This episode, taped early, on Monday, June 22nd, takes an unusual look back into 2014 for our featured album. It is one that Mason and I both had ranked as the runner up for album of the year, and both complimented for its stellar songwriter and powerful vocals. Evergrey‘s Hymns For the Broken was hailed by many fans as a huge return to glory for the band, and the album has seen a big push of promotion in response. Several videos have already been released, and now, 6+ months later, they have a new video out which can be viewed at the bottom of this post.
In more current release news, or correctly speaking, in forthcoming release news, Iron Maiden has set a release date of September 4th for their album The Book of Souls. You can read the band’s full press release here.
Rush – Animate~
Evergrey – King of Errors
Threshold – Paradox~
Wisdom of Crowds – Frozen North
Muse – The Globalist
Star One – The Earth That Was
Savatage – Miles Away
Evergrey – Archaic Rage
Iron Maiden: Reunion
-Ghost of the Navigator
-These Colours Don’t Run
Magic Pie – Tears Gone Dry
Devin Townsend Project – Divine
Von Hertzen Brothers – Hold Me Up
Evergrey – Black Undertow
Pyramaze – When Black Turns to White
Electrocution 250 – Dr. Fluffels
Peter Gabriel – Red Rain
Planet P Project – Levittown
Subsignal – The Size of Light on Earth
Asia – Time Again
Kansas – Nobody’s Home
Jethro Tull – Cup of Wonder
Marillion – Heart of Lothian
Evergrey – Hymns For the Broken
Before getting to our regularly scheduled discussion, first, an announcement! There will be no live broadcast on Wednesday, June 24th. That broadcast will instead take place on Monday, June 22nd. The podcast will be unaffected, and posted Wednesday evening as usual.
With that out of the way, this week we took a look at the new album from Pyramaze, Disciples of the Sun. This is the bands fourth album, and the first since 2008. After having a string of high profile vocalists, the band has now chosen to bring a lesser known name into the fold, Terje Haroy. It will be interesting to see if the new album can re-ignite the band, which in addition to the long hiatus and new vocalist, are also fighting the departure of two of their original members. I’d say this album certainly puts them back on the right track.
There was also a few worthwhile announcements to share, including the release of a new Kaddisfly album on June 21st, and a new Spock’s Beard album on August 21st.
Spock’s Beard – Day For Night
Pyramaze – Disciples of the Sun
Nocturnal Rites – New World Messiah
Labyrinth – Thunder
Transatlantic – Suite Charlotte Pike
Edguy – The Piper Never Dies
Pyramaze – Genetic Process
Magic Pie – King For a Day
Leprous – Moon
Pyramaze – Fearless
Fates Warning – Shelter Me
Kaddisfly – Empire
Von Hertzen Brothers – Black Rain
Gavin Harrison – Cheating the Polygraph^
Camel – Lady Fantasy
Ayreon – Ride the Comet
Circuline – Stereotype
3RDegree – Apophenia
Winery Dogs – You Saved Me
Jolly – Ends Where it Starts
Pyramaze – Perfectly Imperfect
Rush – Hemispheres
Back in 2011 I had the pleasure of speaking with Scott Mosher, the composer and multi-instrumentalist for California based band Oceans of Night. Talking to a “jack of all trades” musician is always a treat, as the range of musically relevant topics is always greater the bigger hand someone has in something. While writing, recording multiple parts, producing, and promoting has to be exhausting on a single musician, I imagine the result is also all the more rewarding.
When we spoke Oceans of Night had just released their second album Domain, though Scott had put out many solo albums prior to that. Since then the band has released another studio album, Midnight Rising, in 2014. Scott has always made his music available directly available from his site and at a very reasonable price, and as such I hope you visit the page below and support this wonderful artist.
This week we have a very special episode for everyone. I’ve always looked back at 2005 as one of prog’s finest in the new millennium. A multitude of artists released landmark albums that year, and for years after I continued to judge a new stock of releases against that year. With that in mind this episode had two parts. The usual update of new material, and a trek 10 years back in time to revisit 2005.
