Tag Archives: progressive rock

Daar

Review: Daar – One-Way Expedition

The use of technology such as smartphones, computers and Internet mostly, perhaps have negative effects on many things, including music. But on the other side, there are also positive impacts especially when it comes to unknown or new bands. Some of them are really talented, and although without experience, this talent is bringing them to more advanced levels. Some countries are opening the ways for talent more than the others. Serbia, I think is one of those countries for which it’s hard to rise to prominence in many aspects, including music, yet Daar was born there.

Daar - One Way Expedition

The roots of this band, hailing from the city of Kragujevac, go long way back to the ’90s. Passionate for the progressive rock music, these guys jammed together but due to unfortunate events the band’s work had to be terminated. But their love towards music prevailed, and the guys formed a new band and named it Daar. The current formation of the band was formed in 2011, and in 2012 they started to work on what has become their debut album “One-Way Expedition,” which was released earlier this year.

A great instrumental piece of progressive rock accompanied with guitar work that is very creative, imaginative guitar solos and ethnic motives. This is the music that forces any limits, and that is something that must be admired. Especially for a genre like progressive rock where the music has to be innovative. Ethnic touches in the music of this band take the prog rock to new heights. This is best documented on the fourth track “Scars,” and the closing, title song. The latter elaborates on the band’s creativity of matching ethnic motives with flying guitar solos.

This five-track release is a very refreshing album. If you are tired of listening to the progressive rock that’s struck and repeats itself, make sure to check this album out. This is one of the must-hear records of 2015.

Pearly Gates

Interview with Antti Silkela of Pearly Gates

Antti Silkela of Finish “so-hard-to-categorize” band Pearly Gates answered our question about the band’s sixth EP release “Unchained,” a great four-track EP that is a release for everyone. He also talks about the influences, favourite albums, and unforgettable moment of the band’s career so far.

How would you describe your new EP “Unchained”?

Unchained-EP includes 4 songs that combines prog rock arrangements, heavy riffs, dark lyrics and big wall of sound. It was recorded during one year in studios, cellars and cabins in DYI spirit.

Unchained EP

Do your personalities reflect on the lyrics or music?

Me and our singer Jonne are responsible for all the writing in the band at the moment. It’s natural that your personality shines through the lyrics and music. I can say I’m a sensitive person, who tries to see the world trough an analytical lens. In music you are allowed to express a bit naive thoughts and emotions so that’s great therapy. Our music and lyrics are basically about soul searching and reaching to the unknown.

Do you see the band’s music as serving a purpose beyond music? 

Composing and playing music is just one part of being in a band. It’s a perfect reason to travel, drink beer with the fellows and meet new people, a way to challenge your sonic and visual creativity, follow your childhood dream and impress the ladies. Quite neat way of life I would say.

Do you believe in progress, and how does that reflect on each new Pearly Gates release?

If there’s no ongoing progress happening, there’s no reason to release anything new really. We want to keep getting better and better and reach the band’s full potential some day.

Are you satisfied with where Pearly Gates stands currently?

We have been doing this since we were young kids: spending hundreds of hours in the rehearsal place, playing gigs for full bars and empty ones around Finland and Europe, writing songs, doing long recording sessions and trying to get our voice heard.

It’s been a great ride but financially it’s still a nightmare. We hope that this new EP and music videos get more people exited so we start to get more following.

Pearly Gates

Which bands influenced your work at the most?

Pearly Gates has taken influences from the bands like Pink Floyd, Tool, Karnivool, Black Crowes and Hellacopters. The list could go on and on… Our band has had our Action Rock and Southern Rock phases in the past but now days we are more into some more heavier and complex stuff.

What are the benefits and drawbacks on technology and Internet in your opinion?

It’s not the best music that is heard, it’s about who makes most noise to be heard. Internet is an incredible tool to promote your band’s music globally but you are one in a million who is doing it. It’s hard to stand out without the help from big media companies.

New technology has made possible to record albums with perfect sounds and no mistakes whatsoever. For me it doesn’t necessary mean it’s laking soul because of that. I love big and wide soundscapes! Sometimes the lack of technology can bring more to the sound too. If you are listening Robert Johnson for example you know what I mean.

What are your all-time favourite albums and why?

My favorite albums are Pink Floyd’s The Wall and Iggy and The Stooges’ Raw Power for very different reasons. The Wall deals with themes of alienation and loneliness which I’ve been struggling with especially when I was younger. Classic songs and the whole concept of the album made it really special to me.

Raw Power is dynamite to our senses. It makes your heart race, your feet move and you feel like you are on fire when you are listening to it. I took the CD with me to all the parties I went to when I was about 14 years old.

