Author Archives: bradbirzer

This is Prog. This is Love. This is Yes. PROGENY (2015)

A review of YES, PROGENY: SEVEN SHOWS FROM SEVENTY-TWO (Rhino, 2015).

PROGENY (Rhino, 2015)

PROGENY (Rhino, 2015)

As I’ve mentioned a number of times, I was born in the summer of love, 1967.  The youngest of three boys (eight years younger than the oldest and five years younger than the older), I inherited my music tastes at a very early age.  Our house always had music playing—whether classical, jazz, rock, or pop.  I especially loved the first three, though I could belt out most of the words to Three Dog Night with the best of three year olds.  Crazily, I was able to sneak out of the crab, crawl downstairs (duplex), and put my favorite records on the turntable at 3 in the morning.  No, I’m not exaggerating.  I wanted the entire house to listen!

My favorites, though, even as a little kid were the songs by Yes, the Moody Blues, and Jethro Tull.  Soon, of course, bands such as Kansas and Pink Floyd would join this august company.

Sometime in 1973, one of my brothers purchased YESSONGS on LP.  Three albums, complete with huge gatefold and lots of pictures (indeed, a really great book that came with it).  I loved every aspect of YESSONGS.  I loved the music, I loved the Roger Dean paintings, and I thought the pictures of the members of the band (including Eddie Offord) hilarious.

Yessongs 2

Not too many hippies hung out in central Kansas, so these guys looked really weird, mystical, and Tolkienesque to me.

Anyway, I spent a considerable amount of time as a small kid poring over the lyrics and the Dean images.  How did those islands float?  How did the deer get from one to the other.  Of course, it all had been written about in C.S. Lewis’s Perelandra, but I’d yet to encounter that brilliant novel.

I can state with certainty that the entire package of YESSONGS—from lyrics to music to image—shaped my own imagination fundamentally.

So, when I heard that Yes would be releasing a fourteen disk live set from 1972, PROGENY, I couldn’t resist.  I didn’t want the abbreviated version (the two disk highlights), I wanted the full thing.

Two things almost stopped me.  First, I’m no longer a huge Yes fan.  I was as a kid.  Obsessed for quite a while.  And, in college (1986-1990), too.  Admittedly, I’ve purchased every single album—live or studio—Yes has produced.  But over the last twenty some years, I’ve purchase the music out of habit more than out of love.  There’s no doubt that every Yes album has something good on it, but the goods—at least to my mind—have become increasingly sparse.  I don’t’ say this to ignite a flame war.  But, from my very subjective viewpoint, Yes just isn’t as good as it once was.  Some bands, such as Rush, get better and better.  Others simply fade, and still others merely linger.

Second, I’m generally rather skeptical about these kinds of packages.  If I’m shelling out over $50 for music, it better be amazingly good—music as well as art.  I have, however, spent lots and lots of money on Rush (R40) and Tears for Fears (the Steven Wilson box set of SONGS).   So why not for the work that really immersed me into prog.

“Dear God,” I thought as I hit the purchase button on amazon, “let PROGENY be worth the money.”

And, it is.  This is the mother lode.  This is the touchstone, the very source material, for YESSONGS.  It’s pure, it’s raw, it’s flawed, it’s genius.  At one point, during the beginning of a Wakeman solo, a local radio station playing Chuck Mangione, comes across the loudspeakers.  Oh, Spinal Tap, how wise you are.  Anderson makes a joke about it.  Anderson and Howe even get along, making jokes from time to time.

I mentioned on facebook that PROGENY is an “outrageous Yes overkill live package.”  It is.  And, I love it.  Pure over-the-top prog.  Seven concerts, fourteen disks, seven sleeves, a glorious booklet, a firm and tasteful box, and, of course, 10 hours/31 minutes/32 seconds of music.  Phew.

Despite a similar playlist for each concert, each performance is unique.  For those of us who have listened to YESSONGS so very much it’s been grafted onto our very DNA, PROGENY is a brilliant revelation.  Mistakes as well as fascinating solos (long, short, punctuated) predominate.  While at this point in my listening, I couldn’t state the guitar solo on Roundabout is better at the Toronto show than it is at the Knoxville show, but I certainly hear every difference.  This is a young, confident, happy Yes.  This is a Yes that wants to change the world and do so through love, not through corporate dominance and lawsuits and bitter relations.

