When I first saw Eric Gillette perform live, it should have come as no surprise, given the other members of the Neal Morse Band, that he wasn’t a one trick pony. That show saw him perform flawlessly on several instruments, as well as deliver backing vocals, showcasing I think a very under-recognized voice in prog. I was so impressed with his performance I named him my guitarist for the year in 2015, and of course quickly picked up his first solo CD, Afterthought. Now he’s brought in some guests and is showing off his songwriting chops on his sophomore release, The Great Unknown. He brought everything one might expect, and more, namely Conner Green, Diego Tejeda, and Thomas Lang. You can check him out and purchase his music here.
Next on the agenda is a tour for the ages. Especially if that age is younger prog fans. A bill that showcases a transatlantic pairing of the best of the UK and America is hitting the United States in August and September. Haken and Thank You Scientist together! A full list of dates can be seen below!
Next up on the docket are some items we’ve talked about a good bit. Ayreon‘s The Theater Equation is out in some areas, and you can grab that here, while Anderson/Stolt‘s Invention of Knowledge can be grabbed here.
Now let’s move onto some important kickstarters and pre-orders, starting with the bands and people who are more likely to be eating ramen without your help. First up is Iris Divine, who are funding their second album The Static and the Noise. This is a follow up to one of the great metal debut’s the US has seen recently, and has very little chance to disappoint. You can help them here.
Finally, we have Levin Minnemann Rudess, and their sophomore release, From the Law Office of Levin Minnemann Rudess. You can pledge towards that here.
Finally, in general news, we have a pair of big names making waves. First up, Steven Wilson returns to America to continue touring. You can check out his updated dates here.
And then there is the end of a 16 year studio hiatus for Kansas, as they’ve announced they will be releasing The Prelude Implicit on September 23rd. You can read the full release on that here.
Peter Gabriel – Red Rain
Eric Gillette – The Aftermath
Thank You Scientist – Absentee
Haken – Portals
Anderson/Stolt – Invention
Ayreon – Pain~
Ayreon – Mystery~
Iris Divine – Fire of the Unknown
Levin Minnemann Rudess – Marcopolis
The Dear Hunter – Gloria
Eric Gillette – Escape
Anderson/Stolt – We Are Truth
Big Big Train – Telling the Bees
Kansas – Lightning’s Hand
Steven Wilson – My Book of Regrets
Eric Gillette – Damage is Done
Transatlantic – Duel With the Devil
Rush – A Farewell to Kings
Sylvan – Strange Emotion
Dredg – Sanzen
Eric Gillette – All I Am
Big Big Train is a band that I probably should have checked out sooner, but it wasn’t until the addition of Rikard Sjoblom in 2014 that I really started paying any attention to them. It said a lot to me that the lead player in Beardfish would join as a comparatively small part in a growing octet. Their first EP with Rikard, Wassail certainly confirmed my suspicion that there was something good happening, and the new album, Folklore shows a large and robust band following on all cylinders. The opening and title track, which also happens to be the lead single is so powerful it immediately enters in the competition for song of the year. The mixture of styles and the numerous voices of the band comes across fabulously, and the mix brings the many sounds of the band out well. As I mentioned during the show, I have given the station owners and hosts of Music in Widescreen a lot of crap over the years for their cult-like promotion of this band, but I have to say this album is a must buy. You can check out the single below, visit the band at their site here, and buy the album here.
Another fantastic recent release belongs to Eric Gillette, who joined forces with Thomas Lang, Conner Green, and Diego Tejeda to release his second solo album, The Great Unknown. You can buy the album directly from Eric here.
Next up is an album that I can’t wait for you all to hear, and thankfully it won’t take us nearly a decade to hear it this time. Fates Warning are primed to follow up Darkness in a Different Light with an even better offering, Theories of Flight, on July 1st. Mason is working on a full review, but it’s safe to say it will have a hefty endorsement from the both of us. Check out the lead single below and pre-order here.
Finally, the long wait to experience The Theater Equation is nearly over, and Ayreon‘s masterpiece, brought to life on stage, will be available for (some) customers on June 24th. It seems things have been delayed in North America and we might not get this until the end of July unfortunately. You can check out a video of “Love” below, and pre-order here.
