ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages

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E


Echolyn (USA) - 1995 - "As the World" *****+

In spite of lots of vocals here, this work was made absolutely in the vein of Classic Symphonic Prog. The overall sound is truly modern, with compositions and arrangements complex and original. Each of the band members shows serious virtuosity all over the tracks of this 70-minute album. The major "Sony", which pressed "AtW", quickly realized their "mistake", and band's offshot Finneus Gauge (see "F") joined the good British "Cyclops". After the departure of the keyboardist from Echolyn, who became the leader of Finneus Gauge, the remainig band's substance already released two albums, both by the different names, but now the firm sign Echolyn is recovered by them. content


Eight Zero One (801) - 1976 - "Live" ****

One of the first superbands (a group where play already famous musicians). Here the following well-known persons came together: Phil Manzanera (ex-Roxy Music, later solo and various projects), Brian Eno (also Roxy Music, later solo), Francis Monkman (ex-Curved Air, later Sky, solo), Simon Phillips (ex-Jack Bruce Band, later Judas Priest and many others). The only album of this project, perhaps I'm wrong and they had an album before this one, was played excellently. Each musician explicitly showed his abilities of playing live. As for the music, it's an exquisite cross between classic progressive rock and the music that very Roxy Music. As a result, IMO we've got the most musically ambitious and adventurous work Manzanera and Eno have ever created, including all their creation before and after 801. Nonetheless, with no or little complex arrangements, more than simpy good I wouldn't call this album. content


Eldritch (Italy) - 1996 - "Headquake" ****

On the whole, this is a nice album with common arrangements and some virtuoso solos from each musician. However, what's much more important than performance, the ingredient of a "work of Music Art" is not so good: the compositions were created by a very simple scheme. I can appraise this album as good, but no more, Neo-Prog-metal work with some glittering hints at Dream Theater, whose glory gives no peace to so many bands... ("EMI-Toshiba", Japan). content


Elegant Simplicity (UK) - 1997 - "Reversal of Time" *****

Elegant Simplicity got used to working in the domain of Elegant Complexity. The album in question is one of the three best works of Steven McCabe (band leader, author of all musical material, multi instrumentalist), with the other two fully instrumental. The line-up here is pretty cool: apart from the "traditional set", flute, violin etc. show the best they can. As for the full-time singer for ES Ken Senior, the vocal themes are most diverse and expressive (seems I've heard all the "official" albums of the band). I'm not amazed any more that McCabe succeeds in reconciling two quite polar contradictions in his work (who has doubts, please omit the words "quite polar" - it has nothing to do with bears, after all): apparent melody and an intricate hidden originality of arrangements. In my view, it's the music that can satisfy fans of both accessible and advanced progressive (though the thing is, what kind of satisfaction do they all expect at a given unit of time, let's say in this millenium?). I don't know if one can get ES at Moscow's Fili (haven't been there for a long time!), but keep in mind just in case. content


Elegant Simplicity - 1999 - "Moments of Clarity" **** (53 min, "Proximity")

Unlike the preceding all-instrumental masterpiece "Purity and Despair", this is mostly a song-oriented album containing only two instrumentals - the titlesong (4 min) and Out of Reach (11 min), and both are really incredible, full of diverse arrangements, virtuostic solos and different moods. Special guest Ken Senior sings in the other 5 songs. These are inspired songs, and I cannot compare their stylistics to anybody. Yes, there are not as many diverse arrangements on "Moments of Clarity" as I've heard on "Purity and Despair", but all of them are exceptionally original, and on the whole, these structures have nothing to do with Neo. Listening to this album I just can say "It's impossible to be confused about this music. This is Elegant Simplicity with its open originality". content


Elegant Simplicity - 2000 - "The Story of Our Lives" *****+

Till now I've liked most "at McCabe" the album "Purity and Despair" (1998, all instrumental). In my detailed review I even called it "The Snow Goose, Part 2" (Camel drew the album in 1975), with a note though, that these two tracks were "quite original" (but... can something original be "quite" at all? I won't say it again!). Now, the new album seems to weigh even more. Like the great majority of Steven's creation in general, this album is a conceptual thing, even though without lyrics. 50 minutes of monolith music, melodic and yet surprisingly diverse throughout the album. I have much liking for the band, I can't deny it... While I can't stand cloners. By that I mean first of all those who take someone's stylistics for the basis and, repeating endlessly, dilute it to the level of a hit. Thus, I call the debut of Grey Lady Down (England, however) no more than the hemorrhoid (excuse my French) on the ass of progressive. So that's why I have over there the reputation of opposer of Neo-heads, though it's not right as a matter of fact. Against Neo (very accessible prog) I have nothing, if it is original... content