This is the Yes that taught me to love prog.

This is prog.  This is love.  This is Yes.

[Corrected two things: It’s Eddie Offord not Eddie Jobson (thanks, Duane Day); and I was off on time.]

Old Progger Reviews Yes/Progeny

[Old Progger’s review taken from amazon.com; which I hope is kosher!–BB]

By Old Progger

545488_YES_Progeny_LP_Jacket_Cover_13630.indd

My copy of the full 14 CD version of Progeny arrived three days before the official release date, so I’ve had time for a really thorough listen to these gigs in their entirety. There are, as you know, seven full length gigs here, but is there too much music to trawl through? Of course not. You’re a prog fan so you have an attention span, right? Right! The music on offer here is great stuff. There’s real zing on display here. The band play as a tight, well-disciplined unit and they’re coming at you with real committment and energy.

Before I splashed my cash I was a tad concerned that the restoration processes might detract from the ethereality and mystique which made Yessongs such a wonderful album. I needn’t have worried. The fog which obscured much of the detail has been lifted to reveal layers that we couldn’t have known were there. In particular, Wakeman’s keys have real atmospheric breadth and depth, and Anderson’s young voice is every bit as angelic as you always imagined.

The full contents of the booklet are posted on Yes’ website. This will help your decision to buy or not and they’ll also give a good indication of the level of attention to detail which has gone into the restoration of the original analogue tapes. They’re worth your attention, certainly convincing me that instead of sitting on the splinter-inducing fence marked ‘compromise’ and far from plunging lemming-like over the precipice marked ‘cynical cash-grab’ the producers have clung gecko-like to the sparsely populated and narrow ledge marked ‘integrity’. The tale of how Chris Squire’s bass sound was rescued is worth reading more than once!

Yes fans will immediately spot even subtle differences between the performances because, like me, they will know all the studio and live versions of everything like the backs of their hands. The more significant departures will jump out at them. For example, the Yessongs version of Yours Is No Disgrace is included here without the edits and you’ll easily spot where they were! The differences over 14 CDs are are otherwise too numerous to list. Importantly, this valuable material has not been robbed of it’s character by lazily pushing the whole thing through software to smooth out the wrinkles. All the buzzes, pops and crackles are there to be heard. We hear the band tuning up and even occasionally fluffing cues. Jon Anderson’s spoken introductions are all kept and all the instruments and voices exist in their own clear sense of space, instead of the muddines we’ve all complained about on Yessongs. If you buy this, what you will hold in your hand might be easily described as the best quality bootleg you ever owned!

Packaging is nice and sensible, not ‘shouty’ like some of rock’s gaudier boxsets which fit nowhere except on your coffee table, yelling “Look at me!” This robust little box will fit nicely, and with some class, in your regular collection. There is a distinct lack of the usual pointless and lazy montage of old photographs in the booklet. What you will find are genuinely useful and interesting sleevenotes and some very nice new Roger Dean artwork.

Sure, it costs money, but considering what you’re getting I really don’t think anyone’s being excessively greedy here. I will be returning to this collection again and again. It’s one of the best boxsets I own.

YES!

Holy schnikees.  I wasn’t expecting it to be this beautiful.  The Yes set has arrived.

Photo on 5-26-15 at 1.07 PM

RochaNews: Katatonia “Sanctitude” Concert Film

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KATATONIA LAUNCHES “DAY” VIDEO CLIP FROM UPCOMING “SANCTITUDE” CONCERT FILM “Sanctitude” available on Blu-ray, CD+DVD, 2LP & digital download March 31 via Kscope

SWEDEN – Swedish master of melancholy, Katatonia, has launched a live video of the track “Day” from its upcoming concert film, Sanctitude, to be released in North America on March 31, 2015 (March 30 U.K. & RoW, April 3 Germany) via Kscope. The live video for “Day” is the first taste of what fans can expect from Sanctitude; it can be

viewed on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EB8FC22Yc8w and Vimeo at: https://vimeo.com/119260348.

