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

2/16/2020

Progressive Rock Review: Art in America - Cloudborn

Release Date: August 1, 2019
Label: Art in America



Like a book, music can catapult you into an imaginative adventure. Art in America most definitely built their latest LP, Cloudborn around the concept of an alternate universe where all your troubles just disappear and the listener cannot wait for what may lie ahead.

The theme of experimental simplicity is fitting for this band as the band members started, as they state on their site, “in their living room kicking around some musical ideas with guitar, bass and some unusual instrumentation - … and a Japanese Koto.” Band members and siblings, Chris Flynn – lead vocals and guitar, Shisonee Flynn – harp, koto, tamboura, and vocals; and Dan Flynn – on drums and percussion, began the venture of artistry and bringing together the framework of a band. Soon, after adding Jim Kuha – on bass guitar and backing vocals, and Garry Galloway on the keys; the band was finalized and two albums later, Art in America is on the rise to become a part of every Progressive Rock N’ Roll lover’s collection and earworm.

“A Tale of the Unexpected” sounds like that of a videogame cut scene. It offers the listener a way to both, relax and get introduced to a realm of unusual instruments that typically is not included within Progressive Rock album concepts. The harp, an Indian piece called a tambura, and a Japanese koto are fused throughout the track list.

Much of the rest of the album gives off a blend of 80’s and 90’s Progressive Rock/Pop vibe. As soon as I heard the first few lines of “I Am I,” I felt like I was inside a Classic Progressive Rock or Action movie soundtrack music video. “Someday” hits right in the heart of any listener with half a sense of aspiration and hope. It proclaims that one day soon he (the singer), will get to where he needs to be.

Just take a look at this particular album art. It is of a vast and new unexplored world that leaves an imprint of a powerful image on the listener’s mind. “Drool,” on the other hand, gives the feel of a traveler that is in search of something but; no one quite knows what. The singer may just be wandering down an endless road. Rounding out the first half of the track list, “The New Swami” is one of those songs that you just cannot exactly place your finger on how to react. It contains elements of the tambura giving the tune some peacefulness. It is sung so brightly but, if you listen to some of the lyrics: “The new Swami smiles, as rubies turn to rubble;” the Swami is not as peaceful as proclaimed.

“Someone Called My Name,” is all about looking for answers. It’s a journey where all but, the voice he keeps hearing over and over again remains a constant in his life. We never do learn if he discovers who or what he has been searching for. Art in America goes back to a wild-western-type of a theme on “For Shelly.” It sings of coming to a realization of whom he had however, now she’s gone out of his life
Trying to find any remnants of back to when he and his friend or lover back to simpler times, the singer is in a daydream-like state and the rhythm remains constant to maintain that feel of flashbacks. It’s a very mellow peace to bridge the album together, it almost becomes instrumental.

Going from an almost monotone beginning to an action-packed four minutes and twenty-one seconds, “Facelift” is a fun changeup from the rest of the record. It feels like the singer or the listener could be charging up to something blending with a somewhat mystical sound towards the end. It becomes one of the standout tracks on the album for the simple reason that it brings some life and rejuvenation back into the record; like a reawakening of sorts.

The last three tracks create their own personalities. “Don’t Look Down” keeps with the upbeat sequence of the prior track. It’s guitar solo, is on the shorter side but, still offers what every Progressive Rock lover desires, a pure shred of the strings through your speakers. “No Wonder” finds its way on this record perfectly as its unique sound, almost like a movie scene, or story time sequence. The lyrics do not reflect much in terms of positivity because the man in question has made some mistake that he cannot seem to identify but, she knows quite well what he did. It’s the typical couples’ flare-up of arguments, disagreements, and sometimes breakup. Finally, taking a look at the last track “Goodbye My Love / Mind’s Eye / Peace of Mind,” it is truly an ideal finale to a perfect Progressive Rock album. It begins slow and swing-like, then, by the time it gets to “Mind’s Eye,” it blossoms into an up-tempo grand finish to make the listener feel as though they are leaving the concert of their life.