Some unfortunate news came to my attention during the broadcast as well. Former ProgRock.com owner Shawn Gordon has recently suffered a heart attack, and has decided that he is going to shut down TheRecordLabel.net. When this program came to ProgRock, Shawn was still in charge and very helpful and welcoming. We wish him all the best in his recovery and future endeavors, and hope you will consider helping clear his inventory during his closing sale here.
A more upbeat bit of news involves Sonus Umbra. The Chicago based band is working on their new album and has decided to crowdfund it. You can support them here.
I hope everyone enjoys this nostalgic look back! Had so much fun with it you may very well see a 2006 centered show next year, or perhaps a 1995 centered show later this year!
Riverside – Volte-Face
Redemption – Scarred
Shadow Gallery – The Archer of Ben Salem
Forgotten Suns – In Harm’s Way*
Magic Pie – Silent Giant*
Neal Morse – In the Fire
Roine Stolt – Everyone Wants to Rule the World
Phideaux – Ruffian on the Stairs
Muse – Reapers
Parzival’s Eye – Out on the Street
Von Hertzen Brothers – Sunday Child
Porcupine Tree – Arriving Somewhere But Not Here
Pendragon – No Place For the Innocent
Dream Theater – These Walls
Coheed & Cambria – Apollo II: The Telling Truth
Rush – Between the Wheels~
Evergrey – Recreation Day~
Leprous – The Flood
Pyramaze – Back For More
Kamelot – Moonlight
Circus Maximus – Glory of the Empire
James LaBrie – Pretender
Deadsoul Tribe – A Flight on an Angels Wing
Echolyn – The End is Beautiful
Another week, another podcast. During the live broadcast the show had just shy of 2,500 podcast downloads, but as of this posting we’ve broken the barrier! Thank you very much to everyone downloading, listening, and hopefully continuing to support all the great prog and metal music of the world!
That said, let’s take a look at what will hopefully help push us ahead to 5,000 and beyond! This week we travel to Norway and have a look at the dark and brooding band Leprous. They have just released their 5th album, The Congregation. I think those who liked the band’s previous effort Coal will really enjoy this one. I was not personally thrilled with the previous effort, but I see The Congregation to be a refined and improved version of that general sound. You can check out the band here, and order the new album here.
I made mention of a pair of crowdfunding projects currently running. The first of those was for a symphonic tribute to Haken, and you can support that here. The second was for the next Royal Hunt album, and you can contribute to that here.
There was also some new artists being played on the show, and if you’d like to know more about them, you can check out Magic Pie and Circuline. I also mentioned that Pyramaze has a new album out, and you can grab that here.
Finally, it seems as late that no week would be complete without a new Muse video, so here are two more for you!
Angra – Newborn Me
Leprous – The Price
Gavin Harrison – The Pills I’m Taking^
Nordic Giants – Futures Dark
Parzival’s Eye – Long Distance^
Von Hertzen Brothers – The Destitute
Magic Pie – Trick of the Trade
Circuline – Return
Leprous – Third Law
Muse – The Handler
Symphonic Theater of Dreams – Premonition^
Royal Hunt – Hard Rain’s Coming
3RDegree – Memetic Pandemic
Soul Secret – On the Ledge
The Contortionist – Ebb & Flow
Leprous – Triumphant
Thrice – Promises
Pyramaze – The Battle of Paridas
Bruce Dickinson – Welcome to the Pit
Iris Divine – Prisms
Symphony X – The Eyes of Medusa
Leprous – Red
The Tangent – Codpieces and Capes
Pendragon – The Last Waltz~
Neal Morse – The Truth Will Set You Free
Geddy Lee – Working at Perfekt
Karmakanic – Two Blocks From the Edge
Steven Wilson – The Raven That Refused to Sing
This week the show was a very special one, as is featured an in studio appearance from long time contributor Mason “Dr. DTVT” Rouser. Do us a favor and forgive any volume mishaps when we were speaking, it was the result of a personal mic being used by two people, not the optimal setup! The set was (almost) completely picked by Mason, including the two featured albums this week. The first feature was The Lie of the Beholder, the debut release from Strattman. The second featured album was Winter Solstice, the newest album from Chicago band Sonus Umbra. Both albums saw heavy play at RoSfest 2015 which both of us were able to attend.
