello (which you will frequently hear throughout). That particular element lends a definition and substance that would be nonexistent.

"Laredo Tornado" enters with a cool synth, which is gentle and funky at the same time. There is no storm going on here, as the title would suggest. There are good rhythms, Jeff Lynn's vocals rang true, and he elevates the instrumentation to higher highs. His voice could get relatively high. Strong guitar lines, albeit occasional, come and go, and the drums are outstanding and shine in this mix.

"Poor Boy (The Greenwood)" closes out side one with some nice acoustic guitar as the track quickly takes flight and continues to gather momentum with elements of pop, then to a strong closing.

Side two begins with "Mister Kingdom," and you can hear the Beatle's influence. The moptops were one of Jeff Lynne's main influences. The synth comes in with help to the movements that reach highs and lows for the ears to absorb. Jeff's vocals are passionate as he gives meaning to the lyrics. The synth is steady throughout, and the sounds are atmospheric layers where every musician has an opportunity to be heard.

"Nobody's Child" has the repetitive lyric of "painted lady" followed by some honky-tonk piano (something you would hear on ELP's Brain Salad Surgery, for instance). That rollicking sound gives way to the ELO orchestral pieces, and many changes come about, then it flips over to some toe-tapping rocking sound before introducing the next track.

"Illusions in G Major" is short and sweet but tasty and without all the changes and complexities of prior tracks. I enjoyed it quite a lot.

"Eldorado" is filled with consistent movements of ballad territory; however, it again illustrates the eclectic style presented by this amazing group of musicians and their output for the time.

There are not so many swift changes, and the progressiveness is left behind, then the orchestrations come in to open the door to the curtain closer to "Eldorado Finale."

If you search for a classic slice of progressive rock handled with care and delivered with fantastic sonics, colors, and subtleties you had not previously heard, this Mo-Fi masterpiece will be a revelatory experience.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-PMR Founder

March 26, 2022

Side One:   
1. Eldorado Overture (Instrumental) 2:12
2. Can't Get It Out of My Head 4:21
3. Boy Blue 5:18
4. Laredo Tornado 5:29
5. Poor Boy (The Greenwood) 2:57

Side Two:
6. Mister Kingdom 5:50
7. Nobody's Child 3:40
8. Illusions in G Major 2:36
9. Eldorado 5:20
10. Eldorado Finale 1:20


Saturday, May 2, 2020

Crossover Prog Review: Long Earth-Once Around The Sun

Release Date: March 16, 2020
Label: Grand Tour Music

Once Around The Sun is the title of the second release by Long Earth, and is the follow-up to the debut, The Source, in 2017. At first glance, a person might think that this is a new young band to the prog scene, but that would only be partially correct. Long Earth is a new band, but these guys have been around the scene for a good number of years. (I’m not sure I should say exactly how long.) The band comprises 5 members, Gordon Mackie (bass), Ken Weir (drums), Mike Baxter (keyboards), Renaldo McKim (guitar) with Martin Haggerty (vocals since 2018) replacing Neil Mackie (vocal and guitar on the debut) and have known each other from different bands over the years. Three were in Abel Ganz, two were in Identity Crisis and Mike, Ken, Gordon, Renaldo and Hew Montgomery (Abel Ganz/Grand Tour, as well as being the motivating factor of Long Earth, and co-producing both releases) all played at the same Glasgow festival in the ’80s, albeit with different bands.

To sum up, Long Earth is a new band, but there is a wealth of musical experience in the band. The debut, The Source, was eagerly awaited by the crowds of prog followers that knew of Long Earth and had seen them live, and it was very well received upon release. The follow-up, Once Around The Sun has consolidated Long Earth as being a leading light in the modern prog community.

Once Around The Sun, is a 6 track album clocking in at just under 67 minutes (66:55), with track 3, “Man In The Mirror,” the shortest track at 4:16 minutes and the final and title track, the longest with a running time of 33:06 minutes. This track is also split into 4 parts, Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.

The opening track, “We Own Tomorrow” (8:06), starts by generating a little hook and a superb bass riff by Gordon, then into a soaring keyboard passage. New vocalist since 2018, Martin Haggerty, has a powerful voice and the overall effect is of excellent prog music which the listener becomes very quickly comfortable with. Recurring little hooks and Martin’s voice takes the song on with the return of that superb bass riff from Gordon around 5:15 minutes and a chance for Renaldo to show his superb guitar skills from 5:50 minutes and to then escort the track to the end of it’s running time. A wonderful start to a stunning album and the listener is eager to hear more.

