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Old 03-12-2017, 03:21 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Well, why not? It's not as if almost a hundred discographies in my main journal is enough for me, to say nothing of all the movies waiting to be reviewed, as well as all of my other journals. Let's do a special discography project for just progressive rock and progressive metal albums, shall we? And let's call it, oh I don't know...

Unlike the Great Discography Project, this will not take over my journal. I will do discographies as and when, in between other features, perhaps three albums at a time, perhaps not. I haven't quite decided. I'm unlikely to be taking suggestions for this one (you're unlikely be offering them, or even reading this anyway) so here is the list so far.

Artiste Name: Also Eden
Nationality: British
Timespan: 2006 -
Number of albums: 5
Notes: Differences as Light is actually an EP, but I'm including it as it was the first taste I had of this band.

Discography details:
About Time (2006)
It's Kind of You to Ask (2008)
Differences as Light (2010)
Think of the Children! (2011)
[REDACTED] (2013)

Artiste Name: Arena
Nationality: British
Timespan: 1995 -
Number of albums: 8
Notes: The review of Contagion[ will also take in the EPS Contagious and Contagium, as they are all meant to make up one unit.

Discography details:
Songs from the Lion's Cage (1995)
Pride (1996)
The Visitor (1998)
Immortal? (2000)
Contagion (2003)
Pepper's Ghost (2005)
The Seventh Degree of Separation (2011)
The Unquiet Sky (2015)

Artiste Name: Balance of Power
Nationality: British
Timespan: 1997 - 2003
Number of albums: 5

Discography details:
When the World Falls Down (1997)
Book of Secrets (1998)
Ten More Tales of Grand Illusion (1999)
Perfect Balance (2001)
Heathen Machine (2003)

Artiste Name: Big Big Train
Nationality: British
Timespan: 1994 -
Number of albums: 10

Discography details:
Goodbye to the Age of Steam (1994)
English Boy Wonders (1997)
Bard (2002)
Gathering Speed (2004)
The Difference Machine (2007)
The Underfall Yard (2009)
English Electric Part One (2012)
English Electric Part Two (2013)
Folklore (2016)
Grimspound: A Folklore Companion (2017)

Artiste Name: Edenbridge
Nationality: Austrian
Timespan: 2000 -
Number of albums: 9

Discography details:
Sunrise in Eden (2000)
Arcana (2001)
Aphelion (2003)
Shine (2004)
The Grand Design (2006)
My Earth Dream (2008)
Solitaire (2010)
The Bonding (2013)
The Great Momentum (2017)

Artiste Name: Genesis
Nationality: British
Timespan: 1969 - 1997
Number of albums: 15

Discography details:
From Genesis to Revelation (1969)
Trespass (1970)
Nursery Cryme (1971)
Foxtrot (1972)
Selling England by the Pound (1973)
The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974)
A Trick of the Tail (1976)
Wind and Wuthering (1976)
... And Then There Were Three (1978)
Duke (1980)
Abacab (1981)
Genesis (1983)
Invisible Touch (1986)
We Can't Dance (1991)
Calling All Stations (1997)

Artiste Name: Jadis
Nationality: British
Timespan: 1989 -
Number of albums: 9

Discography details:
Jadis (1989)
More Than Meets the Eye (1992)
Across the Water (1994)
Somersault (1997)
Understand (2000)
Fanatic (2003)
Photoplay (2006)
See Right Through You (2012)
No Fear of Looking Down (2016)

Artiste Name: Knight Area
Nationality: Dutch
Timespan: 2004 -
Number of albums: 5

Discography details:
The Sun Also Rises (2004)
Under a New Sign (2007)
Realm of Shadows (2009)
Nine Paths (2011)
Hyperdrive (2014)

Artiste Name: Marillion
Nationality: British
Timespan: 1983 -
Number of albums: 18

Discography details:
Script for a Jester's Tear (1983)
Fugazi (1984)
Misplaced Childhood (1985)
Clutching at Straws (1987)
Seasons End (1989)
Holidays in Eden (1991)
Brave (1994)
Afraid of Sunlight (1995)
This Strange Engine (1997)
Radiation (1998) (1999)
Anoraknophobia (2001)
Marbles (2004)
Somewhere Else (2007)
Happiness is the Road (2008)
Less is More (2009)
Sounds That Can't Be Made (2012)
**** Everyone and Run (FEAR) (2016)

Artiste Name: Mostly Autumn
Nationality: British
Timespan: 1998 -
Number of albums: 12