Cloudborn is that album that defines experimental. It pushes all types of Progressive Rock boundaries and draws the ear of various listeners. If you are looking for a record that makes you daydream, that makes you feel good overall, and that can turn any day around; this is the album for you. Often, Progressive Rock is misconstrued as angry – when commonly dealing with Metal, or disturbed when playing a bunch of Alternative artists; there’s a third avenue of eclectic and experimental sound that can accompany a typically positive intonation.

Key tracks include: “A Tale of the Unexpected,” “The New Swami,” and “No Wonder.”

Gregg Keniston- MuzikMan.net Staff
February 15, 2020

Reviews Provided By:

Track Listing:
 

01. A Tale of the Unexpected
02. I Am I
03. Someday
04. Drool
05. The New Swami
06. Someone Called My Name
07. For Shelly
08. When We Were Young
09. Facelift
10. Don't Look Down
11. No Wonder
12. Goodbye My Love / Mind’s Eye / Peace of Mind

1/27/2020

Prog Rock Review: DBA-Geoffrey Downes/Christopher Braide-Live In England

Release Date: November 29. 2019
Label: Cherry Red Records
Geoff Downes and Christopher Braide are DBA. DBA stands for Downes Braide Association. Both gents are well known in musical circles and Downes has carved out a legendary slice of time with Asia and Yes and several other projects over the years, with his keyboard wizardry. Braide is a multi-talented artist, vocalist, musician, producer, and collaborator.

This matchup is one to die for with excellent musicianship and vocals beyond compare. Besides those two key players, there are important parts of the whole to make all this music complete, including Andy Hodge (bass), Dave Colquhoun (lead guitar) and special guests David Longdon (vocals and flute) and narration by Barney Ashton Bullock.

Live In England folds out into four sections holding two CDs and one DVD and an informative booklet.

I have always loved Yes and Asia including the 80s version of Yes with Downes. As all fans know that is why Asia was born. What you will hear in this immense set are 16 audio tracks then the same in the DVD. So, you get the best of both worlds. I watched the DVD first, of course, to get the full in-house impact when it was recorded at Trading Boundaries in East Sussex on September 28, 2018. The stage was normal and no-frills, just straight-ahead great music which suits me just fine thank you very much.

Christopher has an amazing voice, there is no other way to explain it. For me, it was goosebump time when the lead-off track “Prelude/Skyscraper Souls” kicked in. He has a smooth voice that can hit those high notes and perfectly enunciated for every part of each song. I did notice that when he sings in the lower register it reminded me somewhat of David Gilmour. When he goes high forget it, there are not too many vocalists that can pull off a performance as Christopher did on so many songs in one performance. I particularly appreciated that I could understand all the lyrics thanks to Christopher’s pinpoint vocal style. So enough about the vox humana.

Where would all of those beautiful vocals be without an amazing soundtrack to sing along to? That is exactly what Downes and company provide from start to finish on this performance. Downes is and was the musical centerpiece of the presentation and he even gets the stage all to himself to perform some familiar music instrumentally for the audience.

This is not just progressive rock its prog! And with some of the best-seasoned talent on the planet to present it all, fans of this kind of music will find a lot to enjoy on this set. The music covers their studio releases with precision and energy that will greatly be appreciated even with the
most particular listeners.

If you don’t have the three studio albums, after hearing Live In England you will likely seek out all of those releases, I know I will.

Watch for the vinyl version of Live In England to be released on February 14th!


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
January 26, 2020

Founder of:

Review Provided By Prog Rock Music Talk

Tracks

DISC ONE:

 1. SKYSCRAPER SOULS
2. MACHINERY OF FATE
3. LIVE TWICE
4. VANITY
5. SUBURBAN GHOSTS
6. BOLERO / VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR
7. GLACIER GIRL
8. ANGEL ON YOUR SHOULDER


DISC TWO:
 

1. TOMORROW
2. LIGHTHOUSE
3. SKIN DEEP
4. DARKER TIMES
5. FINALE
6. HEAT OF THE MOMENT
7. THE SMILE HAS LEFT YOUR EYES
8. DREAMING OF ENGLAND


DISC THREE – DVD (NTSC REGION 0)

