Titles are arranged alphabetically.
B-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-T | U-Z
This is the 2009 edition on Esoteric Recordings, known for their superb remastering jobs. The Mountain Queen (1973) is the second album for Alquin; their first two were their best. Along with Focus, Golden Earring, and Supersister, Alquin was one of a handful of early 1970s Dutch bands to gain exposure in Britain and throughout Europe. To quote the bio at Prog Archives: ďWith a mixture of rock, jazz and classical music, [Alquin] show elements of Soft Machine, Caravan, Pink Floyd, and Curved Air, with tinges of Roxy Music.Ē The booklet features fully restored artwork and a new essay. Out-of-print.
Obsidian Desert (2015, digipack) is the debut by Dutch prog/prog-metal quintet Armed Cloud. On the metal side, their major influences are Queensryche and Fates Warning, and as theyíre Dutch, itís hard not to think of Ayreon. ďWith Obsidian Desert, Armed Cloud has released the perfect album that will help them climb the ladder of progressive rock music. As a statement, they show what they are capable of and are ready to participate on the highest level of the Dutch progressive rock scene.Ē Read the full Background Magazine review.
Ayreon (alias Arjen Anthony Lucassen) is by now well-known for his large-scale rock operas featuring lots of well-known prog and metal musicians. The 2013 Ayreon album The Theory of Everything (digipack) is a rock opera (imagine that!) that begins a new story line for the Ayreon universe. The two CDs contain four 20+ minute epics divided into 42 separate tracks. The DVD contains 2.5 hours of behind-the-scenes content, mainly a making-of documentary and interviews. An Ayreon album always has impressive participants, but this one outdoes the previous albums. To name just the biggest names: John Wetton, Steve Hackett, Rick Wakeman, Keith Emerson, Troy Donockley, and Jordan Rudess. This album is proggier (less metallic) and more instrumental than the previous album 01011001, in some ways returning to the early days. Read the Sea of Tranquility, The Monolith, and Dangerdog reviews. Watch the album trailer and the official video for the title track. Counts as 1.5 CDs for shipping.
The Human Equation (2004) is a double-CD, and as Ayreon albums go, this one is a return to his symphonic progressive side, though there are still metal elements throughout. A lot of vocalists are used, many from metal bands including James Labrie (Dream Theater), but also Heather Findlay (Mostly Autumn) and a couple other female singers. Ken Hensley (Uriah Heep) adds a great Hammond solo, and there are also guest spots for Martin Orford (IQ) and Oliver Wakeman. To offset the metal elements, additional musicians on flutes, recorders, bassoon, violin, and cello raise the tenor. The album has some folky/Celtic-flavored tracks, which are close to Jethro Tull when the flute appears. There are some Pink Floyd-ish passages as well, plus touches of Tangerine Dream-style electronics and the odd Beatles-influenced melody.
This is the 2004 second edition of the double-CD Into the Electric Castle (1988). The third Ayreon release, it has the usual huge cast of guests including Fish, Thijs van Leer, Clive Nolan, Ton Scherpenzeel (Kayak), Edward Reekers (Kayak), Anneke van Giersbergen (The Gathering) and Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation).
This is the 2005 Special Edition reissue of The Final Experiment, the first Ayreon album, originally released in 1995. It includes a bonus second CD with nine semi-acoustic versions of songs from the album.
Arjen Anthony Lucassen is of course the mastermind behind Ayreon. He says that the decision not to release Lost in the New Real (2012, digipack) under the Ayreon or Star One brand names was because those names carry with them certain expectations. From our perspective, those expectations are that the music be half metal and half overblown. Consequently, Lucassen has free rein on Lost in the New Real to be refined and eclectic and to explore his non-metal inspirations such as Pink Floyd and The Beatles (which is not to imply that those influences canít be heard on the Ayreon albums). And he gets to handles the vocals himself, while actor Rutger Hauer provides the narration in what is (surprise!) a sci-fi rock opera. The story arc is on the first disc, while the second disc includes five more songs that are part of the concept and five covers of songs by Pink Floyd, Blue Oyster Cult, Led Zep, Alan Parsons Project, and Frank Zappa. CD-ROM video material is included as a bonus. Read the Sea of Tranquility review. Watch the promo video.
Sparrows (2009) is the debut for Dutch band The Barstool Philosophers. Itís a blend of Marillion-style neo-prog and metal, but not Dream Theater and not the usual cold, brutal, ugly stuff of modern metal but rather the Queensrˇche and Fates Warning styles. So some call it prog-metal, while others call it heavy prog or neo-prog with metal influences, and we lean toward the latter. In his normal range, singer Leon Brouwer has a voice a bit like David Bowie, and he occasionally does the high-pitch, underpants-on-fire thing. The symphonic keyboards are nearly omnipresent, so unlike most prog-metal records, the music rarely devolves to just metal. Read the Background Magazine and Ytsejam.com reviews.
The Black Codex is the most ambitious project yet for Christiaan Bruin, who has a number of excellent prog CDs under the Chris name and is also a member of the bands Sky Architect, Nine Stones Close, and a couple others. The Black Codex is based on an original story of Bruinís. The series was first released as downloads by subscription, 52 ďepisodesĒ over a period of 52 weeks throughout 2014. The series was then released on four double-CDs, packaged in mini-LP style sleeves. You can hear excerpts from each episode at The Black Codex website. The music is a very cinematic, epic, orchestral progressive rock, using vocals on some episodes, not only a unique concept but rather unique musically too, and very impressive. That this music is different from Bruinís other projects (and that his other albums are all different from each other) and yet still very much progressive rock speaks to the manís creativity and range. Watch the series trailer.
