Sunday, 20 December 2015

32: VANDEN PLAS - Far Off Grace (1999)

Introduced by Andy Read

Here is a little story: Once upon a time, 15 years ago, DPRP was just a five-year-old web-sapling and I had just skidded through my third decade. Then one day a kindly doctor hovered over my hospital bed and uttered the dreaded C-word. A tumour, the size of fist, had staked its claim to the middle of my chest. The doctor kindly gave me a 50:50 chance of ever skidding through a fourth decade.

After a year's worth of chemotherapy and a weekly exposure of my chest to a kindly radio-therapy nurse, I was bald but bold. I made a list of 10 bands I wanted to see before I died - be that sooner or later. Within a year I was in remission and had travelled to Progpower USA, the south of Spain, Netherlands, Sweden Rock Festival, Paris and London and struck nine off that list (including the legendary ARK which I'd thought was being overly optimistic). One band however was proving problematic.

Vanden Plas had been on the bill for my trip to ProgPower USA, but pulled out due to safety concerns following 9/11. I had also travelled to see them in Paris, only to arrive to find a note saying they had had to cancel due to the sudden death of singer Andy Kuntz's father.

Undeterred, a year later I was back in Paris, to emotionally cross the final band name off my list. I cried a lot at the end of my mini-odyssey, especially during the already emotional Healing Tree, where Andy Kuntz dedicated the song to his father and apologised for not turning up the previous year, and the whole hall burst into a warm and lengthy round of applause in solidarity.

Thankfully I am now skidding through my fifth decade. With my wife I am working through a new list: 50 Great Walks To Do Before You Die. And when I do reach my Far Off Grace, this is one album I hope someone has put into the jukebox!

From the DPRP archives read the original review by Mark Sanders from 2000 and then Andy's review of the reissued version from 2004

Read Mark's review here
Read Andy's review here

Watch the band play a great version of Iodic Rain live
Watch it here

Sunday, 13 December 2015

31: HANDS – Strangelet (2008)

Introduced by Raffaella Berry

I had never heard of Hands until a couple of years ago, when my good friend Dave (who is also an excellent musician in his own right) sent me a copy of their 2008 album, Strangelet. Incidentally, they had performed at the 2006 edition of ProgDay just a few weeks before my first trip to the US, when I finally met my husband-to-be in person.

Based in Texas, where they were formed back in 1977, Hands have never enjoyed as high a profile as other veteran US prog outfits. In the light of the excellence revealed by Strangelet and its follow-up, the recently-released Caviar Bobsled, that is a real shame.

This album comes with four bonus tracks (in addition to the original seven), which include the stunning instrumental Zenith of Mars, a showcase for Mark Cook (also known for his tenure in Herd of Instinct and Spoke of Shadows), whose Warr guitar creates utterly entrancing atmospheres.  All in all, Hands’ uniquely eclectic take on progressive rock is likely to appeal to most prog fans, regardless of their affiliation.

Read Gerard Wandio's original review from the DPRP archives in 2008
Read it here

Listen to the track Tambourin
Listen now

Sunday, 6 December 2015

30: MAGELLAN - Impending Ascension (1993)

Introduced by Jerry van Kooten

When I first heard Magellan's debut album at a friend's place, I was impressed. Soon after I bought this second album and the melodic bombast blew me away. My then fellow team member Dirk van den Hout didn't like it much though. Hearing back this album for this article, I recognise what I liked back then, but this part of my taste has gone. (I do like my music very heavy though!) I now hear the patchwork of pieces that do not necessarily fit iton a longer piece, something I recognised right away in the music by Shadow Gallery. I tend to call this too "American" - too much head, not enough heart (a common problem in prog, I have to add). It just feels cold to me.

Read why Dirk van den Hout thought this album was only worth a score of 5.5 in his review from the DPRP archives in 1998
Read it here

Listen to the track Waterfront Weirdos
Listen now

Sunday, 29 November 2015

29: MAN - Back Into The Future (1973)

Introduced by Martin Burns

Way back in the mists of time when I was but a callow youth, I went with my younger brother (he was 12 at the time) the many miles from Smethwick, in the UK's then industrial heartland, all the way to Cardiff for an open-air gig at the city's castle.

On an overcast and increasingly rainy 12th of July 1975 we saw headliners 10CC, ably supported by Steeleye Span and Thin Lizzy. I had seen all of these bands before in Birmingham, but also on the bill were a surprise to me in the shape of Welsh band Man. I was not at all familiar with their music, but they were a revelation, proceeding to blow me away with their twin guitar line-up and loose, loping grooves.

On returning home I purchased Maximum Darkness, Man's then current live album. Not their best album as it turned out, but a good intro to their recordings. It led me on retrospectively to the wonderful mix of studio and live tracks that is Back Into The Future. Capturing the band at its peak, it is a wonderful album. I was alerted to the Esoteric re-release by Mark Hughes' cracking review on DPRP.  The re-release confirmed to me that my 17-year-old self actually had quite good taste. Come on and take a trip back in time with this great band that deserves now, as well as back then, to be much better known.