Elegant Simplicity - 2000 - "Excerpts from 'Palindrome'" ******

Although, this is just a pre-production material from the upcoming (early 2001) Elegant Simplicity new studio album "Palindrome" (and so, you may consider these lines a kind of pre-production review), I am simply shocked (in a good meaning) with the new sound of this band. Already on these "Excerpts" I hear some outstanding, complex, often wonderfully bombastic progressive rock. Several diverse themes within each composition contain very extensive arrangements that are 'built' with brilliant simultaneous yet at the same time very different among themselves solos of each instrument (there is no unison solos and even solos in quinta or quarta in this music at all) endlessly crossing each other 'exclusively' on the lands of Her Majesty Queen Perfect Harmony. I guess, all these twisted solos of guitar and keyboards (maybe, bass too?) were performed by Steven McCabe himself, but who is this outstanding drummer, whose work I hear on "Excerpts" (and will, hopefully, hear on "Palindrome" itself, too)? Never before have I heard such extensive virtuostic drumming in Elegant Simplicity! A very unexpected, innovative and original album - even within the framework of ES itself. And although this new work by Steven McCabe still contains some melodic lines, on the whole, the diversity of themes and complexity of arrangements now fully correspond to those structures that we call the Classic Art / Symphonic Rock (and here is just a small addition -) at its best! content


Elegant Simplicity - 2004 - "Anhedonia (demo)" *****

"Anhedonia", the follow-up to Elegant Simplicity's critically acclaimed >"Architect of Light" (2002) is already completed and is currently in the process of pre-production. The CD should be released next month. Meanwhile the main man behind the project, multi-instrumentalist and composer Steven McCabe, has sent me the material on CD-R, and I already had time to acquaint myself with it. This 72-minute all-instrumental album consists of ten tracks, four of which are about eleven minutes in duration each. The highly intricate and intensive Classic Symphonic Progressive with virtuosi solos of guitar and organ at the helm, slow, but tense and distinctly dramatic passages of Mellotron accompanied by heavy guitar riffs, Classical Music-related realms, etc. Briefly speaking, these are the main features of the long compositions and a few others as well. While Steven's distinctive style of songwriting is immediately recognizable, the music is often heavier, darker and, at the same time, more classically influenced than ever before. Nevertheless, romanticism and melodiousness, so typical for Elegant Simplicity, are still available, too, and are especially evident on the shorter pieces, one of which is a little chamber suite. Along with >"Palindrome" (2001) and the aforementioned "Architect of Light", "Anhedonia" is definitely one of the most mature and interesting albums by the band, whose audience might be enlarged this time by lovers of the Mellotron. Keep an eye on the band's website so not to overlook the release of it. content


Elegant Simplicity - 2005 - "Excerpts" *****

Here is a brief view of the three still unnamed instrumental compositions to be on the forthcoming new album by Elegant Simplicity, due for release in Spring 2006. The first track lasts six and a half minutes. Although synthesizers and Mellotron create a lush symphonic background throughout, much of the music is edgy, sliding somewhere between Art-Rock and Hard Rock (at its most progressive), with fast, intense, always swirling arrangements. The 10-minute second track has the trademark Elegant Simplicity sound, when the band puts a strong emphasis on melody. There are two excellent episodes with only piano and acoustic guitar, but the full-band arrangements are less impressive, mainly because the central theme repeats too often, with insignificant variations in soloing patterns. The 14-minute last track has a strong epic sense and is the best in the set, the music being highly diverse both compositionally and stylistically. It begins and develops as symphonic Space Rock with Mellotron at the background, then turns into the quasi Jazz-Fusion realm with a blistering acoustic guitar solo at the fore. In future the music changes its direction many times. Symphonic Art-Rock textures alternate with heavier, Prog-Metal-related ones, later on giving way to the piano and acoustic guitar-laden Jazz-Fusion, etc again and over. If Steven McCabe will keep the directions paved on the first and the last tracks in his further work on the material, and get rid of the numerous repetitions in the second track, I won't be surprised if the next Elegant Simplicity outing will be their best album to date. content


Eloy (Germany) - 1998 - "Ocean 2 - The Answer" ***

After they familiarized themselves with the demo of "Ocean 2" (1998), the leaders of an established independent German lable "SPV" refused to release it. And for the first time Eloy joined a small "metallic" lable "GUN" ("Great Unlimited Noises", also their countrymen). No matter how much I'd like to be the first reviewer on a new work from one of my favourite bands, I don't feel like writing a detailed review on "Ocean 2". I think, this is the weakest album Eloy ever made (I haven't heard only their untitled debut), and it's my firm conviction. What is that "answer"? That has nothing to do with "Ocean", one of their best albums, except for the cover artwork. Well, the bright compositions were made with the conservation of stylistical originality, but they're just showy. There are lots of female backing vocals with monotonous "ooh-ooh" sometimes of about five minutes! On "Ocean 2" these additions are very similar to some episodes from Pink Floyd or Manfred Mann's Earthband ("Solar Fire", for example), and there are very few instrumental arrangements, apart from "spacey". So, it's an exceptionally simple work, a sort of more or less decent Neo, that shows the creative collapse of the once great band. As to the big success of "Ocean 2" among the Neo-heads, including the reviewers... Much ado about nothing. content