Katatonia’s Anders Nystrom comments on the release: “Day… something you wake up to, or at least have to pull through, over and over. Most of them you forget about, but a couple you maybe look back upon and wish to relive again.

“Unfortunately in reality, I’m afraid that’s not possible, at least not until Apple buys NASA and releases a new version of their Time Capsule backup machine and send people into the cloud and back into history to fetch an older version of their lives, but luckily for us, there’s a current control of our music that doesn’t need time travel.

“We have always felt that if there’s a need, we’re entitled to the freedom to give our old songs a makeover in the now rather than the never. So, in the making of ‘Sanctitude’ there was one song in particular that meant a great deal to us. In fact, it was our first song ever to feature entirely clean vocals accompanied by clean guitars and it was written and released right in the peak of our death metal years.

“The song stood out, but isolated itself into oblivion in the climate of heavier music. Therefore we wanted this song to get a second chance, to be re-discovered. Even 20 years later when performing it live for the first time, it appears the parks are still grey and look the same…”

Sanctitude will be released in four formats:

  1. Blu-ray DVD in 5.1 surround sound plus ‘Beyond The Chapel’ documentary including brand new interviews with Anders Nystrom & Jonas Renkse.
  2. CD/DVD package – audio / visual set including ‘Beyond the Chapel’ documentary.
  3. Double LP (incl. download code)
  4. Digital download (audio)

    Sanctitude can be pre-ordered in physical formats via the Kscope web-store at:

http://www.kscopemusic.com/store.
A Sanctitude teaser trailer can be seen on YouTube at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrhpdIGQwGw&feature=youtu.be and Vimeo at: https://vimeo.com/118916551.

Sanctitude was filmed and recorded in the stunning, candle-lit setting of London’s Union Chapel during Katatonia’s May 2014 ‘Unplugged & Reworked’ tour – an intimate acoustic evening performing tracks from the Dethroned & Uncrowned album alongside atmospheric classics from the band’s entire career, stripped and reworked. The 80 minute set features 17 songs across the albums The Great Cold Distance, Viva Emptiness, Brave Murder Day, Last Fair Deal Gone Down, Dead End Kings and Dethroned & Uncrowned, including fan favorite, “Teargas.” The show closes with the sublime “The One You Are Looking For Is Not Here” and a special guest appearance by Norwegian vocalist Silje Wergeland of Dutch legend, The Gathering. The band was also joined on guitar and vocals by The Pineapple Thief frontman and songwriter, Bruce Soord.

All audio on Sanctitude has been mixed and mastered by Bruce Soord, with artwork once more supplied by long-time visual collaborator Travis Smith.

DISC 1:

1. In The White
2. Ambitions
3. Teargas
4. Gone
5. A Darkness Coming
6. One Year From Now
7. The Racing Heart
8. Tonight`s Music
9. Sleeper
10. Undo You
11. Lethean
12. Day
13. Idle Blood
14. Unfurl
15. Omerta
16. Evidence
17. The One You Are Looking For Is Not Here

DISC 2:

Concert Film (80 mins) Documentary `Beyond The Chapel` (66 mins)

Katatonia was formed in 1991 by Anders Nyström and Jonas Renkse. Its debut album, Dance of December Souls, was released in 1993, gaining the band recognition for its eclectic brand of gothic doom/death metal and joining acts such as Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride as one of the genre’s defining bands. On future albums, a newer, sleeker Katatonia sound came to the fore, starting with a streamlined and structured collection of melodic dark rock songs that became third album, Discouraged Ones, which is widely regarded as the main evolution point for modern day Katatonia.

In September 2013, Kscope released Dethroned & Uncrowned, a reworking of the band’s 2012 epic Dead End Kings (originally released on Kscope’s sister label Peaceville). Dethroned & Uncrowned allowed Katatonia the opportunity to explore a more progressive sound, creating new moods and textures while still staying truthful to the core of the original songs.

Stay tuned for more information on Katatonia and Sanctitude, out this month on Peaceville.

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Stephen Humphries: Clerk of the Gods

The Art of Rush.  Text by Stephen Humphries.

The Art of Rush. Text by Stephen Humphries.

