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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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 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.
On “Fantasy Absent Reason”, American band Ovrfwrd delivers a set of instrumental performances that fuse blues-rock jams, hard rock, and progressive rock.
The album opens with the lengthy titled track “Fantasy Absent Reason”. This piece features hard rock riffs, blues-rock, and some down tempo moments where the keyboards take the band closer to progressive rock.
Track 2, “Brother Jack McDuff” is essentially a blues-rock jam where the electric organ has the leading role.
“Dust Nova”, track 3, begins with a mesmerizing section of keyboards and guitar, some of the best material on the album. The piece evolves into powerful blues-rock.
Track 4, “Utopia Planitia”, features notable keyboard, flute and solo guitar work. It’s the most progressive piece on the album.
The final track is the delightful “Creature Comforts” where the band uses electric piano and guitar supported by the rhythm section.
The lineup includes Kyle Lund on bass; Rikki Davenport on drums and percussion; Chris Malmgren on keyboards; and Mark Ilaug on guitars.