Here are the reissues and live albums from 2019 that grabbed me on first listen, then compelled repeated plays. I’m not gonna rank them except for my Top Favorite status, which I’ll save for the very end. Links to previous reviews or purchase sites are embedded in the album titles. But first, a graphic tease …
Here are the albums of new music from 2019 that grabbed me on first listen, then compelled repeated plays. I’m not gonna rank them except for my Top Favorite status, which I’ll save for the very end. The others are listed alphabetically by artist. (Old school style, that is — last names first where necessary!) Links to previous reviews or purchase sites are embedded in the album titles. But first, a graphic tease …
Steve Hackett, Live at 20 Monroe Live, Grand Rapids, MI, October 3, 2019
Band: Steve Hackett, Nad Sylvan, Craig Blundell, Jonas Reingold, Rob Townsend, Roger King
Under the Eye of the Sun
Fallen Walls and Pedestals
Beasts in Our Time
The Virgin and the Gypsy
The Red Flower of Tachai Blooms Everywhere
Clocks – The Angel of Mons
Dancing With the Moonlit Knight
I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)
Firth of Fifth
More Fool Me
The Battle of Epping Forest
After the Ordeal
The Cinema Show
Aisle of Plenty
Dance on a Volcano
I had been looking forward to this concert ever since I bought tickets at the beginning of the year. I had never seen Steve Hackett live, but it had been at the top of my bucket list for a while. He’s my favorite guitarist, and I’ve loved all of the recent Genesis Revisited live albums. I consider Selling England By the Pound to be one of the finest albums ever made, so I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to see Mr. Hackett and company perform it live. They didn’t disappoint.
During the first half of the show, the band played highlights from Hackett’s 1979 solo album Spectral Mornings and this year’s At the Edge of Light. The whole set was very strong, but I particularly enjoyed Craig Blundell’s drum solo. Some drum solos can be a little boring, but not this one. Very engaging, interesting, and complex. The opening “Every Day” really highlighted the light and airy style of Hackett’s solo music, while “Beasts In Our Time” showed how heavy his music can be. Jonas Reingold’s bass was exceptional all night, but the bass line on “Under the Eye of the Sun” really allowed his talent to shine.
What new music, live albums, reissues (regular, deluxe or super-deluxe) and tours are heading our way between now and All Hallows Eve? Check out the exhaustive (and potentially exhausting) sampling of promised progressive goodies — along with other personal priorities — below. Click on the titles for pre-order links — whenever possible, you’ll wind up at the online store that gets as much money as possible directly to the musicians.
- Dave Kerzner, Static Live Extended Edition: recorded at the 2017 Progstock festival. Kerzner’s complete Static album in concert, plus selected live highlights & new studio tracks. Pre-orders ship in late August.
- August 30:
- Sons of Apollo, Live with the Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony: recorded at Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s Roman amphitheatre (the site of previous live efforts from Anathema and Devin Townsend). Available in Blu-Ray, 3 CD + Blu-Ray, and 3 CD + DVD + Blu Ray versions.
- Tool, Fear Inoculum: Tool’s first album in 13 years. Available via digital download, as well as “a deluxe, limited-edition CD version (which) features a 4” HD rechargeable screen with exclusive video footage, charging cable, 2 watt speaker, a 36-page booklet and a digital download card.” Really.
Nad Sylvan, The Regal Bastard, InsideOut Music, 2019
Tracks: 1. I Am The Sea (7:49), 2. Oahu (4:19), 3. Whoa (Always Been Without You) (7:22), 4. Meet Your Maker (6:36), 5. The Regal Bastard (12:22), 6. Leave Me On These Waters (5:49), 7. Honey I’m Home (3:02)
Bonus Tracks: 8. Diva Time (4:52), 9. The Lake Isle of Innisfree (3:43)
On July 5, the mighty Nad Sylvan releases the third in his trilogy of Vampirate themed albums, following 2015’s Courting the Widow and 2017’s The Bride Said No. The Regal Bastard finds the Swedish artist subtly transforming his sound for a third time. Across all three albums, his sound has developed and matured while remaining distinctly Nad Sylvan. Nobody else makes music quite like this. He honors the tradition of progressive rock (can a tradition be progressive?) musically and lyrically. The music is complex without being overly technical, and it shifts in style enough to keep the album incredibly interesting on repeated listens. In fact, it is layered in such a way that the listener discovers more with each listen.
