Titles are arranged alphabetically with recent additions highlighted in yellow.
A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-T | U-Z
These are the 2009 editions on Esoteric Recordings, known for their superb remastering jobs. These are the first two albums for Alquin, also their best two. 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 Marks was originally released on the Polydor label in 1972, followed by The Mountain Queen in 1973. This Esoteric reissue of Marks features the entire album on CD for the first time (Mr. Barnum Juniorís Magnificent and Fabulous City was omitted from a previous CD issue) and includes the bonus track Hard Royce. Both booklets feature fully restored artwork and a new essay.
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. The mp3 icon above leads to the bandís website and all the info. 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).
Actual Fantasy was the second Ayreon album, recorded in 1996. Lucassen went back in 2004 and added real drums to it, re-recorded some other parts and remixed the whole thing, yielding Actual Fantasy Revisited. Now enamored with surround sound, Lucassen did a 5.1 mix of the 2004 version, and so the CD now comes with a bonus DVD (NTSC, all-region) that includes the 5.1 mix of the entire album, the original 1996 version of the album, a videoclip of one song in both 5.1 and 2.0 (stereo), and a 2004 featurette.
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.
The Strange Hobby CD was originally released in 1996 without saying who the artist was. Turns out itís Arjen Anthony Lucassen who has the strange hobby of recording covers of late 1960s pop songs, mostly psychedelic pop, and he does it in Ayreon style rather than clone the originals. A lot of Ayreon fans will be too young to have lived through the psychedelic pop era, and undoubtedly some will not care to follow where Lucassen has tread, but itís commendable that Lucassen has the knowledge of pop history that he does. And it was all done in a spirit of fun. Out of print for a long time, this 2016 edition on Lucassenís own imprint adds four more groovy songs not on the original. See Discogs for the track list.
Check below for the related project The Gentle Storm. Check our DVD/Blu-ray page for Ayreonís The Theater Equation.
Sparrows (2009, 59-minutes) 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.
Scenes from the Box (2008) is the debut CD by a Dutch melodic prog band on the Festival Music (formerly F2) label (Credo, Ezra, Solstice, Manning, also introduced Magenta to the world). Itís an elegant 73-minute concept album using three lead vocalists, two female and one male. There is quite a bit of instrumental work as well, the playing generally not demonstrative, more along the lines of the later Camel albums, with some spacey atmospheres. (Should the mp3 icon link stop working, just head to www.bittertown.com and click on the CD title. There are additional clips on the Band tab.)
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 is now available 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 and listen to A Dot on the Horizon and Silhouette in the Window on YouTube.
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.
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 reviews at Prog Archives and the DPRP review of Lost in Life. Check below for the related band Medea.
This Chris is Dutch multi-instrumentalist and singer Christiaan Bruin, who is also a member of the band Sky Architect. His 2009 debut A Glimpse Inside on Musea is nearly as good as Kayak (who Christiaan admits heíd never heard!), the gold standard for Dutch progressive rock with a strong pop element. Bruin has created excellent multi-tracked vocal arrangements, sometimes with Beach Boys type harmonies. He loves to use Mellotron strings and choir, lending a Genesis or IQ feel as well. A bouncy song or two reminds one of early Queen, but the piano and melodic lead guitar keep bringing back thoughts of Kayak. Bruin has since assembled a live band.
Making Sense (2010, 70-minutes, digipack) saw Chris move to the Swedish Progress label, who liken the album to IQ, The Beatles, Yes, and Klaatu, all of which can be heard at different times. The Kayak style is still present, but on balance there has been a shift toward the style of IQ or Carptree, the music somewhat darker and more intense. Christiaan is correct in saying that ďthe symphonic arrangements and typical vocal layers of the debut are still there, yet further developed into a richer, more versatile soundĒ. Listen to the track Eve of Destiny on YouTube, which will make that very evident. There arenít many one-man projects of this caliber, and if you allow yourself to just fall under the spell of the music, youíll forget one man is responsible for it all. Read reviews.
For 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 -- 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 the songs Colours Come to Life and Blessings and Goodbyes on YouTube.
