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Wheel – Resident Human (Album Review)

Formed in 2015 in Finland, prog metal group Wheel have seen a steady rise in notoriety in the last few years. This should increase even more so with the release of their latest album, Resident Human. Out on March, 26th, the album is the second full-length album, coming the release of the album Moving Backwards in 2019. The group were poised the release the album a bit earlier and tour the US, but as has been the case with many bands, Covid had other plans. Refusing to be derailed entirely, the band released the album in the middle of the pandemic and have been receiving much deserved attention.

What makes Wheel unique is the group’s combination of hard-hitting social commentary in their lyrics and completely captivating musical elements.  The production is pristine, the tone dark and heavy, with the intensity dialed all the way up.  Singer James Lascelles’ voice fits perfectly here, delivering the message with the right amount of emotion and power.  Meanwhile, the group’s rhythm section of Santeri Saksala (Drums), Aki ‘Conan’ Virta (Bass), and Jussi Turunen (Lead Guitar), provide the balance between being technical and somehow groovy at the same time. The mix allows all the instruments to breath; the bass is upfront while the guitars fill just enough spaces.

The album opens with the track “Dissipating”, a nearly 12 minute opus. Kicking off with an ominous sounding guitar, you are immediately drawn in and the anticipation of what’s to come continues to build from there.  The track weaves in and out of melodic moments and is a great way to introduce the grouping of songs.

The album’s second track and first single “Movement” also has one of the more intense videos you’ll see this year.  There is a Tool influence here which is undeniable, but also a but more immediacy to the tracks. The tribal drums and odd dissonant guitars are a perfect combination here.  Other powerful moments are the tracks “Hyperion” and the title track, both clocking in at over 10 minutes.

This is an album that demands your attention and multiple listens, but the listener is rewarded with one of the more interesting and unique albums from a new band in a long time.  Wheel are a band you should definitely get to know and Resident Human is as captivating and intense an album as you’ll hear in 2021.

Released on March 26th, 2021

Key Tracks: Dissipating, Movement, Hyperion

Tracklisting:

1.Dissipating (11:52)
2.Movement (4:24)
3.Ascend (4:23)
4.Hyperion (12:09)
5.Fugue (4:32)
6.Resident Human (10:32)
7.Old Earth (2:17)

https://wheel.lnk.to/ResidentHuman

James Lascelles – Vocals & Guitar
Santeri Saksala – Drums
Aki ‘Conan’ Virta – Bass
Jussi Turunen – Lead Guitar

 

 

 

 

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EP review: SILVER NIGHTMARES – The Wandering Angel

SILVER NIGHTMARES – The Wandering AngelBandcamp [Release date 31.03.20] Silver Nightmares were formed in Palermo in 2018 by bassist Gabriele Esposito, drummer Alessio Maddaloni, keyboardist Gabriele Taormina with guitarist Mimmo Garofalo joining shortly after. They wrote, composed and orchestrated this, their first EP, which features … Continue reading

The post EP review: SILVER NIGHTMARES – The Wandering Angel appeared first on Get Ready to ROCK!.

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Get your Prog Madness 2021 Bracket

After a successful tournament in 2020, Prog Madness is back. This year’s version puts some of the biggest names in the history or prog, both old and new, against each other. The 4 categories are Classic Era, Modern Era, Solo Artist, and Prog Metal. Voting begins on Monday.

Download your copy of the bracket here to fill out and share with your friends.
prog madness 2021

Voting dates are as follows:

1st Round (64): March 15-18th

2nd Round (32): March 22nd-March 25th

3rd Round (16): March 29th/30th

4th Round (8): March 31st

5th Round (4): April 5th

Finals: April 6th

The post Get your Prog Madness 2021 Bracket appeared first on The Prog Report.

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Prog Metal band Wheel release new single “Fugue”

Finnish Prog Metal band Wheel are pleased to announce their new album ‘Resident Human’. The follow-up their 2019 album ‘Moving Backwards’ will be released on March 26th, 2021.

Today, the group are pleased to share the album’s third second single “Fugue,” which you can listen to here:

“Fugue’s title was inspired by a form of long-distance space travel in the Dan Simmon’s series Hyperion Cantos. In the books, cryogenic fugue allows individuals to enter a form of stasis that enables them to cross vast cosmic distances; the convenience of this suspended state presents major risks however, such as brain damage.

