ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages

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Cairo (USA) - 1994 - "Cairo" ***+

This music structurally is somewhere between Neo and Classic Prog, sometimes with the elements of Prog-Metal created by guitarist. Cairo is more or less decent progressive rock band, very typical for the US' "Magna Carta" label (maybe, except for the founders / owners of this company more mature band Magellan). However, the "signboard" of this label "The Home of the Next Generation of Progressive Rock" is highly over-confident, taking into account the best in existence such Prog-labels as their countryman "Cuneiform", French "Musea", and British "Cyclops". Quite well composed and played, however, this album contains some disappointing moments. First of all, this is very ordinary vocals, and also the arrangements of the band leader and keyboardist Mark Robertson are absolutely in the vein of Keith Emerson's classic stylings. content


Cairo - 1998 - "Conflict and Dreams" ****+

Unlike Titans of the genre of '70s (not infrequently they often had a time to release even two masterpiece-albums in the course of the one year!), for these guys it will take a long time to do the next decent Prog-work. Also, they never play live, as well as the majority bands of "Magna Carta" label. Nevertheless, this new one Cairo's album is more mature and original work than their debut, though the presence of "spirit" of the legendary keysman sometimes again introduces a sound familiar to ELP fans. content


Camel (UK) - 1996 - "Harbour of Tears" ****

After the banishment out from the major label in 1985 despite of success of the "Stationary Traveler" (1984), that up to now remains one of the most magnificent Neo-works proved to be the very popular Camel's work ever, the regular new album "Dust and Dreams" with the same line-up was completed in the fall of 1985. Unfortunatelly, it was released just a six years later by the Latimer's own company "Camel Production" founded by him in US' California in 1990. Thereby, "Harbour..." is the first new band's album after the ten years of forced creative inactivity, not counting of double live-compilation of 1993. Structurally compared to "Dust and dream" (Neo-meets-Prog), this one is the fourth band's album with the united conception after the "Snow Goose", "Nude", and "Stationary Traveller". content


Camel - 1999 - "Rajaz" ****+

At the very least, the best work of Latimer and Co. since "Stationary traveller" (1984). Mostly quite calm, it is filled, however, with the spirit of Camel. I feel this album as a projection of the band's stylistics of the second half of the 90s into the present day. And the musicians have gathered all bright and well known, real "Camelers": Andrew Latimer - guitars, vocals & flute; Colin Bass - bass & vocals; Ton Scherpenzeel - keyboards; Barry Phillips - cello; Dave Stewart - drums. content


Carpet Knights, The (Sweden) - 2001 - "Lost & So Strange Is My Mind" *****+
(
Record Heaven)

As the title would suggest, this is Psychedelic Rock, what once might have been called Head Music. The Carpet Knights' music recalls the hay day of Haight-Ashbury (an intersection in San Francisco, California), the center of the late '60s hippy universe in the US. Bands like The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and Procol Harum come to mind with this combination of vocal and guitar stylings (ample doses of fuzz and wah-wah) and it is fans of those bands (and that era) to whom I would most highly recommend this album. Flute is discreetly woven into the mix and is prominent in the first song, giving the track a Tull-ish flavor. The vocals are have a distinctively late 60s or early 70s tonality, perfect for The Carpet Knights' retro sound. All in all, this is a very solid album, but it is not really Prog, at least until you get to the last (and longest) track, which goes through several sections and various moods. So, although I found "Lost & So Strange is My Mind" a very likable album, I would not recommend it for hardcore Prog fans. It is good Rock with a decidedly late 60s sensibility, so if that appeals to you, I recommend checking this one out.

KW content


Chandelier (Germany) - 1997 - "Time Code" ***+

Once I had all of their CDs in my collection (also "Pure" of 1990, self-released, and "Facing Gravity" of 1992, which was the very first CD released by the German "Inside Out" label). "Time Code" was released by another German label "Steamhammer" (a division of "SPV"), and there were only two original members in that line-up, including a guitarist. Although these guys has changed their usual (Marillion-like) style on this album radically (this time - towards the stylistics of Saga), this is still the same quite boring Neo Progressive. To me, "Facing Gravity" was even better... no matter, though. content


Changing Images (Germany) - 1991 - "The Castle" *****

Hey, fans of Edhels, Jean Pascal Boffo, and even Djam Karet and The Enid! This is the music for you, please be sure in it! Stylistically, "The Castle" is a unique blend of several genres, including Classic Art (Symphonic) Rock, modern Electronic Progressive, and... Neo-Classics! Structurally, this is quite serious music with really complex arrangements and fine interplays between guitars and keyboards. Finally, this all instrumental album was released on "Musea Records", and I love "Musea"... Check it out immediately (if you could find it, though). content


