Schooltree | Heterotopia A Metaphysical/Paranormal Rock Opera | Album Review August 2017

Schooltree | Heterotopia A Metaphysical/Paranormal Rock Opera – Album Review August 2017

Label: Independent/Unsigned
Release Year: 2017
Country: USA
Genre: Paranormal/Progressive Rock

Band Members – Current

Lainey Schooltree – Lead Vocals/Keyboards/Creator
Tom Collins – Drums
Peter Danilchuk – Synth’s/Organ
Ryan Schartzel – Bass
Sam Crawford – Lead & Rhythm Guitar’s

Band Members – Album Recording Personnel

Lainey Schootree – Vocals/Pianos/Synths
Brendan Burns – Guitar’s
Derek Van Wormer – Bass
Tom/Tod/Tad Collins – Drums
Peter Danilchuk – Organs/Synths
Peter Moore – Nylon Guitar/Additional Vocals/Keyboards/Programming

Track Listing

CD 1
Overture
Rocksinger
The Big Slide
Cat Centipede
The Abyss
Radio
Walk You Through
Edge of a Dream
The Leitmaiden
The Legend of Enantiodromia
Specter Lyfe

CD 2
Dead Girl
Turning into the Strange
The Edge Annihilate
Power of the Ghost
You and I
Into Tomorrow
The River
Bottom of the River
Enantiodromia Awakens
Zombie Connection
Keep Your Head
Day of the Rogue
Utopia

Contact Links

Schooltree Official Website

Schooltree Official Facebook Page

Schooltree Official Twitter

Schooltree Official YouTube Channel

Schooltree Official Bandcamp Store Profile

* Writers Note*
I want to apologize to Lainey Schooltree for this review taking so very long. It was not intentional. Hopefully the review below will validate me.

Ever since the middle 1990’s the Urban Fantasy genre has taken the literary world by storm. Novels such as The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, Twilight Trilogy by Stephanie Myer, Nightworld/Vampire Diaries by L. J. Smith, Vampire Academy/Frostbite by Rachel Meade, etc .. Most of the very successful Urban Fantasy novels go on to become either ‘Television Series’ or ‘Hollywood Blockbusters’. Now the Urban Fantasy genre has grown tentacles into the world of the traditional progressive rock opera.

Lainey Schooltree becomes one of the very many successful women to shatter the typical ‘male stereotype’ and create her own ‘Urban Fantasy’ , however this is set to the traditional progressive rock opera. Her new project Schooltree Heterotopia is a melodic adventure of absolute paranormal and metaphysical proportions. Most progressive rock or metal opera’s have dealt with subjects as science fiction, world history, comatose people, or people with disabilities, end of the world scenario’s , etc .. Schooltree’s Heterotopia deals with the classic cliche or subject “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.”

Schooltree’s Heterotopia comes in the tradition of The Who’s Tommy & Quadrophenia, Meatloaf’s Bat Out Of Hell Trilogy on the Rock Opera end. On the conceptual end it comes in the tradition of Yes’ Tales From Topographic Oceans, Pain Of Salvation’s BE & In The Passing Light Of Day with some psychedelic structures reminiscent of The Doors and Jefferson Airplane.

There are six distinct and very different characters involved in the story and visual Lainey Schooltree has painted on this exquisite tapestry. There is the Greek Chorus – Narrator, Suzi – Our Hero, Zombuzi – Zombie Suzi, Metanoia, Shadows and Enantiodromia. Much like the ‘Urban Fantasy’ novels and films, these characters also have their own significance within Schooltree’s Heterotopia. The landscape of the project is well over 100 minutes and two CD’s worth of music that totally and completely seamlessly transition beautifully from track to track.

CD 1 – ACT 1

Overture opens up the album almost in the way a soundtrack or score would open a movie and/or film. It leaves a lot to the imagination and increases the anticipation opening up the epic opera. This is also a track loaded with various symphonic and progressive rock elements. The keyboard and guitar stringed section also adds a layer of distinct orchestration that gives the project a very unique sound.

Rocksinger & The Big Slide displays a very dark side of the main character Suzi. Lainey Schooltree really does a great job both lyrically and instrumentally showing the listener the true desperation Suzi has reached as to how far she will go to obtain her dream. Lainey Schooltree being the only vocalist on the album also allows for depths of various emotions to come forward in the narrative of the story.

Much like Alice In Wonderland, Lainey Schooltree incorporates a centipede like creature in this modern day urban fantasy, paranormal rock opera, however it is a Cat Centipede. The instrumental half of this track certainly lends a great picture on the screen of the theater of the mind. The band does a great job here building towards a climax, a transition. They do this through the incorporation of various progressive and psychedelic elements. Suzi the main character follows this abnormal creature into The Abyss.