Bonebag is the other band of Arno Menses, the singer for German prog bands Sieges Even and Subsignal. This is Bonebagís 2007 debut. Ironically, Menses is not the lead singer here; he is the drummer. The music is modern progressive, that is, a song-oriented blend of alternative and prog rock with grungy guitars filling up the sonic spectrum. The vocals and vocal harmonies are very good and are the key to Bonebagís appeal.
Christiaan Bruin is the Dutch musician who has released five excellent albums under the name Chris and eight discs of material in The Black Codex series, and is a member of Sky Architect, Nine Stones Close, and a few other bands. Inventions is a project akin to The Black Codex, where every two weeks Chris releases a new song plus a YouTube video in which he share the ideas and inspiration which led to the creation of the song. Along the way, he explores interesting ideas in art, mathematics, philosophy, music history and whatnot, to see how they can be applied to the creation of music. Meta is the first physical release containing all 11 songs from Series 1 plus four additional mixes. The CD comes in a lightweight mini-LP style sleeve. Watch the video for A Place Where We Belong.
This Chris is Dutch multi-instrumentalist and singer Christiaan Bruin. For his third album City of Light (2012, digipack), Chris says he took a different approach and that this CD sounds more modern, energetic, and youthful. Itís not a huge departure from his first two; itís still symphonic prog. To his established style, Chris has added some elements that donít fit with classic prog, namely the sound of the drums, processing on the vocals, occasional samples and whatnot, generally things that add an edgier sound and pull the music closer to Porcupine Tree. Listen to Colours Come to Life and Blessings and Goodbyes.
Dutch prog band Casual Silence formed in 1993 but called it quits not long after the release of their 2011 sixth CD Vertical Horizon. Lost in Life (2007, digipack) is their fourth. Read the DPRP review. Listen to Masquerade. Check below for the related band Medea.
The sole album from a Dutch melodic progressive rock band, this was recorded in 1984, when little was happening in progressive rock. This CD reissue includes two bonus tracks from the same sessions. Not the greatest progressive rock album to come out of The Netherlands, but it has its moments, mostly in a Camel-lite vein.
Dutch prog quartet Cliffhanger stand apart from the other Dutch prog bands that appeared during the 1990s, as the others were virtually all pure neo-prog bands. Cliffhanger are more complex, with high-level musicianship and a 1970s sound that features vintage keyboard sounds, guitar, bass pedals, Rickenbacker bass, and drums. Cliffhangerís music draws from Genesis, Yes, Van der Graaf Generator, and King Crimson. A couple Cliffhanger members went on to Knight Area.
Dug Out Alive! 1993-2001 requires some explanation. It is a DVD-Video disc, but the content is primarily audio. In fact, there is almost 10 hours of content here! Putting this material on a DVD was a wise decision by the band because the alternative was a 7CD+DVD set for which weíd be charging a frightening price. And the audio is 48kHz, 16-bit PCM stereo, a step up from CD audio. The content here is mostly live material spanning Cliffhangerís career, plus some studio audio: a five track 1993 demo (remixed in 2011) and an unreleased 1997 song. There is some video: a 48-minute 1994 concert shot with multiple cameras. With a 16-page booklet, this is quite a package. Read the Sea of Tranquility review for more info. The DVD is PAL, all-region. Check below for the related band Novox.
Earth and Fire were an outstanding Dutch symphonic prog band featuring the beautiful and distinctive vocals of Jerney Kaagman. The titles marked ĎEsotericí are the 2009-2011 remastered editions on Esoteric Recordings.
Song of the Marching Children (1971) was Earth and Fireís second album but their first fully progressive one; it is soaked in Mellotron and generally considered to be their best. They followed with two similarly excellent progressive albums: Atlantis (1973) and To the World of the Future (1975), though each tailed off slightly from the previous album. 1977ís Gate to Infinity was a transitional album, after which Earth and Fireís music became quite commercial. Two bands that are often compared to Earth and Fire are the French band Sandrose and the English band Julianís Treatment. This reissue of Song of the Marching Children includes six bonus tracks, the A and B sides of three singles. To the World of the Future has five bonus tracks: two non-album single A-sides and three single B-sides. These Esoteric CDs feature the typically lavish Esoteric booklet with fully restored artwork and a new essay. See Prog Archives for reviews.
By the time of 1979ís Reality Fills Fantasy album, Earth and Fire were into their symphonic Abba disco period, but there is still some decent music here. This is the 1998 Red Bullet edition.
The 17-track The Universal Masters Collection compilation CD is drawn entirely from Earth and Fireís progressive period on Polydor (1969-1977) except for one track from Reality Fills Fantasy. It focuses on the bandís shorter songs and includes their early pop singles that predate their first LP.
All out-of-print, last copies.
Enorm grew out of the band Marathon, who were one of the better Dutch neo-prog bands of the 1990s. Finding My Way (2012) is the third Enorm album, and generally considered to be their best. Enormís music is more mainstream than Marathonís, with some similarities to U2 and Coldplay, but the majority of it is very good and most suggestive of modern Marillion. Enorm sound accomplished and have an exceptionally good singer. A couple songs are just modern rockers, but most have more depth, and you may find yourself humming along on first listen. Read the Background Magazine review.
Flairck is for many the top acoustic progressive band of all time, incorporating classical chamber music, folk and jazz. They began as an instrumental band playing guitar, bass, violin and flute. Later they expanded the number of musicians and instruments (including percussion and drums) and added more diverse world music influences. Sleight of Hand is from 1986.
