Embor [Spain]
Updated 5/5/02

Embor (79)
Katebegiak (80)
Basque Folk/Prog group, female vocals.
Female vocals? I've got Katebegiak CD and I'm sure there are not female vocals. -- Ryszard Ryzlak

Embryo [Germany]
Updated 6/8/07

For Eva (67, early recordings before Embryo project founded, released on CD 1999)
Opal (70)
Embryo's Rache (71)
Father, Sons and Holy Ghosts (72, re-released on CD in 2003 w/ a bonus track)
Steig Aus (73, a.k.a. This is Embryo)
Rock Session (73)
We Keep On (73)
The Classic German Rock Scene (75, Compilation of songs from Embryo's Rache and Father, Sons and Holy Ghosts)
Bad Heads and Bad Cats (76)
Surfin' (75)
Embryo Live (77)
Apo-Calypso (77)
Embryo's Reise (79, 2LP, re-released on a single CD in 1994 with some missing tracks)
Life (80)
Anthologie - Every Day is OK (80, Compilation)
La Blama Sparrozi (82)
Zack Glück (84)
Africa (85)
Embryo and Yoruba-Dun Dun Orchestra (85)
Africa (87)
Turn/Peace (89, LP, CD has an additional track)
Ibn Battuta (94)
Ni Hau (96)
Live in Berlin (98, Live)
Istanbul Casablanca Tour 1998 (99, 2CD)
Invisible Documents (99, 2CD, Live at the Fabrik in Hamburg, 1974)
One Night at the Joan Mirò Foundation (00, Live in Barcelona, 1999)
Live 2000 Vol. 1 (01, Live)
Live 2001 Vol. 1 (01, Live)
Bremen 1971 (03, Live from 1971)
Hallo Mik (03, Live from 2002-03)
Embryonnck - The No-Neck Blues Band & Embryo (06)
Embryo 1975 (Bad Heads ... line-up) - Maria Archer, Dieter Mickautsch, Christian Burchard, Rolf Sebastian and Roman Bunka

Embryo is basically Christian Burchard, and whomever he's with at the moment. They started out as a pretty classic space rock band and then got very jazzy in a fusiony period very heavy on vibes, and then Burchard started traveling around the world recording LP's with african bands and middle eastern musicians and such. Covers a pretty diverse spectrum of music. My favorite is probably a tie between Embryo Live, a not extremely well recorded but excellent performance type lp with lots of keyboards and vibes and Charlie Mariano on sax and some woman singing, and a double lp - La Blama Sparrozi - that has some wild african pseudo-jazz with acoustic bass and other tracks with middle eastern sounds and mouth harps and synths.

I have three of their albums. Opal, their Ohr-label debut, is a tad on the raw side, but as far as spacy jazz-fusion is pretty interesting. Tracks like "End Of Soul," with its dry prose reading, hint that a number of chemical substances may have been used to inspire the musicians. ;) Easy to see them as a jazzier offshoot of the Amon Düül nucleus. Surfin' is much later, and most of their psychedelic tendencies have been tempered for more respectable, less dated flirtations with East Indian music. Very jazzy, so fusion fans take note. Best track: "Dance On Some Broken Glasses," which features guitarist Roman Bunka on saz (apparently some sort of stringed instrument, like a sarod) and American sax player Charlie Mariano on nagaswuram (a sort of reed instrument). Bad Heads And Bad Cats adds the pretty jazz-inflected voice of black American singer Maria Archer to the lineup, as well as full-time keyboardist Dieter Miekautsch, ex-Missus Beastly [and Missing Link --Ed.] (on earlier albums, most keyboards were played by drummer/vibraphonist/leader Christian Burchard). There's greater use of vibes and marimba by Christian Burchard on this album, as well as double sax/flute ideas developed on Surfin'. Here they begin also to experiment with African music, most audibly on the 12-minute "Nina Kupenda." Some songs, like "After The Rain," toy with impressionistic soundscapes. The soaring "Road Song", features a beautiful lead vocal by Roman Bunka, who proves himself to be quite a convincing jazz vocalist. Also of note is "Layed Back" [sic], with its fine piano and organ soloing. A fine hunk of German fusion. -- Mike Ohman
Embryo take too long to describe, but are basically a jazz rock band that went from spacey to ethnic over the course of years. Nothing by them has really grabbed me, but Rock Session and Steig Aus are pretty good. Their rare first has been reissued on CD on Materiali Sonori (Opal).
[See Between | Missing Link | Missus Beastly | Gong, Pierre Moerlen's | Snowball]

Click here for Embryo's home page
Click here for Klaus Unland's web site, with a large section about Embryo

Emerald Web [USA]

Lights Of The Ivory Plains (84), Catspaw (86)

Boring "pretty" New-Age crap.

Emergency [Germany]

No Compromise (74)

A German jazz/rock/prog band, No Compromise is a fine album issued by the renowned Brain label. The title-track is a stunning jam with magnificent solos by sax-player Hanus Berka, guitarist Frank Diez and keyboard player Veit Marvos. The song opens with drummer Todd Canedy playing a moog-controlled bongo backed by Berka's [sic] Mellotron, and climaxes with a hot improvised (apparently) sax/synth duet. Vocalist Peter Bischof approaches a scat-singing style on this one, his voice acting as an instrument, though there are lyrics to the song. "Time Can't Take It Away" is another fine number starring Marvos' keyboards. At one moment he's playing baroque-styled harpsichord, the next he's playing fast fusion scale-runs, then a rocking organ solo. Drummer Canedy really comes into his own on this track as well, his fills are exquisite. Elsewhere, there is jazz-funk ("Smilin'"), dreamy fusion ("From Here To N.Y. City") and a bluesy Jethro Tull soundalike ("Let Us Now Praise Famous Men"), all rendered superbly thanks to Bischof's versatility and the rest of the band's virtuosity. "Goodbye to a Friend," a somber duet between Berka on sax and Diez on guitar, closes the album. Highly recommended. Random notes: most of the lyrics on No Compromise were written by King Crimson associate Richard Palmer-James. Palmer-James later played with Diez, Bischof and John Wetton in Jack Knife. Keyboardist Marvos hails from the legendary Twenty Sixty Six And Then.

[See Diez and Bischof | Orange Peel | 2066 And Then]

Emergency Exit [France]

Sortie et Secours (76)

Fusion prog in the vein of Soft Machine, King Crimson and Magma.

Emerson, Keith [UK]
Updated 3/31/06

Solo Releases:
Inferno (80, Soundtrack)
Nighthawks (81, Soundtrack)
Honky (85, reissued 1999 and 2005)
Best Revenge (86)
The Emerson Collection (86, Compilation)
Harmageddon/China Free Fall1 (86, Soundtrack)
The Christmas Album2 (88)
The Manhattan Collection (88, Compilation)
The Works (94, Compilation)
Changing States (95, a.k.a. Cream of Emerson Soup)
The Christmas Album3 (95)
The Christmas Album4 (99)
Absolutely The Best (01, Compilation)
Emerson Plays Emerson (02)
La Chiesa (02, Soundtrack)
At The Movies (05, Compilation)
Hammer It Out: The Anthology (05, Compilation)
Off The Shelf (06, To be released mid-April)
Iron Man (TV) (?)
Murderock (?)
1Soundtrack for 2 movies, only Harmageddon is Emerson
2Original release on Priority label
3Re-release on Blue Sky label, minus "Captain Starship Christmas" but adding "Glorietta" and "Troika"
4Re-release on AER label, track listing as Blue Sky release, but reinstates "Captain Starship Christmas"

With The Nice:
The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack (67)
Ars Longa Vita Brevis (68)
Everything As Nice As Mother Makes It (69)
Nice (69)
Five Bridges (70)
Elegy (71, Live)
Vivacitas: Live at Glasgow 2002 (03, Live 3CD [2 music, 1 interview])

. With Emerson, Lake and Palmer:
Emerson, Lake and Palmer (70)
Tarkus (71)
Pictures at an Exhibition (71)
Trilogy (72)
Brain Salad Surgery (73)
Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends (74)
Works Vol. 1 (77)
Works Vol. 2 (77)
Love Beach (78)
In Concert (79)
Black Moon (92)
Live at the Royal Albert Hall (93)
Return of the Manticore (93, compilation)
Works Live (93, Remastered In Concert with many additional tracks)
In the Hot Seat (94)
Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 (97)
ELP In Concert On The King Biscuit Flower Hour (97)
Then and Now (98)

With Emerson, Lake and Powell:
Emerson, Lake and Powell (86)
The Sprocket Sessions (03, Recordings of practice sessions)
Live in Concert (03, Live from the band's only tour in 1986)

With 3:
To The Power of Three (88)

Keith Emerson

One of the crown princes of progressive rock, Englishman Keith Emerson is in a small group of progressive founding fathers. Trained early in classical piano but developing a love of jazz and other popular music, Emerson was in an ideal position to bring the kind of instrumental prowess and musical understanding to rock that would provide the blueprint and tonalities for symphonic prog.

He started young with Gary Farr & the T-Bones and met bassist Lee Jackson who helped him put together The Nice in May 1967, the first pop band to adeptly fuse true classical motifs and passages with psychedelic rock and jazz. They recorded five brilliant albums including the wonderful live orchestrations of Five Bridges and the posthumous but terrific Elegy.

After meeting and connecting with King Crimson bassist/singer Greg Lake during a 1969 American tour, they, along with drummer Carl Palmer, formed what became arguably the most widely recognized prog rock act. In 1970, Atlantic Records released Emerson, Lake & Palmer and the rest is history.

Since their eventual decline, Emerson has produced quite a few solo efforts including film scores and TV soundtracks. Yes, some will quietly chuckle when these solo discs are mentioned, but for his fans they can be real treats. 1999's The Christmas Album is a beautiful and rousing tour of traditional holiday music done in a modern synth-rock vein. But the real winner is Honky, a fun and complex deconstruction of "The Sailor's Hornpipe". "You mean the Popeye song?", I can hear you grumble. Yeah, the Popeye song, but done with such cleverness and aplomb as to make you wish Emerson would reinterpret all sorts of other "silly music". Really, this is a great CD for fans but please get the 1999 remaster that was self-released through Gunslinger Records. It has far superior fidelity and a much better track order which makes all the difference in the listening. -- David Marshall

Emerson got his old friends from The Nice together again for a series of concerts, one of which was recorded and released in 2003 as Vivacitas: Live at Glasgow 2002. Dave Kilminster (Qango, John Wetton Band) replaces Davy O'List in the 2000's line-up.

After the concert series, Emerson decided to keep working with Kilminster. They added Pete Riley on drums and Phil Williams on bass, and have been touring as The Keith Emerson Band, performing songs by Emerson, Lake and Palmer, The Nice and their own original compositions. They haven't recorded an album together yet, but they will be performing at NEARFest 2006. -- Fred Trafton

[See Emerson, Lake and Palmer | Emerson, Lake and Powell | The Nice | 3]

Click here for Keith Emerson's web site
Click here for The Keith Emerson Band page
Click here for Emerson's Wikipedia entry

Emerson, Lake and Palmer [UK]
Updated 5/27/10

Emerson, Lake and Palmer (70)
Tarkus (71)
Pictures at an Exhibition (71)
Trilogy (72)
Brain Salad Surgery (73)
Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends (74)
Works Vol. 1 (77)
Works Vol. 2 (77)
Love Beach (78)
In Concert (79)
Black Moon (92)
Live at the Royal Albert Hall (93)
Return of the Manticore (93, compilation)
Works Live (93, Remastered In Concert with many additional tracks)
In the Hot Seat (94)
Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 (97)
ELP In Concert On The King Biscuit Flower Hour (97)
Then and Now (98)
Emerson, Lake and Palmer - Keith Emerson (keyboards), Carl Palmer (drums) and Greg Lake (vocals, bass and guitar)

ELP pioneered the keyboard "power trio" that was imitated by many bands. Keith Emerson was in The Nice where he was noted for his renditions (torturings?) of classical works while stabbing his Hammond organ with knives. After The Nice broke up, Emerson joined forces with Greg Lake (ex-King Crimson) and Carl Palmer (ex-Atomic Rooster). Together, ELP blasted into the '70s with a keyboard-heavy bombardment of incredible proportions. ELP debuted at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival where they ripped into their now famous rendition of Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition," an orgasmic moog workout pushing the bounds of anything previously heard by a rock keyboardist. Emerson's sheer mastery of the moog and flamboyant technical ability were incredible; his talent along with the dynamo drumming antics of Carl Palmer, won the band a legion of fans. Their first self-titled studio release was a quieter work where Emerson displayed his brilliance on the piano in the wonderful "Take a Pebble." With Lake's rich tenor wrapped around an extended piano improvisation, "Take a Pebble" was to become an ELP concert standard. Emerson also had a penchant for lifting classical pieces without credit and making them his own, e.g., "The Barbarian" on ELP is taken from Bartok's "Allegro Barbaro" while "The Knife's Edge" is Janacek's "Sinfonietta." ELP also contained "Lucky Man," often cited as the first use of the moog synthesizer on a rock album. Tarkus followed in 1971. The side-long "Tarkus" featured the moog extensively. "Are You Ready, Eddy?" is a tribute to reknowned studio engineer Eddy Offord, whose name graces many classic Yes albums. Tarkus was followed by the LP release of Pictures at an Exhibition show, a marvellous live performance recorded in Newcastle City Hall, 26 March 1971. The next studio release was Trilogy which contained the wonderful "From the Beginning." "Abaddon's Bolero" has Emerson building layers of keyboards while "Hoedown" is an excerpt from Copeland's "Rodeo." After Trilogy, ELP formed their own label, Manticore. In addition to releasing Americanized versions of classic Italian Prog (e.g., PFM, Banco), ELP released their magnum opus: Brain Salad Surgery. BSS contained the 30 minute suite, "Karn Evil 9," that featured Emerson in all his splendor working his Hammond, moog and grand piano against Palmer's furious drumming. Also featured is Palmer's attempt at synthesized percussion on Ginastera's "Toccata." BSS was quickly followed by the live Welcome Back My Friends.... It contains what I feel to be the definitive version of "Tarkus": aggressive and energetic. It also contains nearly all of BSS and wonderful piano improvisations.

After these excellent works, ELP ran out of fresh ideas and went into an extended hiatus. In '77, ELP released the 2LP Works Vol. 1. This reunion album contained three sides of individual works (one side/member) plus two group efforts. Emerson's side is a classical piano concerto and Lake contributes several love ballads. Palmer's contribution is the most ELP-like but suffers from poor composition. The excellent "Pirates" and a perfunctory rendition of Copeland's "Fanfare for the Common Man" highlight the album. The album sold to dedicated fans but paled in comparison to the glory of previous works. This LP was followed by the forgettable Works Vol. 2 and Love Beach. The latter is marred by terrible love ballads and an overall lack of enthusiasm. The band called it quits after the lackluster In Concert. In '92, a reunion of ELP was realized in the form of Black Moon. Following their tried and true format, it sold well to fans but otherwise failed to draw attention though it is a fairly solid effort.

ELP were a bastion of early '70s progressive rock and many bands are compared to ELP as a point of reference, thus you should become familiar with their style. So, to the potential ELP listener, I suggest you get The Atlantic Years which contains nicely remastered versions of their best works and serves as a fine introduction. If you'd rather not buy a 2CD set, check out ELP or Brain Salad Surgery. -- Mike Taylor

Keith Emerson (keyboards), Greg Lake (guitar/bass/vocals), and Carl Palmer (drums) are a trio who put out 10 albums in the 1970's, broke up, and reformed in the 1990's to put out two albums (so far). I will describe the 1970's ELP only, except for a few sentences at the end. ELP was one of the giants of 1970's progressive rock, along with Yes, Genesis, and a handful of others. In fact, they really helped define progressive rock of that era, particularly by their keyboard playing. Every progressive rocker should hear some ELP! How to characterize ELP's sound? Imagine a Hammond organ playing melodies, jazz/rock solos, and complex chords, on top of very tight drumming and bass. Occasional bursts of lead synthesizer are heard as solos and sound effects. I'd describe the musical style as powerful, occasionally bombastic, complex rock, heavily influenced by classical music and jazz. They also wrote some tender ballads though. Emerson was widely regarded as one of the most talented keyboardists in the history of rock, and Palmer one of the finest drummers. If you want to hear some virtuosic playing, "Karn Evil 9" from Brain Salad Surgery and "Tarkus" from Tarkus are very impressive. Lake was a good enough bassist and guitarist to keep up with Emerson and Palmer, but his strength was singing ballads such as "Lucky Man" from their self-titled debut album, "From the Beginning" from Trilogy, and "Still You Turn Me On" from Brain Salad Surgery. Lake has a mellow, pleasing voice in the earlier albums, though his later singing has been criticized as being overly dramatic and a little less on-key. The first-time ELP listener should buy Brain Salad Surgery. Except for the very dissonant "Toccata", the album is very accessible. You may even have heard the famous words, "Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends ..." on the radio: this is from "Karn Evil 9." Next, the more adventurous listener might try Tarkus; other fans might try Trilogy or ELP's self-titled first album. But make sure you hear them all!! In my opinion, these four albums form the core of ELP's best material. Other good ELP albums include Pictures At An Exhibition (a live rendition of Mussorgsky's classical piece of the same name) and Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends, a triple-live album (now on double-CD) with some absolutely stunning playing. Works Volume 1 also has some very good tracks, including a classical piano concerto (written by Emerson), a rendition of Copeland's "Fanfare for the Common Man" (the "Wide World of Sports" theme, for you non-classical listeners out there :-)), and the epic "Pirates." But in my opinion, Works Volume 1 has a bunch of mediocre tunes as well. ELP suffered a terrible downslide near the end of their 1970's career, releasing Works Volume 2 and Love Beach, both of which (in my opinion) are mostly horrid, or at least forgettable. Completists should check out these albums last. Their final album of the decade, In Concert, is pretty decent but not spectacular.

Between 1980 and 1990, the three former members of ELP bounced around in various other bands. Emerson did some movie soundtracks and solo albums. Lake did a few solo albums. Palmer joined Asia. Emerson, Lake, and Cozy Powell formed "Emerson, Lake and Powell" for one album. Emerson and Palmer joined with Robert Berry to form "3", releasing the album To the Power of Three. Except for Emerson's solo albums, all of these hybrid bands had more of a pop-rock feel than did ELP. But fans may find it interesting to explore these albums ... many of which can be found in vinyl "bargain bins" in used record stores. (I do not mean to imply that these are bad albums. But it is true that they are easy to find in bargain bins.) ELP reformed in the early 1990's and released Black Moon to mixed reviews from its former fans. It is evident that E, L, and P have been influenced by pop music (and perhaps the cash it brings). But following that, they released the wonderful Live At The Royal Albert Hall, containing many of their best pieces in glorious digital sound. A hits collection called Return Of The Manticore followed that, containing a half dozen unreleased tracks as well. ELP's CD's were remastered in 1993, so you should consider this before buying a used ELP disc. On the other hand, ELP used discs are probably in great supply right now, as fans are upgrading to the new versions, so you can probably get a good price on an "old" disc if you want to try them out. The old discs are of good quality, but reports say that the remastered versions are somewhat better. -- Dan Barrett

Keith Emerson and Greg Lake

Update 5/27/10:
Keith Emerson and Greg Lake have been touring small venues in 2010 playing songs from ELP, The Nice and King Crimson in an "intimate" format. There's nearly as much story-telling and reminiscing about the "good old days" as there is playing. But for me at least, I found this to be lots of fun. And who would have believed that "Tarkus" translated into a mostly-piano piece would sound so cool? The lack of drums was likewise surprisingly unimportant, partially because of the songs they chose to play, leaning heavily on Lake's acoustic guitar repertoire from both ELP and King Crimson. For more hard-driving songs like the afore-mentioned "Tarkus", a drum machine is sparingly and tastefully used.

