Steve Hackett launches new track ‘Underground Railroad’

I’ve already preordered this album and yes I have it in my review queue. Check out the new song from the great Steve Hackett! Here is the press release:
————————————————————————-
tUwB7_Sk
Following the tremendous success of 2017’s ‘The Night Siren’ (charted at #22 in Germany, #28 in the UK), legendary former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett announces the release of his new studio album ‘At The Edge Of Light’ on the 25th January 2019.
The album which features ten songs, sees Steve unite a vast amount of styles ranging from guitar driven rock to epic orchestration, from world music to the reflective and atmospheric all brought together in Steve Hackett’s unique style.
Today sees the release of the second single from the album, titled ‘Underground Railroad’, featuring Durga and Lorelei McBroom (Pink Floyd). You can listen to that now here: https://youtu.be/DEqCKaFFCXM
Steve comments: “I was inspired to write “Underground Railroad” in Wilmington, Delaware, discovering about that amazing network that helped slaves escape in pre-Civil War America, spearheaded by brave people like Harriet Tubman. Durga and Lorelei McBroom (both sang with Pink Floyd) sound amazing, expressing that heartfelt pain. As well as electric guitar, I play Dobro acoustic and also harmonica, transporting us back to those times…”
Listen to the album’s first single ‘Under The Eye of the Sun’ here: https://youtu.be/IGt0GXb4PTg
Of the new album Steve adds: “In these dangerous times, deep shadows feel even sharper than usual and we find ourselves standing at the edge of light… The contrast between dark and light weaves its way throughout the album in many ways, from the sense of good fighting evil through to the interplay of dark and light opposites magically combining in cultures, including the heartbeat of India and primal tribal rhythms. Ultimately, this album embraces the need for all musical forms and cultures to connect and celebrate the wonder of unity in this divided world.”
Watch Steve discuss the new album in this new interview: https://youtu.be/VboAl6mo_-Y
‘At The Edge Of Light’ is released in a number of formats including a Mediabook CD plus extra DVD with 5.1 surround sound mix & behind the scenes documentary, double vinyl LP + CD, Jewelcase CD and digital album. Pre-order now here: https://stevehackett.lnk.to/AtTheEdgeOfLight
Steve Hackett has established himself as one of Rock music’s finest and recognisable guitarists through his time with the legendary Genesis who he joined in 1971 and a solo career following his departure from Genesis in 1977 and is a hugely influential guitarist particularly in the Progressive Rock genre.  ‘At The Edge Of Light’ will be Hackett’s 26th studio album in a solo career that began in 1975 with the release of his debut solo album Voyage Of The Acolyte.
‘At The Edge Of Light’ was mainly recorded in Steve’s own studio but also around the world.   The album features international artists, including Durga and Loreley of Pink Floyd vocal fame with drummers Nick D’Virgilio and Simon Phillips from USA, Sheema on sitar from India, Icelandic drummer/percussionist Gulli Briem, tar player Malik Mansurov and Swedish bass player Jonas Reingold… This album also features Paul Stillwell on didgeridoo, Rob Townsend on sax, bass clarinet and duduk, Amanda Lehmann on vocals, John Hackett on flute, drummer Gary O’Toole, Roger King and Ben Fenner on keyboards, Dick Driver on double bass, violinist and viola player Christine Townsend… All magically honed and engineered by Roger King.

 

Posted in progressive rock | Tagged | Leave a comment

Top 20 of 2018: The Rob Edition

15391051_1421366381208514_1899627877892018214_n

This was a very hard year to pick only 20 albums as my favorites. Some of the ones I left out would have definitely made the cut other years. But for what it’s worth, this is my top 20 favorite albums of 2018:

Packshot

20. Steorrah – “The Altstadt Abyss”

make-me-young-etc

19. Thumpermonkey – Make Me Young Etc.

Phanerozoic_front3

18. The Ocean – Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic

The_Pineapple_Thief_Dissolution_Album_Cover

17. The Pineapple Thief – Dissolution

Howling Sycamore.3000x3000

16. Howling Sycamore – Howling Sycamore

517115

15. Barren Earth – A Complex of Cages

vier

14. Perfect Beings – Vier

in the woods

13. In the Woods… – Cease the Day

ihsahnamrcd

12. Ihsahn – Amr

cover_2046112822018_r

11. Spock’s Beard – Noise Floor

Alkaloid-Liquid-Anatomy

10. Alkaloid – Liquid Anatomy

nightflightsometimesmain

9. The Night Flight Orchestra – Sometimes The World Ain’t Enough

480708

8. Rivers of Nihil – Where Owls Know My Name

Afterglow Album Cover_4000

7. Komie – Afterglow

26142fb67d744127d745a01360efec1ea04c5e2c

6. Ring Van Mobius – Past the Evening Sun

custom

5. Between the Buried and Me – Automata

Black Market Enlightenment

4. Antimatter – Black Market Enlightenment

its-not-us-album-cover

3. Umphrey’s McGee – It’s Not Us, It’s You

Amorphis - Queen Of Time

2. Amorphis – Queen of Time

Voivod

1. Voivod – The Wake

If you missed the radio show where I played a track from each album, here’s a link to the show:

