Crystal Maze — Forever
(Music Is Intelligence WMMS 036, 1994, CD)
Dialog — Cry of the Hawk
(Music Is Intelligence WMMS 011, 1993, CD)
Mad Puppet — King Laurin and His Rosegarden
(Music Is Intelligence WMMS 053, 1994, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1995-07-01
Three recent albums by three different unrelated bands on Music Is Intelligence. All three released very promising debut albums in the early/mid-80s, these being somewhat belated follow-ups (to be fair, I believe Dialog had a couple albums in between). Dialog may be better known as Dawn Dialogue, a Russian band who released the energized symphonic opus I Put a Spell on the Fire (recorded in the early 80s) a few years back. Well, sorry to say, this band has since embraced a more mainstream rock song-oriented style that falls somewhere between Eloy and the Neo-Prog-Metal camp, with some nice atmospheric embellishments on some of the tracks, but others have a more programmed feel. There are lots of nice moments here, and vocalist Valery Maladze is quite good (lyrics in Russian), but ultimately this is an album of commercial aspirations. Not prog.
Similarly, Crystal Maze's seven-year follow-up to Waiting in the Spider's Web (which was a very promising album) is really little more than a reformed band intent on pursuing a pop direction. Decent music, well written and played, but hardly anything that most would call even remotely progressive.
Mad Puppet's King Laurin and His Rosegarden, on the other hand, is an entirely different matter. For the most part, the band has come a long way, the music is quite interesting, filled with great ideas, and although it's quite a bit more accessible than their debut Masque – a more tight and streamlined sound, they have done well to shed the neo-progressivisms the carried in the past. Some excellent soloing abounds, and overall the playing is very cohesive. Unfortunately, that's not the whole 'story.' In between the tracks we have this silly narration of the story of King Laurin and his rosegarden, the enchanted dwarf king with a magic hood, the gallant fighting warriors Diehard and Firebrand, Sybil and her dwarf maids... the kind of stuff that brings to mind bands like Glass Hammer and Citadel. Aaargh! You be the judge.
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more