The full name of the live double-CD is Live at ProgFarm 2006 & Northern Prog Festival 2015 (2017, digipack), with the 2006 concert on disc 1 and the 2015 concert on disc 2. Between 1997 and 2011, Flamborough Head organized 15 editions of ProgFarm, a progressive rock festival staged in The Netherlands. At the 10th anniversary edition in 2006, their sound engineer recorded their gig but the band didnít release these recordings at that time. A few months later their show in Budapest, Hungary was recorded and they decided to use those recordings instead for the first Flamborough Head live album. Twenty years after the first edition of ProgFarm, these live recordings are released, with the bandís concert at The Northern Prog Festival 2015 included.
Shreds of Evidence (2017, digipack) is a collection of Flamborough Head rarities. Most of the tracks originally appeared on various artists projects including Mellow Recordsí The Moody Blues tribute, Museaís The Flower Kings tribute, Cyclops sampler CDs, Progwereldís Prog NL CD, and the Danteís Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso projects. None of these tracks are simple alternate mixes or edits. One is a reworked and extended version, otherwise the tracks do not appear on other Flamborough Head CDs. There are also some obscure unreleased live tracks. See the full track list specifying the origin of each track.
Unspoken Whisper (1997) is the debut from this Dutch prog band singing in English. It is good neo-prog with a strong Genesis/Camel influence, felt predominantly during the instrumental sections of which there are many. Sweeping synths and piano from the two keyboardists give ample room for emotive guitar breaks in the Steve Hackett or Gary Chandler (Jadis) style. This is the 2016 digipack second edition on the Polish Oskar label.
Bridge to the Promised Land contains the first recordings of Flamborough Head. It was originally released in 1994 only on cassette and led to the band being signed by the British Cyclops label. After Cyclops released the Unspoken Whisper and Defining the Legacy CDs, they released a CD of Bridge to the Promised Land in 2001 in a limited edition of only 500 copies. The CD includes three previously-unreleased tracks plus three very different versions of tracks from Unspoken Whisper and Defining The Legacy. Unavailable for years, this new edition is a digipack with new artwork released on the Polish Oskar label, with the audio remastered in 2016.
See the related band Leap Day. Check for Eddie Mulderís solo CDs below.
This is the 2006 release by a Dutch neo-prog band that has been in existence since 1988. While FAF may have taken their name from the 1971 Genesis song, their sound is closer to 80s and 90s Genesis. Fortunately the music on Square One is quite a bit more progressive than the pop Genesis, and darker too, but it has the leaner, more contemporary sound. Christian Decamps, the singer of Ange, guests on the final song, which is an Ange composition. Current stock is the MALS edition, produced under license from Musea.
Fractal Mirror is a distant collaboration between two Dutchmen and one American. The origins of Fractal Mirror are in mid-1980s Amsterdam. The band says they were initially influenced by bands on the 4AD label and David Sylvian, and this influence can still be heard. But at that same time, the second generation progressive rock bands were in full force, and Fractal Mirror mention IQ, Pendragon, Twelfth Night, Marillion, and Pallas. But they especially credit Canadian band Terraced Garden, which is amazing because, have you ever heard anyone cite Terraced Garden? (You probably donít even know Terraced Garden.) Terraced Gardenís LPs have (to our knowledge) never been reissued on CD, which is a good way to become unknown. Anyway, the two Dutchmen rebooted in 2012 and found their American drummer and lyricist via Facebook.
Their first CD was Strange Attractors (2013). Garden of Ghosts (2014) was a big leap forward, co-produced and mixed by Echolynís Brett Kull who played guitar and/or added backing vocals on every song, while Larry Fast (Synergy) contributed keyboards, mastered the album and in fact signed the band to his label. Brett became enamored of the band too, saying źďFractal Mirrorís music is a strange combination of different cultures creating a unique and yet familiar sound. I love the occasional odd chord change or Leoís brilliant note choice in his melodies. There is an Ďeaseí in these songs Ė nothing pointy or pointless. Even heavier tunes like Phoenix have a certain amount of grace in them. There is real experience in the words and the way they are sung by Leo that transcends rigid style borders.Ē
Slow Burn 1 (2016, digipack) again features assistance from Brett Kull (on every track), Larry and Don Fast, plus several other musicians. The vibe is generally laidback, and other than singer Leo Koperdraat sounding like the singer from The Psychedelic Furs, the music is progressive-sounding, thanks in large part to the Mellotron sounds (strings, choir, flute, more) that are everywhere. Read reviews and watch videos.
This is the 1998 debut CD (following several demos) from a Dutch prog band with beautiful female lead vocals. Gandillion combine symphonic rock, prog-metal, and gothic rock, along the lines of Dunwich and The Gathering.
Disclosure (2012, digisleeve) is the 10th album for this Dutch band who began as a metal band but have left those days far behind. They still feature beautiful female vocals, now from Silje Wergeland, who replaced Anneke van Giersbergen in 2008. On Disclosure, The Gathering play a modern, refined, melodic, atmospheric style somewhere between post-prog and exceptional electro-pop. Their blend of modern electronics with electric and organic sounds is near perfect. Read the Sputnik Music review. Watch the video for Heroes for Ghosts.
Sleepy Buildings (76-minutes) is subtitled A Semi-Acoustic Evening. This is The Gathering live in 2003 in an intimate setting, emphasizing their mellower songs and acoustic instruments, though there is still electric guitar, synths, and drums. The songs have had the heavy guitar and rough edges removed, exposing the beauty underneath and giving more space to the enchanting vocals of Anneke van Giersbergen. Read reviews at Prog Archives.