With The Abyss the band utilize very heavy psychedelic elements in the intro leading in. The blend of vocals and psychedelic elements certainly create a otherworldly and strange journey into the progressive psychedelic harmonies. The drums also lend a firm melodic and rhythmic melody as well.

Radio starts off exactly like the title suggests. There is a heavy effect of a actual radio tuning in and out. When the vocals kick in the story narrative holds fast to the objective of storytelling. Lainey Schooltree’s vocals and the instrumental in radio are almost within the alternative rock parameters. The vocal harmonies and instrumental harmonies together remind me a lot of Dolores O’Riordan of The Cranberries meets Christina Booth of Magenta. Radio is one of two very well written transitional tracks the next being Walk You Through.

Walk You Through is more of a straight up rock song. The vocal harmonies certainly allow the rhythm section to be front and center playing off of one another. This track is very guitar driven and bass/drum rhythm section driven. Both of those elements allow for the psychedelic style vocals to serve as a beacon of light in Walk You Through.

Edge of a Dream starts out with a deep piano stringed section that serves as a melancholic melody. It is this melancholic approach that conveys the correct emotion of Suzi now Zombie Suzi to have a heavy dose of the blues since she is now exiled out on the streets from her home. The alternative to our main character Suzi, now as Zombie-Suzi faces her first real conundrum when she encounters Metanoia ‘The Leitmaiden’. Metanoia informs her that the longer she stays in ‘The Garden of The Architype’ the more at risk she is in returning home and securing her human earthly form again. Lainey Schooltree depicts this perfectly with layers upon layers of psychedelic elements. This is met with various keyboard progressions blended beautifully with psychedelic vocal passages.

These atmospheres would continue through the rest of Act 1 or CD 1. The Legend Of Enantiodromia & Spectre Lyfe continue the psychedelia vibe. The psychedelic elements are that of more of a 1960’s style blended beautifully with 1990’s alternative rock elements. This is very rare in progressive rock and allows the entire story to really rest in the metaphysical and paranormal word Lainey Schooltree is conveying both melodically and harmoniously. Think Grace Slick Jefferson Airplane meets Delores O’Riordan meets Yes & Genesis. The vocals are warm and the instrumental portion allows the vocals and story to breathe through eloquently. The guitar solo’s shine through as well.

CD 2 – Act 2

The second half of this double conceptual metaphysical/paranormal rock opera starts off with a epiphany or transition if you will. This is where Zombie-Suzi has her first confrontation with three ghosts who taunt the hell out of her for her ‘ghostly’ condition. Ghosts who speak a curse over her to be dead thus the title of Dead Girl becomes appropriate here. Dead Girl opens up with a deep smooth rhythm section that is closely accompanied by the vocals that lyrically come out of the narrative of the three ghosts who taunt Zombie-Suzy.

Metanoia once again reaches out to Suzy- Spectre and lets her know that there is a way to adapt to her new condition. She teaches Suzy that she can bend her new condition and shape it by her will. She teaches Suzy that she can use all this strange to her advantage thus the title of the next track, Turning Into The Strange. Lainey Schooletree once again uses heavy psychedelic elements vocally and lyrically that are met with some very fluent hard rock elements in and out of the chord progressions. The band does very good work lyrically and instrumentally to articulate the story in such a matter.

Perplexed by her ‘Ghostly‘ self, Suzi begins to really take inventory on her path and progress in life both in her physical human form and her supernatural ‘Ghostly’ form. Initially unsure where she is going and even how to get there, Suzi once again is visited by what seems to be her only friend now Metanoia. After Metanoia weighs both the pros and cons of her ‘Ghostly’ form, Suzi finally gets a moment of clarity as to what path and how she must progress forward. This is all covered over the period duration of the songs The Edge Annihilate and Power Of The Ghost. It is during these two songs Suzi has some real introspection of her life. The instrumental and lyrical approach nails this down very well.

You & I sees Suzi in a confrontation with her Zombie body over taking a trip down by the river. This is only further irritated by the returning ‘Cat Centipede’ from the beginning of the journey who Suzi barely recognizes anymore. Against her better judgement Suzi follows the ‘Cat Centipede’ down to the river where trouble awaits Into Tomorrow. The instrumental portion remains on point with all the heavy psychedelic effects to portray Suzi into a otherworldly situation. The psychedelic element is now met with a thick and heavy neo progressive element as well.

