YES are set to release their new studio album Mirror To The Sky on InsideOutMusic/Sony Music on the May 19th. “This is a very important album for the band,” says Steve Howe, Yes’ longest serving member, master guitarist, and producer of Mirror To The Sky. “We kept the continuity in the approach we established on The Quest, but we haven’t repeated ourselves. That was the main thing. As Yes did in the seventies from one album to another, we’re growing and moving forward. In later years, Yes often got going but then didn’t do the next thing. This album is demonstrative of us growing, and building again.” For Yes, that “next thing” is a collection of high energy, intricate, lush and layered new studio songs for an album which adds to the band’s much heralded legacy, while charting a path to exciting future times ahead.
Jon Davison comments: “I, along with my Yes band mates are excited to announce that the second single from our new album, Mirror to the Sky is out now. It’s entitled, ‘All Connected’, and it’s a longer piece, clocking in at a challenging 9 minutes. Steve added a beautifully poignant instrumental steel part which starts the journey. This section emotionally builds and crescendos into a glorious lead way for the vocals to begin telling their story. Billy composed complex and compelling musical themes which I helped to arrange, and we both composed vocals and lyrics, each of us singing our respective parts, making for a rich vocal tapestry.”
Billy Sherwood adds: “The initial idea came from a musical sketch I’d created using the idea of our “connectivity” in regards to communications in the modern age. It’s very exciting to know YES are maintaining that edge and energy we all know and love, this track is firing on all cylinders. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did creating it.”
Mirror To The Sky will be available on several formats, all featuring artwork by long-time Yes artist & collaborator Roger Dean:
Ltd Deluxe Electric Blue 2LP+2CD+Blu-ray Artbook with poster
Ltd Deluxe 2CD+Blu-ray Artbook
Ltd 2CD Digipak
Standard CD Jewel case
The blu-ray editions include the album as Dolby Atmos, 5.1 Surround Sound, Instrumental Versions & Hi-Res Stereo Mixes.
YES are Steve Howe, Geoff Downes, Jon Davison, Billy Sherwood & Jay Schellen.
Like Pink Floyd albums, David Gilmour solo releases seem few and far between, thus become events to listeners and fans. And with such a wait, expectations are high. So, 2015’s Rattle That Lock was an eventful one for David Gilmour fans – a new studio album, followed by a world tour. Rattle That Lock being Gilmour’s 4th solo (studio) album since 1978, and followed the 2014 Pink Floyd album Endless River. From the packaging alone, one can sense something special in holding Gilmour’s latter releases – beautiful cover art, gatefold, a 16 page booklet insert.
And then the music, starting off with the built up instrumental / overture “5A.M.”, and there is something about Gilmour’s guitar sound & feel that make this sort of stuff so appealing that I want to play it repeatedly. The title track is one of a few upbeat songs here, it is memorable, a fine choice for a single, with nice harmonies, the other more upbeat tune being the album’s other single – “Today”. Rattle That Lock is largely slower tempo, atmospheric music, but with a good deal of changes. It all flows together so perfectly through Gilmour’s guitar sound, voice, and top production. Favorites cuts have to be “Faces Of Stone”, “Dancing Right In Front Of Me”, and “In Any Tongue”, where Gilmour lays out his ‘heaviest’ and most memorable solo. There’s some different stuff here, such as the slow paced jazzy “The Girl In The Yellow Dress”, featuring cornet and saxophone.
Plenty of guests, plus the use of orchestra and choirs on a various tracks. Guests include Phil Manzanera (Roxy Music), Andy Newmark (Sly & The Familiar Stone), Jools Holland (Squeeze), British jazz bass player Yaron Stavi, among others. David Crosby (RIP) and Graham Nash add harmonies on “A Boat Lies Waiting”, and pre-recording-days Pink Floyd guitarist Rado Klose (I never knew). The journey of Rattle That Lock ends with a revisit of the opening theme on “And Then…” The ensuing tour would give us the Live At Pompeii release in 2017.
Well, as Steve Hackett is going out on tour to play Foxtrot to celebrate the album’s 50th anniversary, I pulled this out. My favorite Genesis album, the band’s fourth, and 2nd to feature the classic line-up of Peter Gabriel (vocals), Steve Hackett (guitars), Tony Banks (keyboards), Mike Rutherford (bass), and Phil Collins (drums). Released in October of 1972, Foxtrot was a #1 album in Italy and Top 20 in France and the UK. It starts off with one of the most recognizable mellotron intros to the classic “Watcher Of The Skies” . The song is majestic, with changes, theatrics, and superb production; the best song of the era IMO. But, Foxtrot is full of classics like “Time Table”, the acoustic based gem “Can-Utility And The Coastliners”, the epic “Get ‘Em Out By Friday”, and the band’s 23+ minute masterpiece “Supper’s Ready”. There is so much going on on Foxtrot, it just has more to discover every time. Foxtrot would be the last of 3 album coves for the band drawn by Paul Whitehead. One of the essential progressive rock albums to have.