Posted in art rock, experimental rock, extreme metal, melodic death metal, progressive metal, progressive rock | Tagged | 2 Comments

Phil Keaggy, Tony Levin, and Jerry Marotta – “The Bucket List”

klm-bucket-listPhil Keaggy, Tony Levin, and Jerry Marotta have been working on their first album “The Bucket List” on and off for 10 years! The title is a good one since this combination is one that I did not expect. Clearly, these 3 musicians wanted to work together. While Levin and Marotta have worked together has Peter Gabriel, adding guitarist Keaggy to the lineup really intrigued me.

Now Keaggy is well known for being a Contemporary Christian artist, but he has done a LOT of instrumental albums through the years. His playing is always sublime, so he fits well with the other 2. The chemistry between all three is undeniable. The 12 songs all have a flow and groove while still sounding like they were improvised on the spot. “The Bucket List” has a live feel to it and while that might not be the case, the minimal overdubs allows all three musicians to have plenty of space.

While I love each track, my favorites are “Midland Crisis,” the expansive “Sometimes We Up,” “Caravan” and the closer “Blue Hawaii.” What I like most is that each track has its own identity. That can be challenging for an all instrumental album which just shows how talented these guys are. Another cool moment is the “duet” between Levin and Marotta on the aptly titled “Where’s Phil.” That leads to “Phil’s On” where Keaggy takes a prominent role.

The bottom line is it’s rare to find a set of world class musicians that gel this well on their first outing. Levin has shown that he can fit anywhere. Marotta is a vastly underrated drummer who never overplays and is more of a percussionist than traditional drummer. And then there’s Keaggy who really knows how to construct a melody and serve the song. “The Bucket List” is essential listening for anyone who is fan of great music.

Rating: 9.5/10

Tracklist:
1. Sometimes 11
2 Fearless
3. Midland Crisis
4. Sometimes We Up
5. Stella Luna
6. Steely Funk
7. Where’s Phil
8. Phil’s On
9 Caravan
10. Carved in Stone
11. Good Stuff
12. Blue Hawaii

Release Date: January 11, 2019
Bandcamp: keaggylevinmarotta.bandcamp.com/album/the-bucket-list

Posted in art rock, progressive rock | Tagged | Leave a comment

PMP Top 20 Albums of 2018 announcement on SUNDAY!

2018

As I have done for a few years now, I will use my radio show to announce my favorite albums of the year. I’ve narrowed this list to only 20 albums rather than 40 as I have done in the past. 20 seems like a good number and not overwhelming. The radio show will feature a song from each album from 20 down to 1. I’ll also play my favorite cover song of 2018 at the end of the show!

Tune in live to Metal World Radio on Sunday December 16th at 10am EST, 3pm UK or catch the replay Tuesday December 18th on Delicious Agony Progressive Rock Radio. I’ll be publishing the list here as well after the show is done.

Posted in progressive metal, progressive rock | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Top 20 of 2018 – Restless Amoeba Edition

15391051_1421366381208514_1899627877892018214_n

Disclaimer: This top 20 list solely reflects the views of the Amoeba that is Restless and not that of the site owner. Any review, feelings, or points of view expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the view of the website, or owner and, in fact, may contradict them drastically.

Listener Discretion is advised…

It’s that time of year again. And once again, an almost impossible task. As is usually stated, depending on the day, the order of these can change. The numbers are just there for the love of lists. The closer we get to number 1, the more cemented the order is. So let’s dive in.

 

20. Jason Becker – Triumphant Hearts (Guitar oriented Rock)
This one kind of snuck up on me. I had heard the Valley of Fire track with 50 guest guitarists (I am exaggerating) and it didn’t do all that much for me. It was good, but I felt there was way to much soloing. But hearing the album as a whole kind of blew me away. A lot of different styles on here and a lot of emotion. And the track that didn’t grab me before, is now. It would be worth your while to check this one out. Special Guests on this include Joe Satriani, Trevor Rabin, Guthrie Govan, Marty Friedman, and many more).