Read Mark Hughes' review from the DPRP archives in 2008
Read it here
(Also, you will find Mark's reviews of Man's albums Slow Motion and Maximum Darkness on the same page).

Watch this video of Man live on German TV back in 1975
Watch now

Sunday, 22 November 2015

28: GROBSCHNITT - Solar Music - Live (1979)

Introduced by Jerry van Kooten

Grobschnitt are among a few bands (Mountain, Counting Crows, Nektar, Pink Floyd, DeWolff, Deep Purple Mk 1, Birth of Joy) who have appealed to me throughout the years because of a mix of different musical styles my shifting taste has visited: blues, rock, prog, and psych.

In 1998, I reviewed what I still think is one of this band's best albums: Solar Music - Live. To me, it's the perfect mix of all those ingredients. It rocks with great riffing and drumming, and it is psychedelic in all its keyboard work and Grobschnitt weirdness. It's progressive in combining these elements in a melodic and progressing way and in its epic-ness. Also the bluesy heart (instead of mind) that goes into the solos, simply makes this an awesome piece of music. I still love this album. I listen to it regularly and if you like any of the bands I just mentioned you should at least hear it once.

Read Jerry's original review on this album from the DPRP archives in 1998
Read it here

Listen to the track Solar Music (Part1)
Listen now

Sunday, 15 November 2015

27: SMASHING PUMPKINS - Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness (1995)

Introduced by Ignacio Bernaola

Well, I guess this one may be strange for progressive rock fans but so it was to me when I found DPRP writing about the mighty Smashing Pumpkins.

Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness was the first album I bought (I'm "only" 35) and it was different to everything else I was listening at that time. Without knowing it, that album opened my ears, and made me open my mind to different styles. A few years later and I was listening to many prog bands and reading DPRP almost every day. Then I discovered this great review article by Joakim Jahlmar, who put into words everything I have always thought about Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness.

I won't start a discussion about what is the progressive rock genre but I really think that this album would have received more attention from the progressive community if it had not coincided in time with the rise of alternative rock. As well as their 1998 album, Adore, these two albums are great pieces of modern progressive rock made by a fantastic alternative rock band.

Read our special feature on this album written by Joakim Jahlmar in September 2002
Read it here

Listen to the whole album on Spotify
Listen now

Sunday, 8 November 2015


Introduction by Theo Verstrael

Back in 1974, the legendary Radio Caroline could hardly be listened to in Holland, yet I kept trying. They regularly played an album by a difficultly-named band that I had never heard of. When I finally found out who it was, I rushed to the record shop and bought Everyone is Everybody Else, a gem that was my first experience with progressive rock.

The guy from the record shop subsequently recommended Live and that album completely blew me away. The arrangements, the vocals, the overwhelming opening suite of two 10-minute songs glued together, the lyrics that hit me hard, the stunning acoustics on Galadriel, and the recorder solo on She Said; everything was superb (although the sound quality never was).

For me Barclay James Harvest Live is still one of the very best live albums ever made, and certainly one of the best examples of how to use a Mellotron properly (even when it doesn't work well during a gig!).

From the DPRP review archives, read Geoff Feakes' original review of Live in 2009.
Read it here

Watch a video of the track Mockingbird played live in London in 1992
Watch it here

Sunday, 1 November 2015

25: PALLAS - Beat the Drum (1998)

Introduction by Jerry van Kooten

It's been a while since I revisited my Pallas collection. Pallas' music and my musical taste have shifted in different ways, but I still love the albums I loved back then. Beat the Drum, was their first album after a long hiatus, one I had been very much looking forward to, and one that I loved from the very first listen.

Call to Arms, All or Nothing, and Hide and Seek are OK, for some reason Fragments of the Sun didn't do it for me. But I still love the haunting title track and the way it progresses and the weirdness of Insomniac. I still absolutely love the 1998 version of Ghosts, which had the amazing new keyboard solo compared to the 1988 version.

Thanks to writing this article, I realise that I like the same songs the same way I did back then. It's interesting to see, that although my taste has shifted, an album that is almost 20 years old still appeals to me the same way it did when it was released.

From  the DPRP review archives, read Ed Sander's original review of Beat The Drum from in 1998.
Read it here

Watch a video of the title track being played live in 2002
Listen here

Saturday, 24 October 2015

24: TRANSATLANTIC - The Whirlwind (2009)

Introduction by Alison Henderson

This album represents a significant chapter in my life which comes to fruition very soon. Having met Martin Reijman on Facebook through our mutual love of music, especially progressive rock, he suggested we went to see Transatlantic at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire on The Whirlwind tour in 2010.

