Spain / Portugal
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
Absente H are a superb Spanish band debuting with Vagalume (2011, 65-minutes), a CD of pure 1970s style melodic symphonic prog sung in Spanish. (‘Vagalume’ had been the band name until recently.) The keyboard sounds are vintage, violin and flute are used, and the guitarist plays sympathetically -- it’s so refreshing to hear a new European prog band with a progressive rather than metal guitarist. With a band such as Absente H that intrinsically understand and embrace the aesthetic central to progressive rock, comparisons to other bands should be unnecessary. YouTube has the song Yo No Lo Se.
Beyond (2013) is the instrumental debut album for Alms, the project of Spanish composer and multi-instrumentalist Aitor Lucena. Lucena is one of those rare talents who seemingly can play any instrument handed to him. He names his musical heroes as Mike Oldfield, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Genesis, ELP, Gentle Giant, and Le Orme. Listen to Hypnos on YouTube. Read reviews at Prog Archives.
The second Alms CD An Irosmic Tragedy (2016) is “an epic rock symphony about life divided in three long suites, corresponding to each one of its phases: childhood, adulthood, and elderhood”. It’s a significant improvement over Beyond, partly due to the participation of four other musicians on drums, keyboards, cello/viola, and voice. Watch the album promo video and listen to this excerpt. Spanish speakers can read the La Caja de Pandora review. “A solid work with a beautiful vintage sound that will delight classic prog fans.” [Prog Archives]
This is a live album recorded in 2001 by a Spanish band whose first CD was released in 1999. The sound is excellent, and this is quite an original mélange of progressive styles. These ten mostly-instrumental pieces blend an elegant, symphonic jazz-rock featuring melodic sax in the vein of Soft Machine; melancholy vocal tracks influenced by Pink Floyd or Pulsar; and intense/complex King Crimson-style rock. There are also some Mediterranean touches in the rhythms and melody lines. A very promising band.
Altair is a Spanish band that released their second album Fantasias y Danzas in the early 1990s, at that time only available on cassette, later reissued on CD. It contained instrumental classical/progressive keyboard rock with ELP or Triumvirat as primary influences, plus a touch of Genesis. Their third album was called simply 3, recorded live in Barcelona in 2000 but not released until 2006. It has a couple tracks closer to jazz-rock but otherwise follows the same formula. La Esencia del Tiempo (2010, digipack) is a compilation drawn from those two albums plus three tracks from Altair’s now hard-to-find 1990 first album. Prog Archives has two Altair mp3s.
Sol de Medianoche (Midnight Sun) is the seventh album by this Catalan band, released in 2007. On the one hand, Amarok are capable of playing pure Anglo-prog, and on various tracks you can hear influences of Yes, Jethro Tull, ELP, Banco, the Canterbury bands, and Genesis/Steve Hackett. But they also mix in Mediterranean, Celtic, and renaissance music influences, and they use a lot of instruments. The seven-piece band consists of female vocals (in Spanish), drums and percussion, bass, electric guitar, flutes, soprano & alto sax, and keyboards. The keyboardist also plays various ethnic instruments: saz, kanun, charango, santour, accordion, marimba, and more. The songs are sung principally in Spanish, but there are some in Catalan and in English. The variety of instruments used on this release exceeds even Amarok’s previous album, but the arrangements are precise, the instruments employed in an intelligent fashion. The album concludes with a unique version of ELP’s Abaddon’s Bolero that fans of the original really need to hear. 65-minutes.
Retrospectiva (2007) is an 80-minute compilation CD covering only Amarok’s first four albums: Els nostres petits amics (1994), Canciones de los mundos perdidos (1995), Gibra’ara (1998), and Tierra de especias (2000), plus four previously-unreleased tracks. These first four Amarok CDs have seen limited distribution and (apart from the reworked second edition of Canciones...) are hard to come by now.
Canciones de los Mundos Perdidos 2009 is a new edition of Amarok’s second album, first published in 1995 on a large Spanish label, plus previously-unreleased tracks recorded between 1992 and 2008, 74-minutes total. As the band explains, “Canciones de los Mundos Perdidos (Songs of the Lost Worlds) was recorded and mixed in just nine stressing days in March 1995. Despite our carefully prepared pre-production, we ran out of time, and this was especially notorious in the mix... Twelve years later, going back to the old tapes, I thought it was a good idea to rescue and release them, of course with a little help of modern technology and, why not, some patches here and there.” Amarok became more of a rock band later, but their music was never more beautiful than on this album. The Mediterranean influences and most of the ethnic instruments also came later. The instrumentation on Canciones de los Mundos Perdidos is female voice, keyboards, guitars, violin, oboe, and drums/percussion, and it all feels more English and Celtic. Especially with the oboe, the music is sometimes reminiscent of Anthony Phillips’ albums with Harry Williamson (Tarka, Gypsy Suite), and Mike Oldfield deserves a mention as well.