Bring Me to the Water (2016) is a seven-track CD with a playing time of 34:34 by a Dutch prog quintet featuring powerful and beautiful female vocals somewhat similar to Magentaís Christina Booth. While five of the tracks are listed as bonus tracks, they are actually remastered versions of the bandís earlier material. Nothing is repeated; they are different songs. The album was produced and mixed by Christiaan Bruin (Chris, The Black Codex). Read the Muzikman review. The CD comes in a simple printed cardboard jacket (no booklet).
Collision (2017, digisleeve) is Golden Caveís first full-length CD, again mixed and mastered by Christiaan Bruin. The album contains reworked versions of their first two singles plus seven brand new songs. This is a talented young band making music that is undeniably prog but capable of drawing a wider audience into the fold. Songs with actual hooks that you want to hear a second time, imagine that! Read the Progradar review.
Despite the sword on the cover, this is not a metal album but rather a sophisticated 2005 neo-prog album from former members of the Dutch band Maryson. Ice is the best Dutch neo-prog band since Egdon Heath, a band they resemble. This concept album is also similar to Pallasí The Sentinel, with its blend of pomp and melody, as well as to later Kayak, Camel, Pendragon, and Pink Floyd. A major album for neo-prog lovers.
Hunting for Significance (2009) is the debut by a Dutch prog band that not only features female vocals -- Esther Ladiges has previously sung on albums by Ayreon and Ixion -- but is led by female guitarist/composer Eveline van Kampen and (on this first album) also includes a female keyboardist. They describe themselves as a symphonic prog band even though the guitar playing on the first CD is more often in the metal idiom. References include older The Gathering, Magenta (but heavier and less refined), and Ayreon (but less overblown). But there is a bit more than that here. When Illumion omit the metal guitar and thus open up the mix, there are passages where the vocals show some of the artiness of Kate Bush, other passages where the keyboards are free to create more sophisticated textures. ďIf ever a band showed promise of really going somewhere, itís Dutch group Illumion via this stunning debut. Playing a medieval-tinged light prog-metal hybrid, Illumion offers a sound firmly entrenched in old-school classic prog.Ē [Progression issue 57]
Illumionís second The Waves was originally released in 2012 but only on vinyl and a 2LP+CD combo package, after which the label realized that that was maybe not the smartest decision and released it on this standalone CD in 2014. Good thing too as this is a much stronger album that should not be missed. Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon) guests. ďThis is definitely prog but not as we know it... I simply adore the ever-changing depths and variation in the compositional style and the instrumentation. Most songs are written in complex, non-standard time signatures... 9.5 out of 10Ē [DPRP]. ďIllumionís The Waves is simply spectacular! ...Every once in a while you get the pleasure of finding something extremely unique. This was one of those experiences... A great mix of progressive rock filled with new elements and original sounds and rhythms. Just listening to Ladigesí vocals alone is worth the price of admission... You just have to experience this album to believe it.Ē [Sea of Tranquility] ďThe music can hardly be compared to anything or anyone else in the prog scene which certainly is a tremendous achievement nowadays! Illumion really impressed me; this is what prog rock should be like!Ē [Background Magazine] Read more reviews of both CDs.
Place in Time is a fine 2009 debut by this Dutch melodic prog band. Intentions play the modern style of neo-prog (neo-neo-prog?), darker and melancholic while still lush and melodic, along the lines of later Sylvan, the darker RPWL songs, or most of the then-current crop of Polish prog bands (but without the metal). Read the DPRP review.
Ixion is a project created by Dutch composer/bassist/keyboardist Jankees Braam. Braam also does live sound for Knight Area, S.O.T.E., Ulysses, and Illumion, and members of all these bands plus several other musicians play and sing on his albums. So Braam is following the Ayreon model, and similarly the third Ixion CD Garden of Eden (2009) is a concept album with an original story. The music is bombastic modern prog featuring a number of different vocalists, both male and female. There is some heavy guitar, and the music is generally dark, but itís primarily richly-textured symphonic prog with classical touches at times, especially when violin and cello are used. Garden of Eden is the most fully-realized of the Ixion albums. Read the Sea of Tranquility review.
Check our DVDs page for Kayak DVDs.
Kayak are our favorite Dutch band, based on their first five albums: See See the Sun (1973), Kayak (1974), Royal Bed Bouncer (1975), The Last Encore (1976), and Starlight Dancer (1977). Granted Starlight Dancer was a transitional album, but after that things got really dodgy. Singer Max Werner retreated to the drum stool, and Edward Reekers, who has a more conventional pop voice, took over lead vocals. The next two albums Phantom of the Night (1979) and Periscope Life (1980) were more commercial and sold well. Half of Merlin (1981) was a return to prog rock, though itís not on the same level as Kayakís early work. The band then took the rest of the millennium off.
The Esoteric label, known for their superb remastering jobs, reissued the first three Kayak albums in 2012, remastered from the original master tapes, with booklets that fully restore all original album artwork with a new essay. See See the Sun contains one bonus track: Try to Write a Book, a single B side. The eponymous CD contains two bonus tracks: We Are Not Amused and Give It a Name, A & B sides of a single. While the first two albums are the most overtly proggy, Royal Bed Bouncer is probably our favorite, quirky and more song-based though it is. Because at this time, Kayak had emerged with a completely unique style, having honed their writing skills and melodic sense to the point they were producing songs unlike anyone else. Newcomers might want to start with the eponymous album to be safe. If your personal favorite is any one of the first four albums, weíre not going to argue. Esotericís self-titled Kayak CD is now out-of-print.
The reformed, post-2000 Kayak is not the equal of the first incarnation of the band, nor are they anywhere near as unique, but weíre fortunate Kayak is going at all, still adding new fans who hopefully work their way back to the early albums. Keyboardist Ton Scherpenzeel is the only original member remaining on Anywhere But Here (2011), and these are mostly his compositions. Kayakís second vocalist Edward Reekers is once again the singer here. Watch the promo video. This is the European edition.
