In the Beginning and the End

Trettioariga Kriget - I Borjan Och Slutet
Trettioariga Kriget

I Borjan Och Slutet – In the beginning and the end (Mellotronen MelloCD023, 2007)

I Början Och Slutet is the eighth studio album by pioneering Swedish progressive rock band Trettioåriga Kriget (Thirty Years War). The first thing that stands out when you listen to the band is that it has developed its own progressive rock style, which is characterized by a fusion of symphonic rock, pop, folk-rock and psychedelic music. While other groups clearly show influences from British pioneers, the finely calibrated Trettioåriga Kriget sounds totally different.

I Början Och Slutet is a concept album that combines captivating instrumentals and Swedish language pieces. The instrumentals mix guitars with mellotron and driving bass. The bad leader is bassist Stefan Fredin and he clearly leaves his mark. Unlike other groups who mix harmonic mellotrons and solo keyboards, Trettioåriga Kriget doesn’t have much use for solo keyboards. Instead the vocals, guitars and bass play the leading role.

The best cuts are the pieces that go in a symphonic rock direction, such as the opening track ‘I Krigets Tid I’, the dreamy and bluesy ‘Barndom’, the melancholic ‘Lovsang,’ and the closing ‘I Krigets Tid II’

The musicians that appear in the album are Stefan Fredin on bass guitar, rhythm guitar, vocals; Dag Lundquist- drums, percussion, backing vocals; Robert Zima on vocals; Christer Åkerberg on electric and acoustic guitars; Mats Lindberg on keyboards; and
Olle Thörnvall provides the lyrics.

The booklet includes a 20 page booklet with band photos, the original lyrics and English language translations.

Celtic Rockers Tempest to Present Real Time Internet Concert March 10th 2012

Tempest
Celtic rock band Tempest will be presenting a live, interactive concert. The event will be broadcast in real time and brought directly to home computer screens via their new UStream channel “Tempest-Live” on March 10th, 2012. Times are 7:00 PM PST / 10:00 PM EST.

The group will perform songs from its latest release “Another Dawn” CD including the single “Let’s Live For Today” as well as material from previous CDs.

Multiple cameras and high end pro audio, staging and lighting will put you the web user right in the center of the action. The chat feature allows audience members to actually talk with each other in real time, as the concert is being watched, making it a unique and totally shared interactive experience for the viewer.

Tickets are ordered directly from the Tempest-Live UStream channel using PayPal at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/tempest-live . Anyone who misses the show in real time can at any point purchase a ticket and watch it at their own convenience. Tickets are $10 if ordered before the show airs, and $15 after.

A limited digital download of the concert will also be available for $25. If you are local to the Modesto area and would like to be part of the studio audience, your seat is free with the purchase of the digital download.

Those wishing to purchase the digital download should go to PayPal at http://www.paypal.com and using the “send money’ tab, send $25 to live@wcslonline.com . if you do not have a PayPal account, set up is easy and takes less than ten minutes. You will be emailed a receipt for the download and an admission ticket to the event within a few days of payment.

Seats are limited and will be issued on a first come first serve basis. Simply state in your PayPal payment that you are requesting a seat. If you are requesting a seat you must state that on your PayPal payment. Download instructions will be emailed to you within 30 days following the concert.

Buy the CD, MP3s or listen to samples at:

Progressive Rock Band Centric Jones to Release ‘The Antikythera Method’

Centric Jones - The Antikythera Method
Prog duo Centric Jones has announced the March 6th release of its second album titled ‘The Antikythera Method‘, on Prog Rock Records. The band is influenced by progressive rock legends UK, Yes and King Crimson, as well as hard rock bands like Rush and Porcupine Tree and heavy metal band Dream Theater.

Centric Jones includes Chris Fournier and Tobe London, accompanied by an eclectic set of revolving musical guests. Chris plays bass, guitars, keyboards and electronic percussion, and Tobe plays drums, acoustic/electronic percussion and keyboards.

Fournier and London met in 2007 and discovered a shared goal: to create songs that broke through musical boundaries without sacrificing feel and an emotional connection to the audience.

