Track of the day: Fish on Friday – Godspeed

In 2009, two Belgian guys, William Beckers and Frank van Bogaert, got together and formed the duo Fish on FridayBy 2014, their band consists of 5 people, including born American guitarist Marty Townsend, British bass player Nick Becks and a third Belgian on drums, Marcus Weymaere. The latter appears to wear the same brand of glasses I do, which is as irrelevant as it is true.


This quintet is responsible for the 2014 release Godspeed, which is quite well received – and for good reason. Today, they are Track-of-the-day, and I choose the title track of their album for this. Enjoy – as you always do!

Track of the Day: Elephants of Scotland – Amber Waves

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=4262138049 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false artwork=small track=871468151]

Track-of-the-day was on a short unplanned hiatus of three days due to some pending reviews and the announcement of Angelo’s Rock Orphanage, but I’m back! Today all credits go to Elephants of Scotland, an American band, formed by four musicians who’ve been active since the 1980s in other bands.



The band started working together in 2012, resulting in a debut album Home Away from Home in 2013, followed by Execute and Breath in 2014 and a live CD/DVD Good Morning, Gettysburg, containing recordings of their well-received gig at RoSFest 2014.

Today’s track of the day is Amber Waves from their Execute and Breath album. A very nice composition, in the best prog tradition. Enjoy! – as usual.


Unreal City – Il paese del tramonto

Symphonic progressive rock has been one of Italy’s many successful export products for years. Even though I am not one of the people who literally make it into a daily consumption, I have enjoyed my share of progressive rock from Italy the past couple of years. It’s not difficult to appreciate the older bands there, like Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, Premiata Formeria Marconi (PFM) or Museo Rosenbach.unrealcity

When I was actively monitoring Unsigned Bands on ProgArchives, I also got to know bands like I Pennelli di Vermeer, who took a completely new angle on progressive music by mixing symphonic rock with ska and musical style things, and J’Accuse…!, who took a more psychedelic than symphonic approach.

And now, with Unreal City, there is another young band that makes me feel glad the country from which my name originates has entered my collection. This time, it is a band that is rooted very much in symphonic, keyboard oriented rock that we know from the seventies, but who manage to completely overhaul it to a 21st century sound and structure – and quite succesfully so.

As can be expected, the leading role in the compositions of this band go to the keyboards and guitar – played by band founder Emanuele Tarasconi and Francesca Zanneta. They cannot exist without the rhythmic foundation of Dario Pessina (bass) and Frederico Bedostri (succeeded by Andrea Gardani after recordings of this album were finished).

The music that Unreal City presents on this album is contains everything from melancholic piano pieces, to almost ELP-like craziness, and from folk like tunes to full blown rock. All of this pieced together in 7 tracks, varying in length from 5 up to 20 minutes.

The instrumental opening Overture: Obscurus fio already contains a lot of the above. A rhythm pulse laid down by the drums and bass seems to drive the keyboards, only interrupted briefly for a guitar solo.

On Oniromanzia  the keyboards lead once again, from the start, but soon quiet down to let Emanuele demonstrate his fine Italian his voice. After an organ solo we are treated to some full blown rock before Emanuele returns to complete the story he is telling in the (unfortunately for me Italian) lyrics. A similar build up, yet still a completely different song, is shown in Caligari, another great rock piece – that invites to turn up the volume. After that, La Meccanica dell’ombro starts in a more folky fashion – containing both Greekish folk tunes, as well as middle eastern tunes on the keyboards and guitar. After an emotional piece of singing, the keyboards once again explode to finish off the song.

Then on Il Nome de Lei, for the first time the guitar is the leading instrument, with two very tasteful solos by Francesca, that seamelessly go in and out of the vocal parts. This serves as a relatively relaxed intro to the rockiest track on the album, Lo Schermo di Pietra. Bombastic, with whirlwinds of drums and keyboards, but also with a soft, piano accompanied vocal part hidden in the middle. This is easily my favourite song, and I would love to see Emanuel pull of the keyboards and vocals (interacting with each other in the finale).