What was one of the most unforgettable moments you guys experienced as Pearly Gates?

The first thing that comes to my mind is our trip to Trieste, Italy at the end of our first European tour in 2012. It was the perfect couple of days after some big problems we had encountered on the road. Some one had broke into our van couple of days earlier in Prague. They stole 5 guitars, bass and a laptop from us so we had to drive to Germany to buy some new equipment to keep going. Then we drove to Udine, Italy where we found out that our Slovakian promoter had lied us about our gigs in Italy: we didn’t have any.

We were forced to cancel couple of gigs booked to France for the next week, because there were no money coming in without gigs. We drove to Trieste to chill out before our long drive home and while playing guitars on the beach we met some amazing local people who showed us the best places in the city and partied with us for couple of days. I miss that town and the people.

Enjoy “Unchained” by Pearly Gates from the band’s Bandcamp page, and like them on Facebook. They are also on YouTube and Soundcloud.

Orymus

Review: Orymus – Miracles

Orymus is a hard rock/heavy metal band from Switzerland influenced largely by progressive rock. These experienced musicians from Bern play together for over ten years and they released two full-length albums so far. Their debut “Escape to Reality” was released in 2013, and this year they returned with “Miracles.”

Comparing these two releases, it’s evident that the band grew up and became more cohesive. With “Miracles” they are going more than thirty years back, where the roots of rock and metal are. “Miracles” is a tribute to the best of that era, the band stay truthful to their sound wrapped up in new attire and are ready to rock more than ever.

Miracles
The album that was released this past March is quite a short for today’s standards with its approximately 40 minutes and ten tracks. Its sound is something that our ears are accustomed to. Every person who has interest in rock and metal music has come into this kind of sound at least once. Singer Daniel Brönnimman is a perfect fit for singing Orymus’ songs. His vocals for Orymus is like a chocolate cake that accompanies coffee. From the very fist moments of the album until the finishing melody guitar solos are striking, and accompanied with stunning vocals by Brönnimann they make “Miracles” an enjoyable experience. It’s been a long since I heard such a refreshing release coming from this genre, and though vintage in its nature “Miracles” does bring a lot of refreshment.

All of us started listening to music with likes such as Led Zeppelin, Whitesnake, Rainbow or Deep Purple. Orymus is influenced by these greats but with lots of elements developed by themselves. If you are a nostalgic person, it is the right time for you to give a try to this underrated Swiss band.

You can buy “Miracles” from Bandcamp. It would be good if you follow Orymus on Facebook too.

Interview with DAAR

Interview with DAAR

A month ago Serbian instrumental progressive rock band DAAR released their debut album called “One-Way Expedition.” About this great new release and the band itself, DAAR answered our questions.

Mixture of metal, progressive rock, classic rock and folk music. How do you go about channeling these elements in your songwriting and how do you manage to keep your sound unique?

If we tried to mix all these musical styles intentionally, we couldn’t go anywhere. It is just natural to us to come up with different styles incorporated in our music. We are listening to all kind of stuff and also try not to suppress our creative process in any way. Rational mind can often totally block your creativity, but in essence of every creative process is freedom.

There are ethnic motives present on your debut album “One-Way Expedition.” Was it a conscious decision to channel them in your music?

When we are working on our music, sometimes it just presents itself to us. We just prepare here a coffee, put a best dress we have on here and let her go out to the word. I guess GPS coordinates influenced our music taste. Serbia is on a crossroads of Easter and Western cultures so our hearts and brains needs to process a lot of different influences. Thanks to that, we have a lot ingredients on our disposal. So, strait answer would be that we didn’t have some plan in advance to incorporate any style of music in particular, it came naturally.

Daar - One Way Expedition

How would you describe the sound of “One-Way Expedition” to someone who didn’t hear you guys before?

If you look into cover of our EP you can see juxtaposed elements of nature and humanity surprising technologies. We are leaving in a world that is losing touch with real source of life and we all feel that gap within ourselves more or less. This album is also about going in one direction. Things that we pass by and leave today probably will never come back again. So are we aware of this present moment? We are enthusiastic about what will come next and also frightened of the unknown. We tried to picture that everlasting struggles of life on this album.

Why instrumental music? Do you find it more challenging to express yourselves this way?

We were always inclined to instrumental music. I guess this is just our musical taste. Maybe because it’s more abstract and esoteric form, it leaves a listener option to build his own stories based on emotional frame that instrumental music provides. But sometimes having lyrics and telling straight messages is also challenging. I guess our next album might go in that direction too.

It seems that you guys like guitar solos very much. How do you balance the importance of guitar songwriting with the importance of soloing?

