Neal Morse announces new solo progressive rock concept album ‘Sola Gratia’

637285055055157355Neal 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 ‘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.

 

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The Tangent launch ‘Life On Hold’; first single from new album ‘Auto Reconnaissance’

Album_Cover smallThe 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!”

Auto Reconnaissance will be available as a limited CD Digipak, Gatefold 2LP + CD + LP-Booklet and as a digital album. Pre-order now here: https://The-Tangent.lnk.to/AutoReconnaissance

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.

Rikard Sjöblom’s Gungfly announce new album ‘Alone Together’

Gungfly - Album_CoverSwedish multi-instrumentalist Rikard Sjöblom is pleased to announce his new album under the Gungfly moniker, Alone Together. Set for release on 4 September 2020, it follows an extremely productive past few years, whether it be working with English progressive rockers Big Big Train, or taking the lead with Gungfly. 

Rikard comments: “I started writing these songs about a year ago but then it took some time to get started with the production because I had two tours lined up, one with Big Big Train in November and then opening solo for The Flower Kings on their European tour in December. After that my focus shifted back to Gungfly and it felt really nice so it all came together pretty fast!”

Gungfly - Band_Photo_3Alone Together saw Gungfly recording as a trio, with brothers and previous collaborators Petter and Rasmus Diamant on drums and bass respectively. “It was a lot of fun playing both keyboards and guitar because I had come up with a lot of nice parts but I knew early on that I wanted to make the album with the brothers on drums and bass – luckily they were very up for it!” This ‘power-trio’ have focussed on the rock this time, and you can hear that loud and clear: “I didn’t want to smother the production with layers upon layers of keyboards and bells and whistles but instead tried to keep it prog rock with the focus on ROCK. I wanted every instrument to mean something in the mix.” This is evident on tracks like Happy Somewhere In Between and the 13-minute epic Traveler, where Gungfly have never hit harder.

Alone Together will be available as a Limited CD Digipak (with 2 bonus tracks), Gatefold 2LP + CD & as Digital Album. The album cover features a painting by American artist Kevin Sloan (The Flower Kings). Rikard comments of the piece: “I had just written lyrics for the song ‘From Afar’ and was looking at Kevin’s paintings when I came across this one and I couldn’t believe the connection, particularly the lyric “A million eyes watching glimpses of each other’s lives”.

Track-listing:

1.     Traveler
2.     Happy Somewhere In Between
3.     Clean as a Whistle
4.     Alone Together
5.     From Afar
6.     On The Shoulders Of Giants
7.     Grove Thoughts (Bonus Track)
8.     Shoulder Variations (Bonus Track)

Rikard Sjöblom is perhaps best known as the multi-instrumentalist frontman of Beardfish, who established themselves as one of the most consistently brilliant modern-day progressive rock bands over the course of eight studio albums. In recent years, he has also become known for his work with English progressive collective Big Big Train, playing live with them as well as performing on their recent studio albums. 

GUNGFLY online:

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http://www.rikardsjoblom.com/

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Godsticks premiere new track & video -‘Surrender’

With their latest and most accomplished album to date Inescapable due out on 7 February, Godsticks present their second single and video “Surrender”. 

Godsticks mix of heavy rock, progressive and alternative metal with a dynamic range of angular riffs and emotional depth will leave listeners reeling and with Inescapable, the band have channelled their energy and technical ability into the melody, phrasing and vocal performance, allowing emotion to take centre stage. 

CF19692A-DA00-4CAC-86D3-FE29F0129BC4Inescapable will be released on CD, LP & digitally on 7 February through Kscope and is available to PRE-ORDER HERE NOW 

(“Denigrate” is available as an instant download on digital pre-orders – “Surrender” will be available on 31 January)

Toundra release second video from upcoming new album

Spanish instrumental rock band Toundra, are in the preparation for the February 28th release of their new album ‘Das Cabinet Der Dr. Caligari’, an original soundtrack based on the German silent horror film of the same name that turns exactly 100 years old in 2020.

The band have just premiered a new single and video, available in all platforms that can be watched here:  

This is the second extract of the movie that has been presented already. The first one, “Akt. 1” is still available here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4UQx2F2SLs

The pre order has already started, please check the exclusive bundle packs here: https://Toundra.lnk.to/DasCabinetdesDrCaligari

There has also been a tour announced this week, a unique opportunity to watch the movie while the band performs the album in it’s entirety.

28.02.20, Madrid, Teatros del Canal, tickets soon
06.03.20, Zaragoza, Las Armas
07.03.20, Barcelona, Aribau Multicines, tickets, www.cafekino.es
15.03.20, Siegen, Vortex
16.03.20, Hamburg, Knust
17.03.20, Jena, Kassablanca
18.03.20, München, Backstage
20.03.20, Darmstadt, 806qm
21.03.20, Martigny, Caves Du manoir
22.03.20, Stuttgart, Club Zentral