Progressive DisDURPance Vol. 2
Press comments - english
Markus Weis really does everything he can to support progressive rock/metal scene. The first volume of this compilation presented new acts in the prog scene and I believe that this disc helped to get recognition for some of them (like, for example, Esthetic Pale). The new compilation again offers carefully selected tracks from European prog rock / prog metal. We've got such prog rock bands as Flamborough Head, Dionysos, Twin Age, Esthetic Pale (once again), or WW, progmetallers Moondaze, Moonlit, Blank, Winterland or Third Voice, and the band that doesn't fall in any frames and is my favourite - Mayfair. Their psychedelic "Trip" from wonderful album "Fastest trip to cybertown" is the absolute highlight on this CD and maybe it will help the band to get more recognition, what they have been needing for a long time. Other highlights include Flamborough Head, Moonlit and Esthetic Pale. But all the proggers will find their own favorites, as the compilation offers something for each taste, as well as serves as an overview of what's happening in European scene. Besides good points we can also notice that the influence of Dream Theater is too evident and many bands still find their inspiration in this band's music. This CD offers all the needed info about featured bands, so I can only repeat what Sigitas said concerning Vol.1: "Support it !"
Nowadays when metal scene is crowded and competition is so huge, we can cath ourselves in constant searching for something new, untold yet. On this compilation CD eleven bands display their profiency and sense for great creativity. With 70 minutes long material you can fully satisfy your needs if you're looking for something different and original based on the strange symbiosis of melodic harmony and metal robustness. Most of those bands extract their metal base and refine it with some modern approach to progressive performance. There's no usual brutality and pure aggression and this fact necessarily causes the change which opens new borderless unexplored area to their resourceful talent and huge sphere of listener's expectations which constantly feel an urge to be satisfied on the most sophisticated way.
In an effort to promote progressive music by helping unknown prog bans reach a bigger audience, the DURP (website by Markus Weis) brought to life this compilation series "Progressive DisDURPance" which contains the best prog bands that have sent their material to the DURP review page. Only one band - Third Voice (USA) - is not of a European origin on this CD. I wouln't say that anything on here is the best prog rock or prog metal I have ever heard, but there is a lof a cool interesting things going on. Most prog fans and musicians should definitely check this out. However, this isn't for the average rock and roller. This is thinking man's music.
This, the second DURP-collection gives us a much more professional feeling than the first. Three tracks stands out from the rest. It's the songs from Twin Age, Third voice an WW. Unfortunatly there are a few less interesting tracks as well. Especially the song by Winterland has nothing to do on this fine collection.
Rather soon after the first disc, DURP decided to release a second compilation album. This time more attention was paid to the artwork, which turned out very nice. The subtitle is: "The best of all demotapes/CDs from unknown progrock/progmetal jewels sent to the DURP in 1998". Vol.2 features eleven bands that are not completely new to the listener. For instance I guess a lot of our readers are familiar with the likes of Flamborough Head and Twin Age. Also the artists are not restricted to Germany alone. Bands from France, USA, Sweden, The Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland are to be heard. Are there any gems amongst these unknown bands ? Mayfair surely not ! They sound progressive, but in a way of an alternative band. Dionysos' contribution is a melodic straightforward progrock-tune (Marillion early 90's style) with nice vocals. Third Voice (review in BM#69) doesn't convince because of the drummachine. The track by Blank tends towards progmetal but leans to heavy on the big names in that genre. Good keyboards however. The second part of the CD is dominated by the more heavy contributions. Moonlit is a mixture of ealy Fates Warning and gothic acts. Interesting ! The next tracks by WW, Moondaze and Winterland all have a steady groove and biting guitars. The band Esthetic Pale, heavily featured on Vol.1 concludes Vol.2 with the longest track "See you there". Well, see you on the third sampler which will be released in late May 2000 (including unreleased songs of Mystery and Salem Hill).
This is the second CD in a series of three progressive compilation albums released by DURP, which is a web
site dedicated to progressive rock and metal. All eleven bands on this disc are more or less 'underground'
prog bands, of which the people at DURP think they're promising and talentful. The compilation starts off
with "Heroes" by Flamborough Head, a Dutch band named after this cliff on the eastcoast of England. The
band's instrumental music has some influences of Royal Hunt, but is less neoclassical and more keyboard
oriented. Although this is the sort of music to dream away with, "Heroes" is a good song to start this album with.
The next track by the almost twelve years old Austrian band Mayfair cannot really be called progressive, unless you read the word in its original meaning. I think 'psychedelic' and 'a little weird' are better ways to describe their music.
"In My Sight/Take My Time" is an extract from Germany based Dionysos' first demo "Light Without Heat" released in 1998. The song has some very nice keyboard melodies and you'd rather think the band come from the UK than from Germany.
American progressive rock/metal band Third Voice released their demo "Reflections" in '98 and "From Where You Stand" is a more experimental song from that disc.
Blank is a promising German band that play a mix of progressive rock and metal. "Perfect Illusion" is a nice song with good keyboards as well as some heavy guitar riffs, while
"Blinded" is a good ballad by Swedish prog rockers Twin Age, who also sound a little British if you ask me.
Some rougher and heavier edges can be heard on "Followed By A Memory", a song by German progressive/gothic metal band Moonlit. A little originality won't do these guys any harm.
"Wanna Know" is a remarkable track by Estonian band WW. Again you can hear this typically British progressive touch. Not very original, but nice for a band from a strange country where they don't even know what the word 'progressive' means.
Even a Swiss band made it onto this Progressive DisDURPance compilation. Good vocals and a surprisingly good production on "Life Will Live On" make Moondaze one of the more talented bands on this disc.
And then we have Winterland. A well known German band in the underground (Internet) scene and not only because their vocalist has a very unusual baryton voice. "Under The Flood" is a song out of their first demo with the same title, released in 1996. This can't be called fully progressive, but it should be appreciated by melodic rock fans.
