YES FEATURING ANDERSON, RABIN, WAKEMAN ANNOUNCE QUINTESSENTIAL YES: THE 50th ANNIVERSARY TOUR

YES! I’ve seen this lineup twice live and they have been amazing both times! So here’s the press announcement for the upcoming 50th Anniversary Tour!


YESfeaturingARW - IMAGES - FULL BAND - PHOTOGRAPHER DEBORAH ANDERSON CREATIVE (APPROVED)

Philadelphia, PA (April 10, 2018) – 2018 marks the 50-year anniversary since the formation of one of rock’s all-time ground breaking supergroups, YES. And to mark this milestone, YES Featuring Anderson, Rabin, Wakeman will be celebrating by touring the world as part of ‘Quintessential YES: The 50th Anniversary Tour.’ In addition to what is promising to be truly memorable shows that span the band’s career, there are also several upcoming YES-related events and releases in store, including:

YES Featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakeman: 100 Show World Tour

The 100 show World Tour will commence on June 3rd 2018 in Warsaw, Poland, and feature shows in Scandinavia, Germany, UK (including headlining the Stone Free Festival at the O2 Arena in London) and North America in 2018, going on to South America, Central and Southern Europe, ending in Japan and the Far East in 2019.

Whisky a Go Go concert

YES Featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakeman will return to their roots by performing at the Whisky a Go Go, the iconic venue they first performed as a headliner in June 1971. Information on tickets to this show will be available at a later date.

US Tour

The band will then play 9 shows in August and September including the Greek Theatre in LA on August 29th and Chicagoland’s Ravinia outside on September 7th before continuing the US Leg with 20+ shows in early 2019. Most dates will be going on-sale starting April 20th.

Quintessential YES 50th Anniversary album and CD

In August, Warner Bros. Records will be releasing an historical 2 CD/3 LP anthology of YES curated by band founder/singer Jon Anderson.

Live CD & DVD

There will also be released in August/September by Eagle Rock a Live CD and DVD of the band’s show from March 2017 recorded live in Manchester, UK, featuring special mixed in OE Audio by Paul Linford and Trevor Rabin.

New Music

In addition to all of the above, the band are currently hard at work, creating some stellar new recordings for their 50th Anniversary. This will be the first new music in 28 years featuring Jon Anderson/Trevor Rabin/Rick Wakeman together. It is planned these will also be available for release by the end of 2018 or early 2019.

The most successful progressive rock group of all time, 2017 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame inductees YES, was co-founded by Jon Anderson and the late Chris Squire in 1968. They went on to sell millions of units with releases such as The YES Album, Fragile, Close to The Edge, Tales From Topographic Oceans, Going For TheOne and 90125, as well as embarking on several record-breaking world tours.

Whilst Rick is predominantly associated with the ’70s “prog era” of the band (which saw YES become a worldwide stadium headliner) and Trevor associated with the ’80s “mainstream era” of the band (which furthered the band’s popularity – including the band’s biggest chart success 90125), Jon is the bridge between both factions (as he was a guiding vision of both eras). The touring band line-up is completed by two extraordinary musicians – Lee Pomeroy on bass and Louis Molino III on drums – who help to ensure that YES’ immaculate artistic legacy remains intact.

The worldwide tour with YES Featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakeman is being produced by renowned concert promoter Larry Magid, who is considered an architect and leader of the modern concert business. With over 17,000 concerts and live events to his credit and still counting, he has produced national and international tours for YES, Billy Crystal, Richard Pryor, Bette Midler, Stevie Wonder, Robin Williams, Gladys Knight, The Isley Bros., Earth Wind & Fire, ARW, Il Divo, The Allman Brothers Band, Patti LaBelle, Grover Washington Jr. and many others. In 1985 Larry Magid, co- produced the American portion of Live Aid, and in 2005, he was the American producer of Live 8. In 2001, he produced the United We Stand concert at RFK Stadium to benefit the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Confirmed 2018 YES Featuring Anderson, Rabin, Wakeman US Tour Dates (First Leg):

For Specific On-Sale dates and times, tickets, tour and VIP Information, go to: www.YESfeaturingARW.com

Sun, Aug 26 Los Angeles, CA Whisky a Go Go
Mon, Aug 27 San Diego, CA Humphrey’s By The Bay
Wed, Aug 29 Los Angeles, CA Greek Theatre
Fri, Aug 31 Phoenix, AZ Celebrity Theatre
Sat, Sept 1 Las Vegas, NV Westgate Resort & Casino
Mon, Sept 3 Denver, CO Levitt Pavilion
Wed, Sept 5 Milwaukee, WI Riverside Theater
Fri, Sept 7 Chicago, IL Ravinia
Sat, Sept 8 Northfield, OH Hard Rock Live
Sun, Sept 9 Huber Heights, OH Rose Music Center
PLUS ADDITIONAL DATES TO BE ANNOUNCED SOON!
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Winterfylleth – “The Hallowing Of Heirdom”

698025Winterfylleth are one of my favorite atmospheric black metal bands. Their approach to their music and their concepts are all quite progressive. Their new album “The Hallowing Of Heirdom” shows that the band are willing to explore the more mellow, acoustic folk side of their music.