Discography details:
For All We Shared (1998)
The Spirit of Autumn Past (1999)
The Last Bright Light (2001)
Music Inspired by The Lord of the Rings (2001)
Passengers (2003)
Storms Over Still Water (2005)
Heart Full of Sky (2006)
Glass Shadows (2008)
Go Well Diamond Heart (2010)
The Ghost Moon Orchestra (2012)
Dressed in Voices (2014)
Sight of Day (2017)

Artiste Name: Mystery
Nationality: Canadian
Timespan: 1996 -
Number of albums: 6

Discography details:
Theater of the mind (1996)
Destiny? (1998)
Beneath the Veil of Winter's Face (2007)
One Among the Living (2010)
The World is a Game (2012)
Delusion Rain (2015)

Artiste Name: Millenium
Nationality: Polish
Timespan: 1999 -
Number of albums: 12

Discography details:
Millenium (1999)
Vocanda (2000)
Reincarnations (2002)
Deja Vu (2004)
Interdead (2005)
Numbers and Big Dreams of Mister Sunders (2006)
7 Years: Novelties, rarities .. and the best (2007)
Three Brothers' Epilogue (2008)
Exist (2008)
Puzzles (2011)
Ego (2013)
In Search of the Perfect Melody (2014)

Artiste Name: Pendragon
Nationality: British
Timespan: 1985 -
Number of albums: 10

Discography details:
The Jewel (1985)
Kowtow (1988)
The World (1991)
The Window of Life (1993)
The Masquerade Overture (1996)
Not of This World (2001)
Believe (2005)
Pure (2008)
Passion (2011)
Men Who Climb Mountains (2014)

Artiste Name: Redemption
Nationality: American
Timespan: 2003 -
Number of albums: 6

Discography details:
Redemption (2003)
The Fullness of Time (2005)
The Origins of Ruin (2007)
Snowfall on Judgment Day (2009)
This Mortal Coil (2011)
The Art of Loss (2016)

Artiste Name: RPWL
Nationality: German
Timespan: 2000 -
Number of albums: 11

Discography details:
God Has Failed (2000)
Trying to Kiss the Sun (2002)
Stock (2003)
Worl Through My Eyes (2005)
9 (2007)
The RPWL Experience (2008)
The Gentle Art of Music (2010)
Beyond Man and Time (2012)
Wanted (2014)
RPWL Plays Pink Floyd (2015)
RPWL Plays Pink Floyd's “The Man and the Journey” (2016)

Artiste Name: Salem Hill
Nationality: American
Timespan: 1993 -
Number of albums: 11

Discography details:
Salem Hill (1993)
Salem Hill II (1994)
Catatonia (1997)
The Robbery of Murder (1998)
Not Verybody's Gold (2000)
Different Worlds (2001)
Puppet Show (2003)
Be (2003)
Mimi's Magic Moment (2005)
Pennies in the Karma Jar (2010)
The Unseen Cord/Thicker Than Water (2015)

Artiste Name: Spock's Beard
Nationality: American
Timespan: 1995 -
Number of albums: 12

Discography details:
The Light (1995)
Beware of Darkness (1996)
The Kindness of Strangers (1998)
Day for Night (1999)
V (2000)
Snow (2002)
Feel Euphoria (2003)
Octane (2004)
Spock's Beard (2006)
X (2010)
Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep (2013)
The Oblivion Particle (2015)

Artiste Name: Theocracy
Nationality: American
Timespan: 2003 -
Number of albums: 5

Discography details:
Theocracy (2003)
Mirror of Souls (2008)
As the World Bleeds (2011)
Ghost Ship (2016)

Artiste Name: White Willow
Nationality: Norwegian
Timespan: 1995 -
Number of albums: 6

Discography details:
Ignis Fatuus (1995)
Ex Tenebris (1998)
Sacrament (2000)
Storm Season (2004)
Signal to Noise (2006)
Terminal Twilight (2011)

Artiste Name: Within Temptation
Nationality: Dutch
Timespan: 1997 -
Number of albums: 6

Discography details:
Enter (1997)
Mother Earth (2000)
The Silent force (2004)
The Heart of Everything (2007)
The Unforgiving (2011)
Hydra (2014)
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Old 03-13-2017, 09:22 PM   #22 (permalink)
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One word of warning – or caution, let's say – before we get under way. Unlike many of the artistes featured in The Great Discography Project in my main journal, many of whom I really don't care too much about, these artistes all matter to me. In my main journal I asked for suggestions, which I was happy to take and will certainly review, but many of those suggestions are for me to listen to bands I don't really have too much interest in hearing, so the reviews have been, shall we say, shorter than normal? Here though, I intend to mostly revert to my “old” style of reviewing, ie going deeper into the album than probably most people would prefer, but as the likelihood is that a very small percentage of you are even reading this, and that the few who are may share my interest in these artistes, I make no apologies for that.