Anyone remember a few weeks back when we mentioned that Riverside would be touring around their ProgPower USA appearance? Well, some more dates have been posted to their site, and you can check out those live appearances here.
Finally, as always, is some new music. A series of new videos got released this week, and we played new singles from Symphony X, Kingcrow, and Muse. You can check out all those videos below.
Strattman – A Better World
Sonus Umbra – Isomniac Blue
Little Atlas – Automatic Day
41Point9 – The Bullet’s in the Barrel
Subsignal – The Size of Light on Earth
Female Front Metal Block
-Beautiful Sin – Lost
-Nightwish – Endless Forms Most Beautiful
-Triosphere – Breathless
-MindMaze – Moment in Flight
-Sleepytime Gorilla Museum – Angle of Repose
The ‘A’ Block
-Alpha Rev – Wedding Day
-Abel Ganz – Thank You
-Amaran’s Plight – Turning Point
-Anubis Gate – Airways
-Arena – Time Runs Out
Sonus Umbra – Silence Kills
Strattman – Caught Inside the Rain
Sonus Umbra – Wounded
Strattman – Connection Lost
Beardfish – South of the Border
Enchant – New Moon
Star One – Master of Darkness
Symphony X – Nevermore
Odd Dimension – Another Shore
Kingcrow – The Moth
Muse – Mercy
Spock’s Beard – Waiting For Me^
Like many of their Swedish contemporaries, Beardfish have shown themselves to be quite active in the years since I spoke to them in May of 2012. At that time they were getting ready to play the first in a short series of shows in the Northeast United States. The show were I spoke to Rikard and Magnus was hosted by the NJ Proghouse, who have also booked Beardfish back in October of 2015 for their homecoming weekend.
At the show that evening the band played some then forthcoming material from The Void. The band would release the album later in 2012, and then get some important support slots, opening for Flying Colors in 2012, and Spock’s Beard in 2013. The band would then take an unusually long break between studio albums, waiting till January of 2015 to release +4626-COMFORTZONE. This could be in part due to Rikard taking on some guitar duties with Big Big Train in 2014.
Band: Nordic Giants
Album: A Seance of Dark Delusions
A Séance of Dark Delusions is the long-awaited debut album from Nordic Giants, a post-rock/prog band from Brighton, England. Though the duo previously released several EPs on their own record label, A Séance of Dark Delusions is the band’s first full length effort, as well as their first new recording under progressive rock label KScope.
At its core, Séance is an album that relies heavily on sampling and ambient synth patches to create a dreamy sense of atmosphere and haunting empty space. Some obvious comparisons to make might be modern Mogwai or Explosions in the Sky, though Nordic Giants fit nicely besides act such as Anathema and Lunatic Soul, as well as other bands on KScope who are representative of the recent “post-prog” scene. The band also put a premium on their experimental live performances, which include short films, animations, and a digital mapping experience. The elaborate setup is something you might expect from an artist such as Bjork, but not your typical post-rock or prog rock band.
Musically, Séance is not all that different from the band’s earlier EPs such as Build Seas and A Tree As Old As Me, though the full length does feature some of the band’s busiest and most cinematic arrangements to date. Several songs are airy and minimalistic, such as “Give Flight to the Imagination” which features longtime collaborator Freyja. Others, such as “Rapture”, contain flurries of percussive arpeggios and driving rhythms that are reminiscent of the cathartic buildups to be found in modern Anathema.