NEW YORK-GENESIS: COMING OF AGE Why do you suppose it is that American audiences seem to immediately respond to British groups? And why do you suppose it is that Great Britain has consistently produced some of the very best and most talented musicians ever? One of the major factors attributed to the overwhelming success of the British invasion is dedication-pure and simple dedication. Another is originality. And that brings us to the beginning: Genesis. The nucleus of Genesis was formed back in 1966, and has, over the past six years, developed into a tightly knit unit of fine musicians/songwriters we have created a particular brand of what can be called narrative rock-though neither ‘narrative’ nor ‘rock’ best describes their musical genre. For Genesis lies in an- other musical realm.
‘watcher of the skies watcher of all His is a world alone no world is his own He whom life can no longer surprise raising his eyes beholds a planet unknown.’
At their best, Genesis is capable of weaving a tapestry of sound into a blanket of intricate song, Tony Banks (mellotron and keyboards) knows exactly when to become an entire orchestra, and when to lay back and be felt rather than heard. One of the dangers of using a mellotron is that a group can be easily compared to the Moody Blues or to Yes-but Banks, too, is a master technician, and no comparison need be drawn. He has developed his own unique style of performing, which, in conjunction with the remainder of the band, has given him his own identity. The other members of Genesis, Steve Hackett, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel and Michael Rutherford, all contribute equally to the band’s overall sound. They play a variety of instruments and generate the necessary energy needed to comprise a total working unit. And when everyone contributes, everyone shares in the success.Genesis has for long been a favorite British band. Their first two albums, “Trespass,” and “Nusery Crime” have already become best sellers abroad. Their third, “Foxtrot,” was a top 20 LP in England and has just been released in America on Charisma Records distributed by the Buddah Group. On December 13, Genesis will make their debut American performance at Philharmonic Hall, and those of us who truly appreciate progressive music will be there. – CashBox, 72-12-09
GENESIS – Foxtrot Charisma (Buddah) CAS 1058 – For some time a top name in England, Genesis should begin to make U.S. headway with this interesting set. Tony Banks stands out on organ, piano and mellotron, and Peter Gabriel is a fine vocalist. Highlights on side one include “Get ’em Out by Fri- day” and “Watcher of the Skies,” while side two is given the overall title of “Supper’s Ready” follows a basic story line. Strong cuts include “Lover’s Leap” and “Ikhaton and Itsacon and Their Band of Merry Men.” – Billboard, 72-12-09
Genesis To Debut At Philharmonic NEW YORK – British rock group, Genesis, will make their first American appearance at Philharmonic Hall on Dec. 13, in a concert sponsored by radio station WNEW-FM and Charisma Records. The show, which will also feature Charisma artists String Driven Thing, is being produced by Dominic Sicilia. All tickets for the performance will be sold at $3.00, with the total receipts being donated to the cerebral palsy fund. Genesis’ latest album, “Foxtrot,” a top 20 LP in England, has just been released in America on the Charisma label, distributed by the Buddah Group. – CashBox, 72-12-02
Legendary guitarist Steve Hackett is pleased to announce that two of his ’90’s solo records will be released on vinyl for the first time ever in 2023, marking the beginning of a series of vinyl reissues of his solo catalogue. On June 2nd, 2023, the 1993 album ‘Guitar Noir’ & the 1999 album ‘Darktown’ will be made available as Gatefold 180g 2LP’s, each newly remastered especially for the vinyl format.
‘Guitar Noir’ (1993) saw Steve taking a darker approach to his guitar sound, and he was joined by Julian Colbeck (keys), Dave Ball (bass), Hugo Degenhardt (drums), Aron Friedman (keys), Nick Magnus (keys) & more for this record.
‘Darktown’ (1999) also saw Steve joined by Julian Colbeck (keys) & Hugo Degenhardt (drums), as well as Roger King (Keys, Bass, Drums), Jim Diamond (Vocals), John Hackett (Flute, Pan Pipes), Ian McDonald (Sax) & John Wetton (Bass Samples). This edition of the album also includes the 3 bonus tracks included on the 2013 CD reissue.
Steve comments: “I’m thrilled that my two albums Guitar Noir and Darktown are being release on vinyl for the first time! My music took on a darker edge for both those albums, and I explored additional sounds and genres I hadn’t touched before.”
Following the Wuppertal show with full orchestra, Steve Hackett and band will continue their Foxtrot at Fifty plus Hackett Highlights tour in Europe in April and North America in the autumn.
