Ever since I became a member of ProgArchives.com, I get requests to review a CD or include a band in the archives. Sometimes, the combination works, like with Feedforward or Edensong. On other occasions, I can do one but not the other, simply because the music doesn't fit the criteria to be considered prog. Such is the case with Bunch of Bunk, a Tilburg quintet that focusses on old school hard rock. They're not prog, they're not prog related, but they definitely rock.
They're self produced album Pleased to Meet You is available online, for those who like hard rock as it was played in the seventies and nineties, but with a modern production sound.
A few highlights... Tracks like Pleased to Meet You and In My Head remind me of Styx and Boston. Not because they are rip offs, but the sound of the vocals and guitars contain hints of these bands. This leads to surprise by the time I get to Seven Sins, which is suddenly a lot darker and heavier, maybe even a bit Black Sabbath like. Amazing is again a different thing altogether, starting with a clean guitar intro and a Thunder like intro before developing into a slow rocker again, this time even with a backing chorus. As a bass player, I have to love the prominent bass in Fakin', although I think there was more room for (bass) creativity there.
Talking about bass, the production of the album is quite good. But as with a lot of hard rock albums, I always end up feeling that the guitars are a bit too prominent in the mix, sometimes they even muffle the vocals - which is a pity. There are five fine musicians in the band, not only 2 guitarists. Luckily, the album also contains the semi-balled Hope You Will, where the band proves there's a different balance possible as well.
Overall, this band reminds me of music I used to listen to about 20-25 years ago (now I feel old...), when a lot of young Dutch and Belgian bands were trying to get into 'the scene' by playing their favourite hard rock. They took ideas of Van Halen, Styx, Boston, Led Zeppelin and then created their own sound - with varying levels of success. Bunch of Bunk does something similar, although their influences clearly also include some younger bands than the ones listed above.
Apparently, this style of music is not dead, and there are still people who take the time to write it, record it and bring it to the audience. Not the audience that brings you millions, but as stated on their web sites, these guys play their music, and recorded the CD, mainly for the fun of being able to do it. It's a pity I missed their gig on February 19th, might have been a good old 'hard rockin' party'.
When I round the corner into the street where I live, a bit later than usual, three men are crossing the street right in front of the car, into the direction of my house. I’m really late, but these three, members of Feedforward are early. A bit later, over coffee, I find out that they left home early, in case they have trouble finding the address.
With my wife out for the evening, and the kids in bed, we dive into the history, present and future of this Dutch band, that proudly but involuntarily wears the label of progressive symphonic metal act.
The band’s three representatives are co-founder and guitarisg Mario, keyboardist Job and bass player Jan. We agreed to do an interview a few months ago, after a great concert of Feedforward, Carthago and Sun Caged at Dynamo Eindhoven, where Feedforward announced they were negotiating a record deal. This record deal was closed shortly after that, with the first result being a re-release of the independently released debut album Barefoot & Naked through Rusty Cage Records, only two days before the interview took place (May 13th, 2008).
For the occasion, we decide the scope of the interview will be to create an overview of who Feedforward are, where they come from and where they are heading as a band. As such, Mario kicks off with a brief history.
Mario, Job and Jan
“Feedforward was formed out of the remains of another band that I played in, together with our current drummer Pi and former bass player Arjon. We also had a singer, but he didn’t ‘have it’ – so we started looking for a replacement. One night, my long time friend Biejanka slept at my house after a party. When she heard me playing my guitar in the morning, she started singing, and it was far from bad…”
There’s a bit of laughter as I remark “and so we’ve heard‘”…
Mario continues: “…The singing was good, things clicked with the band members and our musical tastes aligned as well. As a result, we ended up as a metal band with a femal vocalist.
Two years and two demos later, we decided we wanted to move into a more symphonic, or if you will progressive, direction and started looking for a keyboardist. Soon, we found Job lying in a ditch…”
Job: “Yes, I was left in there by another band. I had played with Pi before, so he gave me a call, and it clicked immediately”.