If you're an ELP fan and get a chance to see this concert series, you definitely should attend. (actually, it looks like the tour may already be over ... but keep on the lookout). I definitely enjoyed myself. Much more than when I saw the three of them on the Black Moon tour years ago. And, if you care, Lake did imply that he and Emerson were working together on new material. Maybe there will be one final hurrah for ELP once Carl Palmer finishes up his recent tour with the reformed Asia. -- Fred Trafton

[See Asia | Atomic Rooster | Emerson, Keith | Emerson, Lake and Powell | King Crimson | The Nice | 3]

Click here for the ELP web site

Emerson, Lake and Powell [UK]
Updated 3/14/05

Emerson, Lake and Powell (86)
The Sprocket Sessions (03, Recordings of practice sessions)
Live in Concert (03, Live from the band's only tour in 1986)
Emerson, Lake and Powell - Keith Emerson (keyboards), Greg Lake (vocals, bass and guitar) and Cozy Powell (drums)

In 1986, Emerson and Lake enlisted Cozy Powell (ex-Rainbow, Jeff Beck) to fill the drum slot. Though better than [ELP's] Love Beach, Emerson, Lake and Powell was a weak effort rehashing stale ideas. It does contain a passable version of Holst's "Mars." After a tour, this version of ELP folded. -- Mike Taylor

After their Love Beach album in 1978, Emerson, Lake and Palmer broke up. But in the summer of 1985, Emerson got a call from a Polydor Records executive about the possibility of an ELP reunion. Greg Lake was interested in the idea, but Carl Palmer was still under contract to Asia and was unable to participate. Emerson auditioned several drummers, and finally settled on his friend Cozy Powell, then on tour with Whitesnake.

Emerson Lake & Powell released their debut (and sole) LP in 1986. Although not uniformly embraced by the progressive rock community, there were a lot of us old ELP fans who were glad to see a reunion in any form, and Emerson Lake & Powell, in my opinion, has its moments. It feels to me like a logical progression from ELP's Works Vol. I, forgetting about the degeneration that occurred in Vol. II and finally ended dismally in Love Beach. It has a nice combination of power keyboard rock (though with the more "modern" sounding polyphonic keyboards as on Works Vol. I), Lake-signature ballads ("Lay Down Your Guns") and the obligatory classical music interpretation, this time of Holst's "Mars" movement of "The Planets" (perhaps a bit too predictable a choice, but it's almost a prog rock piece without any interpretation). All in all, not a bad album, and I would recommend it to ELP fans over any of ELP's new stuff (Black Moon through In the Hot Seat ... I haven't heard their latest, Then and Now). -- Fred Trafton

[See Emerson, Keith | Emerson, Lake and Palmer | King Crimson | The Nice | 3]

Click here for the ELP web site, which has a bit of info on Emerson, Lake and Powell
Click here to order the 2003-released archival material

Emond, Redjy [Canada]
Updated 1/21/05

Sphere (96)
Tension (02)
The self-produced Sphere is that of a composer, arranger,programmer and keyboardist. The style is a very symphonic rock that showcases Emond's classical training. The music is presented in the typical keyboards, bass and drums format that is usually associated with ELP. It features the rich compositions and the expert performances of the keyboardist. The supporting bass and drum tracks are carefully programmed. A quality production that should please those who appreciate keyboard driven symphonic rock. -- Paul Charbonneau
Click here for Redjy Emond's web site (in English and French)
Click here to read Redjy Emond reviews on the E-Prog web site

Empire [Italy]

Back to Knowledge (94)

This is a three piece band consisting of the keyboardist (Edo Rogani) and drummer (Paolo Sburlati) from italian band Syndone and a singer, Rosanna de Luca. The music hass a lot of the ELP style, with fast and complex keyboards. There are many really good moments on this album. When I heard the first song begin, I thought, "This is going to be one of my favorite albums." Unfortionately, its not. The keyboards are great, the drums are very good and the singer is also very good, so why isn't it my favorite album? Because when Rosanna starts to sing it all turns to pop music (IMO)! She sings very good but a combination of ELP and Maria Carey isn't what I like. But still there is much to enjoy here. The album also contains (another) version of Mussorgsky's "Night on a Bald Mountain." The album was produced by Beppe Crovella of Arti E Mestieri, contains 9 songs and is 54 minutes long. -- Andre Hagberg

[See Syndone]

Empire [UK]
Updated 8/21/06

Mark I (95)
Mark III (96)
Mark II (97)

In 1974, after the breakup of Flash, guitarist Peter Banks went into the studio with a new band, which was to become Empire. Peter was the guitarist, and his then-wife Sydney Foxx was the lead singer and lyricist. Some of the drums were done by Phil Collins before previous commitments to Genesis forced him to leave the recording sessions. Sam Gopal, tabla player extrordinaire, also played on the first album as did Jakob Magnusson keyboardist for the Kevin Ayers Band. John Giblin, the bassist, later played for Brand X.

When the album was completed, the group was unable to obtain distribution in either the UK or the US, but Banks and Foxx continued to record as Empire with an assortment of other backing musicians. They recorded two more albums before calling it quits around 1980. These recordings were considered lost until One Way Records released them on CD between 1995 and 1997. -- Fred Trafton

[See Banks, Peter | Flash | Harmony in Diversity | Yes]

Empire Des Sons, L' [France]

Le Sauccison De Mer (89)

On Musea. I don't understand it - it's sort of like cabaret jazz mixed with comedy or something. Maybe someone fluent in french could get something out of the lyrics, but the music seems fairly unremarkable.

Emtidi [Germany]
Updated 9/18/03

Emtidi (70)
Saat (72)
Quoted as being a classic folky progressive duo, Saat for me does not live up to this expectation. Nice, vaguely cosmic, yet not grabbing.
Emtidi were a German-Canadian duo of Maik Hirschfeldt (guitars, keyboards, flute, percussion, vocals) and Dolly Holmes (keyboards, vocals). I have not heard their ultra-rare first album, but I understand it to be a rather conventional folk album. Saat, on the other hand, is one of the cornerstones of the "cosmic" folk style that developed under that vague denomination Krautrock. Their songs are relaxed, largely drumless folk meditations on typical hippy imagery with simple and strong modal melodies expressed through combinations of Holmes' cool and ethereal soprano and Hirschfeldt's more earthy harmonies or canonical support lines. But the album's main attraction is its extensive instrumental work, comprising sunbursts of effects organ, Mellotron strings, a few baroque electric piano embellishments and even rudimentary synth riffs and glissandi, giving the music a both sunny and spacey feel that takes it from pastures green to gulfs interstellar. Even the basic supporting riffs are given extra depth with simple but poignant means, from the flanged acoustic guitars of "Walkin' in the Park" to the vibes and Jew's harp decorating the wordless vocals and glowing organ of "Träume". "Walkin' in the Park" and the album's only German track, "Die Reise", suffer somewhat from unfortunate acid flashbacks, which take the inevitable form of tinny electric guitar dabbling and scatterbrained scatting, but here too the floating, cosmic feel soon suffuses the freakout. It is all very charming, naïve, even dated at places - and absolutely compelling. I would rate it about the same as Bröselmaschine's first album, and recommend it to the same audience. I would also dock this CD re-release (ZYX Ohr 70008-2) a few points for being a scratchy vinyl transfer probably untouched by any decrackling process. -- Kai Karmanheimo
This album is available on the Spalax label. Order here

Enchant [USA]
Updated 6/6/11

Enchant (91)
A Blueprint of the World (93)
Wound (96)
Time Lost (97)
Break (98)
Juggling 9 or Droping 10 (01)
Blink of an Eye (02)
Tug Of War (03)
Live At Last (04, Live, 2CD or 2DVD)
Enchant - an older group shot. The fellow in the upper left is former keyboardist Benignus, who has left the band. They are looking for a new keyboardist at least as of August, 2002. Current line-up is Ted Leonard (vocals), Sean Flanegan (drums), Douglas A. Ott (guitars) and Ed Platt (bass), though I'm not certain who's who in the band photo.

Bay Area band with a very busy, complicated sound, sort of like Animator. They produced a bunch of cassettes before undergoing lineup transitions and released A Blueprint of the World in Europe and Japan (US release in August 95 on Magna Carta).

Wound is a more Dream Theater like album. Time Lost is close to A Blueprint of the World. Break is an harder edged album, and [Juggling 9 or Dropping 10] is a mix of all their influences. The music remains complex, and really interesting. -- Alain Ruelle
Updated 8/1/02 and again 6/6/11:
Enchant's releases are available from Inside Out Music America. They played on the second day NEARfest 2002, and their newest album Blink of an Eye was released first at that festival.

Former Enchant drummer Paul Craddick is married to Hannah Stobart of Steve Rothery's side-project The Wishing Tree, and plays drums on their second album Ostara. -- Fred Trafton

[See Wishing Tree, The]

Click here for the Enchant web site
Click here for Enchant's MySpace page

Endless Sporadic, An [USA]
Updated 12/27/09

Ameliorate (08, EP)
An Endless Sporadic (09)
An Endless Sporadic - Zach Kamins (guitar, bass, keys, toys) and Andy Gentile (drums, toys, noise)

OK, is this every prog nerds' wet dream or what ... ?

Two friends from Bellaire High in Houston, Texas, jam with each other in high school. Andy Gentile moves to LA after graduation to work for Neversoft, makers of Guitar Hero, while Zach Kamins moves to Boston to study music at Berklee. But they stay in touch, and make some recordings over the Internet, calling themselves An Endless Sporadic. I kid you not, that's their "band picture" from their web site to the left. If you met these guys on the street would you believe they had even heard of progressive rock?

Now, here comes the good part. They somehow talk Flower Kings Roine Stolt and Jonas Reingold into playing on their album, with Stolt recording, producing and mixing it for them in Sweden. Next, they get Jordan Rudess to write up a rave review about their new release, which ends up being hyped (for free?) on Transatlantic's web site just as they're releasing their first album in about eight years. Can you say "excellent product placement"? Oh, there's also a Guitar Hero version of one of their songs, in case their exposure wasn't high enough yet.

Ya know, I'd like to say these guys suck and were somehow elevated to "famous progger" status only because of who they (somehow) know. But, judging from the samples on their web site, it's not true. This album appears to kick some serious butt. Damn. I hate it when that happens. Best I can do is a prog rock site where I get to spout off about other peoples music. Life's not fair. OK, guys, at least send me a copy of the full album so I can do a decent review, OK? I'm not exactly Jordan Rudess (though I did get my picture taken with him!) but there are probably a few progressive rockers who read the GEPR that didn't notice the plug on the Transatlantic site. Just saying. -- Fred Trafton

[See Flower Kings | Roine Stolt ]

Click here for An Endless Sporadic's web site

Eneide [Italy]

Uomini Umili Popoli Liberi (72, released 91)

Good progressive rock that had to wait 20 years to be released. The music is typical Italian with a lot of melodic songs that contains a lot of different moods. The music has some really good parts with complex heavy rock but also contains quiet and beautiful parts. There is a lot of good interplay between the guitar, keyboard (mostly Hammond but also moog) and flute. Eneide reminds me of Osanna and Nuova Idea mostly with some hints of The Trip. The album contains ten songs between 1 to 7 minutes and is 35 minutes long. Recommended music for lovers of Italian progressive rock. -- Andre Hagberg

Enemy From Space [USA]
Updated 3/9/04

Abstractions (02)
The Condition of Music (03)
Plastic Orpheus (Supposedly 03, but not yet released as of 3/9/04)
Kelly Shane's photo from the Solution Science Systems web site

If I hadn't just finished reviewing the latest album from Solution Science Systems, I might have missed the fact that Kelly Shane is the drummer for that band (and for Naked Elf and Electric Lawnchair) and also the mastermind behind Enemy from Space. But for EFS he's not drumming, but creating strange and beautiful synthesizer soundscapes.

Abstractions is what I would classify as "hard electronic", but not pure noise. In fact, the synthesizers are pitched and harmonic much of the time, but there are also some cuts that are mostly odd synth warblings, 50's "computer sounds" and flying saucer engines (appropriately titled "Mysteries in Space"). The songs are all repetitive in a hypnotic way and slowly mutate from section to section, frequently reminding me of very early Klaus Schulze like Black Dance or Timewind. Slow, dreamy and thin with slow filter sweeps and flanging ... very electronic, but with very little use of sequenced arpeggios or rhythms. In fact, particularly for a drummer, I would say this is about as rhythmless as it can get. I love this kind of music, and would therefore recommend this album to fans of Schulze or early Tangerine Dream.

EFS's second album, The Condition of Music retains some connections to Abstractions, but is quite different in most ways. Still lots of "hard electronic" sounds, but this album has a lot more musical composition in it. Some of it sounds like early experiments with classical music being played on synthesizers using entirely inappropriate synth buzzes, squawks and wah-wah's. There's also some synthesized percussion (doubtless being played on a keyboard) that might have come from a synth-pop band being played at half speed. There are frequent hints that Shane has heard some Philip Glass in his life, though he doesn't allow the note sequences to go on so long that they get on your nerves. There are also Vangelis-like epic chords and other spacey sections. The sounds are something like The Moog Cookbook (that's a band, if you didn't know) would come up with, but Shane is using them for his own devices instead of for retreading oldies. There's also a certain resemblance to old '386-era video game soundtracks ...

In summary, I like The Condition of Music a lot, but the harder, less developed and polished edge of Abstractions makes me like the first album a bit more. Still, electronic music fans will want to have both albums, they are both excellent in their own right. Plastic Orpheus is supposed to complete some sort of trilogy, but this album has yet to be released as of this writing (3/9/04). -- Fred Trafton

[See Solution Science Systems]

Click here for Enemy From Space's web site

Engel [Spain]
Updated 2/11/04

Engel (02)
Engel is the pseudonym of multi-instrumentalist Miguel Angel de la Llave Jiménez, who released his first album consisting of himself playing guitar, keyboards, flutes, violin and many ethnic instruments such as digeridoo, bagpipes, tin whistles etc. While I admit to enjoying this album, as I enjoy many of the CD's my wife brings home from the "world music" genre, I can't call this even remotely "progressive rock", in spite of being released on the Musea label. This is new-agey feelgood world music with lots of celtic influence, spanish guitars, tin whistle choirs and pleasant vocals. It's well-performed and excellently recorded. However, I wouldn't call it progressive, and not really rock either. But if you like celtic/ethnic music in the vein of Riverdance, you could do much worse. -- Fred Trafton
Click here to order Engel from Musea Records

England [UK]
Updated 2/18/05

Garden Shed (77)
The Last of the Jubblies(95, Recorded in 1978)
England released just one album, Garden Shed, on Arista UK in the 70s and if ever any band acheived a perfect fusion of Genesis, Yes, and Supertramp, this is it. Brimming with Mellotron textures, keyboard and organ leads, and variant time signatures, this is classic progressive rock.
The Last of the Jubblies is some sort of "leftover" material recently released?

Engoulevent L' [Canada]
Updated 1/20/05

L'Ile où Vivent Les Loups (77)
Quebecois ensemble incorporating strings, brass, piano, tuned percussion and acoustic guitar. Rather folky, but mainly light classical / chamber-music styled. Some light male vocals here and there cut through the microcosmic-orchestral arrangements. On the whole, one of the nicest French-Canadian chamber-prog. -- Mike Ohman

Enid, The [UK]
Updated 2/3/10

In The Region Of The Summer Stars (76)
Aerie Faerie Nonsense (77)
Touch Me (79)
Six Pieces (80)
Rhapsody In Rock (80, 2LP Live/Compilation, unreleased, see text below)
Something Wicked This Way Comes (83)
Live At Hammersmith Vol.1 (83)
Live At Hammersmith Vol.2 (83)
The Spell (84)
Fand (85, Re-recording of epic tone poem from Aerie Faerie Nonsense for fan club only)
Salome (86)
Lovers And Fools (86, Compilation)
The Seed and The Sower (88, as Godfrey and Stewart)
The Final Noise (89, Live)
The Light Fantastic (94)
Sundialer (95, Remix album)
Anarchy On 45 (96, 2CD Compilation of single & B-side releases)
The White Goddess (98)
Tears of the Sun (99, Compilation)
... several other fanclub-only releases, see web site below
Very clasically influenced but sort of lightweight. Sparse vocals but a little annoying at times. Recommended: Touch Me.
The Enid are probably one of the most underrated progressive rock bands out of the UK. Their music is a hybrid of orchestral classical and rock compositions, with an undeniable tilt towards the dramatic. All the CDs have extra tracks that did not appear on the vinyl releases, and have, in many cases, been remixed. The music is very proficiently orchestrated, and the tracks have the complexity that should appeal to the progressive rock aficionado. Final Noise is their last release as The Enid, and contains live versions of many of their best tracks. This would be a good CD to check out as an introduction to the band. Story Of The Enid contains over 2 hours of music by The Enid, and contains the tale of the band, narrated by Robert John Godfrey, in the form of a reminiscence. It is pretty interesting, more so to those who have heard and enjoyed their music. It can also serve as an introduction to one of the most underrated classical, symphonic bands of the late seventies/early eighties.
Reviews of The Enid that I have seen usually read to the effect of "they attempt to mix orchestral themes with rock, but lean far more to the classical edge than bands like ELP." The songs I have heard by The Enid pretty much fit this description.
The Enid are a couple of guys who independently produce their albums. They have some great stuff such as Something Wicked This Way Comes and The Key. They have an interesting style of composition which can be a bit Wagnerian at times, as well as being nursery-rhyme like. The music is not perhaps the most interesting, but for people interested in a Very English style of progressive rock (but not to be confused with Yes or Tull) might enjoy the adventure. Imagine Clayderman playing Pink Floyd with someone from a Gilbert and Sullivan production singing.
Most of this could hardly be called rock, as these guys play an impressionist type of symphonic music that has no standard rhythm section as such to anchor it down. Some of the earliest albums have some passages that hint at a rock rhythm, but for the most part the albums have a heavily orchestrated sound, all created using the standard guitars, basses, keyboards and drums. Most of the first two albums were completely re-recorded during the 80's. Nearly all of the albums are 100% instrumental. Start w/ Region or Aerie Faerie and work forward in time. The 76 and 77 albums contain the same music, only the title was changed. There's also a bunch of fan club stuff that's been released over the years.
Addendum 8/6/07:
In your section on The Enid you list an album, Rhapsody In Rock, which you believe was unissued and ask for details [Editor's note: Formerly, in the discography section of this entry, I asked about this. With this answer from Peter Kendall, the question is answered and has now been removed]. You're right - the album never came out.

At the time the band were signed to Pye which had not been a happy period for the band. The person who signed them left the label almost immediately and although two albums were released on that label (Touch Me and Six Pieces) it wasn't a good relationship. Rhapsody in Rock was a double LP partly live material and part compilation of previously released tracks. It was pulled at the last minute but not before track listings and a release date had been given out. At the same time Pye were going through financial problems and withdrew financial support from the band's tour at the same time as cancelling the release of the album.

I have been a long time collector of The Enid but have never seen any evidence of test pressings or completed artwork for this album. In fact Robert Godfrey himself thinks it unlikely that it even got to the test pressing stage. There was some confusion at the time because the Music Master reference book listed Rhapsody in Rock complete with catalogue number and track listing. I believe some of the live tracks were later used on the band's Live At Hammersmith release.

The only good thing to come out of The Enid's split from Pye was they got to keep the recording equipment Pye had bought for them and went on to start their own studio. Unfortunately they split up shortly afterwards. -- Peter Kendall

News 2/3/10:
The Enid is active again after many years ... or better said, Robert John Godfrey has reformed a new version of The Enid with himself at the helm and a new supporting line-up. This version of the band will be playing at NEARFEST 2010, and has other UK concert dates scheduled in 2010.

The story behind what happened to the band and how it was put back together is a complex one, and beyond the scope of a GEPR article. Suffice it to say that there have been issues between Godfrey and other people who claim to own The Enid's music which has led to a legal battle that includes use of the web site URL formerly referenced here in the GEPR's links section (see below). Godfrey's site is now the link below, and it is here that you can read up on what's currently happening with the band and what has been going on during their disappearance after the release of The White Goddess in 1998.

The good news for fans is that Godfrey has put The Enid's entire back catalog (including several live albums) on their web site for free download in wither MP3 or FLAC format. They do ask that you give a donation to help them with their legal battles, and ask that you don't support the company that is currently selling their albums. Why would you if you can name your own price on their web site?.

