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Album Reviews
Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Alpine Valley 2010 (JEMP Records)

If you're tired of the cold, this warm and fuzzy two-DVD/two-CD box of Phish captured at Alpine Valley last summer will make you forget about winter. There are few crowd shots—don't look for yourself on camera if you were there—but watching this, it's easy enough to position yourself in the front row...
Album Reviews
Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion (Cruz del Sur)

Don't call the five members of Germany's oddly named Atlantean Kodex underachievers. The Golden Bough, the band's ambitious debut CD, takes inspiration from the late Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer's scholarly work of the same name, which explored the notion that organized religion...
Album Reviews
Monday, Dec. 27, 2010

Random Acts of Beauty (ProgRock Records)

If James Cameron decided to halt work on the Avatar sequel and the 3-D conversion of Titanic to record a progressive-rock album, it would probably sound quite a bit like David Minasian’s lofty, keyboards-rich Random Acts of Beauty. Minasian also is a film director (plus multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and...
Album Reviews
Monday, Dec. 20, 2010

Aqua (SPV/Steamhammer)

The South American influences that once colored Angra’s brand of symphonic power metal have grown more subtle over the past two decades, but with Aqua—the band’s first studio album in four years—these Brazilians prove they haven’t run out of ideas. Considering the genre’s limited creativity, which has kept it...
Album Reviews
Monday, Dec. 6, 2010

The Face of the Unknown (Time Divide Records)

It’s one thing to be Adam Young, the one-man electronic brainchild behind Owl City, composing Auto-Tuned tracks on a computer in his parents’ basement. It’s quite another to be Rich Hinks, the young U.K.-based multi-instrumentalist who helms the progressive-metal behemoth Aeon Zen...
Monday, Nov. 22, 2010

Book Review

The debate over which ’60s-spawned band is best has raged for decades, but renowned Chicago rock critics Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot claim the question has never been the focus of an entire book. Well, now it is. In The Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones—an attractive volume loaded with rare photographs and...
Album Reviews
Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010

100 Bleeding Hearts (Arctic Music Group)

Portugal’s Raven Soul has made a name for itself in Europe with a catchy hybrid of progressive, gothic and stoner metal. Early tracks on the quintet’s U.S. debut—a 35-minute EP called 100 Bleeding Hearts that’s already been available in other parts of the world—recall The Mission, and Márcio “Mac” Caetano can...
Album Reviews
Monday, Sept. 27, 2010

Metafiction (Armoury Records)

A dark new breed of progressive rock has emerged in recent years, marked by doomy atmospherics and strong emotion, and starring such bands as Opeth, Porcupine Tree, Riverside and Anathema. Now add to that growing list Poland’s Votum, whose second album, Metafiction, practically defines the subgenre’s...
Album Reviews
Monday, Sept. 20, 2010

Common Ground (Provogue)

In press materials accompanying his latest album, Common Ground, singer/guitarist Walter Trout claims that “I’ve almost created my own genre.” While a comment like that smacks of narcissism, it’s also tough to argue. Over the course of two decades and 19 albums, the former member of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers...
Album Reviews
Friday, Aug. 27, 2010

Intriguer (Fantasy/Concord Music Group)

Crowded House’s second post-reunion album—an elegant, mostly laid-back affair—finds the band continuing to eschew its earlier mainstream appeal and write serious alternative-pop songs for grown-ups...

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