Classics is a 14 track compilation covering 1976-1981. It picks up after the bandís best two albums (their self-titled second and Royal Bed Bouncer), though it includes two live renditions of songs from those earlier, more progressive years. While it does favor some of their more accessible tracks, itís still a decent overview, and The Last Encore was still a very good album, while Starlight Dancer and Merlin have their moments.
The Sun Also Rises (2004) is the stellar debut from a Dutch neo-prog band combining the old (Genesis, Camel) with the not-quite-as-old (IQ, Pendragon) progressive rock styles. Actually, The Sun Also Rises is more ďmodernĒ than that, as one of the guitarists sometimes plays in a metal style, something the aforementioned bands never did (or at least hadnít to that point). Thatís a minor criticism though, as this is a very good neo-prog album. While the first half of the album is heavier and will appeal to fans of Arena, Ayreon, or Enchant, the second half of the album is in more of the classic prog style. Out-of-print, last copy.
Knight Areaís second album Under a New Sign (2007) improves on this. The first album was a studio project that lead to the formation of a touring band. The second album is the work of a true band. The music is firmly in vintage IQ/Pallas/Marillion territory, full of symphonic bombast, the Genesis influence seemingly filtered through those second generation bands. There is still a little heavy guitar, but the music gets no heavier than Arena.
Nine Paths (2011) is Knight Areaís fourth studio album. Read the Sea of Tranquility and Dangerdog reviews.
Hyperdrive (2014) features a new lineup. Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon) guests. See Prog Archives for reviews of all the Knight Area CDs.
Kramer are a Dutch prog band who debuted in 2007 with the 71-minute Life Cycle (digipack), which contains the typical Marillion-influenced continental European style of neo-prog, with elements of Pink Floyd and IQ as well. It is lush, dramatic, and romantic, close to the style of Clepsydra and similar continental bands and essentially similar to all the other Dutch neo-prog bands. This is neo-prog in the style of 15-20 years earlier, free of metal and excessive melancholy. So while there are no surprises, it is very well done and sure to please fans of this style. Listen to Homecoming and The Final Chord.
Leap Day is a Dutch symphonic prog band formed by members of Flamborough Head, Trion, Nice Beaver, King Eider, and Pink Floyd Project. Skylgeís Lair (2011) is their second, and it is less neo-prog than their debut, more of a sense of Kayak and to some extent Focus, less of Marillion. Well, Flamborough Head developed similarly, becoming more of a classic prog band on later albums, and King Eider and Trion always leaned more toward classic prog than neo. There are lots of vintage keyboard sounds -- enough Mellotron flute to suggest The Beatles, enough bouncy electric piano to bring Supertramp to mind. Greenslade is a good reference point since both bands have two keyboardists, and Camel must also be mentioned. Excellent melodic prog with a stately feel. Read reviews at Prog Archives.
Life Line Project is a project centered around Dutch multi-instrumentalist Erik de Beer. Time Out is the 2010 CD re-release of a 1995 album with four additional tracks, 72-minutes total, highlighted by the 23-minute instrumental Behind the Curtain of Your Mind. This album includes vocals by Marion Stroetinga. Read reviews at Prog Archives.
Maglev is a Dutch sympho-prog band coincidentally centered on talented singer and multi-instrumentalist Joost Maglev (which sounds like a made-up surname, but who knows), with Robby Valentine on piano, Sebas Honing on guitar, a violinist, and two backing singers. Joost has played in many bands and has released music under his own name in a progressive pop vein. He is amazing at Queen-style harmony vocals. (Listen to his earlier song Nymph.) Overwrite the Sin (2016, digisleeve) is Maglev gone full-on prog, featuring five tracks, the shortest 8:15. Each track emphasizes a different prog sub-style, with allusions to Yes, Queen, Kayak, A.C.T, City Boy, and maybe Cardiacs (the latter named by Joost as a musical hero). So there is exuberant pomp-prog, Yes grandeur, A Night at the Opera eccentricity, and modern heaviness, always melodic and grand scale. Overwrite the Sin is obviously the product of someone who learned how to write songs first before expanding the arrangements as required by prog. We were going to work magnetic and levitation into this blurb but didnít want to force it. Watch the album trailer. Read the Music from the Other Side of the Room review.
Touch Wood (2004) and Facing the Sunset (2005) are the first two full-length CDs for Dutch symphonic prog band Mangrove. Their primary influence is pretty clearly 1970s Genesis, with the keyboardist and guitarist displaying similarities to Tony Banks and Steve Hackett, respectively. But for every passage that recalls Genesis, there is a passage that sounds little like Genesis. So rather than being overly derivative, Mangrove have imprinted their own personality on an otherwise familiar style. They do use some sounds that are more modern than the 70s, and while itís fair to say there is some neo-prog in Mangroveís style, there isnít all that much that sounds particularly influenced by the British 80s bands. These two albums are comparable and both are very good, but weíll give the edge to Facing the Sunset.
Coming Back to Live is Mangroveís 2006 live double-CD, which includes songs from Touch Wood and Facing the Sunset plus two tracks from their deleted 2001 mini-album Massive Hollowness. Mangrove have steadily improved with each album and sound like a formidable live act, so these live versions are usually superior to the studio versions.
Beyond Reality is Mangroveís 2009 studio CD, with just six tracks spanning 68-minutes, their best to date. In addition to the strong-as-ever Genesis influence, one can hear Kayak in spots, and Mangrove again display characteristics of both classic and neo-prog.