Ending this album is German progrock band Esthetic Pale, who stand for very special, traditional music. Not that promising as DURP is trying to tell you, partly due to the moderate female vocals. (Stijn Lambert)
After reviewing Progressive DisDURPance Volume 1 my main criticism was the fact that
there was too less progressive music and too much heavy metal on the sampler. A few
weeks back I found a package from Marcus Weis (maintainer DURP) in my mailbox with
the request for a review for Progressive DisDURPance Volume 2 with enclosed a short
note where he wrote "Hi Dirk, Volume 2 has a lot more progressive music. Hope you like it
!". And yes .. I like it !
The CD opens with Heroes by Dutch band Flamborough Head, a song from their current debut-CD Unpoken Whisper (available on Cyclops). Flamborough Head was voted as Best new band by the readers of Wonderous Stories, the progzine of the Classic Rock Society in England. This almost 8-minute instrumental track is a great track with music where Flamborough Head stands for: powerful and very progressive !
Trip by Austrian band Mayfair is a very strange song. Their music can be described as space rock, influenced by the psychedelic '70s, combined with modern touch 'n feel. It does not sound like prog rock, but it is the meaning of the word .. progressive ! Sometimes even The Prodigy comes in my mind ...
Next up is the demo track In My Sight / Take My Time by German band Dionysos. This band is influenced by bands like Dream Theater, Simple Minds, Living Colour and Marillion. Good song .. good voice .. good music !
From Where You Stand by American band Third Voice is a little disappointing. The vocals sound not so good and they miss a real drummer (a drumcomputer had to do the drumming). Later in the song there is a great guitar solo and that's it !
Perfect Illusion by Germany's Blank is a song between Dream Theater and melodic heavy rock. This song is very smooth, exciting, warm and sometimes damn' proggy heavy ! Drums and guitars tend to belong to the progmetal scene, vocals and keyboards tend to belong to the prog rock scene.
Blinded by Swedish band Twin Age is next up. Twin Age is not a secret for me because I have their CD Lialim High (1997). This band started as a Genesis cover band and you can hear it ! I especially like the very good vocals in this song. Good song !
Followed By A Memory by German band Moonlit is a very interesting mixture between gothic rock (Paradise Lost, Marilyn Manson) and progressive metal (Fates Warning). If you like these artists you will definately like this song.
Next up is Wanna Know by Estonian band WW. It is great to hear music from the former USSR but this song has quality ! WW play hard rock with progressive influences .. or call it powerful prog rock, influenced by bands like Asia, IQ and Rush. Great surprise !
The song by Swiss band Moondaze, called Life Will Live On, is a great song influenced by bands like Pendragon (because of the song-along verses) and Marillion (guitar pieces). This is a very good progressive song and part of a 16-minute song called Decision: suicide.
The song Under The Flood by Winterland is my least favourite song on this sampler. This song has not so much to do with progressive music besides some guitar breaks.
Highlight of this sampler is the song See You Thereby German band Esthetic Pale. I was allready convinced of their capabilities after hearing the first sampler. This live version of See You There show their live abilities. Very good progressive music in the vein of Marillion and IQ. I am looking forward to their second album (follow up to their Tales Of The Ancient Realms debut-CD).
Very good follow up to the first DURP sampler ! Thank you, Marcus Weis, for providing the review CD and keep up the good work ! Conclusion: 7 out of 10.
I had never thought that some day I was going to have a pleasure to listen to a compilation of underground
progressive bands. Most of the times, the underground bands record in some corners of the recording studios their
little demos adorned with their own simple inserts for their own money... And suddenly, I received a professionally
released album - not a demo of one band but a compilation of the best underground releases from around the world.
Rarely, we are able to listen to demos of our favorite bands since the physical qualities of their recordings make that impossible. Yet... Somewhere in the depths of the Internet, there is a web site "Die Ultimate ReviewPage Fur Progressive Rock & Progressive Metal" - DURP. This album is the second compilation of its kind released by DURP and I have to admit it is really successful. The material is not very different from the professional studio productions.
These 70 minutes of music present the young bands that do not exist on the music market. The tracks do not have any common subject - there are mixed progressive, metal and industrial themes, which make a very interesting tracklisting. The pure progressive solo in the instrumental Heroes by Flamborough Head, a band from Holland, is simply moving - it's a really interesting beginning of the album. Their music is close to the one presented by Arena: elevated motifs, moments of calmness and melodic music.
Mayfair, a band from Austria, welcomes us with the track called Trip - a pure industrial sound, but the melody itself is like Ozric Tentacles in an industrial kind of performance.
German band, Dionysos is something between Marillion, Simple Minds and Living Colour - their music is rather light but adorned very nicely with the instruments and I like it a lot.
Next, American Third Voice hits us with its electronic drums - it is close to Spock's Beard. Yet, vocals are similar to Andrew Eldritch from The Sister of Mercy. Probably the biggest (and the only) minus of this track is the unreal sound of drums, which is not very pleasant to one's ears. If they had changed the samples, it would probably be much better.
Another German band, Blank is the mix of prog-rock and metal - like Magellan. Of course, there is a little difference - the vocals are similar to IQ - in one word: hard and delicate. ;-)
Next band on this amazing compilation is the well known Swedish band - Twin Age - it's one of the best tracks here. Calmness of the Genesis-like mood with which they play Blinded is simply stunning.
And another German production - hard ... very hard, metal sound. An interesting fact is that they have a similar name to a Polish band, Moonlight. I'm talking about Moonlit - a nice compilation of everything that is famous in metal. The band called WW is a great gift for me. Very complex playing - but also a delicate sounds of jazz-rock - it wins me over.