In many ways, it reminds me of when Opeth released “Damnation.” While many people at the time called it a “departure,” the music on the album was based around one side of Opeth’s music. “The Hallowing Of Heirdom” is the same way for Winterfylleth. The tracks are acoustic and the percussion is minimal. The vocals are all clean. And this is something the band has incorporated into their songs in the past.

It shows the depth of what Winterfylleth is capable of. The whole album is absolutely beautiful. I can picture pine trees blowing in the wind on a bright day (“Æcerbot”). Other times a cold evening by a fire (“Embers”). The band is very in touch with nature and it really shines through on this release.

Downsides? Well there’s perhaps more instrumental tracks than I would like. I love the vocals and the harmonies so it’s just a minor complaint. I don’t care for the female voice on “The Nymph” reading poetry. It’s not bad mind you. It just isn’t something I tend to like.

“The Hallowing Of Heirdom” is definitely an album that prog fans should give a listen to. It’s sheer beauty will please even the harshest of critics…because there are no harsh vocals. Who knows what Winterfylleth will do next? Opeth went back to their more balanced prog death metal before going full on prog rock. Winterfylleth clearly have the talent to do all of that and more.

Rating: 9.5/10

Tracklist:
1. The Shepherd
2. Frithgeard
3. Æcerbot
4. Halgemonath
5. Elder Mother
6. Embers
7. A Gleeman’s Volt
8. Latch to a Grave
9. The Nymph
10. On-Cýdig
11. Resting Tarn 02:40
12. The Hallowing of Heirdom

Label: Candlelight/Spinefarm
Bandcamp: winterfylleth.bandcamp.com/album/the-hallowing-of-heirdom

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Crone – “Godspeed”

a3839608597_16Secrets of the Moon have become one of my favorite bands. I love the fact that they have indeed progressed over the years and their last album “Sun” was more melodic than ever and a bit of a departure. I’ll admit I didn’t know about Crone, the side project of Phil “sG” Jonas and after hearing the new Crone album “Godspeed,” I think that “Sun” makes more sense. I have some additional context I suppose.

There are literally 2 parts of “Godspeed” that I don’t care for. One is an over used sample of a hysterical woman on the track “The Perfect Army.” The other is the spoken word in the middle of the epic title track. Without those, this is a perfect album. It’s really that simple. These are great songs, expertly played and arranged.

Some people might not care for sG’s vocals but for me they fit the post-metal/post-punk style. Jaz Coleman of Killing Joke isn’t a perfect singer either but his voice FITS the music. The same is true right here. And there’s a theme to “Godspeed.” Each song is about a real life person who met with an untimely demise. So the title is quite appropriate.

Some examples:

“‘The Ptilonist’ is about inventor and parachuting pioneer Franz Reichelt who jumped to his death from the Eiffel Tower while testing a wearable parachute of his own design. ‘H’ pays homage to stage actress Peg Entwistle who, in 1932, jumped to her death from the giant letter ‘H’ on California’s famous Hollywood sign.”

So this is not exactly a happy album lyrically or even musically. It’s very melodic and quite dark. The guitar solos are absolutely epic through out the album. Check out the end of one of my favorite tracks “Mother Crone” for an example. That should be a single as should “Demmin.” Both are incredible tracks!

It would be easy to compare Crone to Secrets of the Moon. While that’s true to a degree, fans of bands like Katatonia, Opeth, The Chant and Crippled Black Phoenix will find much to love on “Godspeed” as well. The album has been a pleasant surprise for me and will without a doubt be one of 2018’s finest records!

Rating: 9/10

Tracklist:

1. Lucifer Valentine
2. The Ptilonist
3. Mother Crone
4. The Perfect Army
5. Leviathan’s Lifework
6. H (She’s Not Dead, She is a Ghost)
7. Demmin
8. Godspeed

Label: Prophecy Productions
Release Date: 13 April 2018
Bandcamp: crone-de.bandcamp.com/album/godspeed

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HeKz – “Invicta”

28279317_10160355280930508_1273209201370104917_nUK prog metallers HeKz are another one of those bands that I’ve been meaning to check out in more detail but just haven’t had the time to do so. I’ve heard bits and pieces of their first two albums but I finally have a more formal introduction with this review of their third album, “Invicta.” While it’s common to compare many “traditional” prog metal bands with Dream Theater, HeKz isn’t quite the same as DT. They are technical for sure but the vibe is more in line with countrymen Haken, in my opinion.