Centric Jones released a critically acclaimed debut CD ‘Foreign Tea‘. When asked if there was a concept behind the new Centric Jones album Tobe had this to say: “I’ve always had a fascination with mechanical devices and gizmos. Of particular interest to me is the Antikythera mechanism – the ancient Greek mechanical computer designed to calculate astronomical positions. I’d like to go on and on about the thing, given the fact that it predates anything like it by about a thousand years. The most fascinating aspect of it for me would be its inherent rhythm. I picture all those handmade gears turning and churning in an amazing visual if not audible display of polyrhythmic wonder. Centric Jones loves to apply this as much as we can to our music. We call it The Antikythera Method.”

In support of their new CD release, Fournier and London are currently putting together a live show consisting of some of their favorite album songs combined with improvisations and some theatrics. The duo plan on performing locally on the Front Range of Northern Colorado in addition to some of the progressive rock festivals going on in the U.S. and elsewhere during the summer of 2012. They are also implementing a new recording setup in Tobe’s studio in order to more directly compose and trade tracks together.

Preorder at

Progressive Rock Band The Flower Kings Returns After A Five-Year Hiatus

The Flower Kings - Photo by Per Nordin
Iconic progressive, symphonic rock band The Flower Kings announced today that they are back in action with a new album and a European tour planned for September 2012.

The Flower Kings was formed in 1995 in Sweden by guitarist, singer and composer Roine Stolt . The current lineup includes Roine Stolt on guitars, Jonas Reingold on bass, Tomas Bodin on keyboards, Hasse Froberg on guitars and vocals, and newcomer Felix Lehrmann, a 26 year-old drumming prodigy from Germany.

The band began recording a new album at Sweden’s Varispeed studios on January 23. The music is being recorded in classic 1970s style, with all musicians performing live in a room through vintage ’70s tube recording equipment and Neve consoles.

The plan is to release the new album through InsideOut Music (Century Media/EMI). According to the press release, the yet-to-be-named album has an epic 23-minute centerpiece and is in classic Flower Kings style – complete with all the dreamy melodic and cinematic elements that fans have come to love over the years.

The Flower Kings intends to embark on a headlining European tour in September, but will perform its first official reunion gig at the Sweden Rock Festival in June 2012.

Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson Announces the Release of ‘Thick As A Brick 2’

Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull)
Legendary progressive rock musician and Jethro Tull founder Ian Anderson announced the release of a new album titled ‘Thick As A Brick 2.’ It is the 40th Anniversary sequel to the tremendously successful, 1972 Thick As A Brick album.

Ian Anderson wrote and recorded the Jethro Tull progressive rock classic album ‘Thick As A Brick‘ in 1972. The lyrics were credited at the time to the pretended child character, Gerald Bostock, whose parents supposedly lied about his age. The record instantly became a number one Billboard Chart album in the United States and enjoyed considerable success in many countries of the world.

So, forty years later, what would Gerald Bostock – aged fifty in 2012 – be doing today? What might have happened to him? The anniversary “part two” album will examine the possible different paths that the precocious young schoolboy, Gerald Bostock, might have taken later in life through alter-ego characters with song-section identities illustrating the hugely varied potential twists and turns of fate and opportunity. Not just for Gerald but to echo how our own lives develop, change direction and ultimately conclude through chance encounters and interventions, however tiny and insignificant they might seem at the time.

Ian Anderson says of the album, “As we baby-boomers look back on our own lives, we must often feel an occasional ‘what-if’ moment. Might we, like Gerald, have become instead preacher, soldier, down-and-out, shopkeeper or finance tycoon?” Adding, “And those of more tender years – the social media and internet generation – may choose to ponder well the myriad of chance possibilities ahead of them at every turn…..”

To coincide with this landmark release, for the first time since 1972, Anderson and fellow musicians John O’Hara (keyboards), David Goodier (bass), Florian Opahle (guitar) and Scott Hammond (drums) – as well as some guest performers – will take to the road to perform the album in its entirety and, it can now exclusively be revealed that, in addition, there will be a second part to the show where Anderson and the band will also perform the sequel.

Thick As A Brick 2 (‘TAAB2’) tracklist [CD, digital]

1. From A Pebble Thrown
2. Pebbles Instrumental
3. Might-have-beens
4. Upper Sixth Loan Shark
5. Banker Bets, Banker Wins
6. Swing It Far
7. Adrift And Dumfounded
8. Old School Song
9. Wootton Bassett Town
10. Power And Spirit
11. Give Till It Hurts
12. Cosy Corner
13. Shunt And Shuffle
14. A Change Of Horses
15. Confessional
16. Kismet In Suburbia
17. What-ifs, Maybes And Might-have-beens

‘Thick As A Brick 2’ will be released as a standard jewel case CD and digital download, and in a Special Edition 2-disc package with DVD featuring 5.1 stereo mixes, 24-bit stereo mix, video of the making of the album, interviews with the musicians and Ian Anderson reading the lyrics in various locations.