“… After Job joined, our bass player Arjon also left the band, he wanted to play more straight forward rock music. Through ‘muzikantenbank’, a musicians job service, we found Jan. In the mean time, we had been recording material already, but…”
BAREFOOT & NAKED
Jan: “Most of the material on the CD was there already, but I wrote my own bass lines and rerecorded them.”
Jan also explains the “Rutger, thanks for the bass” message in the CD booklet. “Rutger is a friend of ours who, at the time, had a 1978 Fender Jazz bass that I used on [titel], because it has a better sound and sustain for such a ballad. It’s not like I didn’t have a bass and had to get one to join Feedforward.”
The cover photo of the album
Job and Mario here explain that the CD was recorded in two sessions at the same studio. “Initially, the idea was to create another 5 track demo, but we had won some studio time in a contest – in the same very studio we were already using. After recording the first part, the demo part, the studio was closed for renovation. After it reopened, we continued, added a few more tracks to make it a full CD, and rerecorded Jan’s bass lines. The result was Barefoot & Naked.”
Jan: “I wrote my own bass lines on existing material, but Stop to Think was the only track I was really involved in”.
When asked if a full CD had always been the goal, the band members become very serious and realistic. Mario voices their opinion: “Of course it is nice to be succesful, but if you choose to create progressive rock music, you are fooling yourself if you think you can live of your music tomorrow. We want to have fun, create our own music and play as much as we can. Playing live anywhere we can is more important than selling CDs at the moment. It is hard enough to get gigs though, being not too well known, and playing this type of music. We’re happy if we can play, even if we have to accept that we play in small venues for limited time and with limited equipment.”
Jan: “A place like Rambler in Eindhoven is great for that, and even better, we always manage to sell CDs at such gigs.”
COMPOSING THE MUSIC
Then we venture into the audience the band is trying to reach. As to be expected, their main audience is simply defined as ‘the people that like to here the style of music we like to play’. However, as Job expresses, “we do write our music with our audience in mind. It’s no use writing and playing stuff that is technically complicated because that makes us feel good as skilled musicians. The music has to be enjoyable to listeners as well. That’s why we don’t play high tech symphonic metal, but rather a mix of metal and rock.”.
Jan adds to that: “We do things that are ‘weird’ within these structures, like switching to a different key, or time signature to bring tension to the music. especially in some of the instrumental breaks, but at the same time we make sure certain melodies return,
and we often use standard pop/rock structures for our songs, with chorus/verse alternations and small bridges, to make the music
Job agrees – “this tension is what makes the music interesting to listen to
Songwriting is a band effort
After a bit more discussion on this topic, we all agree that there is a difference between music that is written to be enjoyed for the ‘feel’ of it, and music that is written based on technical skill of the musicians performing it. If The Flower Kings and Dream Theater are an example of the latter, Feedforward is looking for it’s place in the former, while at the same time keeping a progressive and symphonic edge.
The bottom line is, as Mario explains, if the band here’s back their music, they should feel that if they were fans they would buy the
This immediately puts focus back on the desire of the band to play live. “Having a few shorter tracks, with recognisable choruses and bridges returning is very important when playing live. It keeps the audience attentive. Also, having only 12 minute songs is impractical for us – we often only have a limited time to play during gigs, and we don’t want to play only two or three long tracks. Still – we have some 12 minute tracks ready for the next album.”
Mario explains: “We compose our songs as a band, often based on ideas that one of us brings in. We have never used the model where one person brings in a fully composed track that the others have no say in. That’s not how we work, and it is likely less fun than writing together – and it’s always fun to discover something that becomes the basis of a song.”
At this point, Job interrupts: “The piano ballad (Our Sky)is a good example. The piano part I intended to be the basis for a more complex track, that the others could add to, but all that was added were Biejanka’s vocals.”
Mario: “That’s true. When we get together for rehearsels, we always spend a bit of time on tuning and warming up. One day, Job was playing this piano melody, and Biejanka simply started singing and the song was born.”
Going back to the statement that the songs are written toward the audience – how does the band feel about that one review on the live4metal web site that calls the song 143 a 70’s prog song?