The biggest surprise is that the band is from ... Estonia. In Poland, one doesn't have an opportunity to hear prog-rock music from behind the Eastern border at all.
Next, Moondaze, is from the Switzerland - it is again similar to Dream Theater or Magellan - hard rock sounds - nothing else...
Once more a German band, Winterland, is from a sounding similar to me city, Ramstein. They play rock with some nice riff-slides, guitars and wonderful solos. Also the vocals - they are calm and stabilized, and they are distincted from the melodic line; I've heard a similar voice in some German Gothic-rock band.
The album ends the band called Esthetic Pale with a more than 10-minute track, See You There. It is the only live recording here - it is similar to Rush, Yes, or even Genesis. There is a female vocal on it (the only one on the whole album) and a wonderful acoustic guitar. This melodic track has a lot of symphonic keyboards on it and the sound harmony of the rest of the instruments, what makes it really good. It's even more interesting that the band is also ... German.
The cover is a medieval picture and there is also an amazing picture on the other side of the cover. Inside, next to some short descriptions of all bands, there are contact addresses of the musicians, descriptions and small icons of the albums from which the tracks were taken, and also the price in currency of the band as well as Euro. But the biggest phenomenon is that in order to buy these albums, one can contact the bands and buy them directly from the bands. This wonderful compilation is a catalog on the compact disc and it makes a good impression since it is not an offer of a record company but a collection of works from the bands from all around the world. We should praise this idea of DURP; in Poland there are no such compilations, yet, and knowing our music market we won't have it very soon.
The German webzine Die Ultimative Review Page (DURP) has
released their second prog rock/metal compilation. Following from
volume 1, Progressive DisDURPance volume 2 contains eleven tracks
from "unknown" European prog bands (some of which will not be so
unknown to readers of Alternate View!).
The line up is Flamborough Head: Heroes (from their album Unspoken Whisper), Mayfair: Trip, Dionysos: In My Sight/Take My Time, Third Voice: From Where You Stand, Blank: Perfect Illusion, Twin Age: Blinded (from their award winning album Lialim High), Moonlit: Followed By A Memory, WW: Wanna Know, Moondaze: Life Will Live On, Winterland: Under The Flood and Esthetic Pale: See You There.
This CD is packaged to the highest quality with excellent artwork from Stephanie Law. For more information about this release, check out the DURP website at http://www.durp.com.
DURP (Die Ultimative ReviewPage) is a web ezine site based in Germany
that produces a compilation album of "the best underground progrock and
progmetal bands" - this is their second volume, compiling material sent
to them in 1998.
The review of the disk itself is all positive; I think DURP have taken a good selection of stuff, appealing to a variety of tastes. If this is the best, however, I'd hate to see what didn't make the cut. Not that this stuff is bad, mind you, but little of it is going to set the prog metal or prog rock world on fire (though maybe that's not necessary). Certainly not the prog metal, as so little is actually metal. The majority of the metal has neo-prog leanings. But it's things like this can bring all of the music wider attention.
This comp opens with Flamborough Head from the Netherlands, where so much prog is coming from these days - next to Sweden. Their sound leans more toward the neo-progressive realm. The track "Heroes" opens dramatically with keyboards, soon joined by harsh, grinding guitars. Musically, think of Arena or Pendragon (guess it's a Clive Nolan thing they've got going) versus Marillion, with perhaps a dash of Saga. The guitars take on a metal like crunch without the metal like power. There are tempo changes here on this all instrumental track that make for an interesting, diverse listening. It has an epic quality that I quite like, meaning this is one band I'll explore further. Good stuff.
Mayfair's "Trip" is a quirky techno-metal sonic assualt. Add in a bit of Nirvana brand alternative, more in the lyrics than in the sound. This sure is a trip, as you can imagine having taken some bad acid (man) and finding not bright psychedelics but dark colours and odd shape coming at you. This might go well with a VW Bug advert. It's a little too strange for me like it immediately - if ever.
Dionysos is up next, with "In My Sight/Take My Time" - this sounds like a combination of Marillion, Epiloque, and Jump. The mixing on this is very bad (perhaps it is a demo). The vocals and instruments are up front, which is fine, but the backing vocals that echo the chorus are too far back in the mix. I'd have left them out, or mixed them up in the mix. The vocalist doesn't have a great voice, but quite typical for this kind of music. Nothing very original, and one would be better served by getting the stuff that has obviously inspired them - namely Marillion. The guitarist tries for those lovingly played notes that Rothery does, and he does this well. The best part of it is the guitar playing.
Dark churning bass opens Third Voice's "From Where You Stand," soon joined by keys, then guitar. This has a very pleasant sound...and sounds a bit like Tristan Park. But there is also a metal edge to their sound - quite nice. Some good guitar playing, and average vocals that manage to avoid the DT influence. In fact, this one of the few new prog metal bands where DT doesn't seem to be an influence. I'd like to hear more of Third Voice.
Blank charges out of the gate with crunchy guitars and pounding drums with their entry "Perfect Ilusion" The vocalist here doesn't have a great voice, but he doesn't seem to stretch into places it won't go. It's voice you can get used to, slightly off key, but he mostly avoids trying to hit the notes he knows he can't. Guitars churn in the middle section, not unlike in many a prog metal track before it. I do like this though...as there seems to be influences outside the prog metal realm - a hint of the same well Spock's Beard draws from. The production balance on this is a little off - a little flat, but everything up enough in the mix to be heard.
"Blinded" by Twin Age is next - great sounding vocals, but have sound typical of progressive metal...good prog metal, thankfully, and yet this track never quite reaches true metal, so maybe they're not metal at all, and more neo. Whatever...I love it. Emotional playing, vocals - this is what I love in music prog or not. What I have gleaned is that this is a duo of Swedish progger who were once a Dream Theater cover band. Their sound doesn't reflect that, as this is a keyboard led piece, little percussion except symbols, a bit of guitar...good stuff. Beautiful guitar solo interupts the beautiful keyboards - this is what I like. Gives them a slight neo-prog sound Looks like this is from a demo, if so, I can only imagine how a full release would sound. Another band to seek out.
