Thursday, June 12, 2014

Prog Briefs 2014

No Aimless Noodling

I don't consider myself a fan of progressive rock, but I've managed to bring together a few records that caught my eye so far this year.

Crippled Black Phoenix: White Light Generator (2014)
4 out of 5 stars

This is another predictably great release from the British progressive rock masters. As per usual, they do it Pink Floyd style with doses of all kinds of rock and some country/Americana/whatever else thrown in (mandolin, brass, yes indeed). This isn't my favorite from the band, but they've never released a bad record and they're not about to start.

Tusmörke: Riset Bak Speilet (2014)
2.5 out of 5 stars

Norway's Tusmörke are a different type of prog. This is the folk-inflected variety that seems to have influenced Opeth so much. I've been known to enjoy some psychedelic folk, flute, brass, and theremin, and the last two tracks here are pretty killer (especially "All Is Lost"). But the first three songs almost convinced me to turn it off and give up. Anyway, I hear Opeth is working on a new one.

Messenger: Illusory Blues (2014)
4.5 out of 5 stars

Well, holy crap. Messenger is more of that Opeth-influencing folk-prog-rock (e.g., Comus), and it doesn't stop there. I'm picking up some Genesis and some other threads that I've heard in Baroness and elsewhere, but I can't identify the ultimate source . . . and those are just on "Midnight." It's not just dynamic, but it's catchy as hell. This is the kind of thing that could turn someone into a prog rock fanatic.

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