Big Big Train – Folklore
Eric Gillette – The Great Unknown
Haken – Eternal Rain
Ayreon – Love~
Fates Warning – From the Rooftops
O.S.I. – Indian Curse
Arch/Matheos – Midnight Serenade
Big Big Train – Along the Ridgeway
Moraz Album Project – The Drums Also Solo
Phideaux – Hive Mind
Redemption – Desperation, Pt. 1
Steel Prophet – When Six Was Nine
Dynazty – Keys to Paradise
Frost* – Numbers
Xen – Psycho Pilots
Lonely Robot – Lonely Robot
Vision Divine – 1st Day of a Never-Ending Day
Symphony X – Accolade II
Queensryche – Roads to Madness
Big Big Train – Salisbury Giant
Starsabout – Every Single Minute
Days Between Stations – How to Seduce a Ghost
Art of Illusion – Instinct
Dream Theater – Wait for Sleep
Dream Theater – Learning to Live
Metallica – The Call of Ktulu
Big Big Train – The Transit of Venus Across the Sun
First off, apologies for the unexpected weeks off between broadcasts. I had to cancel the show two weeks ago due to work commitments, and last week the station went dark only a few hours prior to our scheduled broadcast due to an error outside of anyone’s control.
But we’re back this week and happy to take a good hard look at the new offering from IZZ guitarist Paul Bremner, The Witness. For those already familiar with IZZ, many of the voices will sound familiar, but the music should not. Though there are many people crossing over from the main band to this solo album you can very easily hear that the primary songwriting responsibilities have shifted. And as expected the guitars take on an overall more important role on the album. If you enjoyed the tracks you heard on this program, and I certainly hope you did, you can order The Witness here. You can also check IZZ out here.
We were finally able to giveaway the new Lee Abraham CD tonight, and the lucky winner of The Seasons Turn was Oscar Quintero! Thanks to everyone that entered, and congrats Oscar!
There were a bunch of albums that saw their release while we were away, so let’s cover those now. First up is Frost*, who released their long awaited third album Falling Satellites. You can check out Mason’s review of the album here, and pick yourself up a copy here.
Next up Big Big Train released their new album Folklore, and you can hear a track below and order the album here.
Also released was The Spader EP from No More Pain. You can hear the entire album before purchasing it here.
While we’re on the subject of great music available for your ear holes, let’s talk about Starsabout, who made their program debut tonight. You can listen to, and hopefully purchase their debut album Halflight here.
Finally, there are a ton of new releases that have been announced since the last broadcast. Let’s go in chronological order and start with Epic at the Majestic, the live release that covers Heliopolis and their performance at RoSfest 2015. You can pre-order that here for a June 24th release.
Next up is a band that played the after party at this year’s RoSfest, 3rDegree, who will be releasing Hello World! Live in Europe & America on June 28th. You can pre-order directly from the band here.
Zoom ahead a few weeks to July 22nd and Dream the Electric Sheep will be releasing their 3rd album, Beneath the Dark Wide Sky. You can check out the trailer below and pre-order the album here.
Lastly, we have a pair of releases on July 29th. The first comes from Thank You Scientist, and it’s their highly anticipated 2nd album Stranger Heads Prevail. You can pre-order that here. The other comes from Aisles, and is an ambitious double album entitled Hawaii. You can grab that here. Singles from both albums can be heard below.