Moonlit is prog metal, beginning with a DT inspired sound, merging into a dark feel. The deep voiced vocalist who sings in a rather labored way...reminding me of someone I can't quite name at the moment. On the one hand, I don't particularly care for it, on the other, I do. I can't explain that. Maybe it's because I like the vocalists' tone, but the not the pace he's singing at. Sort of like Geoff Tate in the lower ranges. But, I would be interested in hearing the whole album. (Read Larry D's review of their album Elements)
WW is a Collins' lead Genesis-like band, in that this track "Wanna Know" has that kind of quirkiness that "Who Dunnit" (Abacab) has ... or somewhat like Grace. Very neo-like, as the vocalist has moments where he sounds like Steve Hogarth. It's okay, enough that I'd be hearing interested in hearing the whole album, but overall they sound to be a fairly average band.
"Life Will Live On" might make you think that this is a quasi rendition of Celine Dion's titanic hit, but no. Moondaze are a metallic band, not quite as crunchy or hard to be truly called prog metal. Sharper sounding prog rock might be best - there's a edge to the sound. The drums are up front in the mix, almost edging out the vocals and guitar. Poorly mixed, well played prog rock. Again, vocals are average, tolerable. I find the guitar tone a little too...tinny, I guess is the best way to describe it.
Listeing to Winterland, I thought of current Genesis, with the keyboard swells, but this band play prog that is just this side of true prog metal. There is quite a bit of dynamics in their music, textured drumming, whaling guitar.
"There is a house, in New Orleans..." No. But the first few notes of Esthetic Pale's "See You There" made me think of the Animal's classic "House of the Rising Sun." As the rest of the track vears away from that, the comparison isn't really apt. Keyboards take the lead on this track, which soon taken over by a female vocalist. The music is very good, folk influenced rock. Actually, very, very good. I love the guitar playing a few minutes in. The vocalist then comes in, with a voice that will remind of Annie Haslem. And, given the arrangements, you'll swear it's a second coming of Renaissance. The vocalist here isn't on key as often as Haslem, but she has the same tone. This is a live recording, and the separation is a bit muddied, given it a sound as if it was recorded inside a glass, or so it seems. The lack of acoustics just flatten everything. Interesting, worth investigation.
So, there's quite a bit to explore out there. We'll try to track down the full release of those that peaked our interest and give them full reviews. The DURP comp is well worth picking up however.
DURP. Die Ultimative Review Page. Markus Weis sent this cd to Metal Rules!! and EvilG gave me the task of doing
a review. I am glad that he did. This cd contains 11 tracks from underground progressive rock/metal bands. DURP put
this cd together as a way to get some exposure for the underground prog scene and there are bands from countries
such as Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, USA, Austria, Switzerland and Estonia.
Without any further ado, lets get to the songs. Up first a band called Flamborough Head. Strange name for a band but there is nothing strange about their music. They hail from The Netherlands and kick off the cd with the track "Heroes", an 8 minute instrumental track that is full of interesting time changes and great guitar and keyboard passages. These guys have all the tools to make a name for themselves on the international stage. Instead of giving a track by track synopsis of the release I will point out which tracks are highlights. "From Where You Stand" is a strong track by Pittsburgh’s Third Voice. It contains a catchy guitar riff with some tasteful keyboards arrangements. This song is from their demo entitled "Reflections" which was released in 1998. Swedish band Twin Age contribute the song "Blinded" from their 1997 demo "Liliam High". Though not as powerful as some of the other songs on the cd it benefits from great piano playing, an absolutely awesome guitar solo and good vocals. Moonlit provided what, for me, was the highlight of "Progressive DisDURPance Vol.2", the track "Followed by a Memory". Moonlit are from Germany and recorded their first demo titled "Prologue to Prognosis" in 1994 under the name of Effigy. In 1997 the band had to change names as Effigy was already being used by an Australian band. Moonlit was the name that they chose and then the group released the demo "Elements" under their new moniker. Moonlit mix gothic and prog metal together to create a sound that is strangely appealing. Finally Moondaze chime in with the great tune "Life Will Live On". This track is the final section of a longer song called "Decision: Suicide" which can be found on their 1998 demo "Life Will Live On". This track contains some nice double bass drumming which adds some contrast to the mellowness of the song.
Overall this is a very good compilation. Markus Weis has produced a cd which has great sound quality overall and brings together a number of bands which are similar enough to give the cd a cohesiveness which is often lacking in compilation releases. It you would like to learn more about any of these bands or order the cd, it is available from the DURP website.
I've always found compilation albums to be something of a double
edged sword really, particularly those compilations which contain
bands virtually nobody has ever heard of. Usually you have to wade
through an awful lot of dross, before you find anything even remotely
listenable, let alone outstanding.
There are exceptions of course, but on the whole these are very few and far between. Which brings us onto the boldly titled 'Progressive DisDURPance Vol 2'. If you've never heard of them before, www.durp.com is a progressive rock and metal web page, and this, not surprisingly is their second compilation of unsigned or obscure bands. The idea is to bring the music to a wider audience, a noble ideal in itself, although what that audience is beyond the traditional prog rock circle one can only speculate on. For starters then, the quality of the CD packaging is exceptionally high, all very glossy and professional looking. At the end of the day though, that's only really window dressing, the thing we're all interested in is the quality of the bands contained within. Taking them in order, the bands on 'Progressive DisDURPance' are, as you'd expect, a bit of a mixed bag.