The First Run is the 2012 remastered reissue of the 1994 debut CD by Marathon, a Dutch neo-prog band closest in style to Saga, with similarities to Marillion, Pendragon, and Rush. Listen to Voices, The Patterns of the Landscape, and The Seventh Dimension. Read the GloryDazeMusic review.
Norm (1996) is Marathonís second and final CD. Listen to Magic of Music. See the related band Enorm.
Medea is a project of Henry Meeuws, the keyboard player of the Dutch symphonic prog band Casual Silence. Meeuws is also a guitarist. Room XVII (2005, 62-minutes, digipack) is a symphonic rock opera in the Ayreon sense, with a multitude of male and female vocalists as the various characters in the story, as well as a large menís choir. The large cast of other musicians includes members of Casual Silence and other Dutch bands. There is metal guitar present, but the album is much more prog than metal, not as heavy nor as over-the-top bombastic as Ayreon. Read reviews at Prog Archives.
Dreamcatcher (2015, digipack) is the first solo CD for Eddie Mulder, guitarist of Leap Day, Trion, and Flamborough Head. The album is pensive, peaceful, and largely acoustic guitar oriented, with accents from keyboards, flute, and electric guitar. Assisting are some of Eddieís bandmates: Edo Spanninga (keyboards, production), Margriet Boomsma (flute), Gert van Engelenburg (keys), and Derk Evert Waalkens (keys). Watch the album sampler video.
Mulderís second CD Horizons (2016, digipack) contains 12 new tracks plus five live bonus tracks. His bandmates Edo Spanninga and Margriet Boomsma again contribute keyboards and flute, respectively, alongside a guest violinist. The live tracks are performed by a five-person band.
Mulderís third CD In a Lifetime (2017, digipack) again includes some of his bandmates from Flamborough Head, Leap Day, and Pink Floyd Project. Centered on the 17-minute title track, this one is more band and rock oriented, so newcomers start here. Watch the album trailer.
Dutch neo-prog quartet Nice Beaver debuted in 2002 with On Dry Land and expanded their style on Oregon (2004). For The Time It Takes (2015, digipack), Nice Beaver followed Flamborough Head, Leap Day, and Trion over to the Polish Oskar label, not surprising given how intertwined these Dutch prog bands are. Nice Beaver take another step forward with this album, showing an even stronger kinship to Camel as well as to Rush and Marillion, with jazzy touches throughout. Listen to the album teaser.
Novox is an instrumental project led by Dick Heijboer, who was the keyboardist of Dutch band Cliffhanger before they split in 2001. Others ex-Cliffhanger musicians contribute to Novox as well: Hans Boonk, Rinie Huigen, and Gijs Koopman (who was also involved in Knight Area). Heijboer has his reasons for not using the name Cliffhanger, but the music here could be seen as a continuation of that band, albeit without vocals. Novox are a bit more varied and contemporary, with one prog-metal track, another that is a drums and fuzz-bass workout, some classical piano, and touches of jazz-rock. The best tracks are usually the ones in the old Cliffhanger style though, sort of a more aggressive and more technical Genesis, relying on those good old analog keyboards including Mellotron.
The Dutch band Plackband formed in the mid-1970s and were most influenced by Genesis. They took an 18-year holiday before reuniting in 2000. After 30 years, Plackband rebooted as PBII with three of the original members and the desire for a more modern sound. Plastic Soup (2010, digisleeve, 69-minutes) includes guests John Mitchell and John Jowitt, two guys who never met a neo-prog band they didnít want to play with, and singer Heidi Jo Hines. Itís not a radical change from Plackband, as the old Genesis influence is still present most of the time. PBIIís desire for a more modern approach has more to do with the use of modern sounds, modern production, and the sound of the mix than a change in musical style. In addition to a standard CD, this Dutch edition of Plastic Soup includes a DVD (PAL, all-region) containing a 5.1 surround mix of the entire album, plus two videos. (There was a U.S. edition that lacked the DVD.) Read the Background Magazine and DPRP reviews.
Rocket (2017, digisleeve) is subtitled The Dreams of Wubbo Ockels. Ockels was the first Dutchman to go into space, and the Background Magazine and DPRP reviews will fill you in on the story behind this album. The band is assisted by three violinists and a cellist, while Nad Sylvan sings lead on one song. Singer Ruud Slakhorst sounds a lot like Jon Anderson, and this is an elegant Yes-influenced work that soars. Watch the teaser video and the video for Rocket Part II.
Seven Day Hunt are the new incarnation of Egdon Heath, the dean of Dutch neo-prog bands, who existed for 18 years. By the early 1990s, there were a lot of Dutch neo-prog bands operating, but Egdon Heath, who released their first album in 1987, were the cream of that crop. Egdon Heath retired in 1999 after four studio albums and a live double-CD of their final gig. Jaap Mulder (keyboards, vocals), Aldo Adema (guitar), Marcel Copini (bass) and Maurits Kalsbeek (vocals) worked on new material with new drummer Erik Koning, a life-long Genesis fan. Karlsbeek quit the band, but the four remaining members continued without a singer for a considerable time, experimenting with new influences and styles. Eventually the band came in contact with Han Uil, singer-songwriter and former singer/guitarist of Antares (a symphonic prog-metal band), and with him on board, they fine-tuned the nearly completed compositions, with Han writing the lyrics. File This Dream (2008, 69-minutes, digipack) is their debut, and there are no radical changes to the Egdon Heath style, just a few more contemporary elements. It is a polished neo-prog album including the mandatory Marillion influence and the characteristic Dutch neo-prog style that Egdon Heath helped define. Read reviews at Prog Archives.