1. SKYSCRAPER SOULS
2. MACHINERY OF FATE
3. LIVE TWICE
4. VANITY
5. SUBURBAN GHOSTS
6. BOLERO / VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR
7. GLACIER GIRL
8. ANGEL ON YOUR SHOULDER
9. TOMORROW
10. LIGHTHOUSE
11. SKIN DEEP
12. DARKER TIMES
13. FINALE
14. HEAT OF THE MOMENT
15. THE SMILE HAS LEFT YOUR EYES
16. DREAMING OF ENGLAND
 

1/25/2020

Prog Rock Review: Nektar-The Other Side

Release Date: January 24, 2020
Label:  Independent
Website



Early influencers of the ’70s prog-rock movement, Nektar has returned with a satisfying new release. The Other Side reaches into the past and skillfully carries the band’s groundbreaking sound into the modern age. Like many prog-rock pioneers, Nektar took chances. Their debut album, for example, contained a single 40-minute song. As with any early 70s band that is fortunate enough to remain together, Nektar has gone through changes. Today, Nektar consists of three original members (Mo Moore, Ron Howden & Randy Dembo), a returning stint player (Ryche Chlanda), and a new keyboardist (Kendall Scott).

These are experimental rock songs with driving, complex rhythms supporting flights of fancy on keyboard and guitar. Think of Jones & Bonham of Led Zeppelin meeting Rick Wakeman of YES meeting Steve Hacket of Genesis. The most enjoyable moments on this album come when the band flies away from the derivative and predictable choruses and allows Chlanda and Scott to take the listener to new heights.

Case in point is the opening track, “I’m on Fire.” The lyrics Mo Moore wrote in 1978 for his fiancĂ© fall flat against the imaginative underlying sonic texture. “SkyWriter” is a more accessible and reminiscent of an Asia track bridging prog with pop. On the other side of the coin, “Love Is/The Other Side” is a masterful progression of melodies and tempos taking off mid-way and not relenting until the end. “The Light Beyond” and “Look Through Me” are slower, more orchestral, and introspective songs heavy on keyboard with strains of Alan Parsons.

At times it feels as if The Other Side is attempting to combine the experimental and ethereal nature of progressive rock with down-to-earth hard rock sensibilities. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. As a listener, I found myself tuning out for the chorus and turning in for the jams. Overall, the offering is strong, and the experience is worthwhile. The better news is that Nektar is still producing quality albums and is still touring. Legend has it that they do not let their live audiences down, so check out their tour list and go see this iconic band while you have the chance.

Tom Endyke - MuzikMan.net Staff
January 23, 2019

REVIEWS PROVIDED BY:
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Tracks:
1. I’m On Fire
2. SkyWriter
3. Love is/The Other Side
4. Drifting
5. Devil’s Door
6. The Light Beyond
7. Look Through Me
8. Y Can’t I B More Like U

12/23/2019

Prog Rock Review: King Crimson-In the Court of the Crimson King 50th Anniversary Reissue

Release Date: October 25, 2019
Label:  Panegyric
Website
  
The beauty of the current wave of 50th Anniversary box set releases is that they are entering the golden age of modern rock music— the 1970's. If In the Court of the Crimson King foretells a string of influential 50th Anniversary reissues to follow, music fans have cause for celebration. 

In 1969, there was the crisp, airy resonance of vinyl. In the 1980s, Compact Discs sucked out all the air and antisepticised the sound. In the late 1990s, clarity and depth were eliminated altogether through compression to fit on portable digital devices and streaming services. Only recently have we begun to move in the opposite direction. More storage and bandwidth mean larger digital files with "less loss" and high-quality sound has come full-circle and is attainable once again. Herein lies the opportunity to bring these 50th Anniversary reissues back to life by leveraging modern technology to restore the sound to its organic, multi-dimensional form.

This Blu-Ray disc in this collection does just that, featuring all-new 5.1 & stereo mixes by Steven Wilson, approved by Robert Fripp in 24/96 resolution. Wilson not only remixed the original album; he also remixed much of the bonus material that he had mixed initially in 2009. This 4-disk set includes 3 CDs of the original remixed album by Steven Wilson plus instrumental versions, an expanded edition of the alternate album from the Blue-Ray, the original master edition of the 1969 mix, plus additional tracks. Suffice to say, the sound will overtake you and force you to surrender to its majesty.  