 

19. MaYaN – Dhyana   (Symphonic Death Metal)
Monster of an album having the band returning with a full orchestra. Giving it that extra oomph. And Marcela is now a full time member. Lots to love here.
Review:
https://progressivemusicplanet.com/2018/09/19/mayan-dhyana/

 

18. Haken – Vector   (Progressive Metal)
Heavier Haken is not a bad thing. A more concise album that rocks out nicely. Really enjoyed this one.
Rob’s Review:
https://progressivemusicplanet.com/2018/10/06/haken-vector/

 

17. Alice in Chains – Rainier Fog   (Rock band)
AiC is back. And in old form. The previous albums with the new singer have been really good but this one takes it back up to a new “old” level. My favorite track from this one in my top songs list below.

 

(Note to the owner: There is no #16. This list skips to #15 ;-P)

16. Oceans of Slumber – The Banished Heart (metal band – put this here so it doesn’t get changed later 😉
I was sucked into this one by the lead track The Banished Heart. The raw emotion and power in this track just blew me away. Made me dig into the album as a whole and I love it. It’s not perfect by any means, but it speaks to the darker/rainier side of my emotions at the right times.

 

15. Subsignal – La Muerta   (Progressive Rock)
My first review for Progressive Music Planet. And it turned out to be a hell of a highly anticipated album. And a really great one too, if a bit loud. But it is damn catchy.
Review:
https://progressivemusicplanet.com/2018/05/20/subsignal-la-muerta/

 

14. Animal Drive – Bite! (Hard Rock/Power Metal)
Holy crap! A kick ass metal band from Croatia! This is heavy. Melodic. Fun. Again, catchy as hell.

 

13. Leah – The Quest   (Symphonic Metal)
As I wrote in the review, this is a fantastic album. So much better to me than Kings and Queens. More concise and melodic. I would rate it higher but it is just so loud!
Review:
https://progressivemusicplanet.com/2018/11/11/leah-the-quest/

 

12. Coheed and Cambria – The Unheavenly Creatures   (Progressive Rock/Metal)
So… I’ve LIKED C&C before but haven’t LOVED them. Mainly the singer’s voice has kind of put me off. Which is weird, because I love Rush. Go figure. But damn, this album is incredible. I actually like his voice here and the songs are catchy as hell! Great stuff!

 

11. Poets of the Fall – Ultraviolet   (Alternate Symphonic Rock)
I had heard about these guys before and seen them advertised but for some reason I just never checked them out. And always thought they were an all growl band. Turns out I was wrong. I learned this at ProgPower USA this year when they were announced for next year’s festival. I really liked what I heard of the stuff I sampled but this is the first full album from them that I listened to and it is so freaking good. Catchy and moody stuff. The lead singer has one of those deep voices that just drill into you. But does creep me out a little when he sings the words “milk and honey”.

 

10. Halcyon Way – Bloody But Unbowed   (Progressive-Power Metal)
I am a late comer to Halcyon Way. I had seen their name around in places but never got around to listening to them for a long while. I was reminded to dig back into them again after meeting one of the band members at a Galactic Cowboy’s show in Houston last year. And glad I did. Another fantastic album. Even if their mascot character gives me the creeps. ;-P

 

9. Orphaned Land – Unsung Prophets and Dead Messiahs (Progressive Melodic Death Metal)
I wasn’t familiar with Orphaned Land at all before seeing them at Progpower USA in 2017, but instantly became a fan. Pre-ordered this one after that. And it does not disappoint. Another great prog metal album from the east!
Rob’s Review:

https://progressivemusicplanet.com/2018/01/04/orphaned-land-unsung-prophets-dead-messiahs/

 

8. Lost in Thought – Renascence   (Progressive Metal)
I really liked the band’s first album and they seem to have taken it up a notch here. So many catchy songs. Highly recommended.

 

7. Witherfall – A Prelude to Sorrow   (Melodic Metal)
Being a fan of the band Sanctuary since the early 90’s, there hasn’t been much else like it, outside of Nevermore, of course. Witherfall steps in to fill that void. They hearken back to the old Sanctuary feel while still imprinting their own sound. This album, while rooted in pain for the band since it revolves around the loss of their drummer who passed after losing his battle with Lymphoma. It is a dark album but with shades of hope. And Joseph Michael is a beast of a vocalist. It’s no wonder Sanctuary tapped him to fill in vocal duties after Warrel passed and have asked him to continue on with them too.
I’m working on a review for this but haven’t quite finished it yet.