Over the last year, many of us have been confined to our homes as the pandemic has continued to spread through our societies; alcohol consumption has increased and current data indicates that the mental well-being of many has suffered. Broad trends like these made me think of how despite the risks, many would choose to take a gamble with something as risky as cryogenic fugue, rather than continue to endure the radical changes Covid-19 restrictions have imposed upon all of us. In lieu of the possibility of suspended animation, many of us are choosing to sedate ourselves at home with substances and distract ourselves with the media at our disposal; to weather the storm as best we can and to wait for whatever is to come next.

The events of the past year are likely to be generation-defining and honestly, I don’t think it will only be in a bad way – there is some promising global action to address the detection of future pandemics, hygiene has improved and working from home seems likely to be a possibility for employees in a range of sectors that were previously unwilling to adopt it. Unfortunately, despite this positivity, it is exhausting to read about Covid every day and the constant media bombardment of speculation, fear and hopelessness is taking a toll – I openly admit that it has affected me too.

Our social separation and the fear of either spreading or contracting Covid, has left many of us feeling isolated and disconnected from each other, but this is an illusion – we all want the same thing; to get back to a point where our lives are not dictated by this virus and however bleak things may look, this, (like everything else), will eventually pass. It is easy to forget we are interconnected and that we stand together; if we can endure this clamour, there is going to be one hell of a party on the other side. For now however, wine and Netflix will have to do.” – James

Tracklisting:

1.Dissipating (11:52)
2.Movement (4:24)
3.Ascend (4:23)
4.Hyperion (12:09)
5.Fugue (4:32)
6.Resident Human (10:32)
7.Old Earth (2:17)

https://wheel.lnk.to/ResidentHuman

 

 

The Helsinki-based Wheel were formed in 2015 when singer James Lascelles moved to Finland and, through a fluke appearance on a Finnish TV show, met the core of what would become the early stages of the band. The members’ love of polyrhythms, different grooves, abstract time signatures and bands that see things differently would create the unique sound that appeared on their first EP in April 2015. A follow EP ‘The Path’ in 2017 would show further cement the group as one to look out for.

With their first headline tour booked in for February 2020, and the promise of a US tour waiting for them in April, it was around then the instrumental bare bones of ‘Resident Human’ were coming together. Initially to be squeezed into a 10-week recording period, their plans changed once COVID-19 hit the world hard; the band had to roll with the ever-changing punches.

From the desperate content harvest of copy/paste culture (“Ascend”) to the polarized rhetoric surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement in America (“Movement”), ‘Resident Human’ is Wheel vocalizing the ashes they’ve witnessed falling throughout 2020 – putting a voice to our fallible nature.

“We joked at the start of the year that it’s going to be the year of progressive music concept albums about COVID,” James laughs. “And we’ve kind of done that…but it’s more about the time COVID has allowed us to explore ourselves rather than the pandemic itself.”

 

The post Prog Metal band Wheel release new single “Fugue” appeared first on The Prog Report.

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Pain of Salvation to release concept album “BE” and acoustic live album “12:5” on vinyl

While Swedish progressive metal / rock pioneers and innovators Pain of Salvation continue to challenge and bend stylistic boundaries with their frontline albums (Most recently: “PANTHER”, 2020), InsideOutMusic continues to re-work the group’s comprehensive and ground-breaking back-catalogue…

Consequently, Pain of Salvation’s classic 2004 concept album “BE” (15 songs / 75 min.) as well as the exceptional 2004 acoustic live album 12:5 (16 songs / 60 min.) are now made available for the first time ever on vinyl, with a worldwide release date of April 30th, 2021.

Both releases come as Gatefold Double-LP’s on 180g. vinyl with insert sheet and full album on bonus CD, available in the following variations/limitations:

Pain of Salvation – “BE” (Re-issue 2021):
Gatefold black 2LP+CD – Unlimited
Gatefold deep blood red 2LP+CD – 100x copies from IOM Webshop Europe
Gatefold transp. magenta 2LP+CD – 300x copies from CM Distro & IOM Webshop Europe
Gatefold transp. light blue 2LP+CD – 200x copies from EMP
Gatefold transp. sun yellow 2LP+CD – 200x copies from JPC
Gatefold lilac 2LP+CD – 200x copies from Revolver / USA
Gatefold white 2LP+CD – 100x copies from Band Webshop
Gatefold transp. petrol green 2LP+CD – 100x copies from Band Webshop