With all that in mind, the band I wish to kick this off with are these guys:

When I first started getting into prog, particularly neo-prog, I would hear four bands mentioned in the one breath: Marillion, IQ, Pallas and Pendragon. Now whereas I became, as everyone knows, a huge fan of Marillion, I tried to get into IQ and failed (they will shortly be the subject of another feature of “Why Can't I Get Into...?”), loved Pallas's Arrive Alive but listened to none of their other albums, quite frankly I ignored Pendragon. It was only when I heard their 2005 release, Believe, that I realised what a fool I had been, as the album just blew me away. Still unwilling or unable to listen to albums purely for pleasure – I was reviewing so much that I couldn't take the time out, so if they weren't for review I had no chance to listen to them – and having downloaded their discography, I decided to load it into a shuffle playlist, and over the last maybe two years this is how I have come to know a lot, perhaps most of Pendragon's music. But until very recently, when I experienced their latest album, I had still not listened to one full album through, bar the above.

So it seems appropriate to start this new project off by doing just that. And as ever, we begin at the best place to begin, the beginning.

Album title: The Jewel
Artiste: Pendragon
Year: 1985
Label: Decca
Producer: Scott English
Chronological position: Debut album
Notes: Clive Nolan, who would become a permanent member of this band and also Arena, among others, only plays on the two bonus tracks included here at the end.
Lineup: Nick Barrett – Vocals, Guitar
Peter Gee: Bass
Rik Carter: Keyboards
Nigel Harris: Drums
Bonus tracks (if any): “Fly high fall far/Victims of life/Insomnia/Armageddon”

It's a bouncy start as we kick off with “Higher circles”, the keys of Rik Carter meshing with the measured percussion of Nigel Harris before the soon-to-be unmistakable voice of Nick Barrett comes in. It kind of reminds me in tempo terms of It Bites's “Calling all the heroes”, and in fairness it's a little weak as an opener. It's also not very long, just over three minutes as we move on to the equally brief “The pleasure of hope”, with much more of a punch and a sort of seventies Genesis feel to the keyboards. Carter would in fact leave after this album, to be replaced by Clive Nolan. This song immediately has more about it, I can't quite put my finger on it, but now we're listening to a band who are going to go places and make their mark in progressive rock as it began to enjoy a resurgence in the early eighties. Barrett's guitar comes more upfront and there's definitely teeth in this tune with some reasonably extended instrumentals, given the brevity of the song itself.

From here, the song lengths start to reflect more what you would expect from a prog band. The appropriately-titled “Leviathan” reminds me in places of Pallas's “Queen of the deep”, some nice Hammond going on there but again it's the guitar that's mostly carrying the song. Even with Nolan on board, this would turn out to be something of a trademark with Pendragon: where other prog, especially neo-prog bands tend to fall back on the extended keyboard solo too often, Pendragon use Barrett's guitar to its max, which is not to say there are not keyboard solos – of course there are, and Nolan is a keyboard wizard – but the band doesn't rely almost solely on the keys. Of course, a band is only as good, really, as its vocalist (if they're not an instrumental band of course) and Barrett delivers on all fronts. Though the production is a little weak here he will come into his own on later albums. Nice example of the kind of thing he was and is capable of with a sweet little introspective solo halfway through, sort of acoustic. The song itself is pretty uptempo and powerful, with some great piano runs from Carter.

The first real epic comes in “Alaska”, which runs for just shy of nine minutes and opens on a lovely soft guitar passage as Carter joins Barrett on some humming synth. The song itself is broken into two parts, the first being titled “At home with the Earth” and the second “Snowfall”, but I can't see where the break between the two is. It starts very laidback but powerful, not what I'd call a ballad but certainly not a rocker. I'm going to assume that it's here, after about five and a half minutes and a really nice solo that part two comes in and it speeds up on Carter's jumping synth, Harris's percussion leaping after him and in a few short moment the frets are burning too as Barrett joins in to complete a really powerful instrumental close out. Kind of odd that the second part should be called “Snowfall”: I would have expected that to be much softer, maybe piano or gentle acoustic guitar, but there you go. “Circus” opens on some really nice reflective guitar with percussion sort of sidling in, and I hear elements here of tracks that would surface twenty years later on Believe.