The finale of the album itself is a 20 minute epic called Ex Tenebrae Lux. This one requires a good listen – but there is no background music on this album anyway. Great vocals, nice interaction between guitar and keyboards and once again a mix of ELP-like keyboard punishment interleave with quieter parts. To top it off, Francesca lets here mellotron have the last word.

I’ll be missing out on Unreal City‘s gig in ‘t Blok in Nieuwerkerk, but I hope to catch them later this year in Antwerp. I need to see and hear this come to live.

Pallas – Wearewhoweare (duo review)

This review is a special one – a duo review by Angelo Hulshout and Bruce W. Waren. It appears on both their blogs, as linked above. We’ve choosen to not write a combined review, but instead to merge two reviews. We added our names in front of the sections we each wrote, for clarity – with the effect that all tracks are discussed twice.

Pallas wearewhoweare

Angelo Pallas have been part of the progressive rock scene since 1974, but only became really known when their first album Arrive Alive appeared in 1981. After being absent, at least album release wise, since 1986, they’ve been quite active again since the late 1990s. With singer Paul Mackie replacing Alan Reed after 26 years in 2010, the band seems to have entered into a new phase of its life cycle, with a fresh record deal with Music Theory/Mascot records under the belt, the second of which is this wearewhoware.

[bandcamp width=350 height=753 album=537606556 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5]

Bruce: Shadow of the Sun – Superb sonics and beats begin the Album with Stellar vocals. The Story  is about being in the Shadow of the Sun. Upbeat and positive with some fantastic vocals and lyrics.  Living in the Shadow of the Sun under the most dire of circumstances.

Angelo: Shadow of the sun starts with some keyboards and effects, but quickly a pumping bassline and guitar lead take over – with the keys joining in again. The voice of Paul Mackie is quite different form what Alan Reed did in the past, his somewhat higher pitched voice gives this track a nice heavy rock feel. His singing emphasises the drama of the main characeter in the song moving on to a ‘new life’. The instrumental ending fits very nicely with that.

Bruce: New Life – A lyrical masterpiece that speaks of our problems, self absorbed, yet it’s our life to do as we choose.  Hauntingly beautiful vocals, great guitar riffs and spot on percussion section gives this song brillance.

Angelo: This track is mainly driven by the keyboards and brilliant drums, accompanying the drama and emotion of the vocals – singing about finding the beautiful things in life. The guitars join in briefly half way, and come back for a great solo at the end.

Bruce: Harvest Moon – Change of pace, yet has the hauntingly beautiful vocals & lyrics, almost a chanting soleloquy.  Time change occurs, perfection, throaty yet not guteral chant along with a bible tune chant which works like a swiss watch movement adding to the mistique of the song. Yet another time change with some stellar guitar riffs & the song is over, leaving one wanting more of this excellent song.

Angelo: On Harvest Moon, the vocals become haunting, over a slow, rhythm that makes you feel something bad is going to happen. The same feeling I got recently with Edison’s Children‘s Morphlux… The vocals tell the story of a character using the bible to protect himself from the horrors that happen at harvest moon, when the bird-beast is around. They are countered by a horror movie like voice half way, after which a bombastic, fitting instrumental follows. The instrumental ending, with only the voices of angels singing remaining ends this scaringly good song. Did I mention the bass on this album is brilliant?

Bruce: And I Wonder Why – A definite change of pace, more towards the Rock realm . Excellent sonics, lyrcs and vocals.  You will be blown away by the riffs and the percussion section is very spot on! That’s four Rocking songs to begin this Album.

Angelo: Telling the story of a character leaving his little angel, perhaps a child, And I Wonder Why, is a very nice composition. A slow intro, a bass driven rhtyhm and guitar and vocals alternating creates an atmosphere that breaths drama, and sometimes anger and despair. The ending, where despair seems to take over results in an increase in speed, culminating in a keyboard whirlwind and an almost metal like guitar solo. A perfect build up if ever there was one.