Gouveia 2005 (2011, 65-minutes, mini-LP sleeve) is an excellent-sounding live CD recorded at the Gouveia prog festival held in Portugal. Note it’s spelled Gouevia on the CD sleeve, which appears to be a glaring error. Read reviews at Progressor and Prog Archives.
The first disc in the double-CD Hayat Yolunda (2015, mini-LP sleeve) is Amarok’s new studio album, after eight years of silence. And it’s a concept album, the title translating to Path of Life or The Way of Life. On this album, Amarok decided to omit the world music elements that had been a hallmark of their sound for a long time, in order to make a pure symphonic prog album. Their style is still rich with Mediterranean folklore though, still very much their own. Hayat Yolunda is a masterpiece, full of the lyricism and sensitivity that escape many prog bands today, endowing the music with an aura of magic. The second disc in this 2CD is Archivos 2009-2015, a full-length collection of rarities and archive recordings. Watch the album overview video.
Dance of the Goodbyes is the 2014 mini-LP sleeve reissue on the Azafran label of a 2010 CD that had disappeared too soon. Amoeba Split are a Spanish band with (on this first CD) female vocals in English, though their music is heavily instrumental. They are greatly influenced by the British Canterbury bands, from Soft Machine to Hatfield and the North to Matching Mole to Caravan to Gong. Dance of the Goodbyes is their first full-length release, following a 2003 demo. This edition adds a previously-unreleased bonus track. Read the Exposé and Prog Archives reviews.
On Second Split (2016, mini-LP sleeve), Amoeba Split are an instrumental band, losing their singer but adding two more instrumentalists for a total of six. Guest musicians add vibraphone, double bass, viola, violin, cello, 12 string guitar, and more vintage keyboards. The music is at times jazzier but still in the Canterbury vein, with lead work shifting from sax to trumpet to flute to guitar to keyboards to violin. Until Amoeba Split get this album up on their Bandcamp site, listen to an mp3 of About Life, Memories and Yesteryears.
This set reissues Asfalto’s fifth and sixth albums on CD: Más Que Una Intención (1983) and Cronophobia (1984), and adds a DVD of Asfalto live in 1985, all in an elaborate 8-panel foldout mini-LP style sleeve. The DVD is NTSC, all-region and runs about an hour. This Madrid-based band formed in 1972 and debuted in 1978 with an eponymous album of hard rock, then added a keyboardist and made their best album Al Otro Lado later the same year. Ahora followed in 1979, and the 1981 double-LP Dejalo Asi was quite good. Asfalto then added a new singer and formed their own label. By the time of Más Que Una Intención, the shift was on to melodic hard rock using lots of keyboards which add proggy touches, and Cronophobia continued in the same style. These two albums represent the height of Asfalto’s popularity in Spain, as they’re pretty mainstream. The band had a couple periods of inactivity but continued to release albums as late as 2009, though it’s unclear whether anyone outside Spain has heard those albums.
Spanish singer/guitarist José Carballido leads a large ensemble of musicians including a choir on the double-CD Requiem (2010). There is a lot of flute, such that Requiem sounds like Solaris working with a choir and an opera-style lead singer. As Spanish and Italian are related languages, the feel is close to certain Italian symphonic prog. Read the in-depth review at Bill’s Prog Blog, or skip to Bill’s conclusion: “If you like your prog with doses of heaviness, dashes of symph and a healthy helping of great vocals, then this is the album you’ve been waiting for. Requiem is a brilliant modern symph album that may well be looked at as a classic in the future.”
Guillermo Cazenave is known to many for his collaborations with Anthony Phillips, but much of his solo work is in the cosmic music vein, and Ser (2008, digipack) is probably his best such album. It was recorded at Anthony Phillips’ studio in England. Jeremy Morris has a couple guest vocals, otherwise the music is instrumental. This is not a retro, Berlin School album, though that influence is present. There are acoustic instruments (guitars, flute, sitar, santur) in addition to electronics, so the music has a more organic feel than most electronic music, and crosses over into progressive à la Jade Warrior.