Pain of Salvation – 12:5 (Re-issue 2021):
Gatefold black 2LP+CD – Unlimited
Gatefold brown 2LP+CD – 100x copies from IOM Webshop Europe
Gatefold transp. sun yellow 2LP+CD – 300x copies from CM Distro & IOM Webshop Europe
Gatefold neon orange 2LP+CD – 200x copies from EMP
Gatefold transp. petrol green 2LP+CD – 200x copies from JPC
Gatefold brick red 2LP+CD – 200x copies from Revolver / USA
Gatefold white 2LP+CD – 100x copies from Band Webshop

The pre-order for both vinyl re-issues is now available here:
https://painofsalvation.lnk.to/Re-Issues2021PR

Pain of Salvation’s Daniel Gildenlöw checked in with the following comment:
“So, we can’t come and play for you, but in this weird time of separation, we are all somehow closer to one another than ever. Please invite us into your hearts and homes in the shape of these two albums that are finally released on vinyl, after all these years. We know, judging from the number of questions and requests over the years, how important this day is for many of you, and it makes us very happy to be able to bring you the news. Your. Wait. Is. Over.”

At http://painofsalvation.com/store we will have signed colored versions available, 100 copies worldwide only, and the first 30 copies of each version will be numbered and have a handwritten lyric quote on the front cover. All pre-sales come with two shop-specific postcards.”

The post Pain of Salvation to release concept album “BE” and acoustic live album “12:5” on vinyl appeared first on The Prog Report.

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James Lascelles (Wheel) Interview – Resident Human

Finnish prog metal band Wheel are set to release their new studio album Resident Human on March 26th.  The band’s singer James Lascelles joins the podcast to talk about the band, the new album, and more.

For the full audio click the podcast link or download the podcast on
iTunes · Google· Stitcher · PodBeanSpotify
Subscribe to the podcast to automatically receive future podcast episodes.

Check out the video for the album’s first single “Movement” here:

 

Tracklisting:

1.Dissipating (11:52)
2.Movement (4:24)
3.Ascend (4:23)
4.Hyperion (12:09)
5.Fugue (4:32)
6.Resident Human (10:32)
7.Old Earth (2:17)

 

 

 

The Helsinki-based Wheel were formed in 2015 when singer James Lascelles moved to Finland and, through a fluke appearance on a Finnish TV show, met the core of what would become the early stages of the band. The members’ love of polyrhythms, different grooves, abstract time signatures and bands that see things differently would create the unique sound that appeared on their first EP in April 2015. A follow EP ‘The Path’ in 2017 would show further cement the group as one to look out for.

With their first headline tour booked in for February 2020, and the promise of a US tour waiting for them in April, it was around then the instrumental bare bones of ‘Resident Human’ were coming together. Initially to be squeezed into a 10-week recording period, their plans changed once COVID-19 hit the world hard; the band had to roll with the ever-changing punches.

Pushing back their allotted studio time, as a three-piece of vocalist and guitarist James Lascelles, bassist Aki Virta, and drummer Santeri Saksala – after guitarist JC departed amicably in Spring (with Jussi Turunen later joining the ranks) – Wheel hunkered down to get the album together.

From the desperate content harvest of copy/paste culture (“Ascend”) to the polarized rhetoric surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement in America (“Movement”), ‘Resident Human’ is Wheel vocalizing the ashes they’ve witnessed falling throughout 2020 – putting a voice to our fallible nature.

“We joked at the start of the year that it’s going to be the year of progressive music concept albums about COVID,” James laughs. “And we’ve kind of done that…but it’s more about the time COVID has allowed us to explore ourselves rather than the pandemic itself.”

Photo Credit: Ville Juurikkala

The post James Lascelles (Wheel) Interview – Resident Human appeared first on The Prog Report.

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Anneke van Giersbergen – The Darkest Skies Are the Brightest (Album Review)

By Nick Tate

It’s an old joke in prog circles that there’s never a line for the ladies room at King Crimson concerts. But, joking aside, it is true that progressive rock — particularly the heavier, concussion-inducing stuff — has always been mostly a boys’ club.

But that’s changing. One reason: Artists like Anneke van Giersbergen keep putting out some of the best of the genre’s new material.

Case in point: The Dutch singer-songwriter’s latest solo release, The Darkest Skies Are the Brightest. This breath-taking album, Anneke’s 23rd recording, is one of the most enchanting, if surprising, releases of the past 12 months. It’s a one-off album that marks a huge departure from the prog-metal that has been Anneke’s main musical squeeze since the mid-1990s — with her first band, the Gathering, and later with Devin Townsend, Arjen Lucassen, Anathema and others.