The Enid has also unearthed some video of the band live at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1979, embedded below. This appears to be clips from a DVD of this concert, though I'm unsure about the availability of this DVD. In the meantime, check out the video:

-- Fred Trafton

[See Craft | Godfrey and Stewart | Godfrey, Robert John | Magnus, Nick | Secret Green]

Click here for The Enid's web site
Click here for the Robert John Godfrey YouTube channel

Eno, Brian [UK]
Updated 2/2/01

No Pussyfooting (73, w/ Robert Fripp)
Here Come the Warm Jets (73)
June 1, 1974 (74)
Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy (74)
Another Green World (75)
Evening Star (75, w/ Robert Fripp)
Discrete Music (75)
Before and After Science (77)
Desert Island Selections (??, Compilation)
Ambient 1: Music for Airports (78)
Ambient 2: The Plateux of Mirror (80, w/ Harold Budd)
Fourth World, Vol. 1: Possible Musics (80, w/ Jon Hassell)
Music for Films (81)
My Life in the Bush of Ghosts (81, w/ David Byrne)
Ambient 4: On Land (82)
Apollo (83)
The Pearl (84, w/ Harold Budd)
Thursday Afternoon (85)
Wrong Way Up (91, w/ John Cale)
The Shutov Assembly (92)
Nerve Net (92)
Neroli (93)
Eno II (93, Compilation, Box Set)(Yes, this really was released before Eno I)
Familiar (94)
Headcandy (94)
Dali's Car (94, Live with The Winkies and 801)
Eno I: Instrumentals (94, Compilation, Box Set)
The Drop (97)
Sonora Portraits (99)
Brian Eno is not a (musical) household name, but he should be! Eno has been on the leading edge of Progressive music (in many genres) since the late '60's. Eno has produced and worked with such artists as Robert Fripp (of King Crimson fame), Roxy Music, David Bowie, DEVO, U2, and the Talking Heads. During college, Eno had a fascination for (classical) Electronic Music. He began experimenting with studio and compositional techniques that included electronic and tape effects; similar to those of John Cage and Steve Reich. Eno also notes La Monte Young as a major influence. Many of Eno's early recordings dealt with his own experiments in Electronic Music, often in collaboration with Robert Fripp; Eno would lay down that basic synthesizer background and Fripp would improvise his own unique electronic guitar lead. Such explorations included the albums: No Pussyfooting and Evening Star. Eno's solo work, Discrete Music, demonstrates what Eno calls "process music." As Eno puts it: "I have gravitated towards situations and (musical) systems that, once set into operation, could create music with little or no intervention on my part.." Discrete Music was also a precursor to his Ambient series of compositions of the late '70's on. Beyond Electronic Music, Eno loves rock 'n' roll; he recorded four progressive rock albums between 1973 and 1977. Eno's first progressive rock album, Here Come the Warm Jets, is an extrodinary collection. It defined Eno's rock style as a mixture of bizzare lyrics and quirky vocals with a menagerie of electronic sound-effects. For example, he suggests to his lover that "you'll have to choose the Paw Paw Negro blowtorch, or me..." or that his "baby's on fire/ better throw her in the water/ look at her laughing/ like a heifer to the slaughter." Hmm? In between the electronic pieces up pops an occasional (mostly) acoustic work; "On Some Faraway Beach" and "Some of them are Old" include mostly piano, drums, and vocal harmonies. The latter tune makes splendid use of (electric?) steele guitar (by Lloyd Watson) and near the end takes on an almost mystical sound when the wind chimes come in. This becomes the background to the finale track, "Here Come the Warm Jets," which is a rolling little ditty lead by a minimalistic fuzzy guitar sequence and followed by a drum line and some obscured vocals. This is such an indescribeable album that I can only recommend borrowing a copy of it to see if you like it. Shortly after the release of Here Come..., Eno was asked to perform live a group of avart-garde artists including: Nico, Kevin Ayers, John Cale and the Soporifics. This remarkable performance occured on June 1, 1974, and is the title of the album that captures the evening. It is hard to tell from the liner notes how much Eno performs on the individual tracks, but the first two songs are his own compositions from Here Come...: "Driving Me Backwards" and "Baby's on Fire." These are straight forward renditions with no surprises. The other tracks include work mostly by Kevin Ayers (with some fine guitar work by Mike Oldfield) and are more on the bluesy side. On Taking Tiger Mountian, Eno continues to explore the style(s) he created in Here Come the Warm Jets, but eases (a bit) off of the electronics and distortion. There appears to be some connection among the songs relative to a spy theme in the first three tracks, but it may just be a coincidence. This album sports a few interesting extremes: "Third Uncle" is a hardcore tune that is at least eight years ahead of its time; whereas, "Put A Straw Under Baby" (the following track) is quite simply a lullabye. This is my favorite of his first two rock albums. About half the tracks on Another Green World are definitely rock influenced. "Sky Saw" is quite reminiscant of the swirling electronics of the first two albums; but "St. Elmos Fire" and "I'll Come Running" are rather sedate and sing-song in comparison; none-the-less pleasant. The non-vocal works often hint to Eno's future ambient music. Furthermore, most of them carry over the humorous and twisted nature of the lyrical compositions. Finally, the '77 release of Before and After Science is Eno's last rock album of the seventies. Like Another Green World, it blends ambient sounds with traditional rock forms. The first track, "No one Receiving" is a funky little ditty; and "Backwater" is pure rock 'n' roll. Most of the rest of the album is enjoyable, but not exceptional. With Discrete Music, Eno virtually created a brand new musical genre: Ambient Music. In his Ambient series (see discography), Eno creates a semi-musical experience that is at once melodic, yet spatially disjoint. The effect of such sound can be very soothing and is often used in meditation. Some of the pieces are simply process-like, but others attempt to create a scene or space. The latter is very true of On Land, where says Eno: "The choice of sonic elements in these pieces arose less from listening to music than from listening to the world in a musical way.." These early explorations allowed others artists to expand on these concepts in a musical field called New Age. Recently, Eno has release several new albums. On Wrong Way Up, Eno collaborates with John Cale on a (progressive) rock album. The Eno works on his album remind me of his work on Before and After Science; interesting lyrics and quality music, but little spark and pizzaz. I'm not very familiar with Cale, but I found his compositions also of top-notch quality; their joint efforts are often the most interesting. Nerve Net is also an album that includes some progressive rock material, but I only recently acquired it so I will not review it at this time.
I have two albums. Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy is an obscure set of ditties using synthesizers and electronics to make them quite bizarre. Sort of like Kevin Ayers filtered through a weird Dadaist world, the song are at once catchy and askew. Highlights: the title song (a haunting sing-along), "Put A Straw Under Baby" (a creepy lullaby-type song with out-of-tune strings and harmony vocals by Robert Wyatt), "Mother Whale Eyeless" (featuring Phil Collins on drums) and "The Great Pretender" (with dramatic use of synthesized cricket-sounds at the end. The other album, Another Green World, opens with "Sky Saw," a song with weird droning guitar tones, but most of the album is dedicated to delicate piano and synth instrumentals. Very pleasant. The haunting "Spirits Drifting" is the best. I also heard his two songs from the June 1st 1974 live LP. The two best songs on the album. -- Mike Ohman
[See Cluster | 801 | Fripp, Robert | Roxy Music]

Eno doesn't have an official web site. Click here for the largest unofficial fan site
Click here for a site dealing with Eno's Oblique Strategies card deck

Ensemble Nimbus [Sweden]
Updated 5/5/02

Key Figures (94)
Garmonbozia (00)
Ensemble Nimbus, yet another Swedish band, is described as the "second generation of European ... RIO." The first generation is, of course, defined by Henry Cow, Univers Zero (and offshoots Daniel Denis and Present), Art Zoyd and Samla Mammas Manna. Ensemble Nimbus has one member with a connection to the preceding generation, that of former Samla Mammas Manna drummer Hasse Bruniusson. Anyone into Samla, as well as Present or Daniel Denis should certainly get into Key Figures. The other members of the band are Håkan AlmKvist: guitar and bass; Lars Erik Björk: clarinet, bass clarinet; Stefan Carlsson: keyboards; and Kirk Chilton: violin. AlmKvist is the leader of the band and he is responsible for most of the compositions. Though his guitar is frequently heard, he has provided good balance for all members to "strut their stuff." "Bo i Bingen" (lazy bones) has a bouncing bass clarinet rhythm over which lyrically light keyboard (bell-like tones) and lazy (of course) violin melodies are heard. AlmKvist provides nice bass support for it all but leaves the guitar at home. But, like Roger Trigaux of Present, when AlmKvist slings the axe, he's a force to reckon with. On "Änglamakerskan" (the baby farmer), the violin and electric guitar duel with angular slashes of controlled fury amidst the rhythmic clarinet ostinati and shifting drum meters. "Förmaningen" (the exhortation) is a good showcase for Bruniusson's drumming talents. He uses his electronic drums to pound out a wide variety of percussive offbeats and measured trap work. There is also a bit of a Crimsonish feel (mostly in the guitar work throughout) and a zeuhlish feel, such as in the bass of "Skrapan" (the schramscraper). The album is mostly instrumental but there are two (Swedish) vocal works. Ten of the eleven songs are in the three to nearly six minute range. The eleventh song,"Ekivoka Vänningar" (indecent turnings) weighs in at 8.5 minutes. This was, for me, the best song on the album. The length allows the band to slowly develop their musical thought. Very sparse instrumentation and good use of silence at the beginning created a taut atmosphere that Ensemble Nimbus then sustained and exploited to full ability for the duration. Great tune! I found that I enjoyed Key Figures a great deal, moreso than Daniel Denis's Sirius and the Ghosts and as much as Present's two albums. Strongly recommended to any RIO fan or any Prog fan who enjoys a good musical challenge. -- Mike Taylor
Very good Rock In Opposition or "Tivoli Fusion" near to Von Zamla in style. The music is composed by Hakan AlmKvist, the guitar and bass player. Featuring Hans Bruniusson from Samla Mammas Manna on drums. -- Gunnar Creutz
This Swedish band has a peculiar sound. Key Figures features guitar/bass, clarinet, drums, keyboards,violin and occasional vocals (in Swedish). Their eclectic style involves, amongst others,elements of rock, jazz, chamber music and traditional music. The guitarist writes all the material which makes sustained use of the electric guitar, but doesn't reduce the rest of the band to a support role. Quite the opposite, the tracks involve original arrangements of melodies and rhythms where all members make an important contribution. An excellent production that primarily appeals to those who like to experiment. -- Paul Charbonneau
[See Samla Mammas Manna]

Ensemble Raye, L' [France]

Quelques Pieces Detaches (93)

[See Debile Menthol]

Entrance [Chile]
Updated 6/18/02

Entrance (99)
Entrance (line-up as of 2000) - Alex von Chrismar (drums), Richard Pilnik (guitars), Rodrigo Godoy (bass), Jaime Scalpello (vocals) and Jaime Rosas (keyboards)

Entrance is supposedly a prog-metal band. While they rock hard for moments, from a compositional point of view, or looking at their (obvious) infuences, I would rather say that this is neo-symphonic, with some pomp thrown in, and a dose of pure R.O.C.K. for good measure. Here appears again the well known "extended song" format (masters of this formula are Iluvatar, North Star, among others). Start with a song, and when after three or four minutes the whole thing should be over, then it's not. Then these guys (a hell of a guitarist and keyboardist they have) extend the composition via elaborated solos and instrumental dialogues, tempo and rhythm changes, and other resources. In fact, the experiment of listening the first three minutes of every track would be a revelation for many AOR fans.

On to the "sounds like" section: The keyboardist is in the vein of Wakeman and Emerson, the guitarist has a remarkable ability, but canīt relate his style to any particular (better known) guitarist. The overall sound owes a lot to Kansas, Rush and Journey.

One note about the vocal department: The original singer, Claudio Morice, who is featured in the album, has a close to perfect vocal technique, a wide range, and sings really well. Most of the time, he does sound like Steve Perry, and I mean REALLY LIKE HIM. The album features a cover of "Separate Ways", and a real fan of Journey will tell the difference, but only if he is a real fan. What keeps Morice from being an absolute Perry sound-a-like is his vibrato, tense and high-pitched, reminds your typical heavy metal vocalist. Then, when Morice left, Jaime Scalpello came in to replace. He is also technically good, and really sings. But the main difference is in "intention". Scalpello has a much darker and thicker voice, and a dramatic emphasis that makes the group sound much more "prog".

The debut album would be just a nice prog album, if it weren't for "Alas Fugaces", which is a real masterpiece, showing how far you can go with this style of prog. It reminds me the comment made by Wakeman, about classic Yes compositions being made as "pictures" or "landscapes". With this in, the debut album gets four stars out of five. -- Rodrigo Farías M.

Click here for Entrance's web site
Download music here, under Downloads>mp3, thereīs a MP3 version of "Alas Fugaces"

EOS [Chile]
Updated 2/15/02

Demos (99, Demo)
Vital Signs (01)
EOS (End of Silence) is a neo prog project, featuring Dwalin's drummer, Rodrigo Andalaft. They call their style "prog-pop-rock". Not that pop, really. It's melodic neo-prog, in fact similar to Dwalin, with somewhat simpler arrangements, which is obvious, since with no real keyboard player the harmonic element has to be simplified (at least, if you plan to ever play live). Anyway, keep in mind that I'm writing this having listened to demo tracks, there's a lot of production and arrangement that can happen in the process of defining the final version. Lyrics are in English (there might be a practical reason for some groups to write and sing in English: English language words typically have less syllables, hence making it easier to fit a determinate lyric phrase in a musical phrase, or a certain fixed number of notes, without having the singer to force the phrasing). Anyway, they have a strong melodic sense, and are proficient writers of nice tunes. In fact, EOS could make a perfect introduction to progressive music if you are, for some reason, trying to get someone into prog. Besides the usual influences for this style of music, I see hints of Pink Floyd in passages, and of The Beatles, in the songwriting issues. -- Rodrigo Farías M.
[See Dwalin]

Click here for EOS's web site

Epica [Netherlands]
Updated 1/11/09

The Phantom Agony (03)
Consign to Oblivion (05)
The Score (05)
The Divine Conspiracy (07)
Epica - Ad Sluijter (guitar), Coen Janssen (synths, piano), Simone Simons (vocals), Mark Jansen (guitar) and Yves Huts (bass). Not pictured - Ariën van Weesenbeek (drums).

You may have noted that I frequently preface my reviews of Prog-Metal bands with the warning that this isn't my favorite genre. This is both to warn you that my taste in music may not coincide with yours if you're a Prog-Metal fan, and is also a sort of apology that I may not know enough about this genre to get all my terminology straight. I guess the same will be true of this entry, but in this case there will be no ambiguous statements or qualifications ... Epica's The Divine Conspiracy is simply spectacular, and I can't believe that any prog fan would have a hard time agreeing with me, even if Prog-Metal isn't their main thing.

Epica falls pretty obviously into the Gothic sub-camp of the Progressive Metal genre. This is due to the juxtaposition of the beautiful soprano female vocals of Simone Simons against the death grunts and screaming of guitarist Mark Jansen (formerly of After Forever). This has been described as a "beauty and the beast" vocal pairing, and that's a good description. When they alternate between multitracked versions of both singers, it sounds like a call and response between a choir of angels and their counterparts among the demons. Creepy but way cool.

Along with the other usual trappings of Progressive Metal such as the chugging distorted guitars and bass, soaring heavily-sustained guitar solos and machine-gun double-bass power drumming, we also get this evocative vocal pairing, heavily symphonic keyboards (mostly string sections and choirs), plus what sounds like real orchestra sections complete with real choirs (singing in Latin I think). Mostly very heavy music, but with the symphonic keys and angelic female vocals, the heaviness becomes symphonic in its own right. The chugging guitars and electric bass can almost be heard as bowed cellos and upright basses (especially if you've ever heard Apocalyptica). There's also some more layed-back acoustic guitar and vocal parts that remind me of Blackmore's Night's more ren-faire moments. Not a bad thing, it makes a nice "breathing space" before the next heavy sonic asault bursts forth. The Divine Conspiracy would make an excellent soundtrack for a(nother) remake of The Omen. Yes, it's frequently reminiscent of Orff's "Carmina Burana".

If all Prog-Metal was this good, I'd become more of a fan. The Divine Conspiracy is way too good to pass up. Order it (and previous albums, if you like what you hear) from their web site. -- Fred Trafton

Click here for Epica's web site.

Epidaurus [Germany]
Updated 8/1/00

Earthly Paradise (77)
... endangered (94)
Genesis fans will absolutely love the album Earthly Paradise by a very rare German band, Epidaurus, who put out just one album, in the late seventies. It doesn't necessarily sound like Genesis per se, it's just that the dual keyboards/Mellotrons have a sound that reminds me of that lush Tony Banks sound, yet remaining underivative and original. Epidaurus have an intensely symphonic sound with an excellent female vocalist (who for the most part rarely sings anyway) that combine to make some incredible music that everyone on this net should love hands down. Quite a classic.
This band was recommended to me over the phone by Ken Golden of The Laser's Edge. It was his prediction that Earthly Paradise would be one of his best sellers from his next catalog (and it was). Being the adventurous sort, I decided to order it. I have not regretted that decision at all. The five tracks on the CD are of moderate length, ranging from five minutes to nearly eight minutes long. The German Epidaurus is a keyboard oriented, progressive band. The band features two keyboardists, both of whom play Hammond, Moog, and Mellotron. Ah, bliss... The female vocalist sings with a very weak, soprano-style voice that is hard to understand. Fortunately, she only sings on the first two cuts but she's easy enough to listen through. I prefer vocalless songs, but have gotten used to hearing her sing on these songs. The main thrust of all the music is the fantastic interplay betweeen the two sets of keyboards. The first two cuts sound, to my ears, like they have more of the Tony Banks touch, particularly in the musical phrasings. The last three cuts have more of an ELP feel, but maintain their own identity. Though all the cuts are good, I feel the last three are the strongest, though they are the shortest. Earthly Paradise is a strong album and I feel that it is definitely worth a listen. I grow to like it more with each listening. If I were to fault this CD, is would be because it is too short. I can listen to the moog/Mellotron combination over and over and over and.... -- Mike Taylor
This German band has a proyotypical 70's melodic progressive sound, replete with dual keyboards, plenty of Mellotron (in some cases even two!), taurus bass-pedals, colorful melodies, fluid dynamic changes, elaborate arrangements, and a beautiful female voice in Christiane Wand, that will surely remind one of Jane Relf of the original Renaissance. Their album contains five long tracks, mostly penned by the keyboard team of Gunther Henne and Gerd Linke.
You know all of those great keyboard solos that Tony Banks did with Genesis on Selling England By The Pound and The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway? Well, Epidaurus has taken those ideas and expanded them onto an entire album. Not that there are any direct copies of Genesis here (well, the end of "Wings of the Dove" is a heck of a lot like the end of "Cinema Show," and one bass riff in it is very similar to the end of "The Knife"), but the influence is quite noticeable. The first thing you'll notice is that their are no electric or acoustic guitars. Instead, the lead instruments are two keyboards played by Gunther Henne and Gerd Linke. They just bounce off of one-another while the bass and drums fill in the rhythm in the background. You might think that this sounds a bit boring, but it's actually quite enjoyable. There's really nothing all that complex about the music, so it is very accessible. I liked it upon first listening. And, of course, like all good Progressive Rock, I discovered a bit more to the songs the more I listened to them. The only real problem with the album is that it is too short (only 32:28). There are two drummers, one for each side of the original album. I prefer side two, and the drummer for that side, Manfred Struck, may be part of the reason. He evens out the music a bit more by bringing the drums into the front more. Still, drums aren't a focal point of this band -- the focus is the interplay of the keyboards. This is not a completely instrumental album. There is a female vocalist that sings on two of the five songs in a soprano-style voice that is basically not understandable. But, she doesn't take away from the enjoyment of the music. -- Clark Ray
I've got to go against the flow on this one. Sure the album has lush, proggy keyboards, good vocals and occasionally some musical inspiration, but the repetitive Kraftwerk-like rhythms go nowhere and the drumming throughout 3/4 of the album is very weak. If you're into bands with great feel and not much musical complexity, this could be for you. -- Mike Borella
German progressive band who made one album in the mid-70s, originally only available on a tiny private pressing, but recently reissued on CD. That album, Earthly Paradise, is very much in the line of other German bands of the era (Ramses, Eloy, Streetmark), with the same piercing German synth tone. Two keyboardists make the keyboard textures full and prominent. In addition to the synthesizer, Mellotron and the omnipresent Hammond organ round out the sound. They also have a nice female vocalist on two of the tracks, the first two in fact. Fans of the aforementioned will not be disappointed. -- Mike Ohman
Earthly Paradise is a classic prog album, serving a mellifluous mélange of melodic Mellotron and Moog. Somewhat derivative of Genesis and ELP, as well as criminally short, it has nevertheless proved to be a very good purchase. I was under the impression that this was the band's only album, so it was rather surprising to find they have another album out as well, this one called ...endangered. It seems that the band got back together in 1993 to record some compositions that predate Earthly Paradise and this album is the result. Though the line-up is almost the same their sound has definitely changed. Melodic electric guitar is now the lead instrument, backed by digital keyboard textures, much like with many neo-prog bands. Apart from two instrumentals all songs feature vocals by Christiane Wand, who does give a much stronger performance here than on her brief appearance on Earthly Paradise. Songs are very melodic and accessible with straight-forward arrangements and few traditional progressive rock elements. Actually most of it sounds like polished mainstream rock with a few nods at ambient music, mainly because of some atmospheric intros and overall heavy use of synths. Taken for what it is, a melodic rock album, ...endangered is very enjoyable, but hard-core prog fans would be advised to stick with Earthly Paradise. -- Kai Karmanheimo

