Review by 42ndAGE — I am giving this album a little help by rating it a 4. Some of you have given it a lot of hate. I do not
find this album to be bad at all. Is it the most essential album in your prog collection? No. But I
wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't for bands like Yes your favorite album might never have
existed. If you were expecting another CTTE or Relayer, these guys have been making music
for 45 plus years. I would admit that they sound old and tired. Who woudn't? May be because
I'm not that young anymore, I can relate. Like others have said, a very pleasant album. 3.8
Review by kenethlevine — With their 2013 release, FLAMING BESS continues to scale the upward trajectory established
by "Waechter des Lichts", while not quite fanning their feathers as on their original recordings.
This is as rock oriented as anything they have ever done, with recent electronica yielding to a
percussive bite. Mike Hartman is the main vocalist with Jenny K appearing on several tracks.
As is customary, narration of the ongoing fable punctuates the proceedings, perhaps
somewhat less obtrusively than has been the case in recent years.
The album fairly explodes with a few rousing old style instrumentals that are not that dissimilar,
although the theme of the first will reappear several times throughout the 77 minutes like a trusted friend. The ensemble
approach illuminates the guitars and keys to best effect. It's true that the acoustic dimension
remains perhaps forever buried, but some might not miss it. "Verzweifelt und Vergessen" is
one of their best song oriented pieces, launching atmospherically before propelling forward
rhythmically while retaining a spacey core.
From here the quality descends a notch for most of the duration, although most pieces are still
entertaining, the best being the epic "Haravienna" which overlaps azz/funk/psych territories
shamelessly. It's hard not to admire the ambition even if the GPS loses its signal here and
Whether or not FLAMING BESS is a rising star or even a star at all may be debatable, but this
collective luminescence is anything but fallen.
Review by tszirmay — Machines Dream is going to be one hell of revelation to avid prof fans out there, having
flown underneath my radar and discovering its existence only via candidacy into joining PA
within the crossover sub-genre. This talented crew are based in tranquil Sault Ste-Marie,
Ontario, Canada, not exactly a hotbed of prog, but it becomes apparent that these lads have
definitely passed their exams on progressive rock, a clever blend of harder-edged Pink
Floyd influences, perhaps similar to Norwegian band Airbag or German band RPWL in
taking the highly-schooled style into different horizons.
Scratchy needle opens the book on a glittering prize, as 'Boundaries' evokes a particular
interest in cool lyrics , motored by tremendously effective vocals (a consistent trait
throughout the disc) from bassist Craig West , some spectacular guitar slinging from Keith
Conway, Brian Holmes keyboard colorations are spot on, while Ken Coulter drums with
authority. This is a bruising and heavy affair in order to get the juices flowing and the
attention firmly on the upcoming features.
To prove the point, "Toronto Skyline" has a hook, line and sinker that could easily propel this
song and its creators to legendary status, a true prog anthem for the eternal ages. Firstly,
build a solid melody with a soaring and hummable chorus, an incandescent guitar solo and
enough mood and space to sink deep into one's pleasure nodes. West sings brilliantly.
The nearly 5 minute "London at Night" is a completely different feel, perhaps more of a
basic rock ballad, adorned with swoon and groove courtesy of a rollicking bass furrow, slide
guitar frills, good propulsive beat and more seasoned West vocals. There is a more Roxy
Music, Bowie, Peter Murphy-like feel here (bands they used to cover in their formative
period) than, say KC, Floyd or Genesis. In fact Conway sounds more like Manzanera than
Gilmour (which is funny because the two are close friends and collaborators).
This poppy respite only serves to elevate the torrid "Unarmed at Sea" , a mellotron-drenched
epic that simply takes the listener's breath away, a sublime lead vocal within churning
symphonic waves, 'gradually going tornado' into more passionate fury, like some storm of
melancholic solitude unleashing the deepest pain. Conway then blisters on the fret board,
curdling bolts of electric despair as it fizzles onward and upward. The somber piano keeps
on playing the same desperate, forlorn and vulnerable lament.
The jaw-dropping "Mad for All Seasons" goes beyond the 10 minute mark and as such, is
one of the more constructed epics presented here, Craig West has the uncanny ability to
modulate his voice into unending variations, sounding here like the perpetually angry
Derrick Dick (Fish), while the band does a fair flattery of Marillion by the book. The
impossible guitar prefers a screechy tone, the overall mood ominous, vaporous and
beguiling. There is a barely suppressed sense of rage that makes this piece feel like a
shaken champagne bottle ready to blow its cork to kingdom come. But instead of the
expected splashy eruption, the piano and bass veer into more tremulous mid-section that
felt almost like the Legendary Pink Dots, before a tempestuous Manzanera-like solo scours
the skies like some rough cleaning implement. "Closing time again", West bellows.