Daymoon is a Portuguese symphonic prog band that on All Tomorrows (2011, 65-minutes) includes multinational guests Andy Tillison (The Tangent), Mats Johansson and Thomas Olsson (Isildurs Bane), Hugo Flores (Sonic Pulsar, Project Creation, Factory of Dreams), and many others from Portugal, the USA, Sweden, and Italy. Tillison produced and mixed the album. Daymoon have an early-1970s progressive sound, and while you can say that about numerous current bands, Daymoon’s retro sound is relatively rare. Much of it has the softer, more mysterious and slightly psychedelic sound that is part Trespass-era Genesis, part Moody Blues, part early Van der Graaf Generator, part Giles Giles & Fripp, and part early Pink Floyd. Along the way there are suggestions of Gentle Giant, Jethro Tull, and King Crimson. Daymoon use flute extensively to get that particular period sound. A surprising release then, and one with great appeal to those fond of that early sound and style.
Fabric of Space Divine (2013, digipack) had been a work in progress since before All Tomorrows. It recounts the history of the universe in a little over an hour, with each track flowing seamlessly into the next. Flores is again among the guests. This is an impressive symphonic rock album that can’t be easily compared to one or two prog bands, but the names we tossed out there for the debut are still applicable, along with Mike Oldfield and Flores’ own bands (Sonic Pulsar, Project Creation) minus the metal. Daymoon weave in subtle ethnic touches on some tracks, adding to the richness of the music. The variation in style is one of the album’s strong points, as we’ve all heard bands with a homogeneous sound repeat it for 70 minutes and then wonder why listeners pine for the days of 35-minute albums. Elaborate, rich, and more consistent than its predecessor, Fabric of Space Divine is a significant step forward for this unique band. See Prog Archives for reviews of both CDs.
Cruz Quebrada (2016, digipack) is still sung in English. As the album trailer explains, Cruz Quebrada is the name of a Lisbon suburb that translates to “broken cross”. Also watch the official video for Thyme (though it contains only an excerpt from the very long track). Even if between them the two videos don’t portray the full range of the music here, we urge you to watch them as there is a heartbreaking story behind this album. The album moves from a dark and melancholy first half to a more optimistic second half, using a great variety of instrumentation including violin, trumpet, clarinet, recorder, and more. Read the streetclip.tv review.
This talented band from Barcelona released their first album in 1997, followed by an album of King Crimson covers amusingly titled The Great Red Lament in Aspic. The original guitarist Alberto Diaz was a student of Robert Fripp in Guitar Craft courses. Their third album Trayecto (2000) received critical acclaim, as the band was able to capture the spirit of King Crimson.
Dificil Equilibrio’s fourth album Simétricanarquia (2003, digipack) reveals an evolution in their music. The King Crimson influence is still present, but through these 11 mostly instrumental pieces, Alberto Diaz (guitar/vocals), Joan Francisco (bass), and Luis Rodriguez (drums) travel through other musical worlds, with some peaceful acoustic moments and Spanish folk influences, the sound fleshed out by guests on cello, trumpet, and sax.
Flood (2006) is their fifth album, all previously-unreleased tracks recorded live in the studio. These eleven instrumental pieces continue the evolution away from King Crimson into more original territory, though the influence of Fripp is still easily heard. You have to wonder about the track sequencing though. Dificil Equilibrio open this album with the most experimental improvised piece, perhaps a strategy to drive away any tentative listeners. The rest of the album covers a wide range of intensity, from structured melodic compositions with clean guitar tones to dark, angular pieces using distorted tones. Like King Crimson, Dificil Equilibrio strike a balance between musical experimentation and structured progressive rock.
Quite a few years passed, and only the drummer remains on Dificil Equilibrio’s sixth album La Perdua (2013), with a new guitarist and bassist and guests on viola, flute, clarinet, sax, and more. And there are vocals on this album. The style has expanded, with more references to classic prog other than King Crimson, guitar leads that sometimes sound more like Hackett than Fripp. Listen to the songs Fuegos en el Sol and Reacción en Cadena on YouTube.
Guerrers de Mitjanit (Midnight Warriors) is the second album from this Catalonian progressive band singing in Catalan. It may have been self-released in 2009 before this 2011 edition on Musea. Doctor No’s style is primarily the sort of neo-prog produced in the early-to-mid 1990s by other Spanish bands such as Galadriel, Harnakis, Rivendel, and Dracma. In fact, singer/drummer Enric Pascual was a member of Harnakis. Guerrers de Mitjanit (69-minutes) is a step forward from Doctor No’s 2003 debut El Bufó de la Cort. A jester appears on the cover of both CDs, in case you can’t hear the early Marillion influence in the music. However, the vocals are softer, not the dramatic Fish type, and the music bears only as much resemblance to Marillion as the aforementioned Spanish neo-prog bands, with Camel another likely influence. Doctor No have left room for some instrumental excursions, especially on the 24-minute title track of Guerrers de Mitjanit. Read reviews at Prog Archives.