Snow Stories (digipack) is a winter-themed album that the Dutch FREIA label managed to release in time for Christmas 2012. The lineup includes a cellist and a violinist, while two lead guitarists guest. But this isnít what most would consider a Christmas album. Itís a symphonic prog album with some quirky pop that sounds just as good in July. The prog is in a Yes/Genesis/Kayak vein, the quirky pop ŗ la early Queen. The sonic allusions to winter are by way of orchestral textures and motifs that we associate with the season due to numerous soundtracks. In some ways, this is a return to the style of the first Chris album, and it makes it clear that Mr. Bruin is quite a talent.
The wintry Snow Stories is followed by the autumnal Days of Summer Gone (2013, digipack), which features a lot of acoustic textures courtesy of additional musicians on cello, violin, oboe, flute, trumpet, and trombone. Chris says the album ďcarries the melancholic atmosphere of autumn. At times dreamy, warm, and gentle, at other times twisted, strange, and dark.Ē He goes on to say: ďThis album is once again very different. After the electronic, modern City of Light, I wanted to go back to a more organic approach. The arrangements are pretty detailed and colorful I think, and in terms of composition I tried to write more extended compositions rather than songs.Ē That he has, as four of the six tracks exceed 11 minutes. The Progress label feels this album has more in common with ńnglagŚrd (in their more acoustic passages) than any of the styles heard on the previous Chris albums. Listen to Cold Heart and the title track on YouTube. Read the Background Magazine review.
See the related project The Black Codex above.
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. Not to Be or Not to Be (1996, 73-minutes) is their second CD.
This is the 2013 re-release of Cold Steel (digipack), Cliffhangerís 1995 debut album remastered and expanded to a double-CD version. Disc 1 contains the original 68-minute album carefully remastered. Disc 2 contains 71 minutes of previously unreleased material from the same time frame. Of the 11 tracks on Disc 2, only three appear to be alternate versions of tracks on Disc 1. The digipack features new artwork and liner notes. Hopefully the other out-of-print Cliffhanger CDs will follow. Read reviews of the original at Prog Archives.
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, though some NTSC-only players may still play the audio-only content, while other NTSC players will balk at loading. Check below for the related band Novox.
Tides (2016, digipack) is the debut by this Dutch post-rock band.
Earth and Fire was an outstanding Dutch symphonic prog band featuring the beautiful and distinctive vocals of Jerney Kaagman. Apart from the Universal compilation, these are all the 2009-2011 remastered editions on Esoteric Recordings, known for their superb remastering jobs. This edition of Earth and Fireís self-titled 1970 debut features the Roger Dean artwork used on the UK edition of the LP. The CD contains two bonus tracks, the B-sides of their two earlier singles. This album contains more of the psychedelic rock typical of the time period, but shows the promise of what would follow.
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. Prog Archives has at least one mp3 along with lots of reviews.
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 1979ís Reality Fills Fantasy album, by which time they were well into their Abba disco style. It focuses on the bandís shorter songs and includes their early pop singles that predate their first LP.
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.
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.
Flamborough Head followed with two CDs that at the moment are out-of-print: Defining the Legacy (2000) and One for the Crow (2002), adding female vocalist Margriet Boomsma (who also plays flute and recorder) on the latter.
Flamborough Headís fourth album Tales of Imperfection (2005) continues with the same lineup as One for the Crow, with female vocals. This album is more instrumental though, with more flute and recorder and a very strong Camel influence. While guitarist Eddie Mulder doesnít have quite the warm, smooth tone of Andy Latimer, his leads are otherwise Latimer-like, and the prominent flute will remind the listener either of Snow Goose-era Camel or, when paired with 12-string guitar, early Genesis. The vocal sections have a different feel of course, similar to early Quidam or Karnataka. Mellotron flavors some of the music, and there are four tracks around the ten-minute mark, so at least for those oriented toward 1970s prog, this is Flamborough Headís strongest album to date. This is the digipack second edition on the Oskar label, with the audio remastered in 2016.
Live in Budapest (2008) is a 79-minute live CD of Flamborough Head performing at the 2007 Miniprog festival in the Hungarian capital. They play ten songs from their previous three studio CDs.
Looking for John Maddock (2009) continues with the same line-up as Tales of Imperfection and One for the Crow. Flamborough Head were well on their way on Tales of Imperfection, and now theyíve completed the transition from neo-prog band to classic prog band. Looking for John Maddock is hands down their best work to date. It is primarily instrumental and primarily Camel-like during the instrumental passages, highlighted by organ, flute, and lyrical guitar leads. When Margriet Boomsma sings, the music takes on the character of Earth & Fire or Renaissance. Keyboardist Edo Spanninga uses vintage sounds including Mellotron -- the passages with Mellotron resemble Genesis more than Camel -- while the music is full of the lyrical, melodic guitar leads of Eddie Mulder, whose style is close to Andy Latimerís. It seems that the work in Trion has paid off, and Flamborough Head and Trion now have a similar instrumental style.