The Pink Floyd Experiments

Pink Floyd - Ummagumma
Pink Floyd

Ummagumma (EMI, 1969 – remastered in 2011)

Pink Floyd’s first double album, Ummagumma, was originally released in 1969. The album was digitally remastered in 2011 by James Guthrie and Joel Plante. This new version is better enjoyed with headphones or a high quality audio system.

Ummagumma is divided into two very different recordings. The first disc is a live album that includes some of their best known pieces from previous albums: ‘Astronomy Domine’, ‘Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun’ and ‘A Saucerful of Secrets’. In addition there is an eerie cinematic piece titled ‘Careful with that Axe, Eugene.’ This electric organ–led track progresses with increasing intensity until you hear a deranged scream by Roger Waters. There are a lot of stories about the meaning of the song. Most people seem to think that it is related to an axe murderer.

Album 2 is a studio recording where each member of the band presents his own experiments. ‘Sysyphus’ is the brainchild of keyboardist Richard Wright who plays a combination of symphonic rock with mellotron, piano and percussion and atonal experimental music on keyboards and percussion.

The keyboard fest is followed by the laid back ‘Grantchester Meadows’ by Roger Waters, with its pastoral strums of acoustic guitars, vocals and sounds of birds (not sure if they are real or synthesized). Waters’ next piece is crazier and has a very long title: ‘Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict.’ The sounds of the little furries are wacky and very funny.

Back to acoustic guitars with David Gilmour’s ‘The Narrow Way.’ In the first part, Gilmour blends blues acoustic guitar with electric guitar riffs and explorations. Experimental, but very beautiful at the same time. Part 2 sounds like repetitive hard rock mixed with electronics. Part three is a delectable melancholic song.

‘The Grand Vizier’s Garden Party’ is Nick Mason’s suite. It begins with a solo flute that leads into a series of drum experimentations and ends with a very short flute piece.

Ummagumma shows Pink Floyd at a transitional stage, definitely moving away from psychedelic pop and into an experimental form of rock, combining rock with classical music elements and electronic music and effects. It was the birth of a form of progressive rock later known as space rock. Ummagumma is also one of the most individualist albums by the band.

The Timely Return of Comedy of Errors

Comedy of Errors - Disobey
Comedy of Errors

Disobey (COE001, 2011)

Comedy of Errors, one of the British bands involved in the progressive rock renaissance of the 1980s known as neoprog, is back with a new album titled Disobey. As other neoprog bands, Comedy of Errors has more in common with Marillion, IQ and Pallas than Genesis. However, original members Joe Cairney (vocals), Jim Johnston (keyboards, guitars), Mark Spalding (guitars, bass and backing vocals) have made an album that bridges the 1980s and 1970s prog eras with the present.

On Disobey, Comedy of Errors demonstrates that it is not stuck in time. The musicians incorporate contemporary elements such as electronic loops as well as sound effects. Jim Johnston is comfortable using vintage organ and mellotron sounds as well as the latest cutting edge electronics.

Album highlights include ‘Jekyll’ with its outstanding vocals and keyboard work (although I would have toned down the hard rock guitar parts); the instrumental ‘Prelude, Riff And Fugue,’ with its mix of early classical music, synthesizers and epic guitar; the hypnotic ‘Carousel,’ the delightful ‘Could Have Been Yesterday’ with its mix of acoustic guitars, vocals and keyboards; the brief instrumental gem ‘Alisa’s Lullaby,’ and the great final epic titled ‘The Student Prince,’ which is subdivided into four pieces.

On the down side, the straight ahead rocker ‘American Rodeo’ that seems out of place and the opening piece, ‘Disobey,’ which never manages to get off the ground.

In addition to vocalist Joe Cairney, keyboardist Jim Johnston and guitarist Mark Spalding, Disobey features Bruce Levick on drums and Hew Montgomery (Abel Ganz) on bass.

Comedy of Errors is a reformed symphonic progressive rock band with tremendous potential.Disobey showcases its dazzling instrumental and vocals skills and I look forward to more.