He played me the album, and to coin a well-used phrase, I was completely blown away. It evoked so many emotions with the changing pace and tone of the individual passages of play.

The gig itself was one of the greatest it has ever been my pleasure to attend. An opening track lasting more than 70 minutes? How prog is that!! We were even fleetingly seen queuing in the subsequent DVD.

Well, the rest is history: Martin and I are getting married on 30 October, so this is very much a six-year-long Whirlwind romance! 

From  the DPRP review archives, read the original Round Table Review of The Whirlwind in 2009.
Read it here

Watch a video of this very live show.
Watch it here

Saturday, 1 August 2015

23: TIMOTHY PURE - Island of the Misfit Toys (2000)

Introduction by Jerry van Kooten

When I reviewed this album in 2000 I called it a masterpiece and rated it 10/10, expecting it to stay in the top-something-of-all-time for many years to come.

While my musical taste has shifted (drifted, some would say) and seen different musical styles, my current main prog interest is in the post rock field. I still find that label useless and didn't know the term at all when I first listened to this album, it now appears that I was already into post rock at the time: intense music, carefully building the atmosphere with melodic soundscapes and awesome melodies.

Island of the Misfit Toys is still on my playlist and I enjoy it as much as I did back then. I guess I was right with my rating, this was one to stay.

From  the DPRP review archives, read Jerry's original review of Island of the Misfit Toys in 2000.
Read it here 

Watch a video of the track Playground Politics.
Listen here

Saturday, 25 July 2015

22: THE MARS VOLTA - De-Loused In The Comatorium (2003)

Introduction by Roger Trenwith

I remember this album coming out of nowhere in 2003. I was not a hardcore fan so knew nothing of At The Drive In, the band that vocalist Cedric Bixler Zavala and guitarist Omar Rodriguez Lopez bravely dissolved on the cusp of success, feeling hemmed in by fans' expectations.

The intrepid sonic explorers' new project was The Mars Volta (great name!), who sounded like a frightening collision of Van der Graaf Generator, Santana and Led Zeppelin on very, very bad drugs. In 2003 when this album came out, the prog scene was largely an irrelevance to me. On the one hand the "neo" bands all strived to be Genesis or Yes but failed, obviously, and on the other hand there were dozens of dull carbon copy prog metal Dream Theater wannabes that held no interest for me whatsoever. Even my favourite band of the time, Porcupine Tree, could never be accused of pushing any envelopes off the desk.

None of this was progressive, at all. The Mars Volta's Latino-American explosion of noise rock and super-technical playing on a dark concept album about a man in a coma, and the stark choice he faces when he eventually emerges into the conscious world was however, something else entirely.

The first time I played this album with the volume control set to stun, it left me reeling like George Foreman after the Rumble In The Jungle, but hungry for more. Thoroughly modernistic, with samples and odd industrial soundscapes in addition to the usual rock instrumentation, this music charges around with an immense energy, the likes of which had not been seen since the early knife-edge tight-but-loose extrapolations of early live Zep. Listen to the mad but glorious cacophany that is Drunkship Of Lanterns and I dare you not to impressed by its sheer power.

As was inevitable, blasting out such highly intense music was going to take its toll, and after their second, almost-but-not-quite-as-good album Frances The Mute in 2005, the band's output saw a marked suffering by the law of diminishing returns. The one time I saw the band live was a thoroughly dispiriting affair of monstrous self-indulgence and non-communication. For all that, with De-Loused In The Comatorium, The Mars Volta left us with one of the best debut albums ever, and certainly the best debut of the noughties.

From  the DPRP review archives, read Tom de Val's original review of Deloused in the Comatorium in 2003.
Read it here 

Watch The Mars Volta performing Cicatriz ESP off Deloused in the Comatorium for Japan's Summer Sonic Festival in 2003.
Listen here

Sunday, 28 June 2015

21: FROST* - Milliontown (2006)

Introduction by Eric Perry

In the first decade of the 21st century, as the newest wave of prog was slowly but surely gathering momentum, one album appeared from the most unlikely of sources, capable of carrying the moniker, 'Game Changer'.

Coming from a creative genius (and that feels like the correct use of the word) and former pop hits writer, Jem Godfrey, Milliontown was the outstanding debut from Frost*, Godfrey's progressive creative outlet. Aggressive and intense, this is one of the most exciting progressive albums of modern times and one that has not yet been matched in its brilliance by its creator.

At the centre of this vibrant work is the epic, 25-minute title track, the peak of which is the jaw dropping last eight minutes, which assaults the senses like a steroid-pumped version of Dukes Travels from Genesis's Duke. Revisiting this album is something of a common experience, and in almost ten years, it sounds as fresh as the day it was released.