Super extended instrumental section around the midpoint, and while I have before, and will continue to accuse certain bands of unnecessary showoff-manship, technical wankery, call it what you will, with Pendragon the instrumental breaks always seem to be an integral part of the song, never there just to satisfy any musician's particular ego. A sort of Beatles/ELO style takes the song in the fourth minute before it heads off on another instrumental voyage that takes the track up to the last minute, with a hint of Alan Parsons Project thrown in for good measure. Thought it was going to fade there at the end but they pulled it out at the last moment. “Oh divineo” again rides on a sweet guitar line from Barrett which takes it more than a third of the way into the song before Carter's piano takes over and the vocal begins. Nice sort of ballady feel to it, though it does rock up later on , while “The black knight” has an expectedly medieval feel to it, with what I have to admit is a rather annoying guitar riff repeating through it, which is a pity as otherwise it's a really good song. There's a lot of power and passion in it, with a very Gilmouresque solo from Nick. This is also the first song to evidence what I'm afraid would become something of a recurring theme in Pendragon songs, where the same lines/verses are repeated twice or three times, leaving me somewhat puzzled, as they really can write good lyrics, but sometimes they seem to take the path of least resistance. This is not the best closer I've ever heard.

Track listing and ratings

Higher circles
The pleasure of hope

Alaska (i) At home with the Earth (ii) Snowfall

Oh divineo
The black night


The ratings for this album on Progarchives mark it overall as “Good, but not essential”, and I would have to agree. If I didn't already know how good Pendragon were going to get as the years went on, I would probably write this off as a poor debut and be unlikely to explore any further. It's certainly not the strongest I've seen a prog band come out of the gate, and the use of “The black knight” as the closing track, and also the fact that it is way overstretched at nearly ten minutes, does not help. Thankfully, soon enough they would begin to hone their songcraft, and while Rik Carter is a competent keyboardist, it would only be with the addition of Clive Nolan that Pendragon would start to become one of the real powerhouses of prog rock. For now, it's a bit of a stuttering start – not terrible by any means, but no revelation. Not yet anyway.

As I know these albums and artiste well (most of them anyway) I'm going to be a lot harsher with my ratings than I would normally be. Usually I'll give a rating of three as a basic medium score – not great, not terrible, basically ok or maybe even good – while ratings of four and five are reserved for efforts which are much better. This will still be the case, but whereas I would usually balk at awarding a two or even a one, now I'll be doing it this way:
1: Absolutely terrible. Avoid like the plague
2: Decent but could be a whole lot better. Potential to be realised.
3: A good album but fails to meet my high standards, or what I know or think this artiste can achieve
4: A very good album, well above average. Essential listening
5: Top marks, perfect quality, the pinnacle of this band's catalogue. Nothing bad I can say about it.

On that basis, all I can award The Jewel, which rather fails to live up to its grandiose title, is
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Old 11-19-2020, 11:00 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Staring out my window at a world that has changed fundamentally
Posts: 22,090

Three years later, and not a day wiser, I'm back. Miss me? No? Then fuck you.
Lockdowns have been fun. We're currently in our second, due to go on into December. People don't learn. How surprising. And what have I been doing, you ask? You did ask, didn't you? I'm sure I heard someone say... no? Well again then, up yours. I'll tell you anyway.

Getting back into prog. Yes, I'm regressing, some would say but hey, I'm getting older so I got to do some things backwards! I prefer to say I'm "returning to my first love". What do you mean, she died ten years ago? dammit I KNEW I should have poked air holes in that box! Oh well. Anyway, I'm actually talking about music of course. And being a prog head (I said PROG, not...) I thought I might as well catch up with the latest prog releases. And being me, I went for the best of 2019, as ranked by

Yeah, I went through them all. Listened to every album (or most of them) at least three times, apart from some that just did not click. And here are my findings.

Note: if you look at the list now, you'll find it much different to how it was when I checked it out. This is because PA use an album rating system which is ongoing, so the higher an album is rated the higher it goes in the list, meaning others near the end of the list are moved down or even displaced entirely off the list. Basically the list is constantly updated and changing. If you want to check out the list as it currently stands, click here:

PA Top 100 Prog Albums 2019

To keep things simple, I'll update the OP here as I write about each album. Comments welcomed. Nazi GIFs allowed.