Bruce: Dominion – Dark theme at the start but it’s refreshing, almost relieving, with great vocals, sonics & lyrics. It speaks of Love having dominion & rebuilding Jerusalem when the time sig changes to a more upbeat, Rocking tune that will have you in Superb thought patterns. Very captivating song that will have you on the edge of your seat. A nine + minute epic of utter bliss.

Angelo: If drums can haunt, they certainly do it at the start of Dominion, where they accompany a voice that sings about love and the building of Jerusalem. The lyrics on the album seem to tell a story, but I need more time to figure it out, this is an album to last in that respect. This track, the longest of the album, is almost a mini epic, with changes in mood, tempo and instrumentation. The instrumental pieces half way – keyboards and guitar, later piano, and then a guitar driven piece, show what 40 years of composing and playing can lead to. Another great track.

Bruce: Wake Up Call – Again, I cannot over-emphasize hauntingly Rocking as an adjective to describe this Album and also that can be used as accolades.  A unique song sonic wise and lyrically, vocally and percussion-wise. The lyrics are deep, so deep that I would call this an ultimate song for folks who enjoy Albums that require thought and a thought journey into the outer bounderies of your consiousness.

Angelo: It is time we wake up and stop hurting ourselves, society and our planet. That seems to be the message of Wake up call. A track in which a gloomy, rhythm lies underneath the versus, and goes on into what builds up into a wall of sound during the choruses. The drummer is the ruler on this one for sure.

Bruce: In Cold Blood – Starts off with a cool slow groove, time sig change and then an upbeat, rocking song called Winter is Coming, another uplifting thought process sonics even though the lyrics & vocals have a dark theme.  This dark/light conrast song is brilliantly written and delivers a very powerful performance.  The excellent contrast is also shown by changes in sonics, percussion , if not time sig changed per say.  A beautiful song by any definition and one you will want in your library.  The change between In Cold Blood and Winter is Coming is practically unnoticeable unless one is right there to see the track change.

Angelo: The shortest track of the album, with mainly keyboards and vocals, In Cold Blood, tells about a dream. A relaxed, nicely written point of rest in this album. It is followed directly by one more, song about dealing with each other and our world, Winter is coming. The dark opening fits is followed by a piece of music that is easily the best on this album. The way the bass and guitar appear, after being quiet for a short while is almost as if Rush have taken possesson of Pallas, but without the latter using their own signature. Fabulous ending of the album.

Bruce: wearewhoweare Megamix – The namesake song for the Album and they saved a tremendous offering for the last. Just an utterly Brilliant Album with some powerful riffs, some excellently deep lyrics and spot on vocals.  Time Sig changes, changes in song complexion with sublime sonics and would you die for our souls?  This song kind of hauntingly goes over the entire album with a sublime outlook and an upbeat feeling that will have you on your seat with it’s changes, whether in the sonics or the vocals and naturally deep subject matter.

Angelo: The wearewhoweare megamix gives an overview of what is on the album. A nice add on bonus.

Bruce: Pallas in an interview said that they don’t consider themselves a straight Prog Band if I remember correctly but this Album has every element a Prog Album has to have. The songs have time signature changes, they tell a story & I’ve heard many different tine signature changes and I don’t recall any of them being 4/4, but I could be wrong…….That, my friend is either Prog or it’s the absolutely one of the Best Rock Albums I’ve ever heard.

Angelo: With wearewhoweare Pallas have returned to my regular listens, I lost track of them after The Wedge, at least as a listener. After hearing this, I’m definitely going to check out, finally, XXV as well, and then wait for their third album on this not-so-new-anymore record deal. Highly recommended, and glad to hear that band that was thought to be dying or dead for years is still around in this manner.