The main issue I have is that while I do think “Invicta” is a good album, after many listens, it’s just a good album. The musicianship is solid but never overblown, the vocals are also solid but somewhat limited, and the songs just aren’t as hook laden as I would have preferred.

In many ways, HeKz remind me of Evergrey. They are quite good at what they do but I’m not blown away by it. That’s not to say that I don’t think it’s of high quality. Bassist Matt Young has a good voice but his upper range can be a bit strained and limited at times. Yet he sounds great in his mid range. The start “Line in the Sand” is a good example of how good his mid range is. Drummer Kirk Brandham kicks some ass all the way thru “Invicta” in the same way that Scott Rockenfield drives Queensrÿche along.

Stylewise, HeKz can be compared to power metal and prog metal, they walk the line a bit. They even incorporate a more bluesy metal style on tracks like “Trecena.” It’s a bit slinky and yet just off-kilter enough to be prog. Yes the album still has an epic in “The Devil’s Coin” which wouldn’t sound out of place on an Ayreon album. Tracks like “Quetzlcoatl” (what?) and “The Light Fantastic” are upbeat, ass kicker tracks that will sound good live.

“Invicta” is an album that I think other people may enjoy more than I do. Maybe my expectations were too high going in? Regardless, HeKz are a good band that make good music. With the sheer volume of music that I listen to, it takes a lot to REALLY impress me now. “Invicta” is close but not quite there for me. Maybe HeKz has a masterpiece to come.

Rating: 7/10

Tracklist:
1. Quetzlcoatl (6:08)
2. For Our Lives (4:13)
3. The Light Fantastic (4:44)
4. To The Lions (5:10)
5. Ultimatum (6:07)
6. Line in the Sand (9:42)
7. Trecena (4:49)
8. Pariah (4:12)
9. The Devil’s Coin (15:03)
10. Victorious (5:39)

Label: BMH Audio
Release Date: 20 April 2018
Website: www.hekztheband.com 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/hekztheband

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Hypno5e/A Backward Glance on a Travel Road – “Alba – Les Ombres Errantes”

pel082_cover_digital_mediumProg bands should take left turns from time to time. It’s what makes them “progressive.” The last album by French band Hypno5e was insane. “Shores of the Abstract Line” was epic, atmospheric and over the top. So how could they top it? Well this is not what you would expect them to do. Not only is “Alba – Les Ombres Errantes” an acoustic based soundtrack to a movie but the band is performing under the name “A Backward Glance on a Travel Road.”

So technically this is NOT the next Hypno5e album because I guess it’s not actually a Hypno5e album at all. However, it does SOUND like one. To be fair “Shores of the Abstract Line” sounded like a soundtrack as well with plenty of samples, dialogue and a concept. This album has dialogue of course, and as I am known for not liking talking on albums, it is a bit annoying to me. It was the one thing I didn’t care for about “Shores of the Abstract Line.”

This is Hypno5e dialing their sound back and really focusing on the mood they can create. The songs are often long and thus the album clocks in at a hefty 75 minutes. Once the songs get past the dialogue, they are quite good! “Night On The Petrifed Sea” is a perfect example. After a minute and a half of music that backs up dialogue, the band kick in with the song. Songs like “The Wandering Shadows” have beautiful strings that just add to the power of a seemingly simple track. They aren’t simple really.

With it being acoustic, it’s interesting to hear just how technically great the band is. Anyone can crank the amps up and cover their mistakes with volume. Yes this is acoustic but it’s also VERY technical at times. The music has all the influences they are known for: folk, latin, and yes modern prog metal. Can a band still be metal with only acoustic guitars? I think Hypno5e as A Backward Glance on a Travel Road can be!

“Alba – Les Ombres Errantes” is more than a soundtrack album really. The album stands on its own. This is not background music at all. These are songs that are accompanied by some dialogue and sound clips. Were it not for those clips, I’d rate this album higher. Hypno5e have proven they have no boundaries regardless of what they call themselves or what style they play.

Rating: 8/10

Tracklist:
1. Who Wakes Up From This Dream Does Not Bear My Name
2. Cuarto Del Alba
3. L’ombre Errante
4. Night On The Petrifed Sea
5. Ghosts – The Wandering Shadows
6. Los Heraldos Negros
7. Ojos Azules
8. Calling
9. Agua
10. Light Of Desert And The Shadows Inside

Label: Pelagic Records
Release Date: April 6, 2018
Website: www.hypno5e.com
Bandcamp: hypno5e.bandcamp.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/hypno5e

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Godsticks Announce European Live Dates

Godsticks Photo - credit Eleanor Jane

Photo credit: Eleanor Jane

 

Welsh rockers Godsticks have announced more European dates for 2018. Vocalist Darran Charles comments, ‘we’ve been privileged enough to have travelled all over Europe many times over the last 10 years, opening for such great acts as The Pineapple Thief, The Aristocrats, and Mike Keneally. So to finally get the opportunity to present 90 minutes of our own music at a headline show is very exciting indeed!’

