Category Archives: Progstravaganza XIX: Convergence

Fuseboxx on Progstravaganza progressive rock & metal compilation

Fuseboxx

Formed in 2001, their existence can very well be said to be the catalyst and inspiration which opened the doors to progressive music in the Philippines. They received widespread acclaim for their musical-precision and technical proficiency. This, especially so for their ability to meld and incorporate Filipino sentimentality with the different musical elements from a vast array of genres (rock, fusion, pop, classical, new age, metal, alternative, etc.) in order to create cohesive and thematic materials—indeed, arranging their music into movements that convey a compelling musical message.

Inspired by the likes of Rush, King Crimson, and other prog-rock dramatists, Fuseboxx’s songs have got some serious delivery of striking guitar/synth solos, choral and orchestral penetration, cascading notes, meditative and groovy drumming. This strip-away balance has poised them to go experimental, not limiting them to voyage on a broader musical scope. Yes, they’re not prog-rock purists. And progressive rock is not really about being mean and being conforming, as it is more on discipline and technique. It could go along from funky to glam, from punchy to just merely trite.

In 2013, they were featured on Classic Rock Presents: Prog, an international magazine published monthly in the United Kingdom that features progressive artists and bands from all over. This marks the second time that Fuseboxx is featured in the illustrious magazine (Issue #38) which has also featured progressive music giants Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) and Mike Portnoy (formerly of Dream Theater). The story, written by Natasha Scharf, was printed in the magazine’s Limelight section, which is reserved for prog bands considered new blood. It speaks of Fuseboxx as a progressive band with a clear mission. Fuseboxx was first featured in Classic Rock Presents: Prog’s 34th issue, in the same year, where the catchy cut No Glory from their Sophomore album ANIMATED, was also included in the magazine’s limited-edition CD compilation Prog Unsigned.

Considered as one of the strongest local live acts in the Philippines, they leave any rock fan, musician or musical critic breathless with their ability to constantly amaze the audience—as much because of their complex arrangements and musical dexterity as the apparent passion each member puts into the creation and performance of their music.

Links:

www.fuseboxx.ph

https://www.facebook.com/fuseboxx/

Vicinity on Progstravaganza progressive rock & metal compilation

Vicinity

Vicinity was founded in 2006 by Kim-Marius H. Olsen, Frode Lillevold and Kristian Nergård. Vocalist Alexander K. Lykke soon joined the blend making the first complete lineup. The band wrote and later recorded a demo in 2007 at Skansen Lydstudio in Trondheim, but it was the following year’s recording of the EP “Diffusion of Innovation” that the band found it’s true style, writing longer, more technical progressive compositions. The EP was recorded at Toproom Studios and mixed by Børge Finstad in one week, and released two years later (2010) by Pug-Nose Records.

In 2012 the band felt they had written enough good songs to record their debut album; “Awakening”. Drums were laid down in Trondheim Studio in february, and the following months bass, guitars and vocals were laid down, making this the debut recording of the new bass player Pierre-Nicolai H. Schmidt-Melbye, who joined the band following Nergård’s departure in 2009. Reidulf Wormdal joined the recording as a session keyboard player to add a little extra spice to the mix.

The album was mixed by André Alvnizi at Fascination Street Studios, and mastered by Jens Bogren, also at Fascination Street, and will be released by Indie Distribution and Pug-Nose Records, fall 2013. Shortly prior to the bands release concert they got in touch with keyboard player Ivar Andreas Nyland, who following an audition turned out to be the perfect match for Vicinity both socially and musically. At the end of the year Vicinity was named one of the most promising new bands by P3 Pyro, the biggest metal radio show on national radio.

Early in 2014 the band joined forces with fellow proggers Withem and Tritonus and performed at Gamla in Oslo.

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/vicinityband

The Parallax on Progstravaganza progressive rock & metal compilation

The Parallax

The Parallax is a four piece progressive melodic death metal band from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. They released their debut full length album, ‘Obliquity of the Ecliptic’, worldwide physically and digitally on October 23, 2013. It includes their 23-minute epic track ‘The Reformatting’. The album has been received well, and has taken notice in Canada, Russia, Japan, the USA, and many countries in Europe. It can be downloaded for free on their Bandcamp. They released their music video for ‘Seventeen’ on January 9th, 2014.

