La Tulipe Noir — Nostiman Hemar
(Musea FGBG-4635.AR, 2006, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2007-03-01This Greek quintet has been around since the mid-90s, this being their fourth release, a concept album about Homer's Odyssey. The best thing about this band are the idiosyncratic vocals of lead singer Ima (most of the band members just go by one name — must be a Greek thing), who is commanding and powerful in a Les Dougan (Aragon) sort of way; she delivers the goods with incisive passion and a full range of emotional dynamics. Sadly, the rest of the band is no match for her. The music itself is the most hackneyed brand of neo-progressive, full of pointless and abrupt changes, typical prog-metal guitar stylings that buzz and chug along under excessive layers of keyboards with ear-piercing digital tones, and predictable moves at every turn. A bassist and drummer are credited, but to be honest, all the bass and drum parts sound like they are programmed, the latter with that clicky gated sound that annoyed me back in the 80s when it was prevalent, and annoys me even more now. The overall approach reminds of the earliest albums by Asgard and Final Conflict, with all the cheesy melodrama and self-indulgent bombast that naïve young musicians could come up with as they attempted to emulate and outdo their only heroes, Marillion. It's all been done before, way too many times. There are few satisfying instrumental moments herein, surely not enough to save this from bogging down under its own weight.
Related artist(s): La Tulipe Noir
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more