I distinctly remember the first time I heard this album. I bought it from a used record store based solely on the bizarre artwork of the Schizoid Man himself, which resembles a modern-day Edvard Munch Scream. On a warm spring day on the porch of my college apartment, I poured myself some Carlo Rossi wine from a jug, scraped enough resin for a decent bong-hit, dropped the needle, and surrendered. "Said the straight man to the late man, where have you been?" I was indeed the late man who had "been here and there and in-between." The album went immediately into heavy rotation and to this day, I can't listen to this seminal masterpiece without thinking back to that afternoon.

To think that In the Court of the Crimson King was King Crimson's debut album boggles the mind. Typically, bands need a few throwaways before finding their identity. King Crimson came out of the gates with unadulterated rawness and a sound much like truth, which hadn't been spoken very loudly until then. Not only did the music illuminate the chaos of the times, so did the lyrics. 1969 is when the walls of establishment crumbled at the hands of the counter-culture, songs such as "21st Century Schizoid Man" conveyed the angst of the dissociative and marginalized youth of the time. Images of burning politicians and starving children shed light on the mental and physical destruction of the Vietnam War and deepened the divide between generations.

Standout tracks include the original studio instrumental take of "21st Century Schizoid Man," which has been completely remixed and re-imagined by David Singleton. It adds Greg Lake vocals from later studio sessions as well as Saxophone and guitar overdubs, creating a juggernaut of a song that infuses energy amidst bravado, leaving the listener's consciousness forever altered. The instrumental closing version of "The Court of the Crimson King" strips the vocals exposing deeper-layered intricacies of sound evoking an entirely different atmosphere.

The dissection and reverse-engineering of this masterpiece provide a bounty of tracks for King Crimson and progressive music fans to sink their teeth into. "Epitaph," for instance, appears in five different forms. The "Isolated vocal, 2019 mix" is the most provocative as it isolates Greg Lake's vocals for three minutes and forty-four seconds before elevating the instrumental tracks to carry the song to its dramatic, yet gloomy conclusion.

Over the years, the band's lineup has evolved with its sound. Their 2019 tour featured eight musicians, including three drummers. They remain highly influential, and their live shows have garnered the highest of accolades. This collection falls between the 40th Anniversary Series remixes a decade ago, the earlier 2019 remastered release, and the planned 2020 box set release (which will include all of this material). What it offers collectors and fans alike is a more affordable package of Steven Wilson's remixes plus rare bonus material. Most importantly, this thoughtfully mixed and packaged release serves as a 50th Anniversary tribute, a genuflection and a gift left at the altar in the Court of the Crimson King.


Tom Endyke - Prog Rock Music Talk Staff
December 21, 2019


REVIEWS PROVIDED BY:



Tracks:
CD 1 - 2019 stereo & instrumental stereo Steven Wilson mixes
01. 21st Century Schizoid Man
02. I Talk to the Wind
03. Epitaph
04. Moonchild
05. The Court of the Crimson King
06. 21st Century Schizoid Man (Instrumental)
07. I Talk to the Wind (Instrumental)
08. Epitaph (Instrumental)
09. Moonchild (Instrumental)
10. The Court of the Crimson King (Instrumental)


CD 2 - Alternate album, expanded edition
01. Wind Session (2019 Stereo mix)
02. 21st Century Schizoid Man (Morgan Studios June 1969 take)
03. I Talk to the Wind (Alternative 2019 mix)
04. I Talk to the Wind (Duo version, full-length master, 2019 mix)
05. Epitaph (Isolated vocal, 2019 mix)
06. Epitaph (Alternate take, 2019 mix)
07. Moonchild (Take 1 2019 mix)
08. The Court of the Crimson King (June 1969 take, 2019 mix)
09. 21st Century Schizoid Man (Trio version, 2019 mix)
Mixed by Steven Wilson except 2 & 5, mixed by David Singleton


CD 3 - Original master edition, expanded
01. 21st Century Schizoid Man
02. I Talk to the Wind
03. Epitaph
04. Moonchild
05. The Court of the Crimson King
06. 21st Century Schizoid Man (Morgan Studios instrumental take, 1969)
07. I Talk to the Wind (Studio run through, 2019 mix)
08. Epitaph (Backing track, 2019 mix)
09. The Court of the Crimson King (Part 1, single a side)
10. The Court of the Crimson King (Part 2, single b side)


Blu-Ray
* 2019, 5.1 and stereo mixes by Steven Wilson in 24/96 resolution (for the first time)


* Original master edition of the 1969 album mix in 24/96 stereo.