This morning I had the chance to read through Stephen Humphries website: http://stephenhumphries.blogspot.com

What a treat.  Yet another reason to love the weekend.

If you don’t follow him, you should.  Humphries is not only a great writer, but he’s also a great thinker.  Not surprisingly, Rush turned to him recently to write the text for the new Hugh Syme book, The Art of Rush.

Humphries seemingly has connections to every one in the prog world.  Anyway, check out his website.  His interviews are especially good.

Helloween – My God-Given Right – Album Review

Originally posted on The Blog of Much Metal:

Helloween - My God-Given Right - Artwork

Artist: Helloween

Album Title: My God-Given Right

Label: Nuclear Blast

Year Of Release: 2015

There’s always an exception to the rule. In the case of Helloween, they are the exception to the rule that Germans have no sense of humour. That’s utter nonsense of course, it’s just a silly stereotype and the five musicians that go by the name of Helloween are the proof if proof were needed. Helloween Throughout their career, theirs is an output that has always been laced with more than the occasional joke and self-deprecating good humour. In fact it is their general bonhomie that has endeared them to metal fans the world over who don’t always want their listening experiences to be serious and po-faced. Of a high quality, yes, but ingrained with a sense of the light-hearted and fun. The fact that crowds at their live shows chant ‘happy, happy Helloween’ serves to underline…

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IZZ’s Everlasting Instant: Gorgeous Esotericism

IZZ, Everlasting Instant (Doone, 2015). Tracks: Own the Mystery; Every Minute; Start Again; If It’s True; The Three Seers; The Everlasting Instant; Keep Away; Can’t Feel the Earth, Part IV; Illuminata; Sincerest Life; Like a Straight Line.

Birzer rating: 9/10

IZZ's EVERLASTING INSTANT (2015).

IZZ’s EVERLASTING INSTANT (2015).

Concluding their trilogy—which includes the brilliant The Darkened Room and Crush of Night—Everlasting Instant is full of wonders. Though I rarely employ labels, this album makes me wonder if this is more art rock or more prog rock? Like much of the music once made by Talk Talk and now by Gazpacho and Elbow, IZZ produces densely layered and atmospheric albums, mysteries in and of themselves. Lyrically, the album offers the highest of poetic visions, calling us to things much greater than this realilty.

Perhaps most impressively, IZZ sounds at once like a group of very talented individual musicians as well as a cohesive and intense community of like-minded persons. Few bands can balance the individual talent of the musician with the force of the group as a collective. IZZ can and does. And, it does it very well.

Electric piano begins the first track, Own the Mystery, accompanied by a soft but firm male voice. Drums and a woodwind join at just under the minute mark. There’s a John Barleycorn and Colour of Spring feel to this opening track, but IZZ is never derivative, simply respectful of those who came before and also brimming with taste. A woman’s voice joins, and a dialogue—not unbecoming an T.S. Eliot play—begins. Does age slow us down, or does it make us wise? Perhaps, at some level, it does both. Most importantly, do we “own the mystery,” accepting the beauty and flaws of ourselves and those we love? Or, do we simply glide through life?

Track two, “Every Minute” is instrumental, a short guitar- and keyboard-driven meditation, followed by “Start Again,” an actual rebirth of the album, truly a second beginning to this conclusion of the trilogy.

This rebirth, however, comes in darkness. Someone has abandoned us, left us to bleed, alone, and on the floor. In isolation, the protagonist cries in agony, but an agony that stems from the soul rather than the body.

If It’s True, the fourth song on the album, finds us in a skeptical nightclub of mellow upper-class tipsy folks, all awaiting papers from their lawyers.

“The Three Seers” begins with a Simon and Garfunkel vocal (gorgeous) and grand piano. Visions hover in the air. Are the visions fanciful or true? If the latter, a game change lingers in the room. The middle part of the song, interestingly enough, resembles some of Keith Emerson’s less over-the-top playing, the song reaching its apex a little over three minutes into it, as drums and spacey keyboards join. The Three Seers ends gently, moving without a break into the soft electronica of the title track. The voice is now female (actually two voices), and the song seems to put the listener in a faerie tale told in the nursery. Lyrically, the words continue to discuss “hovering in the air,” and the songs becomes full-out rock (IZZ style) at about 1:27. Swirling guitars and drums and bass blast forward, and the song reaches perhaps the most intense moment of the entire album.

