“Ambition leads me not only farther than any other man has been before me, but as far as I think it possible for man to go.JAMES COOK


This adventurer and explorer certainly lived up to his words back in the 18th century when he set out on three voyages to the uncharted Pacific regions of the planet to initially record the 1769 transit of Venus across the Sun for scientific research onboard the HMS Bark Endeavour. The sheer excitement of his voyages across thousands of miles around this region captured our imagination in school classes at a young age, as we recalled the man and his crew, not forgetting his wonderful sailing ship that literally, put us on the map down here in New Zealand. It is a name very familiar to all of us, and yet is but a sheer glimpse to the life of a man who even outlived all of his six children to Elizabeth Cook.
But that is his greatness and his doom that we mostly measure and recall. The sum total of who he was and what he did beyond the decks of the Endeavour show us more of the man and those arouncookd him, and to that mind, both Frederick McKinnon and Tim Hunter have created and produced a three volume recording around a play they’ve written on this amazing explorer titled: “JOURNEYS: CAPTAIN JAMES COOK.” 2018 is an auspicious time to release these as they mark the 250th year of Cook setting out to the Pacific realms and of course the 239th anniversary of his fatal demise in Hawaii, 14th February, 1779 over a stolen cutter.
But we’re ahead of ourselves. This is a mammoth task both Frederick and Tim have set for themselves, and make good use of the 3 volumed digital release to start off with Cook at 17 standing on a cliff overlooking Whitby Harbour in North Yorkshire contemplating a life at sea. The first volume covers the highlights of the arc of his life, including service in Canada with the British Navy and his relationship with his wife, Elizabeth, and following sojourns to the South Pacific.  The other two volumes go deeper into some of his seaward adventures and also a change in perspective of those in Cook’s orbit who share their own feelings about him.
As said, it is a full length musical play with music composed by Tim Hunter, and lyrics tim cook 5and dialogue penned by New York playwright Frederick McKinnon. At the time of writing Tim reported, “I’ve been interested for a while of working on a musical project about James Cook, I was particularly fascinated in Cook’s connections with East London, where I lived for a while.” He went on to add, “I joined forces with Fred, who was a fellow Cook enthusiast, and we’ve been working on the project for about a year now.”
tim cook 4Prog artist and fan, Tim not only plays the part of Captain James Cook he also provides guitar and keyboards throughout. Cook is a subject dear to his heart.  “We’re very proud, in North Yorkshire, of James Cook, who spent the early years of his life here. Cook rose from humble origins to become one of the world’s greatest explorers. On his three great Pacific voyages, he re-drew the map of the world and paved the way for the peoples of Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia, French Polynesia and British Columbia to no longer live in global isolation.” The albums were released under his label Northern Soundscapes. Tim is also a member of Anglo-French group, ‘Silver Hunter’ who play Marillion-style Prog. He also aired the popular ‘ProgYes’ Radio show on Phoenix FM for two and a half years.
One of the interesting and memorable tracks from these albums is “Let Peace Prevail (In New Zealand)” which Tim sings as a relieved Captain Cook who has found a viable connection with the indigenous Maori and hopefully building a continued relationship between the two countries of Britain and New Zealand. Cook would be please to see this bonding has lasted all these centuries.

London-based actress and singer, Sarah Lipman was cast as Elizabeth Cook and provides cook 3through her vocals a pivotal insight into her relationship with James. Two of the tracks from the first album focus on her coping without her husband and raising their family.

So Long Gone: While James Cook is still away at sea, Elizabeth returns home after burying their baby daughter and reveals her emotions concerning her husband, who has been gone for two years and eight months.

I Am the Man I Have to Be“: Despite Elizabeth’s misgivings, James is about to leave on what would be his last great adventure. He and his wife sing a duet sharing their intimate, but sometime conflicting, feelings. 

Phil Smith as Lt. James Burney, and Phil Dean as William Hartwig complete the cast. Tim also included in these production a whole raft of sound effects to capture the times and environment of a sea-going voyage and ambience of a play setting for your enjoyment.
‘Journeys: Captain James Cook is not only a historical labour of love for both Tim and Frederick towards the legacy of one of our most treasured explorers, it’s also their homage to the ever so humble concept album merging both play and Prog for your enjoyment. Cook once said, “The man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd…” so here’s your chance to ride the waves of the Pacific Ocean with Cook and his crew who did turn his back to the crowd and sailed into eternity.
HM Endeavour
Check out a video of the first act: scene 1


tim cook 6


You can contact Tim for more information on his Facebook page at:


Here’s to 2018 and a year of more PROG!

