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October 23, 2014

Progressive/Alternative Rock Review-The Pineapple Thief-Magnolia

Release Date: September 16, 2014
Label: Kscope
Website


The music of The Pineapple Thief’s Magnolia is as refreshing as a cool breeze on a hot and humid day.  There is a good chance that it not quite anything that you have heard so far this year.  The music has an emotional and enduring power in a way that only great music can.  Magnolia is one of the few instances where, when the last song finishes, you will think that this could be one of those rare perfect albums that stay with you for life.

Hailing from Yeovil, Somerset, England, The Pineapple Thief formed in 1999. Consisting of Bruce Soord (guitar, vocals), Dan Osborne (drums), Jon Sykes (bassist), and Steve Kitch (keyboards), Magnolia is there tenth album and it is one for the ages, “representing the best of everything that The Pineapple Thief have achieved to date.”  Front man Bruce Soord said that “All I ever wanted was to write catchy songs that stay with people” and he does that and more on Magnolia.

Catchy, melodic, harmonious, emotional, and lasting are some of the words that I would use to describe the music on Magnolia, and this is no more evident than on the opening track, “Simple as That.”  It is simply beautiful sounding music with the right touches of light and heavy to make for some amazing progressive/alternative rock that will be running through your head all day and night.  “Alone at Sea” is another vibrant song that encompasses The Pineapple Thief’s breathtaking sound.  It is a relaxing song that really hits its stride with the chorus and instrumental parts.  Also, the vocals are just absolutely pleasant and soothing.  “Don’t Tell Me” slows things down a tad and brings the album to a different emotional height.  The music has the type of power that will just sweep you away, much like the song that follows it, “Magnolia.”  The title track is catchy as a pop song and as awe-inspiring as a great painting.

Heavy on the emotional side of things, “Season’s Past” is as serene as a day dream.  The lyrics paint a pretty picture, but there is a hint of melancholy behind it all.  Starting off slow and brooding, “Coming Home” has a cool rock vibe and a great atmosphere.  “The One You Left to Die” kills it with its sick riffs and moving vocals.  It has that hypnotic quality that will have you rushing to hit the repeat button.  It is one powerful and enchanting song.  “Breathe” is a decidedly stellar rock song with short, intense moments between long, calmer sections.   

“From Me” weighs heavy on the heart with its depressing lyrics and is like a sad lullaby.  “Sense of Fear” brings things back up to a livelier pace with roaring drums and wailing guitars.  It is another example of The Pineapple Thief’s catchy and memorable rock sound.  The penultimate song, “A Loneliness,” is a light, emotional song that has an uplifting atmosphere.  “Bond” brings the album to a close on an emotional and harmonious note.

If The Pineapple Thief’s Magnolia was a painting, then it would be hanging in the Louvre, because it is a masterpiece.  There has not been an album all year with music that makes an impression like this. It is the type of music that gets better with each listen. There are about two months left in 2014 and Magnolia is my top album of the year. 

5/5 Stars

 
Key Tracks: Simple as That, The One You Left to Die, Sense of Fear

Brian McKinnon

October 23, 2014

Review Provided By Prog Rock Music Talk

Tracks:

01.Simple As That
02.Alone at Sea
03.Don’t Tell Me
04.Magnolia
05.Season’s Past
06.Coming Home
07.The One You Left to Die
08.Breathe
09.From Me
10.Sense of Fear
11.A Loneliness
12.Bond



October 22, 2014

Progstravaganza Special - The New Generation of Prog 2014 by Prog Sphere Promotions

October 20, 2014

Legendary YES Singer/Songwriter Jon Anderson and Counting Crows Matt Malley To Release Charity Single “The Family Circle”


London, UK - GONZO Multimedia is proud to announce the release of a new charity single “The Family Circle” by legendary YES vocalist/songwriter Jon Anderson and former Counting Crows bassist Matt Malley. The money received from the single will go to the following charities: Flutie Foundation - www.flutiefoundation.org (Jon Anderson), Sahaja Yoga Meditation - www.sahajayoga.org (Matt Malley) and National Autistic Society (Rob Ayling, GONZO Multimedia president)

