30 October 2014

Progressive Rock Review: The Australian Pink Floyd Show-Chicago Theatre Oct 2nd

Release Date:2014
Label: Indie

This was an interesting album to receive for review, Chicago Theatre Oct 2nd, by The Australian Pink Floyd Show, as, although I have not seen this bunch live, I have seen another world renowned Pink Floyd tribute band and I was very impressed. The band had its beginnings in Adelaide in 1988 when a local guitarist, who was obsessed by Pink Floyd, was looking to augment his band and advertised for a vocalist and a keyboard player with the proviso that the band played “only Pink Floyd.” The resulting 5 piece band honed their sound, but despite positive crowd reaction, they drifted apart until a refocusing and redoubling of their efforts moved them forward in 1992.

Their big break came when Think Floyd, as they were then, were considered as ideal for a Pink Floyd Convention at Wembley in 1993, and by the time this rolled around, the band had become The Australian Pink Floyd Show. They were then asked to perform at an event marking David Gilmour’s 50thbirthday and were joined onstage by David and Rick Wright.

Fast forward to 2014 and The Australian Pink Floyd Show has evolved into one of the best tribute bands in the world. The show, as it is very difficult to keep referring to them as a band, comprises of a large number of members, at the last count, 11 of them. They are Steve Mac (guitar, vocals), Jason Sawford (keyboards), Colin Wilson (bass, vocals), Paul Bonney (drums), David Domminney Fowler (guitar, vocals), Alex McNamara (vocals), Lorelei McBroom (vocals), Laura Smiles (vocals), Emily Lynn (vocals) and Mike Kidson (sax).

The live album release, Chicago Theatre Oct 2nd, is a 9 track album with a running time of around 70 minutes. The longest track on offer is the opening track on the album, “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” at 14:08 minutes, which is a curtailed version of the original, which is over 25 minutes long in its full version, and the shortest track is “What Do You Want From Me?” from the latest Pink Floyd release, The Division Bell, at 4:29 minutes.

The opening track, “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” (14:08), is performed immaculately, which isn’t surprising considering how long the band have been playing the Pink Floyd catalogue. As with all the tracks on offer here, you can easily imagine that you are listening to Pink Floyd and unfortunately, that is where my problem arises.
As I mentioned in the introduction, I have seen another Pink Floyd tribute band, who also tour the world, and while the live event was an amazing evening, I didn’t feel like purchasing a live CD of a previous show which was available at the merchandise stall. I would imagine that an evening watching The Australian Pink Floyd Show would be an unforgettable experience with the light show, the atmosphere and the amazing collection of musicians all gelling together, making those people unlucky enough not to have seen Pink Floyd live (and I include myself in that number sadly), live through an evening as close to the original evenings as possible.

That then brings me to my “problem,”, which is that as The Australian Pink Floyd Show are so adept at covering the material of Pink Floyd, why would I not simply buy the original Pink Floyd material? The Australian Pink Floyd sound like the original band and my own view is that the reason they have a huge following is the spectacle that they are capable of staging.

The Australian Pink Floyd Show cover material from several albums that include Meddle (1971), Dark Side Of The Moon (1973), Wish You Were Here (1975), The Wall (1979) and The Division Bell (1994) and if you have the chance to see the band live and want an audio reminder, then this release might be what you are looking for, but I cannot see where the wider market for this release lies.

The Australian Pink Floyd Show is a large group of skillful professional musicians presenting a spectacular evening of entertainment, which anyone attending will be blown away by, but a live covers CD, such as Chicago Theatre Oct 2nd, I am not at all sure about. This therefore makes any grading very difficult, but I have decided on the grade below on the basis of the excellent skill of the musicians involved.

4/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Another Brick In The Wall, Wish You Were Here


Shine On You Crazy Diamond
Coming Back To Life
Time_Breathe (reprise)
What Do You Want From Me
Another Brick In The Wall
Wish You Were Here
One Of These Days
Comfortably Numb

Jim “The Ancient One” Lawson-Sr. Reviewer Prog Rock Music Talk

October 30, 2014

Review Provided By Prog Rock Music Talk

29 October 2014

Featured Track: Fletch Towell Band-Its Just the Same

The Fletch Towell Band knows how to keep things simple and still make a point with their music.

"Its Just the Same" is a slow burner with elements of pop and jazz intertwined to tell the story.

There is something to be said for the simplicity of a ballad and being straightforward. The Fletch Towell Band get it done nicely on their new track. There is some nice rhythmic guitar placed just right and the addition of some sax makes it that much better.

MuzikMan Rating-4/5

More About The Fletch Towell Band:


Omnia est unum (One Is All)

Stylish, contemporary and fresh, with a broad range of influences and genres, one of the new breed of musician's collaborative breaking ground as the new millennium begins. With uninhibited exploration of technology, and dedication to perfection and originality, creating music with a unique combination of blues, jazz, pop and fusion. From ballads to high energy hybrids, remaining unencumbered by conventions and tradition.  Live large, break the mold.  You are looking for something real and tangible, its here.

27 October 2014

Neo Prog Review: Gandalf’s Fist-A Forest Of Fey

Release Date: 20thOctober 2014
Label: Indie
I was very pleased when this album, A Forest of Fey by Gandalf’s Fist, dropped onto my desk for review as I had reviewed the last album, A Day In The Life Of A Universal Wanderer, and was very impressed by the music. Initially formed in 2005, apparently when a mutual friend of the two founding members, invented a silly name to impress someone, and thus Gandalf’s Fist was formed by multi-instrumentalist Dean Marsh and lyricist/vocalist Luke Severn. The band has been influenced by classic bands such as Pink Floyd, The Who and Iron Maiden, then Porcupine Tree. The band has produced 4 albums prior to A Forest Of Fey, starting with The Master and the Monkey (2010), Road To Darkness (2011), From A Point of Existence (2012) and as previously mentioned, A Day In The Life Of A Universal Wanderer (2013).

