Band: Cró! | Album:Buah! | Genre: Progressive rock, Psychedelic rock | Bandcamp
On such a short album, this Spanish quartet manages to cover a huge amount of territory. The title track strongly reminds me of classic Italian acts like PFM or BDMS, and “Coia” is slow-moving and creepy. Other songs touch on alt-rock, funk, and jazzy art-rock. It’s a wonderfully diverse release, and all those different styles are played excellently.
Band: Envy of None | Album: Envy of None | Genre: Post-rock | Bandcamp
Envy of None is Alex Lifeson’s new band, and it sounds absolutely nothing like Rush. I went in expecting that, based off the lead single. I knew it was going to be a lot spacier, more atmospheric, and mellower. And while there are a few good songs on the album (“Look Inside”, “Spy House”, “Dog’s Life”), most of this album is a bore. It reminds me of trip-hop–a genre I’m really not crazy about–but without much creativity. Most songs are slow and relatively unvaried. This might be good background music, but I was hoping for dynamism.
Band: Green Asphalt | Album: Green Asphalt | Genre: Progressive rock | Bandcamp
Green Asphalt’s self-titled debut album is perfectly competent progressive rock. It’s well-played, and the vocals are especially nicely-arranged. However, it doesn’t do much to stand out in the current scene. It’s mostly slow-to-mid-tempo symphonic prog, though the best moments are the most energetic. Much of this album gets bogged down by its own bloat.
Artist: Egor Lappo | Album: Naturealism | Genre: Progressive metal, Progressive rock | Bandcamp
There is a lot to like here if you’re a fan of classic prog-power metal acts, like Symphony X. The songs are overall well-structured, and the playing is excellent. However, this is simply more major-key than I like. It often comes off feeling schlocky at points, and it can sound like a semi-metallic interpretation of recent Yes albums. This album’s heaviest moments are its best, like “Lack of Gravity” or the title track. The near-ceaseless grandiosity, however, fades into an unimpactful mush after a while. This album would have benefited from some greater textural variation.
Artist: Bobby Shock | Album: Mind Games | Genre: Progressive rock | Bandcamp
The latest album from Bobby Shock sees the artist sticking very much to the sound he has cultivated so far. The music is bass-forward and usually high-energy with plenty of synths. Many of the instrumental passages are quite strong, and everything is played very well. However, there’s just a certain something here that doesn’t quite resonate with me like his last two releases. The music is fine overall, but this album feels less cohesive and a bit more scattered.
Band: WEEED | Album: Green Roses Vol. 1 | Genre: Psychedelic folk | Bandcamp
This is the first of a two-part release from psych-rockers WEEED. This EP is only about a half-step beyond improvisation; the band says that most songs were composed and recorded on the same day. While there is a certain homespun charm to this collection of songs, I would not call this a resounding success. I do enjoy some of the violin deployed here, which reminds me of Comus. Overall, though, this release is primarily torpid acoustic meditations that don’t go anywhere or do much.