TotD: Pallas – Harvest Moon

At the highlight of Neo progressive rock, bands like Marillion and IQ got a lot of attention, and other bands followed at a very close distance. One of these bands was Pallasa band with a slightly louder, slightly more guitar oriented hook to their music. Like many others, they have survived until today, and are still actively releasing new material.

Pallas wearewhoweare

Their latest album wearewhoweare was released in December 2014, and shows a band that has ‘progressed away’ somewhat from the classic 1980s neo sound without loosing its identity. Here’s one track of it, a full review together with my good friend Bruce Waren at CarayzeeDiamond will appear in the next two weeks.

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=537606556 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false artwork=small track=1722466262]

L’Albero del Veleno – Le Radici del Male

A black, white and red cover of this album shows a drawing of the poison tree, L’Albero del Veleno. This is the debut album Le Radici del Male (The Roots of Evil) of this Italian band. L’Albero del Veleno started out as a duo, with Claudio Miniati  on drums and Nadin Petricelle on piano and keyboards. They were aiming to create instrumentals inspired by horror movie soundtracks of the ’60s and ’70s. To make this work, they recorded some soundtracks that were never released by the Italian director Lucio Fulci. For this, they formed a band with 5 members. Later, they added a sixth and started recording their own music.


Next to the two founders, the band is formed by Lorenzo Picchi (guitar), Andrea Andreucetti (bass), Franseco Catoni (violin) and Marco Brenzini (flute). Not a typical rock ensemble, but one that fits the music of this band – movie soundtracks with an occasional hint of classical music. This 6-piece is responsible for the contenst of Le Radici del Male.

Dove Danzano le Streghe (Where the witches dance) is the opening track of the album. It starts with dark synthesizer sounds accompanied by a flute. They are joined briefly by the violin, leading into a wild witches dance. The support of heavy guitar, pumping bass and pounding drums makes the witches swirl. When things calms down, the keyboards and drums lead us out of the forest, with the violin singing softly.

After this comes …e Resta il Respire (The breath remains). This starts with a keyboard piece in 6/8 accompanied by the flute and violin. A soon as the drums and guitar join, the beat changes and the music becomes dark and haunting. After a slower part in the middle (keys and drums only) it speeds up again into a piece that is equally dark as the witches dance, but very different in nature.

In contrast, Prezenze dal Passato, the third track on the album, is almost a sweet song. Almost classical piece, with only melancholic keyboards and violin.

After this come two much heavier and far from melancholic tracks. Un Altro Giorno die Terrore is nearly metal, with the guitar in charge instead of the keyboards or violin. The combination of flute, violin and guitar on this track works quite well. For this piece, a bonus video is included, in the form of a short horror movie. The music and video fit together nicely, but may give an initial online listener (the video is on Youtube) a wrong impression of the band. When I had a friend listen to it, she immediately thought this was a metal band. 

The second of the two heavy tracks is Due Anima Nella Notte (Two Souls in the Night), that starts with a staccato bass notes, and then slowly builds up into a dragging, haunting piece – with the staccato opening rhythm as a recurring theme.

The climax of the album is entitled Al di La’ Del Sogno… L’Incubo Riaffora. Online material on the band and the album clarifies that this 12 minute piece actually consists of four pieces based of music from movies. All of these by the bands favourite director Lucio Fulci, in cooperation with the composer Fabio Frizzi. This is a real horror movie soundtrack as the band’s founders had in mind, I recommend not playing this on headphones with the lights out on a dark stormy night…

This album needed some time to sink in, but my daily car routes helped in that – I just played it for a week and found the click. For prog fans who love soundtrack like music with a classic edge, or those who like dark, symphonic Italian prog this album is worth checking out.