Keep Away is another contemplative number, keyboards awash. Guitar and bass predominate about two and one half minutes into the song, and the bass, especially, resembles Chris Squire’s magnificent playing on 1975’s Fish Out of Water.  As with almost every song on the album, a number of changes take place, include a middle section again resembling the best of ELP. To make it even more interesting, however, a strong female voice comes in during the ELP/electronica part of the song, warning us not to “wake the sleeper.” Further, as the voice of Sybil, she warns that one must “swallow his pride to save his soul.” Dante could not have stated it better.

Can’t Feel the Earth, Part IV, of course, finishes the three earlier parts of “Can’t Feel the Earth.” The bass, again, is outstanding, sounding, however, more like Tony Levin than Squire here. A driving song, everything jams here: all of the instruments and the voices. The lyrics praise “inspiration” as the motive for greatness, beauty, and becoming.

Illuminata is a bizarre song. Still excellent, but truly bizarre. Again, throw in some ELP, musically. The reason it’s bizarre, however, has more to do with the lyrics than the music. The lyrics are at once blatant and esoteric. They plead for an honest evaluation of self, but the lyrics also claim this will lead to “illuminata”? I have no idea what this means, aside from the word being a form of Latin regarding revelation. Is this Catholic, new age, pagan? I have no idea, but I feel like it must matter—perhaps a critical point in the album.

The penultimate song, “Sincerest Life,” has a Jon Anderson atmosphere, and IZZ proclaims “this world is love.”

The final song, “Like a Straight Line,” a quiet piano and voice number that becomes quite theatric and hopeful, of course, concludes the trilogy. Again, while it’s clear that IZZ is proclaiming the never-ceasing love of some kind of holy figure, it’s equally impossible to know who that holy figure is. Is this Mary, Star of the Sea, Jesus, or someone else?

Everlasting Instant is an absolute gem. Of course, nothing IZZ does is unimportant, but this album is even great by IZZ standards. And those standards start near the top of Olympus.  Still, Olympus might be accurate.  The only real flaw of the album, and, hence, the 9/10, is simply that the lyrics are incomprehensible toward the end of the album.  It’s one thing to be artful, but it’s quite another to be so open to any interpretation as to become meaningless.  Let’s hope Galgano and co. explain a bit more what’s going on here.  They don’t have to give away the store, but it would be nice to know the prices of the merchandise within.

NellieNews: Barock

BP

BAROCK PROJECT ANNOUNCE FOURTH ALBUM: SKYLINE

Ten original tracks over 70 minutes of rock music filled and powered with Progressive, Acoustic, Metal and Symphonic ingredients.

This is SKYLINE, the 4th release from BAROCK PROJECT, the Italian band that have built an international fan base over the years combining the Italian melodic progressive unique sound with English lyrics that opened a whole new dimension to their music.

After successfully completing a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter, with backers from 5 continents, the album is published as an independent release in partnership with management Stars of Italy (USA) and distribution company The Merch Desk (UK). The release date is set for June 8th (physical) and June 13th (digital) with pre-sales already on sale at www.themerchdesk.com

Three years of intensive composition and preparation by Barock Project’s mastermind, Luca Zabbini, led to a sharp turn in the music style and arrangements. SKYLINE is, in the words of Zabbini, “a much more direct approach, unloaded of excessive virtuosity, to music with a more melodic structure, yet periodically touching those buttons that appeal to prog lovers”.

Many influences are captured among the notes of each track, yet ONE very distinctive original touch, a contribution of each of the four band members (two of them are new).

In the mind of both band and management, Skyline aims to run for best album of 2015 in its league, thanks to its artistic contents and world class feature appearances. (Vittorio De Scalzi of New Trolls vocals & flute on title track and Paul Whitehead as album cover artist).