Lost in Time (2013) is Flamborough Headís seventh studio album. ďLost in Time is a superb album and as far as Iím concerned it belongs to the musical highlights of 2013. A true masterpiece delivered by an outstanding Dutch prog band that can only be rewarded with the highest possible rating of five stars.Ē Read the full Background Magazine review. Watch the album trailer.
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 bands Leap Day and Trion. Check for Eddie Mulderís solo CDs below.
Against all odds, a new Focus album appeared in 2002. The original Focus disbanded at the end of the 1970s with the departure of their famous guitarist Jan Akkerman. The story of this incarnation of Focus begins with three young musicians who decided to pay tribute to their idol and form a Focus tribute band called (naturally) Hocus Pocus. After perfecting their cover versions, they invited keyboardist/flutist/madman Thijs Van Leer to a jam session. Thijs wasnít prepared for such devotion to the original groupís spirit, nor this high a quality level. The combined band was so good that Thijs jumped on the opportunity to reform Focus with fresh blood. And thatís exactly what Focus 8 is about. This is vintage Focus, played with enthusiasm, renewed vigor, and Van Leerís unique sense of humor. And yodeling.
After the reunion of Focus and the release of the Focus 8 album, the band toured the world and was introduced to new music styles and influences. The line-up on Focus and Friends - 8.5 / Beyond the Horizon (2016) features Thijs Van Leer, Pierre van der Linden, Bobby Jacobs, and Jan Dumťe. The sessions for this album were all recorded in between South American tour commitments during 2005, and every track is a previously-unreleased composition by the members of Focus or producer Marvio Ciribelli. The album features all-star Brazilian musicians joining Focus on new recordings, plus a drum duet with the great Brazilian drummer Marcio Bahia.
Drummer Pierre van der Linden, who first joined Focus in 1970, rejoined in 2004 and remains on the stool for Focus X (2012), so Thijs isnít the only old guy. This is the 2016 digibook (hardcover) edition on the bandís own imprint. Read the Dangerdog review. Roger Dean provided the cover art.
Live in Europe is an official 2CD live set that features the Focus 9 line-up of Thijs Van Leer, Pierre van der Linden, Bobby Jacobs, and Niels van der Steenhoven. This had previously only been available at the merchandise stand at Focus concerts. This includes most of Focusís best-known tracks, recorded in seven different European cities on the Focus 9 - New Skin tour.
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.
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, digipack) is a big leap forward. It was co-produced and mixed by Echolynís Brett Kull who plays guitar and/or adds backing vocals on every song, while Larry Fast (Synergy) contributes keyboards, Don Fast sitar and guitar, and Amsterdamís Stephanus Choir do what choirs do. Echolynís Ray Weston, Paul Ramsey, and Tom Hyatt get some vocals in, just to stay sharp. Larry Fast also 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 Watch the album preview video.
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 of and watch videos from all the Fractal Mirror CDs.
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 early 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.
The Gentle Storm is a collaboration between mastermind and multi-instrumentalist Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon) and vocalist/lyricist Anneke van Giersbergen (ex-The Gathering). Itís a given that this is an epic concept album. The interesting aspect of The Diary (2015, digipack) is that the two CDs in this set feature two contrasting interpretations of the same songs, with disc 1 ĎGentleí containing the ďacoustic/folkĒ arrangements and disc 2 ĎStormí containing ďa full-on metal assaultĒ. Of course the latter is as much symphonic prog as it is metal. Watch the official videos for Shores of India and Heart of Amsterdam and listen to the Gentle version of Shores of India.
Bring Me to the Water (2016) is a seven-track CD with a playing time of 34:34, the first CD by a Dutch prog band with powerful 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 sleeve and counts as only one-half CD for shipping.
This is the 2013 debut by a classy Dutch neo-prog band made up of six experienced musicians. Watch their official videos. Read the Background Magazine and Prog Archives reviews.
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 61-minute 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, 59-minutes) 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 todayís Sylvan, the darker RPWL songs, or most of the 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, 56-minutes) is a concept album with an original story. The music is bombastic modern progressive rock featuring a number of different vocalists, both male and female. There is some heavy guitar, and the music is generally dark, which may be enough to interest most prog-metalheads. 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.