Dutch band Flamborough Head start the ball rolling with the lengthy instrumental 'Heroes'. Well constructed and played with some good musical ideas and metal overtones, this only begins to suffers a little towards the end as it runs out of steam. Mayfair from Austria are frankly bloody horrible, their 'Trip' (quite!) being all quirky chords and dreadful phased vocals, although things pick up a little with Dionysis. 'Take My Time' is pretty laid back prog, but the melodies are good, and at least the song is of a reasonable quality. A dip again with 'From Where You Stand' by Third Voice I'm afraid though, bit too one dimensional and lacking in any real feeling. Blank close the first half with 'Perfect Illusion', one of the more metalled up tracks on offer, kinda like late night Marillion with Dream Theater playing (quietly) in the background.
Twin Age cite both Rush and Genesis as influences, and although 'Blinded' leans more towards the latter, it's a very cleverly constructed slice of late 90's prog rock. German band Moonlit are up next with 'Followed By A Memory' - darker than most of the other tracks, this is doomy edged prog rock bordering on metal at times with some really tasteful guitar licks. WW hail from Estonia, and their contribution 'Wanna Know' is probably the straightest track on offer - imagine IQ doing Zep covers and you'd be pretty close. 'Life Will Live On' by Swiss act Moondaze reminded me of a slightly left field Enchant (more clever guitar work), whilst Winterland's 'Under The Flood' showcased a great band with an average vocalist. Finally, Esthetic Pale round things out with the Yes like 'See You There'.
The overall sound is very clear throughout considering that most of these tracks are only demos, so that's another point in DURP's favour. Much better than I was anticipating, although this is a tad too proggie and not enough metal for my tastes.
7/10 Dave Cockett
Second edition of the great idea headed by Markus Weis, a german prog rock / prog metal fan. This CD is composed by several demos - in most cases - germans, that are struggling to release your works. Check the excellent work from the german revelation Esthetic Pale (as was Sunblaze on the first volume). This time, Markus elaborated nicely on the art work, one of the items that everybody missed on the first CD. Check the english version of the site with reviews from all the bands on this CD (and from the first also). Bands: Blank (with the sound file above), Dionysios, Esthetic Pale, Mayfair, Moondaze, Moonlit, Third Voice, Twin Age, Winterland and WW.
DURP (Die Ultimative Review Page fur Progressive Rock/Metal) is run by
prog enthusiast Markus Weis. Most of the tracks are taken from albums
which are available either commercially or from the band's own websites.
The CD begins with a band that will be familiar to many people. FLAMBOROUGH HEAD are the Dutch band that run the ProgFarm Festival. This track 'Heroes' is taken from their 'Unspoken Whispers' album, which we have reviewed in its own right ... so I'll say no more.
MAYFAIR are an Austrian band who formed in 1989. 'Trip' comes from their 'Fastest Trip To Cybertown'. It has a bubbling space rock background and I feel that it's an amalgamation of Hawkwind and early Pink Floyd sounds - very 70's psychedelic.
The third track starts off with simple bell-like tones, piano and wind effects. Then the beat starts and DIONYSOS turn out to have quite a rocky sound (they are influenced by bands like Dream Theatre, Simple Minds, Living Colour and Marillion). This track, 'In My Sight/Take My Time' - from the 'Light Without Heat' album - has a great melodic mix of keyboards and guitars supporting the singer's slightly rough voice ... nice one ... I'd like to find out more about these guys.
The American band THIRD VOICE provide the next number 'From Where You Stand'. They are a duo who, although here use a drum machine, are hoping to (perhaps already have) put a full band together. This track, from their demo album 'Reflections', has a definite European feel. The singer's strong voice is underpinned by unobtrusive backing vocals and some nice intertwined guitars and keyboards - another goody!
BLANK are described as having "drums and guitar belonging to the progmetal genre, vocals and keyboards to progrock". Taken from their demo album 'Surreal', this track 'Perfect Illusion' has a very full sound with a strong rhythm. The highlight of the song is the fabulous guitar work - there's a man who can really play. Although, for me, overall the music is a little too fuzzy and muddled it's a strong song which is well executed.
Swedish progrockers TWIN AGE here perform 'Blinded' from the 'Lialim High' album. They have an evocative sound, influenced by Genesis, with intense vocals and haunting melodic keyboards - very pleasant to listen to.
MOONLIT have a much heavier sound. 'Followed By A Memory' comes from their 'Elements' album. The vocal style is not to my personal liking although the music, which veers from progmetal to a pure classic rock feel, has some great moments. Well performed - but too heavy for me.
Estonians WW provide the track 'Wanna Know', which has a 70's rock feel and sounds as if it may have been influenced by bands like Led Zep. It has a strong rhythm section and some wonderful guitar work, accented by the organ sounds. The music is constantly evolving, slithering and sliding around the main theme - nice one!
'Life Will Live On' by Swiss band MOONDAZE is, apparently, the last part of a sixteen minute epic piece called 'Decision: Suicide'. Moondaze have quite a distinctive sound and are not afraid to use a sparse sounding backing track with the drums mixed high - although there's some strong clear guitar playing evident from time to time.
WINTERLAND's 'Under The Flood' has a full, guitar led sound. A series of musical changes throughout, and some sterling guitar work, hold the listener's attention in this melodic little number.
The final track on this CD is a live number from Germany's ESTHETIC PALE who claim widely spread influences from Genesis and Yes to J.S.Bach to Celtic folk music. This song 'See You There' has an intricate complex sound. The female singer's voice is supported by close harmonies and a set of obviously talented musicians - it's very pleasing to the ear.
This, as is any compilation, is an album of contrasts. Whatever your preferred musical taste you should find something to your liking. I have found that even the tracks I am not so keen on have something of interest. This CD will expand your musical horizons.
To find out how to order the CD check out the DURP website from our links page.
