ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages


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Ancient Future (USA) - 1993 - "Asian Fusion" ***+

Ancient Future, formed in the far 1978, are the pioneers of a modern style known as World Music, one of the most progressive outputs in this genre. Needless to say that Ancient Future describe their music with the term World Fusion, coined by themselves in the same far 1978, and it sounds right regarding to what I hear on "Asian Fusion". These guys may have several albums on CDs, but I am only familiar with this one. A four-piece of guitars, keyboards, drums and violins, plus 6 guest musicians, three of whose (Asians) play very exotic instruments. All instrumental, the music on this album can be described as three parts accessible yet virtuostic Jazz Fusion, three parts Art-Rock-bordering-on-New-Age, and four parts true World Music. There are twelve pieces on "Asian Fusion" in all, and the most interesting tracks (from the 'standpoint of progressivity') are from 2 to 5, though, on the whole, this album is full of exceptionally original melodies. content

Antiqua (Mexico) - 1999 - "In red nights" ****

The only metal band that's based on the unique Mexican prog label Luna Negra. One of the latest releases of the company. English vocals, two singers (male plus female lead-vocals), prog-doom structures characteristic for such bands on the whole. One of the tracks is stunnungly progressive and unique. An impeccable product for all who are on Amorphis/Moonspell/The Gathering. content

Arachnoid (France) - 1979 - "Arachnoid" ******
(64 min, "Musea")

Frankly, until now when I listened to the only Arachnoid album, I never thought that the vocals in French could be so wonderfully impressive. This work, however, shines both vocally and instrumentally. A highly complex and rather heavy Classic Symphonic Progressive presented here, is, in my view, distinctly original and unique and has nothing to do with King Crimson, the influences of whom have been supposedly found by many of my progressive brothers in pen. To me, "Arachnoid" is not only one of the best Classic Symphonic Rock albums of the second half of the 1970s, but also the most complicated and intriguing. content

Arena (UK) - 1995 - "Songs from the Lions Cage" ***

Although the first album from this band showed just a profanation of Marillion's style (I think, drummer Mick Pointer is used as a shield for another pride of the ubiquitous Clive Nolan. Not sure that songs were really composed by Pointer / Nolan, but only by Nolan himself), I like this one a bit more than the next CD. With the exception of stupid "Crying for Help"s, about one half of the songs, especially the last Solomon, display quite decent Neo. Good for Prog-novices. content

Arena - 1996 - "Pride" ** (maybe this is a hint at anything but not the lion's pride?)

Structurally, this album again is just a poor Marillion-clone, not bad thereby, but with a bland voice of the new singer Paul Wrightson, unlike previous John Carson with his open (and nice) Fish-ism. Nolan's vain endeavours make the relentless (and now there are eight in all!) "Crying for Help"s, absolutely trivial here, the hallmark of the band, only the other way round, bury alive this "Classics for the future" (as the band describes their production). This album is simply free of inspiration, sometimes open poppy, very easy even for Neo album. Written again by Pointer (?) / Nolan. content

Arena - 1998 - "The Visitor" ****

Very, very unexpected! After the sharp criticism of the band's previous albums, I'm amazed by these radical changes: is it really the same band? It's about right time to forget the past... For the first time written by the BAND (I like new guitarist Johnny more than Keith), this work is a step forward. Nolan's keyboard arrangements are also very good here. Highly comprehensive album with a united text conception. All Arena's albums are released (along with some other Neos) on their own new lable "Verglas". content

Arkus (Holland) - 1981 - "1914" ***+

A rarity, discovered by French label "Musea" (in my opinion, a Prog-leader these days), one-shot project. Neo-Prog with a prominent role of guitar, melodious, accesible, though not bad, especially for the beginng of the '80s. A related band is modern Jadis. I'm almost sure that these popular British Neos are just followers of Arkus. CD-reissue of the LP was made in 1993 by the well-known home of Neo "SI Music" (Rotterdam, Holland), that went bankrupt the following year. content

