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Archive for the ‘Progressive Rock’ Category

2009 - Rush - Working Men

I’m a Rush fan.
And I’m not a compilations fan.

I think compilations exist only for sake of enriching record labels’ pockets. And Working Men is not different.

As you can tell by the cover, if you like the canadian trio, this is a compilation of live performances. With more than 30 years on the road, plus countless live albums, Rush easily exceeds the numbers of a single-disc tracklist. So you can expect great stuff here. The flaw is, nothing here is new.

Every performance is already released on a live album. Then if you’ve bought a recently released Rush live album, chances are that you have at least 30% fo Working Men. Because this release contains the best track out of Snakes & Arrows Live, R30 and my personal favorite Rush in Rio. I saw them at that tour, but in the São Paulo show.

That aside, all tracks are great and show that in spite of being in grandpas’ age, theses guys rule.

If you’re new to Rush and want to know how the band sounded live in the 00’s, that’s the album. Otherwise it’s just collectors stuff.

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I’m listening right now to the biggest 2008 surprise, Elephant9.

A norwergian trio who dare to build a sound inspired by Miles Davis ( Bitches Brew), ELP (Tarkus) and Mahavishnu Orchestra.

Everything is just perfectly right. There’s no much to say, whoever knows one of the foresaid names will just get this album and enjoy.

10/10. Surely one of the greatest 2008 albums.

If you cannot find this on the web please leave a comment with your e-mail.

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The Most Serene Republic - Population

This is one of the best things I’ve heard this year (unfortunately it’s a 2007 recording). No kidding, these guys are great and they’ll be huge. They have everything a great band needs. The Most Serene Republic is energetic and sophisticated yet very melodic.
Rich arrangements and vocal harmonies cross each other causing an enjoyable vertigo.
I’d say they sometimes remind of Arcade Fire and Mew. But not in a bad way.

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The Mars Volta - The Bedlam in Goliath

The new, very awaited and long postponed album by The Mars Volta.
I expected this album to be the top of 2007, but it’s already (in fact it’s the first 2008 album I’ve listened) a strong name for the top album of 2008.

Frances the Mute and Amputechture are great albums, but they have some abstract tracks that I just don’t listen to after the second time, like Miranda that Ghost just isn’t Holy Anymore, Vicarious Atonement and El Ciervo Vulnerado.
The Bedlam in Goliath pratically hasn’t any let downs.

The album kicks off roughly with Aberinkula, no intro, you’re straight in the chorus at the first second of the song.
Very high vocals, and lots of effects. Abruptly the second track, Metatron, kicks in.

Metraton has very nice latin percussions, and you won’t forget its refrain so soon.
The newcomer Thomas Pridgen has all freedom to hit the drums as he like. And he does it as a psycho man.
The riff and a complex broken beat at 3:00 are awesome. Very nice change. By the way, this album is full of traps that will change songs completely from time to time!

Ilyena is the third track. It sounds different from the TMV style I know. And it’s good. It’s more accessible. It must work as a single for radio airplay.
But don’t be fooled, this is a very good hard rock track with a cool latin groove.

Wax Simulacra is another fast shot with less than 3 minutes. It’s short, strong and appealing. And was the first single (released in november 19th).

The first part of Goliath evokes Omar‘s Rapid Fire Tollbooth. In a stronger and faster manner.
It’s a great moment in the album althought I already knew it.
The second part is an explosive jam. Sweet.

I consider The Tourniquet Man as an interlude. The first verses remind me of some sections in early Metallica‘s stuff like And Justice for All, One and Master of Puppets. It’s strange but it’s a good surprise!

Cavalettas starts as a fat punk shout. But it doesn’t last longer than 2 minutes when everything turns into a broken beat hard rock again.
It’s not all. Before the fourth minute they change everything again to a groove that reminds me of Drunkship of Lanterns. Amazing.
And so they go grazy back and forth until its end.

Agadez is one of my instant fav tracks. The bass here is sick. The latin interlude at 3:43 kicks all asses in the world. Breath taking. I can’t get enough of this song.

The next one, Askepios, has a phantasmagoric dark mood. Makes me remember that this albums is written through a kind of ouija board.

Ouroborous begins as a power metal outfit, but the vocals quickly break this feeling. The hard riffs changes its place with slow melodic interludes. Just great.

Soothsayer is the eleventh track. It’s more atmospheric and has mid eastern influences. The violin here sometimes reminds me of some Mahavishnu Orchestra light stuff.

Conjugal Burns closes the album greatly. It sometimes feel like a song from De-Loused but nothing in The Bedlam in Goliath lasts too long.

Call me fanatic, but I haven’t seen a bad album by The Mars Volta yet.

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Roine Stolt - The Flower King

First album solo by Roine Stolt.
I listened to Dissonata, the second track, for the first time about five years ago. I loved that so much that I wanted the full album instantly.
Unfortunately around 2002 internet wasn’t as huge as it is today and I never put my hands on the full album. Until last week.
But I’m not so impressed as I was five years ago. You know, Roine Stolt is one of the greatest names in neo prog, and The Flower King of course has moments of bliss. But I think it’s excessively sentimental and formal.
Its sense of melody reminds me of the english band Camel. But Roine Stolt sounded fresh enough to make his name after this album, when he founded The Flower Kings and became a common reference in any progressive rock talk.

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Ruins - Tzomborgha

A frentic bliss.
Ruins is the best of “experimental music meets progressive rock”.
Tzomborgha is awesome and the Black Sabbath and Mahavishnu Orchestra medleys are very much like a gift.
I totally loved it.

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Steve Hillage - Fish Rising

First studio album by Steve Hillage as solo artist. Just after he left Gong.

This is an impressive mature record. Consistent tracks and solid instrumental structure. Due to the high musical level of his crew.

Fish Rising is a delightful fresh mixture of progressive and psychedelic rock, plus some good anvant-garde and jazz/fusion influence.

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