For this latest album, the band has been expanded with the addition of 2 more members, so alongside Dean (vocals, guitar, mandolin, keyboards and additional bass) and Luke (vocals), we now have Chris Ewen (bass) and Stefan Hepe (drums). There has also been a glittering array of guests on the album, with John Mitchell from It Bites/Arena (vocals), Troy Donockley from Nightwish/Bad Shepherds (bouzouki and low whistles), Dave Oberle from Gryphon (bodhran), Clive Nolan from Pendragon (keyboards) and Matt Stevens from The Fierce and the Dead (ambient guitar). Two other vocalists also joined in the fun, Melissa Hollick (female lead) and Jennifer Pedersen (additional backing).

A Forest Of Fey is a 12 track album with a total playing time of around 51 minutes and follows the psychedelic folk tinged journey of a young girl trapped in a malevolent woodland, so, you might have guessed what we have here is a concept album. The shortest track included on the album is little more than a connecting segment and is track 4, “The Figure Speaks” at only 44 seconds, and the longest track is the title track, “A Forest of Fey (including Wisdom of the Reptile and The Lament for a Silent Verse)” at over 8 minutes. (8:33)
As already mentioned, A Forest Of Fey is a concept album and the opening track, “Childhood Ghosts” (2:22) is an amazingly atmospheric offering as it sets the scene of the young girl wandering too far away from her mother and drifting off into the woodland. A voice drifts in and out of the background followed by a squawking crow, a creaking gate and steps on a gravel path, before the haunting vocals of Luke lead the track on into “Gardens Of The Lost” (6:03). There is some stunning work on whistles by Troy Donockley and then the crystal clear vocals of Melissa Hollick continue the story. The initial folk prog sound merges into prog rock and there are several shifts and tempo changes. Troy then reappears adding an almost Tullesque sound to the proceedings. These opening 2 tracks certainly pull the listener into the story and when the tale moves into the title track, “A Forest of Fey” (8:33) you become aware that you are listening to a stunning piece of work. The vocals are mainly the responsibility of Luke and the track floats in and out of the light and dark, all the while drawing the listener further and further in.

The shortest track, “The Figure Speaks” (0:44) is a spoken monologue, linking what has gone before with what is about to happen. “The World We Created” (5:42) gently takes the storyline onwards and is firmly steeped in prog style with some superb hooks as the track ebbs and flows. Moving into track 6 “The Circus In The Clearing” (4:44), the keyboards get the chance to shine, painting a perfect aural soundscape to depict the title. The vocals are again by Luke, before the track moves into an almost dream-like section with eventually some intense work by all the band members.

There then follows a short atmospheric piece, “Blood For A Royal Pardon” (1:37) with more dream-like vocals, which then flows into “Drifter On The Edge Of Time” (6:37). Some gentle piano starts this track with some subtle guitar work in the background, provided by Matt Stevens, before the sound builds slowly to herald the entrance of Luke and a continuation of the story which switches the vocals to Melissa and then both voices swap the lead before some excellent harmonizing. A classic keyboard passage, courtesy of Clive Nolan, builds up just prior to 6 minutes and the track meanders to a finale.

“Forest Rose” (4:36) harks again to the Jethro Tull sound with a Celtic slant and slightly different style of vocal, but the excellent high standard of both music and lyrics continue onward effortlessly. Track 10, “Return From The Tournament” (2:04) has the added contribution of Troy (Cumbrian bouzouki) and the vocals and bodhran playing of Dave Oberle. This is a very simple but effective rock ballad and leads the storyline into “Stories Old and Stories Told” (6:05) which is another superb piece of music involving John Mitchell on vocals and Matt Stevens on ambient guitar. This is a slow burner of a track, supremely melodic, which takes flight a couple of times. There is some great harmonizing between male and female voices towards the ending.

The final track “A Poison Tree” (2:37) is heralded by woodland sounds and a ringing bell and a breathy but powerful vocal which brings the story to a conclusion. This is another track which builds in intensity before returning to the plaintive sound of the mother crying out for her child.

A Forest Of Fey is best listened to in its entirety, as all concept albums should be. From the aural soundscape introduction to the return of the same as the story concludes, the listener is drawn into this majestic piece of work. I was very impressed with the previous album, A Day In The Life Of A Universal Wanderer, but Gandalf’s Fist has raised the bar by several notches. This album certainly sports both “One To Buy” and “The Experience Will Last Forever” stickers on the cover and my simple advice would be to go and get a copy as soon as you possibly can, as you will not be disappointed.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Gardens Of The Lost, A Forest Of Fey, Stories Old and Stories Told


Childhood Ghosts
A Forest Of Fey
The Figure Speaks
The World We Created
The Circus In The Clearing
Blood For A Royal Pardon
Drifter On The Edge Of Time
Forest Rose
Return From The Tournament
Stories Old And Stories Told
A Poison Tree

Jim “The Ancient One” Lawson-Sr. Reviewer Prog Rock Music Talk

October 27, 2014

Review Provided By Prog Rock Music Talk

26 October 2014

Swedish Composer and Keyboard Virtuoso Pär Lindh Releases New Classical Christmas Album 'Three Christmas Concertos'

¨Classical Rock Keyboard Legend Pär Lindh goes all the way and releases his first Concerto in Classical style!¨

Sweden - Possibly one of the most talented composer and keyboardist to emerge from Sweden, Pär Lindh will be releasing a new classical CD titled 'Three Christmas Concertos'. For those in the progressive rock community Pär Lindh is considered a keyboard wizard – so much so that he was chosen to play keys for the reunion of the legendary Nice (a prestigious position only held by keyboard visionary Keith Emerson). With the release of several highly acclaimed albums, Pär Lindh has garnered worldwide acclaim. And now, for the first time, he has released a purely classical Christmas album!

