Friday, June 24, 2016

Eclat - Volume 3. 1997 France

Eclat - Volume 3. 1997 Kezako (CD)

Eclat, from Marseilles, were one of many French progressive rock bands to have emerged in the 90s, only to be completely forgotten in modern times. Eclat reminds me most of Minimum Vital, especially in regards to the energetic electric guitar and Medieval themed undertone. The album is primarily instrumental, and the only vocal track 'La Madeleine', is also the album's only clear misstep. A fine album worthy of investigation. Eclat appears to still be active, though I haven't heard anything past their 2002 album, which seems to be the case globally.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Lizard - W Galerii Czasu. 1997 Poland

Lizard - W Galerii Czasu. 1997 Ars Mundi (CD)

CD reissue: 2003 Metal Mind

Lizard's debut is an unusual effort coming from the late 90s. Most of Poland's progressive rock scene were following along in the footsteps of Collage, and performing UK styled neo-prog. And there is definitely some of that sound present here, but there's also a bit of heaviness (not metal), perhaps paving the way for future stars like Riverside. But most interesting to me is the look back to the Iron Curtain years, and there's a distinct melodic songwriting as you might find on a late 70's SBB album, or even from the Czech group Modry Efekt. Odd combination, but it works.

I bought this CD upon release, and enjoyed it immediately. Strange that I never pursued anything else by the band (though it didn't help that some of their initial followup albums were "official bootlegs", which is rarely a good thing). Time for some research. The band is still around, and releasing albums, but they appear to have fallen off of everyone's radar. No idea if the quality is the same though.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Architectural Metaphor - Creature of the Velvet Void. 1997 Italy

Architectural Metaphor - Creature of the Velvet Void. 1997 Black Widow (Italy)

CD issue: 1997 Black Widow (Italy)

Architectural Metaphor were a space rock / Krautrock band from the Boston area, that are long forgotten today, but had a bit of momentum during the late 90s space rock renaissance (most notably playing in the festivals of the day plus various compilation albums). Generally Architectural Metaphor performed as a trio, with loud electric guitar, effects, found sounds, and pounding drums. The latter is unique in that they are provided by a female, who also is their lead singer and "space whisperer". Creature of the Velvet Void is their second full length "proper" album, and marks a distinct improvement on their debut Odysseum Galacti. Musically, Architectural Metaphor are clearly informed by the early Kosmische Musik scene, such as Amon Duul II, Ash Ra Tempel, Cosmic Jokers, et al, as well as the usual space rocker suspects like Hawkwind and Gong. They're not the most accomplished musicians you'll ever hear, but for the type of music they play, a bit of raw amateurism plays to their favor. Besides, any band that names a tune 'March of the Wooden Potatoes' has to be onto something special...

I bought this CD not long after release, gave it a few listens, and filed it. It's been nearly 20 years since I last heard it, and I had forgotten just how good this album is. Apparently I need to investigate the albums they released afterward as well.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Present - Live! 1996 Belgium

Present - Live! 1996 Cuneiform (USA CD)

An interesting live album from Belgium's Present. Sounding more like a psychotic blues rock take on their first 2 albums, the album has a rawness and deep soul missing from their studio works. Present always sounded to me like a typical mathy, ultra precise, avant prog unit. Here, they sound a bit messy, and even give into the odd guitar jam, just the kind of dirty soot the band needs. I've had this CD since it first came out, and never held it among the finest of their works, but I'm hearing it in a whole different light this go round. Hmm.