Some have commented that some of the songs take a bit more of a pop approach, and if that’s true, then it is in the vein of Steven Wilson’s definition of pop, not whatever trash is currently sitting atop the American top 40 charts. This music is tasteful. And it is still 100% prog.
It is hard to nail down particular stand-out tracks because every song is fantastic. “Whoa,” “Meet Your Maker,” and the bonus “Diva Time” are my personal favorites, but the longer “The Regal Bastard” is also a very compelling progressive piece. You can’t go wrong anywhere on this album. His guest artists, which include the likes of Steve Hackett, Guthrie Govan, Nick D’Virgilio, Tony Levin, and many other talented folks, interpret Nad’s music faithfully while adding their own touch. Jade Ell, Sheona Urquhart, and Tania Doko return on backing vocals – their voices have helped add depth to Nad’s music in the past, and it is great to hear them return.
2019 has been an especially strong year for prog so far, and even in that environment, Nad Sylvan’s The Regal Bastard stands out. His music is unique and powerful. This is not an album to be missed.
This past Friday, June 28, 2019, I had the wonderful opportunity to talk with Nad via Skype about the album, his writing process, singing for Steve Hackett, and other related topics. I screen-captured the whole interview, but even the compressed video file is too big for WordPress’ liking. You can still listen to the audio or read the transcript, which has been very lightly edited for readability, although it is wholly uncensored.
Progarchy wishes a huge happy birthday to the world’s greatest guitarist – Mr. Steve Hackett! Thanks for all the music over the years, and we hope you continue your current creative explosion for years to come.
Be sure to pick up Steve’s latest album, At the Edge of Light: https://store.hackettsongs.com
I finished yesterday’s review of Steve Hackett’s new album At the Edge of Light like so:
Here’s hoping his 2019 tour (also featuring Spectral Mornings and Genesis’ Selling England by the Pound) crosses the pond to North America!
Not even 24 hours later, here are Hackett’s complete North American tour dates. Note that the Quebec, Oakville, Montreal and Vancouver shows are already on sale. Direct links for tickets are included with the official listing on Hackett’s Tour Dates page.
- 12 September – Riviera Theatre, North Tonawanda, NY (Onsale 1 February)
- 13 September – State Theatre, Ithaca, NY (Onsale 1 February)
- 15 September – Grand Theatre de Quebec, Quebec, CANADA
- 17-18 September – Oakville Centre for Performing Arts, Oakville, CANADA
- 20 September – Danforth Music Hall, Toronto, CANADA (Onsale 1 February)
- 21 September – Place des Arts Theatre Maisonneuve, Montreal, CANADA – * SOLD OUT *
- 22 September – Place des Arts Theatre Maisonneuve, Montreal, CANADA
- 24 September – Wilbur Theatre, Boston, MA (Onsale 1 February; Pre-sale code: BOSTON)
- 25 September – Beacon Theatre, NYC, NY (Onsale 1 February)
- 26 September – The Ridgefield Playhouse, Ridgefield, CT (Onsale 1 February)
- 27-28 September – Keswick Theatre, Glenside, PA (Onsale 1 February)
- 1 October – Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead, Munhall, PA (Onsale 1 February; pre-sale code: musichall)
- 2 October – Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland, OH (Onsale 1 February)
- 3 October – 20 Monroe Live, Grand Rapids, MI US (Onsale 1 February)
- 4 October – The Pabst Theatre, Milwaukee, WI, US (Onsale 1 February; pre-sale code: GENESIS)
- 5 October – The Copernicus Center, Chicago, IL (Onsale 8 February)
- 7 October – Pantages Theatre of Minneapolis, Minneapolis, MN (Onsale 1 February; Pre-sale code: WALRUS)
- 10 October – Moore Theatre, Seattle, WA (Onsale 1 February; pre-sale code: WALRUS)
- 11 October – Vogue Theatre, Vancouver, CANADA
- 12 October – Revolution Hall, Portland, OR (Onsale 1 February)
- 16 October – Fox Tucson Theatre, Tucson, AZ, US – Ticket link to follow
- 17 October – The Van Buren, Phoenix, AZ (Onsale 8 February)
- 18 October – Orpheum Theatre, Los Angeles, CA (Onsale 1 February)
- 19 October – Crest Theatre, Sacramento, CA – Ticket link to follow
- 20 October – Fox Theater, Oakland, CA (Onsale 1 February)
— Rick Krueger