• Album Review: - It Bites 'The Tall Ships' - Rating 87%

    11 Apr 2009, 15:48 by markmcl74

    It Bites The Tall Ships (Oct 2008)

    It Bites are one of those bands who have always tried to push the boundaries of ‘genre’. Their debut release The Big Lad in the Windmill really worked, it had all the ingredients of a prog album and yet defied the critics with its journeys into that forbidden country which prog fans never admit to visiting – the lost island of POP! It Bites’ other albums with Francis Dunnery at the helm continued to surprise and delight in equal measure. The Tall Ships, the band’s first studio release since their 1989 album Eat Me in St. Louis presses many of the same buttons as the Dunnery driven It Bites.

    Ex Arena & Kino main-man John Mitchell attempts to fill Dunnery’s shoes and for the most part does a tremendous job. The songs are strong, the melodies are at times infectious and the ever present multi-layered vocals wash the album in a decidedly It Bites feel. Songs such as ‘Great Disasters’ & ‘Oh My God’ are magnificent pieces of work which skilfully navigate a path between the kind of song which would be considered the It Bites hallmark and yet also feels new - almost a rebirth for the band. ‘The Wind that Shakes the Barely’ & ‘This is England’ also showcase the band’s musicianship but they remain powerful songs. ‘Ghosts’ too is almost an out & out rocker of a song in the manner of ‘Rose-Marie’ but feels fresh. The title track ‘The Tall Ships’ is a more restrained piece of music that takes the band in a slightly different direction but is all the more effective for it, the song is beautiful and haunting in places and acts as an eye to the It Bites storm of power as it were.

    And yes, there is power here in abundance and melody in every song – this is recognisably It Bites: borders are pushed, the playing is sublime and the vocals are melodic but experimental in places. If you are a fan of It Bites with Dunnery you won’t be disappointed with this album, if you are new to It Bites this is a great gateway into their world of melody-driven power prog, either way, any fan of prog should give this a listen. Personally, I am a huge fan of Dunnery and the only minor criticism is perhaps that Mitchell moves into areas of guitar & vocals at times that feel a little too ‘Dunnery’ in their make up, but this is a insignificant criticism really. All in all this is a superb release and it’s great to have It Bites back on the scene.

    Ratings – (out of a possible 50 – 20 points available for the most important element the song writing ;))

    Song writing & Music: Great power tunes infused with melody and sublime musicianmanship that tease and defy the listener’s ability to classify –
    (18 out of 20)
    Lyrics: Quirky and evocative on occasion, just as It Bites lyrics should be -
    (7.5 out of 10)
    Cover & Package: Excellent cover image and packaging throughout
    (8 out of 10)
    Production: Classy and punchy sound that adds to the power and appeal of the music (10 out of 10)

    Overall 43.5 out of 50 or 87%

    It Bites
  • Thar Desert videoclip

    5 Feb 2009, 23:33 by Hoxerijo

    This afternoon I modified last tiny details and saved master file for Thar Desert, 3rd videoclip from an Outskirt track.

    This time I worked on a more ordinary videoclip concept, but I couldn’t just trace out. I recorded by a viewcam me playing Thar Desert and extracted a discreet number of frames (a nightmare cutting them out, really), then assembled again in animated sequence form.

    Alberta gave me pictures she shooted in Egypt last December, so I made a great use of them to create the environment and some animated absurdities (as usual).

    The result is obviously grotesque as I still believe in The Residents / Frank Zappa / Pere Ubu and share at 101% their nothing-is-sacred approach.

    Videoclip is as usual on Hox Vox Box Youtube channel, at

  • The Gathering 's evolution and influence since the early 90's, and the GOTHIC genre

    1 Oct 2007, 21:49 by VampiReflection

    This journal is about TG's part in the formation of gothic metal and their influence in female fronted bands.It's not about the history of the Gothic movement though I'm planning on writing some of my thoughts about it in the future.