Moods (2009, digipack) is the second studio CD by this Dutch band playing in the Dutch neo-prog style exemplified by Egdon Heath, For Absent Friends, Sinister Street, and various bands on the defunct SI label, which operated during the 1990s. Silhouetteís music is very melodic and symphonic, closest to Egdon Heathís style, and Moods sounds like it could have been recorded in the early 1990s in that there are no concessions to more modern trends. It wonít convert any neo-prog haters but is easily recommended to fans of Marillion, Pendragon, et al. Moods was mixed and mastered by Gerben Klazinga of Knight Area, while guitarist Aldo Adema (Egdon Heath, Seven Day Hunt) guests. This is the 2013 digipack second edition.
Across the Rubicon (2012, digipack) is their third, Silhouette showing steady growth with each album. This is the 2015 second edition, which adds two bonus tracks. Read reviews at Sea of Tranquility, Background Magazine, and Prog Archives. Watch the video for When Snowís Falling Down.
Excavations of the Mind (2010) is the debut for Sky Architect, a quintet of relatively young Dutch musicians including three from a Rotterdam conservatory. They come right out and state that they are interested in reviving the symphonic progressive style of the 1970s. Sky Architect are a bit hard-edged, dark, quirky, and technical. Beyond a vague sense of King Crimson or Gentle Giant, they donít really call to mind specific bands. There are lots of vintage keys including Mellotron. It would have been nice to hear some suggestion of Focus, Kayak, Supersister, Trace, Finch, or any other Dutch 70s progressive rock instead of only British influences, but itís not uncommon today to find young European prog musicians unaware of their own heritage. Nevertheless, this is a very promising debut by a band whoíve gone back far enough in their listening to find the real, undiluted prog. Mark Wilkinson created the CD artwork.
Sky Architectís fourth album Nomad (2017, digisleeve) sees the band integrating their classic prog influences into a contemporary heavy prog style, likewise balancing complexity and chops with memorable melodies and stunning song climaxes. Read reviews of all the Sky Architect CDs at Prog Archives.
These are the first two albums (1971, 1972) from Dutch progressive jazz-rock band Solution, who are somewhat similar to Secret Oyster. These 2012 editions on Esoteric are newly remastered from the original master tapes. The booklets have fully restored original album artwork and a new essay. Divergence includes the track Fever which was omitted from the previous CD edition. Read reviews at Prog Archives.
In 2008, the Esoteric label reissued the first four albums by Supersister, with their usual first-rate remastering job, bonus tracks, and fully restored artwork. This Esoteric edition of Iskander (1973) adds four bonus tracks, the A & B sides of their two 1973 singles.
Supersister were led by keyboardist/singer Robert Jan Stips and are one of the most important Dutch progressive rock bands. They signed to John Peelís Dandelion label in 1971 and remained a favorite of his. Their music is a light, jazzy style of progressive rock in the Canterbury style, close to Caravan, Hatfield and the North, Egg, and Soft Machine, but contemporaneous with or even a forerunner of them. Supersister had a woodwind player but generally no guitarist, and they delivered eccentric music with humor and all-around cleverness. Amazingly for a band that could be quite quirky, Supersister had chart success in The Netherlands, almost on a par with Golden Earring. Different times those were, and interesting to note that the Dutch bands developed earlier than most of the other continental European bands, possibly due to being within radio range of England? Iskander was recorded in England and is more fusion-oriented and more instrumental than the previous albums, still Canterbury-ish (National Health and later Soft Machine), still extremely good if not as wacky. Out-of-print.
Survival is the Dutch band led by keyboardist Jack Langevelt, who is no newcomer to progressive rock. Born in 1954 and initially attracted to classical music, Langevelt was most inspired by Ekseption, who after all were national legends, as well as Trace, The Nice, and ELP. It sounds very much like Langevelt has taken up the mantle left by Rick van der Linden (the keyboardist and leader of Ekseption and Trace). Like van der Linden, Langevelt does use modern synths, but his favorites remain Hammond organ and piano. Although a version of Survival existed from 1981-1997, that band split up. Following several CD-Rs, Crusader (2008) is their first proper CD and features tracks recorded between 2001-2006. Here Langevelt plays keys, bass, and drums, with two guitarists assisting. (In the live band, more work is delegated to others). Langevelt had been a drummer earlier in his career and provides a competent rhythm section. Crusader is old-school keyboard-dominated symphonic prog that is highly recommended to fans of Langeveltís influences listed above, though it is often executed with higher energy and more guitar, yielding a more contemporary sounding result. Read the DPRP review. Watch the video for the title track. (The band mustíve liked our write-up because they borrowed some of it for that YouTube page.)
Dutch prog band Sylvium released their first full-length album The Gift of Anxiety in 2013. Their bassist is Gijs Koopman, formerly of Cliffhanger and Knight Area. The music covers symphonic, neo-, heavy, ambient and Floydian prog and more, probably falling primarily in the Anathema / Porcupine Tree / Riverside camp.
Sylvium further develop their sound on their second CD, the concept album Waiting for the Noise (2015, digisleeve). Watch the album trailer and the video for Signal to Noise. ďI was suitably impressed by Sylviumís debut album The Gift of Anxiety to say it was a brilliant progressive rock album, so how do you top that? You go one better with an album of exceptional songwriting and profoundly astute lyrics, where the musicianship is first-rate and the vocals become a definitive part of the story. There has been a lot of talk about how good Steven Wilsonís new release is, but for me, I think that this time David has slain Goliath. I doff my hat to Sylvium for producing one of this yearís most memorable albums so far.Ē [Progradar] Read the Prog Rock Music Talk review.