Paul Bremner – From Here I Can See the Horizon
3rDegree – The Gravity
IZZ – Solid Ground
District 97 – Open Your Eyes
Tiles – Shelter in Place
Pinnacle – Some Just Sleep
Starsabout – Halflight
Paul Bremner – Pilot Fish
Thank You Scientist – Blue Automatic
Big Big Train – London Plane
Dream the Electric Sheep – Elizabeth
Paul Bremner – The Witness
No More Pain – Paging Mr. Spader
Frost* – Signs
Aisles – Club Hawaii
Heliopolis – New Frontier
Paul Bremner – Lost in a Memory
Dynazty – Titanic Mass
Starsabout – Black Rain Love
Wisdom of Crowds – The Centre of Gravity
Coheed and Cambria – No World for Tomorrow
Paul Bremner – No Remorse
O.S.I. – False Start
Album: Falling Satellites
Genre: Progressive Rock
There are few bands that have developed such a devoted fan base on the basis of their first two albums as Frost* has. Their debut album, Milliontown, is frequently recommended to progressive music neophytes, and deservedly so. It has been ten years since its release, and myself and others consider it a classic. Fans have been on edge waiting for this third studio album from Jem Godfrey and company for eight years, with the promise of third album starting back in 2011. The wait has been accompanied by many alternating statements such as, “The band is no more” and “I’m working on the third album” via social media; leading many, including myself to adopt the mindset of I’ll believe it when I have the album in my hands. I don’t believe many bands could survive this “will he or won’t he” game for as long as Frost* has if it weren’t for the simple fact that there is not a suitable replacement for what Frost* does musically.
Jem and longtime friend and collaborator/guitarist/vocalist John Mitchell have developed a great chemistry in creating a guitar and synthesizer based sound with their feet planted in both progressive rock and pop music backgrounds. The rhythm section sees the return of Nathan King on bass from the previous album Experiments in Mass Appeal, as well as a new drummer, Craig Blundell, who is a certainly game for the job, as he was the touring drummer for Steven Wilson’s US tour last year. Seeing that this is Jem’s baby though, it should not come to anyone’s surprise the heaviness of the keyboards and synthesizers on the album. Jem really puts the various keyboard leads high in the mix, which has always been of importance to the signature Frost* soundscape. The rest of the band complements the keyboards admirably in a supporting role. Musically, the sound is closer to Milliontown than EIMA, and the song lengths and structures are closer to EIMA than their debut, providing a balance between the two while still providing something that is familiar, but not too familiar. John Mitchell has retaken the vocalist position for this album after singing on Milliontown and yielding that position to Dec Burke on EIMA, and while I enjoy Dec in his other bands and solo work, I think John’s naturally deeper voice is a much better fit for the sound of Frost* because it contrasts more with the often bright tones of the music. When needed, those high vocals are still there when appropriate, like in the song “Numbers”. The other area where I think John’s strengths as a vocalist are utilized is that he is capable of delivering different styles within one song, which helps goes a long way in helping the album not sound homogenous.
Where I feel Falling Satellites really shines, particularly in comparison to their previous output, is in the lyric department. This is the first time I felt like I really connected with the lyrics and song meanings, particularly “Signs” and “Heartstrings”. “Signs” will end up among my favorite songs by the band, in large part because I see parallels in the subject matter of the song and just the brutal honesty of the song, and I applaud Jem for writing it, even though I privately hope no one else relates to the song’s lyrics. “Signs” camouflages the sad nature of the lyrics by juxtaposing it with an upbeat tempo, a major key signature, and bright shiny instrumentation in the chorus.
Falling Satellites is going to scratch that itch that Frost* fans have had for the past eight years waiting for their third album. I was originally just lukewarm on the album, as I quickly connected with “Signs” and “Heartstrings” and not much else. It was only after several listens that I started appreciating some of the other songs a little more. Overall, I like the return to the musical style of Milliontown, and I think that this is easily their strongest album lyrically to date. Furthermore, I found subsequent listens more enjoyable, which means there I’m finding more each listen. My biggest complaint of this album is the same one that I have with EIMA, which is that outside of the two tracks I mentioned, not much else on the album grabs my attention. The last six tracks make up a suite, but I really don’t feel the connections between the tracks, and again nothing is drawing me in after “Heartstrings”. All in all, Falling Satellites is a solid effort, and one that fans will surely be happy to have. It will harken back to their fabulous debut album at times musically and in one of the song titles, but whereas the debut had five excellent tracks out of six (the last being good), this album just has two. Hopefully the bonus tracks I have yet to hear can help that percentage, as well as having the lyrics to read as I listen if they are included in the physical copy.
