Kaipa – Sommargryningsljus

The Swedish progressive folk-fusion-rock band often has album titles that are difficult to pronounce. But the fifteenth album, ‘Sommargryningsljus’, is quite a tongue twister. A translation app tells me it means summer twilight. These eight songs tell the story of a nocturnal journey. The first two tracks are about twilight, the last two about dawn. … Read more, available in English and Dutch

Leon Alvarado – The Changing Tide

Multi-instrumentalist Leon Alvarado is also an award-winning designer of album covers/tour posters (for Yes, Genesis et al). ‘The Changing Tide’ features two covers of Pink Floyd. Their influences can also be heard in Leon’s own songs.In the background of ‘The Equilibrium Of Time’, time ticks, in the foreground a clock is striking. There are interactions … Read more, available in English and Dutch

Vlyes – Why

Vlyes is a new name, but founders Kay Söhl (ex Sylvan) and Jens Lueck Single Celled Organism and Isgaard) are well-known in the prog world. ‘Why’ is their melodic atmospheric prog debut album. This concept album is about the bio-industry. The story displays life (from birth to death) from the perspective of an animal. ‘The … Read more, available in English and Dutch

Laughing Stock – Shelter

‘Shelter’ is the sixth album by Norwegian band ‘Laughing Stock’. This album tells of a journey to ‘Shelter’. In this light, peaceful world, people (along with Shelter’s Master) live in harmony with nature. The title track has a peaceful atmosphere, the mysterious words and music (with violin playing) forming a whole. ‘Roots Go Deep’ has … Read more, available in English and Dutch

The Boxx Orchestra – The Horn Of Plenty

‘The Horn of Plenty’ is the second album by Dutch symphonic prog rock band The Boxx Orchestra. The opening track, ‘Daybreak’, has a retro feel. Ria Mulder sings narratively and quite monotonously here. The repetitions in the percussion snatch too much attention away from the compelling guitar playing. The symphonic elements come out a bit … Read more, available in English and Dutch

Karnataka created a splendid Saturday afternoon.

Multi-instrumentalist Ian Jones was one of the founding members of the progressive/folk rock band Karnataka in the 1990s. There have been several band changes, including in vocals. What has remained is a beautiful, clear voice. Sertari is the current singer; she was voted the best vocalist of 2023 by the site ProgRock. Her voice could … Read more, available in English and Dutch

Ayreon – 01011001 – Live Beneath The Waves

Arjen Lucassen wrote the Ayreon album ‘01011001’ in 2007. Since he never intended to perform it live, he could make it as complicated as he wanted. He did so, not only in terms of complex arrangement, but also by the amount of vocalists/musicians. Ayreon’s live shows are rare, but always a great spectacle. So was … Read more, available in English and Dutch

Armed Cloud – Nimbus

Dutch prog metal band Armed Cloud will launch ‘Nimbus’, their fourth album, on 25 May. Nimbus comes from cumulonimbus, aka thunderclouds. This is the band’s darkest and heaviest album to date. The sound at the start of ‘Safety Word’ is a bit duller than expected. The metal could have “thundered” a bit more. Still, the … Read more, available in English and Dutch

Lucassen & Soeterboek’s Plan Nine – The Long Lost Songs

The basis of ‘The Long Lost Songs’ are tapes of bluesy demos from some 30 years ago, played in by Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon) and Robert Soeterboek (The Cotton Soeterboek Band). Robert’s voice has a pleasantly mild rough rasp. The quality of the backing vocals are good, but occasionally a bit sweet in sound. The predictable … Read more, available in English and Dutch

Theo van Niel Jr. – Self-Education

‘Self-Education’ is the second solo instrumental album by multi-instrumentalist Theo van Niel Jr. The extraordinary ‘Introduction’ makes me curious about ‘Anxiety Express’. In this up-tempo track, blackjazz plays saxophonist Jørgen Munkeby. This forms a beautiful combination/alternation between the rock/metal. The atmosphere in ‘Sierra’ is very different, more summery. Again, there are unexpected twists and details. … Read more, available in English and Dutch