“ 'Family Circle' came together when Matt sent me the beautiful music earlier this year. I sang the song and lyric idea and sent it back to Matt, thanking him for the great energy. Eventually, Matt added some more sounds and the haunting guitar solo. We decided to have all sale proceeds go to our respective charities. It's a pleasure to release this around Thanksgiving time, reminding us of our connection with our families and how our children keep us together, bonding our love of life.” - Jon Anderson

“Not only am I a fan of Jon's voice but I’m a fan of his fearless spiritual outlook which appears in all of his music. A mutual friend said we should meet and got us in touch and after talking a little, Jon said, 'So send some music!' - so I had a cup of my best Darjeeling tea, went into my studio and came up with the instrumental arrangement that you hear on 'Family Circle'. I sent the file up to Jon and it came back with his marvelous voice, lyrics…everything that brought the song to becoming fully realized.” - Matt Malley

Jon Anderson is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable voices in progressive rock as the original lead vocalist and creative force behind YES. Anderson was the author and a major creative influence behind the ground-breaking album 'Fragile' as well as the series of epic, complex pieces such as “Awaken”, “Gates of Delirium” and especially “Close to the Edge” which were central to the band's success. Additionally, Anderson co-authored the group's biggest hits, including “I've Seen All Good People”, “Roundabout”, and “Owner of a Lonely Heart”. In addition, Jon Anderson had great success with a series of albums he did with Vangelis, and most recently released the critically-acclaimed solo album entitled “Survival and Other Stories” (GONZO Multimedia). In the fall of 2014 Jon Anderson teamed up with jazz violin legend Jean-Luc Ponty to form the AndersonPonty Band.

Matt Malley is an Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe nominated songwriter who is best known for co-founding the multi-platinum selling rock band Counting Crows back in the early 90's. He appears as bassist on their biggest hit records and songs. In 2004 Matt retired from the band so he could work from his studio at home and be with his family. He is a student of the Indian Slide Guitar and a fan of Progressive Rock, Celtic Folk, World and Indian Music.

Listen to a sample of the track here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hATdN-XMBSQ

To purchase Jon Anderson & Matt Malley's “Family Circle”: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/family-circle-single/id911786898

Read GONZO Weekly's 100th issue! http://www.flipsnack.com/9FE5CEE9E8C/gonzo-100.html

Jon Anderson's official website: www.JonAnderson.com
Matt Malley's official website: www.malleyablemusic.com

Press inquiries: Glass Onyon PR, PH: 828-350-8158, glassonyonpr@gmail.com

October 17, 2014

UK Symphonic Rock Quintet Winter In Eden Release Highly Anticipated Third Album COURT OF CONSCIENCE


London, UK - Much to the excitement of music fans worldwide, UK rock quintet Winter in Eden release their highly anticipated third album COURT OF CONSCIENCE on October 16, 2014. Recorded in Holland during 2013, the album contains eleven new songs which builds and further refines the unique style that is Winter in Eden. Featuring compelling vocals, muscular riffs, memorable hooks, swirling keyboards coupled with pounding bass and thunderous drums, the result is powerful, modern and balanced.

Produced by Ruud Jolie (Within Temptation) and mixed by Stefan Helleblad (Within Temptation), the album also features guest vocals by Jermain van der Bogt (For All We Know/Ayreon) and an unmistakable voiceover by multi-award winning Damian Wilson (Threshold/Headspace/Maiden United). 'Court of Conscience' retains the bands signature of thought provoking lyrics mixed with memorable melodies. Whilst no two songs are alike, fans will be delighted to hear that the bands approach to this album is a familiar one. With hard and heavy anthems such as “Knife Edge” and “Toxicate”, more chilled and progressive tracks such as “Burdened” and “It's Not Enough” plus the blues rock of “Affliction”, this album has something for every taste and mood.

