This news story was originally published here: https://www.prog-sphere.com/news/threshold-part-ways-with-damian-wilson/
Glynn Morgan

Threshold have parted ways with vocalist Damian Wilson. The band have chosen to start a new chapter without him and he has told them he respects their decision.

Wilson enjoyed three stints with Threshold, performing on the band’s most recent records For The Journey and March Of Progress as well as their early releases Wounded Land and Extinct Instinct in the 1990′s. Damian Wilson has been a great frontman for Threshold and the band would like to sincerely thank him and wish him every success in his future endeavours.

Threshold‘s new frontman will be Glynn Morgan, the band’s former vocalist from 1994 to 1996. Morgan appeared on Threshold‘s 1994 album Psychedelicatessen and returned to work with the band in 2008 to record tracks for the singles box set Paradox.

Glynn Morgan commented:

I was over the moon when I got the phone call. To work with Karl and Richard and be a part of the mighty Threshold story once more is a great honour. I can’t wait to start recording, the new material has me hooked already.

You can watch Glynn Morgan in action with Threshold in their 1994 video “Innocent” below.

Threshold are currently at Thin Ice Studios recording their 11th album Legends Of The Shires due for release in the autumn. The band’s European tour kicks off in November with support from Damnation Angels and Day Six.

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This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/news/threshold-part-ways-with-damian-wilson/
Glynn Morgan

Threshold have parted ways with vocalist Damian Wilson. The band have chosen to start a new chapter without him and he has told them he respects their decision.

Wilson enjoyed three stints with Threshold, performing on the band’s most recent records For The Journey and March Of Progress as well as their early releases Wounded Land and Extinct Instinct in the 1990′s. Damian Wilson has been a great frontman for Threshold and the band would like to sincerely thank him and wish him every success in his future endeavours.

Threshold‘s new frontman will be Glynn Morgan, the band’s former vocalist from 1994 to 1996. Morgan appeared on Threshold‘s 1994 album Psychedelicatessen and returned to work with the band in 2008 to record tracks for the singles box set Paradox.

Glynn Morgan commented:

I was over the moon when I got the phone call. To work with Karl and Richard and be a part of the mighty Threshold story once more is a great honour. I can’t wait to start recording, the new material has me hooked already.

You can watch Glynn Morgan in action with Threshold in their 1994 video “Innocent” below.

Threshold are currently at Thin Ice Studios recording their 11th album Legends Of The Shires due for release in the autumn. The band’s European tour kicks off in November with support from Damnation Angels and Day Six.

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This news story was originally published here: http://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2017/03/26/third-quadrant-regenerator/

From the first sonar-like ping to the last note, Third Quadrant’s 2016 album re:generator holds your attention, with a vocal style not dissimilar to Paul McCartney (at his best), and the modern prog interpretation of Dave Kerzner (with or without Sound of Contact). It has depth, very Pink Floyd in style in some of the instrumentation. Pink with Wings, does that mean pigs can fly?

Only 6 tracks but more than a pleasant listen, maybe not as involving over multiple listens upon purchase but it is a damned fine piece of work. The Floydian guitar sound is not a distraction, the keyboards creating that enveloping duvet of comfort sound; it is a nice diversion. As with the majority of bands that produce sounds that travel through the ether to mine ears, the musicianship is of the highest quality.

It is not a get up and boogie album, it’s a glass of Rioja, and perhaps some headphones, close your eyes and relax. But from that perspective it really is great. Clocking in at around 45 minutes, it fits the traditional two sides of vinyl design, but in that space, nothing has been wasted. Even with the delights of a good sound system, you do find yourself wondering how the perceived warmth of vinyl would make it sound.

When it drifts from Floyd central, harmonies, guitars and bass lines have Yes-like hints; Chris Squire would be proud of the bass on page:217. On this particular track the PF alter ego I find present too, in the shape of Alan Parsons. All this makes it sound like a pastiche of music past; it isn’t, there is more than enough originality to make it shine in its own right. The convoluted lyrics you would expect of Jon Anderson are there, though that in itself may just be the nature of a concept album. I think – although don’t they all – that the album seeks to address the human condition.