ELP (UK) - 1973 - "Brain Salad Surgery" ******
(45 min, "Castle Communications")

While I like all four of this band's previous albums, I am sure that the last truly progressive effort by Emerson, Lake, & Palmer surpass any of them and by all means. "Brain Salad Surgery" is not only the most complex and intriguing album by the band, but also their only album which is great from the first to the last note. No comic pieces played on the out-of-tune piano! Beginning with Jerusalem and concluding with the epic Karn Evil 9 only masterpieces are featured on this unique album. Certainly, "Brain Salad Surgery" became kind of the eternal idol for most of the keyboard-oriented bands of the past, present, and future. content


Enid, The (UK) - 1978 - "Aerie Faerie Noncence" ******

One of the best albums from a quite obscure yet one of the most innovative bands of Progressive Rock ever. Composed in accordance with the laws of Classical Music, this work is a true contemporary Classics performed not only with modern musical instruments, there are also lots of strings. Soon I'll try to write a detailed review on another masterpiece from this great band. ("HoneyBee"/"Mantala"). content


Epilogue (UK) - 1994 - "Hide" ***

It is not so bad Neo, especially for such young musicians, in order to turn them from "Cyclops". However, that's what has happened... Well, the recent price from "GFT" / "Cyclops" mail-order catalogue on "Hide" is just 6$! But, in my opinion, it shoudn't be an impediment for the PROG-lable, particularly considering that their "biggest-sellers" Grey Lady Down are just poor cloners... (See section "G"). content


The "E-Progeny" compilation CD (Prog from Everywhere: part 2, 2000) ****+

"E-Progeny" is the second "Luna Negra" -international- collection consisting of compositions by the bands and performers from different countries (from the UK, USA, Mexico, Holland, and Finland): Dan J. Schulte, Ozone Player, Count Zero, Vortex, Luke D-Arakeno, Mark Jenkins, Facade, RAM, including such well known names as Bjorn Lynne (Solo), Edo Spaninga (of Flamborough Head) and Alfonso Vidales (of Cast). As in case with "Pangea", some tracks have never been released until now while others were written and performed intentionally for this compilation. As for the music, "E-Progeny" is an intriguing musical journey all over the world with bands from the Classic / Neo Art (Symphonic) Rock camp. content


Everon (Germany) - 1995 - "Flood" ***+

Recently I was re-reading my 'old' reviews (written mostly in 1998) and have found that some of them, including this one, sound really awful. I have to admit, I was quite an inexperienced (uncouth, that's more correct) reviewer at that time, so I decided to re-write them. Thank God, most of CD-Rs (exactly) I need now are still in my collection. This music is typical for bankrupted the same year Dutch "SI Music" label, melodious and quite accessible (slightly heavy) Neo Progressive Rock sounds on "Flood". Mainly vocal-based, this album however contains a few tracks with more or less extensive instrumental arrangements, though, the most significant trump of this work is a stylistical originality. Unlike many 'wannabees', on the whole I can't compare Everon to any of existent bands, so I can recommend them as quite a decent Neo. content


Ezra Winston (Italy) - 1990 - "Ancient Afternoon" ******
(56 min, "Musea")

Three out of four songs from the original Ezra Winston LP "Ancient Afternoon" are in detail depicted in the review on the band's promotional sampler-CD "Ancient Unknown Town" (to read it click here), consisting of six songs in all, the first two of which were taken from the band's debut album of 1988, and the last track was recorded in 1992. Apart from the four original songs, the (first) CD release of "Ancient Afternoon" contains a bonus track, which was never released before (as well as the last track of the sampler-CD-R, though). Thus, until now I haven't been acquainted only with the LP's original, magic 9-minute Verge of Suicide and a bonus track called Shades of Grey (recorded in 1995). What can I say? Of course, the "Ancient Afternoon" album as a whole, including a wonderful bonus track, which ideally fits into the original LP material, sounds way better than the said sampler CD just because this is an original album with a monolithic musical palette. "Ancient Afternoon" is probably the only (and absolute) Classic Art Rock masterpiece, released in the second half of the 1980s. Sadly though, the best song, IMHO, of Ezra Winston, - Dark Angel Suite, which was the last track on the sampler, has not been included in the "Ancient Afternoon" CD release, though there was enough space on the CD for that. But then maybe the band have prepared this wonderful 12-minute composition for their upcoming album?

Ezra Winston - Discography: 1988 - "The Myth Of the Crysavides"; 1990 - "Ancient Afternoon" (on CDs - both by Musea). The band, however, never disbanded and nowadays (September 2001) the guys are (still) working on the new Ezra Winston album, though the process of composing of it was finished a year and a half ago. content


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ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages