Are We Headed Into a Prog Recession?

Has anybody else noticed the relative quiet in the progressive rock world lately? I can’t just be me. Sure, Spock’s Beard has a new album coming out soon (and it is good – I’ve heard an advance review copy), but it seems like all the “big” names are taking it easy. Of course, Mike Portnoy is currently touring with Sons of Apollo as they play their brilliant debut album, so that explains the lack of newer material from his other bands. Even Muse has been quiet lately, although they claim they’re going to record some new music this year. That still leaves me wondering what the heck has happened to Moon Safari, Mystery, or even little known band Persona Grata, whose 2013 album “Reaching Places High Above Me” was fantastic.

Where is everyone? Am I selfishly shouting to an empty room?! ENTERTAIN ME!!! Ok, I’m exaggerating a lot. I know most of these people have full-time jobs and family commitments that keep them from pursuing what they love, but I still see a bit of a genre-wide drought from the more prominent names thus far in 2018.

Maybe I’m just spoiled from the last several years of nonstop top-tier progressive rock, and I shouldn’t expect that level of quality and quantity to continue. I know some of the older names are still cranking out albums, such as the Strawbs (who neglected to send us a review copy. Tsk Tsk), but where are The Flower Kings, Transatlantic, Flying Colors (yes, I know I already acknowledged Portnoy’s tour duties, but FC started working on a new album a year ago and we haven’t heard anything since then), Ian Anderson, or even the Anderson, Rabin, and Wakeman “Yes” studio stuff we were promised?

Apart from Colin Tench Project’s “minor Masterpiece” from December, which blew my socks off (and saddened me greatly with Colin’s passing), the only other album that has grabbed me this year is the fantastic “Of Course It Must Be” from Progarchy’s very own duo, Birzer Bandana. With excellent lyrics, interesting melodies, and haunting violins, I’ve really come to enjoy this album. Ok, Steve Hackett’s live album was brilliant, but his live stuff is always amazing. Plus, it wasn’t new material, so it doesn’t count.

So are we headed into a prog recession? Are we already in a long-overdue correction? Have I missed something frighteningly obvious while I’ve been hiding behind my piles of books, computer screens, papers, and tears in graduate school?! What do you think? Let me know in the comments.



PS: You know, all my bellyaching could be soothed if a couple of Canadians would slip some ibuprofen into a certain drummer’s drink. Too far? Ya, probably too far.


15 thoughts on “Are We Headed Into a Prog Recession?

  1. Allen Ellsworth

    There is always Progressive Metal to look at. Even if you just look at the history of Progressive Metal. Bands like Dream Theater have long back catalogs to check out.

    Metal isn’t for everyone but there has to be something that Prog Rock fans would like. There is the harder stuff but then there are things like Dream Theater with clean vocals and the Metalized prog sound. If you would need recommendations I could probably provide some.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bryan Morey

      Thanks, Allen. I’m a big metal fan. I decided not to chuck rocks at DT because they’ve been on a huge tour and have said they have a new album in the early planning phases. I saw them back in November, and they were great.

      Interestingly, I’ve gotten into some unknown prog metal bands through writing reviews for the Dutch Progressive Rock Page, but I’ve neglected checking out bands like Fates Warning, most of Symphony X’s discography, and Threshold. I’m a big Vanden Plas fan, though. I hope they come out with a new album soon. They really deserve a lot more attention than they’ve received in the US. I think they’re better than DT in some regards.


      1. Allen Ellsworth

        Twilight In Olympus is a great Symphony X album probably my favorite. Definitely get to Fates Warning very good stuff. Queensryche as well which I am sure you know.

        Triosphere is another band I have been told to check out. Haven’t gotten around to it yet.

        Haven’t heard much Vanden Plas but I will check it out.

        I love unknown music the more obscure the better. It still has to sound good though obviously.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Stuart Dickson

    Lots of touring. Steven Wilson now starting in US after awesome Europe tour. Ian Anderson ? Just saw Jethro Tull last week (his voice is gone unfortunately). Transatlantic? Pete T currently touring with Marillion (saw them last week as well). Arena just starting tour of 20th anniversary of The Visitor.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I cannot say I’ve noticed a drought but then again most prog rock bands take their time to churn out an album unless you’re somebody like Neil Morse and Roine Stolt who always tend to be doing something in one project or another.

    I know Stolt is working on another new project and the 2nd box set A Kingdom Of Colours 2 is set to be released in June by The Flower Kings. He did also say he was having a 5 year break from The Flower Kings though it does seem a bit funny how he’s decided to release the whole discography of The Flower Kings in 2 box sets. So maybe he’s decided to call it a day with the band.

    Haken have a new live album scheduled to be released in June and they are also working on a new album that will hopefully get released this year if not in 2019. Rob Reed yesterday released Sanctuary 3. A lot of goodies from the more darker distant days of the 70’s tends to get reissued and recycled as well. My pre-order list of stuff is ticking over quite nicely and I am glad it’s not too busy or I will need to sell a kidney :))))))).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. LOL. LOVED your LAST paragraph there Bryan!!! (and I AGREE ENTIRELY!!! C’MON RUSH………SURPRISE the HELL out of EVERYONE later this year,by playing a few shows here and there!!! 😉 )

    But Yeah………..My comment was going to be…………that I DO BELIEVE Prog. IS taking a little bit of a break now,cuz after Rush said “That’s it folks,we’re DONE!!! ” ………….the REST of the prog-world said “CHRIST………….FINALLY………………a MUCH NEEDED BREAK from keeping up with these Guys all these years!!! ” LOL.

    Seriously though………….RUSH has definitely EARNED their retirement and as MUCH as I’d LOVE to see a comeback from them…………..Honestly? They retired at JUST the RIGHT TIME!!! While still on TOP and leaving on a WONDERFUL MEMORY for EVERYONE!!! That’s how it should ALWAYS be for prog-bands to “Exit Stage Left……………” ~Peace~

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bryan Morey

      I’m okay with them not touring because, as you say, they deserve their retirement. I would love a new album, though. Maybe they’re better off ending on the extremely high note of Clockwork Angels. It is hard to believe it has been 6 years since that was released.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. JR

    Bryan, IF there is a correction of sorts, maybe, just maybe, it will be a good thing. After the last few years of release after great release, I find I still need time to properly digest everything I have purchased. Plus, if you add the cool non-prog stuff that keeps slipping into reviews (VLMV, Lo Moon, etc.), I just don’t have full appreciation yet for it all.
    Also, let’s not have have our faves releasing sub-par efforts just to placate us, the ever-demanding public. I’d rather have them work on it, refine it, refine it some more until they feel it’s ready…we’ll have to trust them on that!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bryan Morey

      Well said, JR. Quality over quantity. I’m just so used to getting SO much of both over the last few years that 2018 seems relatively quiet. I have found myself listening to some older albums that I never got around to listening to over the last couple years.


  6. Thank you for liking the album. It’s nice that someone has taken an interest. No one was interested in reviewing it apart from Richard on Progarchy who liked it and Kev Rowland on prog archives who didn’t. I sent it to loads of others but they didn’t deem it necessary to critique. Forgive me if you did one for dprp but I haven’t looked on there for ages.
    It will be on iTunes google play amazon etc very soon and Spotify as well.
    Thanks again for mentioning it.

    Liked by 1 person


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