Third Quadrant have swallowed a lot of prog influences, but what will they be like live? A U.K. progressive rock band formed in the early 1980s and re-activated in 2012, this is an album that deserves a listen. Well, several actually. Yes it shows signs of the 80s but, in current terms, the use of soundscapes and narrative do not make it far removed from the music produced by Public Service Broadcasting; it is clever, it grows with repeated listens and has a cinematic quality. From bell:106 to 3:Arth it is rather beautiful. In a world of rush (small ‘R’), it has a calm and relatively peaceful feel. I’m inclined to reference the track titles, 62: miles being the distance from ground to space, I believe. The artwork is by Chris Hare, subtle and understated, but making me wonder if there is a connection between graphic artists and drummers?

For those quiet moments, it has my thumbs up!

TRACK LISTING
01. bell:106 (6:54)
02. carbon:14 (6:48)
03. 62:miles (4:27)
04. page:217 (6:02)
05. deadstar:1 (19:03)
06. 3:arth (3:37)

Total Time – 46:51

MUSICIANS
Chris Dunn – Keyboards, Vocals
Chris Hare – Drums
Simeon Manners – Guitar
David Forster – Bass, Vocals
Shaun Bailey – Guitar
Clive Mollart – Keyboards

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label:
Country of Origin: U.K.
Date of Release: 17th March 2016

LINKS
Third Quadrant – Facebook | Bandcamp

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This news story was originally published here: http://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2017/03/26/a-formal-horse-made-in-chelsea-ep/

Atomic Rooster. Trojan Horse. Henry Cow. Er, Canned Goat?

I may just have made that last one up but farmyard-related band names appear surprisingly thin on the ground.

Bucking that trend (ahem…), please trot forward, in a genteel and decorous way, A Formal Horse.

The third EP from the Southampton based quartet is another exhilarating journey into fiddlyness, recorded and mixed by Rob Aubrey which gives it a mark of true quality. They’ve always been a highly interesting group having produced some superb pieces previously, but Made In Chelsea sees the stars aligned and is a confident step up overall.

The music, written by the guitar/bass/drums trio of instrumentalists, is well thought out, inventive and delivered with high-energy enthusiasm, guitarist Benjamin Short’s surrealistic lyrics sung by Hayley McDonnell with imperious charm. It’s a joyful explosion of the unexpected that succeeds in refraining from a shredding technique that would simply disappear up its own rear end.

The scurrying busyness of Chorale rouses the listener with a jolt, demanding attention before the intro to the exquisite Made In Chelsea (Apocalypse in 15/8), the music bringing King Crimson to mind rather than the nod to Genesis that the title might suggest. The scene set, Hayley’s first appearance sees her entrancing operatic tones soaring above the frenetic instrumentation, like an angel over a mass brawl.

“She: flies like
A piece of cake on an ill-tempered Sunday
She: buys like
A decent Sheikh, I can’t take that away.”

Her voice is simply lovely with a beautiful clarity that can rise to the required heights with ease, here giving a performance that could have come from Michael Nyman’s Prospero’s Books. The juxtaposition of the intense instrumentation with the beguiling beauty of the voice is enthralling and A Formal Horse have really hit on something here.

A change of tone after the big-hitting double-punch of the first two tracks, The Dead Hand Talks In Braille is plaintive and thoughtful, and at less than two minutes a gorgeous and tranquil oasis of calm, guitar and voice allowing empty spaces to enter the previously dense soundscape.

“The dead hand talks in braille;
Brains spilled in the cocktail lounge.
The mayor drowns
In champagne bubbles and hospitalised in a cocktail gown.”

The demonic KnobInANova returns us to a glowering Crimsoid universe, Frippian guitars niggling away like a physicist with Tourettes; this could be an outtake from the Starless and Bible Black era and is beautifully realised. I’m a complete sucker for a mighty bass sound and Russell Man succeeds in getting that “Don’t fuck with me” tone out of his instrument here. It’s a mighty beast of a thing that threatens to bludgeon you to death as soon as look at you, just the way I like it.

Finally, She Flew where, after a quiet intro, Hayley completely changes the outlook of the music with a magnificently stately performance.

“I hold the crowd and I;
With the flick of an eyelash turn young faces to flame
In dreams you repeat my name
I am and I am and too good, I flew again.
This town too tame.
This home too small.”

The chorus is strident and bewitching, the final vocal section coupled with frantic guitar scales the perfect way to end before sliding into a woozy fairground outro. There is plenty of variety within this EP which is spiky and epic all at the same time, and at less than 20-minutes it’s a real hit-and-run deal that doesn’t drag for a second, just making you want to hit ‘Play’ over and over.