We wouldn’t consider that only soloing, but rather telling stories using voice of the guitar. In some parts of our songs we just set the scene for story to be told. Then, solo guitar takes a role of story teller and brings listener to the idea behind the song. It’s all about telling stories more or less.

Daar

What is the most remarkable moment during the songwriting/recording process of “One-Way Expedition”?

For me it’s about how things fit together. Sometimes when creating songs you just feel the whole thing even if you hear just a guitar and you know that it will be good at the end. Whole song is already there in just few riffs. You don’t know what will be other parts and arrangements but you fill that it’s already created somewhere and you just need to grasp it.

And what was the hardest moment and how did you go about overcoming it?

There are no hard moments in creating a music. There are only obstacles that makes you put more effort in it, which at the end gives you just greater sense of achievement. If you put too much worries into it then you don’t understand creative process. Creativity is most natural thing in the world. You go through some emotional ups and downs but that is human nature and you can just observe that and try not to be distracted.

Which bands or musicians influenced Daar’s music at the most?

We all have our favorite musicians, so Daar music is mix of our individual tastes. It’s hard to select most influential musicians but for most of the guitar solo parts I think in technical sense there is a lot of influence from Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, John Petrucci and other rock instrumental guitarists. These guys pushed technique of playing to the edge. So basically, they are pioneers that discovered most of the applications of the rock guitar. Now we have necessary tools to focus more on the artistic approach and try to create something original, also to put some of our own stones to that mountain.

It’s always hard to make something different, and it’s even harder to make people accept things that are not so frequent. I am wondering, as a band that includes different styles, where do you see Daar in the future?

I think answer to that is already lying in my description of idea behind “One-Way Expedition”. Let’s be aware of present moment. Tomorrow will eventually present itself. We are conscious that our music is different in some aspects from main stream and it’s totally out of our scope if it will be accepted by wider audience or not. What we consider of importance is to present this music to wider possible audience so people that are attracted to our art can enjoy it.

Is there anything you want to share with our readers about your debut album?

Yes. Important thing about this album is that it’s been inspired and created in loving memory of our deceased bass player Aleksandar Tomovic, wonderful person who played with us from our early beginnings. We felt his presence while creating this album so we guess he is fifth element in this band.

“One-Way Expedition” by DAAR is available from Bandcamp.

The Story of Progstravaganza: Fughu

Watch “The Story of Progstravaganza” Mini-Documentary Featuring FUGHU

Prog Sphere teamed up with Argentine progressive metal purveyors Fughu for a mini documentary discussing about progressive scene today, its future, bands and Progstravaganza. Watch the video below.

We have recently announced the first Progstravaganza CD edition, that will include many great features. First of all, besides the sampler in digipack, this compilation will include a printed version of the Progstravaganza magazine filled with interviews, reviews, specials, commentaries, and more. The smiler will be distributed through mail-order stores, labels and distributors all over the world. One of the bands off the sampler will get an opportunity to release an album through Prog Sphere. The selection of the band will be managed through a public poll, and the band that wins most votes will be the winner. Also, all bands-participants of the sampler will be promoted through Prog Sphere Promotions for the period of six months.

Artists interested in taking part on the physical edition of Progstravaganza compilation can e-mail Prog Sphere at info@prog-sphere.com

Progstravaganza XIX: Convergence

Progstravaganza XIX: Convergence Out Now

The nineteenth edition of Prog Sphere‘s Progstravaganza progressive rock & metal compilation series brings 39 bands. 38 bands are for the first time on the Progstravaganza compilation, as Eyot previously took part on Progstravaganza VI. Having said that, there are 430 bands in total that paraded through the Progstravaganza compilation series.

Progstravaganza XIX is titled Convergence, and the album art was once again done by amazing artist Chris van der Linden from LindenArtwork. Speaking about the sampler’s name and design, Chris said:

With the successful Progstravaganza sampler series nearing its 20th edition milestone, we thought it would be nice to call this edition Convergence. Things have been gradually come into form, getting better with each release. Prog Sphere and all the bands have continued to work hard to deliver something stellar with each new compilation, and I wanted to reflect that journey and grand feeling into the artwork. Something mysterious is going on, something big, pulling strong, drawing ever closer…”

As you noticed, we are nearing the 20th edition in the series, and we are thinking of doing something special for that occasion. The bands interested in taking part on Progstravaganza XX (to be titled later) can contact us at info@prog-sphere.com

But for now, let’s focus on Progstravaganza XIX and great 39 tunes it brings. Check them below and head over to our Bandcamp to grab this sampler.