Says Pär, “I have every Christmas since my youth been listening to the 'Arcangelo Corelli' concerto (as well as Greg Lake's 'I Believe In Father Christmas') so it became a natural idea once I had my own Christmas piece. When I rewrote my concerto 2011 and extended it from the three movements I composed 1979-1981 to four movements. I found then that the third movement had a distinct Christmas carracter. And since my idea is to write four concertos to form a modern version of the four seasons suite by Vivaldi. This Christmas concerto would then have the nickname 'The Winter'. So in the future there will be the spring, summer and autumn.”

This is the first release by Pär's new record label based in Sweden called NORDVERK CLASSICAL MASTERWORKS. Next release is due for early 2015. You will find on this album a new work, which has been predicted to become a future classic, as well as two well-known classical Christmas concertos played in such a way as to give listeners who are familiar with this music a possibility to hear it performed in a new light. 'Three Christmas Concertos' includes the first ever recording of Pär's concerto 'Then Svenska Julkonserten', which was recorded winter 2013/2014. 

The premiere which took place in Sweden on December 4, 2011 was a huge success. Says Pär, “The work recieved thunderous applause after each movement and on one occasion even during a movement. I realised then that this work had the quality to go directly to the hearts of an audience. In November 2013, we recorded the three concertos. Kennet Boman oboe, Anders Lagerqvist kapellmeister and the orchestra has beautifully captured the mood of my work. Manfredini, having written several Christmas concertos, we choose this lovely work to be the sweet balacing piece in C-major between two concertos both in minor keys and of greater length. It has also been a pleasure to record this version of 'Corellis' famous concerto.”

Three Christmas Concertos including a new concerto by Pär Lindh

1. Pär Lindh Concerto grosso in a-minor for oboe, violin, celesta, tubular bells and string orchestra
2. Francesco Manfredini (1680-1748) Concerto grosso per il Santissimo Natale in C-major
3. Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713) Concerto Grosso i g-minor Fatto per la notte di Natale

Pär Lindh celesta & harpsichord
Kennet Bohman oboe
Anders Lagerkvist violin (known from Pär Lindh project album Time Mirror)
Kern Westerberg 2nd violin
Torbjörn Helander viola
Natalia Goldman cello
Per Björkling bass
Urban Grip tubular bells

Produced by Pär Lindh
Artistic director Pär Lindh
Kapellmeister Anders Lagerqvist
Recorded by Crimsonic Label Studios
Engineered by Pär Lindh
Mixed at Recordia by Fredrik Larnemo & Pär Lindh
Cover Artwork by Davide Guidoni (www.davideguidoni.com)
Special thanks to Mr David Hoyland
NORDVERK/Crimsonic Label 2014

Here's what the press have been raving about Pär Lindh:

¨Pär Lindh is the Mozart of our time!¨

“A brilliant renaissance for Swedish classical music!¨

“Pär Lindh is the Scandinavian king of the keyboards!”

¨The music was filled with pure magic, beautiful harmony and of such beauty that Pär Lindh should be called the greatest composer of Sweden. He surpasses the world-famous composer Arvo Pärt by far!¨ 

¨Lindh's tonal language goes directly to the heart. Like the music of the great Jean Sibelius!¨ 

¨This unique piece is really a musical gem. Nothing like it has ever been written in Sweden before!¨

¨A storming success! After the last movement the applause just would not stop and the orchestra had to play the last movement allegro moderato once again as an encore!¨

¨A Swedish masterpiece without equal!¨

¨The Vivaldi of Sweden!¨

In closing, Pär has this to impart, “Well the message is that since we unfortunately live in a very dark and seemingly hopeless reality today I just wanted to give people a very positive and beautiful message of hope and goodwill and to help us all meet our tomorrows in a cool, progressive and positive way.”

To purchase Pär Lindh's 'Three Christmas Concertos': http://www.parlindh.com/Content.aspx/Shop

For information & booking:
www.parlindh.com ;
www.parlindhproject.com ;

Press Inquiries: Glass Onyon PR, PH: 828-350-8158 (USA), glassonyonpr@gmail.com

23 October 2014

Progressive/Alternative Rock Review-The Pineapple Thief-Magnolia

Release Date: September 16, 2014
Label: Kscope

The music of The Pineapple Thief’s Magnolia is as refreshing as a cool breeze on a hot and humid day.  There is a good chance that it not quite anything that you have heard so far this year.  The music has an emotional and enduring power in a way that only great music can.  Magnolia is one of the few instances where, when the last song finishes, you will think that this could be one of those rare perfect albums that stay with you for life.

Hailing from Yeovil, Somerset, England, The Pineapple Thief formed in 1999. Consisting of Bruce Soord (guitar, vocals), Dan Osborne (drums), Jon Sykes (bassist), and Steve Kitch (keyboards), Magnolia is there tenth album and it is one for the ages, “representing the best of everything that The Pineapple Thief have achieved to date.”  Front man Bruce Soord said that “All I ever wanted was to write catchy songs that stay with people” and he does that and more on Magnolia.

Catchy, melodic, harmonious, emotional, and lasting are some of the words that I would use to describe the music on Magnolia, and this is no more evident than on the opening track, “Simple as That.”  It is simply beautiful sounding music with the right touches of light and heavy to make for some amazing progressive/alternative rock that will be running through your head all day and night.  “Alone at Sea” is another vibrant song that encompasses The Pineapple Thief’s breathtaking sound.  It is a relaxing song that really hits its stride with the chorus and instrumental parts.  Also, the vocals are just absolutely pleasant and soothing.  “Don’t Tell Me” slows things down a tad and brings the album to a different emotional height.  The music has the type of power that will just sweep you away, much like the song that follows it, “Magnolia.”  The title track is catchy as a pop song and as awe-inspiring as a great painting.