Mason’s grade: B
I don’t quite remember who told me about Lee Abraham, but I remember finding out about him in 2014 around the time of his last release, Distant Days. I would certainly qualify him as one of those under the radar artists, who have quietly released several albums with many notable names involved. It was once again word of mouth from another fan that brought the new album, The Seasons Turn, to my attention. I think the three songs we played in this episode should give more than enough reason to support this largely one-man operation, but just in case, we are offering another option. All you have to do is comment on this episode and you will be entered for a chance to win a copy of the new CD. However, if you don’t win, you can learn more about the band and buy the album here.
Next up is a band that nearly got lost in the pile of digital promos that hit my inbox. The band is Dynazty, and they released Titanic Mass back in April. You can learn more about the band here, and pick up the new album here.
Next, and I realize I may be beating a dead horse for some, is Haken. I honestly thought the major announcements were done with last week when I featured the album, but then they went ahead and released another video from Affinity. You can check out “Earthrise” below, and buy the album here.
Want some more cool news about Haken? Well, I have some, kinda. Conner Green and Diego Tejeida are appearing on the new solo album from Eric Gillette called The Great Unknown. You might ask yourself where you know the Gillette name, and it’s not because he’s the best a man can get. And he’s married, so I don’t think you can even “get” him that way. It’s because he’s an amazing part of the Neal Morse Band, and a fantastic multi-instrumentalist. You can pre-order the new album, and learn more about him here, and check out the teaser video here.
While we’re discussing newer artists, why don’t we talk about the New Jersey based No More Pain? They made their debut on tonight’s episode, and they have a new album coming out called The Spader EP. You can listen to a bunch of the band’s music, and grab their albums here.
Next up is a trio of European based released to look forward to. The first comes from the Jonas Reingold led outfit Karmakanic, who have announced details for their new album DOT. You can read about that album, due out July 22nd, here, and we’ll of course mention it down the line when pre-orders become available.
Keeping within that same musical family we’ve also got a new trailer for the upcoming Anderson/Stolt album, Invention of Knowledge. you can check that out below and pre-order here. It’s due out June 24th.
Finally, we have a new trailer for the forthcoming live release from Ayreon, The Theater Equation. More info on ordering the release, which is due out June 17th, will be available on May 20th.
Magic Pie – Trick of the Trade
Lee Abraham – Live For Today
Haken – Bound By Gravity
Dynazty – I Want to Live Forever
Eric Gillette – Bring You Down
Karmakanic – Bite the Grit
Dream Theater – Scarred
The Flower Kings – Rising the Imperial
Lee Abraham – the Seasons Turn
No More Pain – IV: Wake Up, Mr. Spader
Ayreon – Space Oddity^
Ambeon – Sweet Little Brother
Planet P Project – The New Frontier
Knifeworld – Deathless
Beardfish – Year of the Knife
Three Trapped Tigers – Strebek
Long Distance Calling – Trauma
Porcupine Tree – Slave Called Shiver
Firewind – Destination Forever
Stratovarius – Eternity
Lee Abraham – Say Your Name Aloud
There are some albums I discover because I do this show, and others that I’m glad I have this show for. Being able to continue to support Haken in their endeavors is a huge pleasure many years later, and having an album as good as Affinity makes it easy. If you missed it, you can check out my review of the album here, and listen to my discussion with Diego here. With those items aside, there isn’t much more I can say about the album than please buy it! You can grab yourself a copy here.
I mentioned during the show that Pain of Salvation are working hard on releasing a new version of Remedy Lane, paired with the full performance of the album last year. You can get more info straight from the band here, as well as some info on their next studio album.
Long Distance Calling have released their new album Trips, and you can grab yourself a copy of that here.
Finally, the first song from the new Frost* album, Falling Satellites, is finally here! Check out the video below and pre-order the album here.
Thank You Scientist – Feed the Horses
Haken – 1985
Frost* – Heartstrings
Lee Abraham – The Unknown
Messenger – Nocturne
Long Distance Calling – Rewind
Haken – Red Giant
Pyramaze – Forsaken Kingdom
Iron Maiden – The Clairvoyant
Black Sabbath – Fairies Wear Boots
Pain of Salvation – Rope Ends
Morglbl – Brutal Romance
Leprous – Restless
Haken – The Architect
Borealis – Black Rose
Persephone’s Dream – Android Dreams
Pendragon – Guardian of My Soul
Haken – Earthrise
Like so many prog bands of the last few decades, Messenger hails from England, and continue their infusion of folk and psychedelic into the genre on their sophomore album, Threnodies. Tonight’s show will showcase their sound, as it features four songs from that album. You can check out of the band online here, and order the new album here.