Bassist Ian Heddle reveals, “We are really pleased to have the opportunity to release 'Court of Conscience' into the world market. Whilst the digital age has broken down borders and albums can be purchased via download, some people still like to own physical copies. The previous release (Echoes of Betrayal) was only distributed throughout the UK and we would often get messages from fans around the globe asking us to send stuff here, there and everywhere! Thankfully, we now have access to Cherry Red's resources and can actually get the real thing into your favourite store...wherever you are!”

Watch the official video for the track “With Intent” taken from the album here - http://youtu.be/Zt-omW7xwXs

Winter In Eden, a dark yet beautiful cocktail of power and passion. Their music builds from delightful symphonic instrumentals to crunching aggressive Metal. Between 2009 and 2013, the band released two full length albums, two EP’s and have entertained fans throughout the UK and Europe with numerous tours and festival appearances. The debut album 'Awakening' was recognised as one of the albums of the year. The track “Lies”, from 'Echoes of Betrayal' was awarded Classic Rock Magazine's 'track of the day' and they have been nominated in the 'Best New Band' (2012/2013), 'Best Live Act' (2013) and 'Best Female Singer' (2012/2013/2014) categories at the annual Classic Rock Society Awards.

Winter In Eden's energetic live performances have been enjoyed by capacity crowds in the UK at events such as The Cambridge Rock Festival and various Femme Metal Festivals alongside Delain and Revamp. Most recently Winter In Eden have taken their live show into mainland Europe, performing to increasing numbers in the Netherlands and Belgium, playing with acts such as Stream of Passion and Maiden uniteD.

Winter In Eden is:

Vicky Johnson - Vocals
Steve Johnson - Keyboards
Samuel Cull - Guitars
Ian Heddle - Bass
Steve Hauxwell – Drums

“Winter In Eden are the best female-fronted symphonic rock band Britain has to offer right now” - Classic Rock Magazine

“Albums as wonderful as this one from new British bands do not come along every day. It has been a complete revelation to me” - Fireworks

“The band stands out for their song writing, their vocals and their musicianship. And they're British too. Every song on here is first class” - Powerplay

“Fabulous set by a band destined for greatness” - Classic Rock Society

“All the quality and all the potential” - Dominion/Terroriser

Tracks:

1. KNIFE EDGE
2. WITH INTENT
3. CRITICAL MASS PART 1 - BURDENED
4. TOXICATE
5. ORDER OF YOUR FAITH
6. IT’S NOT ENOUGH
7. BEFORE IT BEGAN
8. THE SCRIPT
9. CONSTANT TOMORROWS
10. BEHIND CLOSED DOORS
11. AFFLICTION

Official website - www.winterineden.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Winter-In-Eden/110545798972772
Contact: enquiries@winterineden.com
Management and Bookings In the UK: Lycan Media Group
info@lycanmedia.co.uk
Outside the UK: JBM Events
info@jbmevents.com

To purchase Winter In Eden's 'Court of Conscience':
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Court-Of-Conscience-Winter-Eden/dp/B00MW67KSK/
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Court-Of-Conscience-Winter-Eden/dp/B00MW67KSK/

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/court-of-conscience/id895157080
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Court-Conscience-Winter-In-Eden/dp/B00LJGUB58

Press inquiries: Glass Onyon PR, PH: 828-350-8158, glassonyonpr@gmail.com

October 16, 2014

Instrumental Progressive Rock Review: Elabaural-A Journey of Intrigue

Release Date: 4th July 2014
Label: Indie
This album from the band Elabaural, A Journey of Intrigue, is most definitely a first. I receive many albums for review from both known bands and bands/artists that would have slipped under my audio radar and Elabaurel would fit into this latter category. What makes this particular band more unusual than most is that they hail from The Ancient One’s hometown, Kirkcaldy in Fife, Scotland.