The epic finale to the album, the 33:06 minute “Once Around The Sun” is split into four parts, spring, summer, autumn, and winter. The four seasons cover a year, hence the album title, as it is the time taken for the Earth to orbit the sun. The storyline mirrors the seasons as it tells the tale of a romance encompassing the hope and joy of the fledgling relationship in spring, the building of the relationship in summer, the start of doubts in autumn, and finally the ending of the relationship in winter. The lyrics convey the journey excellently and the very expressive vocals supplied by Martin, together with the sympathetic music, carry the story line majestically.

Musically, the suite goes through phases with spring being represented by an acoustic start and a very simple melody. Summer has excellent keyboard passages underpinning the vocal as the story unwinds. As summer draws to an end, the music becomes very atmospheric and melancholic as it weaves to an ending. Autumn begins with an orchestral feel before again echoing the melancholic section 2, which fits the lyrical content beautifully. The final section, winter, commences with a superb melodic opening with some excellent strings adding to the atmosphere. There is a repeated series of verses, guitar passages and keyboards plus string sections prior to Martin taking the storyline to its inevitable conclusion. Renaldo has a beautiful repeating guitar passage just before Martin brings the ending with the lyrics, “Once around the sun, but no further on. Once around the sun and our race is run.”

A stunning ending to a superb album where all the musicians have excelled. Mike with majestic keyboards, Gordon with those excellent bass runs, Ken keeping everything firmly anchored on drums, Renaldo with some exquisite guitar work and finally, Martin providing the evocative, emotive vocals.

All in all, this is a stunning follow-up to the debut, showing how the band has evolved into an excellent unit. Don’t delay, just go and get a copy of Once Around The Sun and sample what is a masterpiece of modern prog with huge leanings to the “old style,” played by musicians who have dreamed the dream and have now delivered the dream. The dream has a name, and the name is Once Around The Sun.

Jim “The Ancient One” Lawson – Prog Rock Music Talk Staff
April 28, 2020

1. We Own Tomorrow. (8:07)
2. My Suit Of Armour. (5:03)
3. A Guy From Down The Road. (12:00)
4. What About Love?  (4:23)
5. The Man In The Mirror. (4:16)
6. Once Around the Sun. (33.06)

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Rock-Americana-Progressive Review: Euphoria-The Reverie Suite

Release Date: September 17, 2019
Label: Independent

Euphoria’s second release titled The Reverie Suite was released in September 2019. This is the kind of music that can be hard to put into a corner and stick a label on. For my ears, that is a fine start knowing that I was in for a lot of diversity and surprises.

I would call it Rock-Americana with a Progressive twist, just as the band describes it. What is initially indicative of the progressive leanings is the length of the tracks.

The band explains the album like this: It is a concept album based on the life of vocalist Saskia who delivers her story with an earnest passion that’s hauntingly beautiful. Its theme is centered around childhood and musically presented with a sound that evokes America in all its beauty – whether it be folk, rock, jazz, or Native purple mountains majesty with progressive tinges.

I think that statement puts it all into a proper perspective for potential listeners. It serves as a looking glass into what you can expect. It is everything and more than one would expect actually. Saskia has a rich powerful voice that pulls you right into the story and holds you. The music is all very tasteful and well suited to the lyrics and vocal style of Saskia. Every track is a musical carpet ride that will capture your imagination. In a word, it is all quite cinematic. Choosing the recording to be a concept album worked well.

Hoyt Binder’s guitar is fantastic. He can be powerful with some meaty chords or tone it down to sound quieter and more textured. He also utilizes a banjo and mandolin to get that Americana element in place sandwiched in between his power strokes. I most certainly appreciate all of his work with the stringed instruments. His multitude of talent leads the way, inviting Saskia’s inviting vocals to come out and play with the music making it a complete experience for a listener. Her vocals were giving me goosebumps.