The Parallax has had the opportunity to share the stage with acts such as Dark Tranquillity, Protest the Hero, The Ocean, Intervals, The Agonist, Ever Forthright, Omnium Gatherum, The Atlas Moth, Exmortus, and many other great acts. The Parallax also recently competed in the Wacken Metal Battle Canada, to which they made the Toronto semi-finals.

The future looks bright for The Parallax as they begin planning tours, and writing their follow-up full-length to ‘Obliquity of the Ecliptic’.

Links:

www.theparallax.net
www.facebook.com/theparallaxband
http://theparallaxband.bandcamp.com
www.twitter.com/theparallaxband
www.instagram.com/theparallax

The Mighty Swine on Progstravaganza progressive rock & metal compilation

The Mighty Swine

The Mighty Swine are a progressive, hard rock/classic heavy metal band from Midwest U.S.A.
Influenced mainly by 70s + 80s hard rock The Mighty Swine are a Guitar oriented, Bass pounding, Drum thundering rock n roll band with melodic hooks and audible lyrics.

Their first release in 2009 earned favorable radio play with the single Layin Down the Law and was even listed on Hard Rock Nights Best of 2009 Playlist, earning them opening slots for Skid Row, LA Guns, Dokken, Adler’s Appetite, and Texas Hippie Coalition while headlining several of their own tours across the Midwest.

The band toured heavily in 2009 (Let ‘em Eat Swine 2009) & 2010 (2010 – Let’s Do It Again) before taking a break in 2011 to focus on writing material for their follow up album.

In 2012 the band released LUST along with their first professional video. The video debuted at #1 on Roxwel.com’s Metal AND Rock charts, where it stayed for 13 weeks. It remained in the Top 25 for a little over a year and recently regained it’s #1 spot with anticipation of their new release. It has over 24,000 views on youtube and earned the band a Cincinnati Entertainment Award (C.E.A.) nomination for Best Hard Rock Band.

The band took another break in 2013 while Bassist / Vocalist Mike Skimmerhorn returned to is former band Chastain to record their latest CD, Surrender to No One with David T. Chastain and Leather Leone.

Having worked with David again, Mike wanted to pursue a more progressive, modern style on the new Swine disc and revamped the band with Stacey Donahue (New Richmond, OH) on Guitar and Rory Faciane (Nashville, TN) on Drums.

Stacey is a well respected player in the community, most notably as Randy Rhoads in an Ozzy Osbourne Tribute band, and mixes technical ability with emotional feeling for a style much like Rhoads, and giving the Swine that sound Mike had been searching for.

Rory originally hails from New Orleans but moved to Nashville after Hurricane Katrina where he does a lot of studio work recording drum tracks for literally 1000s of songs. He has his own line of instructional videos out and was listed by Modern Drummer as “A drummer on the move” for his linear double bass shuffle concept. He has released albums and toured with Knorr, Biloxi, Jay Elston, and Fall from Eden. He studied under Gregg Bissonette and Guy Gelso before graduating from the Percussion Institute of Technology.

Originally formed as a 3 piece in 2009, The Mighty Swine added 2nd guitarist Jeff Tong (Columbus OH) to the fold in Feb 2014. Jeff provides a solid rhythm along with backing vocals and some scorching leads of his own complimenting Stacey’s style for a completely new sound.

The new CD will feature 9 new songs along with a scorching remake of the Judas Priest classic, Hell Bent for Leather. The disc will also feature the original demo, Pool of Emptiness, given to the label in 2009, with an updated solo by Stacey.

Links:

www.themightyswine.com

https://www.facebook.com/THEMIGHTYSWINE

The Madeleine Haze on Progstravaganza progressive rock & metal compilation

The Madeleine Haze

Progressive Hard Rock trio The Madeleine Haze began as an acoustic solo project for vocalist/guitarist Zack Goebbel. Inspired by French novelist Marcel Proust’s “episode of the madeleine” and the connection between music and involuntary memory, he released “In Search of Lost Time,” an intensely personal EP that became an unexpected regional success.