Image result for Yes 50th year


As one of the contributing writers here at Progarchy I look forward to what this year brings with new and exciting Prog. We have the 50th Anniversary celebrations of Yes and their music which us Yesfans are excited about. This will be Prog’s year to celebrate and enjoy all the music expected. Look forward to your comments on each article.

And let your Prog friends know about us! Happy New Year!

“Behold Isildur’s Bane!”

Image result for Behold Isildur's Bane lord of the rings

Of course Elrond was talking about the one ring, but equally so, he could have been recommending the band with almost the same name’s (give or take an apostrophe) new album titled, “Off the Radar.” If you’re not familiar with this Swedish group then you’re in for a very pleasant surprise. Pigeon-hole Isildurs Bane at your peril.

Image result for off the radar

There are so many layers to this to ponder on and encompass; so many ‘Colours Not Found In Nature’ as was aptly titled from their previous album with Steve Hogarth onboard.  Each track deserved of your attention with so many talented musicians finding their place within to infuse a delicious pattern of sound joined or blended, but never dulled or confusing, even though sometimes you feel there is madness to their avant garde method, no borders left unturned, they have created an orchestral fusion of shifting melody which works wonderfully.

It all depends which direction you follow, and you’d be hard pressed finding a chorus on any of the six listings including a live bonus classically inspired track titled ‘Uvertyr / Open (Live 2016)’ at the end, but that is the beauty and charm of this band who are now well into their 41st year of “changes in personnel, straying far from their symphonic rock origins to become a rock-based chamber ensemble.” Or so they represent themselves claiming their very own niche in Prog along paths the likes of Frank Zappa or perhaps a jazz-inspired Gong have walked. It’s a sound they’ve reinforced over the years, and I have to admit I’ve only heard a couple of their albums in the past including the ever haunting ‘The Voyage – A Trip to Elsewhere’ released in 1992. just listen to the oh so brief ninth track ‘Picassiette – Third Walk’ and you’ll know where I’m coming from.

So here is a run down of the ensemble for this new album: Continue reading ““Behold Isildur’s Bane!””

‘EY UP! WINTER’S COMING! Fair Starved and champion.


Apart from the blatantly stereotypical header above, ‘Game Of Thrones’ isn’t the only strong namedropping connection to Yorkshire at the moment. Hailing from what was once dubbed the County of York, a new Prog band calling themselves THIS WINTER MACHINE has emerged in an area starved of such bands. When asked what the Prog scene was like locally, vocalist, AL WYNTER replied, “The short answer is that there isn’t really one. There are a couple of bands, and an organisation that puts on gigs but there is no scene to speak of. No dedicated venues or prog nights anywhere and its hard to get decent gigs playing original material.” That hasn’t at all deterred the band from playing and recording what was their debut album now with F2 Records titled ‘THE MAN WHO NEVER WAS.’


Track listings

1. The Man Who Never Was (16:05) :
– a) Asleep
– b) Dreaming
– c) Snow
– d) Awake
2. The Wheel (9:28)
3. Lullaby (Interrupted) (4:53)
4. After Tomorrow Comes (7:58)
5. Fractured (10:26)

Total Time 48:50

There were a couple of lineup changes but for the sake of this album released in January 2017 we’ll go with Al Wynter (Vocals), Marcus Murray (drums), Mark Numan (keyboards and backing vocals), Gary Jevon (guitars), and Peter Priestley (Bass). I asked Al how the band got together.  “Well I put an ad out,” he explains, “and Marcus and Mark, and a different bassist came and jammed and we got on okay. After a couple of rehearsals it was clear the bassist wouldn’t be able to commit and put in the required time so Pete, who I’ve known for many years, offered to step in. Then Jevo came on board and the album was written and recorded in a matter of weeks. We started writing from the first rehearsal. When Jevo left we advertised and Graham was a friend of Marks (keys player) and joined. Then Pete had the idea of having 2 guitarists so Scott came through the auditions and joined. And now here we are.