The Fierce and the Dead

The Fierce and the Dead

The Fierce And The Dead was originally born out of sonic experimentation when making Matt’s second solo album, Ghost, and they’ve developed into one of the most original bands in the UK rock scene. Their unique brand of instrumental rock music, fusing rock, post-rock, punk and progressive elements, has made a huge impression through one full-length album and two Eps, as have their incendiary live performances, most recently as part of the Stabbing A Dead Horse tour of the UK with Knifeworld and Trojan Horse. Continue reading

Shineback

Shineback

Shineback the highly anticipated new project from Tinyfish frontman Simon Godfrey. Following on from Tinyfish’s 2010 album The Big Red Spark, the project explores elements of cinematic music, electronica and rock which seeks to exemplify the true nature of what it means to be a progressive musician in the 21st century. Continue reading

CoI

Circle of Illusion

Composer, keyboarder Gerald Peter and his eight-person-band Circle of Illusion released their first progressive symphony. An epic piece of music, which tells the story of “Jeremias – Foreshadow of Forgotten Realms” deals in its final version with the ambivalence of human emotion. Hence the borders between various progressive influences of the rock/metal genre, the jazz-funk-soul and the cinematic music get blurred. Moreover you are taken on a journey through the fantastic worlds of the subconscious of a cast-out and self-critical character. In a mastermind fashion the composer/keyboarder Gerald Peter and lyrics-writer/vocalist Taris Brown were able to give way to their creative urge. With the lofty and complex kind of composition, instrumental virtuosity and an orchestral bandsound “Circle of Illusion” enters new musical paths and is hence a must for all fans of progressive, classic as well as sophisticated rock-music. The band’s line up features Gerald Peter on keyboards, Rupert Träxler on guitar, Stephan Först on bass, Aaron Thier on drums as well as Ulrike Müllner on the e-violin. Taris BrownCara Cole and Elga Shafran are the lead vocals of Circle Of Illusion, who are representing the characters Jeremy, Jelena and Sarah of COI’s prog-rock-concept-album Jeremias.

http://www.circleofillusion.com/

http://circleofillusion.bandcamp.com/

http://www.facebook.com/circleofillusion

http://www.youtube.com/circleofillusion

Eva Morelli

Interview With Eva Morelli Of Ornithos

Italian heavy prog band Ornithos was formed in 1999, but due to the employment with other projects and bands they released their first album in 2012. Unlike many other bands cominng from Italy, with „La Trasfigurazione“ Ornithos brough different approach to a genre emerged in their home country during 70’s, employing heavy factor in their music. This year brings another release, single called „Invettiva al Potere“, from which we featured a song on our new Progstravaganza sampler. That was a reason to talk with the band’s flutist/saxophonist Eva Morelli.

prova-definitivo4

Your music is largely based on heavy groove with tons of other elements coming from different genres. Heavy (even thrash) metal crossed with progressive rock, I would say it’s pretty inventive. How do you maintain cohesion on these diverse music styles?

We have a very eclectic musical character, and in the compositions we tried to merge the different kinds of music mainly based on the content and what we wanted to tell.

The cohesion comes from the mixture of the sounds of each of us that engage in the compositions of Diego Petrini, the union between the seventies prog, soul and jazz, metal and funk and the new sound of modern rock is our main goal!

It’s interesting that Ornithos predates Il Bacio Della Medusa, but your first album „La Trasfigurazione“ appeared in 2012. Why did you wait that long with the release of your debut, knowing that the band was formed in 1999?

The band is the brainchild of Ornithos Diego Petrini and Federico Caprai, with the desire to create music based on improvisation and experimental sound.

After several collaborations from 1999 to 2002, the project was temporarily shelved for the birth of the band Il Bacio della Medusa, which unlike Ornithos did not have an improvisational character, but united rock, prog songwriting and compositions typically Italian.

In 2007, the project was finally taken Ornithos with the entrance on the staff of me on flute and sax. Following a number of auditions come to work in the project Simone Morelli (guitar), Maria Giulia Carnevalini (vocals) and A. De Caesar (lead guitar on La Trasfigurazione).

The band brings us to the recording of the album La Trasfigurazione (2012) and the single CD Invettiva al Potere (2013).

Ornithos-La-Trasfigurazione

How much of RPI heritage you implement in your music? It seems unavoidable for a band coming from Italy not to include elements of this genre that emerged back in 70’s. What is your take on it?

The musical legacy of the great experimenters of Italian progressive rock was accepted and absorbed into our musical DNA.