We then are witnessing two shorter tunes that showcase a more accessible slant, I must
admit that they , while very pleasant and well-constructed, really do not highlight the band's
strengths. "Stop Waiting for Miracles" is best described as the most immediate song on the
album, a straight ahead boomer, constructed in very basic form, direct vocals and clinical
playing by all aboard. "Locusts" opens with a familiar piano refrain, some the Who-like
guitar phrasing, early rock 'n roll meets psychedelia that, again caters to the poppier side.
Things revert to haunting and majestic with the rather amazing "Colder Rain", a blustery
hurricane of sound and vision, propelled by a Manfred Mann-like synth solo as well as
profound symphonics, roaming bass and devastating sonic drums. A totally unexpected
electric piano solo only compels one deeper into amazement.
"Everyone Says Goodbye" is another briefer ditty that has more of a blue-rock feel, almost
hints of Robin Trower. As stated before, very good but not essential within the confines of
the longer pieces.
All is well that ends well, and "the Session" is the perfect finale, suggesting nearly a dozen
minutes of intense cinematographic prog, loaded with tons of delicious detail, quirky synth
bubbles, rash guitar slashes and , once again, a new vocal modulation from Mr. West, a
voice to be reckoned with. The essence of progressive rock is caught within its grooves, a
sense of unexpected luxury and divine expression fluttering at the fingertips of the players
as they manipulate their instruments. Fantastic debut , a band we all need to keep an eye
It is not uncommon for debut albums to showcase some diversity and that is why it's called
a debut, a need to provide all the tendencies which make artists want to express
themselves. I am sure that their next effort , the soon to be released 'Immunity' will
concentrate on what Machines Dream do best, an album of longer, well-thought out
compositions that extol the virtues of smartly crafted music and present a vocal
performance that only serves to further enhance the talent on display. The artwork,
production, arranging and playing are world-class.
4 android hallucinations.
Review by Windhawk — Norwegian band VULTURE INDUSTRIES have been around since 1998, at the start using the name Dead
Rose Garden but from 2003 and onwards going with their current moniker. They have 3 EPs and 3 full
length CDs to their name so far. "The Tower" is the most recent of the latter, and was released
through French label Season of Mist in 2013.
Vulture Industries is one of the bands I have encountered that can't be readily placed into a
readily defined box placed within any specific style of music, which for me is a good thing. Or
rather, this is a metal band, and the way they create and perform their songs begs for progressive
metal to be used as a genre description, but they don't adhere to any of the more common directions
within this type of music. So while progressive metal is a defined box, Vulture Industries is among
those bands that have a hard time fitting in with the great number of bands in that box that invites
to associations towards the likes of Dream Theater or Symphony X. As far as I can tell, Vulture
Industries doesn't have any connections to any of these bands whatsoever in terms of style, nor to
any other influential bands of note I'm able to recall.
The main similarity I notes down to one specific band is one that mainly can be used as a comparison
too, as I suspect that this particular case is one of this band inspiring another one rather than
the opposite. The detail in question are the lead vocals of Björnar E. Nilsen, whose impressive
theatrical voice is a trademark feature of this band. He can use hos voice in a more careful,
cinematic way, but first and foremost his vocals are intense, big and theatrical. More sophisticated
than the likes of Candlemass' Messiah Marcolin, but with some similar traits, and as far as direct
comparisons go I'll pull out another Norwegian band - El Doom & The Born Electric. In this case I
suspect that the latter has taken some notes from this band in that department however, as Vulture
Industries have been around for a wee bit longer than El Doom and his merry musicians.
Musically we're dealing with metal. Hammering riff and drum cascades are encountered aplenty, with
and without careful keyboards and organ support. Quirky riff constructions and staccato, intense
riff constructions too, and there's always room for a melodic overlay too. Delicate guitar solo
themes the main choice in that department. But sequences sporting a massive, booming bass guitar as
the main driving force supplemented with delicate guitar details have their place too, and a
recurring effect are dampened and fairly often playful piano details and motifs, and while perhaps a
tad accidental I did get some ragtime associations when a few of those flavored the soundscape.
Vulture Industries is also among the metal bands that have discovered the Mellotron, and they know
how to use it with care and then to good effect. That this is a band that also know how to employ
the occasional interlude of a more cinematic nature shouldn't be all that surprising, nor that
there's some rather effective light toned, delicate guitars only sequences.