As I was listening to the album, I found myself wanting more songs featuring guest vocalists, and fewer songs where heavy speech samples are used. While I have enjoyed albums that feature heavy sampling in the past, I found those used on A Séance of Dark Delusion to be a little bit too heavy-handed and literal. Also, I thought the guest vocalists really helped to add extra variety to the album, which sometimes starts to sound too much like itself.
Having done a bit of research on the band, it would be disingenuous of me to fail mentioning that I have not experienced the visual components the band consider to be so important, nor have I attended one of their elaborate live performances. Taken in a vacuum, Séance can sound over-homogenized and too wrapped up in its own beauty, but part of the challenge for those of us across the Atlantic and elsewhere in the world is that we are missing out on the ever-important visual presentation the band give on stage. It’s increasingly rare to find a band that put so much work and effort into their live show that their studio album becomes secondary, but I have every impression that the eyes are just as important as the ears when it comes to enjoying Nordic Giants. One can only hope that, with this new album and new record deal, Nordic Giants the momentum they need to take their show across the globe. Until then, consider me a believer.
Joe’s Grade: B+
Some might notice that the title of this podcast is a little different from what they’re used to. I’ve gone back to count the number of shows When Prog and Power Unite has had, and found out that last week was our 300th broadcast. With that in mind we’ll be moving away from dates in the future and going with episode numbers, starting today with episode #301!
Our featured album for this week comes from South America, and more specifically from the long running Brazilian band, Angra. Their new album, Secret Garden, is the first to feature Fabio Lione on vocals, and the opening of a new chapter of the band, with their previous two vocalists marking two distinctive eras in their career already. Our selection of tracks from the album give a look into the musical direction of the new album, a cover tune that many will recognize, and an important guest appearance on the title track.
I mentioned at the top of the show that Symphony X has a new album on the way July 24th called Underworld, and more information on that, and the supporting tour can be found here. I also talked about The Theater Equation, a Netherlands based theatrical reproduction of Ayreon‘s album The Human Equation. There are indeed some tickets left for that, and they can be found here.
Finally, I mentioned that Leprous has a new album coming out. The title of that is The Congregation, and it’s due out May 25th in Europe and June 2nd in the United States. The newest video from the album can be seen below.
Symphony X – The End of Innocence
Angra – Storm of Emotions
Redemption – Man of Glass
Flaming Row – Rage of Despair
Nordic Giants – Dissolve
Hasse Froberg & Musical companions – Someone Else’s Fault
Gavin Harrison – The Start of Something Beautiful^
Abel Ganz – Evening
Angra – Synchronicity II^
O.S.I. – Better
Karmakanic – Turn it Up
Arjen Anthony Lucassen – Dr. Slumber’s Eternity Home
Iron Maiden – Out of the Shadows
Yes – Perpetual Change
Leprous – Rewind
Little Atlas – Twin of Ares
Angra – Violet Sky
Sound of Contact – Pale Blue Dot
Sonas Umbra – It’s Only Fear
Synaesthesia – Noumenon
Heliopolis – Love and Inspiration
Angra – Secret Garden
Dredg – Ode to the Sun
Von Hertzen Brothers – You Don’t Know My Name
Erik Norlander – Rome is Burning
Bigelf – The Evils of Rock & Roll
Dominici – School of Pain
D.C. Cooper – Freedom
When doing research for an interview, and especially when reading over promotional material, I can often prepare myself for what I can expect to hear from an artist. However, when I spoke to Jonas Reingold in July of 2011 I got a bit of first hand news that knocked me back a bit. Jonas sounded very hopeful that the Flower Kings hiatus would be coming to an end. That hope would turn into Banks of Eden in 2012, Desolation Rose in 2013, and accompanying tours.
The main focus of our interview was not the Flower Kings, but instead Jonas’ main creative outlet, Karmakanic. They were on the verge of releasing their fourth studio album, 1969. The band would go on to do some touring for that album, including an appearance at RoSfest 2012, where they would record Live in the US.
Along with those two primary bands, Jonas has kept busy helping on several other projects, including bass duties on the most recent release from The Tangent, A Spark in the Aether.