Bruce: Current band members:

  • Ronnie Brown – keyboards (1980–present)

  • Niall Mathewson – guitars (1980–present)

  • Graeme Murray – bass (1980–present)

  • Colin Fraser – drums (1998–present)

  • Paul Mackie – vocals (2010–present)

Album review: Tony Patterson & Brendan Eyre – Northlands

Tony Patterson and Brendan Eyre were both born in North East England, and both have a broad musical background. In 2012, they released an album Out Of An Ancient World, which was so well received it won them the Best Newcomer award at the 2012 Classic Rock Society Awards.


After this, they started thinking about a concept album describing their beloved North East England, which resulted in Northlands, an album that tells the tale of someone returning to the North East after so many years. The memories, good and bad, the beauty of the landscape and the unfinished business of the character are the drivers for the music. Without a story line to follow, and an album that is largely instrumental, it is hard to tell what the this character experiences exactly along the way. However, the music invites to sit back, relax and let your own version of the story unfold in your mind.

The opening track Northbound, with it’s 24 minutes and subdivision into 7 separate pieces already is a story in itself. There are some lyrics here, that indicate this is about the trip north, probably entering the North East. The complete epic builds up from a piano piece, a flute, to a choir and then a full orchestra with strings and a horn (I think). The two vocal pieces, Take the Safe Way and I Recall make clear why Tony Patterson once sang in the Genesis tribute band ReGenesis, yet he does not attempt to be a copy of Peter Gabriel here. The vocal harmonies on I recall, accompanied by a haunting keyboard are beautiful. At the end, the piece returns to the intro – had this been the full album we’d be heading south again.

After this one long track, 8 shorter ones follow, some instrumental, some with vocals, and although the basis is always in the beautiful keyboard and piano work of Brendan Eyre, they are quite varied. A Picture in Time for example builds up from a dreamy keyboard piece with female vocals in the background to a fully orchestrated piece with these vocals rising in volume as a less psychedelic Great Gig in the Sky. After that it goes back to the more dreamy keyboard pattern, but with drums and (very well played) bass joining in. This contrasts with the short piano piece And the River Flows (with slightly Peter Gabriel like vocals again), which is followed by a jazzy piece with excellent piano work by Brendan Eyre, A Rainy Day on Dean Street – with some nice saxophone and horn work by Fred Arlington added.

The following Legacy I described in my notes as film music. It starts with a piano that seems to mimic a clock, while a guitar in the background makes the noises of a long train rolling by. This suddenly changes into a dreamy (again!) piano and flute piece, which then powers up by the addition of percussion. The percussion keeps the clock/train pattern alive underneath the other instruments, mainly the flute of John Hackett. The final part of this track is orchestrated to the extend that it would fit under a movie of a flight over the North East English landscape. A sound effect at the end brings back the image of a train disappearing on the horizon.

I Dare to Dream is a mellow piece, with relaxed vocals and an undertone of happiness. The backing vocals are a bit Pink Floyd like, and the piano is in the instrumental lead once again. This is almost a relaxed prelude to So Long the Day, in my opinion the best track of the album, featuring Steve Hackett (John’s brother) on guitar. This track, features Peter Gabriel style vocals, with excursions to Pink Floyd (Roger Waters’ era), excellent bass playing, Hackett’s guitar work, but also a short piece of Spanish guitar, once again the piano and flute. All of this is used to divide the 6.5 minutes long song into short pieces, in Peter Gabriel era Genesis style, without making it a Genesis rip off. I love it, from the first piano note of the intro to the last note of the guitar solo that ends it.

To bring the listener, or at least me, back to his senses the album closes with a short, relaxed piano piece, A Sense of Place – the sound of seagulls at the end.

This album is not perfect, very few are, but it’s definitely a well executed piece of music. Everything fits, and it allows for intent listening, if not requiring it. A bit more vocal guidance through the story would help get the concept clearer, but as I said – dreaming up your own story is a good possibility now. Also a few more excursions from the evenly tempo of the music than just A Rainy Day on Dean Street and So Long the Day would’ve made the album a bit more exiting, perhaps also rockier.