Area, as well as Arti&Mestieri, Dedalus, Allusa Fallax, Goblin and Pholas Dactylus have contaminated our musical taste; however, a large swath of influences comes from listening to the great American music (from the blues and jazz roots up to the big Zappa) and of course the English Prog of Camel, Affinity, Colosseum, King Crimson… and the whole school of Canterbury!

The Ornithos logo includes the ibis, which symbolizes Thoth, the Egyptian god of knowledge, music and time. How does this reference to your music?

Knowledge, Music and Time are the pillars that support our music will inspire and most of our lyrics and compositions.

In particular, the search for inner awareness was the first theme of La Trasfigurazione, and continues to be of great importance for us. Music and Time then are our lifeblood!

Would you introduce us to the concept story of La Trasfigurazione“? The interesting fact about this concept story is, to paraphrase my colleague Raffaella Berry,unlike many albums that share similar features, the concept is mainly conveyed through music rather than singing. Why did you decide to abandon this conventional way of telling the story and change it for a soundscape attitude?

Since our main interest of musicians has always been to tell images in music we preferred to create a musical texture that accompany the listener, guiding on our journey through the development of of instrumental compositions.

In it you embed the gems of lyrics that enhance all of the musical path, without removing the possibility of imagining to the listener…

More and more bands are searching for the ways to consolidate traditional music styles with modern, but there are not many of them that actually succeed in it. However, Ornithos proves opposite. What is your secret?

Secret? We have no secret! We only want to play our music with energy and above all expressing our style!

It’s very difficult today to think about creating something totally new, so the only way forward is to create its own sound and a personal… And we believe we have succeeded!

2013 brings a new music in the shape of “Invettiva al Potere“, single comprised of three songs in total, with title track in two versions (short and long) and acoustic version of “This is What We’ve Got – The Flute Song“ extracted from “La Trasfigurazione“. Where do you think this new music is taking you, in terms of the band’s evolution?

The sound of „Invettiva al Potere“ was, in our opinion, the perfect way to express our outrage at the degeneration of Institutions and Society.

In the first part, “La Caduta dei Giganti” the music is bloody and tight, while in the second part of “Meritocrazia” the sound changes dramatically, becomes more progressive and experimental with quick changes of time until you get to the climax, where flute and guitar cry a willingness to change!

copertina invettiva

Anything you could tell us about “Invettiva al Potere“ song which is the part of our new Progstravaganza sampler? What are you talking about in its lyrics?

The lyric of “Invettiva al Potere” says primarily the desire to destroy the current system headed by the “Giants” (symbol of the established power and untouchability of those who continue to move the Economy and Wars for centuries).

Emerge from the mud the Death squads
The death of the masterminds behind the Wise revealed
It ergon masters and false political…”

The second part of the text is a message of hope: remove the old political order with a new global reality, incorruptible, meritocratic, that encourages artistic expression and that does not stifle the individual taking it or to isolate themselves or to comply with the mass …

Giants fall from their residences
It restores the artist and with him his dignity …”

I can’t not mention Il Bacio Della Medusa, with whom you released “Deus Lo Vult“ last year after 7 year break. How are you satisfied with the album’s reception?

In our opinion Deus Lo Vult is, without detracting from the previous ones, the best record of the BDM, as it captures the spirit of the rock band.

Lyrics and music are perfectly balanced and there is no voltage drop across the concept! In response to some criticism made ​​to us on the duration of the album that we believe are often used in the field of musical wanderings prog unnecessary, often harmful to the ultimate success of the work, which aim only to increase the playing time but not the content. Quality, not quantity!

Eva Morelli

Recommend us some new progressive rock artists from Italy that we should check out.

Well, I don’t know, really… The problem is that many groups emulate those who have preceded us in the Golden Age of Music. Most often stifle the personal character of the bands of today.

What are your future plans with Ornithos?

We are laying new compositions for the next album, but the main goal is to present our songs around the various festivals and live music club! Even in the context of progressive rock has exploded the phenomenon of tribute bands that clog the market live and do not contribute to creating musical innovation and new perspectives of cultural growth. The ones who manage the live music events should think a lot about all this.

Is there anything you would love to add that I didn’t cover in my questions?

I just want to underline the great value that we have always given to the artwork of our album: Federico Caprai care pictorially the execution of each cover, as I have always worked on the graphics, both in Ornithos that in BDM.

For printing of the CD Invettiva al Potere my brother and guitarist Simone Morelli and I have collaborated on the layout, while the artwork (fusion between painting and photography) is the work of Federico!

Thank you very much for taking the part on our compilation. Keep up the great work!

Thanks to you all and enjoy our music!

Ornithos online:

http://www.ornithos.it/

https://www.facebook.com/ornithosfreeformusic