From the 2006 archives, read Mark Hughes' original review of Milliontown for DPRP
Read it here  

Listen to the title track in its full glory.
Listen here

Watch the band perform the second part of the title track at the Manchester Academy in 2019.
Watch the YouTube video here

Monday, 22 June 2015

20: PENDRAGON - Fallen Dreams and Angels (1994)

Introduction by Andrew Halley

I often strip my phone of music, and start loading it up for the next month or so, hoping to try and listen to something new. However, I always put this mini four-track album back, I just can't live without it!

I first heard Fallen Dreams ... whilst walking my then dog on a Welsh beach with a raging hangover. The line from The Third World in the UK;  "I've had too much to drink, I've had too much to smoke" spoke volumes, and by then I'd heard power chords, a great Moog solo, great drumming, and my head had totally cleared. There was also Dune, the fantastic Sister Bluebird with that great key-change coda towards the end, and then the title track. I listened to it all again.

R.I.P. Polo, my Bedlington Terrier. You had some very long walks thanks to prog!

From the 1999 archives, read Dirk van de Hout's original review as part of a Pendragon Review Special.

Read it here  

Listen to a version of the title track from Pendragon's Acoustically Challenged album.
Listen to it here

Saturday, 13 June 2015

19: MARTIN ORFORD - The Old Road (2008)

Introduction by Martin Burns

I recently went to see IQ in concert and witnessed a fine set. On the journey home, my thoughts turned to this album by ex-IQ founder Martin Orford. Playing The Old Road for the first time in a while, I was struck by how fabulous it is.

You can point to this album and say: “Listen to this…this is why I love prog rock!” Music so abundantly melodic that it easily pulls off the balancing act of feeling up-to-date, whilst taking inspiration from the classics of prog. It is full of playful instrumentation and lyrical detail. You wish it had just one more track every time the album comes to a close. It is an album that for once lives up to its super-group line up (see the review), because of the focus that Martin Orford gives to every detail. I can only add to Mark Hughes’ closing comment: Martin, you are still missed.

From  the DPRP review archives, read Mark Hughes' original review of The Old Road in 2008.
Read it here 

Listen to the the title track on Youtube
Watch the video here

Read the DPRP's interview with Martin from 1999 plus the review of his first solo album,
Classical Moments and Popular Songs
Read the feature here

Sunday, 31 May 2015

18: LALU - Oniric Metal (2005)

Introduction by Raimond Fischbach

Despite just enjoying its 10th anniversary, somehow Oniric Metal isn't ageing and still sounds fresh. Although it hasn't been a commercial success, I loved this album when it came out and I still do. It has become a sort of companion and I still listen to it on a regular basis. There are so many unusual keyboard sounds on this melodic metal effort, that I never get tired exploring them all anew. The album provides a great variety, so one never feels bored at any second.

Vivien Lalu has done magic in writing this gem and playing the keyboards, and the line-up on the album is quite impressive. Martin LeMar on vocals, Joop Wolters on guitar, Russell Bergquist on bass and Ryan Van Poederooyen on drums, provided outstanding performances. The 16-minute track, Potboy (The Final Fantasy), is a bit cheesy though, as it's about a pot smoker riding his space ship. But it's quite fun and a perfect album closer.

From  the DPRP review archives, read Andy Read's original review of Oniric Metal in 2005.
Read it here 

Enjoy all 16-plus minutes of Potboy from this Youtube page
Watch the video here

Artist page where you can listen to and buy the album: 
Lalu Bandcamp Page

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

17: TWELFTH NIGHT - Live at the Target (1981)

Introduction by Jerry van Kooten

With time's passing, one's taste tends to shift, so sometimes it's nice to see how well one's opinion of some albums has held up. Looking through the list of reviews on DPRP I ran into Live at the Target. The first official CD re-issue was reviewed by our former team member Nigel Camilleri and rated 9/10.

Anyone who knows me because of my musical taste, knows that Twelfth Night have been one of my favourite bands for a few decades now. My taste has made a journey that has crossed the blues and now has reached mostly instrumental post-rock and post-metal. Interesting then to see that this album, an old favourite of mine, has never ceased to impress me or make me feel good, feel warm, feel lost, just feel. At the end of the day, isn't that the most important thing music can do?

I loved and still love the slow build-up of tense atmospheres, the sudden blasts of power, and the creation of well-crafted pieces without becoming overly complex. Music played from the heart, and everything very melodic, just the way I like it. It still touches me and moves me, as it did when I first heard it. I guess that's the definition of an all-time favourite. Whichever direction my musical taste has headed, this album has always been travelling along.