Oh yeah: if I'm back, they're back!

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Old 11-19-2020, 11:42 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Album title: A Tower of Clocks
Artist:This Winter Machine
Nationality: British (English)
Sub-genre: Neo-prog

This was the first one I listened to in the list, and it turned out to be the one that spurred me on to go ahead with this project, though for a while I couldn't really proceed, as I kept playing the damn thing! Oddly, other reviews have not been so kind, but I spent seven years here vainly trumpeting the music I like, pushing against the slings and arrows of outrageous musical fortune, defending my music and trying to show others what they were missing, what I saw in it that they did not, and I came to the eventual conclusion that it doesn't matter if others don't appreciate your music. If you like it, that's all that matters.

I was amazed to find this languishing at the very foot of the table (and a day or so later, using Prog Archives' rating system, it had been displaced by another album, pushed off the list entirely, so it was pure luck I heard of it) but then when I got nearer to the top I was pretty underwhelmed by some of the albums there, so it just shows you. Of course, it's all, as I say, based on reviewer ratings, and the more and higher ratings an album gets the higher it climbs the chart. Can't believe this wasn't higher.

I thought it quite brave that This Winter Machine, a band from the UK who were pushing out only their second album in a career spanning a mere four years (three at the time the list was compiled) would consider opening on an eight-minute plus instrumental, but that's prog for you, and "Herald" has all the hallmarks of great neo-prog. Warbling keyboards, intricate guitar passages, time signature changes, all that good stuff. A big, dramatic, orchestral-style opening gives you a real sense of portent and the first time I heard it, I was waiting for the vocals. They of course never come, as I found out soon enough. A clock begins ticking (geddit?) joined by chimes and then rippling piano slides in as the synth kind of fades out, Gary, sorry Mark Numan ushering us into the album on waves of keys before whining guitar from Graham Garbett and Scott Owens takes the tune.

We're now halfway into the piece and to be honest it hasn't really come to anything yet, but all that is due to change. Percussion kicks in thanks to Andy Milner and we're away. I like instrumentals, mostly, but I find the longer they are the harder it can be to keep them interesting. That's not an issue here, as This Winter Machine channel the best of Marillion, Yes and Pendragon to create their own nevertheless distinctive sound, and the result is a piece of music that, quite possibly, might have been spoiled by vocals, so it looks like they made the right call. Brave though, as I say.

Still, this is a band whose debut album, released in 2017, opened with a sixteen-minute suite, so I guess TWM are not exactly going for the pop single market! Compared to The Man Who Never Was, this album is shorter and snappier, with the longest track on it being the nine-minute closer "Carnivale", a minute shorter than the closer (but not, as I already said, the longest track) on their debut, "Fractured". It is, however, over ten minutes longer overall, with TMWNW coming in at shy of fifty minutes while ATOC runs for just over sixty.

After the epic opener we have two short tracks, "Flying" and "Spiral", both of which could have been released as singles, but I don't think were. The former quickly became one of my favourites, a soulful ballad which introduces us for the first time to the vocals of Al Winter (after whom, presumably, the band is named), led on the gentle keys of Numan, synth and piano meshing to form a beautiful backdrop to Winter's gentle voice. There's a gorgeous hook in the song, and I feel it could have been quite the hit had it been released, but as I say I don't think it was. One jarring thing is the sudden abrupt stops in the song near the end, then “Spiral” is a busier, more upbeat affair, again brought in on Numan's Mark Kellyesque romping keyboards, and it really ups the ante. The shortest song on the album, at just over two minutes, it's another instrumental (long instrumental, ballad, short instrumental? Taking some chances here guys) and leads into the seven-minute “Symmetry & Light” which almost continues the instrumental theme begun in “Spiral” and lets in some harder, almost progressive metal guitar from Owens and Garbett, though much of it reminds me of Genesis on their last outing but one, and the last with Phil Collins, We Can't Dance. Snippets, at times, too of It Bites.