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.
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 still the singer here. YouTube has a promo video for this album and the songs Life Is Good and Behind the Scenes. This is the European edition.
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. 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.
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.
Their third CD Realm of Shadows (2009) is their best to date. With only traces of metal now remaining, Knight Area may be the best Dutch neo-prog band ever (though far from best Dutch prog band).
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.
Hyperlive (2015, digipack) is Knight Areaís first live DVD (NTSC, all-region). An audio CD is included. Hyperlive was filmed in Katowice, Poland on 9 April 2015, with Knight Area performing 12 tracks including almost all of their most recent album Hyperdrive. Bonus features include interviews with Mark Smit, Gerben Klazinga, Mark Bogert, and Pieter van Hoorn, plus a photo gallery. Dolby Digital 5.1 surround and 2.0 stereo audio, 100 minutes. Watch the DVD trailer.
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.
Lady Lake is a Dutch progressive rock band formed in 1973, taking their name from the Gnidrolog LP. They released the album No Pictures in 1977, primarily instrumental and in the Camel and Caravan veins. This CD reissue adds six bonus tracks recorded in 1997 that sound like the band just picked up where they left off. This mini-LP edition is the 2010 limited edition released by the MALS label under license from Musea; it comes in a heavyweight cardboard sleeve.
ďInfluenced by the likes of Camel and to a lesser extent Focus and Genesis, Lady Lake offer extremely well-arranged and highly melodic progressive rock with a variety of moods and atmospheres. The ultra-sensitive guitar work of Fred Rosenkamp will definitely remind you of Camelís Andy Latimer, presenting a very melodic style with nice harmonies, a slight Canterbury feel and even some bluesy touches. A few pastoral passages with calm guitar playing are very close to early Genesis, while some jazzier parts remind one of Jan Akkerman. Keyboards are an absolutely fascinating element of Lady Lakeís music, with superb atmospheric parts and lots of good solos... Top-notch melodic symphonic prog with slight bluesy influences, Latimer-like guitars, a great rhythm section, some groovy passages and tons of memorable melodies, Lady Lakeís return has to be a regarded as a fantastic discovery among prog fans. Everything here is amazingly well-crafted and perfectly executed.Ē [Prog Archives]
After Lady Lake got back together to record the bonus tracks on the CD reissue of No Pictures, eight more years passed before their outstanding second album Supercleandreammachine (2005, 55-minutes), the album name a reference to the highly influential psychedelic Dutch radio show. This is beautifully-recorded, vintage instrumental progressive rock that can be placed alongside the first three Kaipa albums, with strong influences of Focus and a little Camel as well.
Unearthed (2006) is a 66-minute collection of rehearsal recordings from the years 1975-1998, recently mastered for this CD. The nine tracks of the album proper are one-take rehearsal pieces from the 1979-1981 period, which for the most part would have been Lady Lakeís second album. Almost all are previously-unreleased. There are two bonus tracks, one a 1975 demo and one a 1998 live recording of a long track from No Pictures. The audio quality of the rehearsal recordings is a notch below professional studio level of that era, but there is nothing objectionable that interferes with the enjoyment of the music, and great care went into the mastering. The music itself is very good. It is again instrumental symphonic prog in the flowing Camel vein, with other influences creeping in. Itís faster-paced than No Pictures and is more representative of the live sound of the band. An excellent archival release.
Awaking the Muse (2009) is the very strong debut by a Dutch symphonic prog band formed by members of Flamborough Head, Trion, Nice Beaver, King Eider, and Pink Floyd Project. Leap Day play upbeat, melodic neo-prog in the old Marillion, IQ, and Egdon Heath styles; The Flower Kings is not a bad reference point either. Simply ear candy for lovers of undiluted neo-prog. Watch the video for Eyes Wide Open. Read reviews at Prog Archives.
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.
From the Days of Deucalion, Chapter 1 (2013, digipack) followed on the heels of new albums by Trion and Flamborough Head, a very productive period for these musicians. Watch the album trailer video and listen to Insects on YouTube. ďTaking little cues from the classic era of Genesis and the epic sound of Pink Floyd, but with a vocal personality all their own and little traces of humour, this atmospheric work is not only Leap Dayís crowning achievement to date, but one of the finest neo-prog albums in a long while... Tighter melodies, tastefully executed instrumental passages without the need for drawn-out showboating, warm production and a surreal subject matter showcase the band improving everything they already did very well, while also setting the bar very high for not only themselves, but the neo-prog sub-genre itself.Ē Read the full review and others at Prog Archives, also the Background Magazine review.