A Fine Stormy Weather is the 1996 second album from a very good Spanish neo-prog band (Marillion/IQ style) singing in (accented) English. Read reviews at Prog Archives. (There is an audio sample there.) This mini-LP edition is the 2009 limited edition released by the MALS label under license from Musea, which comes in a heavyweight cardboard sleeve. Limits is Dracma’s 1994 debut.
This band’s claim to fame is that they later became Mezquita, the Spanish band who released the classic Recuerdos de mi Terra in 1979. The music on this 2011 CD covers 1972-1977, but it is proto-prog at best; much of it is simply dated hard rock with keyboards. The earliest material here could have come out of the late 1960s except that Spain was running a few years behind.
Factory of Dreams - Poles ($12.99)
Sonic Pulsar is a Portuguese band singing in English, centered around the talents of one Hugo Flores. Playing the Universe (2002, 72-minutes) combines the progressive space-rock style of Eloy with some of the modern metallic sound. The Eloy style is also updated by occasional use of drum loops and other modern accoutrements. Sonic Pulsar is playing prog-metal at times, usually in short bursts, but their music is too symphonic progressive and has too much depth to lump them in with all the prog-metal bands. So call it heavy spacey sympho-prog, with keys playing as large a role as guitar.
On Out of Place (2005, 69-minutes), Flores stated that his intent was to shift Sonic Pulsar’s music toward prog-metal and reduce the range of styles from that present on Playing the Universe. That would have been disastrous musically, but fortunately Flores fails, as it’s still primarily progressive rock. There is still plenty of spaciness and diversity and many strong melodies, once you get past the first couple tracks anyway. This album improves upon Playing the Universe, with great imagination especially throughout the 44-minute suite A Chain of Actions, where the titles go three deep and even the subsections have subsections. The recording quality is still a bit muddy, but that doesn’t prevent this from being a very impressive work.
Project Creation is Hugo Flores’ project that followed Sonic Pulsar, involving quite a few musicians from the Portuguese progressive scene, including singer Linx from the band Forgotten Suns. Although it is essentially similar to Sonic Pulsar, combining progressive rock with metal and elements of space rock and electronics, Floating World (2005, 72-minutes) is bigger sounding in that epic metal sort of way. The vocals are stronger and the production is now equal to the music. With Project Creation, Flores has become the Portuguese Ayreon.
Poles (2008) is the inaugural CD for Factory of Dreams, the latest project of Hugo Flores. If his Project Creation albums correspond to Ayreon, then Factory of Dreams is his Stream of Passion. Here Flores teams with singer Jessica Lehto, who possesses a beautiful voice. The music is heavy enough that prog-metal fans are unlikely to bail, but while the Project Creation albums have passages during which the music becomes little more than metal, Poles remains more progressive and melodic. Flores is adept at adding colorful electronic details, and that aspect is allowed to shine here, resulting in a musical fantasy world with great sonic depth.
Forgotten Suns are a Portuguese band singing in English who began as a neo-prog band with the 2000 CD Fiction Edge 1 (Ascent), which showed a lot of Marillion influence alongside some heavier elements. Their second CD Snooze (2004) showed the heavier elements taking over, with Dream Theater the main influence. Innergy (2009) is their third, with only the guitarist and keyboardist now remaining from the original lineup, and Forgotten Suns have completed the transition to prog-metal band.
This is another joint release of the Swiss Galileo and American ProgRock Records labels, the 78-minute 2010 debut by a Portuguese progressive rock band singing in English. They’re in the modern style with a lot of influence of heavy rock and metal, but they do have a true keyboardist. Rush is certainly one influence, while the instrumental passages at least are influenced by the likes of Planet X. The vocal passages generally remain melodic and accessible, while the instrumental passages are where FramePictures unleash some fireworks. So think of mainstream heavy prog bands such as Shadow Gallery or Enchant mixed with a chops-fest band such as Planet X.
This is not a guy named Franc but a Catalan symphonic prog band whose name translates to ‘Free Will’. They’ve been in existence since the mid-1980s, and Hoc (2013) is their fourth album. The band say their influences come from classic British progressive rock but that they like to add hints of jazz, pop, and Mediterranean sounds. They are a sextet with two keyboardists and use flute and cello as secondary instruments. Vocals in Catalan. Listen to the song Nuria on YouTube.