Chroma Key (USA) - 1998 - "Dead Air for Radios" **+

The debut album from the new project of the talented keyboardist Kevin Moore released on German metal-oriented label "Massacre" after the Kevin's departure from Dream Theater and some collaborative works with Fates Warning. The label describes "Dead Air..." as a "dark avantgarde music", but you will not discover the "dark", and especially "avantgarde" here. This music is nearer to the imitation of Peter Gabriel's late style, and Kevin's voice sometimes is not unlike Peter's. This extremely simple, absolutely vocals-based album with very few instrumental arrangements was performed with the help of Kevin's friends from Fates Warning . Hey, Kevin! Is it just a joke? content


Cliffhanger (Holland) - 1995 - "Cold Steel" *****

Cliffhanger is very nice new Dutch band with their own originality within the framework of Classic Symphonic Prog, sometimes with the faint stylistical likeness of Genesis. "Cold Stel" consists of quite complex compositions with a fresh arrangements. This group is a true discovery of the French Prog-label "Musea"; first the CD was produced by the band with the employment of all possible means, including finansial resourses of the band members. content


Cliffhanger - 1996 - "Not to Be or Not to Be" ******

The real present-day masterpiece of Progressive rock. You'll find it in the "Musea" catalogue. Don't save your money for this album: buy it and enjoy! "Not to be..." is much more interesting and complex work, than their debut, with a quite raw yet very original intricate arrangements. content


Coda (Holland) - 1996 - "What a Symphony?" ****

This is the second album, the first released in 1986, from Dutch keyboardist Eric De Vroomen, who is a free politician and journeyman rather than composer and musician. The most part of compositions represented here are not very complex classical music performed mostly with modern instruments. This very serious project was well composed and played. However, rare vocal parts with lyrics performed, on the whole, by a nice guest operatic female singer, insufficiently reflect the conceived anti-fascist conception. Also frequent jazzy guitar solos sometimes slightly destroy the overall classical scheme. Nevertheless, this album is one of the best acts from Lukassen's "Transmission" label. content


Cross (Sweden) - 1996 - "Gaze" **+

Cross is just the surname (maybe even the pseudonym) of the band leader had released his regular opus "Gaze" on "Cyclops", whereas with the latest albums Cross joined one of the new Prog-labels in his homeland Sweden. There are exceptionally boring, faceless music with some hints of King Crimson (for details on that Swedish phenomenon see Flower Kings in "F" section). Extremeley accented Cross' vocals plays a prominent role here, as well as in all other his works. In my opinion, this band is one the worst Progressive act from Sweden. Also this project was one of the weakest among others within the quite established, but sometimes excessive liberal British Prog-label "Cyclops". content


Cruz De Hierro (Mexico) - 2000 - "Cruz de Hierro" ****+
(58 min, "Musea")

Cruz De Hierro can be regarded as a side project of Cast drummer Antonio Bringas, who along with his own brother Ernesto (guitarist) are the leaders of the band as well as the authors of most compositions on the album. Musically, Cruz De Hierro's debut album can't be compared to Cast at all, as Ernesto Bringas, the main mastermind of the band, is obviously under the influence of the Prog-Metal genre (in general, thanks to which the music of Cruz De Hierro sounds really original). There is more than enough of the essential progressive ingredients on "Cruz de Hierro" to consider it an album of the Classic Prog-Metal genre: plenty of interesting and diverse "heavy" arrangements and, in places, symphonic ones, frequent changes of musical directions, tempos and moods, fast and mastery guitar solos, incredible keyboards, especially piano, passages, and true, engaging interplays between drums and bass guitar. The lack of inventiveness in composing is, however, obvious on a few songs of the album, but serious weak spots here are the vocals of both the lead singers on the album: they don't fit too well for the music of Cruz De Hierro, to say the least. While I am almost sure that the second album of Cruz De Hierro will sound more mature in all regards, the band, in my view, need another, only one yet really good vocalist. content


Curved Air (UK) - 1972 - "Phantasmagoria" *****

One of the really original British Prog bands featured the multi-instrumental talents of Francis Monkman (later in 801, Sky, solo), a monster violinist Darryl Way (later Darryl Way's Wolf, solo, sessions with Jethro Tull, the others), an eccentric female vocalist Sonja Kristina, and others. This is their third album, and as for me, the most progressive. The different songs display here pretty different styles: from Neo-classics to traditional current British symphonic Art-rock. There are also elements of English folk mucis well intermixed with the aforesaid styles, and a few true experimental episodes. An excellent stuff of early Progressive rock. content


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