Concert Review: Rush at The Forum – The Final Show

Originally posted on Drew's Reviews:

There will never be another Rush.

This much is true.

The trio hailing from Toronto, Canada closed a large chapter of their 40 year + career to a sold out crowd on Saturday at the Forum in Los Angeles. The final concert of the 40th anniversary tour is quite certainly the last of its kind but whether it is indeed their last of all time only the future knows or at least Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart.

It was another stellar evening with Lee in strong command of his vocals along with a very present bass, Lifeson, ever the virtuoso on guitar, in pristine form, and Peart the professor behind the drum kit. They kept it straight, no extra songs, nothing different than what hasn’t already been played since they embarked on the R40 tour on May 8 in Tulsa, OK.

The final show got “Losing…

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Less Than 3 Hours Left: Pre Order Advent Bundle: SILENT SENTINEL

Order the Silent Sentinel pre-sale bundle

Silent Sentinel cover art
USA
US $20

Canada
US $25

Worldwide
US $29

NOTE: Shipping/handling included in all prices.

LIMITED-TIME OFFER (expires 9 PM EDT on August 1st)

Pre-sale bundle of Advent’s Silent Sentinel album includes:

  1. A copy of the 77.5-minute Silent Sentinel CD
  2. 24-bit/96-kHz audiophile files of the entire album (sent electronically)
  3. An exclusive 29-minute bonus CD-R featuring:
    • Classical guitar duet from “On the Wings of an Ant (verse 2)”
    • Vocals-up mix of “Voices from California” (first half)
    • Vocals-up highlights from the “The Silent Sentinel”
    • Vocals-up highlights from the “Sentinel’s Reprise: The Exit Interview”
    • “Canto XXVI (The Evil Counselors)”
    • “Awaiting the Call …” live at MARPROG

NOTES: Includes early shipment of physical media unless autographs are requested*. Audiophile (24/96) files to be delivered electronically via the Internet on or before date CDs are mailed. The Silent Sentinel album (CD and corresponding 24/96 audiophile files) mastered by Bob Katz at Digital Domain.

http://www.adventmusic.net

Bad Elephant Sampler

My issue of PROG 57 just arrived.  It’s beautiful.  But, especially great is the Bad Elephant sampler CD that came with it.  If possible, make sure you grab the issue while it’s available.

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Riverside’s Beautiful Failure: An Editorial

I hope you’ve all had a chance to read Erik Heter’s excellent review of the new RIVERSIDE album.  From the listens I’ve had of it, LOVE, FEAR, AND THE TIME MACHINE lives up to everything any fan of the band would want and desire.

I agree with Erik’s assessment—as I almost always do!  I have to say, though, that I hope Riverside brings all of its music together.

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Let me try to explain.

One of the things I loved most about the first three albums of Riverside is how well they tied together.  By design, Riverside wrote and produced their first three albums to delve deeply into the soul and mind.  One is never sure if the protagonist of the three albums is insane or trapped in a purgatorial world.  Either way, the emotional flow is nothing short of astounding.  Everything works perfectly on these three albums, and each member of the band is truly a member of a friendship of artists, a meaningful part of a whole.

The live album, REALITY DREAM, is one of the finest concerts ever recorded.  Even the name of the show reveals how much mystery exists in the topic.  The words flow like poetry.

When ADHD came out, I fell in love with it immediately.  It has a much harder edge to it, of course.  In my mind, I saw a huge project.

  • Chapter 1: Out of Myself; Second Life Syndrome; and REM.
  • Interlude: Lunatic Soul I
  • Chapter 2: ADHD
  • Interlude: Lunatic Soul II

The problem, of course, is that the following Riverside releases, SHRINE and LFTM, don’t fit the plan! [Queue Geddy Lee’s voice]

Ok, so it’s my plan.  But, still. . . .

I think Riverside is one of the best of the best.   By simply writing great albums, though, they diminish the chances of achieving rock immortality.  They’ve traded the extraordinary for the good.  Let’s hope they come back to a grand plan and, thus, achieve something divine.

It’s not enough to pump out great albums.  A truly extraordinary band demands a vision of the whole, not merely particulars of the moment.

Today is the Last Day to Purchase the MorseFest 2015 Gold Package

Have you purchased your [Morse]fest VIP Gold Package?
Better act fast!
TODAY is the last day to purchase your VIP!  
 
 
VIP Gold Package includes:
  • Friday & Saturday concert ticket
  • Preferred Seating
  • Meet & Greet Session
  • On-stage pre-show photo op with the band
  • Pre-show surprise game with the band
  • Pre-show dinner
  • And even MORE!
            

 Purchase Here!