When asked about the origins of the band’s name, the vocalist acknowledges, “My surname is a play on the band name. The idea of a Winter Machine came from a daydream I had where an old style horse and plough pulled a Victorian kinda machine through a field changing the land from Autumn to Winter.” He went further into some of the song selections on this album and I asked him how personal the lyrics were on such tracks as, ‘After Tomorrow Comes’ and Fractured’ and especially ‘The Man Who Never Was’ (“Watching the seasons unfold from a safe place I know. A design never ending. Covering all of my thoughts in a blanket of snow That is gone by the morning“). Was it at all biographical in any way?  “I’m usually telling a story in character,” Al added.  “The songs are partly autobiographical to a degree I suppose, but its not really about me. I observe things then write about it. But I don’t like to explain my lyrics in detail, I think its better that people take from them what they want. All I will say is that it all means something, at least to me. I try not to use too many throwaway lines.”  Al followed this up with: ” This Winter Machine existed before my stage name, Al Winter, and all tracks are group written to varying degrees. For instance ‘After Tomorrow Comes’ was almost complete and brought to the band by Mark. ‘The Man Who Never Was’ is a song I’d had for almost 10 years, but we all put our own stamp on them. They’re definitely group efforts. But on the new album we’re writing now pretty much everything is co written from the ground up. ”

The artwork on the album sleeve is very interesting to. Not sure if anyone else has noticed but the British have this deep fascination with telephone boxes! “The telephone box for me represents a vanishing British tradition,” Al explains. “It’s an iconic image that many associate with the UK but actually red telephone boxes are very rare and more likely to be seen in country villages. Also I liked the juxtaposition of the old and the 20th century. Those were my reason for including it in the art.”  Every picture tells a story, and there is definitely one in there with the fox and hooded person, and the owl and the gears…

On a sadder note, Al advised me the artist for this album, Sandor Kwiatkowski passed away last month in Switzerland. If you listen to Clepsydra you’ll know his work on their album covers. Sandor also did the amazing art posters for the Night of the Prog Festival recently.



Early days yet but I did ask the Yorkshire vocalist how he felt things were tracking for the band. “We have a good and supportive label,” he reflected. “… not to mention building a solid and dedicated fan base. It would be nice to be moving faster but things are going in all the right directions so its hard to complain. What I think we need is a dedicated manager. A modern day Peter Grant to get us to that next level! But I think we have done okay for a band only together a year or so. Any ideas would be appreciated!




  Al started his vocal career at a very young age sing in bands when he was just 15. “It was standard heavy rock of the day, kind of in the vein of Ozzy or Ratt or Van Halen. Very 80s haha..!” He went on to say into his relation with Prog, “I was at a friend’s house in my early teens and we were looking through his brothers albums and I liked the look of the sleeve for Rush – ‘Permanent Waves.’ So I looked at the lyrics and decided ‘Jacobs Ladder’ looked like a short song (only a couple of verses, what did I know!) and put it on the turntable and it blew me away. I’d never heard anything even remotely like that. From then on I was a fan, and to this day they’re still my favourite band.

This included bands bands like Marillion and I asked him if it was it mainly listening to Geddy Lee and Fish that drew him into wanting to sing vocals?

Not so much, no, although they have been an influence (especially Fish and Peart) on my lyrics,” Al points out. “I sang from an early age, and got involved with musical theatre. I’ve always listened to a wide range of singers. Ozzy was great for a while, and the great rock singers like Gillan and Rodgers and Dio definitely made me sit up and listen. But I’d say people like Hogarth or Gabriel have also inspired me, along with a lot of soul singers from the 60’s and 70’s and even some folk vocalists. If its good, I will try to take something from it. However, I think its important to try to sound like yourself. Too many desperate copyists about, in Rock and Prog in general.” And that’s one of the reasons I’m not going to take the liberty and compare this band to any other. I listened to the album a couple of time today through the speakers, up loud, and it rocks! The title four-part song ”The Man Who Never Was‘ has a good lead in with a piano playing in a room filled with folk that segues into a short instrumental, building with ominous tones, and opens up into an epic long track filled with vocals and a story worth listening to. Al’s got a voice made for Metal or Melodic Rock if he wishes to, but he’s doing just fine in Prog. I like his tones. Not hard, but not soft either.  The second track, ‘The Wheel‘ opens up some mice bass work and with the drumming heralds some cruisey lead guitar which then moves into top gear with more melodic licks. it’s a track that builds on itself. ‘Lullaby‘ showcases more standout guitar rips. A favourite track of mine is ‘After Tomorrow Comes‘ which has radio play written all over it. The weaving of piano with vocal and interplay of guitar and other keys with drum bass emphasizes a beautiful power ballad type song with a touch of Yorkshire muscle behind it.  The song also has a memorable chorus that hangs around long after the track has finished. The last track bookends a song longer than 10 minutes which starts off with a staccato melody on guitar and then a quick burst of synth that would even have Rick Wakeman tapping his toes to. This is ‘Fractured‘ and it’s a good song to end with. It starts quickly then softens but doesn’t take long to pick up speed and take you to the end. A song of many colours. I was expecting a somewhat bleak and darkened collection of tracks but nothing could be further from the truth. If the movie ‘Labyrinth’  needed a heavier soundtrack then this one would fit the bill perfectly. Hearing this makes you want to see the band perform these songs live. Al promises they ae looking into a video following a live performance. As to what’s next… “Our next concert is in Wakefield on 16th of September. After that we have gigs with bands like German proggers Crystal Palace in October and with rock legends Magnum in November. Then next year we have some dates with Martin Barre from Jethro Tull. We also have some great things to announce in the near future.”   