    To begin with, i don't think that we should tag bands whose music and style has developed and/or changed over the years e.g. the gathering.
    They started as a death/doom/atmospheric metal band with grunt male and ethereal female vocals and helped in the formation of GOTHIC METAL as represented by bands such as early THEATER OF TRAGEDY, early TIAMAT, MOONSPELL, some TRISTANIA, TYPE o NEGATIVE, PARADISE LOST, My DYING BRIDE(I by no means mean that TG influenced all of the above but I just try to define gothic metal by suggesting some bands that I think represent it even though the line between gothic and doom is soo blur),TG then passed to atmospheric/doomy progressive when Anneke (now Agua de Annique) joined AND ENCOURAGED THE FORMATION OF FEMALE FRONTED BANDS SUCH AS THE ONES WE KNOW OF, and then after How to measure a Planet they developed this trippy/atmospheric/alternative rock music we so much love and cannot be copied, but never forgetting their metal foundations - it's quite obvious if u ever saw them live!The thing is they never stopped experimenting and that's why you can deem them ever-evolving-musicians and tag them avant-garde, highly influential, experimental or progressive. Because progressive is about progress, it doesn't matter if they don't sound like the soo called "prog" Dream Theater at all...

    Let's face it.Not every band tagged as gothic is actually gothic. <-lol
    this one's a bit better :P

    It may be atmospheric but not gothic (lacuna coil, within temptation), it may be symphonic/epic/power metal but NOT gothic (guess: nightwish, epica..), it may even be mellow rock with dark surroundings/clothing/makeup/lyrics like HIM or Evanescence - even though HIM's new Venus Doom finds them to have evolved as musicians and no one can deny Ville's incredible voice..Also it may just be a band with female vocals.That doesn't make it gothic.
    Neither melancholic alternative post punk The Cure with Robert Smith's scissorhands' hair and sorrowful lyrics are gothic.
    Gothic is not just all blacks, suicide, death, fancy clothes..People should do some serious research about gothic poets, the gothic subculture, gothic art and gothic rock/metal music's roots and they'll find that jim morisson's gothic figure was not that similar to siouxsie's darkwave whatever, and that moonspell is not that much like HIM or Sirenia anything like sisters of mercy...

    The GatheringMy Dying BrideSisters of MercyFields of the NephilimAnneke van GiersbergenMoonspellTiamatLacuna CoilHimTheatre of TragedySireniaNightwishWithin TemptationLondon After MidnightThe DoorsSiouxsie and the BansheesThe CureType O Negative
  • Released Outskirt (Rock in Opposition)

    9 Dec 2008, 01:41 by Hoxerijo

    Last afternoon - 12/08/08 - I finished last song in Outskirt, my new free album (Creative Commons 3.0 license) about low inhabitated, or at least far from centre areas. Genres varies according to the ambient, from progressive to kraut rock electronics, indie, jazz, metal, avantgarde, funky, obscuro and more.

    A list of all my notes about single parts on Outskirt:

    01. Sigma Hydrae

    It's Outskirt's intro, comprising a vivace drone (in comparison to those of GI!BE) growing up progressively (...) with chorus to his theatric closing, disturbed by an elusive pianist involved in a spastic series of tryouts, searching for the right theme. I imagine him on an Enterprise-like starship's bridge, trying to get in vain inspiration by Sigma Hydrae nebula slow approaching.

    02. Møre og Romsdal

    It's a norwegian county splitted in countless fjords and isles. I could only describe the feelings it gives me through a glacial jazz-death metal approach, so I tried to melt the cold Meshuggah and Mike Barr kind of outputs. I wanted to give a couple of unexpected twist to add lunacy, I hope I achieved that aim.

    03. Reidsville, NC

    I've been living in Greensboro (and going back to Italy sometimes) from 2002 to 2005 when I was a designer in a Reidsville company. Reidsville was an average industrial area before China's low-cost production side effects, and it was never high populated anyway.
    Near Greensboro there's Winston Salem (up here my favourite pub), Tim Sparks' (and other more moonshine-conventional guitarists) hometown. Some of them I've heard in concert on different nights while eating at a small pine-wooden restaurant in Reidsville.
    The guitarist usually took a chair from a free table, went in an apt corner and started to play, surrounded by voices, noises and when warm weather (so windows were opened) with car passing sound. This song was the most emotional to put together.

    04. Giant Star Antares

    I'm quite satisfied with the results. I avoided to pump sounds on purpose to get an early kraftwerk/krautronics taste. Electronics sounds like minimal classical instead of being a multilayered baroque pastiche of pads and ambient sounds covering nothingnesses, which is more than boring.
    Back to outer space (after the intro Sigma Hydrae), it's 5 minutes of audio travelogue about revolving around Antares, from door to door.