Amidst all the variations, effects and generally energetic, innovative and sophisticated progressive
metal served us on a plate here, it is a compositions of a vastly different kind that impress the
most. The song in question is called The Dead Won't Mind, and is a fairly delicate blues affair that
have been run through a few sickly filters of the horror movie inspired kind. An honorable mention
will have to go to bonus track Blood Don't Eliogabalus, a compositions that has a long running
circus music inspired theme. Circus music of the kind that would have been a fitting soundtrack for
Stephen King's IT I might add, but nevertheless themes and motifs that invite to circus music
If you enjoy innovative and sophisticated progressive metal of a kind that cannot really be compared
to any of the founding fathers of this type of music, have a certain fondness for music with a
generally dark and ominous sound, and especially if you also enjoy big, theatrical lead vocals of
the kind that are borderline pompous, Vulture Industries is a band you should investigate, and "The
Tower" should be a good and intriguing first stop.
Review by JCDenton — I'm surprised. This is a tremendous album. IQ never show off too much technicality and are not
a flashy group by any means, but the band do well with what they have. They wrote a great,
melancholy album here. It has many great atmospheric textures and a well-polished sound. It's
still jamming at many times and hard-hitting, but very full of emotion and heart. That's where this
album majorly succeeds. There's nothing complicated about it (if not "Ocean" having just a bit of
an unusual, but good beat for a cheery tune). I don't find a moment of music I don't enjoy here.
Each tune is lengthy but doesn't cover more ground than it can handle. Each idea is present to
satisfactory extents and always keeps me interested. It's great! Been listening to it non-stop for
weeks! What didn't click at first only clicked more and more with time! There's very little wrong
with this album!
Review by Guillermo — ASIA was announced in 1982 as a "super-group". Many Prog Rock fans then were "excited" to see
the names of three very respected Prog Rock musicians working together in a band (Steve Howe,
Carl Palmer and John Wetton), still expecting to listen to great musical things in Prog Rock terms by
the combination of their talents. The only musician in the band without a full time Prog Rock music
background was Geoff Downes, who previously was part of a Pop Rock band called THE
BUGGLES who in 1980 became part of YES for their "Drama" album, being recruited then by YES
more as "urgent replacements" by their manager as they had contracted tour dates to be played and
to satisfy some pending financial problems that the band had when Jon Anderson and Rick
Wakeman left the band. So, "Drama" was surprisingly a very good album done by a tired YES, which
had some success, but the tour was not as successful as the album because THE BUGGLES `
former lead singer Trevor Horn had great problems singing the old songs from the band in concert.
So, YES split for a time, and Steve Howe and John Wetton were put in contact by one very famous
A&R man to form a new band. This A&R man was very influential and had some plans to form some
"super-groups" . ASIA was one of them. So, Palmer and Downes later joined that band to form that
"super-group". Despite the very good quality of their first album from 1982 (which was more Pop
Rock oriented than Prog Rock oriented), many Prog Rock fans were disappointed by the commercial
musical direction the new band followed ("the new musical trends of the eighties"). So, I can say that
ASIA really was like other "super-groups": a very good combination of very good musicians which
apparently only could work together well for one album. After the success of this first album, some
problems started to appear between the egos of some members, and the record label executives and
managers declared Wetton and Downes as the "official composers" of the band, another thing which
caused a lot of problems which in the end caused the split of the original band after the tour for a
second album titled "Alpha" (1983), an album which was even more Pop Rock oriented than their
first. Anyway, the band was not the same without Howe as guitarist, but the band reunited in 2006
with their original line-up. Unfortunately, maybe the chemistry was not as good as it was for their first
album from 1982, so Howe finally left again in early 2013. So, like other "super-groups", ASIA was
maybe destined to be remembered for a really very good first album and nothing more.
But ASIA is not finished yet as a band without Howe. Even if the guitar role has been increasingly
diminished in this band in their last albums with Howe, they recruited a young guitarist called Sam
Coulson for this "Gravitas" album. But again, replacing a very characteristic sound as guitarist like
Howe`s is not an easy task. Coulson is a good guitarist, but his style of playing is more related to
other guitarists that the band had before (Mandy Meyer, Pat Thrall) than to Howe`s. So, this
"Gravitas" album is similar in some ways to "Astra" (1985) but without the eighties very characteristic
production sound and style that "Astra" has. The songs are very good, all composed by Wetton and
Downes with their very characteristic composing style, and with very good arrangements. These
musicians are very good and with a lot of experience, of course, so one can expect really very good
albums from them, even if the Prog Rock arrangements are not very present and even if the style of
the music is more Pop Rock oriented than before. Wetton and Downes became the "definitive"
composers for this band, and the sound of this band is more related to their composing style since
"Alpha". Their first album should be remembered really as a "one-off" very good combination of
talents which produced a very good album which still had some Prog Rock things, and for that
reason it is maybe their best album. But with Wetton and Downes as composers and with Palmer as
a very good drummer plus Coulson`s guitar style the band still sounds very well. I think that Downes
really shines with his keyboards playing and arrangements in ASIA more than in YES (on which the
guitars are the predominant instruments more than the keyboards). So Downes`s best musical place
in a band is in ASIA, working together with Wetton as composers and producers.