From  the DPRP review archives, read Nigel's original review of Live At The Target in 2005.
Read it here 

A very rare recording of vocalist Electra McLeod, singing Sequences with Twelfth Night at The Target on 21 November 1980.
Listen here

Sunday, 10 May 2015

16: GENESIS - Calling All Stations (1997)

Introduction by Rich Kamerman
(A DPRP reader and music blogger from New York City)

Some albums have trouble surviving the weight of expectations, and Genesis’ Calling All Stations is a perfect example. Following-up several multi-platinum smashes was never going to be easy, and when they returned after a six-year absence with a new, mostly unknown lead singer, they were fighting an uphill battle. Open-minded fans were rewarded with a fantastic record that is dark, dense, melodic and full of memorable songs. They range from minor hit single Congo, to ballads like Shipwrecked and Not About Us, and on to extended progressive pieces like Alien Afternoon and (my favorite) The Dividing Line
It wasn’t successful enough for Banks & Rutherford to carry on (or even tour the US), but it’s an under-valued gem in their catalog and it introduced the prog world to the raw, powerful vocals of Ray Wilson. Had this album been released by Arena, Pendragon, IQ, Pallas or another well-respected modern prog band, the reception might have been significantly different.

From the 1998 archives, read Ed Sander's original review and see what score he gave the album:
Read it here  

Watch Genesis play The Dividing Line live in Poland in 1998.
Watch the video here

Sunday, 26 April 2015

15: CANNATA - Mysterium Magnum (2006)

Introduction by Andy Read

"This album is one of the true hidden gems in the DPRP archives. I know that, because in over 10 years of writing for DPRP, this review has generated the most positive feedback. Indeed, two people I now like to call friends, first came into contact with me thanks to this album.

American-based singer/song-writer and multi-instrumentalist Jeff Cannata is one of the few artists sitting in the small niche described as 'Progressive AOR'. Mysterium Magnum draws together the best elements of prog rock, AOR and melodic hard rock, with Jeff's sublime songwriting and vocals. Almost a decade later, this is still a regular feature on my playlist.

Despite my glowing review, both this and Jeff's equally impressive Tamorok album (released under his Arc Angel moniker) have remained criminally under-discovered. Jeff now concentrates on making music for movies and commercials. This is a gentle reminder not to miss out."

From the 2006 archives, read Andy's original review and see what score he gave the album:
Read it here  

Watch the official Cannata video for the track Promise You Heaven.
Watch the video here

Visit the Cannata CDBaby Store to grab your copy (and pick up Arc Angel's Tamorok somewhere too!)
Buy it here

Sunday, 19 April 2015

14: OPETH - Blackwater Park (2005)

Introduction by Ben Cameron a DPRP reader and musician from London (via Australia)

"I first heard of Opeth through a friend at school. I was a typical angst-riddled teenager, listening to bands like Metallica and Pantera. I picked up Blackwater Park purely because I had heard The Drapery Falls and loved the guitar melody. My first impressions were of amazement. A band that was heavier than anything I’d listen to, could at the same time be so sweet and heartfelt. This album opened my eyes to what music can be without genre barriers, which has in turn forever changed the way I write music.
I also owe this album for introducing me to the brilliant Steven Wilson, whose music has been an obsession of mine ever since... but that’s a story for another time.
Fast forward eight years and I was backpacking through Europe and got the chance to see Opeth at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Nothing could have prepared me for that night. The best venue in the world, the last-minute seat upgrade to a grand tier box, but most of all, a spectacular, complete performance of the album that made me re-think music. Pure bliss."

From the 2005 archives, read the original review by the DPRP's Gatot Widayanto, and see what score he gave the album:
Read it here  

Watch Opeth play the title track live at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
Watch the video here

The album is currently available on Grooveshark.
Listen to it here

Sunday, 12 April 2015

13: NETHERWORLD - Netherworld (In The Following Half-Light) (1981/2003)

Introduction by Jerry van Kooten

It was around 1983 when I learnt about this album, and it has been an all-time favourite ever since. Twenty years later I was happy to be instrumental in getting it reissued on CD and I am glad that our objective team member Mark Hughes agreed with me on the full 10/10 score in our duo review. Another twelve years later, how are things now?

Prog in the USA around that time was rare, but the opening track, recorded in 1981 would have fitted right into the second wave of prog in Britain. Side A's closing song is weirdly modern and haunting, and between those are two true progressive songs. Side B still has two of the most beautiful, more classic prog songs I know. Then there's even the scary Sargasso and brilliant bonus track in Cumulo Nimbus. A great combination of different sub-styles of the prog genre on a single album and all done to a very high level emotional, not too technical, with amazing arrangements. Yup, this is still one of my favourite albums.

From  the DPRP review archives, read the original duo review of Netherworld.
Read it here 

Find out more from the Netherworld website here

Sunday, 5 April 2015

12: YES - Going For The One (1977)

Introduction by Andrew Halley

Going for the One was the first album I ever bought. It was the summer of 1977 and I was seventeen years old. Punk was all over the charts and the music press, but this album went to No.1 in the UK album charts. I remember thinking that must have pi**ed off all the "trendies"! 
By October I attended my first ever stadium concert: Yes at Wembley. £4.25 for the ticket and the band played the whole album live. 
From the opener Parallels, through the animated ballet dancer backdrop of Turn of the Century, to the Roundabout encore, I can still hear it now. 
Back to to the LP, and that lovely sunset, gatefold image of Lake Geneva (Lac Léman), with the band's individual photos, even changed the way that I dressed. Awaken I was.