The Reverie Suite is engaging, precise, diversified, exciting, and filled with the many colors of the world and cultures. I sincerely appreciate that kind of take on a recording, it is always impressive and something you cannot forget. The musicianship is stellar. Ronald Van Deurzen adds the quintessential keyboard element while The Americana Daydream Revival Orchestra delivers background harmonies, flute, percussion, harmonica, bass, and strings, which in turn gives their sound a layered effect that makes each track a real musical journey. (I have included a list of all contributors below)

Their magnum opus is ”Paradise Road,” which clocks in at a hefty 9:42. With this one track, you get the whole package and stylings that this band commands in one track. It is quite impressive to sit back and hear everything going on. I loved every minute of it. The long instrumental breaks are a testament to this band’s all-around talent. This is the one track I would call definitively progressive. The way it ends so suddenly with Saskia singing “And paradise is her name,” puts the final touch on the elements of prog as the door shuts and you get ready for the next track (or another one opens).

Then you get the full instrumental track “Remind Me.” It is a delight, bringing a distinct Americana/Celtic flair to your senses, transporting the listener to a world stage. Getting the full instrumental treatment of their sounds encourages you to paint your personal picture on the canvas of their music.

The Reverie Suite
may take a few listens to get it all into perspective, but I believe that any listener that has an appreciation for rock, prog, Americana, folk, or any combination thereof, will find great value in this album.

Saskia Binder - Vocals
Hoyt Binder - Guitars, banjo, mandolin, background harmonies
Ronald Van Deurzen - Piano, organ
Trevor Lloyd - Strings
Tollak Ollestad - Harmonica
Rebecca Kleinmann - Flute
Paulo Gustavo - Bass
Chris Quirarte - Drums
Mike Disarro - Background harmonies
Bobby Albright – Percussion

Mixed by Smiley Sean
Mastered by Howie Weinberg at Howie Weinberg Mastering

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
April 28, 2020
Founder of:

Review Provided By Prog Rock Music Talk

Track List: 
01. Prelude/ She's Calling 04:54
02. Reverie 07:12
03. On My Way 07:31  
04. Heartbeat 04:53
05. Bridge of Dreams 04:38
06. Queen of Hearts 04:47
07. Paradise Road 09:42
08. Move On 05:21
09. Seasons 07:00  
10. Reprise 03:24
11. Remind Me 05:44
12. Content 05:57

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Progressive Rock Review: JJ Chardeau - In Terra Cognita?

Release Date: November 15, 2019
Label: L RECORDS, Muffin Records Productions USA

A chanting overture, “Evolution,” leads into a battle-like track with “Dream In Moscow.” In Terra DCognita? (The Music of the Rock Opera Magic Musical Man) is a musical phenomenon. Not only is it an impactful recitation of wonderful instrumentation, but, the listener is gifted with a culture shock of all different languages and origins.

JJ Chardeau is certainly a man of uniqueness. As seen throughout this album, Chardeau does not limit himself to one particular styling or sound. Instead, he will push boundaries to see great success in his work and artistic expressions. For over 30 years, he’s been making Progressive Rock all his own and bending every rule he can.

“Dream In Moscow” is a beautifully written out build-up of battle or struggle. It begins as an illuminating piece, soothing the listener’s ear with a piano intro, as the orchestra and Chicago’s Danny Seraphine, along with Jethro Tull’s Martin Barre lending their voices to this piece amongst others throughout the album. “Black Taj Mahal” is a good contour for the prior track as the chimes, flute, and what sounds to be a triangle echo out a mental escape to a serene picturesque land.

“Farewell Lhassa” is another ode to a foreign area, China. One that offers up a more haunting vibe of chimes and an occasional gong and guitar riff. Voices arise of an alert message that conflict has now arisen and materials (missiles) have been stolen, almost as though someone has been compromised. This is followed up by another strictly instrumental piece.

Filled with the xylophone, keyboard, and drums to keep the rhythm in place, “DMZ” bridges the album together keeping a steady relaxed tone throughout the track. Leading into “Frisson Nippon,” is a thrilling, excitement lead-up of chimes and whistle-into-chant. It feels as though the song is taking the listener sailing through steady waters or hiking up to conquer some challenges on land or sea. “Les larmes du pacifique” starts as a tropical island getaway, going into a tragic song of tears and struggle.

“Nunavut,” is a hushed and fluted piece that has a god-like messenger speaking throughout. It sounds as though, a mission is being explained or what might be next to come on the listener’s journey, wherever the figure may be thinking of. Then we approach “The Last Rockaway.” It is different and fun from the rest of the record where it feels more like a classic rock n’ roll song. It asks of the individual’s humble beginnings as he is the sole person left of his own.