    This Winter Machine isn’t letting the dust settle though. “We are working on the follow up album,” Al reflects. “Which has the title of ‘A Tower Of Clocks.’ It’s a full blown concept album and much more dense and diverse than the debut. That’s coming on well and we are optimistic we can release it this year. I know our label would approve of that ha,ha…!”

    Al advises you can buy their album at the usual online places such as Google Play, Amazon, iTunes etc

Or buy a hardcopy CD from http://www.progrock.co.uk/this-winter-machine-the-man-who-never-was-c2x23489539

Join Team Machine at www.facebook.com/thiswintermachine

Their website is www.thiswintermachine.com and check out their YouTube channel. Just search the band name.




“Every name is real. That’s the nature of names.”                                                                                                         Jerry Spinelli,

Name your favourite bands of all time. Mine would be Yes, The Beatles, Big Big Train, Pink Floyd, Prefab Sprout, Genesis… and the list goes on. Those few are just off the top of my head and always at the tip of my tongue. Not only do the names of these bands conjure up what their respective music does for me as far as enjoyment and even enlightenment goes, it also enables us if connected to convey mood within the musical genre we follow. By that I mean these names help shape thought around their successes as bands. For someone who likes “Yes,” just being up the simple name in conversation to someone you know also loves the band and the sound of that syllable will transport that person’s thoughts and feeling back to a time where the music was so intrinsically and emotionally tied to them. Words have power. Names have symbolic baggage (in a good way and place) we carry around for the rest of our lives, and in the age we live in, just as in any other age, symbols and icons are everything. In music we can express such names in logos, and the visual impact can not be underestimated. It further binds us to the name.

Now what does such mad mutterings have to do with anything? Well, I’m glad you asked because right now there is a new Prog band who has relinquished their right to create a band name themselves, and have gladly offered such an important task to Prog fans on social media. They have a working name at the moment but with four or more other bands using the same name they now think it is the right time to go with a brand-spanking new name that will be there’s to own and use as they see fit. The challenge will be for members on the very popular Prog Magazine Readers page on Facebook to come up with the name the band agrees will suit their musical personae.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so although this is a bit of fun, it’s no laughing matter for the band. This will be the name they will rap (hopefully not rap in the literal sense) around their whole group existence, and dare I say it, make a name for themselves. So no pressure.

 Who are they?

 I asked Keys and Programming wiz, Dave Hilborne that very question. They formed purely by chance in an internet gaming chat room. Initially these musicians started talking (over three continents) and they haven’t looked back since! “Collaborations are achieved via file sharing. No member has any real idea what the other will bring to a particular project. This makes the writing process incredibly exciting and the dynamic of songs are shifting constantly!

 We are :


  Dave Hilborne – Keys/Vox/Programming (I started writing music in 1987 after I got my first acoustic guitar. Songs flowed fairly easily for me, but I soon found I was better suited to the piano. Over the years I recorded and gigged, gradually developing my own style. I formed a few bands and even managed to release a vinyl single at one point. My most ambitious project was an opera based on the short story ‘Masque of the Red Death’ by Poe. I love musical challenges, so a high point for me was performing a solo 14 minute song I wrote called ‘Box Man.’ In 2017 I was fortunate to meet Dave Fick and Alessio Proietti. We clicked as musicians and arguably more importantly as people. I look forward to our future projects together).    