This Spanish band (singing in English) began as an early PFM and Genesis-influenced band on Muttered Promises (1988), adding more of their own identity with each succeeding album, always relying heavily on the vocal talents of Jesús Filardi. Chasing the Dragonfly (1992) is their second and distinguishes itself from their debut by the addition of some ethnic touches. Mindscapers (1997) is their third, a 61-minute sci-fi concept album.
After a long wait, Galadriel’s fourth album Calibrated Collision Course appeared at the end of 2008. Most of this album was composed by bassist/keyboardist José Bautista, beginning as early as 1995, and it maintains continuity with the previous Galadriel albums. The new CD includes guests Jean Pascal Boffo and Twelfth Night singer Andy Sears (who has emigrated to Spain). Blending Sears’ backing vocals with Filardi’s lead vocals was a good move, but we still feel that Filardi should allow more instrumental passages, as he sings over just about everything, and always has. That may avoid the problem of the singer having nothing to do on stage during instrumental passages, but more contrast would be welcome. That said, this is a richly-textured progressive rock album, blending symphonic prog with some aspects relating more to Peter Gabriel or modern King Crimson than to Genesis, and more of a jazz/classical bent than any of those artists. 58-minutes.
To the list of Spanish progressive fusion bands that includes Iceberg, Secta Sonica, Musica Urbana, Pegasus, Borne, and Guadalquivir, add Gurth from near Barcelona. The band trace their beginnings to 1995 but didn’t record their first demo until 2003. Tormentes (2008) is their debut CD. On this CD, Gurth are a quintet of bass, drums, and three guitarists. One of the guitarists actually plays guitar synth, filling the role of a keyboardist, while the other two play both electric and acoustic. The music is 1970s-styled, mostly instrumental, with a small amount of vocals which we’ll guess are in Catalan. As with the other Spanish bands mentioned, Gurth have one foot in fusion and one in progressive rock, with similar quality and appeal.
A Life in Rock Minor is the 2008 debut CD for Spanish prog rock quintet Hannah. It is melodic neo-prog sung in English. As with most European bands of this generation, there is nothing in Hannah’s sound unique to their country of origin other than an accent in the singer’s English (which is only apparent when the vocals are exposed in the mix). It isn’t prog-metal, but the guitarist’s style shows some metal influence, which is what distinguishes neo-prog of this decade from neo-prog of the 1980s. Note the first mp3 icon above leads to Hannah’s Flash-based site. Click MEDIA, then click AUDIO.
Something may have gotten lost in translation in this album’s title. Nevertheless, this is an outstanding 1990 Spanish symphonic progressive CD with excellent female and male vocals in English, though heavily instrumental. Harnakis were a bit similar to Galadriel, another Spanish prog band operating around the same time. The music is Genesis and Camel-inspired but more Mediterranean, showing many aspects of the band Asia Minor.
Inversa Visual, the fourth album from this six-man Barcelona prog band, was released by the band in 2009 and reissued in this 2010 edition by Musea. Herba d’Hamelí began their career playing Jethro Tull covers, and they’ve gone through some changes, especially affecting their third album which was only released as a download. On Inversa Visual, they play 1970s-style symphonic prog featuring both flute and keyboards, in the vein of Gotic and Camel, with some jazz-rock that recalls Iman and Iceberg. The vocals are in Catalan. If you told us this album had been recorded in the mid-1970s, we would have been fooled and happily filed it next to Gotic, Ibio, Companyia Elèctrica Dharma, and the many other first-generation Spanish prog bands. Read reviews at Prog Archives.
This Spanish band debuted in 2000 with Mutatis Mutandis, an impressive album that makes all the right moves, convincingly combining traditional progressive influences (Yes and Genesis above all) and neo-progressive ones, in particular The Wake-era IQ. There are majestic instrumental passages where you could swear you’re listening to IQ in all their splendor. Read reviews.
Mythos (2005) is quite a different second album but every bit as good. There is no neo-prog on this disc. Maybe you can compare some of it to Jean Pascal Boffo’s Carillons or to Edhels. There are touches of Echolyn, Steve Hackett, 1980s King Crimson, and a slight jazz-rock influence. Syncopated rhythms, numerous breaks, complex harmonies, sophisticated vocal arrangements, great progressive guitar (no metal!)... the album is full of great stuff. Remember that it’s a good thing when an album doesn’t strongly suggest something that has gone before. Vocals are in English. Read reviews.