This is a compilation totally dedicated to Prog music, and a good one it is. The CD opens up with "Heroes" from FLAMBOROUGH HEAD. This CD was already reviewed by me. Very melodic Prog with lots of synthesizers, piano and melody oriented songs. Instrumental song... MAYFAIR follows with a track of strange Altern flavoured Rock, quite snappy and funky. Not the most Prog track of this CD. Then DIONYSOS plays "In My Sight/Take My Time", a very FM Rock type of song that did not really catch my attention due to its very commercial nature. THIRD VOICE was also reviewed in this issue... Very emotive Prog Rock, voices melodies oriented and pretty intricate at times. "Perfect Illusion" from BLANK is also very commercial FM Rock type, not as Prog and intricate as I like them... TWIN AGE follows with "Blinded", a mostly piano and vocal track, very emotive and smooth, pretty good. MOONLIT is next with "Followed By Memory". This track has a much heavier edge to it, kind of a Power Metal sound with strange, good vocals. WW plays "Wanna Know", a track that reminds me a bit of LED ZEPPELIN's sound in such tracks as "Cachemire"... MOONDAZE is another kind of commercial Rock type of sound... Vocal oriented melodies and not much in the field of intensity. WINTERLAND sounds a bit as a cross between late GENESIS material with a more Metal-type Prog... Not bad. Finally, it's ESTHETIC PALE with "See You There". This is an accoustic Prog song that has a lot to offer, both musically and ambiance wise. Good vocal arrangements and choruses... Live track with a great sound! All in all, this is a pretty good compilation if you are into the genre, but there are many very commercial song in there.
The second compilation in the series, somewhat more expensive because of the
beautiful artwork. The first one was certainly a nice compilation
of, to me, thoroughly unknown German bands. This compilation was made
with Europe as a whole in mind and with bands that are sometimes
The first track is a familiar one, since I already have the disc and even reviewed it for this webpage. The track chosen is not that great for sampling this band. The song is an instrumental, does show great diversity and will remind people mostly of Saga (especially the beginning) and some more thoughtful passages as well. A very nice track, but it doesn't let you sample the vocals.
Mayfair also already recorded, called Die Flucht on WMMS. Not specifically prog this band was a borderline case. On Trip we hear a Hawkindish type band with distorted guitar and full blown spacey sounds, sounding more "progressive" than on aforementioned album.
Dionysos is a band that I did not know. This double track opens quietly with twinkling and sparkling piano. The guitar playing contains a lot of feeling, but the singing, the lyrics and drumming sound a bit too straightforward and sound a bit too amateuristic.
Third Voice is a band from the U.S. Just two guys making music (well one making it, the other singing). The music of this "band" comes close to Enchant (both in music as well as vocals) with an appealing melody on the keyboards but also some more rowdy guitar parts. >From Where You Stand is quite a nice track and indicates where the band stands. [If their new disc has not been reviewed for my homepage yet, then watch this space.]
Blank is a, to me unknown band, here featured with Perfect Illusion. The music of this band is rather accessible, but well-crafted. Nice bass work here. The music is very English and I'm reminded of bands like It Bites, Ark and Big Big Train. Not very renewing, but it sounds good.
Twin Age is a rather well-known band having two records beneath the belt (and not forgetting too reviews by me on the website). They are a good band and almost any track will do as an introduction. The band is rather Genesis like in atmosphere, but I also feel them to have a sound of their own, especially because of the dreamy vocals.
Moonlit plays Followed By A Memory for us, the first progmetal song (strangely enough I would say). A good track. Dramatic, but sensible and not too much riddled with thrills and fills. The guitar solo is also nice. The vocals are a bit down so if you like 'em high, this might not be for you.
The title of WW's song, Wanna Know does not promise much. However, the song is quite distinct from what I expected. It is a sort of light form of Zeppelins Kashmir (turning louder later) with quickly sung lines. Strange, in one sense rather AORish, but much too adventurous.
Moondaze's Life Will Live On is an up-tempo one with quick rhythm, doubled vocals, with the music going into the direction of somewhat accessible progmetal. Mediocre.
Getting to the end of the disc with Winterland's Under The Flood and the recurring Esthetic Pale (a big success on the previous DURP disc). The first of these is a rather dark, heavy track. The vocals are a bit nasal, but they sound okay. The guitar solo is not too interesting. The background vocals sound as if are not timed well. Usually this adds to the chaos.
Esthetic Pale has a live track now, See You There. By far the longest track, it takes some time getting underway. Mostly strumming on the acoustic guitar in the beginning. The vocals do not sound as well as on the disc, a bit wavery. A rather disappointing reintroduction.
Conclusion: After the pleasant surprise of the first disc, I am somewhat disappointed with this one. This might be due to the fact that I already know quite many of the bands present, so there is no surprise effect, or maybe because my expectancy was higher to begin with. Most songs are quite nice, and of course Twin Age is a band you should get to know. Also some promising new faces have presented themselves, such as Blank (accessible) and Moonlit (dark).
A bunch of progressive rock/metal bands have at least one guy to thank for: Markus Weis. His dedication
to this genre of music has led him to self-finance and distribute the 2 Progressive DisDURPance
compilations so far. One this second volume things have moved up some notches on several camps and
the quality department wasn’t overlooked. To start off, the CD now boasts proudly a coloured glossy
booklet with artwork from the visionary Stephanie Law. 11 bands have been chosen and on the booklet
you’ll find some info on them; I’ll ramble about a few.