* A complete alternate album comprising 2019 mixes by Steven Wilson including a much extended duo version of I Talk to The Wind, a June 19th version of ‘The Court of the Crimson King’ from the band’s final day at Morgan studios in June 1969, an isolated voice dominant version of ‘Epitaph’ & a version of ‘21st Century Schizoid Man’ which combines the Morgan studios instrumental with Greg Lake vocals from Wessex studios and August 2019 overdubs by Mel Collins & Jakko Jakszyk – the latter two mixed by David Singleton.


* A further album’s worth of additional material drawn from studio takes – much of it mixed by Steven Wilson & including extracts from the ‘wind session’ that produced the intro to 21CSM in stereo for the first time, the single a/b sides of the album title track drawn, for the first time since on disc, from the original master tapes & more are also included.


* The Blu-Ray is completed by a set of 2019 instrumental mixes and the surviving fragment of black & white footage from Hyde Park in 1969.

11/26/2019

Prog Rock Review: 7-Time Will Tell

Release Date: September 27, 2019
Label: Starport Records

When I started listening to 7 and their album Time Will Tell, my immediate thought was, this sounds like the early 80s Yes and Asia. That hit the nail on the head as the band was formed back then with all the songs written in that time frame. In that timeframe, I was in Japan and was asked if I wanted to go to Tokyo to see Asia. I declined my friend's offer. Looking back now I wish I went.

7 Is:
Bryan Timm - guitars, vocals
Randy Copus - lead vocals, keyboards
Scott Steele - bass
Michael Landino – drums

Music like this is retro and brings all the memories flooding back. If this had been released back then it could have competed with bands like Yes or Asia. Better late than never and as far as I am concerned because it is a joy to listen to.


Four of the nine songs are over 5 minutes in length which is and was typical of the genre. These are classic sweeping tracks with fantastic vocals supported by strong guitar, rhythm section, and the all-important keyboards, for the finishing touch. I think even without the keyboards I would still tag it as prog rock.

There are simply no weak links in this recording however if I was pressed, my favorites would be “Time Will Tell,” “Chance of a Lifetime,” “The Knight” and “Go the Distance.” Every one of those tracks has good lyrics and a fantastic song structure with top musicianship. I like passages like “You can go the distance if you don’t let your heart go blind.” The wordplay is very clever and meaningful.

Starting the album with an ear-catching title track is a very good idea and, in this case, it gets your attention. And just as important is to close out the album strong and they do it with excellence on “The Knight.” The soaring vocals provided by Randy Copus, pulsating bass, in time drums and driving keyboards, make this a very catchy tune that you want to hear again once it is over.

It may sound outdated for 2019 because it was meant for the 80s however it remains a fact that this music is complex yet always radio-ready. That special connection to prog rock from legendary performers like Yes, ELP and Asia give this a real chance for a wide listening base. Many people still listen to this music regularly, making it a viable release. I would love to hear this on vinyl LP, it would be amazing.

I have provided the “vintage” version of the “Time Will Tell” video along with the stream from Spotify for interested listeners. If you like any of the aforementioned bands you will love this music!

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
November 24, 2019

Founder of:

Review Provided By Prog Rock Music Talk

Tracks: 
1.  Time Will Tell (5:45)
2. On the Bridge (4:05)
3. Are You Ready (6:36)
4. In Time (3:44)
5. Transitions (2:30)
6. Let It Go (4:51)
7. Chance of a Lifetime (4:19)
8. Go the Distance (5:41)
9. The Knight (5:16)

 



11/14/2019

Prog Rock Review: District 97-Screens

Release Date:  October 4, 2019
Label:  MindScan Records

The Chicago-based prog-rock quintet, District 97, is back with a new studio release, Screens. Both the band and their sound have evolved through several incarnations since their inception in 2006. The band started as an instrumental rock band until changing direction in 2007 when American Idol finalist, Leslie Hunt, joined as vocalist. A few years later, a renowned Chicago Symphony Orchestra cellist, Katinka Kleijn joined the band as well. Ms. Hunt’s vocals capture the angst of society’s marginalized. Her vocals, combined with the unabashed musicianship, form a curious, yet absorbing the sonic experience.