From the Days of Deucalion, Chapter 2 (2015, digipack) is the second part of the concept album series. (Who knows how many chapters this thing has?) Watch the album trailer.
Life Line Project is a project centered around Dutch multi-instrumentalist Erik de Beer. Modinha is listed as a 2008 release, though it says 2009 on the disc itself. The Finnishing Touch CD was released in September 2009. (The seeming misspelling is because the main theme of the album is based on a Finnish folk melody.) Some of The Finnishing Touch may predate Modinha, having been recorded between 2007-2009, but the earlier material was partially remixed and completely remastered for this CD, with three new tracks added. De Beer is primarily a keyboardist, cut from the same cloth as Rick van der Linden and Keith Emerson, and favoring vintage keyboard sounds. These two CDs are instrumental keyboard-centric symphonic prog. Many other musicians contribute, so not only are there electric & acoustic guitars, bass, and drums, but also flute, oboe, mandolin, and lute. The DPRP review of Modinha explains the Life Line Project style in more detail. To some extent, this is a modern version of Trace, not quite on the same level but very welcome nonetheless.
The King, released in 2009, is an album whose origins date to the late 1970s, but the music was not finished until 2006. It features a large line-up of musicians, including vocals by Maruschka Kartosonto.
Distorted Memories (2010) was next, followed by the double-CD The Journey in 2011.
20 Years After (2012, 78-minutes) features an hour-long suite and four shorter tracks. The epic suite had been played live for years prior to this definitive studio recording. ďThis is an album for those who love their symphonic rock melodic, full of warm harmonies, and mixed with some elements of folk music.Ē [Prog Archives]
Armenia (2013) features musicians on vocals, drums, flute, oboe, and clarinet assisting de Beer. This is probably the best Life Line Project CD to date.
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.
Beyond Time is an instrumental album written during the late 1970s, first released in 1994 (probably on CD-R), remastered and re-released in this 2010 CD edition with two live bonus tracks added. See Prog Archives for reviews of all.
A star is born... 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 on YouTube. Read the Music from the Other Side of the Room review. Counts as only one-half CD for shipping.
Touch Wood (2004, 66-minutes) and Facing the Sunset (2005, 57-minutes) 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. Read reviews.
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 the songs Voices, The Patterns of the Landscape, and The Seventh Dimension on YouTube. Read the GloryDazeMusic review.
Norm (1996) is Marathonís second and final CD. Listen to Magic of Music on YouTube. 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.
On the Road (2014), the debut by Dutch neo-prog band Minor Giant, will be one of the top albums of the year for neo-prog fans. Gerben Klazinga (Knight Area) engineered, mixed and mastered. While the band cites as main influences Neal Morse, Frost, Transatlantic, and Camel, the end result is closer to Pendragon, Knight Area, and other Dutch neo-prog bands: very melodic, very symphonic, and very powerful. Watch/listen to the album overview and the title track. See the bandís website for more info.
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.
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 and Rainbowís End on YouTube.
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.
Odyssice are a Dutch instrumental sympho-prog quartet founded in 1986. They are led by guitarist Bastiaan Peeters, whose style is close to that of Andy Latimer of Camel: soaring, lyrical guitar work that might also be compared to David Gilmour, Steve Hackett, or Nick Barrett, yet is distinct from all of them. Lush keyboards also play a major role. If you thought the best tracks on Camel albums such as Nude were the instrumentals, then any of these is like getting an entire album of the good stuff.
This 2013 double-CD edition of Moon Drive (digipack) remasters and expands Odyssiceís first album. It contains the remastered 1997 Moon Drive tracks, the remastered 2003 ĎPlusí tracks (that appeared on Moondrive Plus), two previously-unreleased 1987 demo tracks, and an entire previously-unreleased 11-track live album recorded in 2001.
Secret Showcase (2013, digipack) is a CD+DVD of a live performance at the studio of RTV Noord-Holland that took place shortly before the band began recording their 2010 album Silence. The CD contains about 60 minutes of music, including extra songs played during the concert that were omitted from the TV broadcast. The DVD contains the show as broadcast, a documentary, a promotional live video of the song Olympus, and some rehearsal footage. The DVD is all-region, but as there is no indication on the packaging, assume it is PAL.