TotD: Murky Red – Wild Flower

Way down in the country of friendly people, great beer, good food and smurfs (Belgium, if you didn’t get that already) live the members of a band called Murky Red. I’ve reviewed their first album Time doesn’t Matter recently, released already in 2013. Meanwhile, band leader Stef Flaming has been working on a project called Transmission Rails, covered his own Boots for Hire on the Corvus Stone II album, and is working on a solo album. He apparently also tried to organise a barbecue party with only a virtual barbecue. Luckily a famous Dutch sous-chef, who goes by the name of his girlfriend when online, was there to save the day (and his own ass, as insiders know).

This year a new album is due, and the band just released the first single online – a nice chance to make it Track-of-the-Day. That is also a look-ahead to a new thing that I am planning for this site – something to do with ‘big ones’ and ‘small ones’.

EDIT: The following comment on this clip deserves to be here and not hidden in the marshes of Facebook…

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 20.58.15

TotD: King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black

The very first progressive rock album according to many is King Crimon‘s debut In the Court of the Crimson King. They made many albums afterwards, in many line ups, with Robert Fripp as the only constant – the founder and owner of the band. Each line up, and each album of this band is different, and Fripp has always been exploring the edges of what has (not) been done in the genre.

This Track of the Day is one of theirs that shows how experimental KC could be – Starless and Bible Black, from the 1974 album of the same title.

ToYD: Dream Theater – Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding

Yesterday I was ill, so there was no track of the day. Therefore, with a short delay, a Track of YesterDay.

I was a fan of Dream Theater from the day I heard When Dream and Day Unite, in 1989. I stopped following them around 1997, but they delivered quite bit of good music in these 8 years. One of the albums that always stuck with me is A Change of Seasons, filled largely with covers of the band members own favourite bands. One choice there surprised me at the time, but is also one of my favourite Dream Theater tracks since I first heard it. I even used it as ‘energizer’ on the ride home after work for a while: the Elton John cover Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding. Enjoy….

TotD: Ayreon – Ayreon’s Fate

Arjen Anthony Lucassen is a special man. Guitarist, producer, composer and master mind behind projects such as Ayreon, Stream of Passion, Star One, Ambeon and Guilt Machine. Born in The Netherlands, and still living there, Arjen manages to cooperate with artists from all over the world, creating works that are hard to perform live (mainly due to the diversity of musicians), but leave a lasting impression on many listeners. To find out what he has come up with, check out the discographies of the projects above.As a starting point, although not representative for all his project, try this track of the day – the closing track of the first Ayreon album The Final Experiment, from 1995….

Oh, and this year, he is embarking on a short acoustic tour with Anneke van Giersbergen, under the name Gentle Storm, a very busy man indeed.

TotD: Aphrodite’s Child – The Four Horsemen

Today Artemios “Demis” Ventouris Roussos died, aged 68. Known by many for his solo works, as a singer, and his kaftans, he was also once the bass player and guitarist of rock band Aphrodites Child, in which he worked with the still famous Evengelio Odyssey Papathanassiou (Vangelis). The track The Four Horsemen of their album 666 is a fitting farewell to the big man.


Thank you all!

I started this blog over a year ago, and didn’t put much on it – until I started actively posting (progressive) rock album reviews and shortly after a ‘track of the day’ every day. On January 4th, I added a statistics counter to my web site, so I could keep track of visitors. Turns out things are going pretty well: where the statistics showed 29 visitors in the first week it was installed, I am now at 400 per week, and a 1000 visits in total (excluding my own test visits).

Thanks for coming here, thanks for coming back as well! Prog on!


TotD: The Doors – The End

The Doors are not a progressive rock band, but definitely have had their influence on many a progressive rock band since 1970. Headed by the charismatic, strange and willful Jim Morrison, they released six albums between 1967 and 1971, when Morrision died at age 27. Rock, blues, and jazz influences characterise the music of this band, driven by the organs of Ray Manzarek and the guitar of Robby Krieger, carried by the drums of John Densmore – and haunting the audience through the lyrics and vocals of Morrison.

The track of the day today is The End, which made the band controversial from the day their first album was released, due to the theme of the lyrics.