“Pablo Tequila” is a fun international song that throws even the most anti-dancer into a hip-shaking good time. It is a simple feel-good song that poses as a rarity for the record. Following that up, “Machu Picchu” is a strictly instrumental styled piece that has a very simplistic sound to it. A piano at the beginning and end, a flute, and some percussion give life to this song as it sends the listener through another conflict-to-resolution type of scenario; ending with a serene resolution.

Heading into what sounds like a Middle-Eastern piece, the majority of “Cabale Kabyle” is an easy, melodic tune that appeals well to the average listener. Towards the end there seems to be a bit of struggle or issue of sorts but, within a minute the struggle resigns to more of the strings ending the tune with peace. Next, “Walls of Lament” (the single off the record), gives a feel to me like a spy movie. It reminds me of where the spy or hero is trying to get past the laser-covered room to reclaim his stolen artifact. But, by the middle of the song, it becomes something back into a foreign land to adventure through thickets of fog as the listener wanders.

“Tchad” is probably the most complicated of the tracks to understand to a person whose only language is English. It sounds as though the vocalist is proclaiming the area their own. The fact that they will not go down without a fight shows their strength and resilience to protect what is theirs. This, combined with the finale of “The End” leads to a very powerful finale. The brightness and intensity show how to end a story properly.

Key tracks include: “Dream In Moscow,” “Les larmes du pacifique,” and “Pablo Taquila.” 

Gregg Keniston- Staff
March 8, 2020

Track Listing:
01. Evolution (Magical Musical Man Ouverture)
02. Dream In Moscow
03. Black Taj Mahal
04. Farewell Lhassa
05. DMZ
06. Frisson Nippon
07. Les larmes du pacifique
08. Nunavut
09. The Last Rockaway
10. Pablo Tequila
11. Machu Picchu
12. Cabale Kabyle
13. Wall of Laments
14. Tchad
15. The End? (Magical Musical Man Finale)


Saturday, February 22, 2020

Progressive/Rock Review: Bernie Shaw & Dale Collins -Too Much Information

Release Date: September 13, 2019
Label: Bernie Shaw / Dale Collins
Kicking off the album Too Much Information, Bernie Shaw is very bright and uplifting as "So Many Times" begins. The album reminds me a lot of the band Journey and their unique sound to 80's Rock. Longtime friends Bernie Shaw and Dale Collins team up to produce an album of seismic proportions. With the assistance of Ron Restall on drums and Jason Gardenits on the keyboard, the perfect blend of Blues and Progressive Rock chemistry.

The depiction of the artwork can be interpreted as a dawn of a new day, or as the light in the sea of gray. It sizes up to the tone of the record as it avails the roughness of the waves and the heaviness of songs like "Alone" and "Hey Jimi," while that glimmer of light shone beyond the sea reflects on a more positive note of "Here We Go" and "Rock On."

Running back on "So Many Times," the song captures a lighter side of Bernie Shaw, where he typically adheres to more of an intense Metal sound. It is an excellent battle between letting the light in, feeling good, and thinking there was more one could have made a better choice along the way. "Alone" is an immediate stark contrast. The song proclaims how the singer will now be operating daily life on his own, he cannot continue to carry the weight of his other half with no sign of change or improvement.

"Here We Go," keeps the beat of every traveler's anthem. However, the song speaks of an irritating, repetitious situation that he finds himself caught in the middle of. To me, it feels very much like hiking up an endless trail or mountain; albeit, it even reminds me of the scene in Rocky, climbing the Philadelphia stairs.

"Too Much Information," the title track, is a great bridge-like track. It is not too detailed or overly emotional. Rather, it is a pleasant earworm for guitar lovers everywhere. Contrary to the title, it doesn't feel like overload at all. I probably stand alone in this thought, however, it is nice to see an artist not make the title of the album his or her main focus.

We turn now to a darker note, but, it turns out to be my favorite track of the album. "Sad Song" possesses a great blend of Shaw's vocals and both Shaw's and Collins' instrumental technique. The song has a great way of rocking like the sea, building up like a solid wave and crashing into the shore, at the height of Shaw's chorus lines.

