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The reviews of Ectagon is an attempt to present some Records of contemporary progressive rock. There will be no new reviews in 2009. Ectagon apologizes for any inconvenience caused by this.
Nordic Progressive
Rating (1-5):
To Magic Pie

Magic Pie - "Circus of Life" (2007): Magic Pie has done it again; made another beautiful album that is a great asset to the scene of modern Progressive Rock. "Circus of Life" has tons of groovy energy and strong compositions. The instrumental performance of the band is great and the vocals are just delicious. The songs have many references to the history of Prog, but still manage to be unique and modern. The variation of the album and the dynamic and dramatic pace is just amazing. This could easily be the album of the year 2007, and Magic Pie has firmly established themselves as one of the great bands of contemporary Progressive Rock. Highly recommended! Tune In! (Sample)

To Magic Pie

Magic Pie - "Motions of Desire" (2005): This Norwegian band is a fresh breath in the world of Progressive Rock. The epic "Change" kickstarts the album in a whirl of melodic guitarwork, and unfolds some excellent song constructions, with intricate changes over a basic theme. The recipe is pursued, the whole album through. The sound quality of the album is mediocre, but the songs and the vocals and instrumental performances by the band is excellent. The best way to describe this album is perhaps "power-prog", a successful interpretation of the classic progressive heritage, with heavy organs and modern guitardriven rock-feel. A definitive "must have"! Tune In! (Sample)

To Maze of Time

Maze of Time - "Tales from the Maze" (2006): Maze of Time is a symphonic neo-progressive rock band from Sweden. "Tales from the Maze" is a wonderful debut album with strong melodies, good lyrics, and it has all the references to the past that makes this a great neo-prog album. At the same time the band manages to sound really fresh and unique. After the intro the listener is gently guided through the Maze, with hard-rocking energetic parts where the band show of their technical and musical skills, and then there may come a nice turn, and then into some slower more melodic part. All very nicely blended the whole album through. And, the production and sound quality on the record is excellent. Recommended. Tune In! (Sample)

To Pictoral Wand

Pictoral Wand - "A Sleeper's Awakening" (2006): A student, three years, and a 2CD concept album. That's what Mattis Sørum's Pictoral Wand is about. Being a one-man-project with hired musicians, this symphonic-prog(metal) album is actually quite thorough. The story is about a man finding his direction in life, and both the lyrics and the vocals are realistic. The melodies are very good broadly speaking, with interesting configuration and unexpected turns. The guitars and organs played by Sørum himself are very good. The "hired guns" do a respectable performance, though lacking the devotion you would expect from a real collective. All in all a good and very interesting debut-album, with bright prospects for the future. Tune In! (Sample)

Nordic Progressive Metal
To Mind's Eye

Mind's Eye - "Walking on H2O" (2006): Mind's Eye is back, and the effort is strong. The songs are excellent and the arrangements intricate, and they fit this concept album like hand in a glow. The vocals and choruses manages to drive the songs with force, the instrumental works are great in any sense, and the precice production is the topping that makes this album stand out from the pack. Mind's Eye are fusing progressive with metal, making superb progressive-pop-songs that will last. Fans of progmetal may not adore this album, but Mind's Eye proves that you don't have to max out the volume to make excellent progressive metal music. Recommended! Tune In! (Sample)

To P:O:B

P:O:B - "Crossing Over" (2007): Pedestrians Of Blue is a melodic hardrock band that manages to merge their historic inspirations with all the energy of today, making a really good debut album on the way. The songs are strong, with good progression and thorough foundation. The album is well arranged and produced. In two words: very pleasing. That makes you wanna play the album again and again. The singing and playing is also very good the whole album through. The track "World of Things" may have the most contagious hook of the year and the powerful "Out of the Rain" would have made a great track for many established progressive metal bands. Recommended. Tune In! (Sample)

To Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd - "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" (2007): EMI Records celebrated Pink Floyd’s 40th anniversary by releasing 2 and 3-CD sets of their debut album, "The Piper At The Gates of Dawn" (Special Edition). Newly remastered by James Guthrie, the set contains the full "Piper" album, represented in both stereo and mono versions. A classic has become even better. The mono version has all the presence of the original album, and the stereo version has really great audio quality. The booklet is also very nice with lots of good photos and a nice layout. If you are a fan of Pink Floyd this one is a necessity. Highly recommended. Tune In! (Sample)

To if

if - "the stairway" (2006): This Italian band call themselves "a web-band; we live quite far from each other, but we go on producing our music...". if has done a very nice album indeed. The songs are strong and the melodies are catchy and involving. The concept about following the "Traveller" does work well. The musical performances are generally very good from all members. The drums are programmed (no drummer credited) and these "stiff drums" takes too much attention away from the otherwise very nice music. And, to be very critical, the vocals feels a bit strained at times. A nice album, but these guys really need to pick up an organic drummer to their future releases... Tune In! (Sample)