Screens pick up where the band’s previous three studio albums leave off, with a more evolved and accessible sound. Therein lies one challenge I faced as a listener, blending the stylistic, almost pop vocals into what feels like an unnatural prog-rock habitat. As a result, I found it hard to surrender completely. Just as the Zappa-esque prog/jazz/fusion creativity takes me in one direction, the glossy vocals take over and pull me in another.  

Songs like “Bread & Yarn,” where vocals are more subdued and democratized, stand out. “ShapeShifter” and “Ghost Girl” come closer to vocal/musical synergy as Hunt sounds a bit less polished and produced. This suits the twists and turns of the undercurrent well. Vocals aside, some masterful performances are starting with Jim Tashjian’s jazz-infused guitar licks where he takes the listener on short sprees away from the rhythm and masterfully returns them to the start. Founder Jonathan Schang’s drumming is clever, accomplished, and brings forth rhythmic illusions in the vein of Gavin Harrison of King Crimson and Porcupine Tree. 

While the blend of pop and heavy prog may not be everyone’s cup of tea, one can tell by the skill of the players, the shifting tempos, and the spaces left between the notes that District 97 would be an engaging live band. The One More Red Night album released in 2014 confirms the assertion. 

Overall, District 97 embodies the Prog rock principals of pushing the envelope and opening the listener’s mind to new sonic possibilities. This is a modern progressive sound that melds elements not typically melded together. While Screens shines in places, this listener had to work to find them and did not become as absorbed as he had hoped.  

Tom Endyke - MuzikMan.net Staff
November 7, 2019

REVIEWS PROVIDED BY:
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Tracks:
1.  Forest Fire
2.  Sheep
3.  Sea I Provide
4.  Bread and Yarn
5.  Trigger
6.  After Orbit Mission
7.  Shapeshifter
8.  Blueprint
9.  Ghost Girl

 

10/24/2019

Rock/Prog Rock-American Tears-White Flags

Release Date: June 21, 2019
Label: Escape Music Ltd
Website
 
The renaissance of 70’s power keyboard legends, American Tears is in full force with their second release in as many years, White Flags.  Not only are they influenced by keyboard-driven progressive rock of the album-oriented 70’s such as Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Genesis, and Deep Purple, they helped define the genre. Founder Mark Mangold’s boundless musical energy and skill spawn critically acclaimed, yet commercially unsuccessful releases Branded Bad and Tear Gas in the mid-’70s.  American Tears would morph into Touch in the early ’80s yet remain clouded in anonymity.  Mangold moved on to collaborate with artists such as Michael Bolton, write hits for Cher and Benny Mardones, and release his solo records.
The band’s current incarnation unearths an ambiance from a time in rock history when keyboard solos reigned supreme. Tom Scholz’s masterful Hammond organ solo on Boston’s Smokin comes to mind.  Mangold’s keyboard riffs are rife with passion and energy. The moment you feel him about to wind down and wrap up, he reinvents the song and takes it to another level.  In this regard, American Tears defies formulaic structure. To the delight of the listener, these songs keep going and going. After all, if you’re enjoying the ride, why would you want it to end? 
In a recent interview on The Final on Vinyl Podcast (or play below), Mangold quotes Pete Townsend when The Who was accused of sounding self-indulgent and pretentious “Thank you very much,” said Pete, clearly proud of being labeled as such. Mangold is justifiably proud, as well.   
Listening to his vocals on White Flags, one is reminded of the soul and range of The Cult’s Ian Astbury.  Each song on White Flags is consistently upbeat with a broad array of tempos and melodies.  Two of the more soulful tracks which accentuate his vocal range come in the form of “Give me More” and the album’s closer “White Flags.” 
To Mark Mangold, White Flags is about surrender and sacrifice.  Giving up the battles and giving all of oneself is a sure path to freedom. The lyrics, vocals, and driving power keyboards echo that refrain.  Those who remember American Tears from the ’70s will enjoy this next chapter in their evolution while an emerging fan base is sure to keep growing. 
Tom Endyke - MuzikMan.net Staff
October 19, 2019