Heavy on the emotional side of things, “Season’s Past” is as serene as a day dream.  The lyrics paint a pretty picture, but there is a hint of melancholy behind it all.  Starting off slow and brooding, “Coming Home” has a cool rock vibe and a great atmosphere.  “The One You Left to Die” kills it with its sick riffs and moving vocals.  It has that hypnotic quality that will have you rushing to hit the repeat button.  It is one powerful and enchanting song.  “Breathe” is a decidedly stellar rock song with short, intense moments between long, calmer sections.   

“From Me” weighs heavy on the heart with its depressing lyrics and is like a sad lullaby.  “Sense of Fear” brings things back up to a livelier pace with roaring drums and wailing guitars.  It is another example of The Pineapple Thief’s catchy and memorable rock sound.  The penultimate song, “A Loneliness,” is a light, emotional song that has an uplifting atmosphere.  “Bond” brings the album to a close on an emotional and harmonious note.

If The Pineapple Thief’s Magnolia was a painting, then it would be hanging in the Louvre, because it is a masterpiece.  There has not been an album all year with music that makes an impression like this. It is the type of music that gets better with each listen. There are about two months left in 2014 and Magnolia is my top album of the year. 

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Simple as That, The One You Left to Die, Sense of Fear

Brian McKinnon

October 23, 2014

Review Provided By Prog Rock Music Talk


01.Simple As That
02.Alone at Sea
03.Don’t Tell Me
05.Season’s Past
06.Coming Home
07.The One You Left to Die
09.From Me
10.Sense of Fear
11.A Loneliness

22 October 2014

Instrumental New Age Review: Richard Theisen-Mayan Stars

Release Date: 2014
Label: Indie

Richard Theisen is a Grammy award winning composer and performer. His new release Mayan Stars was inspired by the lost civilization of the Maya. The tracks presented on this release
are a smooth blend of new age, classical and world. It’s an enticing musical stew of instrumental pleasures.

Each track is like a brush that paints all the notes on a broad musical canvas. Within each song are stories that unfolds and words are not necessary. Theisen knows how to shape the music into a creation that is a reflection of each title.

What I found most impressive is the range of music on display and the number of instruments played by the artist. With the exception of a solo guitar on “Blood Moon” he does it all on Mayan Stars.The title track drops the curtain appropriately ushering in the age of a people long since passed. The wonder we still hold for that highly advanced civilization is present to this day. The track is as majestic as their legacy. When “Jungle Zen” starts you know that it’s going to be an adventure…a musical tapestry that unfolds before your senses and leaves you tingling and excited to explore more. Perhaps it is time to go on your own private adventure and let the music lead the way? This music has the ability to take you there in a matter of minutes.

The music all seems to fall together so nicely and each track has a different feel and overall atmosphere of intrigue and beauty. Whether it’s a simply placed acoustic guitar or building layers of keyboards the music invites a sense of wonder that is within us all. 

“The Red Queen” is so perfectly picturesque I found it easy to see the Maya in their ancient world in my mind’s eye. While all of the music is developing and enveloping my soul I was at peace and one with it all. I can see this entire album being a soundtrack to a special on a History Channel program or used for relaxation and or meditation as well. This music heals and allows the portal of your soul open to the exquisite vibrations that the sounds provide.

Richard Theisen has created an aural masterwork of history, humanity and music all into one beautiful package with Mayan Stars. The goal of any artist is to captivate and engage their audience and I think Richard Theisen answered the call brilliantly on Mayan Stars.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Jungle Zen, Mayan Stars, The Red Queen

01.Mayan Stars
02.Jungle Zen
04.Return of the Jaguar
05.Magia Luna
06.La Premiere Lumiere
07.The Red Queen
08.Blood Moon
10.A Dolphins Dream

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

October 22, 2014

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

21 October 2014

Rockin' the Wall – 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall - Announcing US Theatrical Tour & DVD and Digital Release!

Featuring David Paich (Toto), Robby Krieger (The Doors), Mark Stein (Vanilla Fudge), Jimmy Haslip (Yellowjackets), and Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot)

Studio City, CA - Lightyear Entertainment and Specialty Studios, in association with Rockin' the Wall Studios announce the Consumer release of “Rockin' the Wall” on November 4th, 2014. And a US Fall 2014 Theatrical Tour in commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. The feature length documentary offers an entertaining exploration of the power of rock music as a force for social change & liberation.  

The film by Larry Schweikart and Marc Leif is based on Schweikart's book “Seven Events That Made America America.” It shows how music become a liberating force  behind the Iron Curtain and helped give strength to the anti-communist revolution.

The documentary features interviews with several well-known rock musicians, including David Paich (Toto), Robby Krieger (The Doors), Jimmy Haslip (Yellowjackets), and Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot), and Mark Stein (Vanilla Fudge), as well as individuals who experienced life behind the Soviet controlled side of the wall.

The official motion picture soundtrack for “Rockin' the Wall” includes more than a dozen original or newly performed songs, featuring powerful re-makes of 60's and 70's classics “Ball of Confusion,” “People Got to be Free,” and “Train Kept a Rollin'” as well as original songs by Mark Stein of Vanilla Fudge, Peter Rivera, and Mother's Finest, as well as all songs performed in the film.

“Music has the power to change the world!” -  David Paich (Toto) 

Schweikart is going 'on tour' with the film and will be participating in post screening discussions providing audiences with a rare opportunity to get an even better understanding of this monumental moment in history.