Steve Hackett Steve Hackett joined Genesis at the beginning of 1971 and gained an international reputation as the guitarist in the band’s classic line-up alongside Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins. Hackett’s intricate guitar work was a key element of Genesis’ albums from Nursery Cryme (1971) to Wind And Wuthering (1977) including the classic Selling England By The Pound. After leaving Genesis at the end of 1977, Hackett’s solo career, which now spans more than 30 albums, has demonstrated his extraordinary versatility with both electric and acoustic guitar. Hackett is renowned as both an immensely talented and innovative rock musician and a virtuoso classical guitarist and composer and this was recognized in 2010 when he was inducted into the Rock Hall Of Fame. He has also worked alongside Steve Howe of YES in the supergroup GTR. Hackett’s compositions take influences from many genres, including jazz, classical and blues. For his later studio works The Night Siren (2017) and At The Edge Of Light (2019) Hackett has explored the influences of world music. Recent tours have seen Hackett celebrate his time with Genesis including a spectacular 2018 tour in which he realised a long-held ambition to perform the works of Genesis live with his band and an orchestra. The lockdown enforced by the 2020 global pandemic has proven to be a particularly creative period for Hackett. He began by releasing Selling England by the Pound & Spectral Mornings: Live at Hammersmith, a live recording of 2019’s hugely successful tour celebrating that Genesis classic together with the 40th anniversary of one of his most-loved solo albums. Lockdown also gave Hackett the opportunity to write and record two new studio albums, the UK Classical Chart hit Under A Mediterranean Sky and Surrender of Silence.
The Future Never Waits –The Brand New Album, CD / VINYL – 28 April 2023
Hawkwind have announced a brand-new studio album. The Future Never Waits follows their critically acclaimed 2021 album Somnia and 2022 double live album We Are Looking In On You. The band’s 35th studio album is an outstanding progression to their varied and celebrated catalogue.
Opening track The Future Never Waits delivers a ten minute instrumental led space-age march, before progressing into the guitar driven follow up The End, featuring Dave’s trademark vocals and chugging machine gun riffs. Innovative additions to the Hawkwind canon such as Aldous Huxley and They Are So Easily Distracted introduce a gradual, almost lounge-like quality, with deliberate piano, audio samples and saxophones lamenting over a futuristic backdrop and roaming guitar solos. Other tracks like Rama (The Prophecy) and I’m Learning To Live Today sit tightly in the Hawkwind groove, providing old and new fans alike with the intense and concentrated fusion of musical styles they’ve come to expect and celebrate.
The Future Never Waits is presented by Hawkwind, (Dave Brock, Richard Chadwick, Magnus Martin, Doug MacKinnon and Tim “Thighpaulsandra” Lewis) on both CD and double vinyl and will be released to coincide with live shows in the spring and summer.
UK dates so far:
Friday 28th April – Manchester Academy I Saturday 29th April – Rock City, Nottingham Sunday 30th April – Northern Kin Festival, Durham Friday 16th June – Hall for Cornwall Monday 28th August – Castell Roc, Chepstow Castle
The classic 1980 album from The Alan Parson Project – Turn Of A Friendly Card is being reissued in a 4 disc (3 CD + DVD) box. The album was highlighted by 2 major hits – “Games People Play” – featuring the amazing vocals of Lenny Zakatek, and the ballad “Time”. It also included such favorites as “I Don’t Wanna Go Home”, “The Gold Bug” (a single) and “Turn Of A Friendly Card” (Parts One & Two). The original album is an awesome listen on it’s own, but the numerous demos, early takes, and rough mixes make this even more interesting. I am quite happy hearing a number of versions of “Games People Play”! To be released February 24, with a limited number of collector’s postcards available.
*For more info check out the press info & tracklisting below, as well as ordering link.
• A DELUXE LIMITED EDITION BOXED SET OF THE CLASSIC ALBUM BY THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT.
• THREE CDs AND ONE BLU-RAY DISC (REGION FREE), REMASTERED AND REMIXED FROM THE ORIGINAL MASTER TAPES BY ALAN PARSONS.
• FEATURING AN ADDITIONAL 42 BONUS TRACKS DRAWN FROM ERIC WOOLFSON’S SONGWRITING DIARIES, STUDIO SESSION OUT-TAKES AND A STUNNING NEW 5.1 SURROUND SOUND FROM THE ORIGINAL MULTI-TRACK MASTER TAPES BY ALAN PARSONS AND FOUR PROMOTIONAL VIDEOS.
• INCLUDES A LAVISHLY ILLUSTRATED BOOK WITH NEW ESSAY AND A REPLICA POSTER.
First released in November 1980, ‘The Turn Of A Friendly Card’ was the fifth album by The Alan Parsons Project, the brainchild of composer, musician and manger Eric Woolfson and celebrated producer and engineer Alan Parsons.