At [Morse]fest 2015, long time collaborators Mike Portnoy and Randy George, as well as Neal Morse Band anchors, Bill Hubauer and Eric Gillette, will join Neal as this group of master musicians perform Neal’s world renowned albums,
? (Question Mark) and

   

Sola Scriptura
This weekend will be filled with Special Guests including
Phil Keaggy, Exclusive VIP Packages, a FREE Inner Circleonly performance, Pre-show dinners, and much more!

Blessings,

Team Radiant

Radiant Records

Agent Fresco – Destrier – Album Review

Originally posted on The Blog of Much Metal:

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Artist: Agent Fresco

Album Title: Destrier

Label: Long Branch Records / SPV

Year Of Release: 2015

My thoughts and feelings towards the musical talent emanating from Iceland are well documented on the Blog Of Much Metal. Indeed, I even wrote an entire commentary on the music from one of my most favourite places on Earth. In that post, which you can access here, I didn’t mention Agent Fresco but that was purely because I was unaware of them at the time. When I wrote the article, Agent Fresco had only released the one album and, despite being very well received, had not registered on my personal radar. However, if I were to re-write the post now, Agent Fresco would feature heavily.

Formed in Reykjavik in 2008, Agent Fresco are a quartet that is comprised of vocalist and composer Arnór Dan Arnarson, drummer Hrafnkell Örn Guðjónsson, bassist Vignir Rafn Hilmarsson…

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15th Anniversary of Glass Hammer’s CHRONOMETREE

Glass Hammer's Fourth studio album, CHRONOMETREE (2000).

Glass Hammer’s fourth studio album, CHRONOMETREE (2000).

As I look back on the last seventeen years of my life, there are a number of things that amaze me and humble me: marriage; children; career. . . and, well just plain life.

I’m also shocked that an art form I’ve loved for the vast majority of my life–progressive rock–has grown so successful and diverse over the past two decades.

And, the year 2000: SPACE REVOLVER by the Flower Kings; SMPTe by Transatlantic; V by Spock’s Beard.  I’ve had the privilege of writing about each of these albums at some length.  Then, there was also LIGHTBULB SUN by Porcupine Tree and UNIVERSAL MIGRATOR by Ayreon as well.  Really, just pause and think about the year 2000 for a moment.  What a vital year.

One I’ve not noticed yet, however, is another favorite from that rather delightful year of prog, Glass Hammer’s CHRONOMETREE.  I didn’t come to Glass Hammer until 2001, but I quickly went backward in their catalogue.

August 22, 2015, will be the fifteenth anniversary of this astounding work of art.  As some point in the next week or so, I’ll examine it at length.  For now, though, I reached out to my good friend and hero, Steve Babb.  Here’s what he kindly wrote back to me.

I remember my wife and I left town for a week’s vacation and when we returned a lot of Chronometree’s music had already been written by Fred [Schendel]. He wanted it to be an instrumental solo project, but the sound of that Hammond organ and the retro style of the music was such that I insisted we make it a full blown Glass Hammer project with a storyline. We never imagined it would be such a turning point for us. That’s the moment we embraced our roots and we have never truly repented of it. Prog fans couldn’t resist the storyline, as everyone could relate to our character “Tom” and his slacker friends. Chronometree was a prog album about taking prog albums too seriously. We’re all guilty of it. Leave it to Glass Hammer to call attention to that.

I was going to wait and incorporate Steve’s quote into the larger article, but it seems simply too good for me to hold back from our progarchy audience!  So, enjoy.

And, much more to come.

Books, Album Covers, and Riverside’s “Love, Fear, and The Time Machine”

It’s often said that one cannot judge a book by its cover. Of course, as someone once reminded me, short of reading the book, the cover is about all upon which it can be judged. An album is the same way – short of hearing it, the cover is one of the few things upon which you can form an opinion. If this seems a bit silly, please bear with me.

Press_Cover_01Of all the genres of music, progressive rock imparts an added importance in the cover art. If you don’t believe me, well go take a look at almost any Yes album cover. For that matter, take a look at the cover of ELP’s Brain Salad Surgery, King Crimson’s In The Court of The Crimson King, or Foxtrot by Genesis. For more recent prog, take a look at any Flower Kings cover, any album from The Tangent, or more generally just about any cover artwork by Ed Unitsky (who is rapidly becoming this generation’s Roger Dean). Of course, a bad cover doesn’t preclude an album from being good, nor does a good cover make up for lackluster music. Still, at least as often as not, in progressive rock the album cover and the music are reflections of one another.