Since September, the “Rockin' the Wall - 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall” tour has been in Dayton, Cincinnati, Greenville, Ohio, Toledo, Atlanta, Asheville, N.C., Greensboro, N.C, Raleigh, N.C., Cullowee, N.C., Danbury, CT,  Winter Garden, FL, Ave Maria, FL

Future USA Fall 2014 Tour dates below: 

10/14, Wheeling, West Liberty University
10/30, Eureka, IL, Eureka College
11/4, Tacoma, University of Washington
11/6, Los Angeles, Luxe Hotel Sunset
11/7, Seton High School, Mesa, AZ
11/8, Chandler, AZ, Chandler Center for the Arts
11/9 (pending) Scottsdale, AZ, Shea Harkins Theater
11/14, Fulton, MO, Churchill Museum/Westminster College
11/20, Grand Rapids, MI, Acton Institute
12/1 (pending) Chicago, Theater of the Arts/Polish American Film Society

2/2015 (pending)  Notre Dame and a Dallas showing.

(All dates and locations are posted on the film's website:  www.rockinthewallstudios.com)

Schweikart is available to add more Theatrical screenings, but will need the public's help. Visit the film's website to learn how you can be a part of this amazing opportunity and get free tickets to your screening for family & friends at http://www.rockinthewallstudios.com


“Rockin' the Wall” will be released on DVD and digitally by Lightyear Entertainment, a distributor of independent films and music founded in 1987 (www.lightyear.com), through eOne Distribution, in association with Specialty Studios, a fully integrated media, content and distribution studio that harnesses the power of socially conscious media to touch hearts and engage minds (www.specialtystudios.com).

Consumer DVD and Digital distribution will commence next month with a street date of November 4, 2014. To learn more contact Lightyear: Sky Spooner, 917-407-2771, sky@lightyear.com

View trailer here.

To pre-order: http://www.amazon.com/Rockin-Wall-Adam-Baldwin/dp/B00NN78TZU/ref=tmm_dvd_title_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-1&qid=1413823049

Larry Schweikart, Filmmaker : 937-231-8387, larry.schweikart@gmail.com
DVD & Digital Sales:   Margaret Poindexter,  415-382-1459, margaret@videoproject.com and Lightyear: Sky Spooner, 917-407-2771, sky@lightyear.com
Educational Licensing:  Kelsey Smoot,  415-981-9710, Kelsey@videoproject.com
Press inquiries: Glass Onyon PR, 828-350-8158, glassonyonpr@gmail.com

Post Rock/ Shoegazing Review: Engineers-Always Returning

Release Date: 11thAugust 2014
Label:   KScope

This album, Always Returning by Engineers is yet another of those releases that would probably have escaped my notice but for the fact that it landed on my desk for review. Not a new band, Engineers have previously released 3 albums, Engineers(2005), Three Fact Fader (2009) and In Praise of More (2010), and the current release, Always Returning, bumps that up to 4 albums.

The band was formed in London in 2003 by bassist, guitarist and keyboard player, Mark Peters. There have been several changes in the band’s make-up, but founder member Mark has been present since the outset. The current members of the band are Mark (vocals, guitars, bass and additional keyboards), Ulrich Schauss (synths) and Matthew Linley (drums, additional synths, additional organ and piano). Helping out on this album are the guests, Sophie McDonnell (vocals), Craig Sergeant (harmonica), Maud Waret (backing vocals) and Anna Drysdale (French horn).

Influences that have been cited by the band are fairly wide ranging and include Beach Boys, Brian Eno, Cocteau Twins, Spiritualized and Pink Floyd, and their style has been described as post rock, dream pop, shoegazing and indie rock. 

Always Returning is a 10 track album with a total running time of around 41 minutes. The final, and title, track, is the longest on offer at 6:17 minutes and track 6, “Searched For Answers”  is the shortest track on the album at just over 3 minutes (3:05).

The opening track on the album is “Bless The Painter” (3:13) which has the voice almost merging as another instrument and although it works well, the track, with repetitive synths, just seems to start and then finish without much happening in between. “Bless The Painter” is a pleasant enough opener, but not a track that demands attention. The second track, which is also released as a single, “Fight or Flight” (4:23) is slightly more up-tempo and although the music is good and the vocal harmonies are great, I feel it is another example of a piece of music that once it has gone, it has really gone, as there are no hooks or stunningly unforgettable passages.

There is a very distinct Beach Boys influence on “It Rings So True” (4:18), “Drive Your Car” (3:51) again highlights the harmonies and the melodic passages, without really immersing the listener in the music, although there are some interesting touches, and “Innsbruck” (4:19) with the melodic guitar and repetitive drum beat draws the listener in initially, and the track is almost over when you realize there has been no vocals.

A very familiar passage, which I just can’t place, starts track 6 “Searched For Answers” (3:05) and despite the familiarity, or perhaps because of it, this track is a very catchy, commercial little number. A tempo change in the next track, “Smiling Back” (4:43) initially piques the interest, but fails to have a lasting effect. “A Million Voices” (3:25) and “Smoke And Mirrors” (3:43) with synth/keyboard intros, again missed the spot and at this point the variation between the tracks was becoming less and less.

The final track, “Always Returning” (6:17) seemed to work better than previous tracks, with perhaps the length allowing the music a bit of “fleshing out,” and although a little repetitive, this track did come close to the spot.

At best, I would class this album, Always Returning, as a pleasant album, which had some good moments, but my overall impression was that it didn’t possess enough variation within the tracks to “drag the listener in by the ears.” There were some individual tracks that I found good, but an album was just a step too far.

As always however, I stress that this is a very personal opinion and my advice would be to give the album, Always Returning, several plays and then make up your mind what you think of it. I would dip into this album, on the odd occasion, for a track or two, but no more.