Epidermis [Germany]
Updated 8/13/00

Genius Of The Original Force (77)
Feel Me (91)
Genius Of Original Force, with its madrigal-like vocal arrangements, twanging clavinets and tooting recorders, is inevitably compared to Gentle Giant. But Epidermis have a unique sense of German angst which sets them immediately apart. Except for the last song, "Feelings," all the music is in minor keys, with bleak, depressive lyrics abounding. Not for the suicide-prone, but otherwise a very good album. -- Mike Ohman
How you feel about the German Epidermis depends on how you feel about Gentle Giant and clone bands. One of the closest to a true GG clone I have ever heard. Gentle Giant's influence runs rampant through both the vocals and instruments, but Epidermis only partially succeed with the voices, and less so with the instruments. Epidermis use four and five part voice melodies (English lyrics), but they just don't seem to intertwine like GG. Instrumentally, Epidermis just don't quite deliver the detailed counterpoint and superb instrument/instrument and instrument/voice interplay that is GG's trademark. Epidermis could never pull off Gentle Giant's more complex pieces, for example. But, Epidermis are not a bad band. They have respectable chops, if not originality. There are no credits on the CD booklet but the photo indicates they are a five piece, with bass, drums, electric and acoustic guitar, keyboards, and vibes. They probably all sing. Overall, not bad but not spectacular.
A German quartet with a symphonic oriented sound. They create a moving sonic dreamscape with keys, bass, acoustic and electric guitar, winds, percussion and vocals (usually in German). Very difficult to draw comparisons with, although traces of Mike Oldfield, Gong, and possibly some Canterbury traces can be detected as well. Genius is the better of the two, a little more colorful and melodic, Feel Me is the newest w/ a slightly more modern sound.
Genius Of Original Force was released on a private label and now commands high prices in the collectible LP market. The CD reissue rescues the sounds of a band who combine music and vocals with three-part harmonies in ways very reminiscent of Gentle Giant. Vocals are in slightly accented English, but work well within the musically complex framework of keyboards and guitars operating in non-standard time signatures.
The only German "-is" or "-s" band (i.e. Epidermis, Anabis, Amenophis, Epidaurus, etc.) which didn't sway into the shameful, septicemic, commercial waters of AOR. Instead that, they rather wait some time, and went more into kinda gothic/chamber music on their second album, Feel Me, recorded 12 years later. It consists of five pieces or better said three, two are radio edits of two other ones. I don't know the reason why so. Perhaps they thought, they'd be on the radio, though music is too dark to get through FM waves regularly. The album is worth having for the track no.3 entitled "A speck, a dream" alone. This is 22+ minutes long suite, where almost 20 instruments are present and used in quite successful way (among others bassoon, oboe, clarinet, accordion, recorders, violin, double bass, tambora, sitar, monochord, vibes, children choir, besides electric bass, guitars, keyboards, drums and vocals). It sounds a bit like Gentle Giant going chamber music, although is not so dazzlingly complex. Similar comparison would be Gentle Giant meets Univers Zero. I think that description is not far from the exact one. Overall album has dreamy, mysty and not very positive feel, I suggest that you listen only third track (almost half an album), and the shorter version of darker radio tunes. Due to the third piece, album is sth of rare perception, esp. nowadays. -- Nenad Kobal

Episode [USA]

Fourtunes (85), Into the Epicenter (90), Edge of the Sky/Echoes (91), Starlight Tales (93)

Good chops musically (Yes-like) but female singer is a little annoying. Try Into the Epicenter

Edge of the Sky is the best thing they've done. Epicenter is weak. But this is one of the best up and comers. Let's hope they pull through.

To quote Nick Peck, current keyboardist, this band plays and composes "sweeping, grandiose works in the tradition of Yes and Procol Harum with a nasty King Crimson-esque streak.." Peck is by far the stand-out in the band, being both a very good keyboardist and writer. He puts much attention to detail and keeps current with the technology so their arrangements are often fascinating. Their last two albums featured Tom Finch on guitar, whose playing resembles (very loosely) Satriani. He adds much needed bite to the sound and is an outstanding player. Tom recently left the band and has been replaced recently by Gary Morrell (of the band Now), whose guitar work is much more influenced by Jerry Garcia. Expect a fairly different (though not necessarily worse) sound in the future. On the flip side, I find the sound somewhat unemotional and timid. They would also do well to find a competent vocalist.

Episode is one of the better bay area progressive bands. They have several cassette releases, and maybe one LP. In their sound one may hear hints of Meddle era Pink Floyd, Tales period Yes, and some fusion influence as well. Because their songs run the wide gamut and the band has plenty of fresh and original ideas, these influences are hardly detectable within the scope of their music. Vocalist Roe Tyler's original style lends even more credibility and uniqueness.

Episode are a five-piece California-based band with a few cassette releases under their collective belt. Starlight Tales is their most recent release and, I believe, their first CD. Episode are Tom Finch (guitars), Nick Peck (keyboards, vocals), Gary Scheuenstuhl (drums, percussion), Don Tyler (bass, 12-string guitar, vocals) and Roe Tyler (vocals, flute). Starlight Tales consists of nine songs, from three minutes to 25 minutes (26 if you want to tack on the 49 second "Wind and Watering" instrumental closer). Episode draw from obvious influences, such as Yes and Genesis and less obvious influences like National Health, which they combine with a small degree of accessibility (particularly in the shorter tunes), some jazzy touches and enough of their own ideas to come across as fresh and mostly original. One characteristic that I found especially pleasing was that, even in the shorter tunes, Episode have a fine sense of musical development. Middle sections are quite different from the opening and closing sections, creating a feeling of movement to each song. These differing sections don't sound thrown together or forced but instead as logical developments of the opening theme. Of everything that is good about Episode, I would have to say this ability is their greatest strength. "Bobby in the Bushes," a five minute instrumental, is perhaps the best example of this ability. Starting with Steve Howe-like harmonics and lead guitar, and occasional Wakemanesque flourishes, Episode quickly take the theme across a variety of styles, refusing to merely repeat and rehash, instead developing through a middle section that, for a few moments reminds of National Health, and ending up with a dash of humor as Finch sounds the familiar "the horse race is about to start" theme on his guitar. This all takes place comfortably in the space of five minutes. Even better is the 15 minute "Edge of the Sky," the track I feel to be the strongest on the album. Again, Episode traverse a variety of [no pun intended] episodic themes, starting with gentle acoustic guitar, digital piano and ethereal voice, moving into both obvious and vague Yes (circa Close to the Edge) and Genesis (circa Nursery Cryme) references, and a nice middle section including "sitar" and tablas. Acoustic guitar is generously featured, which adds nice texture. Peck's tenor is nicely matched with Roe Tyler's lovely voice. In rare instances, I thought Roe was pushing the edge of her range but, overall, I found myself wishing her vocal passages would go on much longer than they did. I really would like to hear her featured more often as a lead vocalist. The other short tunes is where the accessible side of Episode shows forth. Not commercial per se, these songs, such as "Barriers of Attitude" and "The Ship" are easy-going songs that are nice but somehow not quite fulfilling. "Dead Fish in the Tank" is an innocuous little ditty that, at 1:40, is merely filler. "Hesperates Rising" is a 25 minute, four-part piece that reveals both the best the band has to offer, both in compositional and playing abilities, as well as highlighting some flaws. At this length, it takes a lot of ability to keep the song interesting, and the band succeeds only partially. Though, once again, Episode display their talent at logical development of a song, I felt this song was a little slow in developing and perhaps went on a little to long. I think they could have trimmed about five to seven minutes of music here and there, strengthening the song through conciseness. Though not lacking in substance (there was a little too much), ultimately, I think "Hesperates Rising" lacked overall strength, which brings me to this: The one thing I kept thinking was that Episode should try to "push the envelope" more, pressing their musical abilities to the limits. I had the feeling that the band was playing well within their talent, perhaps to turn out a consistent album. Though a good album, I think Starlight Tales would be greatly improved if the band went all out, or at least gave the impression of such. For example, Scheuenstuhl and Don Tyler work well together as the rhythm unit, providing a stable foundation, but I felt they were too reserved, and should have been driving themselves, and Peck and Finch, to greater heights. I haven't heard Episode's earlier material so I can't judge how much they may have improved since, but Starlight Tales leaves the impression of a talented band that hasn't realized their full potential. Still, as a whole, Episode's Starlight Tales is a solid album, accessible without being commercial and shows an excellent sense of development and progression within songs. I think many of you would enjoy this album very much. -- Mike Taylor

[See Peck, Nick]

Epitaph [Germany]

Epitaph (71), Stop Look And Listen (72), Outside The Law (74), Return To Reality (78), See You In Alaska (80), Live (81), Danger Man (82)

Epos [USSR/Russia]
Updated 3/30/01

Ilya (88, re-released on CD 2000)
Boheme Music, the Russian label, has re-released Epos' only album Ilya on CD. This piece by Russian composer Aleksander Sledin sounds both ancient and modern at the same time. Based upon a Russian epic, the music is heavy on vocals, the four singers frequently singing a capella. The instrumentation is not exactly "standard rock band" either ... two violins and a cello are the predominant instruments apart from the vocals. There are also drums, bass and a synthesizer, but to tell the truth I didn't even notice them until my second listening.

The album is split into four tracks just for convienience ... this is really one piece of music from start to finish of the CD. It would be an understatement to say there is a single melodic theme that is repeated in variants throughout the piece ... some might even call it "repetitious", though the melody does continually swap around between instruments and voice, and the variations frequently go pretty far afield before returning to the basic motif again. For me, it's not repetitious at all, it's actually quite soothing and hypnotic, though I do find myself wishing I could understand the Russian lyrics. I'm sure I'm missing out on a major portion of this album because I can't understand it. It would be fun to see someone try to translate this to English sometimes (but not sing it in English!). Most of all, this album sounds Russian. There's no doubt about where this music originates. It's not like any other ethnic sound you've ever heard before.

I recommend this album, especially for those into the classical or medieval types of music mixed with their progressive. It's also the kind of music you seem to hear a bit more in each time you listen to it ... just when you thought you heard it all. -- Fred Trafton

[Note: Vitaly translates the album title as "Elijah" rather than Boheme's "Ilya" - Ed.]

I am sorry in advance for several phrases of "the only" or "the only one" you'll find in this paragraph, though originally tautology is nothing but the forced yet defensible repetition of words or phrases in the same sentence, etc. So, let's start ... There is not too much precise information on this Russian band in the CD booklet, and especially with regard to its future after releasing Elijah in the LP form in 1989 of the last century. Epos was formed in 1986 and thanks, first of all, to the band's permanent concert activity their unique music was heard and appreciated by the people at the only Soviet label "Melodiya". Unfortunately, Elijah was the only one album released by Epos, because such well-known events as the fall and the following devastation of the USSR just took their course. The same words, though, can apply to plenty of other ex-Soviet artists, and of course, especially to those whose creation was non-commercial absolutely (remember Horizont, the best, I think, USSR band ever existed: Sad to know that. For example, Epos was a very special band, and their only release remains very special up to now - as really the only one such album in the whole "progressive" world.

As well as in the case with Pesniary's Gusliar, Elijah is another work of the Classic Rock Opera genre, considering their, as a matter of fact, progressivity (only that, though). But if Gusliar with its distinct originality is nevertheless based on the traditional Classic Symphonic Art Rock structures, formed in the early '70s, Elijah offers a kind of Progressive Rock you have never listened before. All the basic instrumental and vocal themes of Elijah were not just taken from the Old Russian music - they were composed exactly this "ancient way", having both forms of the Old Russian Epic - musical and lyrical - as main influences. Played with the same instruments as all the basic themes (violins, cellos, some percussion and barely notable touches of bass and keyboards) almost all arrangements here have the same, obviously ancient and very Russian flavour (not Celtic, Saxon, et. al. we are already familiar with). Thus, all in all, Elijah was the first and still is the only Acoustic Rock Opera. As for the "almost", there are just a few pieces of traditional progressive arrangements played with the fast keyboard passages and powerful work of the rhythm-section on the album that have a contemporary sound. The presence of bits of modern progressive arrangements on this monolithic and unique, really ancient musical landscape, seems justifiable because they are interspersed with antiquity there very appropriately. All the vocals parts were sung (of course) in the Old Russian language and all the male and female arias, as well as choruses, sound unusually yet fantastic to the accompaniment of mostly dramatic slow passages of violins. As for the string instruments in particular, I have never heard they to be sounding such specifically, such "anciently".

Elijah is something more than just a unique album. This masterpiece is undoubtedly a "child" of Progressive Music, but it may be as if an "illegitimate child" of Progressive Rock that keeps aloof from anything created within the genre. Check it out and discover another new "progressive territory" and get great pleasure, like a pioneer, listening to this ancient beauty, charming so mysteriously on the threshold of the third millenium. -- Vitaly Menshikov

Click here to read Vitaly Menshikov's full review on his ProgressoR web site
Click here for Boheme's web site
You can mail order Boheme titles by e-mailing to boheme@iol.cz

Epsilon [Germany]

Epsilon (71), Move On (72), Epsilon Off (74)

A couple of members of this band joined Tony Carey's Planet P Project. Some are supposed to be progressive, others grungy hard-rock.

Er. J. Orchestra [Ukraine]
Updated 10/27/02

Gabrelius (00)
On the Hill Again (02)
Er. J Orchestra March 1991, Kiev - Oakman, Barabash, Andjey Pozdin, Viktor Krisko, Alexei Alexandrov, Taganski, Vladimir Sorochenko, Dirdovski (sitting). Several of these folks have been replaced by new members since this photo was taken.

Er. J. Orchestra is a Ukranian (Russian) band playing an orchestral style of thick, lush movie-soundtrack style music. My wife said of it, "it would be good music to have on in a restaurant". Right. Not difficult to listen to at all, in fact it borders on what I would call "easy listening", though the experimentation with ethnic sounds and harmonies, spacey sections and rock drumming does give this band a progressive edge. This isn't just another four-piece band trying to sound symphonic, it's an actual orchestra of variable size, but some of the live cuts on On the Hill Again credit up to ten people playing at once. No need for electronic sampling technology or Mellotrons to sound orchestral here, they are playing brass, strings and woodwinds in addition to the standard guitars, bass, drums and piano. They also feature cameo appearences of what I assume are various ethnic instruments that I'm not even sure what they are, such as domra, bayan, clarine, gusli, metallophone and mellophone.

Gabrelius is a studio album which has sounds ranging across many easy listening (some might even say "new agey" or "world music") styles, such as ethnic Russian fast balalaika plucking, oriental wood flutes, middle eastern or Greek violins, Arabic percussion or an Indian sitar-like drone. The sound may then become like cool lounge jazz complete with sax solo for awhile before travelling off to some other faraway soundscape. I'm reminded a bit of Ancient Future because of the ethnic/"world music" influence, though Er. J. Orchestra tends to be more western/jazzy and less Polynesian.

On the Hill Again is a similar album, but is a mix of studio and live recordings. As near as I can tell (most of the CD insert text is in Russian), this is a concept album with fantasy themes, since it keeps mentioning Elves, Knights and castles. Like Gabrelius, it is pretty much instrumental, though the last cut "On the Hill Again" has vocals sung in well-pronounced English. The second cut, "Jasper Garden", may drive you crazy since the basic 4-note motif used throughout the song is the opening notes to the old "Bewitched" television series, though I'm sure this was unintentional ... still, I can't help but think of it over and over again as this motif is played in different contexts throughout the song. On the Hill Again also has a lot more "free jazz" style improvisation than Gabrelius, some of it even getting into "avant-garde" territory. "Knightmare" actually sounds somewhat like Miles Davis due to the improvisational trumpet solos. This actually provides a nice contrast to the easier-to-listen-to sections. By the way, the recording quality on the live sections is excellent ... except for the applause at the end of those cuts, it's hard to tell them from the studio recordings.

To be frank, if I had listened to these album "cold", I'm not sure I would have really thought of them as progressive, but there is a lot to like about them nonetheless. If any of this sounds interesting to you, check out their web site where you can order the albums. I would give On the Hill Again a try first, moving on to Gabrelius only if you enjoy that album. Next, if you like this, try out Romislokus, another Russian band that sounds (to me) very similar. -- Fred Trafton

I think that Gabrielius should be taken as the first album of the band because there is no information concerning other works of the band in the EJO's booklet. A genre label on the back cover describes the style of the music presented on the album as Jazz plus Contemporary Music, but not as Jazz plus Creative Music. Jazz is not enough here to swear by, though there is a certain "fusion flavor" here. Made somewhere in Europe (but not in Austria), "Gabrielius", whatever audiofans from the high-end may say, sounds perfect and is wonderfully designed (like the overwhelming majority of the "Bohemian" production in general).

EJO is led by the only absolute leader and author of all compositions Alexis Aleksandrov. Consisting of nine persons, [they] prove to some degree the conception of a little orchestra even when they don't invite guests. In the compositions with more or less massive arrangements – in tempo and somewhere in the optimistic key, - especially in "Tea Ceremony", "Temple" and "Syringa", a lot of space is given to philosophically abstract episodes which are sometimes changed by fairly melancholic phases. However, in the remaining half of the compositions with predominating meditative and nostalgic moods, there is a big diversity of themes and arrangements for the entire album to have all the qualities which the quality works of the genre have, and which are rather complicated to understand them at once. The accordion (bayan in "Gabrielius") takes up the running in the first track, but later on it wouldn't be a solo leader. Violins, saxophones and the Aleksandrov's piano lead solo parts swapping places more often. Besides, the passages of an outstanding acoustic guitar-player, vibes-player and various kinds of percussion in general, which rather more often serve as the background for diverse arrangements, play a rather noticed part in the music of Gabrielius, which suddenly crystallizes into a long solo without any support by the remaining instruments.

Despite the fact that On the Hill Again has the same distinctly original and unique sound, which was laid on the debut EJO album, there are a few of the notable differences between these works. Above all, the composite structures of this "hill" are truly composite. They're more complex than those of Gabrielus. Now, the band refused to use the melancholically meditative shades that were present here and there on their debut album, but concentrated on the further development of their unique style. All five of the long compositions of this album: "Castle of Elves", "Tea Ceremony", "Knightmare", "Pilgrims", and "On the Hill Again" (tracks 1, 3, 5, 6, & 7), were created within the framework of a unified stylistics. And this stylistics is so unique that it deserves to be described in detail. So I have to tell you about all the principal constituents of it before labeling EJO as a band of some of one progressive genre. Classical Academic Music, Classic Symphonic Art-Rock, Jazz-Fusion, Avant-garde, Slavic, Eastern, pagan, and medieval tunes: all of these genres, etc, are mixed in the new music by EJO (which, of course, is a chamber ensemble rather than a Rock band). It's clear that such a polymorphous stylistics (that is a real hallmark of today's EJO!) just cannot fit any of the first four "chief" Progressive Rock genres, namely Art-Rock, Jazz-Fusion, Prog-Metal, & RIO. So the number of units of Progressive's Fifth Element genre has grown again, which, with regard to the Slavonic band (or the band of Slavonic Progressive, if you will), happened for the first time. There are almost no repetitions on those five compositions that I've mentioned above. In other words, the arrangements that are featured on them develop almost constantly, which is in many ways close to Academic Music. All five of the said compositions contain from a few to a dozen of the different musical palettes, most of which consist of very exotic shades. Although the arrangements that are present on these pieces are moderately quiet rather than powerful, all of them are highly complex and, at the same time, very intriguing. The slow passages of piano change with diverse and, often, contrasting interplay between passages of acoustic guitar, piano, violin, and Russian harp, and solos of various woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments, etc, again and again.