    05. LaGuardia, 3:00 A.M.

    Airport totally smoke free "thanks" Rudolph Giuliani: a nightmare. I draw on this to catch the surreal atmosphere broken by sneaky zombies supposed to be fresh managers ever on the go, and tired immigrates side by side with young cheap travelers, all looking for nightime low-cost flights.
    Song result is something like Cardiacs playing be-bop in front of one of LaGuardia coffee-shops night time.

    06. Zimniy Dvorets (the Winter Palace)

    I had as startup a classical romantic theme, something between Mussorgskji and Saint-Saëns, but more on the russian side. I've seen in my mind old documentaries and ancient pictures about the Bloody Sunday while I imagined the rest of the song, an endless zig-zaggin' progression chords ostinato, very grave, dramatic.
    And same time I imagined this enormous building getting empty by czar Nicolas II sudden leaving for Alexander Palace. Right place for the pianist I left on Enterprise in Sigma Hydrae strike back.
    Also, I found interesting having a song about a New York airport and then another about S. Petersburg's Winter Palace.

    07. Thar Desert

    Bass, which serves both rhythm & melody, a compulsive-riff guitar and a very dry drum set. Funky to the rougher, I had in my mind Bill Laswell style when he played in Massacre or first Material record (Memory Serves), plus the old No Wave funk area (Konk, Contortions, Liquid Liquid and the like).

    08. Junction Box

    It's an electronic joint between first Outskirt half and Belief + closing two song. Works like a teather curtain.

    • Belief suite

    I'm not a believer (in neither deity nor men), so everything related always gave me a scent of loneliness. I perceive the subject doesn't fill, as probably doesn't exist. Capital sins are symptomatic: no honest man can deny they're bad acts, whatever point of view, being religious or not. So if You don't believe when You face them You think it's a trial where judge is absent. Obviously a true believer cannot accept this pont of view, as he thinks that simply the Judge exists.
    I'm not interested in demonstrate anything, it should be a bumptious and silly claim. But I'm interested in my particular point of view, and develope in music.

    09. Belief: Lust

    First movement is an obscure carpet of percussions with a couple of solo inserts by saxophone and a dry guitar acting both a crescendo and then a physiological after-coming decay. I don't deny it's grossly didactic (on purpose).

    10. Belief: Gluttony

    Second movement is cleaner, with a off-beat jazz drum, double bass groaning in your belly like hunger and an oboe trio from far like a smell of delicatessen.

    11. Belief: Greed

    Third Movement is greed in timing (less than a minute) but it's the most RIO song in Outskirt, in debt with Henry Cow or Art Bears' dischordant melodies.

    12. Belief: Sloth

    A bit sloth and a bit lazy, in 7/4 . Maybe it's the most mainstream part of Outskirt, a contaminated synthpop.

    13. Belief: Wrath (Hommage à Shinu Mazafakingu Ujimushi)

    It's a cover of TBA by Shinu Mazafakingu Ujimushi, an english grindcore band who recorded only that song on a Lo-Fi or Die compilation. I listened to it zillion of times, for a couple of reasons:

    1) I got it only in mp3, and it's disgusting low quality, maybe they did it with a VeryVeryLame mp3 codec for bad cell phones. Sounds are melted like you were listening the band from into a washing machine, except a tom, in fact ...

    2) song's "melody" (...) is overpowered by a single note, the one of a very acute tom, metallic like the snare drum by Metallica in St. Anger (years before Metallica).

    I just couldn't stop to listen that watery roaring made by bass drum, bass, guitar and snare drum, and above this hammer hits piercing my brain. Sometime I think that I probably I'd never love so much it if it was not so really bad coded. Points 1) and 2) are in symbiosis.
    I replayed (almost) slavishly same drum sequence, with different timbers and sounds, and recreated the "roaring" with three violas. The result is kind of "Kronos Quartet plays Shinu Mazafakingu Ujimushi". And I putted on a different layer the rest of drums, reaching three plans instead of the original two.

    14. Belief: Envy

    Envy is in my opinion a childish/unripe kind of defect. So this is the seed.
    Talking about the song in itself, it's an electronic section starting as cold sum of sequences, dense but minimal, with shifting changes on the like of Raymond Scott's Soothing Sounds for Children, and its develope is dotted in a crescendo by some Carl Stalling 's intruders.
    Don't know if conceptually speaking I went on a cacophony, or better, an unnecessary remark on what was already remarked. The result sounds much frenzier and brilliant after Stalling invasion, that's the most important thing.