The band agrees – the song is a bit Yes alike, even though the guitar plays a metal riff. Job explains that the combination of this riff, with an organ putting in a few different accents gives a 70s prog feel. Jan adds that all band members are influenced by 90s
progressive metal, but also 80s music, thrash metal and old prog. That can be heard in small things in each individuals playing style.
Surprisingly, or maybe not, Biejanka listens more to male than female singers.
This brings on a whole different issue: Feedforward is a band which happens to have a female vocalist, it’s not a female vocalist fronted band. A small but important difference. Comparisons with the bands like Within Temptation, Epica, Evenesance are not really appreciated by the band. It’s different music altogether, but despite that it even happens that the band is advertised as Gothic by venues. They’re used to it, but is a disadvantage in some cases. A small anekdote about a venue owner makes the guys laugh though: when asked about what he thought of their CD, he clearly indicated that he didn’t have a clue. His answer was “I didn’t really like your singer”, using the male word for singer in Dutch. He clearly hadn’t listened to the band he invited to play.
On a side track we venture into Biejanka’s past. Before Feedforward she played bass guitar in a band called Urban Kin, and sang on a track on one of their albums. Urban Kin had split up around the time Feedforward needed a singer, which helped getting her on board.
When we venture back into the arrangements and compositions, Mario and Jan conclude that working together on creating music, and then being able to sell CDs and getting positive feedback makes it all worthwhile.
This brings us to the sudden interest of Rusty Cage Records.
THE RUSTY CAGE RECORDS DEAL
Mario: “As we’ve explained, we created the Barefoot & Naked album based on original demo plans and the studio time we won in the
contest. We spent a lot of time and money on balancing the sound and making it in a real CD.
Then we started selling it, but about half of the 500 copies we made were given away and mailed to radio stations and A&R people to get attention. Nice to see was that out of the 50 reviews we got, only two were really negative. We were very modest about what we did, but this feedback brought us requests to come over and promote ourselves.
At some point, a radio disc jockey told us he was friends with the friend of one of the Rusty Cage Records founders. He send the CD to that person, and suddenly Rusty Cage called that they wanted to re-release the CD internationally.”
Jan adds that it was quite surprising that a record company offered to re-release an already released album. An as Job fills in: “Another interesting experience here is that we were already completely addicted to new material we were working on, and not on the CD. Questions like ‘if people like the CD, will they also like the new material’ come into play then.
Whether or not a new album will be released through Rusty Cage will become clear later this year. Rusty Cage started as a label that re-released old Dutch metal CDs, then moved on to new bands, and Feedforward is the first progressive metal act on the label. If this works out fine for both parties, a new album may be released through the label.
The first results are visible already – the band was invited for the first time ever to play on a CD tradeshow.
The work on new material has started, the next few months can be used for polishing.
PLAYING LIVE – DIFFICULT, BUT WE WANT MORE
Apart from working on new material, Feedforward wants to play live as much as possible. Attempts to play at festivals like Headway and Symforce have not succeeded so far, and the same applies to ProgPower
Although making money from gigs is not always necessary, money is what gets in the way. A good example is Headway, where the band had a chance for 2008, but only if the festival made money in 2007. Apparently they didn’t, “because we didn’t hear back from them”, according to Mario.
“Another example is paying for gigs. We don’t have to make a lot of money from it right now, but we want to break even whenever we can, so we don’t pay to play. Sometimes that works against us. We made arrangements to be support act for Queensrÿche when they played in The Netherlands a few months ago. Just before final arrangements were made, a week before the gig, we were cancelled. Another band had paid 600 euro to play, and we were left empty handed.”
Job: “Another band recently paid to play as support act for Vandenplas, at the wrong time
– probably a Sunday evening and ended up with a 20 person audience. It’s a risk in that sense as well”.
“On a different note”, Jan brings in “It’s fun to play even at smaller festivals, because of the very interesting mix in the audience. You see old people, young people, metal fans, old prog heads and so on. I saw that for example with Porcupine Tree audiences.”