The River & Bottom Of The River sees Suzi seduced by a sirens song to the river’s edge. Suzi knows full well to keep her resolve intact to be reunited with her physical earthly form she must jump all the way into the river. It has to be deliberate or else Suzi will fall into the river’s abyss and drown. These tracks are once again very heavy on the atmospheric effects of keyboards. Those effects serve as a heavy paranormal aesthetic throughout both of the tracks. The vocals are very heavy on the psychedelic elements as well. This allows a paranormal vibe to breathe here.

Beyond the “wall,” Suzi finds and awakens Enantiodromia, and asks her to take her fair hand and make her whole again. But awakened Enantiodromia is changed from her former self; looking around at the darkness arisen during her slumber, she is the black-handed reaper now, bringing balance to the land once more, now by using her black hand to annihilate that which  does not belong in this world, and attempts to begin with Suzi. Suzi pleads with her to stop, explaining she is only half of what she’s supposed to be, telling Enantiodromia of her quest though endless night outside of time to wake her. “I am not a shadow, just a girl; an exiled soul in the wrong world.” Enantiodromia tells her that she’s been in this world too long and is no longer just a girl; she cannot return her home. But as repayment for awakening Enantiodromia, she allows Suzi the chance to go back to take control of her zombie body, and return as one to her, at which point she’ll take them both together to the next place. (Enantiodromia Awakens). That is achieved instrumentally through the staple psychedelic atmospheres both instrumentally and vocally.

Zombie Connection, Keep Your Head, Day Of The Rogue all see Suzi able to control her earthly body, zombie body all with her mind there is a reconciliation of sorts going on here even if it is not what Suzi imagined. The piano classically driven instrumental section really allow the lyrical side to breathe through so the listener can easily learn Suzi’s fate as she goes out in a ‘Blaze Of Glory’.

Utopia sees Suzi having achieved mastery in both worlds, Suzi is able to use her mind to grow her body from her head like a seed in the air downward to the ground. NeoSuzi glimpses what utopia could be for the first time, as something that can never be possessed, but experienced. The instrumental section beautifully wraps this story all up in a very coherent matter for the listener.

I did enjoy this journey. In a world of another dimension we can all find ourselves yearning and craving acceptance willing to do everything including mortgaging our own soul to obtain our ultimate goal. Suzi is a reminder of the absolute lengths we will go through to attempt our own Utopia. Lainey Schooltree certainly articulated this story beautifully on both lyrical and instrumental fronts.

Where some people usually enlist multiple vocalists to play parts of various characters and even multiple musicians, Lainey Schooltree enlisted a specific core both in studio and with a active band situation, thus to two different lineups in the rider of this review. Lainey Schooltree created a product that can be easily adapted to the live stage within reason. When listening to Schooltree’s Heterotopia think more The Who’s Tommy or Meatloaf’s Bat Out Of Hell trilogy as far as Rock Opera’s are concerned. I can not wait for Lainey Schooltree’s next adventure for us. After much deliberation I have given Schooltree’s Heterotopia a strong 5/5.

 

 

Featured Artist of the Week // Billy Sherwood

William Wyman “Billy” Sherwood (born March 14, 1965, Las Vegas, Nevada) is a musician, record producer, and engineer.

billy sherwood

Biography

Family

Sherwood comes from a musical family which includes his father Bobby Sherwood, who was an actor, musician, and big band leader, his mother Phyllis, a singer and drummer, and brother Michael, a keyboardist and singer. His godfather is the late Milton Berle. Billy has a wife, Michi.

Lodgic

Sherwood’s music career started when he joined a band called Lodgic formed by Michael. Billy played bass and sang, while Michael played keyboards and sang back up. Lodgic also included Guy Allison on keyboards, Jimmy Haun on guitar and Gary Starns on drums. They eventually moved the band to Los Angeles in 1980. After many years of trying to get things together, they recorded their debut album Nomadic Sands, released in 1985.

World Trade

Lodgic eventually broke up, and Billy Sherwood put together a new band with Guy Allison. They recruited guitarist Bruce Gowdy and drummer Mark T. Williams to form World Trade. They recorded their self-titled debut in 1989, with Sherwood taking on the roles of engineer, mixer, and producer again, along with his band duties as bassist and lead singer.