    15. Belief: Pride

    It's an endless single cuban (in my way) loop, with compulsive bass, an insistent xylophone and a reasonable amount of small percussions layers (but drum set is definitely rock.) It prepares with diablo rhythms and lightheartedness to approach melancholic Pet's Repository intro.

    16. Pet's Repository

    Song is a result of contructing and dismantling. First I grew up with dozen of instruments and atmosferic pads 'til the grosser. Then I had a u-turn and started to delete part after part, so i obtained a skeleton progressive, I mean more similar to Cardiacs than Camel. I like the result of a punk approach to prog, such as Pere Ubu (in an avant fashion) or Cardiacs (more melody aware) did.
  • New CD Review - East of the Wall - Farmers Almanac

    25 Oct 2008, 22:49 by ripplemusic

    I’d like to open this review by stating that this is my new favorite album. I’ve listened to a lot of music in my short time on God’s green earth, and I can’t remember being this compelled by one singular album. I don’t know if it’s going to be my favorite album of all time. Hell, my favorites seem to change with the seasons, and I honestly don’t particularly care about that. I’m living in the moment, and in this moment Farmer’s Almanac is my favorite album. What’s so good about it, you ask? Freaking everything!

    Most people get turned off by music because the vocals do something to ruin the feel of the tunes. Well . . . for those people, you won’t have to worry about that here. There are no vocals. Farmer’s Almanac is a purely instrumental outing, and for the first time that I can remember, I’m not looking for a singer. I’m completely content reveling in the splendor of the waves of music crashing against my ear drums. On the first spinning of this disc, I remember thinking, “Damn. We have something here.” By the fifth or sixth listen, I wanted to write my own lyrics and lay down my own vocals to this thing. Not because the music needs it . . . God no! I just wanted to be a part of the creative process! I want to contribute to the majesty of Farmer’s Almanac. Fear not, Waveriders . . . I won’t do anything to disrupt the vibe of the album. I’ll just sit here and write beautiful words that will inspire you, the reader, to click the link at the end of the review to further explore the sounds of East of the Wall. Read more at: East of the Wall
    East Of The Wall
  • New Prog/psychedelic album - Dead Man - Euphoria

    9 May 2008, 18:09 by ripplemusic

    Despite the death metal sounding name, DEAD MAN’s Euphoria is actually an album of spaced-out, psychedelic prog rock courtesy of a bunch of hairy, bearded guys from Sweden. Rocking on as if punk rock never happened, Euphoria alternates between mid-tempo, 1970's space jams and down-home, bluegrass-style guitar picking, The boys aren’t wanting for influences, and they throw everything into their mix, including Damnation-era Opeth, Pink Floyd and the Grateful Dead, along with a heaping helping of Swedish mushrooms which clearly have never been cultivated on American soil.

    The first two tracks, “Today,” and “High or Low,” are the high-marks, with some gorgeous guitar playing, synthesizer undertones and delicate vocal interplay. These compositions are so loosely constructed, you get the feeling the guys just set up in a barn some place, turned on the recorder and started playing, allowing the songs to wander off wherever the marijuana smoke billowed. Dead Man - The Ripple Effect
    Dead Man
    Grateful Dead
    Porcupine Tree
    Pink Floyd
  • Lost Classic CD - Max Webster - Universal Juveniles

    9 Apr 2008, 13:35 by ripplemusic

    I can't help it. I'm fascinated with madness.

    And it seems that every decade has it own; some whacked out mad genius whose brain has been wiped clean by some grey-matter devastating tsunami. A victim of too many free rides on the acid express.

    But it's not just loonies were talking about. The world is full of those. No, these mad souls have prodigious talent, mad geniuses of instrument, voice and melody, and they're so far left of center that the whole fricking see-saw is in free fall.

    From the 2000's, it's Buckethead (unless you believe wearing a KFC bucket on your head and believing your parents are chickens is normal). The 90's had that wacky genius of bass, Les Claypool and the Primus funksters. The 80's had the master-fried druid, Julian Cope. And for the seventies, while a case could certainly be made for Arthur Lee and his band Love, I'll nominate the loony prog rock of guitarist Kim Mitchell and his creation, Max Webster.

