No, I’m not the Central Scrutinizer, if I was I’d get the bloody sack cos I’ve been back and gone again that many bloody times!
No excuses but suffice it to say I have been flat on my back for at least 8 weeks (on and off) but I am now back and able to stand and even sit for extended periods, like longer than 10 minutes!
I jest – I am fully functional once more!
Well, when I say ‘fully functional’ that is not strictly true as to get me back to somewhere near normal (an impossible task) my meat and two veg has been reduced to meat and one veg! I’m sure you didn’t want to know that but hey ho!
No jokes thank you, my mates have exhausted all of those!
Sorry, no photos this blog (‘thank fuck for that’ I hear you all say) but hopefully normality (whatever that is) is in the process of being restored!
The fourth full-length studio album by the critically acclaimed prog rock bandAnyone entitled In Humanity will be released on October 12 (Pre-Order on Sept 12).
This new double album marks a major shift towards a highly progressive direction with founder Riz Story performing all instrumentation in a rare display of virtuosity, as well as producing, mixing and mastering. Featuring a guest lead vocal appearance by YES vocalist (and former Anyone member) Jon Davison on the song Misanthropist.
Says Riz, “This album was conceived as a soundtrack to my feature film (and novel) of the same title and so it is highly conceptual and dynamic. The story takes place in the future when mankind has made the earth uninhabitable and venture into the cosmos to find a planet that is even more beautiful than earth, which they immediately begin to destroy. I wanted to explore the outer limits of my creativity and musicianship and pushed myself to play all the instruments, particularly the drums, in a way that was experimental and exploratory. Most all of the playing was improvised, and therefore came from a place free of thought or design. All told, I’ve been working on this album for almost a decade.”
Anyone was formed by Riz Story, along with Jon Davison (Yes) and Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters) in the early 90’s in Laguna Beach, California. Hawkins and Davison were replaced by the time the band signed with RoadRunner Records in 2000. Their self-titled debut album received much critical acclaim including a 5-star rating from Rolling Stone. In October of 2016 the single Fly Away was featured in Story’s debut feature film “A Winter Rose” and became the most listened to rock song in America on digital formats, hitting #1 on the DRT National Airplay Rock Chart.
The album will be available in download, streaming and CD on over 200 digital distributors including iTunes, Spotify and Amazon.
TRACK LISTING 1. Elations 2. The Disappearing Everything 3. Apocalypse 4. The Pale Blue Dot 5. Emergence 6. Don’t Swallow Tomorrow 7. Whole World’s on Fire 8. Transfiguration 9. On the ending earth… 10. Misanthropist 11. The Madness 12. In Humanity 13. Curtain Call
Having released their latest and most accomplished album to date Inescapable, to media and fan acclaim in February, Godsticks proudly present their new single and video “Breathe”.
The track ‘Breathe’ is another prime example of frontman Darran Charles contemplating his inner demons, bringing them out of his mind and into the lyrics of this hauntingly tranquil song. Combined with one of the band’s more restrained performances, they project the eerily prescient tale of someone wanting to leave this troublesome world behind.
As Charles notes, “‘Breathe’ is the story of wanting to escape from stress by running away from it, but then being faced with the eventual realisation that no matter how far you run, there can no escape; because a lot of unhappiness and stress is caused by how we internally react to external problems. I suppose it’s the story of learning how to recalibrate my emotional responses, or it could also be interpreted as my stealing some of the tenets of cognitive behavioural therapy and passing them off as my own!”
The video, created by guitarist Gavin Bushell, was filmed at Llantwit Major beach in South Wales (the same location the band used for their ‘Surrender’ music video), the beautiful but harsh surroundings perfectly capturing the mood of the song.
Inescapable – The Album
With Inescapable the band have channelled their energy and technical ability into the melody, phrasing and vocal performance, allowing emotion to take centre stage. Their mix of heavy rock, progressive and alternative metal with a dynamic range of angular riffs and emotional depth is leaving listeners reeling. On this release Godsticks found a definitive theme running through the songs, one of being more open and more personal; ultimately one that shines an inquisitive light on Charles’s struggle with inner demons which give the songs a new level of intimacy. Inescapable was produced by James Loughrey (Skindred) and recorded at the famed heritage Monnow Valley studio.
