New Prog...what are some of the new Prog bands out there ?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by MikeAW, Feb 1, 2002.

  1. MikeAW

    MikeAW Second Unit

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    I have to admit, I love Old Prog...if that's the all encompassing term for the old progressive "prog" bands.

    Share with us, some of the new Prog bands out there...

    Spocks Beard, Flower Kings, IQ, etc...
     
  2. Bob Turnbull

    Bob Turnbull Supporting Actor

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    I mentioned a couple in the other current Prog thread, but let's see if I can dig some more...I'll stick to 90's bands, but I can't guarantee that all of these are still currently active.
    A Piedi Nudi - Italian band that mixes a heavier rock sound on top of the classical structures which seem to be so beloved by that country. A tad overly complicated at times, but I expect many here would like the album "Creazione".
    Anekdoten - Very King Crimson influenced (some call their first album "Vemod" a clone), but they've morphed a bit into their own style (second album mixed a grungier sound and the third has a darker atmosphere). From Sweden.
    Cast - Mexican band that is one of the few Neo-Prog groups I genuinely like. Not overly complicated, but a lovely sweeping feel to their tunes and some nice melodies. I love the older Marillion, but just never could quite get into any of the other bands that popped up at the same time (IQ, Pendragon, Pallas, etc.). I found most of them tried FAR too hard to be deep and meaningful and came across as cheesy (with the occasional pretty melody). Hey, that's my own cross to bear...
    DFA - Great current Italian band that features remarkably talented musicians and composers. Their first disc "Lavori In Corso" is very good, but meanders sometimes with some jazzy bits thrown in. Their second, "Duty Free Area", is much more focused and flows very well. Even better is the live disc recorded at NearFest (um, at least I believe it was NearFest). Not a weak moment.
    Discipline - Their second album "Unfolded Like Staircase" has a more approachable Van Der Graaf Generator sound to it. I really think FM radio could have sunk their teeth into this baby (though all the songs all very long). Great vocalist.
    Djam Karet - Excellent instrumental band from California. Although the rhythms are typically fairly straightforward, the guitar work is tremendous and winds through many of their songs. They also have an ambient side to them that has little of the driving guitar and focuses on atmospherics. For the guitar stuff, look for "Reflections From The Firepool", "Burning The Hard City" or "The Devouring".
    Miriodor - Sometimes considered part of the RIO (Rock In Opposition) movement as their music can be difficult and very hard to classify. From dark, dissonant classical compositions to jaunty circus music, they still manage to hold the tunes together in a flowing consistent fashion. Their album "Elastic Juggling" (or "Jonglieres Elastique") is probably my favourite. I'll put it to you this way, songs with titles like "The Caterpillar Tamer" and "Igor, The Motorbike Bear" sound exactly like you think they should...
    Ozric Tentacles - Neo-psychedelic is one of the "genres" these guys get placed in. My take is that they are danceable space rock.
    There's more, but my brain hurts right now...
     
  3. MikeAW

    MikeAW Second Unit

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    Thanks verrrrrrry much, Bob...when your brain recovers, give us some more !!!
     
  4. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    In another thread, I gave a breakdown of modern prog bands I don't like. Below are some bands I like, with short descriptions and a recommended album to start with:
    Spock's Beard: I can't say too many good things about them. Their signature sound involves a "pop" mentality into their songwriting- lots of tasty melodies and bright sound, with sing-along lyrics and snappy percussion. They have the fancy instrumentation and some loooong songs, so it's definitely "prog," but the kind that non-prog fans can like.
    Recommended album: Kindness of Strangers
    Flower Kings: The thing that seperates the Flower Kings from other prog and rock bands of today is that they are happy. Very happy. The singer/guitar player/leader, Roinne Stolt, was a hippie back in the day and it shows. The lyrics and music reflect peace, spirituality, and love. Usually I wouldn't like this kind of stuff, but goddamnit if the music isn't catchy and loads of fun. Stolt's voice is pretty but gruff, with a hint of a Swedish accent. His guitar playing is never very melodic, like it belongs in an orchestra. They tend to keep to mid-tempos and verse-chorus song structures, but often inject instrumental sections to keep the songs nice and long. They are sort of like a modern Yes, but more consistent.
    Recommended album: Back in the World of Adventures
    Dreamtheater: Yes, yes, I know, if you're reading this then you probably know who they are. But I can't very well have a list of modern prog and not include them, can I?
    Recommended album: Awake
    Opeth: This is currently my favorite prog band. Actually, they might be better classified as death metal, but lately the music they have been releasing is beyond categorization. At their best, Opeth combine agressive growling death metal, acoustic soundscapes, and gentle singing and music to create a whole world of sound and images. In one song, Opeth can give you grindcore and ballads, seemlessly put together in a shockingly logical whole. Their first two albums are good but they are still finding their way. Their more recent material, however, sees Opeth in full control of their ambitions, creating masterpieces.
    Recommended album: Still Life
    Anglagard: A short lived Swedish prog band, they are often credited with sparking the modern prog scene in Sweden, leading to the discovery of the Flower Kings, Anekdoten, and the like. They successfully take all the good stuff from 70s prog- extended compositions, acoustic instrumentation, strong rhythms- and update it. And the guy sings in Swedish. I only have one album, I'm not even sure if they made more.
    Recommended album: Hybris
    Anekdoten: As mentioned above, their supposed primary influence is Wetton-era King Crimson. Like all the best modern prog bands, they are Swedish, but sing in English. A punding rhythm section and a cello comprise their groove-heavy sound. Great listening.
    Recommended album: Nucleus
    King Crimson: Yes, yes, they're old. But they are creating new material now that surpasses anything the young blood is doing. The most remarkable trait of their music is the extension of the "interlocking guitar" sound they began exploring in the 80s. They have been taking that to a new level. Adrian Belew and Robert Fripp play like they're telepathic with each other. Trey Gunn and Pat Mastelotto back them with precision and emotion.
    Recommended album; Nuovo Metal, scheduled for release this spring. Though I haven't heard it yet, I know it's going to be great. I've heard some of the new material on tour, so I know basically what to expect. It's quite something, folks. And you definitely want to check them out live.
    Deux Ex Machina: Over-the-top Italian prog, sung in Latin. Lots of fast, difficult stuff with acoustic guitars, violins, and an operatic singer. Weird and wonderful.
    Recommended album: Da Republica
    Gordian Knot: Featuring former members of Death and Cynic, and Trey Gunn from King Crimson, this instrumental is the best of its kind. Prominently featuring the Chapman Stick, these rhythmic compostions smoothly flow between driving, jamming tracks and atmospheric sound pictures.
    Recommended album: they only have one, self-titled
     