    Read more at: Max Webster - The Ripple Effect
    Max Webster
    REO Speedwagon
    Thin Lizzy
  • Best new CD's - Braintoy - Vehicles

    26 Mar 2008, 19:24 by ripplemusic

    I can only imagine what it must have been like for people to first hear albums such as 2112 from Rush, or Dark Side of the Moon from Pink Floyd. I was too young when those albums came out to know what a truly unique sound was being produced by these fine musicians, and the cultural impact that those albums had on the population. I do, however, know the history. Out of the miasma of frivolous cock rock came a thinking man’s music, or at the very least, music that was compositionally more advanced than what was being consumed by the masses . . . yet no less musical. As of a few days ago, I think I finally understand how those music fans of the ‘70’s must have felt. You see, I received a copy of Braintoy’s latest release entitled Vehicles, and I was immediately astonished by the array of sounds that found their way to my ears.

    The title track kicks things off with a building piano / synthesizer intro, as the accompanying instruments gradually join the fray, the keys suddenly disappear and the listener is propelled into a world of swirling musicality. The guitars of Christian Anderson are tastefully distorted as he lays down a technically proficient riff that’s like peanut butter on the brain. I’ve found myself humming that riff for the past three mornings, and I couldn’t be more pleased to have that versus something annoying like “Yellow Submarine.” As the song flows, the tension is in constant flux and I can’t help but latch onto the lyrics of new vocalist Tristan Green as he croons “it can’t be ignored.” No . . . it can’t be ignored. Braintoy have firmly positioned themselves to become the champions of progressive rock / metal for years to come.Braintoy - The Ripple Effect
    Pink Floyd
    Porcupine Tree
  • Sweaty sardines as hundreds catch Fish at Brighton.

    23 Mar 2008, 13:16 by qpp1963

    Thu 20 Mar – Fish, Glyder

    Fish- The 13th Star Tour, Komedia, Brighton UK

    By Queens Park Pete

    It was a triumphant return to Brighton as Fish played his regular once every 24 year show.
    Fans new and old were well catered for in a two hour set list which aired the best moments of his outstanding new album, “The Thirteenth Star,” as well as offering a spectacular rocking retread of most of Marillion Mark One’s finest hour, Clutching at Straws. There was even time to mosh out during a pile-driving journey through Fish’s Caledonian heritage in an encore featuring The Sensational Alex Harvey Band’s “Faith healer.”

    The band were as tight as a flounder’s sphincter, but special plaudits must go out to Frank Usher, back this Easter (topical) from a heart attack in the Autumn, and shredding the frets as if he had never been away. His solo on Cliche was a standout in a blistering set. Great to see Chris Johnson, seemingly now a full time Fish head after the deck chairs on SS Mostly Autumn were re-arranged (again). As well as offering contrasting guitar textures to FU, he was also able to help out Fish vocally in those duets with himself passages from the new album. Having said that, the big man was on top form vocally tonight too, giving as emotional and dramatic as I can remember from the Lothian Librettist.

    Circle Line
    Square Go
    Open Water
    So Fellini
    Dark Star
    Hotel Hobbies/Warm Wet Circles/ That Time Of The Night
    Zoe 25
    Arc Of The Curve
    Faith Healer
    White Russian

    13th Star
  • Headspace - I am

    18 Mar 2008, 20:28 by ripplemusic

    Sometimes, you just get lucky.

    You happen to look up just in time to see an asteroid shower shooting by overhead, or step out the front door at the exact pinnacle of a lunar eclipse. Or in this case, catch the birth of a star.

    There I was, hanging out at the vaunted office of the Ripple Effect eating chocolate chip pancakes and drinking chocolate milk with the Popester, when fate would have it I dropped a line to a band, or they dropped a line to me and the next thing you know, the brand spanking new, still steaming hot off the production line Headspace EP, I Am, arrives at my doorstep.

    And I saw the birth of a star.

    Mixing tons of old-school prog, ala 90125-era Yes, with smatterings of Metallica heaviness, more melodicsm than could be found on an entire David Gates tribute CD and Dream Theater aspirations, these guys are already grander than the cosmos. Read more at: Headspace

    Rick Wakeman
    Porcupine Tree
    Dream Theater