I should also take a moment to speak about the artwork, courtesy of one Tom Roberts (no I don't know who he is either, but with work of this calibre I feel he'll never be short of commissions) which is a real prog rock album cover, reminiscent of seventies Genesis or Rush. That fox reminds me of a certain release from 1972 and the wings look like the owl off Rush's Fly by Night. Echoes, too, of certain album covers by Blind Guardian. Certainly leaves you in no doubt as to what to expect when the laser hits the CD. But back to the music, which is why we're here in the first place. Well, I am. I don't know about you. Maybe you're just here to read my flowing, overblown prose. Yeah. Well, you could do a lot worse than give this album a listen, I can tell you. So like I say, back to the music. Another sumptuous ballad in “Justified”, and yes, again it runs on the delicate piano lines of Mark Numan, who must surely be seen as an emerging talent in the admittedly crowded world of progressive rock keyboard players. I'm not saying he can stand beside a Clive Nolan or a Jordan Rudess, much less a Mark Kelly or (heaven forbid!) Tony Banks, but he's damn good.

The guitar lads are not forgotten here though, and add some really nice touches with some fine soloing, but it's the piano that makes the tune, that and the soft almost tortured vocal of Winter. “In Amber” sees the band continue in the same vein, another piano ballad, and if you don't like ballads, or pianos, or both, then this may not be the album for you, as though there is plenty of rocking out (prog style) and guitars, it's pretty replete with soft piano moments and yearning vocals. I, however, love all that stuff, so I'm in hog's heaven. “The Hunt” then has a vaguely folkish feeling, reminds me at times a little of Jethro Tull, a band I don't rate personally. It quickly punches up though into a slowburning rock cruncher, as I like to call them; one of those songs that kind of marches along with a sense of menace and determination. It does pick up speed later on though, and this rising power and energy informs “Delta” as the album heads towards its close.

Some very new-wave-ish keyboards here from (ahem) Numan, with the guitars really getting in on the act, growling along as Garbett and Owens exult in being let off the leash, while Winter himself does a very passable Gabriel as the song slows down on piano around the midpoint before the hook comes in, and it has been well worth waiting for, as Winter and Numan again show what a great team they can be almost on their own. Great flourishes added on the guitars, but the song here belongs to the two guys as Winter gives the vocal performance of the album. I'd probably have to choose, overall, this as my favourite from the album, though there's a lot to choose from, and it's not quite over yet.

One more supremely beautiful reflective ballad, this time for once driven on mostly the acoustic guitar of Scott Owens, some truly sumptuous synthesised flute from Numan and another fine vocal from Winter, on “When We Were Young”, the only caveat for me being a rather abrupt ending, then we hit the closer, which as mentioned, is the longest track, nine minutes and ten seconds of “Carnivale”, which, appropriately enough, opens on a carnival organ, reminding me of the best of The Dear Hunter before soft piano and crying guitar take the tune. Percussion kicks in and the whole thing ramps up on heavy guitar and synth, giving Winter a chance to really stretch his vocal chords. Rippling piano here reminiscent of “Raingods Dancing”, part of the suite “A Plague of Ghosts” from Fish's album, Raingods with Zippos. And speaking of Marillion, there's some very liberal borrowing from Steve Rothery and indeed Mark Kelly on Fugazi here in the sixth minute, before the whole thing comes to a very satisfying and powerful end.

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Herald (8:48)
2. Flying (3:31)
3. Spiral (2:17)
4. Symmetry & Light (7:29)
5. Justified (4:39)
6. In Amber (3:57)
7. The Hunt (7:22)
8. Delta (8:26)
9. When We Were Young (5:16)
10. Carnivale (9:10)

Total Time 61:05
Line-up / Musicians
- Al Winter / vocals, producer
- Graham Garbett / electric & acoustic guitars, backing vocals
- Scott Owens / electric & acoustic guitars, backing vocals
- Mark Numan / keyboards, backing vocals
- Pete Priestley / bass, bass pedals
- Andy Milner / drums, percussion

I suppose it was inevitable that the top ten should be the usual suspects, the more well-known bands, the ones who have been doing it for years and consistently turn out great album after great album – your IQs, your Big Big Trains, your Devin Townsends and your Neal Morses – and I expect a band who have only been together for less than half a decade can't really expect to be climbing those dizzy heights, but still, I reckon this album deserved to be a lot higher than it was placed. The musicianship is superb, the songwriting excellent, the overall feel a mixture of seventies and modern prog, and I think if more people heard A Tower of Clocks they might rate this band more.

Still, it's early days yet. This is only as I say their second album, and while I haven't yet had a chance to sample the debut, I expect it to be just as good. This Winter Machine have set a very high bar for themselves, but I have no doubt that they will continue to reach it, and who knows, on future albums, even exceed it.

Rating: 9.5/10
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