  5. Bob Turnbull

    Bob Turnbull Supporting Actor

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    Having admitted that I'm not a huge fan of most of the Neo-Prog crowd, I'll also state that I'm not overly keen on both Spock's Beard and The Flower Kings. They're not bad mind you, but the happier pop sensibilities they try to mix into the music just don't work for me. I don't mind the fact they are trying to do this, it's just the specific implementation...
    Musically they both provide some fine band playing, riffs and instrumental sections, but the problem typically shows up when they bring in the lyrical sections or the meat of the song. Mike, I think your descriptions are perfectly valid for each artist, it's just that they aren't my particular cup 'o tea. Again, that's my problem...
    To remain, ever so briefly, on the critical part of this post, my only problem with Opeth is the vocals...I just can't get past growly, gutteral, Beelzebub type vocals. Otherwise, they are indeed an excellent metal-prog band with some wicked riffs.
    OK, now for some more positive comments...[​IMG]
    Regarding Anglagard:
    Perfectly said. This is a fabulous album. Chomping at the bit for a follow up.
     
  6. John Geelan

    John Geelan Screenwriter

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    And don't forget Porcupine Tree.
    Steve Wilson and company have made a couple of good ones and are working on a new one which will debut in America on a major label for the first time.
    Check out:
    Lightbulb Sun
    Stupid Dream
    Signify
    Coma Divine (live cd)[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    I saw them last year at The Bottom Line in NYC and they were excellent live. Very rabid fans.
    JohnG[​IMG]
     
  7. KevinJ

    KevinJ Supporting Actor

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    i picked up a cd recently by an offshoot of porcupine tree called iem[incredible expanding mind[edited]]that's quite good btw
     
  8. Nathan A

    Nathan A Second Unit

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    Dali's Dilemma is an incredible prog band. They have one album out and are working on another (having contract issues with their label...).
     
  9. Ed E Lee

    Ed E Lee Agent

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  10. John_Bonner

    John_Bonner Supporting Actor

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    I'll second Nathan's recommendation for Dali's Dilemma. The album took a couple of listens to appreciate but it really has grown on me.
    In the Prog-Metal category I'll add:
    Angra - Brazilian rockers who sing in English. I'm not sure of their current status, they may be reformed with lineup changes but start with the "Angels Cry" album.
    Aghora - More of a project than a band. Written by guitarist Santiago Dobles and featuring "the Seans" (Malone and Reinert) along with Santiago's sister who is an opera-trained mezzo-soprano. Haunting vocal melodies and explosive instrumental tradeoffs.
    Ark - WOW! Pick up "Burn the Sun". Excellent prog-metal with ughh! radio possibility. The songs are very catchy and the musicianship top-notch. The band hails from Norway but also sing in English. The drummer John Macaluso spent some time touring with TNT.
    Symphony X - What can I say, I like these guys! I know others here may not care for them(yeah you Broadman! [​IMG] ) and they can come off sounding like Dream Theater's little brothers but still worth a listen.
    Thats all I can think of right now.
     
  11. Peter Mazur

    Peter Mazur Second Unit

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    One term I have never understood is "Neo" prog, or more to the point why it is looked down on. The new wave of prog bands from England: IQ, Marillion, Pallas, Pendragon, Twelfth Night were bands that started in the early 80's and were labeled this. I have never seen a difference in what they were doing to what their predecessors were doing. Progressive rock evolved from what bands like the Beatles, Doors, Pink Floyd and the Moody Blues were playing in the 60's. King Crimson took that and really expanded on it, as well as Genesis, Yes and so on. I think that they all had "pop sensibilities" in their music, even though they were being adventurous at the same time.
    I personally feel that if you like Genesis, Yes or Marillion, then you will definitely like IQ, and think that "Subterranea", "The Wake" and "Ever" belong in any music fans library.
    Some others that are recommended (at least by me) are:
    Landberk - "One Man Tell's Another"
    Arena - "Song's From The Lions Cage", "The Visitor", "Immortal?"
    Also another big vote here for Porcupine Tree, especially "Stupid Dream". Awesome band.
    Kevin Gilbert - "Thud", "The Shaming Of The True". Not really prgressive, more in the Queen vein.
    And again as previously mentioned: Discipline - "Unfolded Like Staircase". Great band, great lyrics.
    And also check out releases by Ayreon. Kind of an all-star line up on each release.
    I like the Flower Kings, and Spock's Beard as well. Neal Morse's solo album is quite good. I think Mike's choices on both are good places to start.
    And I know this will piss some people off here, but hey I'm a Leo from California, I piss a lot of people off. I would strongly recommend you sample Deus Ex Machina before buying. I personally would rather listen to a dentists drill then suffer thru 30 seconds of their music. Like the old expression says "Opinions are like ass..." you know the rest. [​IMG]
     

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