Mario adds that Porcupine Tree is a good example that more complicated music is getting attention again, regardless of the terror of MTV and it’s alikes. “I saw them play at the Dutch Bospop festival for 20 people a few years ago, and now they are at the n-thousend visitors Pinkpop festival.” (Where Rush played as well, in 1979 – Angelo)
A short discussion on popular music starst as Jan adds: “I think people that grew up with bands like Pink Floyd for example have a broader taste in music. That taste was not satisified by radio any more, and with the current prog revival, they take the iupportunity to go to bands like Porcupine Tree, which is good for those bands, but indirectly maybe also for us.” Mario agrees, pointing out the difference between moderen ‘pop’ and the diversity of the 80’s and 90’s. Job concludes that it is shocking to see how few real bands are to be found in the charts these days. “Most of the artists sing some professional composers song, using a backing tape or a set of
session musicians. Almost none of them write their own music, and I see a bit of a need with listeners to more variety”.
By this time, we spent more than an hour talking already, and decide to move back to the band and talk a little bit about the future. What is Feedforward working toward?
An easy target for Mario, backed by his band mates: “We want to set up a bit of organisation around the band. We’re looking for a booking agency to get us gigs, and maybe a few more people to organise things for us. All of us still have full time jobs outside the band, and we want to focus on the music instead of the organisational stuff. I have to go after gigs myself, and that is very time consuming and often
frustrating. If interviews like this help us find someone that would be great.”
After a bit of silence, he adds: “Besides saving time, it may also be more effective. I don’t have a clue how often we don’t get a gig because we have to promote ourselves. What would you do if you owned a venue and I called, saying ‘we are Feedforward, book us because we are a great band’? Having someone else say it likely is more convincing.”
When discussing promotion a bit further, illegal downloading also comes up in the discussion. The band members see the problem that bands like e.g. Pendragon have with it, but legal downloading may also reach audiences that never buy CDs because they don’t see them. Jan brings up the issue of mutual respect here: “Dream Theater allows fans to bootleg as much as they want, but when they tell them not to make
recordings at a certain gig because they are shooting DVD material, their fans respect that. Apparently that works as well….”
This brings up a small anekdote. “Four years ago, we made a CD single version of “Stop to Think”, which is now also on the album. Most of the CDs ended up as give-aways. A few months ago however, I came across one on eBay, being sold for 45 euro.”
Finally, the band has taken a turn to cooperating with other bands when it comes to gigs. After being introduced to each other by yours truly, Feedforward and German prog metal act Sunpath managed to arrange a combined gig in Stuttgart on September 12th. Also, playing with Sun Caged a few times has worked pretty well for both bands. This type of cooperation wil continue. Job: “We have
learned from the past though – once we played with The Gathering and most of the audience came to see us, the support act. After we played, those people went to the bar and The Gathering and it’s fans were a bit annoyed about that. Discussions on some web forums ran for months about that evening. Oh well…”
With Rusty Cage distributing the album internationally, with especially a strong focus on Germany and France to start off, the band is hoping to be able to establish their name especially in Germany. I can only support them in that, a market outside The Netherlands, for gigs as well as albums gives them a better chance to survive, and us to enjoy it.
I had a few good listens to the demo 5Bridges demo The Thomas Tracks. This demo confirms what I already heard in the samples on MySpace – this band is definitely an old school 70s style prog band. At some point (while driving) I actually had the impression I was listening to Gabriel era Genesis. Partly due to the music (just listen to the intro of Babylonian Curse Reversed with Firth of Fifth in mind), partly because of the vocals, which – although a bit less melodic – often resemble young Peter Gabriels sound.
The long compositions are very well done, and equally well played, with great guitar solo’s and keyboard interludes. Not to mention the familiar rattling of a Rickenbacker bass.
Definitely recommended for those who love Genesis/Yes style long compositions with well designed long instrumental parts.