The Dutch band Plackband formed in the mid-1970s and were most influenced by Genesis. They took an 18-year holiday, reuniting in 2000. After 30 years, Plackband rebooted as PBII with three of the original members and the desire for a more modern sound. They had to find a new bass player, and keyboardist Michel van Wassem assumed lead vocal duties. 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. Frost is not a bad comparison in terms of that marriage of classic prog and modern execution. 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. (The U.S. edition lacks the DVD.) Read the Background Magazine and DPRP reviews.
The PBII@Boerderij.org DVD (2011, PAL, all-region) contains the launch concert for Plastic Soup. PBII perform the entire album plus additional songs that include covers of Here Comes the Flood and Have a Cigar. The concert features performances by John Mitchell, John Jowitt, and Heidi Jo Hines. It was shot by six HD cameras. The band says: ďYou will enjoy this concert in High Definition picture and soundĒ, and of course you wonít because this is a DVD, which is standard-definition picture and sound. (There is no Blu-ray.) The extras include behind the scenes material and the trailer of the new PBII project 1000Wishes. 104 minutes, Dolby Digital 5.1 surround audio.
1000 Wishes is PBIIís most ambitious project. The CD (2013, digipack) features The Hague Youth Symphony Orchestra, and Steve Hackett guests. The story is about the fight of a young boy against cancer and more generally about cancer in children. This is certainly PBIIís best music, symphonic neo-prog that is often reminiscent of Yes due in part to the singerís voice, while you may also flash back on Grobschnittís Rockpommels Land on occasion. Watch the promo video and the video for the song Evil Weed. Read the Background Magazine and DPRP reviews.
PBII have performed 1000 Wishes as part of a rock opera with the orchestra and a theater group (actors and dancers). The performances of 30-31 March 2013 were captured on the 1000 Wishes DVD (PAL, all-region, digipack). While the lyrics are in English, the play portion is in Dutch, so you have been warned, but it is a unique spectacle. Watch the DVD trailer.
Yes, this is the same Pythagoras that released the albums Journey to the Vast Unknown (1980) and After the Silence (1982), neither of which has had a legitimate CD reissue. The Correlated ABC (2011) is more or less the unreleased third album. The bulk of the material was recorded between 1983-1985 but not finished and mastered until recently. A few tracks from a 1983 live performance are interspersed, but itís all previously-unheard music. Youíll find some info on the bandís website. This was first released as a 7"+10"+12" vinyl set; we only carry the double-CD, which includes one additional track.
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.
Moods (2009, digipack, 78-minutes) 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 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.
Kayakís Ton Scherpenzeel guests on Beyond the Seventh Wave (2014, digisleeve), which puts Silhouette up there with the best continental neo-prog bands. Other guests add clarinet, flute, cello, and violin. Read the DPRP reviews. Watch the album trailer video.
Sinister Street are a Dutch prog band who have been around since the late 1980s. Trust (2002) is a typical neo-prog album in the Marillion/Saga vein, their first since 1992ís The Eve of Innocence. This is the MALS edition, produced under license from Musea.
After hearing the band 5bridges, we didnít expect to learn of another Dutch band playing classic progressive rock so soon, since for the previous 20+ years Dutch prog bands had taken their cues from Marillion or, more recently, metal bands. 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. While 5bridges are more Genesis-influenced, Sky Architect are a bit harder-edged, a bit darker, quirkier and more technical. Maybe more original too, because 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. (So is it any wonder music is more homogenized now?) 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. Note drummer and backing vocalist Christiaan Bruin is the guy responsible for the Chris CDs.
Probably just coincidence, but Sky Architectís 2011 follow-up A Dying Manís Hymn does at times sound like the great Dutch prog band Finch! And how many later bands have ever been compared to Finch? A Dying Manís Hymn is quite an extraordinary album, more mature than their debut. It is more instrumental than vocal, not without some contemporary aspects but primarily classic prog with a dark, Van der Graaf Generator vibe. The band relocated to the woods of Sweden to record this album, woods known to be full of prog magic.