These guys are overdue for an album, but maybe that’s the secret; 20 or so minutes released at irregular intervals to keep the momentum going is the best way forward. All of their releases to date are worth hearing but this one completely nails it for me and I’m going to have to take steps to catch one of their live shows soon.

TRACK LISTING
01. Chorale (1:57)
02. Made In Chelsea (Apocalypse in 15/8) (4:16)
03. The Dead Hand Talks In Braille (1:45)
04. KnobInANova (4:19)
05. She Flew (5:20)

Total Time – 17:37

MUSICIANS
Hayley McDonnell – Vocals
Benjamin Short – Guitars
Russell Mann – Bass
Mike Stringfellow – Drums

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: n/a
Country of Origin: U.K.
Date of Release: 31st March 2017

LINKS
A Formal Horse – Website | Facebook | Bandcamp | Twitter | Instagram

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This news story was originally published here: http://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2017/03/25/o-r-k-soul-of-an-octopus/

Two years after their first album, Inflamed Rides, this rather thrilling gathering of enquiring musical like-minds return with Soul Of An Octopus, their first for the always interesting Rare Noise label, and it seems that no little development of their previously visceral sound has occurred. While still brimming with ideas and thrills aplenty, Soul Of An Octopus is a refinement on the debut, the arrangements and melodies are slicker, aided once again by superb sonics, courtesy of Marc Urselli on the mixing desk.

Opener Too Numb witnesses the band steal the essence of The Alabama Three’s Woke Up This Morning, aka the theme tune to TV show The Sopranos, and bend it out of shape while retaining its loose funkiness. The tune has a restless yet addictive quality that will have you throwing shapes in your head. Come on now, we don’t actually dance, do we?

Vocalist and band leader Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari has a great voice, and can go from full-on chest beating rock god to sweet soul balladeer in the course of the same song with consummate ease. Good singers seem to be as rare on the ground these days as a social conscience in the Cabinet, so it’s always a pleasure when a genuinely talented singer happens along.

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Italian exploratory guitarist Carmelo Pipitone lets loose some real dirty guitar on Collapsing Hopes that sends the song into a sleazy corner of your grubby little mind where it rummages about, emerging covered in unspeakable horrors and grinning malevolently. In complete contrast is the following track Searching For The Code, a slinky, melancholy and languidly paced prog-soul affair of the broken heart, and quite lovely it is too.

Elsewhere we have modern prog ballads, agitated bursts of angst, spiky instrumental passages, reflective soul searching, and always the classiest of arrangements. With a rhythm section of Colin Edwin and Pat Mastelotto, both for the most part displaying restrained power, the band sound powerful and confident, and their sound is not easily put into a neat box, which is all to the good.

Heaven Proof House sees Lorenzo seductively whispering up close in a poetic song that builds into a spooky scene setting for the following Just Another Bad Day, another head dancer that has the hookiest of choruses and a great little guitar break from Carmelo. The album ends with another vocal tour de force from Lorenzo, and Till The Sunrise Comes with its guitar-as-cello and Pat’s slow tribal drumming underpinning Lorenzo’s heartfelt paen to days yet to come leaves this listener wanting more.

While neither could be described as “pop”, Lorenzo shares an ear for a catchy tune and an intricate arrangement with Tim Bowness, and if you dig Tim’s current direction you should like this album too. Musically O.R.k. may be slightly heavier, which you would expect given who comprises the rhythm section, but they come from a similar place despite travelling along rather different routes to arrive at their respective destinations.

TRACK LISTING
01. Too Numb (3:54)
02. Collapsing Hopes (4:38)
03. Searching For The Code (4:02)
04. Dirty Rain (5:05)
05. Scarlet Water (4:12)
06. Heaven Proof House (4:25)
07. Just Another Bad Day (4:10)
08. Capture or Reveal (4:48)
09. Till The Sunrise Comes (5:20)

Total Time – 40:40

MUSICIANS
Lorenzo Esposito Fornnasari – Vocals, Keyboards, Electronics
Carmelo Pipitone – Acoustic & Electric Guitars
Colin Edwin – Fretted & Fretless Basses
Pat Mastelotto – Acoustic & Electronic Drums & Percussion

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: RareNoise Records
Catalogue#: RNR075
Date of Release: 24th February 2017

LINKS
O.R.k. – Website | Facebook

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This news story was originally published here: http://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2017/03/25/once-and-future-band-once-and-future-band/

I forget now where I read about the Once and Future Band, but I was very interested in reviewing their self-titled album, released in January this year. The author made comparisons in the article, to Queen and ELO. OK, I was hooked.