I would be happy if this band would find a way to distribute their CDs all over the world. Such a wonderful creation as EJO's should not have to be lost for present and future generations of the Progressive Music lovers. -- Vitaly Menshikov

Click here for Er. J. Orchestra's web site
Click here for Vitaly's full review of Gabrelius and here for his full review of On the Hill Again.

Era Di Acquario [Italy]

Antologia (73)

The album has an acoustic sound.

Ergo Sum [France]

Mexico (72)

Ergo Sum is generally lumped under the zeuhl category because they have some loose ties to the Magma camp. Mexico was produced by Laurent Thibault and originally released on his Theleme label. Thibault also contributes acoustic rhythm guitar to Mexico. Ergo Sum contributed to Puissance 13+2 compilations and Lionel Ledissez (Ergo Sum's vocalist) participated in the Univeria Zekt project. Jean-My Truong passed through Ergo Sum before joining Zao but he's not on this album. Francois Breant also passed through the band late in it's existence. If indeed Mexico is a zeuhl album, the band approach it from a very jazzy direction, much less so from a fusion perspective. I almost think of Ergo Sum as a mellower, less frantic Moving Gelatine Plates crossed with Laurent Thibault's solo album. In addition to Ledissez, Ergo Sum are: Jean Guierin (flute, electric & acoustic pianso, organ), Michel Leonardi (electric & acoustic guitar), Roland Meynet (violin), Max Touat (bass) and B.B. Brutus (drums, percussion). Musea rearranged the tracks from the original order, putting the title track first, and also including four bonus tracks. Two of the bonus tracks are a- and b-sides of a single released after the LP was released. Gentle, sophisticated arrangements of flute, acoustic guitar and violin make Mexico a wonderful late-night listening album. Even the electric guitar is subdued yet it too is an instrumental voice with statement. Vocals appear on most tunes and take a bit of getting used to. Ledissez sounds quite a bit like Ritchie Havens but his voice fits in oddly and equally well with the delicate jazz arrangements and the more uptempo songs. Although this is quiet and refined, we're not talking about ersatz jazz-lite. The music is powerful and graceful, an album of finesse. -- Mike Taylor

[See Breant, Francois | Cruciferius | Nemo]

Ergo Sum [Chile]
Updated 9/24/01

Ergo Sum (97)
Mixolidio (00)
Ergo Sum - Alexandros Tefarikis (electric and acoustic guitars) Sebastián Torrejón (bass), Sergio Menares (vibraphone, drums, marimba and keyboards), Juan Daniel Rios (german flute), Gonzalo Muga (drums, vibraphone, marimba and keyboards)

Though they present themselves as "neo progressive rock" in their website, they are NOT neo prog. Most of the music is based on the interplay between guitar-driven heavier sections and flute-driven "soothing" ones. Reminds me of Jethro Tull, maybe Focus and Asia Minor as well. The rhytmic section (bass, drums) plays a conventional role, drumming is quite constant, and the bass never gets too much spotlight. However, every time Iīve seen them live, I've been highly impressed by the bass player. Both the flute and guitar players are really competent, the latter choses to sound like none of your standard prog heroes ( Howe, Hackett, Latimer, etc...), instead, he plays in a quite pyrotechnic style (a la Satriani, maybe), and is a real showman when playing live. They do, in fact, fall sometimes in a prog metal flavoured playing, or even disguise themselves as mainstream guitar-driven rockers. Their second CD (half studio, half live tracks) shows some development in composition and arrangement. In the end, if you like a fair amount of flute in your prog, give it a try. -- Rodrigo Farías M.

Click here for Ergo Sum's web site in English and Spanish

Eris Pluvia [Italy]
Updated 7/15/08

Rings Of Earthly Light (91)
Third Eye Light (10)
Eris Pluvia 2008 - Paolo Raciti (keyboards), Marco Forella (bass), Matteo Noli (guitar and vocals), Daviano Rotella (drums) and Alessandro Cavatorti (guitar)

Bright, Colorful, Melodic and Romantic are appropriate words to describe the debut album by Italian band Eris Pluvia. Their sound is an elaborate quilt of electric and acoustic guitar reciprocation, outbursts of melodic keyboard color, soaring woodwinds and beautiful vocal harmonies. Their influences appear to be baroque, medieval and classical music, Italian folk themes, as well as the classic Italian progressive rock of the seventies, like Banco, PFM and others. The vocals (in English) are shared by guitarist Alessandro Serri, and guest vocalists Valeria Caucino and Sabrina Quarelli. The seventeen minute title track is no less than astonishing.

I have not personally listened to Rings Of Earthly Light, but, from the various reviews that I have read, this is classified as one of the best progressive bands of the eighties from Italy. The music is supposedly quite strongly reminiscent of Camel and Rousseau, which would put it squarely in the melodic, symphonic, progressive rock camp.
Rings of Earthly Light is based on the work of guitars (often acoustic), flutes and vocals (in English). The lineup also includes keyboards, bass, drums and saxophone. Consequently the compositions are based on acoustic-folk influences (guitars and flute) but also feature symphonic keyboard work and developments with a more electric sound. The music has a light, often romantic flavour that is barely betrayed by the richness of the production, the warmth of the arrangements or the precision and efficiency of the rhythms. -- Paul Charbonneau
I bought Rings of Eartly Light because of Alan Freeman's Audion review, not because of the corny title :-). Again I'll have to disagree with Freeman's opinions. While he is often very accurate when describing re-releases and older material, he grades the modern bands too easily. While Italy's Eris Pluvia is a step above most neo-progressive, it still isn't anything special. It's nice. Just nice. Not wonderful. Nice. Their influences are many but obvious: Renaissance, ELPowell and Minimum Vital, among others. They are largely based around acoustic guitar strumming and low-to-mid level rhythm complexity combined with recorder, keys and guitar leads. Another comparison that comes to mind is the extremely obscure Fireballet (anybody else like them?) The music is pretty, the vocals pleasing but too straight ahead to keep my interest. But they aren't bad either. Their combination of styles is unique, though every time the sound changes I sit there thinking, "This sounds so much like ... who?" There's a familiar tune or feel around every musical corner they turn, but none are concrete. Unlike other Italian contemporaries such as Men of Lake and Nuova Era, Eris Pluvia has a modern sound, but they lack the majesty of the former and the technical prowess of the latter. Worthwhile for those looking for a melodic, mellow and even thoughtful CD to buy. Otherwise, don't run out looking for it.
Updated 7/15/08:
After a long silence, Eris Pluvia returns in 2008 with a new album, Third Eye Light. I got a demo from them with four songs (at least one of them truncated) to show what the new album sounds like. Wow, I really like this ... some guitar soloing reminiscent of David Gilmour (but maybe not quite as bluesy), acoustic guitar strumming, Andy Latimer-like flute passages and mellow keyboard symphonics (including Mellotron) dominate the instrumentals. Two of the four songs have vocals (in English) by a pretty good vocalist with only a slight Italian accent. Some of the electric guitar soloing borders on prog-metal, though the symphonic accompaniment keeps it from sounding prog-metalish overall. It's a nice mixture of sounds, yet also harks back to the '70's "Italian Prog" sound.

Bottom line is that this demo did its job ... it makes me want to hear the finished album! Keep on the lookout for the release by clicking on the link to their web site below. Right now it's only in Italian, but they're promising an English set of pages "Presto" (soon).

The original band (if my sorry comprehension of Italian holds up) was Alessandro Cavatorti (guitar), Paolo Raciti (keyboards), Edmondo Romano (flute & sax), Marco Forella (bass), Martino Murtas (drums) and Alessandro Serri (vocals and guitar). One of the other prog web sites claims that Eris Pluvia "became" The Ancient Veil, but that's not really correct. Romano and Serri left to form The Ancient Veil, which was by all accounts quite different from Eris Pluvia. The 2008 Eris Pluvia line-up includes Cavatorti, Raciti and Forella along with newcomers Matteo Noli (guitar and vocals) and Daviano Rotella (drums). -- Fred Trafton

Updated 6/4/10:
The previous Eris Pluvia GEPR update, stating that the new album would be released in 2008, was just a wee bit off the mark ... by more than a year. Still, I can't really complain. If it took them a little extra time to make this album sound this good, then it was well worth the wait. Because Third Eye Light is an exceptionally great piece of work.

Firstly -- and this wasn't at all evident from the previously-reviewed demo -- this is a concept album. No flying saucers, dragons or rampant Gods in this concept, though. This is mature prog, and "bombastic" is the last word that will come to mind when you listen to this album. The concept is about somebody going to a "show". At first it's not clear what sort of "show" it is, but as the story moves along, it's apparently a show of paintings ... or maybe photographs ... possibly even sculptures, or a mixture of all of the above. The songs are about the feelings being experienced while looking at the art, the reactions of others in the gallery, and the reactions of the person telling the story to the other patrons' reactions. Finally, there's a surprise ending. But I won't spoil it for you. Pure poetry in lyrical form.

Musically, I'll stick by my previous description ... mostly mellow acoustic and electric guitars with a few heavier sections and lots of sweet synths, keyboards and flute (from a guest flautist who plays on most of the cuts). The vocals are almost all in English, with a noticeable Italian accent. Usually a heavy accent grates on my nerves a bit, and I'm one of those who usually says, "I wish they had just sung it in their own language." But in this case, the accented inflections actually seem to become part of the musicality of the lyrics. These accented vocals fit perfectly with the music and I wouldn't have them change a thing.

Don't listen to anyone who tries to categorize this as " neo-prog". No way. It's very mature Italian-style prog. A casual listen might make you think this is AOR, but when you listen carefully, the complexity level is too high for that. It's just so smoothly performed and cleanly recorded that you don't immediately notice the "progressiveness". I'm very impressed with Third Eye Light and highly recommend it to all lovers of the mellower end of the symphonic prog spectrum, particularly if you like the Italian style. High on my list for "best of 2010". Check it out! -- Fred Trafton

[See Ancient Veil, The]

Click here for Eris Pluvia's web site

Eroc [Germany]

Eroc (75), Zwei (76), 3 (79), 4 (82), Wolkenreise (8?), Changing Skies (??)

Eroc was the percussionist for Grobschnitt, one of the better known symphonic/space bands from Germany. I have two of his releases, 3 and 4. The former is a very uneven album showing a wide variety of influences. There are some songs that obviously remind me of Grobschnitt (circa Solar Music Live), however other influences include Dave Gilmour and Richard Wright of Pink Floyd, the heavy German underground scene, and psychedelia. There are also strange vocal interludes, a boring "boom-chic with variations" drum seque, and even a bootleg-sounding blues jam. If anything can be said about this album, it would be about its unpredictability. You never know what'll come next. In comparison, 4 is far more consistent in style but is even less exciting. The silly voices are still present, though not as common. The Floyd influences seem stronger and there's also an occasional reference to late '70s Tangerine Dream. There's also quite a bit more acoustic guitar. The album fails to please, however, because of its lack of rhythmic diversity. In a few brief moments, a couple of really neat synth sounds burst forth, but they are hardly enough to redeem the album. Of these two releases, I'd give the nod to 3, but I'd say spend your money elsewhere first. -- Mike Taylor

Eroc, a.k.a. Achim H. Ehrig, was the drummer for Grobschnitt. His first solo album is an interesting mix of different types of instrumental music. Some songs are gentle, electronic tone etudes ("Kleine Eva," "Des Zauberers Traum"). Other tracks are spacy guitar rock a la Ashra. Also included is a nightmarish tape-collage piece ("Horrorgoll") and an offbeat synthesizer tune ("Die Musik vom 'Oelberg'"). I haven't heard his other solo albums, but the third one is supposed to include music from a 1969 lineup of Grobschnitt, which had been together in one form or another since 1966. Wolkenreise and Changing Skies are compilations. -- Mike Ohman

[See Grobschnitt]

Errata Corrige [Italy]
Updated 8/21/06

Siegfried, Il Drago E Altre Storie (76)
Mappamondo (92, Recorded 1974 and 1977)
Polished mellow progressive was the style of Errata Corrige and their only album Siegfried, Il Drago E Altre Storia is proof of this. Showing Italian elegance to the extreme, EC's music is quite beautiful and as a quartet they show amazing versatility with the instruments they used. The music works very well as a whole and is very soothing and spacious.
A relatively obscure Italian band that had only one release Siegfried, Il Drago, E Altre Storie. They offer a rich blend of progressive folk-rock, jazz and classically influenced themes, using multi-guitars, piano, cello, synthesizers, bass, flute and drums. Their superb, gentle vocal harmonies (in Italian) are complimentary to the music, and may remind of early Simon and Garfunkel at times. An exceptional concept album. Recently some previously- unreleased stuff from the vaults has been released, haven't heard it yet.

Errobi [Spain]
Updated 8/11/06

Errobi (75)
Gure Lekukotasuna (77)
Bizi Bizian (78) Ametsaren Bidea (79)
Agur T'Erdi (84)
Errobi 1975-1984 (03, 5CD Compilation)
Two-guitar band from the Basque country. On Ametsaren Bidea, they display that unique Basque talent of making a lot with a little. Though there are no keyboards, the sound is very full and layered, the long title track and "Andere" especially display the striking group synergy well. You don't have to be a fan of guitar-based music to like them. -- Mike Ohman
Click here for more info.

Erwing, Robert [Sweden]

Betonganglar (82)

Esagil [Greece]
Updated 12/17/09

Reverse of Life (98, Demo CD)
Esagil - Bill Chatzigiani (guitars), Theodoras Kotzabourounis (bass, vocals) and Michael Kostas (drums)

Esagil from the island of Lesvos, Greece, started in 1995. They did covers of '60's and '70's rock and prog bands, and also wrote their own songs. There's only a little recorded output ... a demo CD recorded in 1998 called Reverse of Life, a CD single with two songs called In Square Circles and a couple of cuts recorded for a Homo Metallicus fanzine collection. You can hear many/most of these releases on their web site (see below).

Esagil's releases on their web site (which are all I've heard) have a very sparse sound. That's not necessarily a bad thing, I'd say the same of Van der Graaf Generator (though Esagil doesn't sound much like them, except for their sparseness). It's mostly guitar/bass/drums though there's also significant amounts of organ, piano and synths (melodic and effects) added. These cuts might even have been recorded "live in the studio" with no overdubs (or maybe just the keys overdubbed) judging from the way they sound. If The Doors had been more prog and less psych, they might be a good comparison. Definitely a "late '60's" sound.

The vocals do seem to strain a bit sometimes and the recording quality isn't quite up to a full release. But after all, these were demo recordings. The compositions certainly have their interesting points, and a full-blown recording session with some overdubs, sweetening and studio effects could have made these something special. As it is now, we'll have to guess at what they could have become, because they disbanded in 2004. -- Fred Trafton

Click here for Esagil's web site

Esagono [Italy]
Updated 7/11/03

Vicolo (76)
Arti & Mestieri spin-off dated 1975. They also spot a good drummer coming from Furio Chirico's school. Their only CD Vicolo was released in 1976. Their music sounds very jazz-rock oriented. Vicolo includes instrumental songs only which flow nicely together. Sometime the listener may recognize strong influences from Chick Corea, Return To Forever, Jean Luc Ponty, Weather Report but never get annoyed. "Arena" ranks among the best songs in the CD displaying good "solos" from each player. Too short lived to tell more. It is worth the purchase for jazz-rock lovers. -- Ludovico Vecchione
[See Arti E Mestieri]

Escapade [USA]
Updated 11/5/02

Searching For The Elusive Rainbow (96)
Inner Translucence (97)
Obscured Dialogues (97, CDR)
Citrus Cloud Cover (98, 2CD)
Due to a Faulty Premonition (99)
Remembrance of Things Unknown (00, Compilation of unreleased recordings)
Rule#3 (02)
Escapade's Due to a Faulty Premonition may be the definition of "Space Rock". 100% improvised in the studio, this is spacey guitar and keyboard arpeggios and drones, usually with a rhythmic drum background, though the tempos of the two don't necessarily coincide. I keep hearing them compared to Krautrockers like Ash Ra Tempel and Can, but since I'm not familiar with those bands, I can't comment. Their sound does resemble other things within my experience, like the atonal improvisational interludes between "normal" songs on The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, or the less melodic spacey improvs of the older Pink Floyd or Hawkwind albums. It also resembles some of the earliest Tangerine Dream, particularly Electronic Mediations with its sound-sculpting aspects overshadowing the melodic ones. But the recording quality on Due to a Faulty Premonition is much cleaner, and you can hear every subtle nuance of each instrument. At any rate, you can throw away any chemical hallucinogenics you may have floating around. Listening to Escapade on a good set of headphones will propel you to about the same sectors of the galaxy, and Escapade doesn't show up on a random drug test at work, either! For Space Rock fans, these guys are a must!

I have also heard Remembrance of Things Unknown, a limited edition CD which features previously unreleased recordings of the band. The description of this CD would be pretty much like Due to a Faulty Premonition, but perhaps a bit rougher because these are mostly recordings of live improvs rather than in the studio. This CD is dedicated to the memory of Charles DeLozier, who plays bass on one of the tracks. -- Fred Trafton

[Editor's Note: Edward Martland won the GEPR Escapade CD contest held in September of 2002, and these are his reviews of the three CD's.]

Due To A Faulty Premonition:
The album opens with a man shouting something across a studio, before a guitar line kicks in. At first I figured I'd been misinformed, since all the reviews made Escapade out to be rather amelodic, and this was really rather tuneful - even folksy - despite the spooky electric drone that flows underneath. But that moment turned out to be a trap for the casual listener. It only lasts a few seconds, before the players seem to lose their ability all at once, turning to an odd mass of notes. That's when the real fun begins.

The electric drone which flavours the music becomes more insistent now, turning first into a hornet's nest and then into a wall of bass. The song's atmosphere becomes progressively dark and claustrophobic, making "Sound Trap" a very accurate title indeed. Finally the masses of atonal guitars, echoing drums and choir-like synths fade away into haunting traces, leading the listener into the further dark waters of the album.

Without wanting to describe every song on here in (highly pretentious) detail, it continues throughout in a very sinister, exploratory vein. You can hear why people can't believe that these are all free improvisations - just listen to how the mess of distant metallic guitar noise, clicking drums and dripping water join together on "When A Squall Line Beckons", transporting the listener into a deep underground cave with trains rattling above, before forming into a long tunnel of sound. Claustrophobia is a regular feature of this album it seems, although the flipside - the huge spacious landscapes conjured up by "I See Things" for example - is no less disconcerting.

If the over-done descriptions preceding haven't given you a headache, I have to say that writing them has helped me realise something else about Escapade: for a five-man band producing entirely free-form instrumental music, they have a real talent for narrative. Anyway, purple prose aside this album is genuinely amazing to hear. If you like your music dense, experimental and relentless, this album will blow you away. If you tend towards the symphonic end only, don't bother. You won't enjoy it.

Rule #3:
"A Symphony Of Sirens" opens on a distant, echoing drum beat, quickly enhanced by faint drones. Then a strangely menacing bass line and the hoarse sound of an echoing, dirty guitar. The guitar could be laughing at you for all you know. It's an uneasy start to the record, to be sure, but then the last album should have prepared us for that. Clearly, Escapade don't "do" easy listening.

The guitar sounds become more insistent and dissonant as it goes along. And believe me, it does go along. Somebody must have complained about the brevity of the tracks on Due To A Faulty Premonition, because "Sirens" clocks in at a weighty 19 minutes and eleven seconds.

The song continues in distinctly un-symphonic fashion, with variously ghostly and aquatic electronic textures piled on top. Resisting the desire to describe any more of the song (which would fill pages of space), things only become more odd from here in.