3.5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Bless The Painter, It Rings So True, Always Returning

Bless The Painter
Fight Or Flight
It Rings So True
Drive Your Car
Searched For Answers
Smiling Back
A Million Voices
Smoke And Mirrors
Always Returning

Jim “The Ancient One” Lawson-Sr. Reviewer Prog Rock Music Talk

October 21, 2014

Review Provided By Write A Music Review

20 October 2014

Legendary YES Singer/Songwriter Jon Anderson and Counting Crows Matt Malley To Release Charity Single “The Family Circle”

London, UK - GONZO Multimedia is proud to announce the release of a new charity single “The Family Circle” by legendary YES vocalist/songwriter Jon Anderson and former Counting Crows bassist Matt Malley. The money received from the single will go to the following charities: Flutie Foundation - www.flutiefoundation.org (Jon Anderson), Sahaja Yoga Meditation - www.sahajayoga.org (Matt Malley) and National Autistic Society (Rob Ayling, GONZO Multimedia president)

“ 'Family Circle' came together when Matt sent me the beautiful music earlier this year. I sang the song and lyric idea and sent it back to Matt, thanking him for the great energy. Eventually, Matt added some more sounds and the haunting guitar solo. We decided to have all sale proceeds go to our respective charities. It's a pleasure to release this around Thanksgiving time, reminding us of our connection with our families and how our children keep us together, bonding our love of life.” - Jon Anderson

“Not only am I a fan of Jon's voice but I’m a fan of his fearless spiritual outlook which appears in all of his music. A mutual friend said we should meet and got us in touch and after talking a little, Jon said, 'So send some music!' - so I had a cup of my best Darjeeling tea, went into my studio and came up with the instrumental arrangement that you hear on 'Family Circle'. I sent the file up to Jon and it came back with his marvelous voice, lyrics…everything that brought the song to becoming fully realized.” - Matt Malley

Jon Anderson is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable voices in progressive rock as the original lead vocalist and creative force behind YES. Anderson was the author and a major creative influence behind the ground-breaking album 'Fragile' as well as the series of epic, complex pieces such as “Awaken”, “Gates of Delirium” and especially “Close to the Edge” which were central to the band's success. Additionally, Anderson co-authored the group's biggest hits, including “I've Seen All Good People”, “Roundabout”, and “Owner of a Lonely Heart”. In addition, Jon Anderson had great success with a series of albums he did with Vangelis, and most recently released the critically-acclaimed solo album entitled “Survival and Other Stories” (GONZO Multimedia). In the fall of 2014 Jon Anderson teamed up with jazz violin legend Jean-Luc Ponty to form the AndersonPonty Band.

Matt Malley is an Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe nominated songwriter who is best known for co-founding the multi-platinum selling rock band Counting Crows back in the early 90's. He appears as bassist on their biggest hit records and songs. In 2004 Matt retired from the band so he could work from his studio at home and be with his family. He is a student of the Indian Slide Guitar and a fan of Progressive Rock, Celtic Folk, World and Indian Music.

Listen to a sample of the track here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hATdN-XMBSQ

To purchase Jon Anderson & Matt Malley's “Family Circle”: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/family-circle-single/id911786898

Read GONZO Weekly's 100th issue! http://www.flipsnack.com/9FE5CEE9E8C/gonzo-100.html

Jon Anderson's official website: www.JonAnderson.com
Matt Malley's official website: www.malleyablemusic.com

Press inquiries: Glass Onyon PR, PH: 828-350-8158, glassonyonpr@gmail.com

19 October 2014

New Age Instrumental Review: Trevor Gordon Hall-Mind Heart Fingers

Release Date: September 15, 2014
Label: Independent

Some albums don’t need words. This is one of them. Mind Heart Fingers is Trevor Gordon Hall’s newest album and one that resonates through the soul of the listener. Produced by Windham Hill Records Will Ackerman and production whiz Tom Eaton at Imaginary Road Studios, this album is as deceptively simple as a rising soufflé. Light and airy, it soars over your taste buds in a melody of flavors and experiences.

Gordon’s fifth album, Mind Heart Fingers shows just how talented this artist is. Mellow guitar and intricate finger work bring to life a thoughtful time in “Blue Hour.” Staring off into space, the mind whirls and clicks, taking the machinations of the day and breaking them down into slower moving parts to dissect and understand. This piece is a breath of silence and inner searching for those times when you just need to be introspective and solitary.

“Surviving Ordinary Days” is a mantra for the rest of us. Quirky and light guitar movements accompany the soundtrack to my day…not always graceful in action or thought, but bumbling towards a hopefully successful outcome with hope in my heart and a plucky soul to keep me going. This music says it all. We all want that perfection. We want to get through the ordinary to find the extraordinary so we can breathe it in. Just for a little while before the grind of everyday reaches back up and pulls us under. This piece is a machination of that. Quirky…bopping along and then swimming with the stream to make it where you need to go. Because there is always tomorrow. Because we choose to survive for the ones we love.

“Short Story” is the last track on the album. Just as the title suggests, the piece reminds me of opening a book while you’re curled in a window seat, eager to start a short adventure while you have a moment in between life and car pools. Tentative and well composed, this tender composition brings to life the peaceful joy of a quiet moment in a world that just won’t sit still.

Trevor Gordon Hall is an artist to watch. His work with the wizards of Imaginary Road Studios shows him for what he is—a man who speaks his passion through his guitar. With a few sprinkled instruments and percussion throughout the album, the essential sensation remains the same. Emotion of the everyday expressed through a pluck of string. Mind. Heart. Fingers. Play on.

4.5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: The Blue Hour, Surviving Ordinary Days, Short Story

01. Intro
02. Morning Sidewalk 3.0
03. The Blue Hour
04. The Meeting At the Window
05. Almost Spring
06. The Shining Barrier
07. My Dearest
08. Surviving Ordinary Days
09. The Discipline of Curiosity
10. Midnight and Raining
11. Turning Ruts Into Grooves
12. Short Story

DanaWright, Sr. Staff Writer

October 19, 2014

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

18 October 2014

Judas Priest In Concert At The Tsongas Center At UMass Lowell

Judas Priest In Concert At The Tsongas Center At UMass Lowell

Lowell, Massachusetts

October 14, 2014

Priest, Priest, Priest…the familiar battle cry from an anxious crowd rings true whenever you attend one of their classic heavy metal concerts. This is the third time I have attended a Judas Priest concert over the last nine years. I can honestly say that every show was fantastic and the band has not lost a step in presenting the old and the new tracks from their enormous catalog.