This Spanish band seems to have rediscovered the key to symphonic prog: an adept synthesis of classical and rock by musicians with a first-hand knowledge of classical music. Mysticae Visiones (2002) is their second album. The two pieces that comprise this album can be considered rock symphonies. Keyboardist Carlos Plaza is the composer and mastermind behind this project, and his piano/keyboard parts form the foundation of Kotebel’s music. Flute, sax, female voices, cello, soaring guitar leads, and of course bass and drums complete the sound, which recalls Camel (especially The Snow Goose), Ezra Winston, and The Enid, plus a few touches of ELP at their most orchestral. Highly refined, mystical, and bombastic, this is first-rate instrumental classical progressive rock.
Fragments of Light (2003, 72-minutes), Kotebel’s third album, is a very impressive work of 1970s-style progressive rock featuring heavenly female vocals, abundant flute parts, complex harmonies and rhythm changes, and virtuoso keyboards. Keyboardist Carlos Plaza remains the main composer, aided this time by guitarist Cesar Garcia. Kotebel’s main influences are the classical composers Debussy, Ravel, and Gabriel Fauré and the progressive bands of the “golden age” (Yes, Genesis, Camel, The Enid, etc.), though the music ends up closer to continental bands such as Asia Minor or Ezra Winston than to the British bands.
Omphalos (2006, digipack) is Kotebel’s fourth album, and while their previous CDs were excellent, this one is even better. They play ambitious and complex symphonic progressive with strong classical influences, but also touches of jazz. The band has two keyboardists including their composer, and while some passages are slightly similar to ELP, there are also passages dominated by electric guitar. They have a full-time flute player, and they use operatic female soprano vocals, sometimes with lyrics (mostly English), sometimes wordless and used as another instrument. Kotebel has become quite an original band, with complex harmonies and logical shifts in dynamics, tempo, and texture. The album is centered on the 30-minute Pentacle’ Suite.
Ouroboros (2009, 72-minutes, digipack) is darker, more aggressive and angular than their previous albums. The female voice is gone (except on the live bonus track); this is purely instrumental. This is the most complex, intricate work yet for Kotebel, who must be one of the most overlooked progressive rock bands in the world. Because for those who appreciate the challenging, non-song-oriented style of prog championed by Anglagard and others, Ouroboros is about as good as it gets. Read reviews at Sea of Tranquility and Prog Archives.
Concerto for Piano and Electric Ensemble (2012, digipack) features Adriana Plaza Engelke as soloist in Kotebel’s rendition of Carlos Plaza’s composition of the same name. After the concerto itself, the CD contains one additional track. The band says: “In four movements, this concerto explores different languages and subgenres in progressive rock (symphonic, avant-garde) and classical (romanticism, impressionism, modernism). The album includes a ‘making of’ DVD with a full video rendition of the recording sessions in high resolution audio (24bit / 48kHz).” Assume the DVD is PAL. “This is simply a stunning tour-de-force of impeccable musicianship, clever arrangements, and well-composed instrumental progressive rock... the gorgeous melodies and stunning displays of high-quality musicianship make this album well-worth the price of admission.” Read the full Sea of Tranquility review.
Live at Prog-Résiste 2013 is a limited edition 2CD (2016, digipack) featuring a remastered version of the album released in 2014 only as a digital download, containing Kotebel’s complete concert at the 2013 Prog-Résiste convention in Belgium. The album features the complete Concerto for Piano and Electric Ensemble plus pieces from Ouroboros. As such, this is Kotebel’s modern style, which is challenging and complex, closer to the likes of Anglagard, as opposed to Kotebel’s earlier, more melodic/romantic style. This 2CD adds bonus tracks from Kotebel’s concerts at Portugal’s Gouveia Art Rock festival in 2007 and Madrid in 2011.
Medina Azahara are a Spanish band in existence since the late 1970s that have released at least 15 albums to date and sold large numbers of them in Spain. They more or less took over the flamenco rock style from Triana. As time went on, Medina Azahara’s music moved closer to symphonic AOR than symphonic prog, but the Andalucian style of singing and other musical elements plus the symphonic keyboards give the music appeal to progressive fans. Medina Azahara feature strong vocals in Spanish and a high energy level. Dónde Está la Luz (1993) is their eighth album and the first to receive U.S. distribution. La Estacion de los Suenos is from 2005.