Inspired by the period in which both Eric Woolfson and Alan Parsons had resided in Monte Carlo, this legendary album was recorded in Paris. The album sessions featured the contribution of musicians such as Ian Bairnson (guitars), David Paton (bass), Stuart Elliott (drums) with Eric Woolfson playing keyboards and providing lead vocals, along with Elmer Gantry, Chris Rainbow and Lenny Zakatek.‘ The Turn Of A Friendly Card’ would become one of the biggest selling albums for The Alan Parsons Project, attaining gold status in many European countries and the USA. The album featured such classic compositions as ‘Games People Play, ‘Time’, ‘The Gold Bug’ and ‘The Turn Of A Friendly’ suite which dominated the album’s second side.
This new deluxe edition comprises 3CDs and a Blu-Ray disc (Region Free) with an additional 42 tracks drawn from Eric Woolfson’s song-writing diaries, studio session out-takes and a stunning new 5.1 surround sound mix by Alan Parsons and a high resolution remastered original stereo mix, along with the promotional videos of ‘Games People Play’, ‘The Gold Bug’ and ‘The Turn Of A Friendly Card’ plus a promotional television advertisement. This stunning set also features a lavish illustrated book with a new essay with photos, memorabilia and features recollections from Alan Parsons and Sally Woolfson. It also includes a reproduction poster.
DISC ONE THE TURN OF A FRIENDLY CARD’ REMASTERED 1 MAY BE A PRICE TO PAY 2 GAMES PEOPLE PLAY 3 TIME 4 I DON’T WANNA GO HOME 5 THE GOLD BUG 6 THE TURN OF A FRIENDLY CARD (PART ONE) 7 SNAKE EYES 8 THE ACE OF SWORDS 9 NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE 10 THE TURN OF A FRIENDLY CARD (PART TWO) BONUS TRACKS 11 MAY BE A PRICE TO PAY (INTRO DEMO) 12 NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE (BASIC BACKING TRACK) 13 NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE (CHRIS RAINBOW OVERDUB VOCAL COMPILATION) 14 TIME (EARLY STUDIO ATTEMPT) 15 GAMES PEOPLE PLAY (ROUGH MIX) 16 THE GOLD BUG (DEMO)
DISC TWO ERIC WOOLFSON’S SONGWRITING DIARIES 1 MAY BE A PRICE TO PAY 2 GAMES PEOPLE PLAY 3 TIME 4 I DON’T WANNA GO HOME 5 THE TURN OF A FRIENDLY CARD 6 SNAKE EYES 7 NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE 8 TOFC / SNAKE EYES / I DON’T WANNA GO HOME 9 LA LA LA LAH 10 NEXT YEAR 11 SOMEONE ELSE 12 TAKING IT ALL AWAY 13 TO THOSE OF YOU OUT THERE
DISC THREE RECORDING SESSIONS BONUS TRACKS 1 MAY BE A PRICE TO PAY (EARLY VERSION – ERIC GUIDE VOCAL AND UNUSED GUITAR SOLO) 2 GAMES PEOPLE PLAY (EARLY VERSION – ERIC GUIDE VOCAL) 3 TIME (ORCHESTRA AND CHRIS RAINBOW BACKING VOCALS) 4 THE GOLD BUG (EARLY REFERENCE VERSION) 5 THE GOLD BUG (CHRIS RAINBOW BACKING VOCALS) 6 THE GOLD BUG (CLAVINET WITH NO DELAY) 7 THE TURN OF A FRIENDLY CARD – Part One (EARLY BACKING TRACK) 8 SNAKE EYES (EARLY VERSION – ERIC GUIDE VOCAL) 9 THE ACE OF SWORDS (EARLY VERSION WITH SYNTH ORCHESTRATION) 10 THE TURN OF A FRIENDLY CARD – Part Two (ERIC GUIDE VOCAL AND EXTENDED GUITAR SOLO) SINGLE EDITS 11 GAMES PEOPLE PLAY (SINGLE EDIT) 12 THE TURN OF A FRIENDLY CARD (SINGLE EDIT) 13 SNAKE EYES (SINGLE EDIT)
DISC FOUR – BLU RAY 5.1 SURROUND SOUND MIX (2019) AND HIGH- RESOLUTION ORIGINAL STEREO MIX BY ALAN PARSONS 1 MAY BE A PRICE TO PAY 2 GAMES PEOPLE PLAY 3 TIME 4 I DON’T WANNA GO HOME 5 THE GOLD BUG 6 THE TURN OF A FRIENDLY CARD (PART ONE) 7 SNAKE EYES 8 THE ACE OF SWORDS 9 NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE 10 THE TURN OF A FRIENDLY CARD (PART TWO) VISUAL CONTENT 1 THE TURN OF A FRIENDLY CARD (ALBUM AD) 2 GAMES PEOPLE PLAY (PROMOTIONAL VIDEO) 3 THE GOLD BUG (PROMOTIONAL VIDEO) 4 THE TURN OF A FRIENDLY CARD (PROMOTIONAL VIDEO)