This tour celebrates their recent release Redeemer of Souls album. After checking out their previous set lists I could see a definite pattern and knew what to expect. So much for expectations…what happened was they decided to mix it all up and provide a hungry audience with a diverse set list spanning the last 40 years of heavy metal. It was a nice surprise to hear songs I never expected to.

The warm up band Steel Panther kicked things off with their over the top “porn rock,” for lack of a better term. I was a bit surprised that Judas Priest would have a band like that open for them. I fail to see the connection to their music as there is a lot more to it than it being just metal. They are talented musicians but their lyrics and in between song banter I could do without. I was glad to see them leave the stage.

The traditional pre-concert song “War Pigs” only ran for a few minutes, not the usual full length before we could hear the Judas Priest guitars bursting out of the speakers. A huge curtain covered the stage while the band played and then it eventually dropped as they got the crowd into a metal fanatic frenzy with “Battle Cry.” 

I was a bit surprised at the subpar turn out for this show. I expected a packed house however there were many empty seats around the venue and even more surprising were the gaps on the main floor where all the head bangers reside. We sat to the left of the stage looking down with an excellent view of all the proceedings.

“Dragonaut” introduced their new material in a live setting and it sounded fantastic as anyone would expect from a seasoned band. Richie Faulkner has stepped up to become the featured guitar player (in place of K.K. Downing) and his youthful energy is like a rock double cappuccino to get your blood pumping. His guitar playing is excellent and Glen Tipton seems to feed of that energy as they do the call and answer guitar licks throughout a show. 

What can one say about Rob Halford?  It is beyond my comprehension how the man continues to sing like he does. His patented screams are legendary and as the night wore on I never heard him falter once, not even after repeated screams within one song. Who would have thought he would still have these abilities at 63 years old? He is a true star and phenomena of the metal scene.

As these heavy metal gods made their way through an impressive range of songs it reached a fever pitch between the audience and band. With Halford stalking the stage from side to side and Faulkner egging everyone on to clap in unison, it was a true team effort as band and audience became one huge wall of sound. It’s a beautiful thing to witness if you are a metal fan.

Old favorites such as “Hell Bent for Leather” and “Breaking the Law” drove everyone crazy with excitement and glee prompting those in attendance to sing along as requested by Mr. Halford. It was great fun and those are can’t miss numbers on any night. The song selection was excellent and well presented as I would have expected from this great band. It was well worth the trip for this music fan.

Halford and this band show no signs of slowing down at this point and that is good news for heavy metal fans worldwide. They are the keepers of the flame right now and continue to burn bright as ever.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-Founder of Write A Music Review, Rate The Tracks, Prog  Rock Music Talk and New Age Music Reviews

16 October 2014

UK Symphonic Rock Quintet Winter In Eden Release Highly Anticipated Third Album COURT OF CONSCIENCE

London, UK - Much to the excitement of music fans worldwide, UK rock quintet Winter in Eden release their highly anticipated third album COURT OF CONSCIENCE on October 16, 2014. Recorded in Holland during 2013, the album contains eleven new songs which builds and further refines the unique style that is Winter in Eden. Featuring compelling vocals, muscular riffs, memorable hooks, swirling keyboards coupled with pounding bass and thunderous drums, the result is powerful, modern and balanced.

Produced by Ruud Jolie (Within Temptation) and mixed by Stefan Helleblad (Within Temptation), the album also features guest vocals by Jermain van der Bogt (For All We Know/Ayreon) and an unmistakable voiceover by multi-award winning Damian Wilson (Threshold/Headspace/Maiden United). 'Court of Conscience' retains the bands signature of thought provoking lyrics mixed with memorable melodies. Whilst no two songs are alike, fans will be delighted to hear that the bands approach to this album is a familiar one. With hard and heavy anthems such as “Knife Edge” and “Toxicate”, more chilled and progressive tracks such as “Burdened” and “It's Not Enough” plus the blues rock of “Affliction”, this album has something for every taste and mood.

Bassist Ian Heddle reveals, “We are really pleased to have the opportunity to release 'Court of Conscience' into the world market. Whilst the digital age has broken down borders and albums can be purchased via download, some people still like to own physical copies. The previous release (Echoes of Betrayal) was only distributed throughout the UK and we would often get messages from fans around the globe asking us to send stuff here, there and everywhere! Thankfully, we now have access to Cherry Red's resources and can actually get the real thing into your favourite store...wherever you are!”

Watch the official video for the track “With Intent” taken from the album here - http://youtu.be/Zt-omW7xwXs

Winter In Eden, a dark yet beautiful cocktail of power and passion. Their music builds from delightful symphonic instrumentals to crunching aggressive Metal. Between 2009 and 2013, the band released two full length albums, two EP’s and have entertained fans throughout the UK and Europe with numerous tours and festival appearances. The debut album 'Awakening' was recognised as one of the albums of the year. The track “Lies”, from 'Echoes of Betrayal' was awarded Classic Rock Magazine's 'track of the day' and they have been nominated in the 'Best New Band' (2012/2013), 'Best Live Act' (2013) and 'Best Female Singer' (2012/2013/2014) categories at the annual Classic Rock Society Awards.

Winter In Eden's energetic live performances have been enjoyed by capacity crowds in the UK at events such as The Cambridge Rock Festival and various Femme Metal Festivals alongside Delain and Revamp. Most recently Winter In Eden have taken their live show into mainland Europe, performing to increasing numbers in the Netherlands and Belgium, playing with acts such as Stream of Passion and Maiden uniteD.