Flamborough Head is a starting-to-be-aware Dutch prog band with a reasonably acclaimed album from 1998 UNSPOKEN WHISPER. Their contribution is an 8-minute instrumental (HEROES) that has a certain SAGA flavour amidst its rhythm section and additionally hosts impeccable vintage keyboard passages. Third Voice is a duo from The USA. The drumming is a programmed matrix that allocates a melodic and contemporary approach. FROM WHERE YOU STAND is from their demo album REFLECTIONS. Twin Age, a Swedish project, are currently on their second album LIALIM HIGH, from where BLINDED was extracted. Their sound is very reminiscent of 70’s prog, holding strength and character. WW are from Estonia and have a demo CD recorded so far. Their sound is raunchy hard-rock style with some symphonic charisma vehicled by the orchestration. Esthetic Pale made it to the first volume last year and now offer a live track (SEE YOU THERE) that will probably resurface in their next studio album. This German band has a female vocalist and mix acoustic nuances with more complex arrangements.
Some of these bands have the potential to level very soon with the more popular ones in the prog circuit, therefore I urge you to check them out.
1. Flamborough Head (Holland), Heroes (7:53)
The best (and the only fully instrumental) track on this
compilation, no doubt. These guys show a real pro(G)fessionalism,
unlike the majority of others. Stylistically, placed somewhere
between the Classic and Neo Symphonic Progressive Rock, Heroes
contain a lot of varied themes, mainly based on gently riffing
guitar and lush keyboards (including piano). Arrangements are not
very complex, but constant changes of melodic lines and tempos paint
quite vivid "progressive picture". Instrumentally, that style can be
best described as early Marillion meets Genesis circa "And Then
There Were Three" / "Duke". Rating: (almost) excellent piece.
2. Mayfair (Austria), Trip (4:23) Stylistically, it is rather Space/psych than the Progressive Rock, and you can hear quite monotonous keyboard samples a-la Ozric Tentacles over the track. To be honest, I am not a fan of that kind of music, but also, I can't ignore a few original ideas I've heard here, on Trip. Rating: satisfactory.
3. Dionysos (Germany), In My Sight/Take My Mind(5:53) Dionysos are not particularly talented composers and musicians and the vocals are outright poor. Structurally, this song with very accessible themes recembles AOR much more than the Progressive Rock. Could be designed for commercial radio play. Rating: weak.
4. Third Voice (USA), From Where You Stand (6:03) Stylistically, From There You Stand is obviously influenced by Queensryche. So, why listen to a band that is trying to sound like Queensryche when we could listen to Queensryche themselves? A definitive minus for the robotic drums and we're not too satisfied with the vocals either. So, the guys of the Third Vioce: welcome to the big company of the bands, who wanna-bee the(ir) idols... bad (alas!). Rating: weak.
5. Blank (Germany), Perfect Illusion (6:09) Effective guitar riffs, fine piano arrangements and bass lines, good drumming and vocals... One of the most original songs on the compilation. Probably, this German band could have future and should not to be missed among the already famous Progressive Rock bands. Rating: good.
6. Twin Age (Sweden), Blinded (5:59) I have listened to their debut album "Month of the Year", each song on which is better than this one. Blinded contains already familiar structures in the vein of Genesis/ Marillion, but there are very little instrumental arrangements. The presence of dramatic vocals and guitar solo somewhere in the middle isn't enough to describe this composition as a work of Classic Progressive Rock. More or less decent Neo, no more. And that's all. Rating: satisfactory.
7. Moonlit (Germany), Followed by a Memory (5:21) I think, the members of Moonlit have well listened to Black Sabbath, especially such their albums as "The Eternal Idol" (and its titlesong!) and "Mob Rules". This song was composed and played typically for the band of "usual" Doom-Metal style with quite "sinister" yet clear vocals and fast guitar solo somewhere in the middle into the accompaniment of slow guitar and bass riffs. Another one more or less decent "wannabee" band. Rating: satisfactory.
8. WW (Estonia), Wanna Know (5:02) Wanna Know consists only of two different parts. The first one features vocals, and the main theme openly reminds me Led Zeppelin's Kashmir, though the latter one was composed and arranged much stronger. The second part is fully instrumental (not counting of monotonous refrain Wanna Know at the end of song). Some original guitar and bass solos show that the guys are trying to find their own way in the genre. Rating: satisfactory.
9. Moondaze (Germany), Life Will Live On (6:28) During these six and a half minutes I heard seven varied themes. However, all of them do not impress me almost at all: the majority of them are quite boring and not original. Vocalist turned out to be the lover (ie copy) of Maiden's Bruce Dickinson. I can describe that kind of music as an attemption to play in the vein of Iron Maiden/Fates Warning , but without any inspiration yet. Three stars for the variety. Rating: satisfactory.
10. Winterland (Germany), Under the Flood (7:01) Another one big disappointment. It is a typical melodic Hard-Rock (AOR, I mean) with monotonous refrains of rhythm guitar and boring solo in the middle. I'm a bit not surprised that Winterland still couldn't release their demo since 1996. Rating: weak.
11. Esthetic Pale (Germany), See You There*** (10:15) As I have read within the review section of the Esthetic Pale's homepage, this band plays a kind of "complex symphonic Rock like Yes and Genesis"(*). Well, I understand that See You There is just the unreleased track (and haven't heard more songs from this band), but I don't think so(*)! This is a wrong qoutation. The musicians are only trying to change the themes, tempos, and moods, but that's all. Especially I was disappointed with Melanie's very low-power, ordinary voice. Possible, Esthetic Pale's studio work is better, but how can I compare them to such Prog-Giants like Yes and Genesis, if I really know, how these Titans play live: they play live by no means not worse than in the studio! Rating: satisfactory.
Short resume-1: I can't say that I am very impressed by the creative level of the bands presented on this compilation. However, I think, such of them as Flamborough Head, Blank and even Twin Age could make a big step toward the high-quality Progressive Rock in the nearest future. As for the others, time will show... But, frankly speaking, they have a little chances in the face of many other present-day young and promising Prog-performers. As for compilation: on the whole, it is quite satisfactory collection of several demo songs in different styles and with the different levels of professionalism (in all meanings).