Trace was Dutch keyboard virtuoso Rick van der Lindenís 1970s progressive rock band, playing classically-influenced rock with appeal to fans of The Nice, ELP, and Yes. Their self-titled debut album was released in 1974 and sold very well. It was pressed in many European countries and even got a U.S. release. Marillion fans should note that Ian Mosley was the drummer on their second album Birds (1975). The White Ladies (1976) was the third and final Trace album, on which they moved away from the virtuoso playing toward a more melodic and symphonic style of progressive. All three albums are very good but Birds is the one to try first. Check our DVDs page for the Rick van der Linden/Trace DVD.
Geometric Dutch neo-prog band Triangle began under the name Square the Circle in Rotterdam in 1993. This places them right in the heyday of Dutch neo-prog, a generation of bands beginning with Edgon Heath who took their cues from the British neo-prog bands that arose during the 1980s (Marillion, IQ, etc.). Square the Circle became the name of Triangleís 2000 debut CD, which was followed by Retreat in 2004. After a hiatus, Triangle returned in 2016 with Alert & Alive, the title probably a reference to their comeback, the music still in the neo-prog mainstream.
TumbleTown are a Dutch neo-prog band led by guitarist/producer Aldo Adema (Seven Day Hunt, Egdon Heath, Silhouette) and singer-songwriter Han Uil (Seven Day Hunt, Antares, solo). Their debut Done with the Coldness (2013, digipack) includes performances by Erik Laan (Silhouette), Marcel Copini (Seven Day Hunt, Egdon Heath), and Carola Magermans (Seven Day Hunt). So TumbleTown has the lineage of two previous generations of Dutch neo-prog bands, but in keeping with the times, TumbleTown is both harder and darker, though not relentlessly so. Watch videos for songs from this album.
The Gift of Tears (2008) is the second full-length CD for this Dutch prog band, six years after their first CD, switching singers in between. Ulysses are between neo-prog and prog-metal, the typical case of a European band with a progressive keyboardist and a metal guitarist. Read the reviews at JerryLucky.com and Music Street Journal.
Traveller (2014, digipack) is the debut for Dutch prog band Unkh, though the band was established in 1991. Unkh mix in some styles other than prog. The band describe themselves as ďa mashup of contemporary alternative rock and seventies progressive music.Ē Well, maybe not Ďcontemporaryí alternative rock, unless the 1980s are considered contemporary. But the non-prog is concentrated in some of the shorter tracks (which still have prog elements), while the no-doubt-about-it prog tracks are the long ones Borderlines.ca (12:51) and especially Borderlines.fr (13:32). Here and elsewhere, Unkh demonstrate an affinity with Supersister, not to mention Genesis and King Crimson. The album is actually easy to recommend as itís not the same old thing but instead a unique combination of influences. Read the Background Magazine review.
This Dutch symphonic neo-prog band debuted in 2001 with A Sorrow in Our Hearts but can trace its roots to 1975. We can only describe the vocal style on that first album as ego-less -- all members are credited with vocals. On their 2003 second album Eamonís Day, Us added singer Stephan Christiaans, and his vocals are quite a bit stronger than those on the first album.
The Ghost of Human Kindness (2004) is the third CD for Us, continuing with Christiaans as lead vocalist. Us have again made great strides with this CD, the music more dynamic and powerful, and the instrumental passages more in tune with 1970s Genesis. Their vocal passages donít sound quite like anyone elseís though, with a relaxed or gentle vibe that isnít common these days. With this album, itís becoming less meaningful to call Us a neo-prog band, unless you take ďneoĒ to mean anything with a hint of a song and a scrap of melody. Five long tracks range from 8 minutes to nearly 20.
Singer Christiaans is gone beginning with The Young and Restless (2006) so the vocal style reverts to that on A Sorrow in Our Hearts, though instrumentally Us have come a long way since their debut. Reflections (2007) and Climbing Mount Improbable (2008) continue with that vocal style, while bandleader Jos Wernars handles pretty much everything by himself on Everything Changes (2009), Feeding the Crocodile (2010), and The Road Less Travelled (2011). At this stage, the vocals remain the limiting factor in Usís success, which is why Eamonís Day and The Ghost of Human Kindness remain their best-selling CDs (for us at least). Instrumentally there is more Yes influence apparent now. Itís neo-prog that relies heavily on vintage sounds and influences of the 1970s prog bands, maintaining a positive vibe no matter how unfashionable that is in these dark and melancholy musical times.
Firetree (digipack) is the 1996 CD from this Dutch band who have a fairly large catalog by now, but this was their only CD released on the Mellow label. The music is dreamy psychedelic folk.
Thijs van Leer is the leader, keyboardist, and flute player of Focus. These are the BGO label CD reissues of his four Introspection albums, from 1972, 1975, 1977, and 1979. (Weíre out of the third.) The first two were released on this 2003 2-on-1 CD, while it took BGO until 2011 to get 3 and 4 out. Introspection IV adds a slipcase for the jewel box. Each album contains a mixture of original compositions and classical pieces by the likes of Bach, Hšndel, and Faurť. Rogier van Otterloo was responsible for all the arrangements and orchestrations and wrote some of the pieces. These are beautiful albums that showcase van Leerís virtuoso flute technique. This is where van Leer comes from; he is classically-trained like many of the best first-generation progressive rock musicians. That may be the single biggest difference between classic and later prog -- relatively few of the current generation of prog musicians have direct knowledge and experience of classical music, or for that matter jazz, and it shows. IV appears to be out-of-print.
This 2008 CD (digipack) features a Dutch prog-metal band with male and female vocals playing a rock opera with a symphony orchestra and a choir. The orchestral arrangements are sophisticated and are the progressive appeal here.