Winter In Eden is:

Vicky Johnson - Vocals
Steve Johnson - Keyboards
Samuel Cull - Guitars
Ian Heddle - Bass
Steve Hauxwell – Drums

“Winter In Eden are the best female-fronted symphonic rock band Britain has to offer right now” - Classic Rock Magazine

“Albums as wonderful as this one from new British bands do not come along every day. It has been a complete revelation to me” - Fireworks

“The band stands out for their song writing, their vocals and their musicianship. And they're British too. Every song on here is first class” - Powerplay

“Fabulous set by a band destined for greatness” - Classic Rock Society

“All the quality and all the potential” - Dominion/Terroriser



Official website - www.winterineden.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Winter-In-Eden/110545798972772
Contact: enquiries@winterineden.com
Management and Bookings In the UK: Lycan Media Group
Outside the UK: JBM Events

To purchase Winter In Eden's 'Court of Conscience':
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Court-Of-Conscience-Winter-Eden/dp/B00MW67KSK/
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Court-Of-Conscience-Winter-Eden/dp/B00MW67KSK/


Press inquiries: Glass Onyon PR, PH: 828-350-8158, glassonyonpr@gmail.com

Instrumental Progressive Rock Review: Elabaural-A Journey of Intrigue

Release Date: 4thJuly 2014
Label: Indie
This album from the band Elabaural, A Journey of Intrigue, is most definitely a first. I receive many albums for review from both known bands and bands/artists that would have slipped under my audio radar and Elabaurel would fit into this latter category. What makes this particular band more unusual than most is that they hail from The Ancient One’s hometown, Kirkcaldy in Fife, Scotland.

Elabaural is a three piece instrumental prog metal band, formed originally as DepthCharge in 2003, but changed their name to Elabaural in 2005. This came about after the original band “lost” their vocalist, and subsequent material written was channeled towards instrumental music. At the moment the band are only a 2 piece as they are currently searching for someone to take over the drum stool, and I would hazard a guess that the two members of the band are related, as Arran MacInnes plays guitar and Alister MacInnes plays bass. The band have cited a variety of influences including Dream Theater, Opeth, Circus Maximus, Rush and Porcupine Tree.

A Journey of Intrigue is a 10 track album with a total playing time of around 71 minutes. The tracks vary a fair bit in length with 3 tracks in excess of 10 minutes, with track 4, “BlackJack,” the longest at 20:33 minutes and the shortest track on offer is track 6, “Adrift” at only just over the 2 minute mark (2:10).

The opening track on A Journey of Intrigue is “Genesis” (5:36) and starts with some superb solo guitar work with little phrases and runs before the cymbals give a little backdrop to proceedings and the bass notes become more regular. The track continues in the same vein and is hugely atmospheric. The whole sound changes around the 4 minute mark, becoming a more driving style with the drums and bass pushing the track along. An excellent starting track and bodes well for the upcoming tracks.

“Precipice” (4:47) is started with some atmospheric electronic beeps before the bass has a gentle passage, then the guitar slams into action. Just after the minute mark the driving guitar riff has taken over and there are passages which simply thunder along. I did find that around the 3 minute mark, my attention was beginning to drift a little as the track seemed to be losing a bit of direction. An excellent little guitar phrase drew the attention back, but then the track returned to earlier ground and was then off.

The third, and strangely titled, track, “Population, Montgomery”  (4:20) is more like the opening track with some exquisite guitar playing, backed up superbly by the rhythm engine within the band. Around the halfway point there is a very jazzy laid back feel to the track, which works well and this then builds slowly until the track takes it’s leave.

The other shorter tracks to be found on A Journey of Intrigue, “Adrift” (2:10), “Suspended In A Painting” (6:58), “Mind Cry” (2:17) and “Vorcha” (3:04), all maintain the listeners interest in different ways. “Adrift” succeeds by being an almost Spanish/classical styled guitar led track, “Suspended In A Painting” moves the tempo up a few notches highlighting more of the guitar playing by Arran, “”Mind Cry” is a slightly slower jazzy styled number and “Vorcha” is a slab of power chords and chunky guitar riffs.

The main disappointment I found with A Journey of Intrigue was that the long tracks, “BlackJack” (20:33), “Trial By Torrent” (10:15) and “The Raid” (11:27) tended to suffer a similar fate to track 2, “Precipice,” in that the interest level wasn’t maintained. All 3 long tracks show some excellent skill by the musicians, as witnessed in the short tracks, but stretched out to over 10 minutes the guitar/bass/drums complement didn’t provide enough of a variation to maintain the listener interest. Too many times I found myself waiting for a vocalist to take the track onwards.
An instrumental album of any genre needs to have something that makes it stand out, basically something that “grabs the listener by the throat and shouts Listen!” My personal opinion is that an instrumental album is a very difficult album to be successful with because of this.

For the most part, I found A Journey of Intrigue to be a very good debut album, as far as the short tracks were concerned and I would be keen to catch a follow up release to see where Elabaural are going as they show great potential. Arran can certainly handle a guitar and the supporting bass playing of Alister and drums, by person or machine unknown, complements the guitar work. The album has great atmospheric short tracks, and perhaps if the long tracks had been curtailed a little, bearing in mind the 71 minute playing time, and an album of length 50 minutes had been produced, I think I would have been better satisfied.

As always, the views I give are personal views and are likely to differ from many other people, so I would suggest giving A Journey of Intrigue a few listens and decide for yourself.

3.5/5 Stars

Key Tracks:  Genesis, Adrift, Suspended In A Painting

Jim “The Ancient One” Lawson-Sr. Reviewer Prog Rock Music Talk

October 16, 2014

Review Provided By Prog Rock Music Talk