Set for a March release, Genesis ‘BBC Broadcasts’ is an extensive collection of broadcast material from one of the biggest selling recording artists of all time and one of Britain’s most internationally renowned bands. Curated by founder member Tony Banks and the group’s long-time engineer and producer Nick Davis, it is available as a 53-track 5-CD set and 24-track triple LP. These collections represent the cream of the group’s work recorded by the BBC between 1970 and 1998, and it includes contributions from all three of the group’s vocalists, Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins and Ray Wilson. With notes by author Michael Hann, and packaged with a 40–page booklet, ‘BBC Broadcasts’ contains favorites such as ‘Home By The Sea’, ‘Mama’, ‘Duchess’, ‘Carpet Crawlers’, ‘No Son Of Mine’ ‘Turn It On Again’ and many more. With only a handful of these tracks previously officially available, Genesis ‘BBC Broadcasts’ acts as both a collector’s cornucopia and an alternative “greatest hits”. Stretching from the very beginnings of the band’s career via appearances on ‘Night Ride’ and John Peel, the set encompasses both of the group’s Knebworth performances (78 and 92) as well as their much–loved 1980 show at London’s Lyceum, and triumphant sell–out run of shows at Wembley in 1987. Rounded out by material from the NEC in 1998 and Paris Theatre and Nightride sessions from the early 70s, as well as the much sought–after encore version of ‘Watcher Of The Skies’ at Wembley Empire Pool in 1975, Genesis ‘BBC Broadcasts’ is a veritable treasure trove.
CD1 Early BBC
01 Shepherd (Live on Night Ride, BBC Radio Two, 1970) 02 Pacidy (Live on Night Ride, BBC Radio Two, 1970) 03 Let Us Now Make Love (Live on Night Ride, BBC Radio Two, 1970) 04 The Fountain of Salmacis (Live at Paris Studios, London, 1972) 05 The Musical Box (Live at Paris Studios, London, 1972) 06 Stagnation (Live on Sounds of the 70s, BBC Radio One, 1971) 07 Harlequin (Live on BBC Radio One John Peel Session, 1972) 08 Get ‘Em Out By Friday (Live on BBC Radio One John Peel Session, 1972) 09 Harold the Barrel (Live on BBC Radio One John Peel Session, 1972) 10 Twilight Alehouse (Live on BBC Radio One John Peel Session, 1972) 11 Watcher of the Skies (Live on BBC Radio One In Concert, 1975)
Disc 2 (Knebworth 78 / Lyceum 80) 01 Squonk (Knebworth 78) 02 Burning Rope (Knebworth 78) 03 Dance on a Volcano (Knebworth 78) 04 Drum Duet (Knebworth 78) 05 Los Endos (Knebworth 78) 06 Deep in the Motherlode (Lyceum 80) 07 Dancing with the Moonlit Knight (Lyceum 80) 08 The Carpet Crawlers (Lyceum 80) 09 One for the Vine (Lyceum 80) 10 Behind the Lines (Lyceum 80) 11 Duchess (Lyceum 80) 12 Guide Vocal (Lyceum 80) 13 Turn It On Again (Lyceum 80) 14 Duke’s Travels (Lyceum 80) 15 Duke’s End (Lyceum 80)
Disc 3 01 Say It’s Alright Joe (Lyceum 80) 02 The Lady Lies (Lyceum 80) 03 Ripples (Lyceum 80) 04 In the Cage (Lyceum 80) 05 The Raven (Lyceum 80) 06 Afterglow (Lyceum 80) 07 Follow You Follow Me (Lyceum 80) 08 I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) (Lyceum 80) 09 The Knife (Lyceum 80) 10 Mama (Wembley 87) 11 Domino (Wembley 87)
Disc 4 (Wembley 87) 01 That’s All (Wembley 87) 02 The Brazilian (Wembley 87) 03 Throwing It All Away (Wembley 87) 04 Home By the Sea (Wembley 87) 05 Second Home By the Sea (Wembley 87) 06 Invisible Touch (Wembley 87) 07 Drum Duet (Wembley 87) 08 Los Endos (Wembley 87) 09 Not About Us (Live at Birmingham N.E.C., 1998) 10 The Dividing Line (Live at Birmingham N.E.C., 1998)
Disc 5 (Knebworth 1992)
01 No Son of Mine (Knebworth 92) 02 Driving the Last Spike (Knebworth 92) 03 Old Medley (Knebworth 92) 04 Fading Lights (Knebworth 92) 05 Hold On My Heart (Knebworth 92) 06 I Can’t Dance (Knebworth 92)
Tracklist LP Set
01 The Musical Box (Live at Paris Studios, London, 1972) 02 Stagnation (Live on Sounds of the 70s, BBC Radio One, 1971) 03 Harlequin (Live on BBC Radio One John Peel Session, 1972) 04 Harold the Barrel (Live on BBC Radio One John Peel Session, 1972)