It’s a largely acoustic album of story songs that showcases Anneke’s siren-song vocals, drawing on an eclectic range of musical styles — from folk, classical, prog and even Eastern ethnic music.

In this respect, it’s the polar opposite of 2018’s Symphonized, a live orchestral album recorded with the Residentie Orkest The Hague, featuring lush rearrangements of 11 songs spanning her entire back catalogue.

But it would be wrong to call Darkest Skies Anneke’s “unplugged” album. On the strongest tracks, she sings with the devil-may-care abandon that distinguishes her best work — suggesting it might better to describe what’s here as Anneke “unleashed” or even “unhinged.”

On the whole, this is a work of passion and unflinching honesty. She has been open about the lyrical content of the album, which lays bare the struggles of her 18-year marriage with husband/manager and drummer Rob Snijders.

Although those challenges are now happily resolved, she says, they inspired her to make an introspective solo record instead of a new album with her current prog-metal band VUUR.

“I knew instantly I needed to write music about fixing my life,” she says. “This creative endeavor would be too personal for a VUUR album. And it would also require solitude.”

Anneke wrote and recorded the basic tracks on her own in a small house outside her hometown of Eindhoven. She then asked producer, Gijs Coolen, to help her finish the record, adding strings, horns and percussion to her barebones voice-and-guitar pieces.

The result is a stark and intimate album that is daring and heartbreakingly beautiful. Like Riverside’s Wasteland (written after the death of guitarist Piotr Grudziński) and Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here (inspired by the late mad genius Syd Barrett), Darkest Skies pulls at your heartstrings without being maudlin or overly sentimental.

Most tracks are built around Anneke’s exquisite voice, as strong and intoxicating as Jameson on ice. Coolen’s stripped-to-the-bone production and spare musical embellishments perfectly match the tone of the 11 tracks here.

The album opens with “Agape,” a gorgeous anti-love song that sets the tone for what follows — stacking the triple threat of Anneke’s honey-sweet vocals, spare guitar figures and catchy melodic hooks that stay with you. Other highlights include:

• “My Promise” — the standout track on the album — featuring Spanish guitar flourishes and romantic string arrangements that provide savory counterpoints to Anneke’s wild-gypsy vocals.

• “Hurricane” and “Survivor” — a pair of driving acoustic rockers elevated by witchy harmony vocals that give these tracks a haunting quality.

• “The End” — a wistful lament so personal and intimate it feels like a musical diary entry.

• “Love You Like I Love You” — a lush slice of symphonic folk that echoes the best of popera artists like Sarah Brightman and Charlotte Church, but with an edgier delivery. It’s the song that best demonstrates Anneke’s classical training as a mezzo soprano.

Not everything here is quite as successful. Some tracks feel a shade too light next to the weighty intensity that defines much of this album.

“The Soul Knows” and “Keep it Simple” cross a bit too far into pop-radio territory. “Losing You” and “Lo and Behold” hustle the same adult soft-rock corner worked by the likes of Enya and Jewel. And “I Saw a Car” is a light-hearted ditty, about a gold-digger with a conscience and a sense of humor, that feels out of place here.

Darkest Skies will also, no doubt, leave some hardcore fans wanting more of the feral vocal histrionics that have defined Anneka’s eclectic prog-metal career.

Nothing here approaches the banshee wail she delivered on such grinding Devin Townsend Project masterworks as “Supercrush” and “Hyperdive” (from 2009’s Addicted) or the heady theatrical intensity she brought to the buzz-and-crunch rocker “Grace” from Epicloud.

But, even so, Darker Skies finds Anneke at the top of her game and still breaking new ground in ways that are both unexpected and compelling. At 47, she isn’t afraid to take a risk and reinvent herself.

The bottom line: This is a remarkable album — musically and lyrically — that showcases one of prog’s most distinctive voices (regardless of gender). It also reflects a confident maturity and depth that rewards repeated listenings.

One final note: For the headbangers among us, Anneke says she hasn’t given up on VUUR and additional collaborations with Lucassen and others may be in the offing.

But whatever she chooses to do next will bear watching — and listening — regardless of whether decides to drop her acoustic guitar in favor of her trusty black Gibson SG.