In conclusion, this is a good qualiy album, very well recorded, mixed and produced, and with a very
good cover design by Roger Dean. Not very Prog Rock in musical style, but good anyway.
Review by Andis — My review of this album is for what the album is, not what it could or should have been.
Listening to this album in my car, my wife said: "this is a nice album". And I think this sums it
up. It's a nice album.
It all starts up very good, the first song got my hopes up for a while. Then it's mostly downhill
from there with some exceptions, second song "The game" is really ok along with "It was all we
knew". The ending is quite good also, with their most progressive song "Subway walls", the last
minute and a half in that song is the best they can muster. All in all we have two good songs, two
ok songs and four poor ones.
Although, I feel that the songs are very positive and light, a thing that's rare in progressive rock
unfortionately. For that alone, I like the album. I will add this album to the rare list of
progressive rock albums that I can play when my wife is present.
On the negative side, besides that half of the songs are mostly poor quality wise, the guys in the
band sounds tired. One thing is to write poor songs, another thing is to sound tired when you play
them. That is not ok.
No way near as bad as "Open your eyes" or "Talk" but it's the third from the bottom of the album
A nice but tired album.
Review by Tristan Zaba — An absolutely fantastic album. While I also quite liked TAAB2, this is better.
Ian seems to keep telling people that it's some sort of metal album. I'm not sure why he thinks
that, but metal this is not. Stylistically it strays pretty close to a slightly harder rocking Heavy
Horses. In saying this, I mean it takes into consideration all those lovely textures and clean
arrangements. This album also gets quite inventive, with some interesting rhythms, meter
changes, and progressions. In the accompanying deluxe edition documentary, he even mentions
Captain Beefheart as providing some inspiration.
I think Ian's voice is sounding better than on TAAB2. It doesn't have that punch it used to have,
but it still all sounds quite nice and he interprets the lyrics nicely. His flute-playing seems to get
better with every album, which it should. After all, every album contributes to his playing
experience. The band plays through the music very proficiently. If anything, they sound a bit too
polished for some bits. It might just be due to the fact that most of them are pretty clean-cut jazz
and classical musicians. However, they still add a lot of character to the parts and interpret them
The concept includes Bostock again, so you know it'll be weird. It chronicles humanity's rise and
fall as the dominant species on earth, as told by some guy locked in a sanatorium after an
unfortunate run-in with malaria. However, it is quite poignant and sometimes rather unsettling.
Pop culture references from all periods are everywhere. You actually really have to pay attention
to catch all of them. They work well and are obviously very well thought-
Stylistically varied, musically solid, and lyrically curious, Homo Erraticus is a wonder of a solo
album from Ian Anderson, and possibly his best outside of Jethro Tull. The one real negative is
that having heard so much of his other work, there are moments where it seems a little too
formulaic. However, it is still an incredibly enjoyable effort and something I am sure I will find
myself listening to on and off for years to come.
Review by jjmurillo — Yes has been my favorite Band of all times, every time that i bought a CD i have been surprised
how different it was from the previous Album, Yes never made 2 Fragiles, or 2 Close To Edge
or 2 Tales, in the 80s gave us quality Pop Rock with 90125 and Big Generator album that
barely can be called progressive from a purist point of view. Yes has never done the same
album twice, and Heaven and Earth is not different. It is like no other Album that YES has
created, recorded, performed. Yes it is a bit slow, but it is very enjoyable. It does not have Epics
in it ( neither had 90125). I think Jon Davidson does a very good Job at Channeling Jon
Anderson, in style and delivery, i have heard Jon D in the past and he has an uncanny
resemblance to Jon Anderson. The Album is a bit Light on material, but at the sametime is
refreshing, i am hearing a band that is flexible enough to do an almost pop Album, and at the
same time see them in concert and watch them play the old Progressive Epics that we all love.
I think Yes records the material that they have at the moment, sometimes it is Brilliant
sometimes is just Good. The beauty of Yes is they always surprise you with every new Album.
Review by BrufordFreak — This music would probably be very entertaining to see live--kind of like a Sweeny Todd barrel house Broadway musical--but I'm not sure how progressive this is. I guess it's not unlike the work of Humble Grumble or Nemo or even UneXpect, but, I'm unconvinced. More like DeVotchka (which is a great band but not a prog band). While there are certainly rock and even prog elements and influences to make this creation what it is, the result, to my ears, is still little more than the recording of a Broadway play. Or the next Rocky Horror Picture Show (which, again, is not considered a prog album.)
Cool stuff, lively and entertaining, but not anything I'll come back to--nor deserving, IMO, of a place here on PA.