Mark’s Quick Review: shob’s – Karma Obscur

Mark’s Quick Review: shob’s – Karma Obscur

France’s Shob has released an album called Karma Obscur. This is a tough album for me to review in some respects. I find that albums featuring bass players are appreciated more by people that play the bass or any instrument rather than a simple consumer of music.

This album is no different for me. When I listen to it I like it but only as background music. Not something that would ever give me goosebumps.

Shob is full of talent and the album is interesting would never be a go to album for me, but if you are a musician especially a bass player I would suggest that you give it a try.

ALBUM HIGHLIGHTS: Request Green Elephant Here

Click above to purchase at Amazon US or Amazon UK and we’ll get a little referral bonus on your whole order. Even if you don’t order this album

If you have never read the key for my ratings below please do so one time. I feel my ratings are tougher than my peers. Also Check my last.fm link to see how compatible our music tasts are.

https://www.last.fm/user/mon40/library/artists

Key:
These ratings are just attributes and may not have correlation to the most important: OVERALL RATING

PREVIOUS BAND RATING
0: Never heard of them or debut album.
2: Someone recommended. I give them another shot.
4: Some good moments in the past but never put together an album I really liked.
6: Some 4 or 5 star songs but albums can be hit or miss for me.
8: I like 80% of their songs and probably went to see them live.
10: I would, and probably have gone on a plane to see them live.

ACCESSIBILITY EXAMPLES
2: Weather Report
4: Zappa
6: Genesis – Selling England by the Pound,
8: Marillion – F.E.A.R
10: Kino – Picture

 

HEAVINESS EXAMPLES
2: IQ – Seventh House
4: Discipline – Unfold Like a Staircase
6: Porcupine Tree – In Abstentia, Shadow Gallery – Tyranny
8: Vanden Plas – Chirst 0, Dream Theater – Scenes From a Memory
10: Opeth – Black Water Park

MELODIC EXAMPLES:
2: Opeth – Black Water Park
4: Vanden Plas – Chirst 0, Dream Theater – Scenes From a Memory
6: Porcupine Tree – In Abstentia, Shadow Gallery – Tyranny
8: Discipline – Unfold Like a Staircase
10: IQ – Seventh House

OVERALL RATING:
2: Will Never listen to again and deleted under no circumstances should you buy this
4: Not my thing maybe one redeeming song.
6: I like parts of this and I would check them out if they were near me.
8: I would get in the car and road trip to see this album live
10: I would get on a plane to see this performed live

See if our likes are similar See my Last.fm Page

Mark’s Quick Reviews:  Travis Woyen’s – Echoes in the Dark

Mark’s Quick Reviews: Travis Woyen’s – Echoes in the Dark

Travis Woyen’s – Echos in the Dark showed up in our in box a few months ago. This Minnesotan who has been inspired by 70’s prog rock. Produced and and played all the instruments on this recording.

I think maybe this album would have benefited from other people’s input. For instance, the sound is not melodic, its dreary. Something is not right with the vocals. I can’t put my finger on what my problem is either they are screamed instead of sung, maybe its an effect. I think it would have made a huge difference if a less dirty sound and the vocals could carry above of the really interesting guitar work.

Click above to purchase at Amazon US or Amazon UK and we’ll get a little referral bonus on your whole order. Even if you don’t order this album

If you have never read the key for my ratings below please do so one time. I feel my ratings are tougher than my peers. Also Check my last.fm link to see how compatible our music tasts are.

https://www.last.fm/user/mon40/library/artists

Key:
These ratings are just attributes and may not have correlation to the most important: OVERALL RATING

PREVIOUS BAND RATING
0: Never heard of them or debut album.
2: Someone recommended. I give them another shot.
4: Some good moments in the past but never put together an album I really liked.
6: Some 4 or 5 star songs but albums can be hit or miss for me.
8: I like 80% of their songs and probably went to see them live.
10: I would, and probably have gone on a plane to see them live.