A Billion Years of Solitude (2013) is Sky Architectís third, which they describe as ďheavier, more daring and inventiveĒ. They say the result is ďa stunning outburst of creativity featuring surprising changes, crazy rhythmic devices, polyphonic arrangements, and complex song structuresĒ. Read the Sea of Tranquility review. Watch the official video for Tides and listen to Elegy of a Solitary Giant on YouTube. 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.
After Dutch guitarist/composer/producer Arjen Anthony Lucassen finished the Ayreon rock opera The Human Equation, he wanted to do two things: showcase the talents of Mexican female singer Marcela Bovio, one of the vocalists on that Ayreon album, and form a band for the first time in ten years. The result is perhaps not as different from the symphonic side of Ayreon as the press releases would have you believe. Stream of Passion play heavy symphonic progressive rock and metal, epic in scope, but the beautiful (enchanting, intoxicating, angelic,Ö) vocals of Marcela Bovio are front and center and are the major difference. Their 2005 debut CD Embrace the Storm went into the Dutch charts, and Stream Of Passion toured Europe in early 2006. On the Live in the Real World DVD and companion double-CD, the band perform eight of their own songs plus a selection of Ayreon classics including several from The Human Equation. For the Ayreon material, the band was supported by Damian Wilson, the original Landmarq singer. The DVD (PAL, all-region) includes 19 songs, all shot in widescreen 16:9 with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround and 2.0 stereo audio. There are quite a few extras, including the Out in the Real World video. The 2CD contains the same 19 songs. See also the Elfonia CD, Marcela Bovioís regular band.
The titles listed above as remastered are the Esoteric label editions. The 2-on-1 CDs are the 1990 Polydor editions.
In 2008, Esoteric reissued the first four albums by Supersister, with their usual first-rate remastering job, bonus tracks, and fully restored artwork. Present from Nancy (1970) contains four bonus tracks, the A & B sides of Supersisterís first two singles. To the Highest Bidder (1971) also contains four bonus tracks, the A & B sides of their two 1971 singles. Pudding en Gisteren (1972) has two bonus tracks, the B-side of a 1972 single and a 1972 live version of Wow. 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? Probably best to start with Supersisterís earliest albums and work forward; it will all make more sense that way. 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. Read an overview of Supersisterís albums from one Dr. Progresso.
Released by Esoteric in 2009 is the remastered and expanded edition of the 1974 album Spiral Staircase by Sweet Okay Supersister. Sweet Okay Supersister was a side project of Supersister founders Sacha van Geest and Robert Jan Stips. As the label says: ďThis wonderfully eccentric album is musically unique, straying into territory blazed by luminaries such as Gong and Frank Zappa. Van Geest and Stips produced an album of musical virtuosity and eccentricity which also features guest appearances by Elton Dean and Supersisterís Ron Van Eck. This new CD edition replicates in full the limited edition book that came with vinyl copies and adds the bizarre single collaboration with Los Alegres: Coconut Woman b/w Here Comes the Doctor as two bonus tracks.Ē Read reviews at Head Full of Snow and Music-News.
Superstarshine was a compilation of single A and B sides. The 2-on-1 CD above omits two tracks from the LP in order to cram it on, but all the tracks that donít appear on other Supersister albums are included.
Survival is the name of the project of Dutch 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. Langevelt plays keys, bass and drums, with two guitarists assisting. 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. Note some of the audio samples on Survivalís MySpace and ReverbNation pages are not from this CD. The track list for Crusader is: The Holy Land, Beauseant, Lamentation, Crusader, Abide With Me, Baldwin, I Cried for You, Exceptional Friend, The Knights Templar, Montgisard, After All. Read the DPRP review.
The Gift of Anxiety (2013, digipack) is the first full-length album for Dutch prog band Sylvium, following a 2012 EP. While that EP was instrumental and more a solo project of guitarist and band leader Ben van Gastel, Sylvium are a proper band now, and The Gift of Anxiety has some quality vocals. 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. Watch the album trailer and the official video for Weathering.
Sylvium further develop their sound on their second CD, the concept album Waiting for the Noise (2015, digisleeve). Watch the album trailer and the official 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 Read the full Progradar 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.
