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Old 12-31-2013, 03:33 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Well, we started this off with a look down south across the Pacific and into what used to be called Oceania, now let’s pull back and head back west, coming a little closer to home, at least for me. Delusion Squared are a French trio who came together quite recently (2009) but have already released not one, but two concept albums, the two actually forming part of the same storyline, which in a way makes it a little hard to fully appreciate the second album without hearing the first, but here’s the kicker: in a pretty important way it doesn’t matter, because unlike albums like Queensryche’s “Operation mindcrime” or Genesis’ “The lamb lies down on Broadway”, or even Rush’s “2112”, knowledge of the plot is not necessarily vital to enable you to enjoy this album.

Female-fronted bands don’t seem to be all that prevalent in prog rock --- prog metal yes, but often these bands tend to verge more on the side of gothic or even power metal, the likes of Nightwish, Within Temptation, Epica --- all great bands but not really what you could call true progressive rock. Delusion Squared stay away from the whole loud, operatic, bombastic over the top style that many of these bands espouse and go for a more classic approach, and not only that, but they’re all multi-instrumentalists, as you can see below. Over the next few posts I’m going to be dedicating my time to showing you prog bands who are fronted by ladies, and Delusion Squared are as good a place to start as any.


Album title: II
Artiste: Delusion Squared
Year: 2012
Nationality: French
Discography: Delusion Squared (2010), II (2012)
Lineup:
Lorraine Young (Vocals, Lead Guitar)
Steven Francis: (Guitars, Keyboards, Drums)
Emmanuel de Saint Meen (Bass, Keyboards)

Tracklisting:
1. Double Visions
2. Necrogenesis
3. Faith Mission
4. Recipe for Disaster
5. Verdical Paradox
6. Revelation
7. Abduction
8. Naked Solipsism
9. Unexpected Messiah

The contrast between tracks one and two could not be more marked, with the opener a gentle, almost acoustic piece, very laidback and then “Necrogenesis” kicks in with a hard, almost prog metal feel, though retaining its prog rock roots. For those who simply must know the storyline or they can’t enjoy the album, here it is condensed. In a dystopian (of course) future, everything is copyrighted, including human genes, so when a woman has a baby strictly against government laws, she is accused of copyright theft and exiled from the city. Outside she wanders in the post-apocalyptic (we assume) wilderness until she meets others like her, eventually becoming their saviour and spiritual leader. Or something.

As I said, the story is not that important, but the vocals and fretwork of Lorraine Young are. She puts me in mind a little of Leslie Hunt from District 97, whose album I reviewed in my journal and who was the subject of one of our little “Prog Rock Album Club” picks a while back. Very Hackettesque twelve-string (is it?) opens “Faith mission” with some really sumptuous keyboard backing it and Lorraine’s voice rises above the music like a soul ascending to Heaven. She has a soft edge (if such a thing can exist!) to her voice that many of the more well-known prog rock female vocalists don’t, and in style she reminds me of Hazel from Lanterns on the Lake.

Some transcendent piano on “Verdical paradox” (yeah, it’s spelled that way. Go figure.) though I can’t tell you who is playing it as we have two keyboard players in the trio. Soft, lush vocals from Lorraine again as she pours her heart and soul out, with some lovely backing vocals too. “Revelation” kicks it all back up into almost metal territory with some frankly superb bass lines from de Saint Meen, then it’s almost acoustic/folk for “Abduction”, where the two guitarists show what they can really do. Quite how Delusion Squared expect to carry this off live though is beyond me, as the two guys each play the rhythm section, in addition to one playing guitar and both playing keys! Maybe some session musicians would have to be drafted in. The oddly-named “Naked solipsism” returns us to a soft acoustic guitar sound with more effective vocal harmonies, but I’m rather surprised to find that I’m sort of losing interest now.

When I first heard this album I was impressed, though not blown away. It might have been the, at the time, novelty of a female vocalist, because up to then I hadn’t heard Touchstone or any of the other female-fronted prog acts, and it sounded different. Now that I listen to it it’s still a good album, but I’m finding it hard to maintain my interest in it and it’s not blowing my skirt up. Maybe I just remembered it differently and expected more. Maybe you’ll get more out of it than I could. But it’s not to be fair an album I can see myself coming back to any time soon.
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Old 01-07-2014, 01:55 PM   #12 (permalink)
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My workload does not allow me to review albums for this thread at the moment, but I want to make sure it stays alive and doesn't disappear beneath the waves of MB, forgotten and lost. And so I'm introducing


This will be my (hopefully) daily selection of some of my favourite progressive rock and metal tracks. I may write a line or two about them but mostly they'll just be YouTubes for anyone who wants to listen. There'll be no format or order, just as I think of them I'll pop them up. Anyone is welcome to talk about, ask about, request albums or even post their own if they want.

So let's get going with the first batch.