All in all, I had never heard of Tony Patterson and Brendan Eyre before I received this album in the mail and I’m glad I know them now. This is one to cherish and listen again every once in a while, on a quiet evening, with a nice glass of wine and your feet on the table.

Angelo’s Rock Orphanage – how about that?




The big ones were small too, once. Drawing by Sonia Mota – click for high larger version.

Having been a rock, hard rock and metal fan since the mid 1980s, when I was around 13 years old, I have enjoyed quite a few of the well known artists and albums. No stranger to Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, but also a life time fan of Rush, Marillion and Pink Floyd, I keep discovering new bands and artists all year long. Over the years, bands that fit into the definition of progressive rock have proven to be what I like. Some of these giants are actually still active – think about the recent King Crimson tour, UK touring (for the last time, but still), Rush going on a 40th anniversary tour, and Pink Floyd releasing another album after almost 50 years.

The past 3-4 months I’ve picked up on reviewing progressive rock albums, something I did a couple of times (say 50-60) before for over the last 10 years. The number of reviews is around 1-2 per week right now, and between the promo’s I receive, I find many bands that are just starting or otherwise operating in the shadows of the aforementioned giants.

In our commercially operating world, these aspiring new bands get very little attention – standing in the shadow of the big ones. Yet they deserve it, and they have to, because the giants were small too, once – as shown in the cartoon above this article (courtesy of Sonia Mota – thank you very much!).

Think of Corvus Stone, who rose from the shadows last year by their own merit, but also of those who haven’t done that yet – like Murky RedProgelandTiger Moth Tales, Tony Patterson & Brendan Eyre, or Joshua Leibowitz, and many, many more. All of them deserve to be heard, to be known, and to thrive. Not all of them may qualify as progressive rock either, but many get close – and in the end it’s all great music.

Now I don’t have the illusion to change that single handedly, but here on this web site you will find more and more attention going to these ‘little ones’ – in the form of the Track-of-the-Day, but also in album reviews and gig reports.

I hope you can all appreciate that, and spread the news, so the little ones will find a place in the spotlights too.

Track of the Day: Abel Ganz – Heartland

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=3802268949 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false artwork=small track=4030808816]

Abel Ganz is a very special band, in the sense that it has been in existence for over 3 decades (since 1980), yet none of the original band members plays on their self titled 2014 album. Quite an interesting idea, and an interesting album as well.

This track of the day Heartland is one of the varied pieces found on the album. Enjoy.

Track of the Day: Leibowitz – Cry of a Bird Part 1, Dark Houses

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=69075303 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false artwork=small track=3580193855]

Joshua Leibowitz does things by himself when it comes to music. At least, largely on his own, albeit it not completely. Occasionally a guest musician shows up, for a guitar solo or a bit of percussion. His third album The Cry of a Bird was released  on Christmas Day 2014, and is now available in a very limited digipack edition – or digitally on Bandcamp.


An album that contains pop, rock and prog influences from many directions, as shown by part 1 of the two-part title track. Enjoy!

Track of the Day: Tony Patterson & Brendan Eyre – So Long the Day

Tony Patterson and Brendan Eyre both come from North East England. Both have a history in music already when they start working together. Tony sang in ReGenesis and on Nick Magnus album n’monix, while Brendan played in multiple bands, including Riversea, and he released a solo album Ghost Ships.

After the successful release of their debut album Out of An Ancient World in 2012 they started think about follow up. That becamse Northlands, released end 2014, and sold out by January 22nd, 2015. A full review is pending, but I had to make this Track-of-the-Day, So Long The Day.

Track of the Day: Entity – L’Armatura

Italian symphonic prog bands seem to keep coming from all corners of the country. One of them is Entity, a band for which the foundations were laid in 1994 by Mauro Mulas (keyboards) and Gigi Longu (bass). Influenced by older bands like Le Orme and Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, they lay down heavily keyboard oriented symphonic prog, with heavy elements and good vocal work (in Italian)

A good example of what they’re capable of is this track L’Armatura, from their debut album Il Falso Centro, released 20 years after Mulas and Longu got together first.