01 Get ‘Em Out By Friday (Live on BBC Radio One John Peel Session, 1972) 02 Watcher of the Skies (Live on BBC Radio One In Concert, 1975) 03 Dancing with the Moonlit Knight (Live at the Lyceum Theatre, London, 1980) 04 The Carpet Crawlers (Live at the Lyceum Theatre, London, 1980)
01 Say It’s Alright Joe (Live at the Lyceum Theatre, London, 1980) 02 The Lady Lies (Live at the Lyceum Theatre, London, 1980) 03 I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) [Live at the Lyceum Theatre, London, 1980]
01 Mama (Live at Wembley Stadium, London, 1987) 02 That’s All (Live at Wembley Stadium, London, 1987) 03 Home By the Sea (Live at Wembley Stadium, London, 1987) 04 Second Home By the Sea (Live at Wembley Stadium, London, 1987)
01 Throwing It All Away (Live at Wembley Stadium, London, 1987) 02 No Son of Mine (Live at Knebworth Festival, 1992) 03 Driving the Last Spike (Live at Knebworth Festival, 1992)
Tragic Magic is the 4th release from Vancouver’s SPELL, who are described/labelled as ‘hypnotic heavy metal’. Hypnotic is one word, but there’s a number of words that spring to mind in describing the band’s latest album. First and foremost, they are Canadian, so I hear the likes of Rush in their sound, as well as Harlequin and Red Rider, maybe it’s the vocals, the melodies with the latter… And then there’s the cool hooks, riffs, and fantasy type songs that have elements of Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbath, Wishbone Ash…. Tragic Magic has all the elements of a classic 70s early metal album, but with clever melodies, perfectly timed uses of 80s synths, and songs that will grow on the listener, and elements of prog and space-rock, Each track offers something unique that will demand repeated plays. “Ultraviolet” may be the standout track here, but this album keeps me interested with every tune, the latest single being “Fever Dream” instantly reminding me of early 80s Rush and Red Rider, like this could’ve been a big arena favorite 40 years ago! Favorites include “A Ruined Garden”, “Cruel Optimism” (with that heavy riff, lighter verses, and hard-edged chorus) , and “Watcher Of The Seas” (love the 80s Rush, and metal feel of this). Album ends with the short instrumental “The Watching”, a bit space/prog rock., a great ending. Ten tracks here, most of which come in under 4 minutes, but yet one feels there’s much more. +Tragic Magic available on vinyl LP (multiple colors), CD and digital
*for more info, check out the press release and links below. Highly recommended!
Hypnotic Heavy Metal Band, SPELL, Streams New Video “Fever Dream”
Vancouver Progressive Duo to Drop New LP, ‘Tragic Magic’, October 28
“Music is magic, and Spell is a spell. Fundamentally, it is a forum to make our dreams come true”- Spell bassist/guitarist/vocalist Cam Mesmer
Fantastical heavy metal band Spell will release its new LP, ‘Tragic Magic’, on October 28 via Bad Omen Records. Featuring ten tracks of prime, progressive heavy music flooded with mesmerizing atmospheres, ‘Tragic Magic’ sees Spell take a decidedly grittier lyrical approach, leaning less into escapism, while confronting real life challenges of modern times. Striking cover art (Frenzy of Exultations by Władysław Podkowiński, 1863) featuring an angelic woman riding a frenetic horse, portends the palpable potency that the record promises. In its review of the new Spell song, “Ultraviolet”, Metal Injection says the band’s sound treads “the line between dreamy progressive rock in the vein of King Crimson and more straightforward old-school heavy metal like Blue Öyster Cult.” Pre-order ‘Tragic Magic’ at THIS location.
In advance of the release of ‘Tragic Magic’, Spell streams a video for the new track, “Fever Dream”, (Directed by Scotti Gibson, with cinematography by Kyle Samuels & make up effects by Caitlin Rose Delaplace and edited by Vince Edwards) an enticing earworm that fuses darkwave and progressive psych in hypnotizing fashion while exploring the realms of “nightmares and sleep paralysis”.
