Posts Tagged ‘ prog ’

Astra, Diagonal, Litmus – Live in London 4/14/2010

So, I’m totally bummed that I can’t go to this but here it is anyway.

Rise Above’s prog saviors Astra, Diagonal, and Litmus are getting together this April for a night of spacey fish and chips at The Scala in London. The first 300 people through the door will receive a free Astra/Diagonal Split 7″. If you live anywhere near London and aren’t dead or incapacitated in some equally restrictive fashion, I strongly recommend you go to this. I also recommend you get there early to make sure you get one of the free 7″ records. I recommend, too, that you then mail said 7″ to me. Think of it as a finder’s fee.

Buy tickets here!

Check out the bands, if you haven’t yet.

Astra

Diagonal

Litmus

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Orphaned Land – The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR

Israel’s prog-metal prophets are back six years after the release of Mabool with yet another biblical epic. That this band manages to write religious prog-metal concept albums and actually pull it off without coming across as incredibly pretentious or just lame still amazes me. Regardless of how you feel about religion or how silly or offensive you find a metal band singing about god to be, their music still feels genuine and honest and allows you look past any preconceptions you might have had.

That being said, I’m glad that the ridiculous promo shot I thought to be the album’s cover was only a promotional insert. Sometimes even bands you love do things you wish they wouldn’t, but you learn to live with those things and forgive them. You kind of have to as a metal fan. The costumes are pretty convincing though, aren’t they? At least it’s a well-made silly photo. This might actually be what makes Orphaned Land as good as they are. That they do everything with such conviction makes their work more than just novelty, and impossible to ignore. Continue reading

Mastodon/Totimoshi @ Melkweg Amsterdam, February 6th 2010

The previous time I attended a Mastodon headlining show was in November 2008, when they played as a three-piece in the Tivoli in Utrecht. “Brother Bill”, guitarist Bill Kelliher, was hospitalized at the time. They did a surprisingly good job, taking into consideration how much their songs usually rely on the interaction between the two guitars.

This time around, the group was more than complete again, with the keyboardist who played on a couple of tracks on their latest studio effort also added to the live line-up. During the current tour, Mastodon performed said album, 2009’s Crack the Skye, in its entirety. Proggier than ever before, the band didn’t know how to isolate just a few chapters of the saga from the rest of the story and fit those into a regular set. Even though they had always managed to distill an interesting mix of old and new songs in the past, it made some sense to me to leave a concept album intact (but weren’t the previous three all concept albums?). Continue reading

More Like Bad-Asstra

I already knew that San Diego-based (maybe 1970s-based is more accurate) prog rock outfit Astra were good, but when I saw them perform at Freshface Fever last month I was totally blown away. They played in a room with a bar and no stage, and the only microphones were the ones Richard Vaughan and Conor Riley were singing into, but they don’t need a giant sound system or stage to make them appear godlike or larger than life. Their music does that for them.  Even if I saw them in someone’s basement I would still feel like I was floating away from my body and off into some magical synth-laden Mellotron world where John McLaughlin-style double-neck guitars grow instead of trees and vinyl records sprout out of the earth in place of flowers. Astra opened a window to 1973 and everyone at Les Deux that night was eager to look inside. Continue reading

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