Progressive Metal
To Gecko's Tear

Gecko's Tear - "Contradiction" (2006): Blend vintage prog ideas with the modern and heavy patterns of prog-metal, add a dash of fusion rythmics and the quirkiness of Zappa; and you have a broad view of "Contradiction". The album is packed with smart compositions, excellent musical performances, and plenty of that "superiority" one expects from a prog-metal band. The singer/ guitarist/ composer Claudio Mirone is the obvious frontman of Gecko's Tear. His stamp is all over this record, with good singing, great guitarwork, and refreshing compositions that makes "Contradiction" an very good album. A recommendation of this album to everone that likes musical diversification. Tune In! (Sample)

To Pursuit

Pursuit - "Quest" (2005): This CD from the Christian progband Pursuit is a really positive experience. Good melodies, intelligent compositions and successful instrumental performances. The opening track is classic heavy metal, but from there on to the end this is "sweets-for-ears", all the way. The best track is obviousy "The Feeling Of Tomorrow's Better", due to it's contagious flow of energy. Fans of Progressive Metal may prefer "Answer the call", with it's powerful guitarwork and immense melody. Tune In! (Sample)

To Arpia

Arpia - "Terramara" (2006): The tender opening is some kind of irony as "Terramare" is a powerful Metal album. The guitars are strong and carries the songs, and the band plays decent on all tracks. The best parts are pleasant but in my ears "Terramare" is just too plain to be a truly great Progressive Metal album. Some of the songs though are very good with interesting expressions. The band has managed to span over a wide variety of moods but still feels a bit dull. On the downside the vocals sound forced and that unfortunately may causes fatigue for some listeners after extensive rounds in the CD-player. All in all a good but not great album. Tune In! (Sample)

Non Progressive
To Le Grand Baton

Le Grand Baton- "Le Grand Baton" (2007): Le Grand Baton is the latest project of french, native Caribbean, guitarist composer and singer Jean-Christophe Maillard (aka Mbutu). He is merging traditional drum music from Guadeloupe with rock music; creating ethno-rooted-pop rock with steady rythms and strong melodic lines. Relying heavily on electric overdriven guitars combined with the mighty goat skin "slave drum" known as "Ka", this album has a strong world-music-vibe. Mbutu's music is strong and energetic, with catcy melody lines. He sings really good and his guitarwork is very nice. The music is overall pleasing, and the modern production and nice sound quality makes this album grow from the first time you put it on. Recommended. Tune In! (Sample)

To Variant Band

Variant Band - "Beyond Jargon" (2005): Variant started with a desire to make unique and orginal music, and sure they do. Their debut album has clear progressive undertows, but surfaces as an rock-based album. The songs are generally good with decent instrumental performances, and the effort is strong the whole album through. The stronghold of the album is the dedication and the thorough way the album is performed, but on the negative side the strings lack the inventive edge one expects to make this an outstanding album, and the vocals is somewhat uneven. All in all is "Beyond Jargon" an good album with a lot of contagious songs and melodylicks worth deepen oneself into. Tune In! (Sample)

To Phil Walton

Phil Walton - "Reason to Live" (2006): Waltons album is difficult to categorize, but once you are tuned in on his unique and personal style, this album opens up. Composed and played in it's entirety by Walton himself, the music/lyrics and his vocals has a certain naivety that is seductive. The album is unfortunately rather uneven; spanning from very good songs with strong, beautiful arrangements, to songs that may have deserved an extra take in the production process. Though I sense the spirit of a demo in "Reason to Live" I have to acknowledge the fact that I was moved by the clever honesty of Waltons work. Tune In! (Sample)

To Yes

Yes: Classic Artists - "Their Definitive Fully Authorized Story" (2006): The story of Yes is now told for the first time in a series of interviews with Yes members past and present for this fully authorized DVD documentary. For fans of Yes it's a must as this 2-DVD set is packed with tons of interviews, original music, rare and unseen photographs from personal collections, a performance archive, music promos, and includes a 20-page booklet. I really like this DVD-set and the story of Yes is always intriguing, but the structure of the storytelling unfortunately has something to desire. It is nice to hear the band speak of the past but there is just too many interviews and too little music to exemplify whats being told. That is always bad. And the program is too lengthy, three and one-half hours of interviews is just too much, even for a fan of Yes. All in all a very good package, but even the honesty of the band members and key personal in the interviews just can't quite fill these two DVD's.

To Rush Chemistry

Jon Collins - "Rush Chemistry" (2005): coming soon.

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