ACCESSIBILITY EXAMPLES
2: Weather Report
4: Zappa
6: Genesis – Selling England by the Pound,
8: Marillion – F.E.A.R
10: Kino – Picture

 

HEAVINESS EXAMPLES
2: IQ – Seventh House
4: Discipline – Unfold Like a Staircase
6: Porcupine Tree – In Abstentia, Shadow Gallery – Tyranny
8: Vanden Plas – Chirst 0, Dream Theater – Scenes From a Memory
10: Opeth – Black Water Park

MELODIC EXAMPLES:
2: Opeth – Black Water Park
4: Vanden Plas – Chirst 0, Dream Theater – Scenes From a Memory
6: Porcupine Tree – In Abstentia, Shadow Gallery – Tyranny
8: Discipline – Unfold Like a Staircase
10: IQ – Seventh House

OVERALL RATING:
2: Will Never listen to again and deleted under no circumstances should you buy this
4: Not my thing maybe one redeeming song.
6: I like parts of this and I would check them out if they were near me.
8: I would get in the car and road trip to see this album live
10: I would get on a plane to see this performed live

See if our likes are similar See my Last.fm Page

Concert Review: Between the Buried and Me, The Dear Hunter, Leprous – Ft. Lauderdale, FL 2-24-18

Concert Review: Between the Buried and Me, The Dear Hunter, Leprous – Ft. Lauderdale, FL 2-24-18

Concert: Between the Buried and Me, The Dear Hunter, Leprous
Venue: Revolution, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 3-24-18

Rare is the night in South Florida where a prog band comes to town.  Even more rare is a great bill with more than one band.  When the tour was announced for prog metal stalwarts Between the Buried along with The Dear Hunter and Leprous, the immediate thought as someone who lives in Florida was ‘well, would’ve been nice to see that show.’  Luckily, a stop was already scheduled for Ft. Lauderdale at the rock club Revolution.  In fact, BTBAM, have played this venue before, so kudos to them to coming back to a fan base thirsty for metal bands.

Upon entering the venue around 7pm, the first thing that was noticeable was a cello player on stage performing alone.  He was clearly skilled, but could he be at the wrong place?  A few minutes later, the members of Leprous took to the stage and the cello player stayed on. The band tore through songs mostly from their last 2 albums, The Congregation, and their latest, Malina. The band are a tight, in synch, machine.  Vocalist and keyboard player, Einar Solberg, exudes passion and intensity with every note, hitting impressive falsettos throughout.  Their singles “From the Flame” and “The Price” definitely struck a chord with the anxious audience, who showed up early to see this band as well.  The set concluded with the epic “Mirage,” a tour de force, power-prog track.

A band that is difficult to place in any category, The Dear Hunter, took the stage next.  Casey Crescezno and the gang went straight into the opening number “The Old Haunt” and sounded as pristine as their gloriously recorded albums.  Playing tracks mostly from Acts 3, 4 and 5, with one new song from their recent EP, the band displayed their diversity with tracks like the metal-tinged “Wait” to the Supertramp-esque “Bitter Suite  IV & V”.  “The Revival” from Act V saw the most engagement from the audience as many seemed to know every word.  Having seen the band before on headlining shows, their was a noticeable lack of banter from the band to the audience, except for a couple of times when they played some smooth jazz while tuning their guitars.  But the band was in fine form and closed with a heavenly version of “The Moon/Awake” from Act V.  While they share similar audiences with bands like Leprous and BTBAM, it was a bit strange as they ended their set, to imagine the thunderous metal that was about the hit us; quite a contrast in styles indeed.

Without wasting too much time, BTBAM hit the stage and began playing “Condemned to the Gallows” from their latest release Automata.  Immediately, the bombastic drums, razor like guitars, and guttural vocals from Tommy Rogers, decimated the crowd.  It was going to be an intense set right from the start.  The band sounded brilliant and like a fine-tuned machine.  Next came a pair of songs from Coma Ecliptic, followed by a string of songs from Automata.  Having played the entire Colors album recently on their 10th anniversary tour of the album. there were no songs played from that album.  Nevertheless, BTBAM delivered as only they know how to do.  And the audience did not seem to mind in the least, as evidence by the ever-expanding mosh pit.