From DPRP's Yes review special in 2014, read our trio review including the viewpoint of guest reviewer Theo Travis (Steven Wilson Band/Soft Machine Legacy).

Read it here 

Watch this official video of Yes' Wonderous Stories.
Watch the video here

Sunday, 29 March 2015

11: RUSH - Rush in Rio (DVD) (2003)

Introduction by Andy Read

"I've only seen Rush live on two occasions. The second was the final date of their R30 tour in a large, echoing cow shed in Rotterdam. It was a rather frustrating audio experience. However, the first at Wembley Arena on the Hold Your Fire tour, was a dream come true and ranks as an all-time top 5 live experience for me.
Yet the show captured on this DVD is in a world of its own and unlike any gig that I've ever been to. Rush had never played Brazil before and the three stadium shows attracted 120,000 people. If ever an audience can make a live DVD an unmissable experience, then the 40,000-strong mass of bouncing humanity inside Rio de Janeiro's Maracanä Stadium, all deserve their names on the album credits.
This first-ever live DVD from the Canadian trio must rank as one of the best ever for any genre. Not just because of the amazing set list that clocks in at just under three hours, but for the added extras including a fascinating tour-documentary. They even managed to make the tracks from Vapour Trails sound godly!"

From the 2003 archives, read Andy's original DPRP review and see what score he gave the DVD:
Read it here 

Watch this video of Rush playing Tom Sawyer live in Rio.
Watch the video here

Sunday, 22 March 2015

10: PORCUPINE TREE - Signify (1996)

Introduction by Rich Kamerman
(A DPRP reader and music blogger from New York City)

"It might be a cliché to say "you never forget your first," but it's especially true when it comes to music. This album was my first exposure to Porcupine Tree and it had an immediate impact. I had been reading about them in fanzines, mail-order catalogues and early prog-friendly websites, so when I stumbled on this CD I was excited to finally hear what the fuss was all about.
Unlike other then-current prog bands, whose influences were clearly worn on their sleeves, the sound of Porcupine Tree combined elements of numerous artists I loved, but blended them into a sound that was uniquely their own. Ed Sander's stellar review of the expanded 2-CD edition of Signify does a great job of explaining the transitional nature of the album in their discography, but I disagree when he states that it "isn't one of the first recommendations I would make to a 'newbie' wanting to check out the band."
As a newbie myself nearly two decades ago, I can say that this album continues to be one of my favourites in their catalogue. The Sleep of No Dreaming was the first song to ever truly capture my imagination. I still consider it one of their defining songs. For anyone who became a fan later and never checked out their formative years, Signify is the ideal place to start."

From the 2004 archives, read the original DPRP review and see what score Ed Sander gave the album:
Read it here 

Watch this video of Porcupine Tree playing an extended version on the title track live in Italy in 1997.
Watch the video here

You can buy the double-vinyl version of the album here.
Buy it here

Sunday, 15 March 2015

09: THE FLOWER KINGS - Space Revolver (2000)

Introduction by Niels Hazeborg

"How do you describe the effect that hearing The Flower Kings for the first time has on a young, impressionable mind? I was 14 and my musical world didn't extend much beyond what was on MTV. Suddenly, Tomas Bodin's Hammond and Roine Stolt's guitar, lead off the main theme of I Am The Sun in 7/4 time, changing my life forever.
The boundless energy, the unbridled creativity, and the mind-boggling musicianship all showed me that music could be so much more than I had ever imagined. It was long and baggy and pretentious and utterly undisciplined. I loved it.
And yet, it felt like I'd always known it, somehow. It felt warm and familiar, like something that was always waiting for me. More than an eye-opener; it was a homecoming. Today, Space Revolver still holds up as one of the definitive albums of the early 2000s. The DPRP review from that time was, as usual, bang on the money."

From the 2000 archives, read the original Round Table DPRP review and see what scores our three reviewers gave the album:
Read it here 

Watch the video for the track Rumble Fish Twist.
Watch the video here

The whole album is currently available on Spotify.
Listen to it here

Sunday, 8 March 2015

08: FISH - Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors (1990)

Introduction by Andy Read

"Along with Pallas, early-period Marillion is the only neo-progressive band of which I'd ever call myself a big fan. Having never enjoyed Marillion since the departure of Fish, and having never been a big fan of Fish since he left Marillion, then I guess it was just that unique combination of musical characters, which held the appeal for me.
I keep trying the Fish solo output, but of the 10 studio albums, it is only the debut from Derek William Dick which has held any lasting appeal. For me it is the natural successor to Misplaced Childhood in its mood, sharp lyricism and faultless songwriting. The fact that five of the tracks were unfinished Marillion compositions, possibly helps. 
The live favourite, Family Business, is the song I know best in the world, as it was the title track for the short-film I submitted for my degree. I've heard every word and note at least 100 times, as I struggled with antique editing equipment to get the images to match the music.  
A quarter of a century later and Vigil ... still stands as one of the albums that every lover of prog should own."