"Mysterious Utterings" is closer to the more evocative imagery of Premonition than "Symphony" is. This track conjures up a long, lonely journey, either through space, the ocean or the desert, depending on how you read it. It's much more spacious than quite a lot of Escapade's stuff, and utterly breathtaking. Out of nowhere the song jumps into "Circumference", a much more threatening and confrontational piece, which is a shock after the haunting emptiness of the last few minutes. It's a brilliant piece of work.

Rule #3 is a pretty good album overall, although initially not as good as Premonition. Whilst I wouldn't hesitate to say that Escapade's stuff is varied, fascinating stuff, I would have to say that whatever they do, they tend to end up with pretty menacing tunes, often pretty claustrophobic. Not intentional, I'm sure, but it's definitely what I hear when I listen to this album

Never mind that though. Check out the raw cover of "Interstellar Overdrive", surely one of the highest songs in Escapade's family tree. Great stuff.

Remembrance of Things Unknown:
The "rarities set". Every band has them. Some are brilliant, some suck like a vacuum cleaner. This one's quite nifty as it turns out.

The opening track, "Maelstrom Machine" made me say something that the rock press never thought you'd hear around a progressive rock band: "Hey, this is kinda funky". And it is, in a typically uneasy Escapade fashion. There's a strong feeling of being followed coming from this song.

Just as "Maelstrom Machine" has faded away, "When Whenever Comes" jumps out of the darkness with a cymbal crash, dancing around the listener in a wall of percussive urgency and weird, abbreviated guitar notes. It slowly builds into a hard-rocking flurry, still taunting and chasing the listener as if in a race. Towards the end it slows and returns to the more psyche-funk sound of "Maelstrom Machine".

"Squelch" is not only the oldest song on the album, but likely the weirdest piece. The sounds made by the guitar are hard to describe, but "alien" would be a good word for them. It's pure science fiction to listen to, and I mean that in a good way.

"Squelch" then gives way to the claustrophobia of "Crawlspace", which could be the spiritual sibling of "When A Squall Line Beckons" any day. The song begins on a cliff, overlooking a dark, stormy sea. It lingers there for a while, before fading into a long, dark and narrow metal tunnel, as drums echo from some unseen location outside. I'll stop before I get too colourful, but hopefully you get the picture.

Of all three of the albums, "Remembrance Of Things Unknown" is maybe the most hit-and-miss. It's definitely good, but there are points where you can tell why this stuff wasn't released when it was recorded. A hardcore fan's album then. -- Edward Martland

Click here for Escapade's label, Mother West, where you can order these CD's

Eskaton [France]
Updated 2/2/01

4 Visions (79)
Ardeur (80)
Fiction (83)
The moment you put on Eskaton's 4 Visions, one word spews forth: Magma. "Eskaton," the disc's opening track is rife with Magmaisms. In fact, the line-up of Eskaton is very similar to Magma circa Live (Hhai). Eskaton are Paule Kleynnaert and Amara Tahir (vocals), Andre Bernardi (bass), Gerard Konig (drums), Alain Blesing (guitar), Gilles Rozenberg (organ, synthesizer), and Eric Guillaume and Marc Rozenberg (electric piano). Replace Magma's violinist with a third keyboardist and the male vocals with a second female vocalist and Magma becomes Eskaton. OK, so Konig is no Vander...he's still quite a capable drummer. To call Eskaton a Magma clone would be be entirely untrue; however, by the second song, "Attente," a few zeuhl layers are peeled away to reveal more of Eskaton's own perspective. The CD booklet is rather emphatic in pointing out that Eskaton doesn't sing in some esoteric, made-up language but instead sing in French, for the People, about the People. Regardless, the undeniable influence of Magma is never far away. Undoubtedly, some listeners will dismiss Eskaton as a Magma clone but I think Eskaton does have something to offer. The music is demanding, daunting and challenging, regardless of who is playing it. That Eskaton can and do is a testament to their talent. To me, 4 Visions is essential listening. The four visions, according to the booklet, "paints an angry picture of Man in his Concrete City ("Ecoute"), in his Destiny ("Eskaton"), in his response to the nuclear bomb ("Attente"), and in his facing up to Death ("Pitie"). "Angry Picture" sums up this tension-filled music. -- Mike Taylor

Esperanto [UK]
Updated 8/18/05

Esperanto Rock Orchestra (73)
Danse Macabre (74)
Last Tango (75)
Bridget Lokelani Dudoit (Vocals, Acoustic Guitar), Glenn Shorrock (Vocals, Guitar) Janice Slater (Vocals), Bruno Libert (Keyboards), Tony Malisan (Drums), Gino Malisan (Bass, Flute), Raymond Vincent (1st Violin), Tony Harris (Viola, Sax), Joy Yates (Vocals, Flute), Brian Holloway (Guitar, Piano) and Timothy Kraemer (Cello, Piano)

Last Tango is excellent. It opens with a particularly murderous version of "Eleanor Rigby." Purists, who want covers to stay near the original, will simply die, while those looking for original interpretation will be slayed! =8) Except for a brief statement of the theme, which is buried in the complexity, you won't positively recognize the song until the lyrics start. Excellent. Esperanto have the usual drums, bass, keyboards, and male and female vocals, but also use two violins and a cello. ELO? No way. These guys are fairly complex (but we're not talking UZ or Art Zoyd) and build good intensity. How to describe? Not easy, really. Strong string presence obviously. Kinda classical, kinda fusiony, kinda proggy, pretty unique. Six songs, three per side. Three of these are longer (7-12 minutes) and three shorter (3-4 minutes). The shorter songs are kinda "singlish" and coulda been heard on the radio in the mid-'70s. That's not to imply they are bad songs, but the longer cuts are much better developed. I'm doing a hack job here. Oh well. Good stuff. Danse Macabre is also very good.

On Rock Orchestra, the band consists of 12 members playing lots of instruments, including three vocalists, flutes, violins, guitars, keyboards, drums and bass. The music is sometimes like standard '70s rock and nothing special and sometimes really complex progressive rock. The album is about 60% AOR and 40% progressive. The band sometimes shows potential on what was to come on later albums like the good one Last Tango. On Last Tango the band is reduced to eight members and the music is a lot better and more progressive than on Rock orchestra. There is some killer stuff on Last Tango. -- Andre Hagberg
Click here for Claude Wacker's excellent fan web site

Espíritu [Argentina]
Updated 8/1/03

Crisálida (75)
Libre y Natural (76)
Espíritu (82)
En Obras (83, Live)
En Movimiento (83)
Potentially one of the very best Argentine progressive bands (am I repeating myself) and an excellent example of one of the world's most fantastic yet unkown progressive scenes. Their music is much like the Italian 70's bands, yet there is definitely a strong Southern cultural influence, and the mix of these influences with those of Gong, Yes, Osanna, and Genesis makes their second (and only available CD) Crisalida a must have. One of the best ever.
Excellent Argentinian symphonic progressive. The closest comparisons would be the blending best of the 70's Italian progressive bands. Plenty of melodic synth and rhythmic acoustic guitar that suddenly shifts to heavy electric guitar, the back to synth and vocal harmonies, typical of many Italian bands such as Semiramis and Balletto di Bronzo. Espiritu, however, seems to have a little more of the lyricism evident in other Italian bands such as PFM. Don't be fooled though, because the music gets intense... very intense. GREAT synth work abounds! This has to be one of the best symphonic South American progressive albums ever.
Crisalida is well worth your while, with some unbelievably fast guitar and synthesizer runs which will take your breath away. The music shunts between a melodic Latin American version of P.F.M., to heavy sections approaching a sort of Il Balletto Di Bronzo style. One minus point, their singer, who sounds okay during the rockier parts, but gets on my nerves in the softer sections. I really can't describe why, perhaps it's just a personal dislike on my part. Otherwise, I'd recommend running out and getting this. -- Mike Ohman
Espíritu's second album Libre y Natural sounds more aggressive than its predecessor, while maintaining the same melodic sensibility; the lyrics themselves reveal a pessimistic view of society and humankind (as opposed to the more high spirited, introspective disposition in the lyrics of Crisálida). Just like Crisálida, Libre y Natural is a concept-album consisting of a continuing sequence of eight tracks. The original keyboardsman Gustavo Fedel had been replaced by Ciro Fogliatta, who now introduces a harder edge to the organ and synthesizer sounds. Besides, Osvaldo Favrot takes his guitar playing into the jazz-fusion realm, and so does the rhythm section. All these elements fused together resulted in a very somber album, which combines the usual colors of symphonic prog and typical touches of South American acoustic sensibility with the dark intensity of (e.g.) Mahavishnu Orchestra and 1974-King Crimson. In my opinion, since this is a more varied recording, full of dramatic contrasts in mood and tempo, Libre y Natural is an improvement compared to their debut album (which is also excellent, no doubt about it!)

A few months before the release of Libre ..., the band went on a mini-tour to introduce the new material to their fans, but when it was finally released, the band has already split up. This factor led guitarist Favrot and singer Fernando Berge to keep on working together, forming a new band called Aspid. This band never got much further than recording a few demos, and after a couple of years spent in pointless struggling, Berge and Favrot dissolved Aspid in order to reform Espíritu, in early 1981. Three new members came into the fold: Claudio Cicherchia (bass), Ángel Mahler (keyboards), and Rodolfo Messina (drums). The five of them got along well and quickly, and ended up recording Espíritu, which was released in 1982. Since many years has passed since their last album, it is no surprise that this album didn't sound like the first two. While still symphonic in nature, you can note the presence of a wide array of latin-jazz touches, and even some occasional funky elements in this album. The compositions are not focused on a unitary concept this time: this is just a collection of separate songs. "Lento Juego de Luces", "Antes Tal Vez", and the amazing instrumental "Guardianes en Pie" are the finest examples of the sound Espíritu is achieving at this point. Similarities can be found with their fellow band Pablo El Enterrador. On the other hand, "Un Viaje por los Recuerdos" bears some hint of their earlier style. A very good album, with some bright moments, but not that great really.

Since their third album failed to raise a major interest in the times of new-wave and techno-pop, Berge decided to break away from the band in order to purse a solo career. While their record label released a live album, En Obras (to be honest, a very poor recording), Espíritu decided to move onward as a quartet, with guitarist Favrot assuming the role of lead vocalist. The result was En Movimiento, allegedly a dull poppy album, full of mellow ballads and mid-tempo rockers. Well aware of the decline of their creativity, the foursome decided to dissolve the band for good.

Or so it seemed... Almost twenty years after their last breakup, Osvaldo Favrot decided to reform Espíritu for the new millenium. In August 2002, he joined forces with Pablo Guglielmino (lead vocal, acoustic guitar), Ernesto Romeo (keyboards), Horacio Ardiles (drums, percussion, backing vocal), and Osvaldo's son Federico (bass, backing vocal). Right away, they started writing and recording new material, which supposedly will be released in CD format sometime in 2003: in the meantime, they're making plans for going back on tour. -- Cesar Mendoza

Esposito, Toni [Italy]
Updated 11/16/05

Rosso Napoletano (75)
Processione Sul Mare (76)
Gente Distratta (77)
La Banda del Sole (78)
Tamburo (82)
Il Grande Esploratore (84)
As Tu As (85)
Toni Esposito (87)
Villaggio Globale (90)
Tropico (96)
Viaggio Tribale (03)
Toni Esposito

Italian jazz drummer and percussionist. His self-titled first album belies a very strong "Bitches Brew"-era Miles Davis influence, and featured Miles' musical associate Paul Buckmaster (who later played Elton John's band!) on electric 'cello. Gente Distratta is a very sunny, tuneful and melodic, almost lightweight, jazz-fusion record, with a feel somewhat reminiscent of Weather Report, circa "Mysterious Traveller". La Banda de Sole continues in the same vein, but with a pronounced Mediterranean ethnic flavor (mandocellos, odd time signatures, lots of hand percussion, odd vocals) on some tracks. -- Dave Wayne

Born in Naples, the mecca of southern Italy progressive rock, Toni Esposito's music showed a strong mediterannean root since the very early days. At the beginning of the 70's, Toni started his very long career as guest musician. He first played as drummer and percussionist for Edoardo Bennato, Alan Sorrenti (on his first three albums), and appeared on the first Saint Just record too. He was soon recognized as one of the most inventive percussionists in Europe. He developed a unique capability to make a very nice percussion sound out of cooking pans, glasses, practically out of any possible object to be found in a kitchen. He was also known for bringing back to life old traditional instruments from South Italy, Caraibeean Islands, Black Africa and South America music cultures. His first two solo albums (Rosso Napoletano and Processione Sul Mare) were well accepted by both public and critics. 3/4 of jazz-rock, a drop of progressive rock stirred with a folksy mediterranean vein, his musical cocktail produced a very listenable and fresh sound, only occasionally blinking an eye to poppier melodies.

Those poppier melodies which eventually became Toni Esposito's trademark in the 80's, when his production went along a more commercial direction to achieve stardom status in Europe. His popular song "Kalimba de luna" sold more than 6 millions copies worldwide. Exhausted from the commercial success, he went on to teaching music therapy for many years. However, he found time and energy for recording two more records which received little attention. In 2003, he went back to a recording studio for his new album Viaggio Tribale: a world music experience which registered attendance from many guest musicians such as Franco Battiato, Edoardo Bennato, Gregg Brown (from Osibisa), Wayne Dockery and John Tropea. Unfortunately, this last record just showed that his best years were gone. The first two album are worth the purchase for people looking for mediterranean jazz-rock music. -- Ludovico Vecchione

Esqueixada Sniff [Spain]

Ocells (79), En Concert (79)

Jazz-rock, ex-Máquina.

[See Máquina]

Esquire [UK]

Esquire (87)

Totally overrated pop band led by Chris Squire's daughter. There's a few decent pop tunes on the album, but hey folks - this is NOT progressive in any way, shape or form.

Yes' Chris Squire produced this band which features his wife Nikki on vocals. Don't expect a Yes sound-alike here. More poppy stuff. Nikki has a decent voice, but this is primarily bargain-bin material (that's where I got my copy).

Estructura [Venezuela]

Más Allá de tu Mente (78)

Symphonic prog.

Et Cetera [Canada]
Updated 12/27/09

Et Cetera (76)
Et Cetera 1976 (Not in photo order) - Marie Bernard Pagé (keyboards, ondes Martenot, vocals), Denis Chartrand (keyboards, flute, saxophone, vibraphone, vocals), Pierre Dragon (drums, percussion), Robert Marchand (guitars, vocals), Alain Yves Pigeon (bass, cello, vocals)

Very Gentle Giant sounding prog, with a nice female lead vocalist. This is really a GG singing in French, with a female voice! :) I only know Et Cetera by them. I wonder if they have any other releases...quite good overall. -- Luis Paulino

The above article was inherited from the original GEPR back in 2000. Now, in 2010 (almost), I've discovered that someone has created a MySpace page for them (see link below). In fact, it's been there since 2007 and I've only just noticed it. But if you want to hear some of this band, there are six cuts from the album listed above available to listen to in the music player. They're quite impressive. Wonder what ever happened to them? -- Fred Trafton
Click here for Et Cetera (Canada)'s MySpace page

Etcetera [Denmark]
a.k.a. Etc.
Updated 4/22/02

Etcetera (88)
The Difficult Second (91)
Fin de Siecle (99)
Tales of Ardour and Deceit (03)
One of my earliest entries in the GEPR (probably late in 2000, I wasn't keeping track of dates yet) was added concerning a band I stumbled across while surfing for prog bands. This was what I said at the time:

Any band who would write a song titled "Gongtric Yestacles" deserves an entry in the GEPR. Imagine you could take the notes from an 80's Crimson tune, throw them on the floor at random, then pluck up these shuffled notes and rearrange them on the staff in a new order, but with the same rhythm. Then play them with a style somewhere between 80's Crimson and the Ozrics. This is what the Etcetera MP3's sound like on their web site (which is all I've heard of them). This is pretty cool stuff. Warning, the recording quality leaves something to be desired on some songs, at least on the MP3's. -- Fred Trafton

But now I'm pleased to say I've finally heard a proper album, their 2003 release Tales of Ardour and Deceit. Etcetera appears to be Frank Carvalho and whoever he can talk into working with him on his visionary progressive compositions. Carvalho plays guitar, bass and keyboards plus works with all the MIDI and other computer gimmickery. For Tales, he's enlisted the help of drummer Johnnie McCoy and several other guest musicians.

Forget what I said in the previous entry. This is an album of very '70's sounding prog. The closest reference point is probably Genesis' Trespass or Nursery Cryme, but there are also sections that remind of Gentle Giant in the vocal harmonies, The Moody Blues in the Mellotron playing or even Court of the Crimson King-era Crimson for Moonchild-ish flutes (though I suspect these are synths in this case). Tales is a concept album about Marsk Stig, who was the supposed ringleader behind the assassination of Danish King Eric V in 1286, and then escaped to enjoy a life of piracy supported by the King of Norway.

The songs are all recorded with too much reverb and an odd "amateurish" mix ... don't take that badly, this really adds to the "recorded in the '70's" effect. It sounds a lot like Genesis' Trespass from a recording point of view, and I find this lack of modern "slick" production quality to be completely appropriate for this music. Tales of Ardour and Deceit is excellent and I would recommend it to any '70's symphonic prog fan without reservations. I've been listening to it for the last week now and will probably continue to do so, since it continues to grow on me. Fantastic stuff!

Unfortunately, their web site speaks of their "demise" in 2004, but there have already been so many versions of this band, all with Carvalho at the helm, that they could become "undemised" at any time. I hope that Carvalho gets together another group to play with. It's a disease, you know, writing progressive rock. Once you've started, you can't really stay away from it. I should know, I have the disease myself. -- Fred Trafton

Click here for Etcetera's web site
Click here to order Fin De Siecle or Tales of Ardour and Deceit from Musea Records

Eternidad [Argentina]
Updated 1/21/05

Apertura (77)

Eternité [Canada]

Chants de l'Eternité (77)

Ethereal [USA]
a.k.a. Richard Orlando
Updated 6/22/07

Ten Electronic Music Studies (00)
Beyond Neptune (07)

Richard Orlando also contributed to the following Alien Planetscapes albums:
The Official Bootleg Volumes 1-3 (02)
Problems of the 21st Century (03)
Alien Planetscapes Meets Scattered Planets (06)
Red Mars (07?)

Ethereal is a project name for former Alien Planetscapes guitarist/synthesist Richard Orlando. I've talked to him several times via e-mail, but he doesn't really have a web site. He does have a MySpace page, but it's only about the new Ethereal album Beyond Neptune at this time. See link below. However, he did e-mail me a listing of all his albums currently available for the discography above.

Beyond Neptune is an album of good old-fashioned space rock, sounding at turns like Hawkwind, Gong or Tangerine Dream. Orlando plays synthesizers and guitar, programs drum machines and vocalizes (I would hesitate to say "sings"). He also has several friends helping him out on various cuts, including Lynnette Shelley of The Red Masque, Paul Williams (Quarkspace, Church of Hed, etc.) and even a posthumous performance by Doug Walker, his old bandmate from Alien Planetscapes. The music varies quite a bit from noisy electronics to spacey electonics and all the way to punk thrash. Beyond Neptune is a loose concept album about leaving the polluted Earth behind and finding new worlds to settle. Just what a space rock album should be about.

This is an excellent album for those who enjoy space rock, one of my favorite prog genres. You can obtain a copy from Aural Innovations (see link below). And thank you, Lynnette for the e-mail introduction to Richard! -- Fred Trafton

[See Alien Planetscapes | Quarkspace | Red Masque, The]

Click here for Richard Orlando's MySpace page concerning Beyond Neptune.
Click here to order Beyond Neptune from Aural Innovations.
Click here to e-mail Richard Orlando for any titles not available through Aural Innovations.

Ethos [USA]

Ardour (76), Open Up (77)

Pretty reasonable prog rock band with two releases Ardour and Open Up. They were quite derivative of the Genesis/Yes sound, but did a good job with their compositions.

Seventies band from Fort Wayne, Indiana that proved that progressive rock can exist in the Midwest. Very heavily influenced by early Genesis and in fact had their support and friendship.