Buy the CD, listen to samples and also purchase MP3s at:

Locanda delle Fate to Present New Album The Missing Fireflies

Locanda delle Fate - The Missing Fireflies
Locanda delle Fate, one of the finest Italian progressive rock bands of all time, is set to perform on February 4th, 2012 at Teatro Alfieri in Asti. The band will be presenting its new album, “The Missing Fireflies”.

The current line-up includes four of the original members. Leonardo Sasso on vocals, Luciano Boero on bass, Oscar Mazzoglio on keyboards, and Giorgio Gardino on drums. New members include Max Brignolo on guitars and Maurizio Muha on keyboards.

Locanda delle Fate was formed in Asti, in northwestern Italy, not far from Genoa. They played a beautiful form of symphonic progressive rock, reminiscent of the great Italian bands of the early 1970s. The original line-up featured a superb combination of two guitarists and two keyboardists: Leonardo Sasso on vocals, Ezio Vevey on guitar and vocals, Alberto Gaviglio on guitar, flute, vocals; Michele Conta on keyboards; Oscar Mazzoglio on keyboards; Luciano Boero on bass; and Giorgio Gardino on drums

Even though Locanda delle Fate released one of the best Italian progressive rock albums, Forse le lucciole non si amano più, in 1977, they were unnoticed. Italian progressive rock was in decline.

A few years later, collectors in Japan and other countries ‘discovered’ Forse le lucciole non si amano più and it became a prized collector’s item. Eventually, it was reissued on CD.

Locanda delle Fate recorded a live album in 1977. Live was released in 1993 on the Italian Mellow label.

The group disbanded in 1980. Locanda delle Fate reunited in 1996 with five of the seven original members, excluding vocalist Sasso and keyboardist Conta. They released Homo homini lupus in 1999.

Tour 2012

21 January 2012 at proGliguria – La Spezia

27 January 2012 at Jailbreak – Roma

4 February 2012 at Teatro Alfieri – Asti

29 April 2012 at Club Città, Kawasaki – Japan

No-Man to Release New Live Album Titled Love and Endings

No-Man - Love and Endings
The new live album Love and Endings is a document of No-Man’s powerful performance at the Leamington Spa Assembly on October 14th, 2011. It is scheduled for release March 12th. The album features the British band’s core duo of Tim Bowness and Steven Wilson joined by classical violinist Steve Bingham and regular collaborators Michael Bearpark, Andrew Booker, Stephen Bennett and Pete Morgan.

Love And Endings retains the intimacy and sophistication of No-Man’s studio work while adding an edgy rock component absent from much of its recordings. The pieces are drawn from all stages of No-Man’s music.

Love And Endings includes the previously unreleased song, Beaten By Love, which dates from the earliest days of the band.

The album will be available in CD/DVD (deluxe digipack) and limited edition heavyweight double vinyl (in gatefold sleeve) formats.

A free download of a track from the album is available here

Seattle Dreamin’

Sky Cries Mary - Taking the Stage - Live 1997-2005
Sky Cries Mary

Taking The Stage: 1997-2005 (Trail TR-009, 2011)

Taking The Stage: 1997-2005 is a live collection of some of the best pieces by legendary Seattle psychedelic rock outfit Sky Cries Mary. The band’s sound is a fascinating mix of psychedelic space music with alternative rock and trance electronics. Sky Cries Mary
is characterized by the outstanding vocal interaction of husband and wife lead singers Roderick Romero and Anisa Romero, along with technicolor guitars, electronic beats and loops, drumkit, bass and ambient synthesizers.

The live performances were recorded at different times and on different location. Some of the pieces were previously released on the out-of-print album “Here & Now”. Taking The Stage: 1997-2005 was edited, remastered and produced with improved sound quality. “The resulting mix cannot be quantified,” says Roderick Romero. “It must be heard to be experienced. In fact, it cannot be heard without experiencing it.”

The musicians that participated in the recordings include Roderick Romero and Anisa Romero on vocals, Michael Cozzi on guitar and programming, Ben Ireland on drums and percussion, Juano on bass, William Bernhard on guitar and keyboards, Jill Wangsgard on keyboards and acoustic guitar, and Todd Robbins (DJ Fallout) on keyboards and sound effects.

Sky Cries Mary’s Taking The Stage: 1997-2005 is an impressive collection of dreamy and surreal space rock, insistent psychedelia and futuristic trance music.

Buy the CD, MP3s or listen to samples at

Progressive rock, jazz-rock fusion, ambient electronic music and beyond