30. Jun, 2020

New additions: jazz, impro and metal

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  • THE JERRY GRANELLI TRIO Plays Vince Guaraldi & Mose Allison

    American/Canadian drummer Jerry Granelli is getting near his ninth decade of life and has made a name for himself as sideman to Vince Guaraldi ('Christmas Time Is Here') and to Mose Allison in the seventies. On this album he gives his own interpretation of two Guaraldi and five Allison pieces. Two of his own compositions and the traditional 'Baby Please Don't Go' complete the album. With a trio of drums, piano and bass he manages to create a set of pieces with an astonishing unity and flow. Pianist Jerry Shaft plays with a beautiful touch and creativity, Granelli and Bradley Christopher Jones on bass deliver equally creative rhythm parts that make the album swing in a very modern way without losing direction or disturbing the fantastic atmosphere of the album. This is far from straight stride, but nevertheless very accessible because of the natural way the melodies are build around the prominent rhythms that never get in the way of the harmonic movement. Beautiful album! (Geert Ryssen)
    Released on June 26 on RareNoiseRecords - www.rarenoiserecords.com

  • SONAR with DAVID TORN - Tranceportation Vol.2

    This Swiss quartet celebrates its ten year existence with the second part of 'Tranceportation' on which they are joined again by experimental guitarist David Torn who has been associated with many different big names (Bowie, Madonna, Jeff Beck, King Crimson, etc.). That makes three guitars, one bass and one drums. Four long instrumental tracks create different rhythmic soundscapes that have a subtle trance character and atmospheric passages. The music has a texture that is more complex than it seems at first sight and all five musicians play an essential part in creating these beautiful pieces of modern cross-over music that is based on improvisation and live recording. When listening without too much notice there's a perception of minimalism, but that's a false impression. The playing is full of subtle variation and tension. Dispite its modernism, the album spreads warm vibes and a feeling of harmony in space. (Geert Ryssen)

    Released on RareNoiseRecords on June 26 - www.rarenoiserecords.com

    David Thorn (e-guitar, looping)
    Stephan Thelen & Bernard Wagner (tritone guitar)
    Christian Kuntner (tritone bass)
    Manual Pasquinelli (drums, percussion)

  • MALEFISTUM - Enemy

    MalefistuM is a solo project by Jens Faber of Dawn Of Destiny. The ambition is to bring together various metal styles into one solid creation. Musically Faber delivers a mix of power metal, death metal, melodic metal with a symphonic touch. The album gains extra strenght trough the use of two different female voices in contrast with harsh death vocals. The singers are Melissa Bonny (Ad Infinitum, Serentiy, ...) and respectively on one song each Frederica Lanna (ex-Sleeping Romance), Detty Scherner (Black Messiah) and Eric Dow Helsott). Faber plays all instruments and delivers backing vocals; drummer John S. completes the cast. Musically Faber has accomplished his mission with a steaming record that is fast (most of the time) and rides on the "beauty and the beast' principle when it comes to vocals. The songs are good and the flow of the records is, well ... flawless! References can be made to Ad Infinitum (the prominent presence of Bonny), Ensiferum, Dark Tranquility and Nightwish. If you like this kind of bands then MalefistuM is definetely for you! (Geert Ryssen)

    Released in May on Fastball Music

  • EXESS - Deus Ex Machina

    Exess is a Swiss female fronted band that brings a collection of contemporary rock songs backed with heavy guitar. One could discribe the music as pop metal, but that shouldn't put of fans of heavy rock as the music is pretty heavy but the production and the way the songs are performed by excellent singer Céline Bart make 'Deus Ex Machina' a very enjoyable record to listen to. It's not a right "in your face" sound, but nevertheless takes the attention of the listener. Céline has a deep voice of a kind we don't hear to much by female fronted rock and metal bands. The songs are well crafted by drummer Alan Montanari and guitarist Stéphane 'Front' Froidevaux. The album concludes with a bonus track that is a cover of the classic Tasmin Archer song 'Sleeping Satelite'. You can't go wrong with that one! Nice band, nice record! (Geert Ryssen)

    Released in May on Fastball Music

  • FROM HELL - Rats & Ravens

    American band From Hell is the vehicle of singer/guitarist and horror storyteller Aleister Sinn (real name George Anderson). The band has a new rhythm section on this second effort with Wesley Anderson on drums and Stephen Paul Goodwin on bass; top guitarist/schredder Steve Smyth (of Nevermore fame) is still on board. 'Rats & Ravens' is a horror concept album about an evil witch who brings stolen children back to life as, well ... rats ... From Hell stands for pounding and well played metal, it sounds heavy with raw and screaming vocals. If this is what you're looking for than Aleister Sinn is your man! (Geert Ryssen)

    Released in May on Fastball Music

Scoll down for reviews of:

Sonoria, Mia Zabelka, Meinrad Kneer, Milan Polak, Hellride, Sophie Tassignon, Flying Circus, Demonhead, El Misty, Sectile, Vlad In tears, Porn, Ryan Perry, Fughu, Medea, Chaos Over Cosmos, Hubris, Coinmen.

SONORIA - Live In Pisa

The Italian quartet Sonoria was recorded live at Pisa Jazz on April 28, 2019. Their set consists of two long improvised pieces that create a flow of sounds that evoque transformation. There's no real structure or melody, but it's a wonderful development of sound art with four instruments that create a consistent flow even in the percussive passages. Some parts refer to industrial sounds that are wonderfuly transformed into music with a sense of direction.That way an ambient feel is created but it's far from wallpaper! The interplay really matters and creates intriguing atmospheres and controled tension. Wonderful! Released on Evil Rabbit Records (Geert Ryssen)


Cosimo Fiaschi - soprano sax

Alessandro Giachero - piano, prepared piano

Emanuele Guadagno - electric guitar

Nicholas Remondino - drums, live electronics 

MILAN POLAK - Can't Please Everyone

Guitar mastermind Milan Polak returns with his 4th vocal album “Can’t Please Everyone”. This album is a little bit darker and heavier than its predecessor “Scarred To Perfection” and features guest appearances by Billy Sheehan, Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thal, Tony Franklin, Thomas Lang, Jeff Neal of ‘Boston', Atma Anur and others. This is basicaly a classic melodic hardrock album with some great playin' by the master himself. Polak has also a good powerful rock voice. It's a positive thing that he hired a proper drummer for every track and didn't rely on drummachines. It gives the album extra dynamics. This album is not going to change the course of music history, but it's a damn good album in it's genre. (Geert Ryssen)

Milan Polak: vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, bass, synths & loops. The album was mixed & mastered by Benjamin Schäfer (Rammstein, Celtic Frost, Crimson ProjeKCt)

Tracklist with extra credits:

01) Unborn
02) Numb - drums: Thomas Lang
03) The Future Is Now - bass: Billy Sheehan, drums: Dennis Leeflang, 2nd guitar solo: Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal
04) Can’t Please Everyone - drums: Dennis Leeflang
05) New Life - drums: Dennis Leeflang
06) Savior - drums: Atma Anur
07) Enemy Within - drums: Dennis Leeflang
08) No One Else - drums: Dennis Leeflang
09) Father - Dennis Leeflang: drums
10) Heroes Die Young - drums: Dennis Leeflang
11) Better Man - drums: Abel Sequera 
12) Can’t Let You Go - fretless bass: Tony Franklin, drums: Jeff Neal, piano: Mistheria

HELLRIDE - Goodbyes To Forever

This is the second album by German acoustic trio Hellride. The first one ('Acousticalized') came out in 2013 and this one is announced as being the final album. That's a pity because what this band does with metal is unique. Of course we've had different unplugged records, but this trio writes its songs to be performed with two acoustic guitars and a voice, whilst keeping the spirit of metal. This approach needs a lot of qualities: songwriting, performance, sound and power. Hellride manages to capture all of that in its performance. Singer Tom Klossek has a perfect metal voice and sings with the power needed to make it sound real. The guitars of Kai Passeman and Stefan Gassner sound equaly intense and deep. On the final song there's also drums and lots of strong harmony vocals. Hellride have made one hell of an album to say goodbye. This is music to discover and cherish as an unique way of playing metal. Great album! (Geert Ryssen)

SOPHIE TASSIGNON - Mysteries Unfold

The first solo album by Sophie Tassignon is literally what it says: a real solo work crafted with her magnificent voice and electronic devices to create loops and harmonies as an enrichment of her vocal performance. This exceptional singer has a real multi-cultural mindset, speaks several languages and uses those qualities and competences in her artistic expression. The album consists of four own compositions and four totally individual interpretations of songs and pieces by Dolly Parton, Russian bard Yuliy Chersanovich Kim, Antonio Vivaldi and Cowboy Junkies. I’ve never heard a version of Parton’s ‘Jolene’ with such a depth and beauty! Some of the songs hold references to what she does with Azolia and other passages remind of the sound performance she did for ‘Licht – Raum – Erkundungen’, the light installation of Margareta Hesse. The variation between the pieces brings the listener in all kinds of moods, from lightness and playfulness to dreamy and spacey soundscapes. Throughout this variation there’s a consistency that makes the album sound as one whole with a natural flow. All one hears is voice(s) aided by some electronics and one doesn’t get bored for a second. This is an exceptional work of beautiful esthetics, performance and expression of an authentic artist. Give it a listen. True art. So pure. So individual and yet so universal. (Geert Ryssen)

Available on cd, vinyl and digital

Read interview: http://www.fullcirclemisicblog.be/445975819 




I'm glad to present you a most impressive album. German retro-rock band Flying Circus creates a cross-over between classic krautrock, contemporary progressive rock and a dash of artrock. '1968' is a thematic album dealing with important events during that year in different cities (Paris, Prague, Berlin, Derry, New York, Mî Lai, Vienna, Memphis). The sound of the band and especially singer Michael Dorp reminds of legendary krautband Birth Control, but the sonic universum and musical vocabulary is much richer through the use of violin and the twists and turns in the compositions. To record this album, the band returned to the historic Dierks Studios in Stommeln near Cologne. The spirit of the great days of the past still wades there, this album is the proof. By listening to the complete album one realises that the tag 'retro-rock' becomes irrelevant. There's a musical variation and diversity that lifts the band way above a nostalgic trip. This is an album to take your time for, sit down for and listen to ... and listen again. Everytime there's something new to discover. (Geert Ryssen)

Michael Dorp (vocals), Michael Rick (guitars, backing vocals), Rüdiger Blümer (keyboards, violin), Roger Weitz (bass, backing vocals), Ande Rederigo (drums, backing vocals)


DEMONHEAD - Black Devil Lies

Although Australian band Demonhead has been active since 2007, this is only its second album. This has given the band all the space it needs to develop itself and to reach a mature level. 'Black Devil Lies' is proof of that. This album rocks like hell! Heavy, but with a good sense of melody, concrete riffs and a pounding drive loaded with stimulating grooves. That's all we need to enjoy a good hardrock and metal record and that is what Demonhead delivers!

Band: Dave Lowes (guitar, vocals), Rüe Power (lead guitar), Dean Lewer (drums), Azz Mammoth (bass, backing vocals)

12 songs + European bonus track. 

The band was scheduled to support Geoff Tate on his European tour 2020.

EL MISTI - El Misty

The debut album by British band El Misty covers a long history of 'getting together'. It's basicaly the band of singer-songwriter Paddy Bleakley and guitarist Kieran Gilchrist who met for the first time in Rio de Janeiro. Both are fans of all things folk, americana, west-coast psych and basic rock-'n'-roll. Their first album is a well produced affair with lots of good songs with West-Coast type arrangements, fine vocal harmonies and great guitar parts. If one didn't know these guys hail from Cheshire, it would be natural to say they are Americans. El Misty knows its craft and has made a very good album in this genre. It creates a full band sound and that makes the music interesting for different kinds of rock fans. If this band can cut it live, it may have a bright future in the circuit of contemporary soft rock, folk-rock, country-rock and Americana! I bet these musicians are fans of The War On Drugs. (Geert Ryssen)

SECTILE - Falls Apart

Ireland is not especially well known for its progressive rock scene, but Sectile may change that perception. The fivepiece released a debut EP in 2016 that was well received in their homeland and that was the motivation to work on new material during 2018 and 2019. Their first album is now a fact and 'Falls Apart' shows a modern progressive rockband that musically crosses over between the great anglo-saxon bands of the past, the atmospheric proggers of the last decades, a touch of postrock and a firm dose of (progressive) metal influences. The album lasts for fifty minutes and unveils seven musical pieces that are melodic, complex and full of variation in pace and sound. This is really a band of the 21st century! For the uninitiated, the cover may suggest some extreme metal thing, but this is nothing like that: clean vocals, well structured compostions and real progressive drumparts. The album is well produced and the mix is in good balance. The playing is excellent and the guitars can be heavy. The flow of the record takes the listener on a musical journey. The tour de force is held until last: 'Dying Of The Lights' is a piece in three parts, clocking in at more than twelve minutes showing everything this band stands for. Music to listen to and to let take over! "Intense" is the best way to describe this album. (Geert Ryssen)

  • VLAD IN TEARS - Dead Stories Of Forsaken Lovers

    Vlad In Tears is already a seasoned band that operates from Berlin. Their 8th album is a well crafted work counting ten songs and a bonus section with six acoustic versions of older songs and a cover of 'Man In The Box' (Alice In Chains). The bonus tracks are only available on the digipak edition. The band is classified as 'alternative' rock, but that is quite restricting as the spectrum of their songs is varied and carries a lot of light and shade. There's even a sense of pop-sensitivity on a couple of tracks, without losing the flow, spirit and sound quality. The acoustic songs show the singer-songwriter qualities of the band with beautiful piano arrangements. Powerful rock tunes, heavy dark atmospheres and melancholic moods are prevalent on this strong album. (Geert Ryssen)

  • PORN - No Monsters In God's Eyes - Act III

    This is the final part of the trilogy that started with 'The Ogre Inside' (2017) and was followed by 'The Darkest Human Desires' in 2019. The third part deals with the main character Mr. Strangler who reflects on his life whilst awaiting execution. His conclusion is that even a monster is a creation of God … Musically this is again a dark industrial musical journey with echo's of David Bowie, Type O Negative and even Pink Floyd. But Porn is still a full blooded metal band that makes fascinating concept albums. This 3rd part of the trilogy is a work of art concluded with a very strong and excellent sounding album. A highpoint in French dark metal with international allure. (Geert Ryssen)

RYAN PERRY - High Risk, Low Reward

It's nice to have a young black artist playing the blues. Ryan Perry hails from the home of the blues, Mississippi. Perry creates a modern electric sound that recalls greats like Albert King and more recent Robert Cray. He sings and plays with a firm tone, his guitar often sounds clean and subtle, but at times also dirty and heavy (listen to 'Hard Times' - ZZ Top would be jealous about that one). Rooted in the deep south, his sound crosses over to modern blues-rock, but also to the later high-end recordings of BB King. The album was recorded in Berlin by a line-up of Ryan (guitar and vocals), Roger Inniss (bass), Lucy Piper (drums) and Jeffrey Staten & Stefanie Bechtold (backing vocals). This is a very entertaining but also engaging modern electric blues record by a man who was raised on sacred ground. (Geert Ryssen)

FUGHU - Lost Connection

The third album by Fughu is nothing less than a masterpiece. The Band from Buenos Aires has made an album that flows into different moods and intensities. Musically they draw on postrock, metal and progressive rock. These are excellent musicians and composers and their singer Renzo Favaro has a voice that fits the style and diversity of the band wonderfuly. The sound and production is equally top! This is an overwhelming musical experience of a rare beauty and depth. The band has already toured with Dream Theater and PFM and that is a perfect example of the fusion they put in their music. The technical level of Dream Theater combined with the subtility and classical cultural feel of PFM. Beside great melodies, there's wonderful guitar, wide keyboards and an excelent rhythm section. It's a mystery why this band hasn't been picked up by one of the progressive labels in Europe. This is really great and original stuff! (Geert Ryssen) 

MEDEA - A Fate Symphony

Dutch guitarist/composer and member of Casual Silence Henry Meeuws delivers with ‘A Fate Symphony’ his fourth rock opera. This time he combines a medical cure for epilepsy with the history of The Netherlands. This may seem a strange mix, but reading the story behind it, it makes sense. It takes ten pieces with a timing between three and ten minutes to tell the whole story. To perform this ambitious work he gathers an impressive cast of singers who each have their own character to play. The instrumental arrangements are played by Henry backed up by a rhythm section (Igor Koopmans and Frank De Groot) and occasional parts by Iris Gilsing on clarinet. As an independent artist, Meeuws always delivers impressive productions as is again the case with ‘A Fate Symphony’. A good balance between instrumental parts and epic vocal melodies makes this album a joy to listen to. There’s enough variation to keep the attention going  and what makes this album extra interesting is the natural organic sound and playing. It’s not a high-end production, but it sounds good and real. No artificial sounding studio trickery spoils the natural sound of the instruments and voices. High musicality of real people makes listening to this album a charming experience. The singers are Bart Schwertman (Kayak), Jos Mennen (Zinatra, Mennen) and Jo de Boeck (ex-Beyond The Labyrinth), John Cuijpers, Bas Dolman, Sandra Peeters, Robbie van Stiphout, Noor van de Voort, Ernst Le Cocq ‘d Armandville (Casual Silence) and The Vocalettes (a quartet of female backing singers) . Henry himself is a very good guitar player who uses his skills in many ways -, with different guitars and sounds (and keyboards). Stylist-wise the music draws on melodic hard rock and progressive metal, without being extreme or earsplitting. A true and honest piece of work! (Geert Ryssen)

CHAOS OVER COSMOS - The Unknown Voyage

Chaos over Cosmos is a progressive rock project by Rafal Bowman. The album opens with a seventeen minute track that puts all in evidence what COC is all about. The piece opens with a cosmic ambient tapestry and then bursts out into an uptempo guitar dominated heavy and energetic progressive rock track with vocals but also with lots of instrumental passages. This is what Rafal says about his project: 'The music is a progressive metal with a lot of solos and ambient/synth/s-f style sounds, it was made by two guys who didn't ever met each other - Rafal Bowman from Poland (guitars, synths, programming) and Javier Calderon (vocals) from Spain.
Main influences are Iron Maiden, Dream Theater, Symphony X, Seventh Wonder, In Flames, Pink Floyd and some electronic stuff like soundtrack for Blade Runner from Vangelis (there is song inspired by Blade Runner on the album btw) and some songs from Depeche Mode.' It's a strong collaboration between two musicans from opposite parts of Europe, meeting each other in a musical trip that is worth listening to. The next four tracks vary between seven and ten minutes and prove that Rafal has a distinct vision of what he wants to do: combine progressive rock with hardrock and metal in a way that bands like Iron Maiden (on their longer and more complex tracks) or Demon do. The cosmic touch is an extra element that serves the idea behind the album well. A nice and crystal clear production makes the album a joy to listen to. (Geert Ryssen)


HUBRIS - Metempsychosis

Metempsychosis is the third album by Swiss instrumental post-rock quartet Hubris. The core of their sound is a poetic atmosphere with ups and downs in tempo and sounds. The band states that 'Metempsychosis' explores the circle of life and death, reincarnation and rebirth. So they do telling the story of different characters of Greek mythology. One of them is Heracles which is the sixth piece on the album, devided in twelve parts evoking the different stages in his life. The music is very intimate and creates a light and subtle ambient mood without disappearing in the background, without losing attention. One of the musical references may be Sigur Ros, but Hubris really manages to stand on its own. Album release (digital, cd an vinyl): March 18, 2020. Check on https://hubrisband.bandcamp.com/ (Geert Ryssen)

COINMEN - Wasting Daylight

Coinmen is a new Belgian rockband that grew out of the ashes of progressive rock band Soulivian. Both singer Peter Vrancx (vocals/harmonica) and Erik Van Hoof (guitar) were joined by new members Regi Gysemans (guitar), Jo Vandenhouten (bass), Bert De Ryck (drums) and Lien Bosmans (backing vocals). They went looking for a new musical horizon ad they found one in heavy, melodic classic rock with a touch of American blues- and country-rock roots. The eight songs on this debut (January 2020) show a band that plays with passion and a healthy drive. These are seasoned musicians that know their craft. The songs are good and have enough variation to keep the listen interesting. It would be easy to call them a retro-band, but that wouldn't be fair as they never give the impression to copy anyone. They just have written eight balsy songs that are performed with conviction and musicallity. So let's say this is just Coinmen as they are. Give these guys a stage on our festivals! (Geert Ryssen)