Busyness has been on the plate, work, upcoming interviews for Progulator (more to come soon!), Steve Vai and Nightwish concerts, and just good ol’ distractions abound. Among all the things going on, we managed to squeeze out a few albums for you in this little morsel of progressive rock. From the delicate to the nostalgic, you’ll find bits of goodness here for sure. Enjoy!
Bacio della Medusa – Deus Le Vult
From the very first moments of this album we learn a few things; this is an album full of gorgeous vocals and flute that reminds of the classic RPI bands. However, before long we figure out that Bacio della Medusa delivers so much more with Deus Le Vult. The vocals are incredibly varied and the album is ultra theatrical. This isn’t just rip off RPI, it is a sonic journey through past ages and gives you the distinct visual of a theatrical work at many moments, such as on “Urbano II,” which contains a variety of folk styles and different character voices that transport you right into the action of the story. Apart from that, there are lots of modern elements, especially from hard-rock/metal that go into this album. For example, the abundance of double kick drumming on the track “Deus Lo Vult” and the high vocals give sort of a powermetal feel; honestly what came to mind was the Spanish folk rock band, Mago de Oz, but with a sort of eastern twist. “Indignatio” displays dark blues rock soundscapes full of brass and sax coupled with fun drumming, and vocals which remind me, at several moments, of the menacing singing of Jumbo, but these are done at their maximum efficiency on “Verso Casa,” with a sort of perverse waltz and grittiness that would make Jumbo proud, as well as on the subsequent track, “La Baffa,” which really kicks it up a notch in aggressiveness with the flute work and overall instrumentational intensity. While the tracks and overall album time are somewhat short, this is in no way a downside to the album. Deus Le Vult is a fantastic album that you can put on your stereo and give your full attention to throughout the duration of the record without losing interest. Bacio della Medusa has proven themselves once again to be a high quality act that will continue to offer us much in the way of delicious prog in the future. The RPI tradition is in good hands.
Check out Deus lo Vult Here
Tirill – Tales from Tranquil August Gardens
If I ever heard an album that was simply beautiful and ripe with emotion, this would be one I could mention. Tirill’s Tales from Tranquil August Gardens truly breathes magic, exhibiting an overall rich and organic feel while subtly hinting at various styles of music, but in a way that is almost unnoticeable, leaving the impression of a band with a very defined sound, yet not repetitious at all. Songs like “Nights Are Colder” are layered in magnificent ways with lots of extra-musical noise and creaking that delivers a sensation of other-worldliness. The sound is innocent, and to a certain degree, deceptively simply, highlighted by nostalgic/romantic lyrics. The range of songs is pleasing, from “Don’t Dare to Love You” and its slight jazziness coupled with pretty flutework to the fantastically folky accordion of “Ruby” and “When You Sleep.” “Heavy Heaves” comes in as a personal favorite, an incredibly number with lots of scary little details, ambient noise, and somewhat minimalist instrumentation; this song is dark enough to make the fiercest of metalheads soil themselves. In the end, Tirill has delivered a phenomenal album, one which I regret having not been able to post on til now (after it already has come off of Progstreaming). Well, now that you know, go out buy it anyways. It’s not your typical prog, but a gorgeous piece of work nonetheless.
Big Big Train – English Electric
What had initially given me the initial impression of Fish meets Genesis 2.0, after a couple of tracks turned into an incredibly varied display of melody driven prog. The opener, “The First Rebreather starts off with some great vacilating between classic and neo prog with nice vacilation between dark/intense and happy/folky sections. After a few more tracks I started to see a bit of everything; “Uncle Jack” with some genuinely fun redneck meets hippy, “Judas Unrepentant” with it’s majestic symphonic sections and powerful choruses, and “Upton Heath” with what feels like British folk meets spiritual. The musicianship on English Electric is tasteful; everything in moderation, but everything done very well. Combining nice drumming with solid keyboard arrangment, symphonic musings, and strong vocals, Big Big Train should have a little something for everyone, even though there wasn’t one particular thing that blew my mind. Just an enjoyable album that’s well composed and produced from the bottom up.
Stream English Electric here
Marathon – The First Run
I’m just gonna put this out there. My opinion of Marathon’s The First Run is that fans of the band and style will probably dig this album. In that sense, it’s a pretty good album. From my personal tastes, I thought it was a little to 80’s sounding with the power ballad meets Phil Collins soft rock feel of “The Seventh Dimension” and “Open Field;” these tracks are well done, but it’s just not my thing. “Man in the Mirror” has super powerful and clear vocals with all the 80’s synth sounds mixed in there, and “Beyond the Veil” kind of made me think of Images and Words in a good way. There were some moments that I thought were not too great though, like the vocals on “Voices.” The First Run will probably result for most as a sort of polarizing album. Some will eat it up, others won’t be able to digest it. I suggest giving it a shot, just kind of browse through and see if you might like it; I think a number of people will even though I didn’t.
Check out The First Run here