Key Tracks Include: “Hell or High Water,” “Fire Down Below,” “Turn U On”, “Turn the Page”

REVIEWS PROVIDED BY:
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Tracks:

01. Turn U On
02. Wake up City
03. Hell or High Water
04. Waltz of the Angels
05. Fire Down Below
06. Give Me More
07. Love is Love
08. Turn the Page (Blue Dog)
09. Pitch Black
10. Keep on Movin’
11. White Flags



10/31/2017

Prog Rock Review: RTFACT-Life Is Good

Release Date: CD Release Date - September 30, 2017/LP Release Date - November 23, 2017
Label: AFL Music

It is a beautiful thing this progressive rock, and what some artists are releasing these days is amazing. The prog community is very special to this music fan. When you get a chance to hear a project with a overabundance of artists joining forces to record an album it is even more exciting and special.

So now we have RTFACT with their album Life Is Good. This band is fresh from their recording sessions and ready to get this music out to the masses ASAP!

Life Is Good is a boundless combination of prog and classic rock. One of the great things about this album besides all of stellar musicianship, are the vocals of Jeff Scott Soto. He is an outstanding vocalist and I believe underrated by people in the music business. The people that really count, the listeners, know who he is and his capabilities.

Nad Sylvan provides vocals as well and notably Oz Noy rips off a few stellar guitar lines to polish and perfect the experience.  So, what you get is a few of the more recognizable names in the industry joining forces with names you may have been ever exposed to. What does this tell me? There is a lot of unfound talent out there to be discovered and am I ever glad I discovered this band. Thanks go out to Yuri Volodarsky,of AFL Music for making this opportunity possible.

These players know how to have some fun as well. After the superb “(I Got) Money In My Pocket” and “Hail To The Winner Part I” then comes the entertaining instrumental “Hail To The Winner Part II Tarantella.” It starts off like a soundtrack to one of the old 60s TV Shows like Mr. Ed for instance. Then it launches into a full-on rock attack with scorching leads from the six-string. After that workout a true to form prog rock approach is taken, with all the quick changes that blow your mind on “Gotika.” Again, my interest peaked and I was compelled to turn up the volume. It was like listening to ELP on steroids. This is prog rock at its very best as far as I am concerned.

I think the description of the band on the Bandcamp website paints the proper picture of what this music is with the following statement:

An archaeological trove of musical nuggets, with soaring vocals, Hammond B3 wizardry, muscular guitar solos, and a supple rhythm section that grooves as hard as it rocks.

It so true! Usually these statements are a blown out of proportion, a gaggle of words, but in the case every bit of it is right as rain. This is a great sound from start to finish with crankin’ guitar solos, pumping organ and synth parts, and a killer rhythm section. It all comes together to create a prog rock masterpiece. “Life Is Good (Remix)” calls it day with a very Yes like sound and layered vocals. A fitting touch for the closer with a wink and nod to an outstanding musical journey to prog nirvana.

Yes, indeed Life Is Good thanks to prog rock.

Tracks:
1. Life Is Good
2. Artifact
3. (I Got) Money In My Pocket
4. Hail To The Winner. Part I
5. Hail To The Winner. Part II. Tarantella
6. Gotika
7. The King, The Master, And The Timekeeper
8. Hollywood Walk Of Fame
9. Life Is Good (Remix)
 
Line Up:
Jeff Scott Soto - vocals
Nad Sylvan - vocals
Will Champlin - vocals
Oz Noy - solo guitar
Jeff Kollman - solo guitar
Rafael Moreira - guitar
Josh Smith - guitar
Gary Meek - flute, sax
Edward Tsiselsky - keyboards
Dmitry Ilugdin - synthesizers
Eugene Sharikov - bass
Joel Taylor – drums

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
October 31, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By Prog Rock Music Talk

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