Mid seventies US progressive band that seemed to be influenced by a variety of styles, their sound was a little folky at times, poppy at others, even a little jazzy at times, loosely in the shadow of Kansas, Yes, Genesis, early Crimson and others, with lots of vocals everywhere. very solid compositional skills and tight playing, a five piece featuring guitar/mandolin, bass/pedals, drums and dual keyboards. The album Ardour is excellent. Cool cover too.

Of their two releases, I like Open Up best. Their first, Ardour sits squarely in the mid 70's Yes influenced camp but tends to get too "warm, fuzzy and cute" (the songs "Space Traveller" and "Starry old man") for my taste. On the other hand, Open Up sports a somewhat harder edge, streamlined 4 piece lineup (bass/kybd/guit:vox/drum), a great rhythm section (including a drummer whose kit is mostly roto-toms and odd percussion devices) and more experimental arrangements (similar to Gentle Giant/Yezda Urfa with a dash of Nursery Cryme-era Genesis). -- Dennis Montgomery

Great keyboards, good guitar, decent bass and drums, weak lyrics, crappy vocals. Overall a good album, but over-rated.

Etna [Italy]
Updated 10/9/00

Etna (75)
The first name of the band was Flea. A jazz-rock band.
Etna were a fusion quartet featuring among others the future Goblin drummer Agostino Marangolo. Their single album (Mellow Records MMP 209) offers loads of sprightly instrumental fusion where guitarist Carlo Pennisi sprinkles crisp but melodic riffs and leads around Antonio Marangolo's (Agostino's brother?) organ and Rhodes, while bassist Elio Volpini provides a busy, melodic and funky (especially on the opener "Beneath the Geyser") counterpoint on an electric bass, or a more supportive plucking on a double bass, at the same time working nicely with Marangolo's energetic drumming that can both lock onto a solid, supporting groove or blast its way through odd metres and solo fills with confidence. The quieter songs seem the most interesting to me, particularly the closer "Barbarian Serenade" which shows some Spanish influence in its stately chord progression, trilling mandolin and incessant piano runs. Overall, this album sports a typical 1970's fusion sound, and achieves a good balance of melodic sensibility and pyrotechnics, which keeps it fresh and away from the traps of self-indulgence and sterility. -- Kai Karmanheimo
[See Flea | Goblin | Uovo Di Colombo, L']

Etron Fou Leloublan [France]
Updated 2/17/01

Batelanges (77)
Les Trois Fous Perdegagnent (au pays des ...)(78)
En Direct Des Etats-Unis d'Amerique (79, aka En Public Aux Etats Unis d'Ameriques)
Les Poumons Gonfles (82)
Les Sillons De La Terre (84)
Face Aux Elements Dechaines (85)
43 Songs (91, Compilation of previous albums, 3CD's)
One of the more important cultural offshoots of the RIO sound along with Aqsak Maboul, Henry Cow, and Samla, EFL were a French quartet who made stunningly interesting music in the vein of "where no man has gone before" type of music. Not for the musically timid and conservative, EFL will be very rewarding to those who like the Henry Cow theme. Their three CD - 5 album compilation 43 songs has just been released and is the ideal way of listening to this band.
French progressive rock. Complex strict composition and wild improvisation. Boy can they play.
Non-idiomatic original RIO members (Ferdinand Richard-bass, voice, Eulalie (on first two albums) & Bernard Mathieu (on En Public ...) -saxes, Guigou Chenevier-drums and percussion, voice) whose music could be most properly associated with words like idiosyncratic, crazy, quirky, eccentric, naive and humorous. Of their five studio albums even one cannot be partially described, let alone fully grasped.

I have 43 Songs, which probably contains all five studio albums. I say probably, because I'm not sure. I have also get myself En Public Aux Etats Unis d'Ameriques (= Live in USA). Their credo seems to be that of avoiding anything but music, and their moniquer tells us everything about them (if one is sufficiently acquainted with French). 43 Songs has no credits, no song titles, nothing except traycard, which is out-there-somewhere and is depicting a wolf lying on the half cut Eiffel's tower (great montage, great cover), while in the background we can see the rest of that tower. (Hints of sort of towering music, huh?).

I had to go searching through whole Web to find at least tracklist. I found it though, but this wasn't the end of trouble. The albums were repressed on CD in rather "ad hoc" manner. The particular CD does not contain exactly an album or two, instead that, the albums are put on CD's subsequently due to quantity of space needed for putting everything on as low number of CD's as possible. Tracklist figures out 45 tracks in total, while cd-player-counter decipher only 43. So, it is obvious that few tracks were excluded or merged together for the reason of who know how's our Father.

But music is great, and not so inaccessible as you may think. Yet at the second listening I started to trace some really promising features, and the atmosphere on the all albums is fairly humurous, friendly and of course quirky. It has certain appeal, if you can believe me. Sometimes, it sounds like pothead pixies (known from another happy french band) have gone around discovering various unknown feelings, different dimensions through lotta different situations (expand their minds, widen their horizons, ha-ha), and try to inspire the present musicians. And within these moments they succeeded to great extent! Especially Les Trois Fou Perdegagnent have a lot of weird Gilli Smyth-like vocals. I don't know who sang, but woman it was definitely not. I'll try to describe each album, although I'm not sure if I'll succeed 30-percently, for the content of the package sounds to be from one "parallel" world, barely experienced until today. There's a lot of spoken or even acted word, which tells an out-of-touch stories, (eg. "Le Desastreux Voyage du Piteux Python" ("The Disastrous Voyage of Sad Python") from Les Trois Fous), so this could be puppet-show music or cartoon music as well. In lyrics they have used puns, palindromes, mocking of banal things, exaggerating (pretentious, huh?) stories, light irony and acrid sarcasm.

The Disc 1 starts with Batelages, which is hella radical and has fairly neglected sound;). The base is Captain Beefheart era Trout Mask Replica mixed with some Gong-isms, North-african ethnic musics (strong percussion), french chansons smashed to the indiscernibility, french folk music melodies and chord progressions, elements of contemporary classical, new wave and proto-punk aesthetics, and other elements of unknown source. Track-lengths range from 25 seconds to 18+ minutes (!), only two tracks are shorter than 9 minutes. So measures are fairly progressive here. With few words: zanily unique and outstanding.

The Disc 1 also contains at least 5 tracks of Les Trois Fou Perdegagnent, the remaining two open the Disc 2. This, 2nd album was much better produced, while the elements of possible influences are difficult to detect (beside that of "trilogy" era Gong). This is perhaps prog album, although it has sort of dry "wavy" sound. As on debut, vocalist (whoever had sung) tried to stretch his voice. Overall, even more out-there and consequently great.

Track no.3 from the Disc 2 represents the beginning of studio album no.3, namely Les Poumons Gonfles (Lungful of Air). This album has considerable wave influence and it proves that as possible influences only craziest bands could be taken (here Residents circa Mole trilogy). They continue with weird stories which describe banal things and with puns. By some tracks they are used to swerve into different direction, style and tonality. A differently strange recording and certainly not bad. Taste needs to be acquired.

Les Sillons de la Terre begins along with the track number 13 of the Disc 2 and closes together with a track no. 5 of the Disc 3. While having less strict prog influences than predecessing recordings, it is the easiest to get into, I'd say. It witnesses the coming of female keyboardist Jo Thirion, which made already weird Fou-sound even weirder, but within less wild and complex environment and so representing considerable sophistication. Album is suffused with tongue in cheek humour and acrid sarcasm. Worth to mention is that this band was probably the least liable to dissonances. OK, some oblique harmonies appear, mostly with Jo's keys, but these have been rarely splintered into something less listenable, although still not unbearable.

Face Aux Elements Dechaines, which kicks off with the track no.6 of the Disc 3, is the "waviest" of the bunch, perhaps even "post-punked". Jo's keyboards seem to be prevalent instruments, as they forge penetrably angular melodies. Again they were tempted to use different tools of supreme humour, mentioned many times above.

Musea or better said Gazul released a live album in 1998, entitled En Public Aux Etats Unis d'Ameriques (= Live in USA), recorded at Trinity College, Hartford, NY in 1979. How French band came to play in the states is thoroughly described in liner notes. Well, there they had played as free as on regular albums. Most tracks show band ability to "compose sponataneously". With exception of "Le Fleuve ..." none appeared on LP at that time, and "Christine" was yet to be released on their next album two years later. One ditty is a military version of Beethoven's "Für Elise". Also included are two tracks from later era, one recorded at MIMI Festival in 1986 and one studio.

Band ceased to exist in 1986, but their members have recorded about four times EFL-opus, of usually quirky, naive and experimental music until today. Jo Thirion may have come the closest to their basic sound, with her very own band, called Art Moulu, which released an album in 1990. In spite of the fact, how scared you are after reading these lines, you should give them a whirl, when you'll start to discover progressive music or if you already started doing that. Recommended!!! -- Nenad Kobal

Etron Fou Leloublan is a strange name ... it means "Crazy Shit The White Wolf", except that Leloublan must be slang or a contraction for "Le Loup Blanc" (The White Wolf). Don't ask me what it means, but it must be this because white wolves figure prominently into several of their album covers. The name is long enough and difficult to pronounce enough that we English-speakers usually contract it to EFL, a convention I'll also follow from here on out. EFL was one of the original RIO (Rock in Opposition) bands. I had heard their name for years, but they were not one of the bands I was exposed to back in the '70's when I started listening to prog. What a shame! As much as I like them now, I'm sure they would have been elevated in my mind to godhood if I'd heard them back then, much like Gong, who they resemble in some ways.

I recently received two recent CD re-releases of EFL's classic material, 1978's Les Trois Fous Perdegagnent and 1982's Les Poumons Gonfles (The Inflated Lungs), both from Musea records. Musea actually stocks EFL's entire catalog, so if this sounds interesting to you, you can order any EFL title from them. It's amazing stuff, but if Neo-Prog or Symphonic prog is your thing, you may have a rough time with EFL.

Les Trois Fous Perdegagnent has the band in their earliest form as a trio, with drums (Gigou Chenevier), bass (Ferdinand Richard) and sax (Francis Grand for this album, though he had just replaced Chris Chanet and would soon be followed by Bernard Mathieu and other sax players on later records). The album is full of the usual late-70's studio effects, a very odd rhythm section with (Chenevier and (Richard creating jagged backdrops against which Grand screams Didier Malherbe-like sax and flute solos, making Les Trois Fous Perdegagnent remind me frequently of early pre-Tim Blake Gong, particularly Camembert Electrique. EFL is easily identifiable as a French band (aside from their French lyrics) by similarities to other early French prog like Magma, Gong (who were about half French in their early days) and even Cyrille Verdeaux, though EFL has none of Cyrille's spiritual leanings. The vocals are a minor part of Les Trois Fous Perdegagnent, mostly 2 or 3 notes sung/spoken/shouted in an early Daevid Allen style, but in French. Fans of the above-mentioned bands who don't mind a Henry Cow level of anarchy will unundoubtedly find much to like about Les Trois Fous Perdegagnent.

After Les Trois Fous Perdegagnent, EFL bagan working very closely with Fred Frith. They performed on Frith's 1981 solo album for Ralph Records, Speechless, and then Frith produced EFL's next album, Les Pommes Gonflés, and also played violin and guitar on many of the songs. For this album, EFL also added keyboardist/trumpeter/vocalist Jo Thirion, bringing the "official" EFL line-up to a quartet.

Les Pommes Gonflés may be called more "accessible" than Les Trois Fous Perdegagnent simply because it's more melodic and more carefully structured. The vocals are also more complex, melodic and "composed". However, it's far from an album that would have ever received any radio airplay. Frith's influence here is large, and there is quite a lot of similarity in the sound of Les Pommes Gonflés and Frith's work with Ralph Records. But there's also a lot of the old EFL sound, making this album feel like a move forward for EFL, not just another Frith solo album.

Both of these albums are true progressive gems, and anyone who has not heard Etron Fou Leloublan can hardly call themselves a progressive rock fan. Now that I've been "initiated" into the ranks of their fans, I'll be slowly trying to complete my collection. Incredible stuff, I can't recommend it more highly. -- Fred Trafton

[See Art Moulu | Chenevier, Guigou | Richard, Ferdinand | Volapük]

Eulenspygel [Germany]

2 (71), Ausschuss (72)

Political rock music. Matthias Thurow was once a member.

[See Jonathan]

Eurhybia [UK]
Updated 2/10/05

Eurhybia (90)
By 1990 most of the first-generation neo-progressive rock bands in Britain had either broken up or assumed (albeit temporarily) a more overtly commercial style. On the Continent, other bands were following the trails they had opened - and too often ending up in the same mire. Take Eurhybia and their one album, for instance. Eurhybia (UGUM CD UGU 00590) is a classic example of what happens when neo-progressive's quite respectable brief of marrying seventies symphonic progressive sound with the pop accessibility and technology of the eighties goes awry. Here "pop accessibility" becomes limp, bland songs with nary a hook in sight, while "progressive" means clumsily cramming them full of extra sections, breaks and time-signature shifts which only serve to confuse the rhythm section. The guitarist does the perfunctory powerchords and leads with all the grace and personality of a petrol pump, while the vocalist offers passion, drama and omnipresence - but not much voice. The keyboard player gives the most solid performance of the lot, doing a few good melody lines and some interesting percussive licks on the two instrumentals. However, one doesn't have to be a card-carrying member of the Analog Orthodoxy to cringe at the tortured plastic shriek of the brass patch he inundates almost everything with. In any case, the album manifests all the symptoms of demo-quality recordings in the late-1990s, from dated electronic toms to shaky lead synthesizer patches. While Eurhybia doesn't plumb the depths of Deyss' infamous camp-classic At King, it still serves to show that things had to get really bad with neo-progressive rock, before they could get better. Fortunately, in a couple of years time, they did. -- Kai Karmanheimo

Ever [USA]
Updated 11/15/00

Ever (Unreleased rehearsal demo tape, see text)
Side project of Sean Malone, known from Cynic, today in Gordian Knot. It was spawned before Gordian Knot and later mysteriously withdrawn. Demotape-rehearsal only. Two tracks can be heard on Japanese release of Gordian Knot's debut. -- Nenad Kobal
[See Cynic | Gordian Knot | Malone, Sean]

Evergrey [Sweden]
Updated 4/25/06

The Dark Discovery (98)
Solitude, Dominance, Tragedy (99)
In Search Of Truth (01)
Recreation Day (03)
The Inner Circle (04)
A Night To Remember (05, Live CD/DVD)
Monday Morning Apocalypse (06)
Evergrey - (Not in photo order) - Tom S. Englund (vocals), Henrik Danhage (guitar), Michael Håkansson (bass), Rikard Zander (keyboards), Jonas Ekdahl (drums)

Bursting on the metal scene in 1998, Sweden's Evergrey had that special sound right from the start. Their debut album The Dark Discovery, produced by Andy La Rocque (King Diamond / Death), was a powerful mix of gothic and progressive metal, expertly written and performed, and contained "Blackened Dawn", a song that is still a favorite tune of the fans to this day. Lead singer and guitarist Tom Englund became the bands focal point, and his unique vocals and talented guitar skills helped set the band apart from others in the genre. With heavy and sometimes technical guitar riffs, symphonic keyboards, driving rhythms, and powerful yet soulful vocals, the debut made a quick impact on the scene and set the wheels in motion.

Fast forward to 1999 and the release of Solitude*Dominance*Tragedy, another equally strong album that contained tracks such as "Solitude Within", "Nosferatu", "She Speaks to the Dead", and "Words Mean Nothing". The album was melodic, yet extremely heavy, with raging power metal rhythms courtesy of drummer Patrick Carlsson and bassist Daniel Nojd, and the beefy dual guitar attack of Englund and Dan Bronell provided plenty of crunchy riffs and intricate lead work. Englund's vocals continued to improve, as he added more catchy hooks and emotional passages in amongst the aggressive songs. Once again produced by La Rocque, the album continued to impress the general metal audience but also started to draw a lot of interest within the progressive rock crowd. This led to the band getting noticed by and signed to InsideOut Music, who then released their third album, the concept piece In Search of Truth, the bands take on extraterrestrial visitation. The album also saw the first of what would be a few personnel changes over the years, as guitarist Bronell left the band and was replaced by Henrik Danhage, bassist Nojd was replaced by Michael Hakansson, and the band recruited Sven Karlsson as a full-time keyboard player. The album contained some dark and sinister lyrics that really provoked lovers of science fiction and the unknown, and contained a host of strong songs like "The Masterplan", "Rulers of the Mind", and "Mark of the Triangle". Many of the songs were even more complex and symphonic than before, although the band still employed a heaping dose of melody.

2003 saw the release of the spectacular Recreation Day, still thought of today by many as one of the bands finest albums. Produced by the band with help from La Rocque, Recreation Day had a huge, full sound, and memorable songs. Tracks such as "End of Your Days", "The Great Deceiver", "As I Lie Here Bleeding", "Blinded" , and the title track, saw a band that was at the height of their powers, able to write catchy songs with bone crunching riffs and tricky instrumental passages. At this point, Tom Englund's vocals had developed into one of the more unique in all of metal, and he showed his poignant side on the cover of the Swedish ballad "I'm Sorry". The album also saw new keyboard player Rikard Zander join the band. That was not to be the last line-up change, as charismatic drummer Carlsson soon left the band and was replaced by Jonas Ekdahl in time for 2004's The Inner Circle. This proved to be another winner for Evergrey and fan favorite, containing classics like "A Touch of Blessing", "More Than Ever" and "Waking Up Blind". It was also to be the first album that the band completed without the help of Andy La Rocque.

For the first time, the band toured the US as openers to Iced Earth and Children of Bodom, and managed to make their way to many European cities and on many metal festival circuits. The band took some time off to put together the live CD/DVD A Night to Remember, a mighty return to Gothenburg for the band and big budget production shoot, resulting in one of the best live albums/concert DVD's in years, with the band playing all their greatest songs and featuring male and female backing singers.

In 2006 the band released their last album on their contract for InsideOut titled Monday Morning Apocalypse, a more commercial sounding but still strong release of catchy metal littered with proggy embellishments and solid vocals. Where Evergrey goes from here is anyone's guess, but there's no doubt the band will continue to gain in popularity and win over new fans. -- Peter Pardo

Click here for Evergrey's web site

Everon [Germany]
Updated 8/21/02

Paradoxes (93)
Flood (95)
Venus (97)
Fantasma (00)
Bridge (02)
Neo-Progressive band that plays a mix of Rush and New Marillion. They had their first album, Paradoxes, out on the SI music label and it was a great production by Eroc.
Everon is a German quartet that has produced a number of albums. Judging by their debut Paradoxes (1993), they play the kind of hard edged neo-prog obviously influenced by mid-80's Rush and early 90's Saga: nine up-tempo songs (most of them between 5 to 8 minutes long) with bright melodies, hard-rocking guitar riffs, supporting keyboard chords and arpeggios, busy drumming, and LOTS of vocals and lyrics. There are some instrumental interludes and obligatory guitar solos, but the main focus is on the vocals. Vocalist Oliver Philipps is competent, though awfully hectic in his delivery and his upper-register singing gets annoying at times. The performances are energetic, even though definitely too straight-ahead for those looking for amazing displays of virtuosity and instrumental skill. My only real problem with this album is that there isn't enough variation between tracks, so a sense of sameness inevitably creeps in. Still, a recommended album for Rush and Saga fans.

Flood followed in 1995, and sees the band trying to diversify their sound a bit with a couple of quieter tracks which rely more on keyboard textures; at the same time, the track "Cavemen" brings the synthesizer up to spotlight with the lead guitar. Some good songs again, though I have to say I donīt think Flood is quite as strong as a whole as its predecessor, even if it is more varied. Both of these albums were produced by the ex-Grobschnitt drummer Eroc and originally released by SI Music. They were later re-released by Mascot Records, which also put out Everon's third album Venus. This is probably their most ambitious work. The overall sound is a bit heavier, the guitar is up more and the mix is a bit murkier, but otherwise production remains unchanged. However, on songs like "Until the Day Breaks" and "Not for Sale", they reach further into progressive terrain with more complex compositions and arrangements. There are also two instrumental tracks: the short "Venus", which displays a soaring guitar melody over lush keyboards, and the hard-rocking "Meteor". This is probably the best album to start if you are interested in exploring Everon's music.