Zack assembled a band and the sound quickly evolved into a mix of classic Hard Rock and modern Post-Grunge. The resulting politically-charged EP, A More Perfect Union, was a clear sign that this was not a band who was afraid to challenge the listener both musically and lyrically. During this time they also contributed a cover of the anti-war anthem “Killer of Giants” to the “No More Tears: A Millennium Tribute to Ozzy Osbourne- 1971 – 2012” compilation. The band supported these releases with headlining tours across the US, and provided support for acts such as Adrenaline Mob, Vicious Rumors, Seven Witches, Super Bob, Bulletboys and Broken Teeth.

With growing national success came pressure from the industry to conform to a narrow view of what a mainstream Hard Rock band should be. Rather than limit themselves to those stifling constraints, however, the band became more creatively ambitious than ever. The result is Noble Lies & Pious Frauds, a ground-breaking full-length album set for release in the Fall of 2014. Thematically, the album serves as commentary on how corporations, religious and political institutions and even the people we love can manipulate how we think and act. Musically, the band incorporates everything from thrashing Prog-Metal to radio-friendly power ballads, bringing disparate genres together to create a cohesive whole. With crowd-pleasing hooks and virtuosic musicianship, The Madeleine Haze proudly walks the line between the Mainstream and the Progressive fringe, and trusts their fans to take that journey with them.

Links:

http://www.facebook.com/themadhaze
http://www.youtube.com/themadhaze
http://www.myspace.com/themadhaze

Sounds Like the End of the World on Progstravaganza progressive rock & metal compilation

Sounds Like the End of the World

“Sounds Like The End Of The World” is a five piece instrumental band which formed in 2012. In January of 2013 they recorded their debut promo mini album titled, “It All Starts Here” featuring 5 songs. The album was released in March of the same year. The band has performed live shows alongside “God is An Astronaut”, “Long Distance Calling”, “Sleepmakeswaves”, “Tides from Nebula”, “Tune”, “Disperse”, and “Lebowski.”

In February of 2014 the band’s first full length album, “Stages of Delusion” was recorded at Sounds Great Promotion Studio in Gdynia. Produced by Jan Galbas, mixed and mastered by Jakub Mankowski, known for his work with artists such as “Behemoth”, “Obscure Sphinx”, and Jordan Rudess from “Dream Theatre.”

Official release of the album was on 6th may 2014.

Links:

https://soundcloud.com/s-l-t-e-o-t-w/sets/stages-of-delusion-2014
https://www.facebook.com/SoundsLikeTheEndOfTheWorld

Shadow Merchant on Progstravaganza progressive rock & metal compilation

Shadow Merchant

Shadow Merchant is an original progressive rock band based in Philadelphia.

With years of combined experience, and with influences ranging from Rush, Kansas, Spock’s Beard, Porcupine Tree, Yes, and Dream Theater to King Crimson, the Beatles and more, Shadow Merchant brings their unique brand of progressive rock to the music world.

Shadow Merchant got its start in 2007 when radiologists Dr. Sean Reiter and Dr. Paul McGinnis, while working in the same practice, discovered their mutual affinity for prog rock. Both were experienced musicians. Guitarist Reiter had been in a band that opened for one of his favorite groups, Kansas, while McGinnis was a longtime drummer with a style reminiscent of Rush’s Neal Peart and Dream Theater’s Mike Portnoy. The two radiologists began to rehearse together, and before long, they began developing original songs. Still, they needed more members to turn their duo into a full band.

Reiter asked a friend who was involved with music if he knew anyone who: a) played bass b) could take on lead vocals, and, of course c) loved the prog! It turns out, his friend did know someone—his son-in-law, Howard Whitman, another prog devotee who had an extensive background as a professional musician.

Two became three, and then another friend of Reiter and McGinnis joined on keyboards. By 2008, the first incarnation of Shadow Merchant was born, with the band’s name derived from an antiquated term for radiologists.

When the keyboardist decided to move on, the now-trio set about finding a new fourth member, and after a series of auditions, met up with New Jersey-based keyboardist Donald A. Henney Jr. With his musical talent and mastery of keyboard technology, Don was the perfect missing link the band was looking for.