“Fever Dream” comes directly from the most evil and frightening moments I’ve experienced in the depths of illness and sleep,” offers Spell vocalist/guitarist Cam Mesmer. “These things may not make sense in the light of day, but once they take hold you have no choice but to follow their twisted path. Deep within nightmares and sleep paralysis, I have conflicting desires: first the urge to shake myself and escape, but also a second, deeper instinct – to give in to the feeling and allow it to conquer me completely to see where it will take me. This song represents your darkest subconscious, urging you to allow that evil inside of yourself and give it the agency to take you somewhere new, somewhere unholy. Now go back to sleep…”
‘Tragic Magic’ is the highly anticipated follow up to Spell’s critically acclaimed 2020 LP, ‘Opulent Decay’, a record hailed as “fantasy rock” by Blabbermouth, “enchanting” by Heavy Blog is Heavy, and “captivating” by Revolver. The record’s songcraft is steeped in the atmosphere of the arcane, yet the hooks are more razor-sharp than ever. While influences like the esoteric charge of the aforementioned Blue Öyster Cult and the elemental expansions of Camel drift through these crepuscular melodies, Spell are as likely to be influenced by the life-affirming energy of ‘60s Motown, the ethereal dimensions of Cocteau Twins, the strident woe of Candlemass, and the classic songwriting chops of Russ Ballard.
Another taste of what ‘Tragic Magic’ holds in store can be ingested now on the previously unveiled video for the LP’s radiating first single “Ultraviolet”. Created by Sean Edwards for Ramble Films (Freeways), the eye-catching clip showcases Spell at the height of its powers.
“The themes on this album are more concrete, guided by personal experience,” offers Mesmer. “Tragic Magic’ has to do with mental illness, ageing, the death of a loved one, the decay of time… this is what ‘tragic magic’ means to us – loss and tragedy outside of our control, which fundamentally alters our perceived reality. This album is our response to the world as it currently is music for an ascetic age. The identity of Spell came into sharp focus as it was always intended to be.”
Ultraviolet” explores the hidden terror of forces that rule us but cannot be perceived or understood,” says Spell vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Cam Mesmer. “Our world is shaped by powers that the limitations of our physical bodies prevent us from directly encountering. Will we fall victim to the lust for that which cannot be ours, or harness them to fulfil our wildest dreams?”
“If this band was a van, they would be the raddest, most pimped out airbrushed 70’s van with plush interior and a BOOMING system. SPELL is a perfect name for them, because their songs are jamming heavy metal magic.” – Cvlt Nation
“Psychedelic space rock exploration steeped in sludge and fuzz. Tipping their caps to a range of classic hard rock influences like Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Rush and even old-school Mercyful Fate, Spell captures a dreary, overcast and lo-fi vibe” – Exclaim!
SPELL is: Cam Mesmer: vocals, bass, rhythm guitar/ Al Lester: vocals, drums, lead guitar. (* Synthesizers by Gabriel B)
Hypnotic Heavy Metal Band, SPELL, to Release New LP, ‘Tragic Magic’, October 28! Vancouver Progressive Duo Drops Video for New Song “Ultraviolet”
Fantastical heavy metal band Spell will release it’s new LP, Tragic Magic, on October 28 via Bad Omen Records. Featuring ten tracks of prime, progressive heavy music flooded with mesmerizing atmospheres, Tragic Magic sees Spell take a decidedly grittier lyrical approach, leaning less into escapism, while confronting real life challenges of modern times. Striking use of art by Władysław Podkowiński for the cover. Pre-order ‘Tragic Magic’ at THIS location.
A first taste of what Tragic Magic holds in store can be ingested now as Spell unveils a video for the LP’s radiating first single “Ultraviolet”. Created by Sean Edwards for Ramble Films (Freeways), the eye-catching clip showcases Spell at the height of its powers. Stream Spell’s “Ultraviolet” video HERE.
“Ultraviolet” explores the hidden terror of forces that rule us but cannot be perceived or understood, says Spell vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Cam Mesmer. “Our world is shaped by powers that the limitations of our physical bodies prevent us from directly encountering. Will we fall victim to the lust for that which cannot be ours, or harness them to fulfil our wildest dreams?”
Tragic Magic is the highly-anticipated follow up to Spell’s critically-acclaimed 2020 LP, Opulent Decay, a record hailed as “fantasy rock” by Blabbermouth, “enchanting” by Heavy Blog is Heavy, and “a captivating mix of Rush- and Blue Öyster Cult” by Revolver.
Tragic Magic was written and recorded entirely as a collaboration between brothers Cam and Al (Lester); the record’s songcraft is steeped in the atmosphere of the arcane, yet the hooks are more razor-sharp than ever. While influences like the esoteric charge of the aforementioned Blue Öyster Cult and the elemental expansions of Camel and King Crimson drift through these crepuscular melodies, Spell are as likely to be influenced by the life-affirming energy of ‘60s Motown, the ethereal dimensions of Cocteau Twins, the strident woe of Candlemass, and the classic songwriting chops of Russ Ballard.
“The themes on this album are more concrete, guided by personal experience,” offers Mesmer. “Tragic Magic’ has to do with mental illness, ageing, the death of a loved one, the decay of time… this is what ‘tragic magic’ means to us – loss and tragedy outside of our control, which fundamentally alters our perceived reality. This album is our response to the world as it currently is: music for an ascetic age.”