 

6. Myles Kennedy – Year of the Tiger (Hard Blues Rock)
Myles is just one of those guys where the phrase “I could listen to them sing the phonebook” applies. He has THE perfect rock voice. So much power and emotion. He kills it with Alter Bridge and he is great with Slash, though I feel a little misused at times. With the exception of the last Slash album, he sings at a higher register than I like. Still sounds great. Just not my taste. But what we have here is a raw, emotional, blues rock album, with a Johnny Cash vibe through out. It deals with the passing of his father at a young age and as such is a fairly dark album. But such a fantastic one.

 

5. Amorphis – Queen of Time  (Progressive Metal)
Prog Metal behemoths released an album that is catchy as hell. I was hooked from the first song.
Rob’s Review:
https://progressivemusicplanet.com/2018/05/17/amorphis-queen-of-time/

 

4. The Night Flight Orchestra – Sometimes the World Ain’t Enough   (70’s/80’s style rock)
I think these guys can do no wrong as well. They do one thing and they do it oh, so well. Perfect 70’s/80’s rock with a dance vibe at times. But my favorite track has to be the epic (for them) closer, The Last of the Independent Romantics.

 

3. Lux Terminus – The Courage to Be   (Jazz/Fusion Instrumental prog rock/metal)
Instrumental albums have to be something special to hold my attention. And this one is. Heavy as heck in places, even with very little guitar. Vikram (Redemption as of this year) and his band mates really shine. Stellar work for a debut album. I spin this one every couple of weeks. Definitely top instrumental album of the year.
Review:
https://progressivemusicplanet.com/2018/07/05/lux-terminus-the-courage-to-be/

 

2. Ostura – The Room   (Progressive Metal)
Another one that came out of nowhere. Stellar production. Stellar musicianship. Stellar songs. This one was an oddity as it was released streaming only in the US at first. And then myself and a bunch of others started harassing the band for a physical release. And they did so in the most hilarious fashion. You can see my name pop up a couple of times in the video. hahaha!

Infamous video announcement of the CD version.

 

 

 

Tied at number one

Xenoverse – The Fall – Part 1  (Progressive/Theatrical Metal)
This one popped up out of nowhere. Cinematic, theatrical metal. Ticking all the boxes for me. Of course, they’re from Finland. Where most of the symphonic metal I like comes from.
Review:
https://progressivemusicplanet.com/2018/05/31/xenoverse-the-fall-part-i/


Southern Empire – Civilisation  (Progressive Rock)
I swear these guys can do no wrong. Was looking forward to this album, heavy with anticipation. And it blew me away. As I said in the review, the song order could use a little tweaking, I think… but a fantastic album, nonetheless. Recommended if you love Transatlantic as they carry on that feel and vibe in their music. I am posting their lead single below, but definitely checkout Crossroads, a 30 minute beast of a track that is epic in every way (live version linked in top songs below). It was first released on their live DVD and has been up on youtube a while but this is the first time it is released on an album. I will tell you, it does NOT feel like it is 30 minutes. It is that good.
Review:
https://progressivemusicplanet.com/2018/07/12/southern-empire-civilisation/

 

 

Top Songs (In addition to the ones linked above)

Rockers

Southern Empire – Crossroads

Xenoverse – One Can Rule The Sky

Ostura – Deathless

Poets of the Fall – My Dark Disquiet

Alice in Chains – Maybe – a throw back to Jar of Flies. Love this song!

Amorphis – The Golden Elk

Dynazty – Closing Doors

Alkaloid – Kernel Panic

Haken – Nil by Mouth

Night Flight Orchestra – The Last of the Independent Romantics

 

Ballads
Kayak – All That I Want – From Seventeen

Myles Kennedy – Songbird (no version on youtube that isn’t live, so here is one of those)

Tremonti – Take You With Me (ballad/rocker)

Oceans of Slumber – The Banished Heart

 

Posted in progressive metal, progressive rock | Tagged | Leave a comment

Dream Theater release first track from upcoming album (Warning: opinions!)

Untethered

Dream Theater release the first song from their upcoming album “Distance Over Time.” The song is called “Untethered Angel” and it’s the opening track on the album. It sounds like Dream Theater. But according to some fans of the band, it sounds too much like Dream Theater.

DT fans are easily the most fickle bunch of fans out there. They complain and whine about EVERYTHING! If the song sounds too much like an older song, they complain. If it sounds different, they complain about that. “The Astonishing” is a great example of that. Then there are the Portnoy sycophants who still haven’t let go for 8 years!