13 Winters, a comprehensive sonic journey through the dynamic, daring and exciting past releases of UK’s FROST* will be released through InsideOutMusic on November 20, 2020. Spanning eight discs, the group’s mastermind Jem Godfrey is looking forward to share this anthology artbook.
“It’s been a long time coming and has been a lot of work, but we’re finally there! My thanks to everybody at InsideOut for all their hard work on getting this together and also to Paul “Vitamin P” Tippett for the amazing new take on the album art!”
The “13 Winters” artbook is limited to 3.000 copies worldwide and also features liner notes by Nick Shilton (PROG). Presales are available now: https://frost-band.lnk.to/13Winters
Check out a trailer for this massive set here:
In addition to the limited physical edition, all discs included in this set will be available digitally on November 20, 2020.
A new album by FROST* is expected to be released in Spring 2021!
FROST* – 13 Winters
Disc 1 – Milliontown (2006) Remaster 2020 1. Hyperventilate (Remaster 2020) 2. No Me No You (Remaster 2020) 3. Snowman (Remaster 2020) 4. Black Light Machine (Remaster 2020) 5. The Other Me (Remaster 2020) 6. Milliontown (Remaster 2020)
Disc 2 – Experiments In Mass Appeal (2008) Remix/Remaster 2020 1. Experiments In Mass Appeal (Remix/Remaster 2020) 2. Welcome To Nowhere (Remix/Remaster 2020) 3. Pocket Sun (Remix/Remaster 2020) 4. Saline (Remix/Remaster 2020) 5. Dear Dead Days (Remix/Remaster 2020) 6. Falling Down (Remix/Remaster 2020) 7. You/I (Remix/Remaster 2020) 8. Toys (Remix/Remaster 2020) 9. Wonderland (Remix/Remaster 2020) 10. The Secret Song (Remix/Remaster 2020)
Disc 3 – Falling Satellites (2016) Remaster 2020 1. First Day (Remaster 2020) 2. Numbers (Remaster 2020) 3. Towerblock (Remaster 2020) 4. Signs (Remaster 2020) 5. Lights Out (Remaster 2020) 6. Heartstrings (Remaster 2020) 7. Closer To The Sun (Remaster 2020) 8. The Raging Against The Dying Of The Light Blues In 7/8 (Remaster 2020) 9. Nice Day For It (Remaster 2020) 10. Hypoventilate (Remaster 2020) 11. Last Day (Remaster 2020)
Disc 4 – Falling Satellites – Instrumentals (2016) Remaster 2020 1. First Day (Instrumental/Remaster 2020) 2. Numbers (Instrumental/Remaster 2020) 3. Towerblock (Instrumental/Remaster 2020) 4. Signs (Instrumental/Remaster 2020) 5. Lights Out (Instrumental/Remaster 2020) 6. Heartstrings (Instrumental/Remaster 2020) 7. Closer To The Sun (Instrumental/Remaster 2020) 8. The Raging Against The Dying Of The Light Blues in 7/8 (Instrumental/Remaster 2020) 9. Nice Day For It… (Instrumental/Remaster 2020) 10. Hypoventilate (Instrumental/Remaster 2020) 11. Last Day (Instrumental/Remaster 2020)
Disc 5 – Falling Satellive – Live 2017 1. Numbers (Live at Dingwalls, London, 24th November 2017) 2. Towerblock (Live at Dingwalls, London, 24th November 2017) 3. Signs (Live at Dingwalls, London, 24th November 2017) 4. Lights Out (Live at Dingwalls, London, 24th November 2017) 5. Heartstrings (Live at Dingwalls, London, 24th November 2017) 6. Closer To The Sun (Live at Dingwalls, London, 24th November 2017) 7. The Raging Against The Dying Of The Light Blues In 7/8 (Live at Dingwalls, London, 24th November 2017) 8. Nice Day For It… (Live at Dingwalls, London, 24th November 2017) 9. Hypoventilate (Live at Dingwalls, London, 24th November 2017) 10. Last Day (Live at Dingwalls, London, 24th November 2017)
Disc 6 – Others – EP 1. Fathers 2. Clouda 3. Exhibit A 4. Fathom 5. Eat 6. Drown
Disc 7 – The Philadelphia Experiment – Live 2009 1. Intro (Live at The Keswick Theatre, Glenside, 2nd May 2009) 2. Hyperventilate (Live at The Keswick Theatre, Glenside, 2nd May 2009) 3. Wonderland (Live at The Keswick Theatre, Glenside, 2nd May 2009) 4. Black Light Machine (Live at The Keswick Theatre, Glenside, 2nd May 2009) 5. Snowman (Live at The Keswick Theatre, Glenside, 2nd May 2009) 6. Saline (Live at The Keswick Theatre, Glenside, 2nd May 2009) 7. Milliontown (Live at The Keswick Theatre, Glenside, 2nd May 2009) 8. The Other Me (Live at The Keswick Theatre, Glenside, 2nd May 2009)
Disc 8 – This And That – B-Sides And Rarities 1. The Dividing Line 2. Lantern 3. British Wintertime 4. The Forget You Song 5. Numbers (Day 1 Demo) 6. Towerblock (Day 1 Demo) 7. Heartstrings (Demo) 8. Closer To The Sun (Demo) 9. The Raging Against The Dying Of The Light In 7/8 (Day 1 Demo) 10. Last Day (Demo) 11. Hyperventilate Hypoventilate Paulstretch Test
Devin Townsend will release ‘Order Of Magnitude – Empath Live Volume 1’ on 23 October 2020, a document of his Winter 2019 European tour that saw him taking on possibly his most ambitious live show to date.
Today sees the launch of the second clip from the release, and you can watch Devin and the Empath Volume 1 live band performing the track ‘War’ here:
Devin comments: “Hello folks, here’s another song from the Order Of Magnitude Blu Ray. Amidst the chaos of recent times, I look back at this concert as being another world in a lot of ways, and although the DVD has many different feels throughout the concert, this song, ‘War’ is indicative of the beginning vibes of the show. The whole idea with this concert was to experiment with playing songs from my catalog that didn’t rely on backing tracks or clicks, so assembling 10 people onstage to do this was no small feat. I wanted to create an experience for band and audience alike that was creative and without boundaries (to the best of our abilities), and I am very proud of it. The next song we will release will be a different vibe, but for now, please enjoy this take on a song of mine from the Infinity era. It was originally about fighting back against your own self destructive mechanisms and thoughts, so maybe that’s appropriate for what has been going on recently. Again; Thank you for the support and I hope you are finding the strength to get through this chaotic year.”
Watch the previously released clip for ‘Genesis’ here:
Recorded in December 2019 in London, UK on the penultimate night of the tour in support of his latest album ‘Empath’, this run of shows saw Devin joined by an incredible line-up of musicians. The band was made up of guitarists Mike Kenneally (ex-Frank Zappa) and Markus Reuter (Stick Men, The Crimson Project), drummer Morgan Ågren (Kaipa, Mats & Morgan, Frank Zappa), bassist Nathan Navarro, Haken keyboard player Diego Tejeida, and guitarist/vocalist Ché Aimee Dorval, as well as vocalists Samantha & Anne Preis and Arabella Packford.
Devin’s plan for the Empath touring cycle was to divide it up into three ‘Volumes’, and this was Volume 1. The idea behind the shows was a simple one: none of the backing tapes or click tracks that had long been necessary to bring the kaleidoscopic cacophony in his head and on his records to life in the flesh. This would just be Devin Townsend and a band of genius-level musicians getting up there and trying to keep it from spinning off into outer space. Or maybe just letting it spin-off into outer space for the sheer hell of it.
“The whole objective was that I wanted to make that statement: This is by the seat our pants,” he says. “Because it’s important to me to represent this hyper anal-retentive music that I’ve made over the years, but in a human way. Rather than it just being, ‘Well, here it is, perfectly done.’”
“I was overwhelmed by the fact that all these brilliant people that I have so much respect for were willing to come together and play this weird shit with me,” says Devin. “I had these unique players and this interesting instrumentation that allowed us to interpret the music in different ways. It was clear to me that I could just have fun and be me and know that they would be effortlessly be able to follow that.”
That sense of fun and freedom was evident to anyone who was there on the night. Visually, it was an assault on the senses in the best possible way. A digital screen projected vivid images throughout the show. A giant gleaming mirrorball hung from the ceiling. There were multiple costume changes and a tiki bar onstage (a tiki bar!).
‘Order Of Magnitude – Empath Live Volume 1’ will be released as a Limited Deluxe 2CD+Blu-Ray+DVD Artbook (including expanded artwork & photos), Limited 2CD+DVD Digipak, Standalone Blu-Ray, Gatefold 3LP+2CD vinyl box-set & as a Digital Album. The Blu-Ray disc includes a bonus behind the scenes documentary, and both DVD & Blu-Ray feature a 5.1 surround sound mix. Pre-orders are now available here: https://Devin-Townsend.lnk.to/EmpathLiveVol1/
The track-listing is as follows:
Borderlands Evermore War Sprite Gigpig Jam Coast Gato Heavens End Ain’t Never Gonna Win Deadhead Why? Lucky Animals Castaway/Genesis Spirits Will Collide Disco Inferno Kingdom
I’ve been AWOL for the last few days so sorry if anyone was trying to contact me urgently! (as if)!
Our daughter has secured a teaching job in Newport in Wales so has moved from where she was doing her teacher training, in Swansea to Cwmbran which is closer to Newport and also where her boyfriend and his family live! That is a great relief in itself seeing as we live 300 miles away! Good that she has someone that she can rely on while she is there!
Anyhoo… we have spent the last week down there sorting their house out for them and generally doing dad stuff with screwdrivers, hammers, saws etc! Finally I’ve returned home and it seems like the music world has gone crazy while I’ve been away!
I had about 6 albums on my review list before I went to Wales, now there are 16!
Neal Morse has announced the release of Sola Gratia, his new solo progressive rock concept album, on the 11 September 2020. Originating from a seed planted in his mind about writing a record based on the apostle Paul, Sola Gratia quickly came together at the beginning of 2020. The album sees Neal working with long-time collaborators Mike Portnoy, Randy George, Eric Gillette, Bill Hubauer and Gideon Klein.
The title Sola Gratia of course has echoes of Morse’s 2007 epic Sola Scriptura, about the life of Martin Luther, but was in fact originally the result of a simple marital misunderstanding: “I was talking to my wife Cherie about debuting this new piece at Morsefest 2020 (Morse’s annual fan convention in Nashville) and she said she thought it would be good for me to do a solo album. However, I thought she said ‘Sola album’ and – because some of the new ideas involved Paul’s aggressive pursuit of the early Christians, I could see a link to some of the themes of persecution in Sola Scriptura.”
The music was recorded ‘virtually’ in April 2020 at the height of the Coronavirus lockdown with long term collaborators Mike Portnoy (drums) and Randy George (bass): “It’s the first album we have ever made remotely: I sent them the basic tracks and asked if they wanted to rearrange things, but they just said ‘No, it’s great!’, so they just played to it and sent their parts back over. It wasn’t an easy way to make an album, but creating always has its challenges, no matter how you do it.”
As Morse explains, it was this process that decided that Sola Gratia was to be a Neal Morse album, rather than being credited to The Neal Morse Band: “With the Neal Morse Band, the whole band works together on the writing, and while Eric Gillette plays some guitar and Bill Hubauer has added some keyboards on this one, neither of them wrote – or is singing – on this album.”
Sola Gratia will be released as a limited CD/DVD Digipak (featuring a ‘Making-Of’ documentary), Gatefold 2LP + CD, Standard CD Jewel Case and as a Digital Album. The cover art was created by another longtime collaborator, Thomas Ewerhard.
The full track-listing is as follows:
1. Preface 2. Overture 3. In The Name Of The Lord 4. Ballyhoo (The Chosen Ones) 5. March Of The Pharisees 6. Building A Wall 7. Sola Intermezzo 8. Overflow 9. Warmer Than The Sunshine 10. Never Change 11. Seemingly Sincere 12. The Light On The Road To Damascus 13. The Glory Of The Lord 14. Now I Can See/The Great Commission
Neal Morse will debut Sola Gratia live at his annual Morsefest convention on 18 and 19 September 2020. A very limited number of people will be able to attend in person, with the event also being streamed online. More details and tickets are available here: https://nealmorse.com/tc-events/morsefest-2020/
Look out for the first track release and pre-order opportunities starting on the 17 July.