 

May is set to be an extremely busy month for the band, as in addition to the European tour they’re heading out to Marseille in France to play the 2018 Prog’Sud Festival. Godsticks will be appearing on the first day of the festival which begins on the 10th of May.

 

Darran adds, ‘we’re hoping that the many people that came out to see us during all those tours will come out to see our headline shows. We intend to make them very special and will be performing tracks from our entire back catalogue, some of which have never been performed live. Rehearsals are already under way and we’re champing at the bit to get out there!’ 

 

Godsticks released their latest album ‘Faced With Rage’ last year on Kscope and recently shared a video for “Angry Concern”.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE

 

Godsticks 2018 Tour Poster

31 March 2018  Fusion Festival – Stourport, England

04 May 2018 Buffalo Bar – Cardiff, Wales

05 May 2018 Camden Assembly – London, England

10 May 2018 Prog Sud Festival – Marseille, France

18 May 2018 Colosseum – Genk, Belgium

19 May 2018 MTC – Cologne, Germany

20 May 2018 De Boerderij – Zoetermeer, Netherlands

Ticket details: https://www.godsticks.co.uk/gigs

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Rank ‘Em: Voivod studio albums

Voivod is one of my all-time favorite bands. A discussion with my good friends Russ and Rod led me to decide it was time to try to rank Voivod’s studio albums. I knew this would be hard since I love ALL of their albums. I also decided to include their latest EP “Lost Society” since it has some amazing music on it and should not be overlooked! Voivod is releasing a new album later this year so this list is only good until then. So let’s get started!

14. Rrröööaaarrr
13. War and Pain
The first two Voivod albums are very raw. Away has said that other than Piggy, none of them really knew what they were doing. Both are quiet different from what would follow but each have their place. They are relatively interchangeable but remain at the bottom.

 

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12. Katorz
For whatever reason, I think “Katorz” has slightly weaker songs on it. It’s still good but I wouldn’t call it great. Given that Piggy was dying at the time, it’s a tough listen for me.

 

11. Target Earth
10. Post Society EP
The post Piggy era has Dan “Chewy” Mongrain on guitar and he does a great job channeling Piggy. I think “Target Earth” is a really good album but if “Post Society” were a full length album it would rank A LOT higher. It shows that Dan is gelling with the band and the addition of Rocky on bass seems to be working as well.

 

9. Negatron
8. Phobos
The two albums with Eric Forrest on bass and vocals are also interchangeable for me. I like “Phobos” a bit more but unlike many people, I think “Negatron” is an awesome album. Of the two, “Phobos” could slide up a notch or two but without Snake, it’s not QUITE the same.

 

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7. Voivod
The self titled album marked the return of Snake and had Jason Newsted on bass for the first of three albums. The band sound rejuvenated and this album has some killer grooves. My only real fault is that it wasn’t as weird as I might have liked.

 

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6. Infini
Of the three albums with Newsted, I actually like “Infini” the best. It was a bit odder sounding to me which was more like the Voivod I loved. Piggy was gone but he recorded a lot of material so the band could release more music. This is him returning from the dead in style.

 

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5. Killing Technology
This album was the game changer for Voivod. It was as if they realized who they were going to be all of a sudden. Yes it’s still a bit raw like the first 2 albums but the songs are incredible and yes weird as fuck. This one can move up a slot sometimes two and maybe down one at times.

 

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4. Angel Rat
This album catches WAY too much shit. The band used Rush producer Terry Brown and he had the band maybe more focused than before but it works. “Clouds in My House” is one of my favorite songs by the band and there are tons of great songs on this album. It could use a remaster/remix however to give it an update. This album can slid up one and maybe down one but I usually have it around this position.

 

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3. Dimension Hatröss
A classic for sure. “Dimension Hatröss” completed the band’s transition to progressive metal. Yes they still thrash some but it was clear by this point who they were and how dangerous they could be. Many people would probably rank this as their favorite. I can’t rank it any higher because my top two are in stone.

 

2. Nothingface
1. The Outer Limits
These are easily my two favorite Voivod albums and ALWAYS in this order. “Nothingface” has their classic cover of Pink Floyd’s “Astronomy Domine” while “The Outer Limits” has another Floyd cover with “The Nile Song” PLUS the band’s longest song, the 17 plus minute “Jack Luminous.” Both albums are two of my all time favorite albums by anyone and I would label each as ESSENTIAL. My hope is that both get a nice remaster the way that their older albums have gotten.

So that’s it. If you’ve never listened to Voivod, hopefully this gives you a place to start. If you are a fan of this great band, I would love to see your list!

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