Titles are arranged alphabetically.
Hurry Hurry are so called not because they’re in a rush or like Rush but because they are two Australian brothers, Wayne and Rob Hurry. They first released Life (2010, 73-minutes) themselves as a CD-R, but this is the Musea CD edition. Life blends melodic/upbeat electronic music and symphonic rock like a combination of Mike Oldfield, Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis, Gandalf, and Jade Warrior. Most of the sounds are from synths, with sampled drums/percussion and some electric guitar. The album plays as one continuous piece with female narration tying the tracks together. Since ‘new age’ became a marketing term back in the 1980s, there have been enough bland or amateurish works in this style to make listeners wary, but Life is exceptional. Read the Background Magazine review.
Four Moments (1975) and Windchase (1976) are the CD reissues of the classic albums by Sebastian Hardie, the top Australian symphonic prog band, recommended to fans of Yes, Camel, and Mike Oldfield. In Australia, Sebastian Hardie were synonymous with symphonic rock. This mini-LP (cardboard sleeve) version of Windchase is the 2010 edition released by the MALS label under license from Musea.
Windchase - Symphinity (1977) is for all intents and purposes the third Sebastian Hardie album, with a bonus 12-minute live track.
Blueprint (2012, digisleeve) is Sebastian Hardie’s comeback album, and it sounds like it slots in right after Windchase. Read the DPRP review.
Mario Millo was the leader of Sebastian Hardie. Epic III was initially released in 1979, two years after Windchase’s Symphinity. If one considers Symphinity to be the third Sebastian Hardie album, then Epic III is the fourth, an album unknown to many prog fans that really deserves to be rediscovered. Carefully written, played, and produced, with several guest musicians assisting, this album offers the same magic melodies, refinement, and subtlety of the best Sebastian Hardie pieces. Epic III is a major album for this period in progressive rock history. This mini-LP (cardboard sleeve) version is the 2010 edition released by the MALS label under license from Musea.
Southern Empire is the second offshoot of Unitopia, the first being United Progressive Fraternity (UPF). Southern Empire was formed by keyboardist Sean Timms after his 17-year involvement with the popular Australian prog band ended in 2013 with the disbanding of Unitopia. Timms recruited four other musicians so that Southern Empire is a quintet, plus guests on this 2016 debut that include Steve Unruh (The Samurai of Prog) on violin, Tim Irrgang (Unitopia, UPF) on percussion, and Adam Page on sax and flute. The companion DVD shows the band performing the album in the studio, minus the short opening and closing tracks. The audio might be identical, so you may even prefer the DVD to the CD. In any event, not a bad bonus. (No indication on the packaging whether the DVD is NTSC or PAL.) Listen to several songs on YouTube, also Dreams & Machines. Read the Background Magazine and Prog Archives reviews.
This is the 2006 debut by a modern-sounding prog rock quartet from Tasmania (Australia). They have some similarities to Porcupine Tree and Dream Theater, but their style probably comes closest to Spock’s Beard, more the song-oriented side rather than the technical or flashy side of the Beard. There are some great pop hooks embedded in these tracks, and the occasional metal and grunge guitar is more than offset by richly-textured symphonic passages and open, acoustic guitar-driven songs. Read the DPRP review.
Formed from the ashes of Australia’s much-loved Unitopia, United Progressive Fraternity sees Unitopia’s Matt Williams, David Hopgood, Tim Irrgang, and Mark Trueack joined by Guy Manning (Manning), Dan Mash (Maschine, The Tangent), and Marek Arnold (Toxic Smile, Seven Steps to the Green Door, Cyril). Guests on the UPF debut Fall in Love With the World (2014) include Jon Anderson, Steve Hackett, Steve Unruh, Claire Vezina, Guillermo Cides, Ian Ritchie, and more. Read the Sea of Tranquility and Dangerdog reviews. Watch the album overview video and the video for The Water.
Subtitled A selection of songs that inspire Unitopia, Covered Mirror Vol 1: Smooth as Silk (2012, digipack) is Unitopia covering other artists. There is a Genesis medley, a Yes medley, and songs by Marillion, Supertramp, Klaatu, Todd Rundgren, Alan Parsons Project, Icehouse, The Flower Kings, Led Zeppelin, Korgis, and John Lennon. A lot of covers albums are ho-hum affairs, but this one is special. Read the Sea of Tranquility reviews.
The 2011 double-DVD One Night in Europe (NTSC, all-region) is the first DVD for Unitopia, a document of their live show at The Boerderij in Zoetermeer, The Netherlands in October 2010. The concert runs 122 minutes and features Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 surround audio. All the important Unitopia songs are played. The second DVD includes additional live material, unplugged performances, behind-the-scenes footage, and an interview. The companion double-CD includes the same songs as the first DVD. Read the Sea of Tranquility review.
The Garden (2008) is a double-CD, the second release by Australian progressive rock band Unitopia following a 2005 debut. We felt all along that Unitopia’s first album was unjustly overlooked, and The Garden remedied that, as it is a really fine melodic prog album. Unitopia’s greatest strength is their vocals, which are well ahead of the average progressive rock band, both the lead vocals and the vocal harmonies. Singer Mark Trueack sounds like Peter Gabriel when he sings in his lower register, and like the guy from Men at Work at other times. While Unitopia don’t sound all that much like Transatlantic, Spock’s Beard, or The Flower Kings, they will almost certainly appeal to fans of those bands.
Artificial (2010) elevates Unitopia to the top tier of the current generation of melodic prog bands. Read the Prog-Nose and DPRP reviews, which will tell you everything you need to know and then some. Read reviews of all the Unitopia CDs.