This is the first of a series of blog entries on Unsigned Bands – cross posted in the ProgArchives.com Prog Blog forum and on my own blog. Each quarter a number of bands posted in the ProgArchives.com Unsigned Bands forum will be discussed, based on my own impressions and the feedback we got for these bands through our forums.
This first blog post focuses on ten bands – discussed below, some of which have made it out of the Unsigned Bands forum because they were signed by a record company, or released an album themselves. Other bands will follow in future blog entries, it’s hard to choose amongst over 150 bands that were submitted to Unsigned Bands in the past 9 months.
Sunpath is a German progressive metal band that entered the forums as an unsigned/unreleased band and was approved shortly after that on the basis of self-released their debut album. A band with many influences listed in their band information (and probably as many not listed), formed by a mix of young and slightly older musicians (ages between 25 and 45 at the time of this release) most of whom are well trained (some even classically trained) multi-instrumentalists. Promising…
Looking at my review of their album Acoustic Aphasia, the band’s sound is best described as mix between metal and and the progressive eclectisism of the heavier art rock bands. Metal is mixed with a violin, and the experienced vocals of former PICTURE THIS singer Ralf Kierspel. Strongest tracks on the album are Dreamscape (akin to Sieges Even’s Paramount album) and the more eclectic In Good Seasons.
The band expresses a clear vision and self trust in their own description of their music:
“SUNPATH – a name that stands for virtuosity, richness in elements, powerful rock, and fine melodies. Five musicians combine this with stylistic influences from rock, metal, jazz, blues, and funk – in order to create innovative, unique music.”
Worth investigating for people looking for metal with a melodic edge and bands with a future ahead of them.
Centaur Rodeo, like Sunpath, were posted in Unsigned Bands and then announced that they had downloadable album out through iTunes. On the basis of that, they were proposed for inclusion in the archives. So far, this has been a pending effort – apparently the band’s style is so eclectic that it’s not clear whether or not they should be considered prog…
Initially identified as Eclectic Prog, with Krautrock influences, people have been looking at them from Xover, Heavy, Post-Rock and even metal influences. Currently, they are being reconsidered by Eclectic – in parallel with Prog Metal.
Krobak is a one person post-rock effort by ProgArchives member Prog-Jester (Igor). He released two albums recently and was added to the archives based on this effort. Again, I’ll use an excerpt from my own review to explain his music, this one based on the split album with fellow Ukranian post-rocker Krikston.
The Krobak part [of the album] starts of with the atmospheric Amnesia, containing a nice guitars solo with a hint of a bass groove underneath half way through. The violins at the end give it all a folk-like feel. Definitely within the boundaries of what is defined as Post-Rock – eclectic yet not straight-forward rock. The second track, The Diary of the Missed One, begins atmospheric as well. The track has a sound track to an ‘alternative’ movie feel to it: listening closely reveals what could be a number of movements in this 12 minute track, but I haven’t taken the effort to count them. The main trigger for listening in this was was the sudden switch to something ‘a bit more light’ at the 4 minute mark. The final Krobak track, The Fried Bull’s Waltz is a different animal (pun intended). It starts with heavy guitars that come back in many shapes throughout the remainder of this piece, that clocks well over 12 minutes again. There is a structure in here, but it’s not apparent upon first listen. Challenging for me, maybe less challenging for Post-Rock addicts, but I definitely want to retry discovering it. The ending of the track, which takes us back to more atmospheric grounds provides a nice contrast to the rest of the track.
Feedforward is based in Tilburg, some 30 kilometers from where I live. A progressive metal band, with a female vocalist and a lot of potential. On their debut album the band chose to include 10 quite varied tracks, making it a real show case debut album. A little bit more consistency in style between the selected tracks may appeal to some listeners, for me this variety was more than enjoyable. Straight from the opener Fade Away it is clear that this is not just another Dutch Within Temptation or After Forever clone. Feedforward vocalist Bianca (Biejanka) has a very powerful voice and she knows how to use it against the force her four gang members sometimes throw at her.
The track 143 is my favourite track on their, which has a real metal opening riff, a male/female vocal dialogue and powerful keyboard and guitar interplay, could very well be the most progressive of the album, and it gets better on every listen.