Ars Nova (Japan) - 1998 - "The Book of the Dead" *****+

Looking at the cover of this band you would hardly dare to buy it if you're a prog-head. Languid, very emancipated maidens on the cover would probably insinuate: is there anything of value with such an outright pop image? Ars Nova really designs the cover that doesn't correspond even to the album title, much less to the music, which is great, stunning. Who could believe that these eccentric three (on this album two and for the first time in about ten-year history of the band a guest male bass player) young women play like that! But, it's not accidentally that they're called the Princesses of Progrossive Rock. This unique, one-of-a-kind (female) band performs a head-wrenching, daringly complex art-rock in the wake not unlike Emerson & Co, but free of any borrowings, like it occurs to you immediately while hearing Triumvirat or especially Par Lindh Project. The more so, the two bands don't stand up to the maidens in terms of both composition and performance. So, Ars Nova, it's really novo (Ital.)! The first completely female band, and even more completely progressive rock-band appeared in Japan of all countries. As for me, and I'm fascinated with their music and skill, their appearance in the horizon of the prog-front is like a visit of a UFO to us. So, hail to you, Sisters in Reason (progressive). content

Musea Records

Atomic Opera (USA) - 1993 - "Alpha and Orange" ****

I would not say that this band plays Progressive Rock in its true meaning, though Atomic Opera's recording company describes their music as "Heavy Progressive Modern Groove". This is a type of strong and powerful Metal, structurally mostly based on varied heavy guitar riffs with just some elements of Prog Metal genre. Quite aggressive guitar attacks are not monotonous, unlike, as an example, the majority of the bands, which play Grunge. Some of the songs here (10 in all, total playing time 48 min) are distinctively "pure Metallic". All of them contain a variety of interesting themes, slow and fast, and also, figuratively speaking, some specific guitar solos. The rest of the songs on this album are more diverse in arrangement. Heavy "Metallic" themes quite often changes by slightly melancholic, vocal melodies ranging from aggressive and dynamic to dramatic. On the whole, much better than the same famous Queensryche circa 1997-1999. ("A Comic Opera") content

Autumn Tears (USA) - The promotional sampler CD ****
(75 min, "Dark Symphonies")

This is a compilation culling from several years of this group's efforts, - a kind of echoes from the past. Echoes of melodic Gothic Rock, that is. All the right orchestral chords are also there, plus plenty of angelic female vocals. Nice and melodic, with tons of beautiful vocals in the presence of the minimum quantity of purely instrumental arrangements, the music of Autumn Tears presented on the compilation generally looks very accessible. Sometimes it sounds even slightly monotonous and, on the whole, the songs are not quite progressive. Generally, it is always really difficult to comprehend what the band is really about, listening to a compilation. But after a couple listens to this promo CD, at least one thing becomes obvious - the music of Autumn Tears is quite original, and we all know that originality is the main trump of an artist of any Art. Also, such pleasant music, clearly a child of inspiration should shine with beauty like a wonderful pearl in the sea of mainstream tastelessness with mostly dead computer hits that like the digital bitches just use and abuse the senses of inhabitants. That's why I am so brave to rate this set, consisting of mere pages out of different books written by Autumn Tears in different years, with four "good stars". content

Azazello (Russia) - 1996 - "The Wind in a Head" ***
(39 min, unreleased)

"The Wind in a Head" is the very first recording ever done by Azazello and is actually their first demo album. It is radically and in every respect different from anything the band created later. Eight out of the eleven tracks here represent very simple Rhythm-and-Bluesy songs with reminiscences of early Beatles, though most of all, they remind me of songs typical for so-called VIA - vocally instrumental ensembles - the most widespread forms of youth collective creation in the (former) USSR. The solos of electric guitar and those of synthesizer are present only on a few tracks, while most of the songs here are based on the rhythms of acoustic guitar and the rather monotonous parts of rhythm section. There also are three ballads on the album, and surprisingly, all of them are nice and are really interesting. Apart from the vocal-based parts, these contain inventive instrumental arrangements consisting of diverse interplay between passages of acoustic guitar and solos of electric guitar, synthesizer, and hand percussion instruments. And nevertheless, most of the contents of this demo aren't of interest of the lovers of Prog. content

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ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages