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!

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) (Find it on https://chaosovercosmos.bandcamp.com/album/the-unknown-voyage)

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)