On Riverside’s previous album, Shrine of New Generation Slaves, the music was very reflective of its cover – gray and harsh (do not mistake this for a critique, I very much liked it). Similarly, the cover of Riverside’s latest, Love, Fear and the Time Machine, also reflects the album’s music. The front artwork for Love, Fear and the Time Machine is bracketed with various shades of blue on top and bottom, gradually getting brighter as one progresses toward a band of bright color that cuts across the middle. The brightness is most intense toward the center. While not necessarily a chronological description of the album or any particular song, this is nevertheless a good description of the music as a whole.

Love, Fear and the Time Machine finds Riverside moving into what is for them musically uncharted territory. While parts of the music retain some of their trademark moodiness, if not darkness, there are also parts that convey a very comforting warmth – much like the center of the album cover. This album has a looser, more melodic feel than any previous Riverside release. Some of those who were attracted to Riverside for the metallic aspects of their sound might be disappointed that they seem to have dispensed with those here. Nevertheless, this album still rocks in many places, metal sounds or not. But most of all, it is stunningly good, quite possibly the best Riverside album yet.

Some songs draw on 80’s influences such as The Cure, others draw on 70’s prog influences. That is not to say that these songs are derivative, and in fact they are anything but.   Instead, they take those influences, mold it with their own style, and still manage to come up with something that is uniquely Riverside. And like the best progressive rock out there, this album has a sound that is very identifiable with its creators, and yet it sounds like nothing they have ever done before.

The album opens strongly with Lost, a song which encapsulates my previous comments regarding the cover and the music reflecting one another. Melancholy overtones are punctuated in the latter half of the song by some intensely emotional guitar work by Piotr Grudziński (IMO, one of the absolute best guitarists in the current prog wave). Under the Pillow seems like a three-way hybrid of 70’s and 80’s music combined with current prog.   On the other hand, Addicted has a very strong 80’s sound. Mariusz Duda mentioned The Cure as a musical influence for this album, and it certainly shows through here. Afloat exhibits the most intense and consistent sadness of any song on the album, conveying a sense of regret or remorse and reflecting the darkest blue one the cover. The influence from Duda’s more recent Lunatic Soul projects is strong on Afloat than anywhere else on the album. Meanwhile, Saturate Me is the proggiest track of the bunch, with simultaneous excellence on guitar, keyboards, bass, and drums. Without listing the others, there no bad tracks here, only good ones and great ones.

I have to apologize that his review is somewhat incomplete, as I do not have the lyrics in front of me, and probably will not until my CD copy of the album arrives in early September. Nevertheless, Duda has stated that Love, Fear and the Time Machine is about everything that pushes us to make the most important decisions in our life.” One gets that sense from the opening lyrics of Lost. Still, a full digesting of the lyrics will have to wait.

 In what is shaping up to be another incredible year of progressive rock music, Riverside has returned with one of the best, most emotional, and most satisfying releases of the year. Far from resting on the laurels of their previous accomplishments, Love, Fear, and the Time Machine shows a band evolving, stretching, and pushing their sound in new directions. Still, the basic essence of Riverside remains fully intact.   That is the mark of both a great progressive rock band and a great progressive rock album.

Now, about that Time Machine … do you mind if I borrow it so I can go forward the albuTime Machine Deloreanm’s September 4th release date so I can pick up my CD? I’ll bring it back. Pinky swear.

ARC of NEIL PEART Bio is Now Available with Humble Bundle Press

For two weeks only, you can get an advanced review copy of NEIL PEART: CULTURAL (RE)PERCUSSIONS.

Available as an ARC for two weeks only with Humble Bundle.

Available as an ARC for two weeks only with Humble Bundle.

NEIL PEART: CULTURAL (RE)PERCUSSIONS is now available in early form. As an e-book, a part of the Humble Bundle. For two weeks only!

$15 and you get tons of books, including an advanced review copy of the Peart bio.

The final paperback and ebook (all formats) version will be out September 15.

$5.99/ebook
$14.99/paperback

Open Call 2015: The Complete List of Albums Proposed for the 33 1/3 Series

Originally posted on 333sound:

What is this list?

This is a list of all of the albums proposed in the open call for new 33 1/3 volumes during June and July 2015.

This is not a reflection of books to be published or my opinions as to which books should be published; it’s just data. It was compiled with the help of our brilliant editorial assistant Michelle Chen and our intern Katherine DeChant.

Thank you all so much for your hard work, I cannot WAIT to read em.

When will you make a decision?

With the unprecedented number of proposals received it might take me a bit longer to read through all of them. In addition to editing this series I’m a commissioning editor in popular music and sound studies at Bloomsbury Academic. If you’re looking for high-brow books on music and sound do check out some of our recent publications here. Which is to say that I…

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