This was everything a prog rock show in 2018 can be: diverse, melodic, intense, powerful, and creative.  You leave knowing that this music is in good hands with an offering for any type of fan.  More combined bills like this is what this genre needs.

https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/between-the-buried-and-me/2018/revolution-fort-lauderdale-fl-63ef1693.html

https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/the-dear-hunter/2018/revolution-fort-lauderdale-fl-7bef1690.html

Mark’s Quick Review: Red Morris’ – Time

Mark’s Quick Review: Red Morris’ – Time

I was glad to receive this sophomore album from Italy’s Red Morris as Italy has been on a real streak of great albums lately.

This album never really “spoke” to me. Are the styles of each song varied or does it lack cohesiveness?
Their playing is all wonderful but the song writing never engaged me.

There are some nice passages on this album but the artist describes his music as rock from Italy’s Brescia.

I suggest that this album is a pass for Progressive Rock fans.

If you have never read the key for my ratings below please do so one time. I feel my ratings are tougher than my peers. Also Check my last.fm link to see how compatible our music tasts are.

https://www.last.fm/user/mon40/library/artists

Key:
These ratings are just attributes and may not have correlation to the most important: OVERALL RATING

PREVIOUS BAND RATING
0: Never heard of them or debut album.
2: Someone recommended. I give them another shot.
4: Some good moments in the past but never put together an album I really liked.
6: Some 4 or 5 star songs but albums can be hit or miss for me.
8: I like 80% of their songs and probably went to see them live.
10: I would, and probably have gone on a plane to see them live.

ACCESSIBILITY EXAMPLES
2: Weather Report
4: Zappa
6: Genesis – Selling England by the Pound,
8: Marillion – F.E.A.R
10: Kino – Picture

 

HEAVINESS EXAMPLES
2: IQ – Seventh House
4: Discipline – Unfold Like a Staircase
6: Porcupine Tree – In Abstentia, Shadow Gallery – Tyranny
8: Vanden Plas – Chirst 0, Dream Theater – Scenes From a Memory
10: Opeth – Black Water Park

MELODIC EXAMPLES:
2: Opeth – Black Water Park
4: Vanden Plas – Chirst 0, Dream Theater – Scenes From a Memory
6: Porcupine Tree – In Abstentia, Shadow Gallery – Tyranny
8: Discipline – Unfold Like a Staircase
10: IQ – Seventh House

OVERALL RATING:
2: Will Never listen to again and deleted under no circumstances should you buy this
4: Not my thing maybe one redeeming song.
6: I like parts of this and I would check them out if they were near me.
8: I would get in the car and road trip to see this album live
10: I would get on a plane to see this performed live

See if our likes are similar See my Last.fm Page

Concert Review: Eric Johnson, St.Louis, 3-22-18

Concert Review: Eric Johnson, St.Louis, 3-22-18

Concert: Eric Johnson
Venue: The Pageant, St. Louis, MO, 3-22-18
Review and Pics by: Jon Fiala

Eric Johnson has long been one of the most respected guitarist in music since the early 1990s. Guitar Player magazine did a lot of promoting of him before his first major album, Tones, was released, That brought him many accolades in the guitar world, and his fame grew from there. Riding the high praises from Guitar Player, Eric released his most successful album, Ah Via Musicom, in 1990, which solidified his rank in the guitar god world. In the world of Satriani, Morse and Vai, Eric Johnson belongs up with them. One thing that separates EJ from the typical guitar shredders is that he sings on about half of his songs. His voice is very soothing and melodic, and adds another great aspect to his music.

On Thursday, March 22, Eric brought his current tour to the Pageant in St Louis. Joining Eric on stage were his backup duo from his early touring days, Kyle Brock on bass, and Tommy Taylor on drums. They very proficiently reproduced the sound that Eric has been known for, his super clean guitar with impeccable tone. His concentration on what he’s creating on the guitar, while not being flashy showman, is clearly his forte. It was an evening of getting absorbed into his music, watching him recreate the sounds of our younger days.

