Tag Archives: hard rock

From Here to the Impossible

Karibow – From Here to the Impossible

Karibow – From Here to the Impossible (Progressive Promotion Records, 2017)

Yet another album marketed as progressive rock that’s really not. Karibow is the project of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Oliver Rüsing. His style brings together AOR, pop rock beats, hard rock and heavy metal riffs. The only piece that you could legitimately call progressive rock is a pretty good symphonic instrumental titled “Requiem.”

This video will give you an idea:

Xavier Boscher’s Pentagramme

Xavier Boscher – Pentagramme

Xavier Boscher – Pentagramme (Orfeo Lab, 2016)

Pentagramme is a solo album by French composer, guitarist and vocalist Xavier Boscher. He incorporates a mix of progressive rock, heavy metal, hard rock and pop.

The highlights of the album are the progressive rock-oriented sections, including “Volupté,” which has a great ambiance, electric piano and fretless bass; “Géométrie intime”, a piece with great shredding; the evolving piece “Quinacridoine” that has a Joe Satriani flavor; and the epic “Les Voyageurs du Temps.”

 

 

 

 

The album is available from xavierboscher.bandcamp.com

The Continuing Journey of Rahul Mukerji’s Guitar

Rahul Mukerji – Ma De Re Sha (Rahul Mukerji, 2017)

Ma De Re Sha is a great electric guitar album by Rahul Mukerji, an Indian musician living in the Washington D.C. area. Mukerji combines powerful rock guitar hero licks with jazz-rock fusion, Middle Eastern beats and Indian music influences. He also uses a note bending technique that gives it a South Asian flavor and sets him apart from western guitar players.

The lineup includes Rahul Mukerji on guitars, guitar synth, e-bow, sampling, tabla and drum programming; Bruce Ng on additional drum and percussion programming on all tracks; Ruben Rubio on bass.

Buy the CD from rahulmukerji.bandcamp.com/releases

Calculated Risk

Force of Progress – Calculated Risk

Force of Progress – Calculated Risk (Progressive Promotion Records, 2017)

Force of Progress is what is described as a progressive rock project put together by four German multi-instrumentalists. It’s a very keyboard-centric album, with great synth and piano work, although throughout Calculated Risk the band adds hard rock and heavy metal guitars.

There is way too much hard rock and metal riffing for this album to be seriously regarded a progressive rock album. Toning down the guitars would have helped a lot.

The lineup includes Hanspeter Hess, Dominik Wimmer, Chris Grundmann and Markus Roth.

 

 

Buy Calculated Risk

Hard Rockin’ Ape

Ape Shifter – Ape Shifter

Ape Shifter – Ape Shifter (Brainstorm Records BS0401639, 2017)

German band Ape Shifter plays powerful instrumental rock inspired by hard rock, heavy blues and also heavy metal. Why it’s marketed as progressive rock is a mystery to me.

There are some attention-grabbing moments when the guitarist demonstrates he can shred admirably.

Ape Shifter was recorded live in the studio, without any overdubs.

The lineup includes Jeff Aug on guitar; Florian Walter on bass; and Kurty Münch on drums.

These two videos will give you a good impression of the band’s sound:

 

Buy Ape Shifter

Drawn by the Sounds of the Desert

The Raptor Trail – “Devil on an Indian” (indie release, 2016)

“Devil on an Indian” by American rock band The Raptor Trail is a concept album about a young man that struggles with his American Indian heritage after being raised in a Christian family. The story mirrors the experience of multi-instrumentalist Matt Meyes. Although he has paternal and maternal Native American ancestry, he was raised by a white Protestant family.

Musically, The Raptor Trail crosses various rock genres with ease. The band plays a mix of classic rock, hard rock and sometimes ventures into progressive rock (“Wolf Medicine”) and other territories like in the piece “Dream Catcher” that has a trance-like tribal ambient feel.

The Raptor Trail’s sound is characterized by the outstanding vocals and remarkable solo guitar work of John Meyer, as well as the sound of a new hybrid instrument named guijo. The guijo was developed by Matt Meyes. It has an electric guitar body and a banjo neck.

The album ends with an apocalyptic explosion of the sun featuring a mix of rock band instrumentation and numerous sound effects.

 

 

The lineup includes Gene Bass on drums and percussion; Matt Mayes on vocals, guijo, acoustic guitars and banjo; and John Meyer on lead and background vocals, lead and rhythm guitars, and bass.

 

Buy Devil on an Indian

Odd Trip

Karmamoi – Odd Trip

Karmamoi – Odd Trip (Crisalide Edizioni, 2014)

Italian rock band Karmamoi is described by some as progressive rock. However, what I heard on their Odd Trip album is primarily hard/heavy rock and melodic rock. The only pieces that venture into progressive rock are brief instrumentals titled Interludes and a longer instrumental called 5+ with some Porcupine Tree influence.

The album lineup includes Serena Ciacci on vocals; Daniele Giovannoni on drums; Fabio Tempesta on guitar; Alex Massari on guitar; and Alessandro Cefali on bass.

VIII Strada’s Babylon

VIII Strada - Babylon
VIII Strada – Babylon

VIII Strada – Babylon (Fading Records, 2015)

Italian band VIII Strada seems to have two personalities, a fabulous progressive rock band with memorable moments and a hard rock band that has nothing new to say.their latest album, Babylon, features great symphonic progressive rock keyboards and vocals combined with hard rock and heavy metal guitars.

Unquestionably, the best work throughout the album are the keyboard solos and arrangements of Silvano Negrinelli along with Tito Vizzuso’s lead vocals.

The lineup includes Tito Vizzuso on vocals; Daniele Zigliani on guitars and backing vocals; Silvano Negrinelli on piano, keyboards, and backing vocals; Sergio Merlino on bass and backing vocals; and Riccardo Preda on drums and backing vocals. Guest: Andrea Negrinelli on backing vocals.

Buy Babylon

Paralyzed by Cyril

Cyril - Paralyzed
Cyril – Paralyzed

Cyril – Paralyzed (Progressive Promotion Records, 2016)

Paralyzed is the second album by German rock band. Although the album was released by Progressive Promotion Records, the majority of the album’s content is a mix of AOR melodic rock and hard rock. Multi-instrumentalist Marek Arnold adds some brief symphonic moments to the mix.

The lineup on Paralyzed includes Larry B. on vcals; Manuel Schmid on vocals; Marek Arnold on keyboards, saxophones and clarinet; Ralk Dietsch on guitars, mandolin, vocals; Clemens Litschko on drums and percussion; and Denis Strassburg on bass and programming. Guests: Susan Kammler on oboe, Herman Schade on viola, and Dan Stein on vocals.

Temple of Switches

Temple of Switches by Temple of Switches
Temple of Switches by Temple of Switches

Temple of Switches by Temple of Switches (2015)

Temple of Switches is the self-titled debut recording by an American progressive rock band from Buellton, in the Santa Ynez valley in California.

While the keyboards, drums and bass draw the band towards progressive rock, the guitars shift back and forth from prog mode to hard rock mode.

The most progressive piece is the fascinating last track titled “Desert Sands” which has excellent bass lines, a slow heavy beat and psychedelic guitars influences. Also notable is the absorbing melodic interplay between the guitar and keyboards.

Album lineup: Kevin McConnell on vocals and keyboards; Mike Monda on guitars, guitar synthesizer and backing vocals; Jay Heffner on drums and percussion; and Joe Monda on bass.

Buy Temple of Switches