Negua is a Spanish band from Barcelona that includes guitarist Fidel Vázquez of Unoma and bassist Jordi Planas (ex-Dracma). A Way Out (2006, 60-minutes) is sung in English. The music is neo-prog with guitars dominating over keys, vocal-heavy and crossing over into mainstream rock, though the song lengths tend to be long. Read the Spanish Progressive Rock Page review.
Following a 2002 debut, Cuentos de Otros Mundos Posibles (2007) is the second album for Neverness, a Spanish melodic prog band. They sing in Spanish on this album, but it is primarily instrumental. Their sound is mostly 1970s-oriented, with vintage keys and long flowing tracks. The music has elements of melodic hard rock and psych, and references to Pink Floyd and 70s King Crimson. “They have a unique take on prog rock. The guitar work ranges from 1970s ‘acid-rock’ style to psychedelic to early Crimson-influenced. The synthesizers are all very analog-sounding and even manage to go slightly out of tune at times (that’s realistic for a 70s synth!). There are brief but well-placed Mellotron passages scattered here and there. The drums are a bit muddily-recorded (purposely, I’m thinking), making them sound like Trespass-era Genesis. In short, if you told me this was a re-release of a late 60s/early 70s prog album, I would be hard-pressed to argue with you, except perhaps for the lack of tape hiss. Cuentos de Otros Mundos Posibles has several purely instrumental tracks and long instrumental sections even in the tracks with vocals. The shortest song Pachamama clocks in at 5:17, most are in the 9-10 minute range, and the closing epic Mundo de Locos is 12:15. The music is mostly melodic but has some nice spots that decay into noisiness, though not enough to make them sound too abrasive. Not much bad to say about this album; a very strong release that I really enjoyed.” [Fred Trafton - Gibraltar Encyclopedia of Progressive Rock]
Neverness switch to English-language vocals for their third and best album The Measure of Time (2009, 61-minutes), featuring long tracks blending 70s Pink Floyd and King Crimson with Deep Purple style hard rock and more modern touches (e.g., Porcupine Tree, later Marillion). Read the Proggnosis and DPRP reviews. Watch the video for Shadows of the Past.
Samsara (1998, 60-minutes) is the debut for Numen, a five-piece Spanish band that present an effective amalgam of the Camel and Marillion styles, the latter felt particularly in the ringing, bell-like clean guitar tone that is one of Steve Rothery’s trademarks. Singer César Alcaraz delivers the English lyrics in a clear voice with only a slight accent. The occasional appearance of flute is most welcome. The tracks are generally long with a good balance of instrumental sections and vocals, and though this will be called neo-prog by most, it avoids those tendencies that can give neo a bad name. The only ethnic Spanish element is the use of some Spanish guitar, otherwise they sound British. Read this Prog Archives review. This is the remastered 2015 digipack edition on the MALS label.
Numenclature (2014, digipack, 62-minutes) is their second, and despite the passage of 16 years, the lineup remains the same. Watch the official video for The Camel’s Back and listen to Out of the Earth on YouTube.
Como Niños (“Like Children”) is a 2005 album by guitarist Andrés Olaegui, formerly of the great Spanish flamenco rock band Guadalquivir. This is a mostly-instrumental jazz record with Spanish touches. 65-minutes.
On Reino Rocoso (1990), Spanish band Onza are an instrumental trio (from Andalucía) assisted by two keyboardists, playing a mix of jazz-rock and progressive rock. The jazz-rock relates to bands such as Iceberg or Borne, with touches of folk and lots of acoustic textures. The progressive side of the band relates more to bands such as Granada or to early King Crimson.
On Zona Crepuscular (2002, 57-minutes), Onza are a quartet (guitars/vocals, keys/flute, bass, drums) with only one person in common with the Onza that recorded Reino Rocoso. Zona Crepuscular is a very good symphonic prog album that one might compare to the Spanish 1970s band Mezquita. The nearest Anglo equivalent is probably Camel, and there are passages that remind one of the Italian 70s progressive bands. There are good vocals in Spanish but the album is heavily instrumental. Listen to the tracks Retornando por un largo camino, Alcazaba, and Eclipse on YouTube.
This is the 2010 third album by this Spanish band from Madrid. Psicotropia are a guitar/bass/drums trio, and so some of the material is technical heavy rock but not progressive rock in our book. However, some tracks feature guests on keyboards, violin and cello; these of course are the most proggy tracks. Vocals in Spanish. Digipack. Read reviews at Prog Archives.
1996 album by this Spanish neo-prog band, with vocals in English, Spanish, and French. The music is symphonic progressive comprised of three long suites, highly composed, with references to Van der Graaf Generator, Genesis, and King Crimson.