From the 2000 archives, read the original review by the DPRP's Ed Sander, and see what score he gave the album:
Read it here 
(It formed part of a DPRP Special: Fish Retrospective, with 12 of his albums reviewed.)

Watch the official video for the track A Gentleman's Excuse Me.
Watch the video here

The whole album is currently available on Spotify.

Listen to it here

Sunday, 1 March 2015

07: PURE REASON REVOLUTION - The Dark Third (2006)

Introduction by Martin Burns

"Harmony prog, there’s a lot of it about these days. Taking the templates laid down by The Beach Boys and The Beatles, for exquisite vocal harmonies in experimental pop, which were then developed by groups as various as Yes and Gentle Giant, through to Spock’s Beard and Moon Safari. One of my favourite examples of harmony prog is Pure Reason Revolution’s wonderful _The Dark Third_. Here the harmonies are subtly different, in that they have dual female-male lead vocals. The two singers harmonise superbly, along with the rest of the band.

They mix delicious vocal lines with a modern prog sound to make an album, that whilst showing some influences, remains entirely their own. However, it is not all about the vocals. The arrangements of the songs are constantly interesting, using guitars that crunch or slide where the song demands, whilst the keyboards swirl and bubble, and the rhythm section pins the beat to the floor. I fell for this as a reader of long before joining as a writer. Go listen. It is one of the great full length debut CDs."

From the 1996 archives, read the original duo review by the DPRP's Ed Sanders and Tom De Val, and see what scores they gave the album:
Read it here

Watch the official video of The Bright Ambassadors Of Morning.
Watch the video here

The whole album is currently available to listen to on Grooveshark. The band split in 2011.

Listen to it here

Sunday, 22 February 2015

06: NEMO - Si Partie 1 (2006)

Introduction by André de Boer

"The story of my musical prog love life is related to an eclectic French band named Némo and their glorious album Si Partie 1. It was not this particular 9.5 review that triggered me to investigate their music. That was Dries Dokter's DPRP review of Présages, two years earlier. (Thanks for that Dries). But it is this album that became my all-time favourite eclectic progressive rock disc. The composition, the power of the playing, the gentleness and rawness make it a real gem. And me? A Nemo addict and a fan boy. Do yourself a favour and try some of their music. And yes, it's in French!"

From the 2006 archives, read the original review by the DPRP's Yalcin Inel, and see what he said about the album:
Read it here

Watch NEMO play their music live, in this video from 2010.
Watch the video here

The whole album can be purchased from the band website.
Buy it here

Sunday, 15 February 2015

05: KANSAS - Leftoverture (1976)

Introduction by Andrew Halley

"I was working in the USA on a TV documentary about American 60s music. We had been booked to record an interview at WDIA, which was Memphis's first black radio station, with DJ Rufus 'Walk the Dog' Thomas. When we got to the building, it housed about ten other radio services of all genres. I took myself on a wander and one particular 'booth' caught my interest. Belting through the glass, was the middle instrumental section of what I later found out to be Carry On Wayward Son, by Kansas. I'd stumbled across a Prog Rock radio station!

Our next port of call was Los Angeles, where I found a local record store and bought the Kansas back catalogue to play on my bang-up-to-date CD Walkman. I suspected there might have been music in this world that I'd never heard before, but unless you know someone who is also 'in the know', then you're stuffed.
All Kansas albums have an appeal to me (and Song for America is also a great album), but Leftoverture will always remind me of that day."

(In the summer of 2005 I actually got to see Kansas live at the Shepherds' Bush Empire, and it was everything I expected it would be. I think it was nearly the last time that violinist and superb singer Robby Steinhardt  played with them. In another strange twist of coincidence, the following day I was on another job in the same region of London, and as we arrived at the hotel, Kansas were leaving and getting onto a bus. Compelled to do something, I approached the aforementioned, hirsute and bemused fiddle player, shook his hand and told him what a fan I was. Oddly, my first thought was: 'What stubby fingers, that can play so intricately'.)