Trion is a project made up of members of Flamborough Head and Odyssice. The name Trion is a contraction of the words trio and tron (short for Mellotron). On their well-received first CD Tortoise (2003), keyboardist Edo Spanninga decided to use only Mellotron sounds. The idea was to record some 1970s-styled progressive music. ďThe Mellotron is the pre-eminent prog keyboard of the seventies and dominated a lot of my favorite albums. So therefore all the flute, choir, strings, organ, cello and vibe sounds are from the Mellotron tapesĒ. Eddie Mulderís guitar work recalls not only Hackett, Gilmour, and Howe, but also Jan Akkerman, and at times Focus is evoked by particular chord progressions. Menno Boomsma of Odyssice provides his usual great drum and percussion work. Dutch artist Jasper Joppe Geers completes this package with one of his Roger Dean inspired artworks. This is an album for those interested in 1970s-styled instrumental work in the Floyd/Genesis/Yes/Focus vein and all those that love the sounds of the Mellotron. Read the Sea of Tranquility review. This is the Oskar label digipack reissue of Tortoise that adds two bonus tracks (13-minutes total).
On Pilgrim (2007), there is still a lot of tron, but also Hammond and pipe organ, piano, and vintage synth sounds. The result is a superior album, and a 76-minute one at that. This is 1970s-style instrumental symphonic prog whose strongest influences are Camel, Pink Floyd, Genesis, and Focus. There is also a smattering of Yes and Renaissance, the latter felt in the piano parts. Read the DPRP review.
Trion returned in 2013 with Funfair Fantasy, which as expected is an album of sublime instrumental prog with the same major influences as on Pilgrim. Watch the album trailer video and listen to Song for Canada, In the Distance, and Secret Matter.
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, 62-minutes) 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. As you listen to the album on Bandcamp (mp3 icon above), youíll realize that 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.
A Sorrow in Our Hearts (2001, 60-minutes) is the debut by this Dutch symphonic neo-prog band that can trace its roots to 1975. As with most debuts, there are a couple weak spots (occasional simple major triad harmonies or awkward lyrical constructions), but these are isolated occurrences. We can only describe the vocal style on this album as ego-less -- all members are credited with vocals. Acoustic guitar is employed to good effect, bass guitar is often up in the mix, textures and dynamics are skillfully varied throughout these long tracks. Recommended to fans of Genesisí offspring: Abel Ganz, Pendragon, Pallas, early Marillion, etc.
Eamonís Day (2003, 64-minutes) is their second CD and a definite improvement on their debut. It is the usual melodic Genesis and Marillion/Pendragon-derived symphonic style with (slightly-accented) English vocals, long tracks with tempo and mood changes and plenty of instrumental content, stacking up well against the other Dutch neo-prog bands from Egdon Heath in the 1980s through to the present. You can tell that Usís keyboardist is an admirer of Tony Banks. Thatís not to say there isnít a degree of originality present, and there is certainly something unique to the Dutch take on neo-prog here. There is greater use of acoustic guitar than is typical, and the bass is forward in the mix. A new singer, Stephan Christiaans, joined Us for this album, and his vocals are quite a bit stronger than those on the first album. The compositions are also better developed. Thereís an epic 27-minute track, a 15-minute track, and one at a mere 10 minutes. We can recommend this without hesitation to fans of neo-prog, especially Pendragon.
The Ghost of Human Kindness (2004, 68-minutes) 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, it is 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 ranging from 8 minutes to nearly 20.
On The Young and Restless (2006, 55-minutes), singer Christiaans is gone, so the vocal style reverts to that on A Sorrow in Our Hearts, though instrumentally Us have come a long way since their debut. There is a strong 1970s Genesis influence, down to Steve Hackettís guitar tone and the 12-string pastoral style, but with a lot more of Usís own style present than in Genesis clone bands such as The Watch. Better separation of instruments would work wonders in these dense mixes, but otherwise this is another fine effort by a band determined to keep symphonic prog alive in The Netherlands.
Reflections (2007, 61-minutes) and Climbing Mount Improbable (2008, 60-minutes) continue with the vocal style of the previous CD, while bandleader Jos Wernars handles pretty much everything by himself on Everything Changes (2009, 56-minutes), Feeding the Crocodile (2010, 62-minutes), and The Road Less Travelled (2011, 58-minutes). At present, 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. And these days, any indie artist that can manage a new CD just about every year deserves special mention.
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. Read the review at PsychedelicFolk.com.
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. The first two were released on this 2003 2-on-1 CD, while it took until 2011 to get 3 and 4 out. Introspection 3 and Introspection IV add 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. For audio, You Tube has Pavane Op. 50 and Introspection and probably a few more.
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 highly sophisticated and are the progressive appeal here.