This self-titled CD is from 2007 and should be considered the first for Senogul, a Spanish instrumental band from Asturias playing refined, melodic 1970s-style progressive rock. They released a 37-minute CD in 2005, but the 70-minute self-titled CD contains re-recorded versions of all the tracks on that earlier CD. Senogul have diverse influences, with elements of Camel, Caravan, King Crimson, classical, jazz-rock, tango, flamenco, and more. The mainstays of their sound are classical piano married to tasteful guitar work, with exemplary interplay between the instruments. Guest musicians add flute and sax to some tracks. The music is flowing and intricate rather than bombastic or dramatic, but is not lacking for energy. Asturias was also home to Crack and Asturcon, and Senogul is a very worthy successor.
Pallas (1995) is the second album by this Spanish retro-prog band. The album sounds as if it was recorded in 1971, as the keyboards and guitar tones are all vintage, the style decidedly British. Guests provide flute, violin and cello. “I found every twist and curve of this album enjoyable right from the start... M José Millon is a wonderful vocalist, she sings in both Spanish and English, her voice mildly reminiscent of Clodagh Simmond’s from Mellow Candle only without the pure folk quality. The production of this album is similar to that band as well, or maybe 70s recording in general... Between the keyboardist’s skill and arsenal of ivory, this album is vintage keys wonderland... With Pallas, Snowdonia have damn near released the perfect album... For an old dog like me, this album is pure joy.” [Dane Carlson, Exposé] Prog Archives’ review page includes an mp3 of one song.
Bholenath (2008, 58-minutes) is the second CD for this Barcelona band who play mostly-instrumental music blending King Crimson, Gong, the Canterbury bands, and fusion of the more daring variety. There are three songs with English-language vocals that show Soma Planet can also be gentle and melodic. Read the Progressor and Proggnosis reviews.
This 2013 double-CD reissues the two albums of Spanish prog band Storm: The Storm (1974) and El Dia de la Tormenta (1979). The first album is in the Deep Purple heavy-prog style, organ and all, and sung in English. When Storm returned five years later with their second album, only the bass player had changed, but their style had changed, not surprising given how rapidly rock changed in those years. The second album is both more symphonic and more accessible, and is sung in Spanish. This 2CD set comes in an 8-panel foldout mini-LP style sleeve. Listen to the first three songs from the first album and the first two songs from the second. (These songs on YouTube were taken from vinyl and not from this 2CD; don’t worry about the pops and clicks.)
Tantra was Portugal’s top symphonic progressive rock band during the 1970s. Their music could be compared to Genesis, Yes (circa Topographic Oceans), Camel, and perhaps Gentle Giant, with touches of jazz-rock at times. Their very lyrical vocals are in Portuguese. Their albums have the refined and complex arrangements of the best 1970s European progressive bands, and the level of musicianship is high. Misterios e Maravilhas (1978) is the CD reissue of their first album.
This instrumental symphonic prog band from Madrid features former members of the great 1970s band Azahar. Their music is in the flowing, intricate style of a number of other Spanish prog bands, e.g., Omni, Onza, Senogul (first album). Camel is the closest Anglo equivalent, with touches of Pink Floyd and fusion. Recuerdos del Futuro (Memories of the Future) is their 57-minute 2008 debut. Among several guest musicians is a flute player on three tracks, which reinforces the Camel comparison. Their second El Sueño de Arsinoe (2011, 68-minutes) is even more refined and elegant, with various guests expanding the instrumental palette with oboe, violin, sax, female vocals and more.
Croma (2003) is the first album by Unoma, a project created by Spanish composer/guitarist Fidel Vázquez (who went on to form the band Negua), with Pi2’s Pito Costa on keyboards & bass, Pi2’s singer Alex Warner, a drummer and two guests. This is an album of supremely tasteful guitar-based instrumentals, with English vocals from Warner on the 15-minute In the Name of God that closes the album. Although this is ostensibly a guitarist’s album, there are plenty of keyboards; in a couple places these are downright Genesis-inspired. Vázquez is a talented guitar player, well-versed in subtlety and nuance and thus able to convey emotion, and a clever and gifted composer. Read reviews at Prog Archives.
This Spanish symphonic band plays sophisticated and refined progressive rock with references to Camel, Focus, Steve Hackett, Gryphon, Hostsonaten, Anthony Phillips, and Jethro Tull. Uno (2004) is mostly instrumental, with flute and violin in addition to keys and guitar. One or two tracks have a more neo-prog flavor, with heavier guitar.