By 2011, Shadow Merchant was playing professional gigs, starting at Northeast Philly’s famed Whisky Tango nightclub. In November of that year, they were invited by NYC-based InsideOut recording artists Jolly to join the bill of a night of prog rock at The Legendary Dobbs in South Philly. Another highlight was a show at Philly’s legendary North Star Bar in early 2012.

Later that year, Philadelphia classic rock radio station WMGK introduced a new contest, Rock MD, a competition for local groups that had medical doctors as members. Shadow Merchant was named a finalist in Rock MD 2012 and played at the Keswick Theatre (former site of RoSfest) on 10/11/12.

2013 saw the band return to The Legendary Dobbs, and play at other venues including Philadelphia’s World Cafe Live. Shadow Merchant was again named a finalist in the 2013 WMGK Rock MD competition and returned to the Keswick stage on 10/09/13.

The members of Shadow Merchant are thrilled and honored to play the After Party for RoSfest 2014, and look forward to unleashing a set of original songs from their CD “The Tunnel,” along with a generous helping of classics from some of their (and probably your) favorite prog bands.

Links:

http://www.shadowmerchant.net/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shadow-Merchant/198092486901879

Quiet! on Progstravaganza progressive rock & metal compilation

Quiet!

Quiet! is a psychedelic rock group based in Vancouver, WA. Formed by members of Fury III, Manta, and Thee Aristocrats. The band is inspired by but not limited to, 60′s American Garage Psych, 70′s English progressive rock and German Kosmische (as well as it’s direct descendant, Post Punk). For fans of Gabriel era Genesis, early Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, David Bowie, Amon Duul II and Wire.

Links:

https://quiettheband1.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/quiettheband

Proud Peasant on Prog Sphere progressive rock & metal compilation

Proud Peasant

Guitarist/Composer Xander Rapstine was looking for a new direction in the summer of 2011. He had just quit his Austin, Texas (USA) pop/rock band, The Evildoers, a band he had started with one of his best and oldest friends 8 years prior, the very band he moved back to Austin to form, eschewing a life in academia, and a band he dearly loved, but no longer felt comfortable in. Starting a new musical chapter, he traded in the pop/rock stylings of his former band for a more rewarding style of music that he had grown to love since he was in his late teens: classic progressive rock.

Xander had written 3 lengthy compositions, creating pastoral soundscapes that reflected the peace, beauty, terror, and uncertainty of life. The conscious choice was made to include no lyrical vocals on the initial recordings, as he felt a need to first find his voice musically. Inspired by some of his favorite bands and musicians of the past, including Mike Oldfield, King Crimson, Genesis, and Gentle Giant, and more recent acts such as Wobbler, Astra, Bigelf, and Lyrian, Xander founded Proud Peasant in the Fall of 2011.
Having recorded at Ohm Recording Facility with The Evildoers, Xander knew that owner/engineer Chico Jones was the only person who could help bring the music to life and, with plans to enter the studio in November 2011, he began to recruit the musicians to help him record the debut album, Flight.

David Hobizal of Brooklyn, New York (Eddy Hobizal Trio, Ola Podrida) was the first to join the fold (at the suggestion of Chico), adding his considerable drum talents to the music. A propulsive yet precise style added focus to the epic compositions, bringing out elements heretofore unheard in the music. His watertight playing provided a steady, in-the-pocket meter throughout the album, punctuated with moments of hyperbolic soloing and jazz fills. His solo at the beginning of the album’s final track is a particular highlight.

Jay Allen of Fort Worth, Texas (‎Crushed Stars, The Angelus) joined next, adding significant contributions on all manner of keyboard and piano. Navigating through the layers of mellotron, celeste, moog, juno, etc., he also found himself in the enjoyable, though perhaps unenviable, position of recording two of the most important moments on the album: improvised keyboard solos that punctuate the ending and apex of 2 of the 3 tracks.

Kyle Robarge of Austin, Texas (The Calm Blue Sea, My Jerusalem, The Murdocks) came with the highest recommendation possible as the bassist for the band, having cemented his reputation in Austin as one of the most talented and hardworking musicians in town. His ear for tone and his tasteful playing formed the final piece of the puzzle, and his near-telepathic ability to add basslines that both support and embellish the higher frequencies has given the band the low-end stability that enhances its power.