Compared to other bands, the band has made a great start, and shortly after their inclusion in ProgArchives, they score a record deal with Rusty Cage Records. Their debut album will be remastered and re-released later this year on that label.
Phenom is an Indian neo-progressive band, offering their EP through their own web site. Currently, the band is dormant, as some members are studying outside their native country. Their style comparible to the more well known Neo bands, and the band members are very profound on their instruments. In some places, their EP reminds me of Pendragon as they played some 20 years ago, yet with a more modern touch to it. Hopefully, the masters in robotics being persued by the bass player and drummer will not keep them from returning to the band, that deserves to be heard.
Pennelli di Vermeer is the most original band I’ve heard since I joined ProgArchives. Even though they are included in ProgArchives as Italian Symphonic Prog, their sound is more eclectic than most ISP bands, and in a very original way: you can mix rock with classical music, and Rush for example included some reggae influences in their music around 1980, so why not put in a bit of ska, opera and theater influences?
The Pennelli members guide us through their musical world on this EP, guiding us through theater/musical style music, ska, plain rock, electronics and tango and at some point bombast of the kind ELP used to provide us with. The track Aldiladelladilà even contains some Arabic and Cossack influences. All in all, a quite different experience from what I’ve heard in the past year, and definitely a band with it’s own unique, eclectic sound. To be checked out and enjoyed with an open mind.
Ritratto Di Un Mattino is an Italian Symphonic band that received very positive reactions amongst the ProgArchives community. A quote from their site bio, written by PA’s Eclectic team leader Ricochet sums it up best, so I’ll just quote him here:
“From the early symph-like melodies to the lot more eclectic compositions, RITTRATO DI UN MATINO have matured well enough, offering the slice and rag of art rock, hard prog, experimentation and variations in tasteful, carefully arranged bits and sizes. The violin inserts, as well as the vocals, are elements that add flavour to the instrumental story. With both acoustic and temperamental measures, RITTRATO DI UN MATINO sound like MARILLION, ORME and PINK FLOYD. Or even better.
Clearly a band less know to the prog community, that started from building best its formations, winning some contests and recording demos, this Italian band is yet recommended, with more music to be hopefully expected in the future.”
Gens de la Lune is are a French rock/folk ensemble, including in their ranks former Ange members Francis Decamps and Gérard Jelsch. These two have gather around them a few younger musicians (the youngest being 23) to create a sound that is a mixture of French folk, 70s rock and some hard to define ethnic influences. The band have an album out now (released on March 16th, and are being considered for inclusion in the ProgArchives database. Recommended listen for Ange fans.
Senza Nome are an Italian quintet from Rome, founded in 2003, and influenced by 70’s Italian Progressive Rock, naming bands such as Banco, Area and PFM as their main influences. On one end, this makes their music maybe a bit retro, but the tracks provided on MySpace (taken from a live gig) are of great quality. These guys know their instruments, and the latest news is that they are recording a studio album. Worth checking out for fans for Italian Progressive Rock – and hopefully we’ll get to hear that debut album later this year.
Hypnosis are, again, an Italian band. This time we are talking about band that could be considered heavy prog or even prog metal material. Their influences include Pink Floyd (just listen to the first part of Brezza di Luna Nuova on MySpace), Dream Theater, Genesis, PFM and Banco, but also Led Zeppeling and Deep Purple. Their songs are a mixture of symphonic, atmospheric pieces, and heavier guitar driven material. Vocals, as with many Italian bands, are in their native language which suits the music (isn’t Italian one of the most musical languages in the world anyhow?). The prog influences are clear, and with a first demo out, all we can do is enjoy the music and hope that more is in the making.