I also mentioned that the new album from Knifeworld is now out, and you can grab Bottled Out of Eden here.
Another new release comes courtesy of Lee Abraham, and you can order The Seasons Turn directly from Lee here.
Next up is exciting news from Fates Warning, who have announced a July 1st release of their new album Theories of Flight! You can read more about the album here.
Also upcoming is new material from The Jelly Jam! You can watch the new video from Profit below!
Finally, IZZ guitarist Paul Bremner has a new solo album out called The Witness. You can order that here and check out the teaser below.
Fates Warning – One Thousand Fires
Messenger – Calyx
Knifeworld – I Am Lost
Iamthemorning – Post Scriptum
Lee Abraham – Distant Days
IZZ – Words and Miracles
Avantasia – Lucifer
Messenger – Oracles of War
The Jelly Jam – Stain on the Sun
Dream Theater – A Savior in the Square
Magnitude 9 – Into the Sun
Psycho Motel – World’s on Fire
Poverty’s No Crime – All Minds in One
Messenger – Pareidolia
Porcupine Tree – Up the Downstair
Silent Force – Live for the Day
Spiritual Beggars – What Doesn’t Kill You
Paatos – Hynotique
Devin Townsend – Earth Day
Messenger – Crown of Ashes
This week we head into the seldom explored Russia for our featured album, Lighthouse, from Iamthemorning. The band boasts only two members, but have managed strong support to help round out their recent albums. On this release that includes Mariusz Duda, Colin Edwin, and Gavin Harrison. The show will give a nice representation of their soft and delicate sound. If you’d like to learn more you can visit them here, and buy the album here.
We also had a pair of bands making their debut on the program tonight: Paatos you can visit here, and Poverty’s No Crime you can learn about here. The latter has a new album, Spiral of Fear, due out April 29th in Europe.
Next up, June 17th has been announced as the release date of Ayreon‘s The Theater Equation! Here is what Arjen had to say about it:
Good news! ‘The Theater Equation’ will be available June 17th as a deluxe artbook version including blu-ray, 2DVD’s & 2CD’s, as well as a special edition 2CD & DVD digipak, standalone blu-ray & digital download. We’ll keep you updated about the pre-sales!
Finally, Haken, as we’ve somewhat conservatively documented, has a new album called Affinity coming out on April 29th. Go ahead and wow yourself with their newest lyric video below, and then pre-order it here!
Frost* – No Me No You
Iamthemorning – Too Many Years
Paatos – Sensor
Poverty’s No Crime – Walk Into Nowhere
Haken – The Endless Knot
Ayreon – Isolation
Tiles – Midwinter
Electrocution 250 – Funky Lizard
Iamthemorning – Sleeping Pills
Blind Guardian – Precious Jerusalem
Thought Chamber – Sacred Treasure
Avantasia – Death is Just a Feeling
Iamthemorning – Lighthouse
Royal Hunt – Legion of the Damned
Royal Hunt – Silent Scream~
Marillions – Sounds That Can’t Be Made
Camel – Song Within a Song
Ian Anderson – Banker Bets, Banker Wins
Amorphis – Mermaid
Iamthemorning – Harmony
If it takes a long time you might as well deliver a big album. That seems to be the approach that Tiles have taken with their newest effort, Pretending 2 Run. Their previous album, Fly Paper, came out in 2008, and featured names such as Alex Lifeson and Kim Mitchell. Kim returns on this album, and is joined by Mike Portnoy, Adam Holzman, Colin Edwin, and some strings to make this a very involved album. It’s also two discs in length, offering plenty of music to makeup for the extra long wait. For a full review of the album I would direct your attention to the wonderful work of Mason found here. If you’d like to purchase the album, and you should, you can pre-order is for an April 15th release here.
Next up, on Friday, April 8th the new album from Three Trapped Tigers will be released. It’s some excellent instrumental work out of England, and is called Silent Earthlings. You can grab that here, and check out the lead video below.