The track list:

1 – GOLD (8:40)

2 – OVERTURE (3:40)

3 – SKYLINE (10:21)

4 – ROADKILL (5:59)

5 – THE SILENCE OF OUR WAKE (10:47)

6 – THE SOUND OF DREAMS (2:21)

7 – SPINNING AWAY (6:06)

8 – TIRED (9:58)

9 – A WINTER’S NIGHT (4:38)

10 – THE LONGEST SIGH (7:57)

The band will start promotional media tour right away and live concerts after summer 2015.

LINE UP:

Luca Zabbini – keyboards, bass and backing vocals

Luca Pancaldi – Vocals

Eric Ombelli – Drums

Marco Mazzuoccolo – guitars

Special Guest: Vittorio De Scalzi (Vocals and flute on track #3 SKYLINE)

BAND SITE: www.barockproject.it

MANAGEMENT: www.starsofitaly.com

DISTRIBUTION: www.themerchdesk.com

BAND CONTACT (media/management): Claudio Cutrone claudio@starsofitaly.com

Biography

The Barock Project idea generates from a desire to deliver the finest and perfect structure of classical music (mainly baroque music) with a rock-style and a little bit of jazz harmony, supported by a pop framework with the intention to revamp the appeal of ’70s progressive-rock.

The project founder, pianist and composer Luca Zabbini, states that his passion for the music of famous keyboardist Keith Emerson (ELP), has fuelled his desire to compose and play a full range of styles, from classical to rock and jazz.

In the summer of 2004, Giambattista”GB” Giorgi, a young bassist influenced by rock sounds with big passion for jazz, and drummer Giacomo Calabria joined the band.

After a long European tour with “Children of the Damned” and Iron Maiden’s singer Paul Di’Anno, Luca Pancaldi joins the band as lead vocals in 2002.

In January 2007 the band performs live in Bologna (Italy) with a string quartet. All arrangements are written by Luca Zabbini and they release the performance as a DVD called “Rock in Theater”.

In December 2007, published by Musea Records, the first album “Misteriose Voci” makes a great impact with very good reviews and media coverage from all over the world (“Passion Progressive” France ; “Progressive World.net” USA ; “ProgNosis” USA ; “MovimentiProg” Italy ; “Raw and Wild Magazine” Italy ; “Manticornio” Mexico ; “Prog Nose” Belgium ; “PRPM” Brazil ; “ProgWereld” Netherlands …)

In the summer of 2009 the band releases the second album “Rebus” with the Italian label Mellow Records, again with very good reviews from all over the world.

In March 2012, published by French label Musea Records, the band releases the third album “Coffee In Neukölln”, with all lyrics in English.

In the summer 2014 the band welcomes on board two new members, Eric Ombelli (drums) and Marco Mazzuoccolo (guitar) and begins recording sessions for their 4th and most complex album. Towards the end of 2014 bass player Giambattista Giorgi leaves the project leaving Luca Zabbini to play and re-record the bass lines on the forthcoming album.

January 2015, Barock Project sign a management contract with Stars of Italy and immediately after announce their 4th album, Skyline.

The Band

Luca Zabbini (keyboards – bass – backing vocals) was born on 26 March 1984 in S.Giovanni in Persiceto, near Bologna, and lives in Crevalcore. His father Onelio is a flautist and saxophonist and his grandfather and uncle were both professional musicians.   Therefore, Luca was surrounded by music from his early days, listening to his father and grandfather while composing. In 1990 Luca took his first piano lessons and the first steps in improvisation, listening to jazz and rock from father’s vinyl. One of those recordings was by Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Luca was soon fascinated by ELP music and started playing Keith Emerson’s parts on the keyboard. In 1995 he had his first band called Fattore Comune, a disco-funky cover band.

In 1996 Luca founded the K2 band, with bassist Giambattista Giorgi (GB ) and guitarist Luca Comellini. This band played progressive rock covers such as ELP’s cover Tarkus, Pictures At An Exhibition, Hoedown, etc.   In 1997 Luca joined the “O.Vecchi” Musical Institute as pianist and composer.

Luca has written a great amount of compositions, from jazz to rock and classical, like Guadiana (a suite for two pianos and two cellos) and soon he will finish writing a concerto for piano and orchestra. In 2004 he became the keyboardist of Jesus Christ Superstar musical’s company in several theatres. His favourite classic composers are B.Bartòk, S.Prokofev , S.Rachmaninoff , A.Ginastera but mainly J.S.Bach and in 2006 he composed a concert for piano and orchestra.