Mark Poitras of Austin, Texas was the last to join the band, contributing vibes to the B-Side track, Turbulence. A veteran of several Austin bands, he will be adding keys/bells/guitar to the live setup and collaborating on future albums.

Several other musicians have contributed to the band’s sound, and profiles of their contributions can be found at our Facebook page.

The debut album from American progressive rock band Proud Peasant, entitled Flight, will be released May 27, 2014 on Basement Avatar Records via CD Baby. The band will begin playing shows in Austin and beyond this June, providing audiences with the soundtrack to sublime dreams and wicked nightmares.

Links:

http://www.proudpeasant.com
https://www.facebook.com/proudpeasant
https://twitter.com/Proud_Peasant
https://soundcloud.com/proudpeasant
http://proudpeasant.bandcamp.com

Photo credits: Courtney Chavanell Photography

Paul Bielatowicz on Progstravaganza progressive rock & metal compilation

Paul Bielatowicz

Paul Bielatowicz is best known for his virtuoso guitar work with some of the biggest names in progressive rock. He’s played, recorded and toured with the likes of Carl Palmer (ELP), Neal Morse (Spock’s Beard, Transatlantic), Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater), Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big), Les Paul… to name just a few.

“For as long as I can remember, ever since I was a small child, I’ve had a dream – to play the guitar with the skill and musicality of a classical virtuoso, while maintaining the purity of the instrument’s natural tone. I’ve done everything I can to make Preludes & Etudes the realization of that dream.”

The album is a collection of classical showpieces played almost exactly as the composers intended, but with one small difference – an electric guitar takes the place of violin, piano or whatever the original solo instrument might have been. The content ranges from breathtakingly virtuosic with some of classical music’s most challenging repertoire, to hauntingly beautiful with lyrical pieces such as Debussy’s Clair De Lune – all played as you’ve never heard them before.

Much of the album’s music was considered by many to be impossible on the guitar – pieces such as Chopin’s notorious Op.10 Etudes, which are a challenge for even the most consummate concert pianist, never mind a guitarist; Paganini’s infamous 5th Caprice, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee, J.S. Bach’s Toccata & Fugue in D minor, the third movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata… these are just few of the 19 pieces that make this perhaps one of the most virtuosic guitar albums you’ll ever come across.

Preludes & Etudes is the result of three years’ blood, sweat and the occasional tear… “I spent a month or so working on each piece – painstakingly arranging it and then practicing it until my fingers were raw. To be honest, there were quite a few moments where I thought a number of pieces were just going to be impossible on guitar.” While studying at music college, Paul set himself a strict 10-hour per day practice routine, a schedule he would return to during the making of this album. “There were periods in most months when I’d lock myself away for entire weeks at a time – that was the only way I was ever going to manage to get this material under my fingers, to a standard where it as ready to perform and record.”

“I wanted to present the electric guitar as a serious classical instrument, in my opinion that’s never really been done before. I approached the recording process in the same way a classical musician would – trying to get the purest tone from my instrument and capturing each performance so that the listener feels like they’re right there in the room with me. What you hear is just a guitar, a cable and an old valve amp. No microchips, distortion pedals or effects were allowed anywhere near the album and I used as little gain on the amp as possible to maintain the purity of the guitar’s natural tone, giving the listener as honest a performance as possible. Preludes & Etudes is all about the playing and the natural tone of the instrument. It’s is a celebration of the electric guitar in its purest form, and an attempt to raise its perception to that of a classical instrument.”

Although the majority of the album is a solo effort – Paul being credited with all the accompanying orchestral arrangements and piano parts – he did call upon a couple of very talented friends to make contributions. Fellow Carl Palmer Band-mate Simon Fitzpatrick makes an appearance on four tracks, his virtuoso solo bass accompaniments complimenting Bielatowicz’s guitar parts so perfectly that there are points where it’s difficult to say which instrument is taking the lead. The album was mixed and mastered by Rich Mouser – a household name in progressive rock circles. His decades of studio experience and love of traditional analogue equipment have been put to great use in producing crystal clear mixes that allow the music to breath, putting the listener right at the center of the performance.

Links:

http://paulbielatowicz.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Paul-Bielatowicz/68797071299