One of my favourite bands I never knew about until about 10 years ago, this is Mostly Autumn, taken from the album "The spirit of autumn past", it's "The gap is too wide".
Spoiler for The gap is too wide:


Then we have Shadow Gallery with a song taken off the "Carved in stone" album, one called "Crystalline dream".
Spoiler for Crystalline dream:


I've never been a huge fan of Spock's Beard, but I'm slowly getting there. This is a track called "Flow", which really impressed me. It's on their album "The kindness of strangers". Be warned: it's over fifteen minutes long...
Spoiler for Flow:


A band I've never had a problem getting into is Marillion, big big fan. This is from their first album with Steve Hogarth, "Seasons end", and it's called "The king of sunset town".
Spoiler for The king of sunset town:


Then there's the totally unknown Silent Edge, from their only album to date, "The eyes of the shadow", this is called "For ancient times".
Spoiler for For ancient times:


And how about Gazpacho, from "Missa Atropos", have a listen to "I was never here"
Spoiler for I was never here:


then try some Status Minor, from "Ouroboros", with "Smile"
Spoiler for Smile:


and what about this one from Invertigo?
Spoiler for Vertigo:


Another of my favourites, Arena, from the "Pepper's ghost" album, this is "Opera fanatica"
Spoiler for Opera fanatica:


and to wrap up, some Jadis. Man I love Jadis! This is "You wonder why", from their current album.
Spoiler for You wonder why:
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Old 01-08-2014, 03:07 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I'm not sure why so many people seem to hate or dislike 80s and 90s Yes: their albums from that period are the only ones I can get into at the moment. This album was my first real introduction to them, and I love every track on it, though this one is pretty special.
Spoiler for Shoot high aim low:


I'm also a big Kamelot fan, so here's the title from their fifth album.
Spoiler for Karma:


One of my bro Anteater's favourite bands, and the album (or half of it, at any rate) that topped his list for 2013, this is Big Big Train, with "Winchester to St. Giles Hill". No, it's not 70s Genesis, if you've never heard them before!
Spoiler for Winchester to St Giles Hill:


You can argue among yourselves as to whether Devin should be considered prog or not. I just wanted an excuse to feature this excellent album, for which I thank Ki for the rec.
Spoiler for Save our now:


Another great band with a somewhat overpreponderance of Genesis worship is Knight Area, but I love them. YTs are hard to come by so this is live, from the above album, it's called "Ethereal".
Spoiler for Ethereal:


And the last one for today, this is Canadian proggers Mystery, with the title track to their album "One among the living".
Spoiler for One among the living:
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Old 01-09-2014, 04:43 PM   #14 (permalink)
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A band I discovered a year or two ago, this is The Winter Tree, who are a duo, and a track called "Beautiful world".
Spoiler for Beautiful world:


And sticking with the letter W for the moment, here's another great band called The Windmill...
Spoiler for Not alone:


Hey, there's an idea. Let's stay with W all through this post. This is White Willow, from the album "Terminal twilight"
Spoiler for Snowswept:


And of course we couldn't do a section on W without including the undisputed king of keyboard prog, could we...?
Spoiler for Arthur:


And then there's his son Oliver, here in partnership with Clive Nolan
Spoiler for Waiting:


Not to forget the amazing Willowglass...
Spoiler for A house of cards pt 1:


And we'll end this selection with a track from the latest album by prog god Steven Wilson.
Spoiler for The watchmaker:
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Old 01-09-2014, 07:51 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Over the next few weeks I want to pay tribute to my alltime favourite prog band, so here's the first in a series of my favourite tracks from
Genesis

Yes it has the superlative "Supper's ready", but I've always had a soft spot for "Watcher of the skies"
Spoiler for Watcher of the skies:


One of my favourite tracks from "The Lamb", this is "In the cage"
Spoiler for In the cage:


Genesis started the 80s strongly as they ended the seventies, but then later came "Abacab". Oh dear! Still I love "Duke" and have always loved the closing suite...
Spoiler for Duke's travels/end:


Even back on their debut they were making great music, although it bore little resemblance to what they would turn out the very next year...
Spoiler for Fireside song:


Like this
Spoiler for White mountain:


And this
Spoiler for Fountain of Salmacis:
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Old 01-10-2014, 11:34 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Okay, here's the thing. Progachives have released their Top 100 Prog Albums of 2013 list, and my intention is to TRY to listen to them all, in the order they've ranked them, and tell you guyses what I thinks of them. Some I may not be able to get, some I may have heard, but either way it'll be interesting. Given the amount of albums and the other stuff I already have to do, this will probably run through the rest of the year. Maybe.

I'll be starting off soon with the last, as it were, in their list, which is this one:

(Assuming I can find it...)
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Old 01-12-2014, 09:50 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Getting back to Genesis shortly, but right now here are a few more of my prog faves.