An excellent ode to the late, great Jimi Hendrix follows up a solemn track. Upon initial listening, one is safe to assume, this might be a more somber or even heartwrenching tribute. As the song progresses it is anything but. The song calls out to the spirit of Hendrix and does his honor well by majoritively dedicating this track to being an instrumental piece. One of the great kings of Rock music would be jamming right alongside Shaw and Collins if he were able to hear this today.

"Just A Little Bit" is a great in-your-face anthem of how someone can just try to break another person down in every possible way. The person being tormented wants nothing more than to see the damage right in front of their face. You can tell as the song progresses, the singer won't let this irritation get the best of him and builds upon the harm caused by the other party.

With that rise-from-the-ashes tune, we arrive at the final song of the album, "Rock On." It is a steady, fun track emphasizing the carefree spirit of the duo. The song solidifies what every musician, band, and concert-goer have in common; and that's to simply – rock on. When everything around you seems to be on sensory overload or you might just be feeling a bit down about something in life, the message is clear; rock on with Too Much Information.

Key tracks include: “Sad Song,” “Hey Jimi,” and “Rock On.” 

Gregg Keniston- Staff
February 19, 2020

Reviews Provided By:

Track Listing:
1. So Many Times
2. Alone
3. Here We Go
4. Too Much Information
5. Sad Song
6. Hey Jimi
7. Just A Little Bit
8. Rock On

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Progressive Rock Review: Distant Brother-Die This Way

Release Date: December 21, 2019
Label: One Voice Productions
Distant Brother released their third proper release Die This Way on December 21, 2019, to commemorate the passing of their guitarist John Veneziano.

The band is Jon Lange (Bass), Joe Lang (Lead Vocals, Keys), Jim Dabal (Guitar), Dan Palladino (Guitar), Joe Cirotti (Guitar), Cameron Perry (Guitar), Kaeli Lange (Vocals), and Scott Strunk (Drums).

What you hear on Die This Way is progressive rock that lands on solid ground every time. In addition to great music, the lyrics are heartfelt in regards to the band’s feeling and emotions for their lost brother. I could feel the sadness and pain in the vocals. The thing that made me smile was the music and a true appreciation for the outstanding musicianship along with some amazing lyrics. You not only hear this music you will truly “feel it.” Progressive rock like this does not come along too often.

The first track is a nod to the beautiful and colorful album cover. It speaks of how fragile the life of a butterfly is and when it gets to its destination, time is fleeting. I think the thought here was an indication of how quick our lives pass as humans. It becomes especially apparent when you lose someone that is close unexpectedly without a chance to say goodbye. I had the opportunity to speak briefly with my brother before his death last October. As short and painful the conversation was, I was and remain grateful for those few seconds I had with him. It does put life into proper perspective and make you grateful for every day you have.

Great music is the universal healer, that is my mantra. I do have an affinity for progressive rock dating back to the golden age in the ’70s. Hearing this music was a reminder just how good this kind of music can be. Die This Way has all the boxes checked for the right combination of instrumentation including keyboards layered properly, a tight rhythm section, and the epic orchestrations that can be heard on tracks like “Septem Saeculorum.” It gives you that chill up the spine as the track builds to a crescendo.

I had to, of course, look up the meaning of “Septem Saeculorum.” It is the final conclusion of fleeting life, after the seven revolutions of the ages (septem saeculorum voluminibus). Very appropriate I would say, concerning the overall subject matter contained in the album.

I thought “Kumbaya (Hunt”) was an excellent track as well. The lyrics are meant to provoke a stream of thoughts. Some of the vocals are changed to sound more robotic or machine like to sound profound. It is done this way to make a statement. You need to hear it, to understand where I coming from. It all falls together beautifully, as does the entire album one track after another.

Die This Way is an excellent album that I enjoyed from beginning to end. Knowing what it was about and for who it was done for made a difference before listening. And if you just read this review and streamed some tracks, now you know, so go buy the album to support the artist and enjoy some fantastic progressive rock!

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
January 2, 2020
Founder of:

Review Provided By Prog Rock Music Talk

01. Butterfly
02. When You're Near
03. Must Have Been
04. Way Home
05. A Desperate Man (Last Act)
06. We Can Be
07. Septem Saeculorum
08. Kumbaya (Hunt)
09. Die This Way
10. Seattle Gray