    Alessio Proietti – Guitars/Vox(I learned to play the guitar at the age of 14, in 2004 I decided to form my first band called Raccoon Balls (Punk/Rock/Alternative). We did many gigs around Italy for about 6 years then we released an album. In the past years I have had many projects and collaborations. Recently I got involved in this brand new Alternative/Ambient/Progressive. We come from different backgrounds of music, but we have so many ideas to bring to the table as shown on our first single ‘Continuum’).

 bass player


Dave Fick – Bass (Born July 30th 1980. I got my first Bass Christmas of 1993. I was 13. I’ve played in many different bands with many different genres of music. We got hooked up through a mutual friend, Lord Rage, and are doing something quite different from what I’m used to. I love a good challenge and we hope to bring you some great tunes).


Recently we were delighted to welcome Charlie Bramald Flute/Vox to our project.


We are an Ambient/Progressive Rock band taking their cues from many different influences. Our aim is to constantly surprise and to challenge, whilst staying melodic and above all memorable. The aim of the band is to produce what we like to call “Immediate Prog” This is possibly one of the trickiest things to get right in Progressive Rock, but we are always up for a challenge! Atmosphere and melody are two guiding principles that we have in the band. If there’s a future goal,then right now its to produce a full album and then? Well who knows. Prog is forever shifting and so are we!”

So this contest of sorts starts right now.


It really is in the hands of those who decide to put forward their original recommendations to giving this band a name. This is exclusive only to Facebook page members on PROG MAGAZINE READERS (see link to join below).  Sometimes you can come up with more than one good name so members will have up to five of their nominations allowed.  Just look for the post “NAME THAT PROG BAND!” and add your choices.

The contest starts today and will run two weeks where upon the band will select ten of their favourites for the final selection to choose one which will announce the following week. The band has indicated they will

There’s even an incentive provided by the band.

An exclusive signed copy of the CD, including work in progress demo’s of the tracks. A personal thank you written by each member of the band. Access to the band’s private chat server. Plus a video call with one or more band members.

I would also add there is also on offer “bragging rights” to actually giving a band its name. How often does that opportunity come about?

So in a nutshell you can enter this challenge by joining the Prog Magazine Reader page and find the thread NAME THAT PROG BAND and send through up to five posts with one original name you came up with for the chance of give the band a name. Good luck!

Join Prog Magazine Readers Page

Band Facebook page  Continuum

“Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.” PATRICK ROTHFUSS


album cover

“I realised a long time ago that instrumental music speaks a lot more clearly than English, Spanish, Yiddish, Swahili, any other language. Pure melody goes outside time.”

Carlos Santana

Here we are, 2017 and have to admit it’s been a long time since I last heard a new Prog instrumental album. You almost fell over them back in the 70’s. They were everywhere. You had the likes of Camel’s ‘Snow Goose‘ rubbing shoulders with Mike Oldfield’s ‘Tubular Bells‘ selling over 16 million albums, thank you very much. In some ways this was rocking up Symphonic Music and then some.  Tangerine Dream were up for it and put out many an acid tripping the keyboard fantastic LP, and of course Vangelis was no slouch with his unique blending of electronic sounds on such albums such as ‘Albedo 0.39′  and ‘Opéra sauvage’ which also included Jon Anderson on harp.

Fast-forward thirty-five years or so and a handful of artists and bands are recording and releasing the odd instrumental album or three. You only have to look at Pink Floyd’s mostly instrumental 2014 album,  ‘Rattle That Lock‘ to see the interest is still there. Something Canadian multi-instrumentalist (keyboards/bass/guitar) , Art Griffin is well aware of as demonstrated by his new album recently released, ‘Visions From The Present.’ The band is known as Art Griffin’s Sound Chaser and includes some of Canada’s finest musicians such as the drummer from Saga, Steve Negus, with Victoria Yeh  on electric violin (amazing performances on this album) only equaled by Kelly Kereliuk‘s guitar work.  That’s not to say Art is far behind. Is he what? If his mind-blowing keyboard solos are anything to go by, he’s charging ahead encouraging the others to keep up!Having the likes of well respected Ken Baird throwing down the occasional keyboard solo makes it an extra bit special moment to listen to.