I like the new song. Is it my favorite DT song ever? Of course not. But I’d rather have this track over many others that the band did…with Portnoy. Should all DT fans like the song regardless? Of course not. But maybe those folks just aren’t into the band anymore. That’s fine too.

But what I don’t get are the people who bitch about it and then say “I haven’t liked anything by them since ______.” The only reason those people comment is for their own ego. Self important bullshit. Hell, this website is just an extension of my own ego to a degree. It just helps to be self aware.

“Untethered Angel” has great hooks, great solos and great production. It gets a lot done in 6 minutes and sounds like a band enjoying themselves. It works for me. It might work for you. So listen to it…or don’t.

Posted in progressive metal | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Rank ‘Em: Queen studio albums

With the movie “Bohemian Rhapsody” doing so well and that I did a “Freddie fix” last month on the Facebook page, it seemed only natural to rank Queen’s 15 studio albums. This was at times very easy and other times not so much. I have a feeling it will surprise people!

413It+sKZpL
15. Flash Gordon
While I do like the Flash Gordon soundtrack a lot, I rarely listen to it. It’s good for what it is though.

41i5kHtNgVL._SS500

14. Made in Heaven
Along the same lines, this album was essentially thrown together with material the band pieced together when Freddie was on his death bed. It’s a nice gift from the grave but the songs aren’t always that strong. The version of “Too Much Love Will Kill You” is amazing, taking on a new meaning with Freddie singing it.

61C-4GLOiqL._SY355_

13. A Kind of Magic
This album has some really great songs on it…but others that just do nothing for me. For some reason, I just never connected with this album. It can move up a couple of slots though as the 2 albums ranked higher can definitely slip.

81B1mbCh4VL._SY355_

12. Hot Space
The much maligned “Hot Space” doesn’t deserve all of the shit that it gets. Yes there are songs that SUCK. But there are some awesome songs on it as well. “Under Pressure” is one of my favorites, also “Las Palabras de Amor,” “Put Out the Fire,” “Calling All Girls” and “Action This Day” are great songs too. This album can fall a couple of spots for me though.

71X9RN0Y47L._SX355_

11. The Miracle
“The Miracle” is another tough album for me. “I Want it All” is one of my all time favorites which is really the main reason it is at #11. Without that song, the album would be at or near the bottom. It doesn’t rank any higher than this.

Queen_Queen

10. Queen
I like their debut album but I’ve never loved it. It’s not GRAND enough and I never really connected with it. “Keep Yourself Alive” is still my favorite on this album however “Son and Daughter” is a very underrated track.

MI0001474701

9. The Game
Yes I am sick of “Another One Bites the Dust.” Who isn’t? But songs like “Save Me,” “Sail Away Sweet Sister,” “Play the Game” and “Need Your Loving Tonight” are all awesome songs. I think this one is a solid right at 9 for me.

414AZA3YMSL

8. A Day at the Races
Now we are getting into my favorites. This album is definitely my 8th favorite. A very good album all the way through, very consistent but no great moments for me. “Someone to Love” is as close to that as it gets for me.

41ADSBJD7DL 600x600bf

7. Sheer Heart Attack
6. Jazz
These two are interchangeable. Each have a ton of great songs but each have a little bit of filler here and there. Each have some favorite songs on them. Not sure why Jazz is higher but whatever!

Queen_The_Works

5. The Works
I LOVE this album. It kills me to have it sitting at #5. I think it’s about one song short of being perfect. Still “Hammer to Fall” is fucking amazing and “Radio GAGA” deserves to be the classic that it is. “Is this the World We Created…?” is a personal favorite.

71eu02SZK1L._SX355_ Queen_II_(album_cover)

4. A Night at the Opera
3. Queen II
I know people will just assume “A Night at the Opera” is #1. It can move up a slot but I do think “Queen II” is better. To me these are very similar albums. They both are very progressive and grand. The songs are all really great.

51efttH3xqL._SY355_

2. Innuendo
Only one bad song on this album, otherwise it is the perfect album. I love cats but still. This is how you end a career. “The Show Must Go On” is such an incredible song. The title track is epic. So many many great songs!

91GRY6FzEcL._SL1500_

1. News of the World
“Innuendo” would be an easy top pick if it wasn’t for this album. This was the album that I wore out as a kid. Every song, every note. It has a special place in my heart so I suppose that is a bias. But that happens to us all. “Spread Your Wings” is my favorite Queen song too.

That’s my list! Tell me how wrong I am and give me your list!

Posted in art rock, hard rock, progressive rock | Tagged | 4 Comments