Everon returned in 2000 with Fantasma, an album that sees them still developing their sound, though with mixed results. The main change is towards a heavier sound that occasionally approaches prog-metal, though maintaining their characteristic melodic style. There are again some excellent tracks, but also a couple of non-starters, particularly the bland heavy rock number "Fine with Me", and less of the variation that the band achieved on the previous album, the change between heavy bombast and calmer moments becoming quite predictable towards the end. The main progressive item is the title suite composed of short songs with some recurring themes, and it works surprisingly well (I particularly like the brief interjections of violin, cello and classical guitar that colour the basic sound). The sound is again huge and polished, so much so that it sometimes offsets the shortcomings in the music. Overall, this may be Everon's most uneven album. -- Kai Karmanheimo

Click here for the Everon web site titled "Information Overdose"

Everyman Band [USA]

Everyman Band (82), Without Warning (85)

New York-based fusion band (David Torn - guitars, Marty Fogel - saxophones, Bruce Yaw - bass, Michael Suchorsky - drums) which first came to prominence as Lou Reed's backing band in the late '70s and early '80s (around the time Reed's albums The Bells and Street Hassle were recorded). Their two albums, both on the German ECM label (Without Warning was available only as an import), are visceral, edgy and excellent creative fusion records featuring David Torn's effects-laden guitars. Both are excellent, but I prefer Without Warning as it has a more adventurous, experimental feel and Suchorsky's expertise in playing odd time signatures in a totally unprecedented fashion is used to great advantage on several tunes. David Torn also recorded with saxophonist Jan Garbarek (It's OK to Listen to the Gray Voice, also on ECM) at about the same time Without Warning was recorded, and Torn joined Garbarek's group (...or may have already done so) and later went on to play with Mark Isham, among others. Despite some rather serious health problems, Torn has stayed at the forefront of electric guitar innovation, and has released several fine recordings under his own name on the ECM and CMP labels. Marty Fogel released one CD on the CMP label (Many Heads Bobbing, At Last) in 1989 with Torn, bassist Dean Johnson, and ex-Santana drummer Michael Shrieve. -- Dave Wayne

Evidence [France]
Updated 10/9/00

Heart's Grave (96)
Heart's Grave (Ad Perpetuam Memoriam APM 9616AT) is certainly not short of pretensions: the album is a 60+ minutes religious concept album (and apparently only the first part of a trilogy!) where various characters engage in endless cryptic discussions with God and each other. Evidence's musical north star is definitely Peter Hammill, to whom the album is dedicated. The lead singer does his best to sound like PH but can't match his vocal range or intensity (but then, who could?), which results in a quite annoying sound at times. The first couple of songs (or Acts, as they are called here) are instrumentally sparse, but effective: vocals supported by piano, organ, acoustic guitar or some moody synth pads, with violin and harpsichord making occasional guest appearances; all very dark, low-key and gothic. Some tracks use some metallic-sounding electronic percussion and electric guitar noise to create a more sinister backdrop for anguished vocal rumblings. There is almost no ordinary rhythm section on this album, and instrumental sections are simple, designed to enhance the gloomy mood, and sometimes supported by weird sound effects. My main problem with this album is that is far too long; the music gets leaner towards the end, and the vocals don't hold enough melodic interest in themselves. Overall assessment: dark, moody, strange, at times enchanting, but too often just boring. However, someone with more avant-garde tastes may get much more out of this than I can; if you can't have enough of Peter Hammill's work, you might also want to have a listen, but even then satisfaction is not guaranteed. -- Kai Karmanheimo

Evolve IV [USA]
Updated 3/28/09

Decadent Light (07)
Evolve IV - (Not in photo order) Mike Eager (vocals, rhythm guitar), Peter Matuchniak (lead guitar), Paul Sheriff (drums) and Jim DeBaun (bass)

This album has been languishing in my "to do" pile for a long time. I finally had to do a review of it just so I could put in my five cents on it. I mean, I've seen so many reviews that speak so highly of this album, I just had to add a slightly dissenting / cautionary voice on this one.

Look, I'm not saying Decadent Light is a terrible album or anything. There's a lot to like about the album. The compositions are decent and professionally executed. But it just doesn't do that much for me. It seems too "not prog". Granted, it would have been more popular in the late '70's than it is now, but still, this is a nice guitar-oriented rock album. Not a prog album. If this hadn't been presented to me for review as a "prog album", I certainly would not have considered it for entry in the GEPR based on simply listening to it. If these guys were playing in the lounge of a hotel I was staying at, I would stay and listen to them. It's better than average music. But I wouldn't have ever called it prog, or even "classic rock".

OK, that's just me. But Decadent Light just didn't do it for me. Sorry. -- Fred Trafton

Click here for Evolve IV's web site
Click here for Evolve IV's MySpace page

Excalibur [Germany]

First Album (71)


Exchange [Canada]
Updated 8/21/06

Into the Night (88)
Between Places (91)
Exchange (92)
Beyond Words (93, Compilation)
Exchange is the Canadian keyboard duo of Gerald O'Brien and Steve Sexton. Their original sound was a blend of lively acoustic and electronic keyboard driven pieces, with electronic percussion added, reminiscent of Synergy without the classical influences. The first two albums Between Places and Into The Night were OK, but then they started going in the insipid poppy new age direction, with mellow vocals, flugelhorns and all that. I listened to a few cuts from their latest in the store, nearly made me puke.
Exchange is a Canadian duo who make instrumental pop, sometimes sounding a little bit like Vangelis. Much of their music is enjoyable, but is sometimes overblown. Exchange has vocals on a few songs and Roger Whitaker has whistles on one song on Between Places.
[See Nightwinds]

Click here for further info

Exclusive Raja [France]

Insubmersible (95)

This French quartet offers a music that is sometimes hard todescribe. The band features double guitars, bass, drums/percussions and vocals (in English). Guests also contribute saxophones and keyboards. Influences include recentKing Crimson but also, various other pop and jazz elements. Insubmersible features efficient guitar interaction are developed along with groovy rhythms, full of nuances, but the delivery remains light, sometimes humorous. An excellent production, solid performances, but a touch of avant-garde that could offend those who would rather stick with conventional symphonic rock. -- Paul Charbonneau

Existence [Canada]
Updated 11/11/00

Fragile Whisperings of Innocence (94)
Small People, Short Story, Little Crime (00)
Of Small People: Quite decent mix of multiple influences. I heard few tracks and there were present elements of Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, as well as Henry Cow. Due to elements heard it could be close in sound to mid 70's US band Maelstrom. -- Nenad Kobal
Click here for the Existence web site

Exit [Switzerland]
Updated 10/27/08

Exit (76)
Exit (08, Reissue of original album on CD, including bonus tracks)
The entry for Exit has existed in the GEPR since I inherited it in 2000. The only information has been the band name and the eponymous title of their sole album, recorded in 1975. Now, in 2008, after no releases on their label for quite some time, Black Rills Records, who specializes in releasing obscure old Swiss prog bands, has re-released this album on CD. They have approximately doubled its original length with previously unreleased bonus material recorded in the years immediately following the debut album.

Exit's album was recorded direct to a 2-track Revox tape machine, so there's no overdubs or re-takes. It's basically just live-to-tape, so the sound is pretty thin. To tell the truth, I'm hard-pressed to call Exit "progressive". It sounds more like late '60's music stylistically than what prog bands were doing in 1975. No competition here for Close to the Edge (1972) or Starless and Bible Black (1974). Maybe a little like Court of the Crimson King (1969), though not even close to the same league. Think pre-Tommy The Who (i.e. The Who Sells Out), except for one guitar riff that's directly stolen from the intro to "Pinball Wizard".

Exit isn't awful. It's OK. "Quaint" might be an appropriate word, though I still might expect a recording from 1975 to sound less like a recording from 1968. Anyway, I daresay most people who read the GEPR shouldn't feel really bad to gave this release a miss. It's not exactly essential. -- Fred Trafton

Click here for Black Rills Records (then click "Label" for the BRR releases).

Exmagma [Germany/USA]

Goldball (74)

Another one of those very strange, undeservedly obscure, hippy-dippy German space-jazz groups. They recorded one excellent record for the French "Urus" label and disappeared. The group consisted of Andy Goldner (guitars, bass, sax, percussion, voice), Thomas Balluff (keyboards, trumpet, flute, voice) and Fred Braceful (drums, percussion, trumpet, voice), who are depicted on the album cover as having extremely long legs. Detroit native Braceful is a jazz drummer of some significance, and has appeared on recordings by Wolfgang Dauner, Michael Hornstein, and many others. The music on Goldball is very jazzy, but extended improvisations are largely eschewed in favor of brief (2 to 5 minutes long) multi-sectioned pieces with unexpected and abrupt changes in tempo, feel, time signature. A few cuts have a very trippy space-rock feel. The vocals (one track) are strictly tongue-in-cheek, and are delivered in accented English, so they have an almost Bonzo-ish air of silliness. Totally original and still refreshing two decades after its release. -- Dave Wayne

[See Dauner, Wolfgang]

Exodus [Poland]
Updated 8/21/06

The Most Beautiful Day (80)
Supernova (82)
Singles Collection (92)
Najpiekniejszy Dzien (00, Compilation)
This is the best Polish prog band, IMHO. The sound of the first album is quite good, showing some Yes influences, the singer being particularly amazing, like Jon Anderson, but not bad at all! There are a couple of other influences on their first album, some hard rock, but the side-long suite is a masterpiece, with good work from all members. Their second album, Supernova, is very weak. They jumped straight into poprock/new wave, and so there are only a couple of good pieces, mainly acoustics, thanks to the presence of the very good singer. Apart from these two records, they've released a couple of singles, that is compilated on a new CD, released in Poland, but I don't know the exact name of this compilation. Overall, this is a very good band, and the best from Poland, from the ones I've heard. -- Luis Paulino
The Most Beautiful Day is a fairly typical example of high-tech, synth-based East Euro prog. They mix classical themes with bristling, Wakeman-esque synth leads, Floydian guitar leads, all upon a bed of peerless, metallic synth strings. Supernova is similar, but more song based and commercial. -- Mike Ohman

Experimental [Chile]
Updated 2/11/02

Experimental (00, Demo)
Experimental - Rodrigo Sepúlveda (guitar), Andrés Moraga (tap-bass) and Jorge Alvarez (guitar)

One of the members of Akinetón Retard, when asked about his opinion of the new progressive rock scene in Chile, answered concisely: "It's Crimsonian". And probably, while unfair, this is not really that far from the truth: King Crimson is as influential for many new Chilean prog groups as Genesis was for the first neo prog groups in the early eighties in England. At a first glance, Experimental sounds strikingly similar to 80's-90's Crimson. No big deal: a touch bass (I don't know if this could be really called a "bass", it is a "touch thing", with 10 strings and almost the range of a piano), a "new standard tuned" guitar and a second guitar tuned as usual is exactly the formula in Discipline, Beat and Three of ... Wait: But there was Bruford ... yeah, sure, Bruford playing his electronic drum kit in a way that some people found that was "metronomic" (another unfair judgement, he lets his genius shine no matter what he's hitting)... well, Bruford role is taken in Experimental by a machine. In fact, a usual "joke" at gigs by Moraga is to introduce a song ("Arpegios") saying "Well ... I suppose that here is some people who like King Crimson", which triggers laughs in the audience, and is sometimes answered by some guy with something like: "Yeah, you are one of those". But, listening with care, there are other influences. Robert Fripp solo, for example. No, it's not a joke, Fripp's solo work is related to, but is not the same as his work with Crimson. And Trey Gunn, which is quite obvious, if you are playing a touch bass, Gunn is a must. And David Sylvian. Well, every influence seems to be Crimson related ... but trust me: Experimental has a sophisticated and elegant style of rock, which can be influenced by Crimson and relatives, but there's more than just that. -- Rodrigo Farías M.

Click here for Experimental's web site
Download music here, under Downloads>mp3, there's an MP3 version of "Slow Attack"

Experimental Audio Research (EAR) [UK]
Updated 6/19/00

Mesmerized (94)
Beyond the Pale (96)
Phenomena 256 (96)
The Koner Experiment (97)
Millenium Music (98)
Pestrepeller (??)
Data Rape (??)
Continuum (??)
If you've ever wished you could experience getting high without getting caught by your workplace drug testing or wrecking your lungs, just sitting in a darkened room with Beyond the Pale droning in your ears should fill the bill nicely. This is drony, atmospheric synth and processed guitar music, very trance-inducing and spacey. But it's not New-Age meditation music. It's much too noisy and harsh for that. It might be compared to Fripp and Eno's No Pussyfooting or Evening Star, but without the Frippertronics. EAR is led by Sonic Boom of Spectrum (but not the one in the GEPR), and Beyond the Pale also features Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine and Eddie Provost of A.M.M. Other albums evidently feature other guest musicians. -- Fred Trafton
[See AMM]

Click here for Space Age Recordings, which handles some of the EAR discography.
Click here for interview with Sonic Boom.

Exploit [Italy]

Crisi (72)

The album is very hard to find, the A side of this LP has an "italian melody" sound, the B side has a sound like Trip or Garybaldi.

Exsimio [Chile]
Updated 9/19/02

Exsimio (99)

At a first glance, some unorthodox sounds (considering a progressive sensibility) in Exsimio's music may leave a seasoned prog fan somehow disoriented. It happened to me at least. Useful comparisons, to my ear, would be the 80's King Crimson, Ozric Tentacles and Djam Karet. Claudio Corcione and Juan Ignacio Varela (aka "Iñaki") are the two guitarists. They provide the most Crimsonian sounds of Exsimio, often emulating the parallel guitar lines a la "Discipline" (the track), including the "false delay effect". The bassist (Carlos Pérez) covers a wide range of sounds, from the almost funky (quite unusual in prog) to mimicking stick bass sounds on the regular bass guitar. The drumming (Fernando Jaramillo - percussionist) is highly textured, but should not be thought of as a Bruford-wanna-be, his style is different, being somewhat more vigorous. The proficiency of the bass-drum tandem can be heard on "El juicio de Jack y la madre de carneamarga" (a possible translation would be "The trial of Jack and Bitterflesh's mother") which is an intrincate bass guitar / drum duet.

Most compositions tend to be fast-paced, and require a perfect coordination between the members. In my opinion, their best moments are reached when they left some space for the music to develop and alternate softer and more dense sections (as in "Porka Tana" and "6 minutos de silencio"), where the strong compositional skills (that they DO, in fact, have) appear clearly.

Having seen them live, the degree of synchronization is impressive. As the name implies (I assume that "Exsimio" comes from the Spanish word "Eximio", meaning a "virtuoso" or "extremely competent instrumentalist"), they rely on both musicality and dexterity for most of the tracks. -- Rodrigo Farías M.

No need to argue, they are a mix of Primus and King Crimson, by this I'm not saying that the band in not worth a try. Basically if you hear them live, at times you will listen [to] Brufordish drummer, Lalondeish guitarist, Frippish lead guitarist and (sadly) Claypoolish bassist and singer (so sad, because he emulates both playing and singing as Les Claypool). Exsimio maybe imply "virtuosism", but surely not "lack of originality". -- Marco Antonio Gómez Urbina
Click here for Exsimio's web site

Extradition [Australia]
Updated 1/21/05

Hush (71)

Ezekiel's Wheel [USA]
Updated 10/13/00

Ezekiel's Wheel (96)
To quote guitarrist Allen Myers, "We've gotten a lot of flak because the album is not 'all that progressive.' But that was never its intention ... It was made as a demo so we could get gigs, so it has all kinds of music on it." Amen to that, brother. This CD is a mixed bag of 50's rock, pop rock and even a tongue-in-cheek country/western tune. There are 3 pieces I would consider somewhat of interest to prog rockers: "Welcome" with its Larry Fast type synthesizers, and the back-to-back duo "Ezekiel Chapter 1" (a Bible reading with heavily processed voice) and "Ezekiel's Wheel" (a pretty good guitar-oriented instrumental prog tune). They seem to feel "The King is Coming" is progressive ... I don't really care for it myself.

This is also a very preachy CD. This isn't just a band with Christians in it, it's a Christian Band, and they want to tell you all about it. OK if you like that sort of thing. But I find it pretty distracting from the music. Overall I doubt that many prog rock fans would like this CD. Wait for their next offering. Myers says: "New material is on the way, and we are focusing on :) :) :) progressive rock :) :) :)". Hopefully.

Their web site does have a really cool animated "Ezekiel's Wheel" graphic on it. -- Fred Trafton

[See Myers, Allen]

Click here for Ezekiel's Wheel's web site

Ezra Winston [Italy]
Updated 4/19/02

The Myth Of The Chrysavides (88)
Ancient Afternoons (90)
Ezra Winston 1988-1992 (99, self-released Compilation sampler with one previously unreleased track)
One of the very best new progressive bands. Their second album Ancient Afternoons should go down in history as one of the best symphonic progressive albums ever. Features a guest appearance by ex-Le Orme bassist Aldo Tagliapetra. In fact, along with Nuova Era's Dopo L'Infinito, this may be one of the very best albums to ever come out of the last fifteen years and is an absolute MUST if you like refined and beautifully crafted progressive rock. Their debut and very hard to find The Myth Of The Chrysavides is also worth the find.
One of my absolute favorite bands. I believe they have two releases at present. I only have Ancient Afternoons. This is truly a classic of symphonic progressive. It is a work that plays to many different moods and levels...from intricate classical guitar and flute to a bold fanfare theme. I find it truly hard to compare them to others. However, while they use a classical styling in is not in the heavy-handed way of an ELP. It is a much more subtle influence. Strongly recommended.
Beautiful and sometimes subdued progressive music. Ancient Afternoons features subtle melodies, and like all excellent releases takes a few listens to fully appreciate its depth. Quite an original work.
I have Ancient Afternoon and it's a fine example of current Italian progressive rock. They have taken the best of the lyrical Italian progressive from the 70's (e.g., PFM), brought out the flute and acoustic guitar, added some sax and a modern day touch and have succeeded in creating a rather unique piece of work. The vocals have a soft, dreamy quality to them. There are some fine fluid electric guitar solos throughout the four long tracks. Classical influences are evident, though not in the bombastic ELP sense, but more as influences and subtle shadings evident in the music. A fantastic work that is sure to be classic.
Ezra Winston deserves more from their label than this LP-only release. They are one of the most promising up and coming bands from Italy. If this, their second album, is any indication of where they're heading, I hope their further releases see the light of CD. Another of the new-progressive (notice I didn't say "neo-progressive") Italian bands, they don't approach the artistry and magnificence of their 70's counterparts but they are one of the top three currently recording in that country. Their music has been described by other reviewers as "gorgeous" and "beautiful." I can see where these comments come from. Led by guitars, keyboards and flute, they evoke a magical soundscape. The non-accented English vocals add to the symphonic majesty of this release. The major observation that I can make from listening to this album (and the only caveat I have) is that each musician is quite proficient and plays complicated parts well. However, only one bandmember plays a complicated line at a time. In other words, the individual tracks have complicated parts, yet when taken as a whole, the writing is straight-ahead. For example, while the drummer is playing fills, the other musicians bang chords. Compared to other bands, Ezra Winston is something of a Misplaced Childhood era Marillion / Step Ahead / Men of Lake combo with "Fanfare For the Common Man" styled Emerson keyboards thrown in. Ancient Afternoons will please most prog-heads, neo-fans and otherwise. If you can find it, get it.
On Ancient Afternoons (rec. 1990, re-released on CD 2001):
Apart from the four original songs, the CD release of Ancient Afternoon contains a bonus track "Shades of Grey" (recorded in 1995), which was never released before. Ancient Afternoon is, in my view, one of just a few of the Classic Symphonic Art-Rock masterpieces, released in the second half of the 1980s. Sadly though, the best song by Ezra Winston, - "Dark Angel Suite" (recorded in 1992), - has not been included in the Ancient Afternoon CD release, though there was enough space on the CD for that. But then maybe the band have prepared this wonderful 12-minute composition for their upcoming album? Ezra Winston, by the way, never disbanded and nowadays the guys are (still) working on the new Ezra Winston album, though the process of composing of it was finished back in the beginning of 2000. -- Vitaly Menshikov
[See Le Orme]

Click here to read Vitaly's review of Ancient Afternoons in its entirety on the ProgressoR web site.
Click here to read Vitaly's review of Ezra Winston 1988-1992 on the ProgressoR web site.