After playing in several cover bands, in 2003 his dream came true when founded Barock Project, with the intent to spread the classical atmospheres mixed with the power of rock.   Visit his official site http://www.lucazabbini.com

Luca Pancaldi (lead vocal) was born on December 20th 1981 in Bologna. At the age of 13 he started playing bass because of his love for rock and heavy metal. He sang and played bass in several bands since 1996 and in 1999 joined Icon of Hyemes (a metal band), who published 2 mini cds and played concerts around Italy and other countries. Since 2001 he has been the singer in Children of the Damned (Iron Maiden’s Tribute Band) and in 2002 this band became Paul D’Ianno’s band (first historical Iron Maiden’s singer).

Paul D’Ianno and C.O.T.D. toured intensively all over Europe and he gained experience as a frontman. In 2005 he joined Barock Project as lead singer, leaving his backing vocals job at Paul D’Ianno and C.O.T.D.

Eric Ombelli (drums) was born on 15th May 1989 in Modena. Aged 8 he started playing guitar under several teachers and continued after to be self-taught. After ten years he decided to study drums, the instrument he loved as a kid. Under the guidance of Diego Crivellaro in 2007 and since 2011 with Paolo Caridi at Modern Music Institute in Modena, he practices rock style and especially progressive rock. His roots are in classic rock bands like The Who , Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple , although he likes to play in several styles, from funky to Latin and metal.

Eric has been the drummer of Barock Project since February 2012.

Marco Mazzuoccolo (guitar) was born on 14th September 1989 in Carpi, near Modena. In 2003, he fell in love with music after hearing Smoke on the Water riff played by his uncle.

At the beginning he was self-taught and concentrated mainly on the technical side of the instrument.

In 2006 he began attending guitar lessons with Khaled Abbas, who gave rise to his interest in harmony and improvised music. In the summer of 2008, he won a contest called “Bande Sonore” with a Prog-Metal cover band.

In the autumn of the same year, he enrolled in a Jazz course, at the G. Frescobaldi Conservatory in Ferrara, and at Modern Music Institute.

In February 2011 he got the Master qualification at Modern Music Institute with excellent marks, and in September of the same year he joined the teaching staff of the same school.

He has been the guitarist of Barock Project since February 2012.

The Barock Project music show perfectly suits theatre style venues and festivals.

June 1st Can’t Get Here Soon Enough…

Originally posted on The (n)EVERLAND of PROG:

…because there’s never enough BIG BIG TRAIN.

Greg, Andy, David and the gang will be releasing an EP on June 1st (mine is already pre-ordered on Amazon.com [sigh…I don’t like amazon, but it’s easy and I’m lazy].  The EP is titled WASSAIL.

The disc will feature a live bonus track (live is GREAT) but the real treat is NEW MUSIC: three brand new tunes for all of us ‘jones’n’ for our fix of the best band in prog!

Big Big Train are Andy Poole, Danny Manners, David Longdon, Rikard Sjoblom, Nick D’Virgilio, Dave Gregory, Rachel Hall and Greg Spawton

The track list is:

  1. Wassail
  2. Lost Rivers Of London
  3. Mudlarks
  4. Master James Of St George

As I listen to the youtube video of Wassail, I am salivating for not just the EP release but for BBT’s next full length magnum opus. They are somewhat like an English version of Clannad…

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Isurus – Logocharya – Album Review

Originally posted on The Blog of Much Metal:

Isurus cover

Artist: Isurus

Album Title: Logocharya

Label: Independent Release

Year Of Release: 2015

One of the biggest buzzes I get through writing this blog and writing about music in general is from the discovery of new music. I’m not one to sit still and rest on my laurels; I’m always on the look-out for the next band or artist to impress me and offer another fresh and exciting listening experience. The fact that I get bands coming to me on a daily basis asking for me to take a listen to this or that, is a bonus that I welcome. Some of it is not to my taste at all or is not of a great standard but occasionally, just occasionally, one artist will rise out of the flood of mediocrity and make a big impact upon me. One such band is Isurus.

Isurus are a London-based band that has been…

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