Elabaural is a three piece instrumental prog metal band, formed originally as DepthCharge in 2003, but changed their name to Elabaural in 2005. This came about after the original band “lost” their vocalist, and subsequent material written was channeled towards instrumental music. At the moment the band are only a 2 piece as they are currently searching for someone to take over the drum stool, and I would hazard a guess that the two members of the band are related, as Arran MacInnes plays guitar and Alister MacInnes plays bass. The band have cited a variety of influences including Dream Theater, Opeth, Circus Maximus, Rush and Porcupine Tree.

A Journey of Intrigue is a 10 track album with a total playing time of around 71 minutes. The tracks vary a fair bit in length with 3 tracks in excess of 10 minutes, with track 4, “BlackJack,” the longest at 20:33 minutes and the shortest track on offer is track 6, “Adrift” at only just over the 2 minute mark (2:10).

The opening track on A Journey of Intrigue is “Genesis” (5:36) and starts with some superb solo guitar work with little phrases and runs before the cymbals give a little backdrop to proceedings and the bass notes become more regular. The track continues in the same vein and is hugely atmospheric. The whole sound changes around the 4 minute mark, becoming a more driving style with the drums and bass pushing the track along. An excellent starting track and bodes well for the upcoming tracks.

“Precipice” (4:47) is started with some atmospheric electronic beeps before the bass has a gentle passage, then the guitar slams into action. Just after the minute mark the driving guitar riff has taken over and there are passages which simply thunder along. I did find that around the 3 minute mark, my attention was beginning to drift a little as the track seemed to be losing a bit of direction. An excellent little guitar phrase drew the attention back, but then the track returned to earlier ground and was then off.

The third, and strangely titled, track, “Population, Montgomery”  (4:20) is more like the opening track with some exquisite guitar playing, backed up superbly by the rhythm engine within the band. Around the halfway point there is a very jazzy laid back feel to the track, which works well and this then builds slowly until the track takes it’s leave.

The other shorter tracks to be found on A Journey of Intrigue, “Adrift” (2:10), “Suspended In A Painting” (6:58), “Mind Cry” (2:17) and “Vorcha” (3:04), all maintain the listeners interest in different ways. “Adrift” succeeds by being an almost Spanish/classical styled guitar led track, “Suspended In A Painting” moves the tempo up a few notches highlighting more of the guitar playing by Arran, “”Mind Cry” is a slightly slower jazzy styled number and “Vorcha” is a slab of power chords and chunky guitar riffs.

The main disappointment I found with A Journey of Intrigue was that the long tracks, “BlackJack” (20:33), “Trial By Torrent” (10:15) and “The Raid” (11:27) tended to suffer a similar fate to track 2, “Precipice,” in that the interest level wasn’t maintained. All 3 long tracks show some excellent skill by the musicians, as witnessed in the short tracks, but stretched out to over 10 minutes the guitar/bass/drums complement didn’t provide enough of a variation to maintain the listener interest. Too many times I found myself waiting for a vocalist to take the track onwards.
 
An instrumental album of any genre needs to have something that makes it stand out, basically something that “grabs the listener by the throat and shouts Listen!” My personal opinion is that an instrumental album is a very difficult album to be successful with because of this.

For the most part, I found A Journey of Intrigue to be a very good debut album, as far as the short tracks were concerned and I would be keen to catch a follow up release to see where Elabaural are going as they show great potential. Arran can certainly handle a guitar and the supporting bass playing of Alister and drums, by person or machine unknown, complements the guitar work. The album has great atmospheric short tracks, and perhaps if the long tracks had been curtailed a little, bearing in mind the 71 minute playing time, and an album of length 50 minutes had been produced, I think I would have been better satisfied.

As always, the views I give are personal views and are likely to differ from many other people, so I would suggest giving A Journey of Intrigue a few listens and decide for yourself.

3.5/5 Stars

Key Tracks:  Genesis, Adrift, Suspended In A Painting

Jim “The Ancient One” Lawson-Sr. Reviewer Prog Rock Music Talk

October 16, 2014

Review Provided By Prog Rock Music Talk