We’re already a week into 2017, and we’re all still here, so that means to me that we’re off to a good start. There is a lot happening this year in progressive rock, and I’m barely scratching the surface here, but I’ve picked out some albums and concerts that I am looking forward to, but I am hoping that you, the reader, can inform me of what I have left off.
Pain Of Salvation: In the Passing Light of Day
So, I’ve been a fan of Pain of Salvation since their heyday in the late 90s/early 00s. I am not that reviewer that will gripe about an artist that decides to go down a different path, because I feel like artists need to grow and evolve, and I respect that completely. But, after Scarsick, I stopped paying close attention to Pain of Salvation. I’ve liked some of the stuff they’ve done since then. But this new album feels like a return of sorts for Pain of Salvation. I’ve heard it and it’s fantastic, and it’s only getting better with subsequent listens.
Release date: January 13, 2017
Steve Hackett: The Night Siren
Steve Hackett has been really productive lately, between his gigs with his Genesis Revisited project, and his solo music. And I’ll also say that of all of prog’s old guard, Steve seems to be among the most approachable and pleasant. And, he genuinely loves progressive rock. Wolflight was brilliant,though a bit cheesy (hey- it’s prog we’re talking about here). The Night Siren will feature several guest musicians from all over the world (India, Peru, Iraq, Israel, Palestine), as well as Steve’s fantastic guitar playing. I love it when progressive musicians actually progress.
Release date: March 24, 2017
The Mute Gods: tardigrades will inherit the earth
The Mute Gods came out with one of the most unique albums that came out last year, Do Nothing till You Hear from Me. The Mute Gods are returning with a follow up album that looks to be a bit more apocalyptic than the first. Steve Hackett band alums Nick Beggs and Roger King, along with the incomparable Marco Minnemann, will undoubtedly make some waves with tardigrades, which has been described as Beggs as an album that is “as angry as a rattle snake with its tail caught in a car door!”. I’m looking forward to hearing what that sounds like- right now I’d just imagine a lot of hissing and flailing.
Release date: Febrary 24, 2017
Tim Bowness: Lost in the Ghost Light
Tim Bowness, known for his work with No-Man and Henry Fool, is shooting for the stars with Lost in the Ghost Light. It’s a concept album about a classic rock musician in “the twilight of his career”. Bowness has recruited quite the line-up, with some big names in prog rock, such as Bruce Soord (Pineapple Thief), Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree), and even progressive rock veterans Ian Anderson (of Jethro Tull fame) and Kit Watkins (Happy the Man/Camel). Bowness has a distinct artistic voice and mesmerizing sound that I have grown to love, and I hope to hear a lot of on this new album.
Release Date: February 17, 2017
OK. I’ll be honest. I bought the original Blackfield album on the recommendation of a very proggy friend. It was pretty great. However, I haven’t really followed up with this project. And now, 5 CDs in, I am doing a bit of catch up. Early reviews are saying that it’s not quite as good as the first 2 Blackfield albums, but it’s not as bad as the others. I think Aviv and Steven have an interesting chemistry, and am interested in seeing how this one stacks.
Release date: February 10, 2017
Bands to see on tour:
I was really excited to see that Opeth and Gojira were both touring. Sorceress and Magma (respectively) were 2 of my favorite albums last year. I told myself that I would make an effort to see either band if they came within reasonable distance. Well, I had already purchased my ticket before they announced that the Devin Townsend Project were opening for them. I have not exactly been shy about my love for Devin Townsend, so this is my most anticipated concert of the year, outside of Cruise to the Edge.
A Perfect Circle
It’s been a while since A Perfect Circle has toured- actually, a long while. So, it’s good to see them back on the road. My sense is that Maynard is just trying to keep himself busy while his buddies in Tool work on the latest album. This will be a show to check out, for sure.
Alcest isn’t EXACTLY progressive rock or metal. But they are a really amazing combination of styles. One of my friends said that he has to respect a band that takes 3 of his least favorite styles (black metal, shoegaze, progressive) and blends them in an incredible way.
And of course, CRUISE TO THE EDGE. Thanks to the help of some of my dearest friends and family, I will be representing Proglodytes at Cruise to the Edge 2017. I’m absolutely psyched to see this line up. Bands I am most excited about: Yes, Steve Hackett, Mike Portnoy (looking forward to see who all is playing with him), John Wetton, The Neal Morse Band, Spock’s Beard (with Nick D’Virgilio on drums!!!!), Haken, Stick Men, Pain of Salvation, and John Wesley (not listed). Of course I will try and check out the bands I am less familiar with, but my sense is that I will be running around from show to show like a beheaded chicken (which I’ve never personally seen happen, but I’m just trusting the idiom).
So, Proglodytes: What are YOU most looking forward to in 2017?