Released on Feb 26th, 2021 on InsideOutMusic
Key Tracks: My Promise, Hurricane, The End

01. Agape
02. Hurricane
03. My Promise
04. I Saw A Car
05. The Soul Knows
06. The End
07. Keep It Simple
08. Lo And Behold
09. Losing You
10. Survive
11. Love You Like I Love You

Click here to pre-order the album:
https://annekevangiersbergen.lnk.to/TheDarkestSkiesAreTheBrightest

 

The post Anneke van Giersbergen – The Darkest Skies Are the Brightest (Album Review) appeared first on The Prog Report.

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Album review: PHANTOM ELITE – Titanium

PHANTOM ELITE – TitaniumFrontiers Records (Release date 22/01/21) On their second album now, Phantom Elite grew from the seeds of an HDK tour band, embracing Progressive Rock, Contemporary Metal and Symphonic Rock, evolving into what we see today. Fronted by Marina (Avantasia) La … Continue reading

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Anneke van Giersbergen releases music video for “Hurricane” from upcoming album

Anneke van Giersbergen recently announced the release of her new solo album ‘The Darkest Skies Are The Brightest’ for February 26, 2021. Today sees the release of the second single and video for “Hurricane”, which you can watch here.

Anneke comments on the single as follows: “For the new album I wrote a lot of songs filled with messages of love and heartache, but I also went on a more propulsive journey, with darker storytelling. The percussive opening groove of ‘Hurricane’ is maintained until a slightly ominous middle section. The track closes with heavy drums and a glorious trumpet solo.”

The album will be available as CD Digipak, Gatefold LP + CD & as digital album.
01. Agape
02. Hurricane
03. My Promise
04. I Saw A Car
05. The Soul Knows
06. The End
07. Keep It Simple
08. Lo And Behold
09. Losing You
10. Survive
11. Love You Like I Love You

Click here to pre-order the album:
https://annekevangiersbergen.lnk.to/TheDarkestSkiesAreTheBrightest

 

The post Anneke van Giersbergen releases music video for “Hurricane” from upcoming album appeared first on The Prog Report.

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Prog Metal band Wheel release new single “Hyperion”

Finnish Prog Metal band Wheel are pleased to announce their new album ‘Resident Human’. The follow-up their 2019 album ‘Moving Backwards’ will be released on March 26th, 2021.

Today, the group are pleased to share the album’s second single “Hyperion,” which you can listen to here:

 

“This song was inspired by ‘Hyperion Cantos’ by Dan Simmons and considers humanity’s relationship to mortality and ultimately, death.

Considering that all of us are travelling along the same linear experience of time from a point of nothingness, to (in all likelihood) another point of nothingness, this song considers that this knowledge should make us more empathetic to others on the same journey and that however divided we may be otherwise, there is no division or variance for how lives end.” – James

Tracklisting:

1.Dissipating (11:52)
2.Movement (4:24)
3.Ascend (4:23)
4.Hyperion (12:09)
5.Fugue (4:32)
6.Resident Human (10:32)
7.Old Earth (2:17)

https://wheel.lnk.to/ResidentHuman

 

 

The Helsinki-based Wheel were formed in 2015 when singer James Lascelles moved to Finland and, through a fluke appearance on a Finnish TV show, met the core of what would become the early stages of the band. The members’ love of polyrhythms, different grooves, abstract time signatures and bands that see things differently would create the unique sound that appeared on their first EP in April 2015. A follow EP ‘The Path’ in 2017 would show further cement the group as one to look out for.

With their first headline tour booked in for February 2020, and the promise of a US tour waiting for them in April, it was around then the instrumental bare bones of ‘Resident Human’ were coming together. Initially to be squeezed into a 10-week recording period, their plans changed once COVID-19 hit the world hard; the band had to roll with the ever-changing punches.

Pushing back their allotted studio time, as a three-piece of vocalist and guitarist James Lascelles, bassist Aki Virta, and drummer Santeri Saksala – after guitarist JC departed amicably in Spring (with Jussi Turunen later joining the ranks) – Wheel hunkered down to get the album together.

From the desperate content harvest of copy/paste culture (“Ascend”) to the polarized rhetoric surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement in America (“Movement”), ‘Resident Human’ is Wheel vocalizing the ashes they’ve witnessed falling throughout 2020 – putting a voice to our fallible nature.

“We joked at the start of the year that it’s going to be the year of progressive music concept albums about COVID,” James laughs. “And we’ve kind of done that…but it’s more about the time COVID has allowed us to explore ourselves rather than the pandemic itself.”

 

The post Prog Metal band Wheel release new single “Hyperion” appeared first on The Prog Report.

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