From our Counting Out Time archives, read the original feature by the DPRP's Henri Bos, and see what he thought of the album:
Read it here

Watch Kansas play Carry On Wayward Son live.
Watch the live video here

Listen to it on video here

The whole album is currently available on Spotify and can be purchased via a link from the band website as a CD.
Buy it here
Listen to it here

Sunday, 8 February 2015

04: NOVACT - Tales From the Soul

Introduction by Andy Read

"It was a decade ago (almost to the day) when DPRP reviewed the one and only album by this Dutch quintet from Arnhem. We were the first website to pick up on Novact. I'd got hold of their excellent four-track demo, Misunderstood, a couple of years previously. This was quickly followed by a great show supporting Pain Of Salvation at Amsterdam's Headway Festival – a gig that led to the band (then known as Morgana X) being snapped-up by American ProgMetal label Sensory.
Enthused by the band's unique blend of prog metal influences and the engaging voice of Eddy Borremans, I saw them again at ProgPower Europe in 2004 and even travelled to a bar in Arnhem to carry out an interview. I had high hopes that Novact could go on to become something special.
Sadly a mixture of illness, day jobs and life got in the way and the promise shown on this disc was never given the chance to blossom. Drummer Martijn Peters has gone on to join Stream of Passion, but Tales From The Soul remains an album that I regularly revisit with fond memories."

From the 2005 archives, read the original duo review by the DPRP's Dries Dokter & Andy Read, and see what score they gave the album.
Read it here

Watch Novact play the track, Hope and Fear, live at Patronaat, Haarlem, The Netherlands (supporting Epica).
Watch the video here

The whole album can be purchased from the Sensory label website as a CD for a bargain price of $5.
Buy it here

Sunday, 1 February 2015

03: BIG BIG TRAIN: Gathering Speed (2004)

Introduction by Eric Perry

"If you ever need proof of how far Prog has changed in the past decade, then the DPRP review of this album is a shining example. Back then, before Facebook filled our lives with a dose of spoon-fed banality and hyperbolic banter, the DPRP quietly went about its business giving a fair and considered assessment of what would become one the most popular prog bands of the last five years.
The review itself isn't that important on its own merits. It gives a reasonable 5 out of 10 for an average album, but its place in history highlights the way social media has changed the way we accept music into our lives. Back when Gathering Speed went-by unnoticed by the bulk of the band's fans today, FB was in its infancy. Yet the rise of the band and its fan base has been inextricably linked to the rise of FB and other such platforms. A final thought. If this album had been released in 2015, would it still receive a middling score or would the mark have become overblown?"

From the 1998 archives, read the original review by the DPRP's Martien Koolen, and see what score he gave the album:
Read it here

A point proven. There are no official YouTube videos of any track from this album.
Instead you can enjoy Sean Filkins playing High Tide Last Stand live at Den Bosch.

The whole album is currently available on Spotify and a remastered CD version from 2009 can be purchased from the band website.
Buy it here
Listen to it here

Sunday, 25 January 2015

02: THRESHOLD - Clone (1998)

Introduction by Andy Read

"As is often the case with long-established bands, many people come to the party a little late. Brit prog metallers Threshold have been releasing albums since 1993 (Wounded Land). Those who've only discovered their music in recent years, will be left wondering where in the back catalogue they should start. This would be my recommendation. Released in the days when the band couldn't even land a gig in their home country, Clone was one of the albums that first turned me on to progressive metal in a big way. I put it on while decorating a bedroom. It stayed on repeat until I'd finished. The wall was going from dark green to magnolia - it took two days!"

From the 1998 archives, read the original review by the DPRP's Rene Jansen, and see what score he gave the album:
Read it here

Watch Threshold play the third track (The Latent Gene) live, with the late Mac McDermott on lead vocals.
Watch the video here

The whole album is currently available on Spotify and can be purchased from the band website as a CD and in double vinyl.
Buy it here
Listen to it here

Thursday, 15 January 2015

01: PORCUPINE TREE - The Sky Moves Sideways (1995/2004)

Introduction by Martin Burns

  "Having come to the Porcupine Tree party late in the mid-2000s and then catching them live, I thought what else have I missed.  So, as all new converts do (You do don't you?) I splurged on older recordings. I liked some more than others, but found myself returning to this album, as it wormed its way into my listening habits.
   An oddball record in the Porcupine Tree cannon; half solo album, half fledgling-band recording, it has a delicious tension between its spacey prog leanings, ambient rock workouts and dance elements. Porcupine Tree never really used keyboards in this way again. It is an album of the moment and paradoxically trendless at the same time.
   It points to all kinds of potential paths to follow; some emerging in later recordings and some abandoned altogether. If you have been listening to Pink Floyd's The Endless River, you'll find this one got there first in many ways. The Sky Moves Sideways: endlessly playable, endlessly enjoyable."

From our 2004 archives, read the original review of the remastered 2CD version by the DPRP's Ed Sander, and see what score he gave the album.
Read it here

Listen to the third track (The Sky Moves Sideways).
Video on YouTube here

The whole album can be purchased from the band website, as a remastered CD and in double vinyl.
Buy it from the band website here