“And we couldn’t be happier about the result,” Mesmer continues. “The identity of Spell came into sharp focus as it was always intended to be. Music is magic, and Spell is a spell. Fundamentally, it is a forum to make our dreams come true”
1.) Fatal Breath 2.) Ultraviolet 3.) Hades Embrace 4.) Fever Dream 5.) Sarcophagus 6.) Cruel Optimism 7.) A Ruined Garden 8.) Souls in Chains 9.) Watcher of the Seas 10.) The Watching
SPIROGYRA was another interesting British band from that golden period of the early ’70s. The band was folk, progressive, psychedelic…Lots of harmonies, soft vocals, acoustic guitars, pianos, synths, flutes, violins and various string instruments.., The band only released 2 singles back in the day, along with these 3 albums, and commercial success eluded them, but they have maintained many followers years later. Plenty of gems among these albums, such as “Cogwheels, Crutches And Cyanide”, “Time Will Tell”, “Dangerous Dave” (a single), “Don’t Let It Get You”, “The Sargent Says”, and “In The Western World”. Very easy going stuff, but lots of stories amongst the songs, and the sweet vocals of Barbara Gaskin, and the distinctive voice of (guitarist) Martin Cockerham. Disc 2 comes with 4 bonus tracks, all outtakes, the best being the upbeat “Melody Maker Man”. Disc 3 contains the bonus track “I Hear You’re Going Somewhere (Joe Really)” – the A side to the band’s 2nd single. The set comes with a 12 page colored booklet complete with photos, liner notes, and interviews telling the band’s story. Well worth picking up if you’re interested, especially considering how much the band’s original LPs go for on Discogs.
*For more info check out the press release, tracklisting, and links below…
• NEW 3CD CLAMSHELL BOXED SET OF THE THREE ALBUMS BY SPIROGYRA RELEASED BETWEEN 1971 AND 1973 • FEATURING THE ALBUMS ‘ST RADIGUNDS’, ‘OLD BOOT WINE’ AND ‘BELLS, BOOTS AND SHAMBLES’. WITH A FULLY ILLUSTRATED BOOKLET
Spirogyra was formed by duo Martin Cockerham and Mark Francis in Bolton in 1968, but the band expanded when Cockerham was a student in Canterbury at the end of 1969. The expanded line-up featured Cockerham (guitar, vocals), Barbara Gaskin (lead vocals), Steve Borrill (bass) and Julian Cusack (violin, keyboards) and secured a contract with B&C Records in 1970. The band’s impressive debut album, ‘St Radigunds’ was issued in 1971 and featured guest drummer Dave Mattacks and Tony Cox on VCS3 Synthesizer. In 1972 the band’s second album, ‘Old Boot Wine’, was released on the Pegasus label, a “progressive” imprint established by B&C. Prior to the recording of the album Mark Francis re- joined the group, and the sessions also saw contributions from guest musicians Dave Mattacks (drums), Julian Cusack (violin, keyboards), Rick Biddulph (mandolin), Alan Laing (cello). With the demise of the Pegasus label, Spirogyra recorded their third album for Polydor. By this time Spirogyra had become a core of Martin Cockerham (guitar, vocals) and Barbara Gaskin (lead vocals) with Steve Borrill (bass) and guest musicians Dave Mattacks (drums), Julian Cusack (violin, keyboards), Henry Lowther (trumpet), John Boyce (cello), Stan Sulzman (flute) and Steve Ashley (whistle). Despite achieving critical praise, Spirogyra failed to enjoy commercial success which ultimately led to their demise. The trio of albums the band recorded between 1971 and 1973 featured music of innovation and originality and are arguably beyond classification. They remain highly regarded and are sought after by collectors and aficionados of the Progressive era. This collection features four bonus tracks recorded during sessions for ‘Old Boot Wine’ and the 1973 single release I Hear You’re Going Somewhere (Joe Really).
Disc One: St Radigunds
The Future Won’t Be Long Island Magical Mary Captain’s Log At Home In The World Cogwheels, Crutches And Cyanide Time Will Tell We Were A Happy Crew Love Is A Funny Thing The Duke Of Beaufoot
Disc Two: Old Boot Wine
Dangerous Dave Van Allen’s Belt Runaway Grandad Wings Of Thunder World’s Eyes Don’t Let It Get You Disraeli’s Problem A Canterbury Tale Bonus tracks Counting The Cars Window Turn Again Lane Melody Maker Man
Disc Three: Bells, Boots And Shambles
The Furthest Point Old Boot Wine Parallel Lines Never Separate Spiggly An Everyday Consumption Song The Sergeant Says In The Western World 1) In the Western World 2) Jungle Lore 3) Coming Back 4) Western World (reprise) Bonus track I Hear You’re Going Somewhere (Joe Really) (A- side of single)