Threshold, from the album "Hypothetical", with a great track entitled "Narcissus".
Spoiler for Narcissus:


Few people know of Also Eden, a fact evident when I went looking for Youtubes and could only find this live version of "Seeing red"...
Spoiler for Seeing red:


A great progressive metal band, from their latest album this is Redemption
Spoiler for Stronger than death:


And another one, this is Pagan's Mind
Spoiler for The seven sacred promises:


Anteater reviewed their latest, "The Mountain" in his top 2013 albums thread recently, but this is from "Visions", a truly great album from Haken.
Spoiler for Shapeshifter:


I have a soft spot for Images of Eden; just wish Gordon Tittworth would decide what sort of music he wants to make!
Spoiler for Children of autumn:


And we'll finish up for today with the great Damien Wilson. This is not him singing, but a band he's involved with called Landmarq.
Spoiler for Personal universe:
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Old 01-13-2014, 01:31 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Not sure if these guys are called "orr-pee-double-you-ell" or "orr-pee-vee-ell": one of their albums seems to suggest the latter. But however you spell it, this bunch of German proggers have it going on! Here's something from "Trying to kiss the sun"... sorry it has to be live, but their label is fanatical about their material being put up on YT. Even emailed me about copyright theft!
Spoiler for I don't know what it's like:


Lunatic Soul is the name under which Riverside vocalist and bassist Mariusz Duda goes when solo. This is from his first, self-titled album.
Spoiler for Summerland:


Call them progressive rock, or progressive pop, but don't make the mistake of writing off It Bites as just a pop band. And now, with Arena's John Mitchell on vocals they're even better.
Spoiler for Ghosts:


Title track from the phenomenal Memories of Machines' so-far-only album, featuring Steven Wilson.
Spoiler for Warm winter:


Some more Marillion, you say? Why not indeed?
Spoiler for Map of the world:


And the wonderful Hostsonaten, from the "Winterthrough" album.
Spoiler for Snow storm:
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Old 01-15-2014, 11:20 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Time to return to Genesis. Some of my favourite tracks that may not necessarily be yours...

Unlike practically everyone else I don't worship SEbtP, but I do like it a lot. This is one of my favourite tracks from it, though again I do prefer the live version off "Seconds out"...
Spoiler for Firth of fifth:


And though I seriously hate "Abacab", I can find one or two decent tracks on it I can stand. This is one of them.
Spoiler for Like it or not:


I pretty much like all of "A trick of the tail", but this one kind of stands out for me.
Spoiler for Mad man Moon:


And going back to the debut, there's a lot to love there...
Spoiler for One day:


The point, I guess, at which they began to head in a more rock-then-pop direction, but I still love most of this album, especially this
Spoiler for Burning rope:


And though I shook my head at the title (who'd they think they were, Peter Gabriel?) I thought the self-titled 1983 effort was a big BIG improvement on "Abacab" (not that that would have been hard!)
Spoiler for Home by the sea/ Second home by the sea:


And heading back to 1970 for "Trespass" with the dark moody "Stagnation" to close up for today.
Spoiler for Stagnation:
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Old 01-17-2014, 05:16 PM   #20 (permalink)
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All right, all right! Get off my back! I'll be reviewing my first (or technically last) in Progarchives' top 100 Prog Albums of 2013 soon: you any idea how hard that Vespero album is to track down?

Until then, here are some more tracks, and returning to an idea I had a few days back, they're all from bands with the same first letter. I'm choosing H, randomly. I like random things.

One of my favourites from Hawkwind, this is "Motorway City"
Spoiler for Motorway City:


For those who don't know, Peter Hammill was the brains behind 70s prog/space rockers Van der Graaf Generator. Hmm. Suppose he does sound a little like Bowie, now you come to mention it...
Spoiler for Pompeii:


And we couldn't leave out Steve Hackett, could be? This is the title track to his third solo album.
Spoiler for Spectral mornings:


Another instrumental, this is from Happy The Man's last (so far) album, released in 2004, with a very clever title. Not easy to spell though...
Spoiler for Lunch at the pscyhedelicatessen:


This was only one of two images I could get of this album, but Ki speaks highly of them, and we're certainly not averse to Christian Prog Metal here at the Fortress of Prog, so have some Harmony!
Spoiler for Kingdom:


Something from the new Haken album, which I'm not loving a millionth as much as "Visions", but maybe it'll grow on me.
Spoiler for Cockroach king:


Threshold's Damian Wilson and Adam Wakeman? How could you go wrong? Answer: you can't. Get into this Headspace...
Spoiler for In Hell's name:


Something else from Hostsonaten? You got it!
Spoiler for Edge of summer:


And to finish up with, Ten's Gary Hughes (I picked a great letter, didn't I?) This is from his double album "The once and future king".
Spoiler for King for a day:
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