Following on from Steven Wilson’s brilliant new album in last week’s post (which is still on high rotation), this week I’m going to look at three other prog rock bands, two of which, Riverside and Amplifier, have just released new albums. One thing I can say that captures me about all three of the bands this week is that they all have awesome vocalists who really suit the style of music. Read on and you’ll see what I mean.
Riverside are a prog rock band from Warsaw, Poland, who formed in 2001 and are headed by Mariusz Duda, who has also in recent years had some success with a solo side project under the name of Lunatic Soul. Their influences have always been quite clear, the likes of Pink Floyd, Porcupine Tree, Tool, Opeth and others often mentioned when describing their music, although with Duda’s unique songwriting and vocal style the band still have a distinct sound of their own. This is their fifth album, and the eight songs on it do not disappoint, from almost mainstream rock songs such as Celebrity Touch, to the heart breaking piano driven song We Got Used To Us. There is plenty of classic sounding Riverside on here for long time fans, including the following song The Depth Of Self-Delusion (this clip is a radio edit though so is substantially shorter than the album version):
Gazpacho are a Norwegian prog rock band formed in 1996, whose work is often compared to the likes of Radiohead, Porcupine Tree and Marillion (the latter of which they have toured with before). Their songs are often slow to build up, atmospheric and yet quite melodic and catchy, thanks in part to the clear and soaring vocals of Jan-Henrik Ohme (and it is the vocals that will seem the most familiar sound in the band for many). This is their seventh album, and is meant to be like a collection of short stories of people, both dead and alive. One interesting song, What Did I Do?, revolves around the author P.G.Wodehouse (who long time readers of my blog will know I love) who was wrongly accused of treason after doing some radio broadcasts in Germany during WWII (he at the time didn’t quite understand why he had caused such an uproar, though it later became clear). The song I’m including is called Black Lily, and is one of my favourites off the album:
Hailing from Manchester, England, this prog rock four-piece have just released their fourth album, the follow up to the critically acclaimed double album The Octopus – and it couldn’t be any different. While their previous album took four years to write and was very dark in sound and theme, there is something almost uplifting about this new work which apparently was finished within sixty days, much to the band’s own surprise. Still containing the epic, spaced out prog rock songs that they are known for, different sounds have also emerged on this album, including three part vocal harmonies that almost sound folk-rock in quality, cleaner anthemic songs (particularly the closing track), and the title song which is distinctly Pink Floydian in style. Having signed a new contract with KScope (the label which almost all of the prog rock bands I mention on here are signed with), and with a strong new album, they might finally begin to achieve the commercial recognition they deserve. Check out their clip for Matmos here (which they joke on their website is the coldest music video of all time except for Last Christmas by Wham):
What are your thoughts on these three bands and albums from what you’ve heard?
What have you been listening to lately?