To close this list, I have to mention J’Accuse. who are releasing a debut album on Mellow Records on april 4th. Their music, as published on MySpace around the time we got to hear of them include psychedelic and jazz rock influences at the same time. When listening to their material, I heard influences of Porcupine Tree and maybe a bit of Krautrock. The heavier guitar work may be influenced by King Crimson. What surprised me was a track of which I can’t recall the name right now, on which the vocalist reminded me of John Lydon (PIL. Sex Pistols), even if the music was very distant from what he has ever done. Later on, someone even remarked that newer material showed clear influences of post-rock. The band has been very interactive ever since I contacted them, and if the quality of their album mirrors their enthousiasm, this one will be worth getting!
This first set of bands from the Unsigned Bands forum contains quite a few that have become ‘signed’ in the mean time. That could be considered faking in terms of an Unsigned Bands blog entry, but I deliberately included these bands to make clear that there’s a lot of good to be discovered in the Unsigned Bands forum. I can only urge ProgArchives members to dive into these forums and start discovering, providing feedback and helping out in giving new prog the attention it deserves.
I don’t know if I’m cracking up…
I must admit that I’m not the biggest fan of Van Der Graaf Generator. Their music I can appreciate for it’s darkness and texture, but you’ll never catch me playing a marathon session of their albums. Still, I very much appreciated listening to this, their latest effort – Trisector. The circumstances may have helped, me walking around Paris looking for myself, or maybe it’s a slightly different VDGG album than usual – who knows.
So what’s there to enjoy? Sandwiched between the rocking opener The Hurly Burly and the adrenaline pumping keyboards work on the final We Are Not Here we find a variety of proportions, which unfortunately does not always work to advantage of the former Pioneers over C. Almost plain rock tracks like the opener and Drop Dead (The Clash on keyboard steroids?) are not exactly what one would expect from this band. This is however more than made up for by the spooky keyboards work on Interference Patterns, and the typical Van der Graaf Generator darkness of Over the Hill. The latter is best described by means of the last words of the first vocal part: a roller coaster ride. Just imagine Peter Hammill singing those words, after which Hugh Banton’s organ takes you slowly up to the highest point before letting go and leaving you to yourself on the way down. There are times when when I don’t put a 12 minute epic on repeat – but not so this time.
A final remark from me on All this Before. The lyrics are obviously inspired by someone either cracking up or getting old, but what struck me most is the main theme. I cannot help but think this is a free organ improvisation on the main theme of The Kinks classic You Really Got Me, and even the vocals go a long at some point… Now there’s a question to ask Peter Hammill in the Trisector competition!
Overall, Trisector is a more than decent album, even though it’s a bit unbalanced and less progressive compared to older Van der Graaf Generator works. Not their best, probably also not there worst.
N.B. thanks to EMI for the preview copy of the CD provided to the ProgArchives admin team. Official release date is March 17th, 2007.
(this is a copy of my album review posted on ProgArchives.com)
Technorati Tags: Progressive Rock
Sometimes a simple message can make you feel good. Tonight Mario from Feedforward informed me that the band signed with Rusty Cage Records, and as a first action their self-released album Barefoot &
Naked will be re-released. Congratulations!
On January 19th, a triplet of Dutch (progressive) metal bands entertained a small but enthousiastic audience at Dynamo in Eindhoven (The Netherlands). Here’s a short recap, with some pictures.
After a 45 minute delay (someone had pulled the cables of the sound panel over diner, so the setup needed to be redone), Carthago kicked of with a first set. I had never heard Carthago before this evening, but was surprised in a positive way, despite the poor sound quality (somehow the voices got lost quite often in the guitar and drum noise).
They played a set of decent metal tracks, in a line up consisting of guitar, drums, bass, keybaords and two female vocalists. Highlight (for the band, and in terms of sound quality) was a version of the theme song of Phantom of the Opera, with Sun Caged singer Paul Adrian Villareal as the Phantom, joining the two ladies for a ‘triplet’.
Their MySpace is worth checking out – sound quality there is better than at Dynamo.
After changing the stage set up, Feedforward were next. This was the band I came for, after being in contact with their guitarist Mario van den Boogaerd concerning their inclusion in ProgArchives.com. When I heard their album for the first time in December, I was impressed by the quality of the recording and the musicianship of the band members. On this night, it all became more impressive. Singer Biejanka has a great and well-trained, powerful voice, which matches perfectly with the music produced by her for male companions.