Firmly at the forefront of the progressive rock and metal scenes for nearly three decades now and one of modern rock’s most acclaimed live acts, Sweden’s Pain of Salvation return with a new studio album entitled Panther, due out 28 August 2020 worldwide via InsideOutMusic.
Panther, the follow-up release to 2017’s In The Passing Light Of Day, was recorded, mixed and produced by Daniel Gildenlöw with Daniel Bergstrand (In Flames, Meshuggah, Devin Townsend) and comes with a comprehensive artwork-theme with illustrations made by André Meister.
Pain of Salvation’s Daniel Gildenlöw had the following to say about the album: “The making of Panther has taken over two years. I have felt the need to push boundaries, both musically and sonically. Approaching the music from more diverse angles, yet without losing the core identity of the band. Lyrically it coincidentally fits more than ever into current times. When I look at the great artwork drawings that went into the concept, I can only say that I am extremely happy how everything turned out. I can’t wait to share this album with everybody.”
Track-listing for the standard edition of the album:
Accelerator Unfuture Restless Boy Wait Keen to a Fault Fur Panther Species Icon
The Tangent, the progressive rock group led by Andy Tillison, recently announced the release of their 11th studio album Auto Reconnaissance on 21 August 2020. The follow-up to 2018’s Proxy, sees them continuing the band philosophy of celebrating the golden age of prog, whilst bringing it to the present and exploring new paths for the music to take in the future. On Auto Reconnaissance, they bend that philosophy to their will, taking in prog rock foot stomping, sublime Jazz, humour, narrative, a modern R&B love song, funk/soul and a 28 minute long emotional epic about the band’s home country of England.
On 26 June they launched the first track, titled Life On Hold, and you can listen now here:
Andy comments: “Life On Hold is the cheerful up-tempo Prog Rock foot-stomper we chose to kick off our album. It sits alongside pieces we’ve done in the past like GPS Culture and Spark In The Aether, Crisis In Midlife etc and it’s a flavour we do like to return to now and then. This one is influenced by things like that first Asia album, stuff like Kansas and Boston, and the kind of thing that Transatlantic might bang out at you. It’s part of our genetic makeup, but of course only one part. Although there’s a fair amount of accessible tunes on the new album, there’s some seriously deep water around too. And no, Life On Hold has nothing to do with Lockdowns. It mentions Jean Paul Sartre, which is not normal in foot-stompers. Get it ON!! Bang, and the dirt is gone!”
Andy comments: “I utterly refuse to accept that Progressive Rock Music is some kind of museum piece. It is actually a living and breathing movement that has a past, a present and above all, a future. It once had an album-chart-topping golden age, but the genre was never about that. It has subtly and virally kept itself alive for decades where many new musical genres have risen to glory and faded away.”
For this release, Andy is once again joined by long-time collaborators Jonas Reingold, Luke Machin (who co-produced the album with Andy), Theo Travis, and Steve Roberts. Together they bring to life an album that has been influenced by the likes of ELP, The Isley Brothers, Steely Dan, Aphex Twin, National Health, Rose Royce, Squarepusher and Return To Forever amongst others.
Andy comments of the current line-up: “In the past 6 years the line-up of The Tangent has become more stable than at the beginning. I think that the identity of the Tangent as a “Group” rather than a “Project” started to come together on the album A Spark In The Aether in 2014. Essentially Luke, Jonas, Theo and myself have appeared on the last four albums, and we added Steve Roberts for the tour that supported Slow Rust in 2017 and we’ve settled on this line-up. I hope for a while because I find this unit to be productive, in tune with the band’s purpose and manifesto and a lot of fun to boot. The new album Auto Reconnaissance is the first time that the core band has been identical in structure to its predecessor. For the first time I feel that everyone is totally onboard with the fusion of Jazz, Prog, Punkishness and electronica that The Tangent likes to cook up. We are a good group of friends and although we don’t meet up often, it’s a real blast when we do. I’ve always considered Ed Unitsky the cover artist to have been a recurring member of the cast – his artwork has been a huge part of our story and although we move away, we always return.”
Auto Reconnaissance will be available as Limited CD Digipak (incl. bonus track), Gatefold 2LP + CD + LP booklet & as Digital Album, all featuring the artwork of Ed Untisky, whose visuals have not been seen on a Tangent album since 2014’s A Spark In The Aether.