The first set comprised of a wide variety of songs. Eric’s latest CD, 2017’s Collage, had only one original song played, the opening instrumental Stratagem, which was as good as anything that he did during his most popular time. Three instrumentals came from his follow-up album to Ah Via Musicom, Venus Isle, (S.R.V., Camel’s Night Out and Manhattan), were played to the great delight of the crowd. He really shines as he’s taking center stage with his guitar. Eric also offered the audience a few covers from Beatles (The Night Before), Led Zeppelin (Black Mountain Side) and the Chantays (Pipeline – also found on Collage).

The second set was what many people came to see, his breakthrough album, Ah Via Musicom, played in its entirety. Starting with the spacey title track, leading into what is his arguably most popular song, the instrumental, Cliff of Dover, the trio played it like they did in 1990. The rest of the evening was a treat to watch, as Eric flawlessly, without showmanship, concentrated on giving the crowd his best. He even included a track, Western Flyer, which was an outtake from the Ah Via Musicom sessions. The lone encore was Zap, from Tones.

The opening act was Arielle, a singer-songwriter from Austin, Texas. Her blend of rock, folk, country and a little bit of jazz was very well received by the crowd, as she introduced each of her guitars to us. Her skills on the guitar were definitely strong as she joined Eric to play one of her songs during his first set, and then traded off solos with him during the encore. She has a very impressive story, playing with artists beyond Eric such as Brian May, Joe Bonomassa, and Nuno Bettencourt.

Eric Johnson still has the attention of the guitar greats followers. It was a true joy to see him still be so prolific in his craft.

https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/eric-johnson/2018/the-pageant-st-louis-mo-53ef2749.html

Mark’s Quick Review’s:  Ostura – The Room

Mark’s Quick Review’s: Ostura – The Room

I had never heard of this Lebanese band prior to listening to this Ostura album. According to their marketing,  Ostura have changed their approach to writing songs between this album and the last. This became even more apparent to me as I took a look at the number of likes on Ostura’s Facebook fan page. Of their 12,000 likes, only 6 were friends.

I don’t know what Ostura’s first album sounds like, but if it’s anything like this one, I have been missing out on an amazing band. This album includes a guest appearance by Arjen Lucassen, a choir and symphony. The vocalists are wonderful and the drama is off-the-chart for this album.

In keeping in accordance with my philosophy on rating an album 10 stars I reached out to Ostura to see how I could get them to Chicago. Good news, looks like it might be doable.

ALBUM HIGHLIGHTS: Request Deathless Here

Click above to purchase at Amazon US or Amazon UK and we’ll get a little referral bonus on your whole order. Even if you don’t order this album

Key:
These ratings are just attributes and may not have correlation to the most important: OVERALL RATING

PREVIOUS BAND RATING
0: Never heard of them or debut album.
2: Someone recommended. I give them another shot.
4: Some good moments in the past but never put together an album I really liked.
6: Some 4 or 5 star songs but albums can be hit or miss for me.
8: I like 80% of their songs and probably went to see them live.
10: I would, and probably have gone on a plane to see them live.

ACCESSIBILITY EXAMPLES
2: Weather Report
4: Zappa
6: Genesis – Selling England by the Pound,
8: Marillion – F.E.A.R
10: Kino – Picture

 

HEAVINESS EXAMPLES
2: IQ – Seventh House
4: Discipline – Unfold Like a Staircase
6: Porcupine Tree – In Abstentia, Shadow Gallery – Tyranny
8: Vanden Plas – Chirst 0, Dream Theater – Scenes From a Memory
10: Opeth – Black Water Park

MELODIC EXAMPLES:
2: Opeth – Black Water Park
4: Vanden Plas – Chirst 0, Dream Theater – Scenes From a Memory
6: Porcupine Tree – In Abstentia, Shadow Gallery – Tyranny
8: Discipline – Unfold Like a Staircase
10: IQ – Seventh House

OVERALL RATING:
2: Will Never listen to again and deleted under no circumstances should you buy this
4: Not my thing maybe one redeeming song.
6: I like parts of this and I would check them out if they were near me.
8: I would get in the car and road trip to see this album live
10: I would get on a plane to see this performed live

See if our likes are similar See my Last.fm Page

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