The set contained a selection of the tracks from the album, an older track that apparently never made it to the album and two new tracks.
The second of these new tracks was played live only for the second time, and as Biejanka put it “The lyrics aren’t final, it has no title, but it does have a helicopter”. Indeed – halfway through keyboardist Jos produced a helicopter like sound – met with cheers. Near the end of the gig, the best news of all was presented to the audience: Feedforward are discussing a distribution deal for their album, which hopefully will result in a re-release and distribution in Europe and North America. “We will become famous rocks stars!”. Fingers crossed on a great band – again one to check out on their own web site, or on MySpace.
Closing act of the evening was Sun Caged. Another band I am not too familiar with, but after this night that is going to have to change. Lead guitarist Marcel Coenen seems to have 20 fingers instead of 10, what a great instrumentalist… As a bass amateur, I could also only be impressed by the technique and enthousiasm of bass guitarist Roel Vink. As if Jaco Pastorius came back to live to play prog metal.
Unfortunately, we had to leave after about half an hour into the set, but I’ll be seeing and hearing Sun Caged again later this year, I’m sure. And of course, they too have a MySpace page and a web site.
It’s been a while since I wrote something here, and (surprisingly) it’s going to be a music related item again this time. At the brink of the new year, I’m going to provide you with a short list of new bands I discovered through ProgArchives recently. And most of those are really new – with their debut album only just released, or even still in the making.
- Feedforward – Dutch Progressive Metal
- Sunpath – German Progressive Metal
- Sonar – Hungarian Psychedelic Progressive Rock (will be added to ProgArchives in 2008)
- J’Accuse – Italian Progressive Rock (will be added to ProgArchives in 2008)
- Lobster Newberg – US Art Rock
- Krobak – Ukranian Post-Rock
See you all there – and my best wishes for 2008!
Yesterday evening I had a pretty good time at a Rush concert in Rotterdam Ahoy. The band was very energetic, probably also due to the fact that they are recording material for a Live DVD there yesterday and today. We heard 8 tracks off the latest Snakes & Arrows album and about 20 older songs in a 3 hour concert. Tracks that have rarely been played live over the past years were included, like Natural Science, Entre Nous, Circumstances and the infamous 1974 song A Passage To Bangkok. The latter was sandwiched in the encore, between One Little Victory and the magnificiently performed closing instrumental YYZ.
Sound was better than I ever heard at Ahoy, someone must’ve done something right in that respect – and the stage show and lighting are just brilliant. In fact the light was so good that I was able to take blurfree pictures without using flash, camera stands etc. Proof included below.
This weekend I really enjoyed the Symforce 2007 festival at 013 Tilburg.
Opening act Focus showed a really vivid Thijs van Leer, accompanied by his band. Jan Akkerman replacement Niels van der Steenhoven did a brilliant job – he’s about a quarter of Thijs his age (who is a 120 by now I guess) and he really knows how to combine rock, blues and feeling. A great gig.
Next, Riverside from Poland surprised. I had never heard them before, only heard about them. These guys know what technical play is, and managed to get my attention.
Party rockers Pendragon – that’s no offense, they do have a party on stage without loosing their grip on great rock music – followed suite. I wanted to see Beardfish, but got so tangled up in the Pendragon show that by the time I got there the small venue was completely full. All I could do was listen in from the hallway, about next to Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon) who was there too.
After Beardfish I slipped into another small venue to see The Aurora Project, a Dutch progressive metal batallion. Great, loud and enthousiastic.
After that – I skipped The Flower Kings, they simply never did what Riverside managed to do today, which is to arrange a click in my head.
Instead, I visited Bootcut, which is Beardfish’s organplayer together with a drummer friend. Great stuff, only drums and Hammond – if you like the sound of the Hammond beast.
All in all, Symforce was a great festival and we have good hopes that next year 013 will organise Symforce 2008. At least they announced it for the third weekend of september that year. If so, I’ll be there.
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