Good compilation dedicated to varied Neo-Progressive Rock bands and their demos.
Excellent compilation - a real stage for Prog-novices toward the more profound Progressive Rock.
Many thanks to Markus Weis for his untiring search for the new Progressive Rock bands. First of all, this second one compilation, completed by him, shows a real Progress in comparison with the debut album, released by DURP. Keep proggin', Markus! Your second work is really a good stage for all the Prog-novices! I appreciate the DURP compilations exactly from that (so important!) point of view!
The Progressive DisDURPance compilation series was started by Marcus Weis,
of Die Ultimate Review Page(or DURP for short), as a way to promote
underground German progressive metal bands to a larger, and international, audience. While Vol. 1 focused
exclusively on progressive metal, Vol. 2 offers a variety of styles which
include neo-prog and progressive electronica. But prog metal
fans will be glad to know that the compilation still features up and coming
progressive metal acts.
Many people who heard Vol. 1 remember that the highlight came from the prog metal act Sunblaze. Their 14-minute symphonic classic featured soaring violin playing, and an original sound which was not really influenced by Dream Theater. But Vol. 2 is a slightly different story. While every band has plenty to offer, in my opinion there isn't one that really stand out with something totally new and exciting. The prog metal tracks tend to feature a more modern approach that fortunately don't clone Dream Theater's Metropolis. But they also lack the strong melodies, and themes, that made other influential metal bands like Iron Maiden, and Helloween so enjoyable to listen to. After a while most of the bands tend to sound the same. Maybe a few of the bands should consider singing in German, and mixing some of Germany's rich musical heritage into their music to give it a unique element that separates them from the zillion of other bands around the world doing the exact same thing. Besides, with the power of marketing on the internet, they could still gain a large international following without folding to the commercial pressures of sounding too American or English.
This is a compilation CD, presenting the best and most promising
of all demo tapes/CDs from unknown progrock/progmetal jewels sent
to the DURP (Die Ultimative Review Page für Progressive
Rock/Metal) in 1998. There are bands from The Netherlands,
Germany, Sweden, USA, Austria, Switzerland and Estonia.
I have previously reviewed three of the bands on this CD: Flamborough Head "Unspoken Whisper" (Rating: 3 ½ out of 5), Third Voice "Reflections" (Rating: 3 out of 5) and Twin Age "Lialim High" (Rating: 5 out of 5).
¯ The opening track is Flamborough Head's 8-minute instrumental track "Heroes". This track is one of the highlights on their debut-CD "Unspoken Whisper" released on the Cyclops label in 1998. It's also one of the highlights on this compilation. Flamborough Head is playing keyboard-based modern melodic symphonic neo-progressive rock.
¯ Next up is Austrian band Mayfair with an odd track called "Trip". I actually think that it's somewhat reminiscent to Suede with a touch of psychedelic rock.
¯ German band Dionysos track "In My Sight / Take My Time" are a beautiful piece with a strong melody that makes me think of Marillion. The singer though is quite hard to get used to. ¯ American band Third Voice is a melodic progressive metal band with only two members. The music is reminiscent to Dream Theater, Queensryche and Symphony X. "From where you stand" is the best track from their independently released debut CD "Reflection" (1998). I didn't really like this album because of the bad production in combination with drum machine and sequencers. Their excellent compositions deserve something better.
¯ Blank are a German band and their contribution is called "Perfect Illusion". Their music is reminiscent to Dream Theater with good melodies and great musical skills.
¯ Halfway through the CD comes the best and most progressive track on this compilation. "Blinded" by the Swedish Gothenburg based symphonic band Twin Age. The track is taken from their second CD "Lialim High" that was actually released in 1997, the follow up to the excellent debut album "Month of the Year" (1996). It isn't hard to hear that they have a clear Genesis influence, but there's also reminiscences to Fish-era Marillion. This track has everything you can wish for: good vocals, good arrangements and a great melody.
¯ German band Moonlit's "Followed by A Memory" is a mixture between Prog Metal and Gothic rock. An uninteresting track with nothing to get excited about.
¯ The next band WW comes from Estonia. I don't think I've ever heard a band from that country. This is however closer to mellow hard rock than progressive rock. Their influences are Asia, IQ and Rush, but this track is more reminiscent to Led Zeppelin ca. "Physical Graffiti", but with keyboards added.
¯ Swiss band Moondaze's track is called "Life will live on". The track is a mixture between Dream Theater, Marillion and Pendragon. The vocals are too good to be hidden under a layer of too much echo. One of the better tracks on this compilation, although the production leaves a lot to wish for.
¯ German band Winterland has a song called "Under the Flood" which is a middle-of-the-road track that is easily forgotten. It hasn't much to do with progressive rock either.
¯ The highlight together with Twin Age comes from German band Esthetic Pale with their song "See You Thereby". It's actually recorded live and has female vocals. They're reminiscent to IQ and Marillion. This was the biggest surprise on this compilation and I hope I will get to hear more from this band in the future.
Many of the bands on this CD might be well known in a few years. The most likely to make it big would be Flamborough Head, Dionysos, Twin Age, Moondaze and Esthetic Pale. Recommended!
DURP has quickly become a favorite website among the progressive music fans and for good reason. There coverage of the progressive scene is quite extensive, ranging from art rock to heavy metal and progressive metal. There are interviews posted in German and English plus news, concert dates, a discussion page, link segregated by webrings, labels, bands, zines, common and banner exchange. They'll even allow you to submit a link. The reviews are divided up by Prog rock, Prog metal, heavy metal, Rock and other. Whats more, the info provided is phenomenal. They include a photo of the CD cover, members of the band, Track listing and a summary in German and English. There is so much good information here that you have got to check this site out and bookmark it. DURP also has several compilation CDs that are good. Definately a lot of time was put into the development of the site and it's certainly paid dividends.