Wicked Minds - From the Purple Skies. 2004 Italy
CD issue: 2004 Black Widow
I had originally written that Wicked Minds was one of the better of the new stoner rock bands to have happened onto the scene. But as I relisten to this 10 years later (2015), it's clear that Wicked Minds were ahead of the curve when it came to retro prog/hard rock. This is a band that truly captures the essence of the early 1970s, while still moving the ball forward into the modern age. Fantastic hard progressive rock, with great period instrumentation such as Hammond organ, mellotron (samples), and fuzz bass/guitar. Long tracks with experimental bits also point to an adventurous heritage typical of the early 70s. All roads lead to the UK non-symphonic school of progressive rock (aka proto-prog). It's nigh impossible to escape talking about From the Purple Skies without at least a mention of Uriah Heep, who they are most clearly imitating. Deep Purple and Atomic Rooster are in the conversation, but distant comparatively speaking. Along with one killer Heep cover, there's also one from Pentagram's early years. If you're into newer bands such as Tarot, don't miss Wicked Minds while doing your research.