Next up, out of Russia, is another band with a slew of guest appearances. Iamthemorning released Lighthouse earlier this month, and if features Mariusz Duda, Colin Edwin, and Gavin Harrison. You can buy it here, and check out a song below.
And to finish things off, take a trip to the old West with this fun little tune.
The Flower Kings – Different People
Tiles – Drops of Rain
Spock’s Beard – Go the Way You Go
Iamthemorning – Chalk & Coal
Three Trapped Tigers – Silent Earthlings
Arjen Lucassen and Friends – El Paso^
Circus Maximus – Chivalry
Kingcrow – Eidos
Tiles – Taken By Surprise
Heliopolis – Elegy
Jon Anderson – Big Buddha Song
Leprous – Forced Entry
Mob Rules – Dust of Vengeance
Fates Warning – Anarchy Divine
Dream Theater – Another Day
O.S.I. – Hello, Helicopter!
Marillion – Berlin
Tiles – Other Arrangements
Tiles – The Disappearing Floor
Albums: Pretending 2 Run
Available: April 15th, 2016 via Laser’s Edge
Tiles has always seemed to be one band where the expression “your mileage may vary” seems to apply. Those of you that follow the show know that I’ve always been a huge fan of the band, and they are one the first bands I will suggest to someone when they are ready to look beyond the established names – particularly if they show an interest in Rush. Their sound can be very Rush like at times, and they’ve got some other contributing factors as well. We’ve seen Alex Lifeson throwing down a guest spot on Fly Paper, Hugh Syme doing the cover art for the fourth straight album, and having Terry Brown producing his third straight Tiles album. But there is enough differentiation from Rush for Tiles for them carve out their own piece of the prog pie.
If you are already familiar with Tiles and like them, then Pretending 2 Run is likely going to be a welcome addition to your collection, as their signature style is all over the album, with a few new welcome additions. If you’re not familiar with them, and my word isn’t good enough for you, I will name-drop a list of musicians who have agreed to lend their talents to this album: Ian Anderson, Mike Portnoy, Colin Edwin, Adam Holzman, Kim Mitchell, Matthew Parmenter, and Mike Stern – and if that last name doesn’t mean much to you now, I’ll explain later.
Pretending 2 Run is Tiles first album of original material since 2008, and given the amount of time that has passed since Fly Paper was released, they generated enough material to release a double album. If you’ve never listened to a Tiles album before, here is what you can expect – well controlled higher pitched vocals that possess a satisfying smoothness by Paul Rarick; catchy guitar riffs provided by Chris Herin; and a rhythm section that has crunchy bass and some well-timed keyboard work provided by Jeff Whittle, and solid work on the skins by Mike Evans. Another hallmark of the Tiles formula is the large number of instrumental tracks compared to other bands that have a vocalist. While those all hold true for Pretending 2 Run, the band has done some tinkering with the formula for this album, including some jazz instrumental sections, utilizing guests such as Mike Stern, who was Miles Davis’s guitarist. The band also used a string section on many songs, providing another new dimension not previously found in their sound.
Pretending 2 Run is a nice new extension in the Tiles catalog. It brings back a familiar sound to those who waited eight long years like I have, and it has the potential to get a neophyte to explore their back catalog. My biggest kudo is that this is the most diverse sounding and most exploratory album by the band yet, without losing sight of their signature sound. My biggest complaint is probably an obvious one, and that is the length. While I would have a hard time pinpointing as individual song as a weak spot, I have found that my interest wanes on disc 2 when listened back to back, yet if I start at disc 2, it is a much more enjoyable listen. I’m sure I could make some cuts to the track list without a huge loss, but seeing as the price is the same as a single album, I don’t think complaining about the extra material is fair. A second nitpick is that while I don’t think the album has any weak points, with 21 tracks total, there are only 3 that really shine, those being “Shelter In Place”, “Drops of Rain”, and stashed away in the middle of disc 2, “The Disappearing Floor”.
While I’m pleased with this album and have already preordered it, I’m also quite aware of where is stands in both their catalog and my catalog as a whole. It’s a nice, solid offering that is enjoyable, but probably isn’t going to send anyone over the moon.
Mason’s Grade: B