I would describe their sound more like the later Beatles albums, with some progressive influence. Lead singer Joel Robinow reminded me immediately, not of Freddie Mercury or Jeff Lynne, but rather Perry Farrell from Jane’s Addiction, which is a good thing. It gives the music a newer feel and character. As well as Robinow, who also contributes keyboards and guitar, the Once and Future Band includes drummer Raj Ojha and Eli Eckert on bass, guitar and vocals). Raze Regal and Josh Smith add additional guitar with Danny T. Levin’s horns and backing vocals from Yea-Ming Chen and Anna Hillburg.

How Does it Make You Feel takes off like the burst from a Saturn V rocket. It is easily the second-best track on the album, full of emotion and fun with excellent vocals, keys and rocking electric guitars and drums. Unbelievable. “The look in your eyes gives you away”, and yes it does after hearing this song. The band never reaches these heights again, unfortunately, but there is still much good music left. I’ll Be Fine sounds almost like a Beatles song, maybe off Let it Be, maybe Dig A Pony, only this time Perry Farrell is singing instead of John Lennon, with a lot more instrumental support. Another good song with memorable drums and piano work, the lead and backing vocals make this one to remember.

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Hide and Seek really is my favorite song on the album. “Sarah on the white couch. I could see our old playground from here. You were young…and I was afraid, you would be a play thing not a peer”. The keys and electric guitar are excellent, this track reminds me of some of my favorite Tim Bowness solo songs; with a great storyline and lyrics, it may remain near the top of my favorite tracks of the year.

Rolando opens with excellent organ sounds and horns, like something off a Steely Dan or a Donald Fagen solo album, until the horns really kick in, then you get that Chicago horn section sound. The choruses are perfect, giving it a jazzy feel, reminding of something from SD’s Gaucho. Nice. Tell Me Those are Tears of Joy continues some of the same rhythms and sounds from the last song, only this is a jazzier progressive rocker in sound.

Magnetic Memory opens with slowly strummed electric guitar. The melodies and sounds are so unique, dreamy and may help you to relax and reminisce. Standing in the Wake of Violence, on the other hand, starts with some wild guitar and keys. There’s good drums, excellent vocals and the synthesizer/keyboard work is wonderfully dreamy.

This album was an excellent surprise. It sounds so fresh and different from anything I have heard in a while. Sure, there are similarities to some of the bands I mentioned above, but this band has created their own unique sound and I for one like it. I want to hear more. Give it a chance and I think you will as well.

TRACK LISTING
01. How Does it Make You Feel? (5:57)
02. I’ll Be Fine (6:28)
03. Hide and Seek (6:18)
04. Rolando (4:39)
05. Tell Me Those are Tears of Joy (5:19)
06. Magnetic Memory (4:41)
07. Standing in the Wake of Violence (5:17)

Total time – 38:39

MUSICIANS
Joel Robinow – Vocals, Keyboards, Guitar & Bass
Raj Ojha – Drums & Percussion
Eli Eckert – Bass, Guitar, Vocals & Keyboards
~ With:
Raze Regal – Additional Guitar
Josh Smith – Additional Guitar
Danny T. Levin – Horns
Yea-Ming Chen – Backing Vocals
Anna Hillburg – Backing Vocals

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: Castle Face Records
Country of Origin: U.S.A.
Date of Release: 27th January 2017

LINKS
Once and Future Band – Facebook | Bandcamp

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Arjen Anthony Lucassen – E-Police

Sebastian Hardie – Glories Shall Be Released

Gentle Giant – I Lost My Head

Peter Hammill – Friday Afternoon

Fantasy – Gnome Song

Pendragon – The Pleasure of Hope

Flamborough Head – Lost in Time

Citizen Cain – Lost In Lonely Ghosts

VDGG – Lost

Transatlantic – Bridge Across Forever (Live)

Camel – Lost and Found

Downes Braide Association – Finale