Yes and other projects

Then, Sherwood and Gowdy were asked to come and jam with Chris Squire, Alan White, and Tony Kaye of Yes. Singer Jon Anderson and guitarist Trevor Rabin had left the band and the idea was for Sherwood and Gowdy to replace them in the band. Rabin returned to the band, but demos were recorded by a line-up of Squire, White, Kaye, Rabin and Sherwood. However, Yes were to merge with Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe and Sherwood was relegated to the role of side musician, appearing on one track of the subsequent album Union. Like Trevor Horn before him, Sherwood was uncomfortable with the idea of replacing Anderson as the front man of Yes, but he struck up a friendship with Squire that would lead to work with him throughout the next 20 years.

During the hiatus of Yes, Squire put together the Chris Squire Experiment, having Sherwood as the lead singer while playing some guitar and keyboards. Sherwood then went on to record a project called The Key with guitarist Marty Walsh, though they would not release the album until 1997.

Behind the board, Sherwood worked with Motörhead, Dangerous Toys, and Paul Rodgers (formerly of Bad Company) as producer and engineer. Sherwood also guested on Toto’s Kingdom of Desire album, singing and playing bass. He also produced a couple of tribute albums, including Jeffology, a tribute to Jeff Beck. Sherwood then joined Yes on tour as an additional musician, playing guitar and keyboards for their tour in support of Talk.

Sherwood got back together with his band mates from World Trade and released Euphoria in 1995, with Jay Schellen replacing Williams on drums. After this, he worked with a multitude of artists. Most of his work was as producer, mixer and engineer, including on more tribute albums: Dragon Attack, a tribute to Queen; Salute to AC/DC; and Crossfire, a tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Sherwood would co-produce, engineer and mix the new studio tracks for Yes’s Keys to Ascension and Keys to Ascension 2 albums. Sherwood started work on a third album by World Trade, but the band would fall apart. He would later use much of that material as his debut solo album The Big Peace, released in 1999.

After the two Keys to Ascension albums, Rick Wakeman left Yes. Sherwood’s friendship with Chris Squire would then lead him being asked to join the band again. The material that they had written together was used as the basis of what would become Open Your Eyes, released in 1997 by Yes. Sherwood played guitar and keyboards. Igor Khoroshev would join the band before the tour as the keyboardist leaving Sherwood to playing guitar and supplying backing vocals.

After returning from the tour, Sherwood and Yes returned to the studio to record The Ladder. During this time too, Sherwood and Squire started putting the finishing touches on their album Conspiracy, largely based on the Chris Squire Experiment material, which was released while Yes was on tour in support of The Ladder in 2000. Billy also took time to perform on his brother Michael’s album Tangletown, released in 1999.

Yes recorded a show during The Ladder tour in Sherwood’s hometown of Las Vegas at the House of Blues. This was released as an album and DVD titled House of Yes. Then after the tour, an announcement came that Sherwood was no longer a member of Yes.

After his departure from Yes, Sherwood worked with Chris Squire to release Conspiracy, including some work they composed together some years before. Following that, Sherwood composed his first solo album called The Big Peace in which he played most of all the instruments and also produced. The album was a sort of back to basics of his progressive roots.

In 2003, Sherwood released another album with Chris Squire, the project becoming known as Conspiracy. The album was titled The Unknown.

More recently, Sherwood has been working on further tribute albums, notably Back Against the Wall and Return to the Dark Side of the Moon, tributes to Pink Floyd’s The Wall and The Dark Side of the Moon respectively. The latter includes a new track recorded with Tony Kaye.

In 2007, a new band with Sherwood, Alan White, Tony Kaye and Jimmy Haun was announced, called Circa. With the release of their debut album Circa 2007 and a live DVD concert, Circa has played various live dates. White left the band and was replaced by Jay Schellen.

Sherwood is also credited for writing the theme song for the online anime series, Kung Fu Jimmy Chow.

In August 2008, Billy Sherwood’s released his third solo album, At the Speed of Life, for which he received an award that year as the best Progressive Rock Producer.

On January 14, 2009, Circa self-released on the Internet its second studio album, Circa HQ. This time, White was not available due to his commitments with Yes (who had begun a new tour). Sherwood’s long time friend, collaborator and drummer, Jay Schellen, replaced White on the album. After a short international tour, Sherwood and co. started another project with former Toto singer, Bobby Kimball. Kimball, Sherwood, Tony Kaye and Jimmy Haun formed new band, Yoso, with a debut studio album in April 2009. Haun later abandoned the line-up (in order to focus on his work for adverts). He was replaced by Yes tribute band guitarist, Johnny Bruhns. Schellen chose to focus on his work in Asia Featuring John Payne and, after a number of other drummers, the band toured with Scott Connor on drums. Yoso then disbanded. Sherwood also released his fourth solo album, Oneirology.

In 2011, CIRCA: returned with a new line-up of Sherwood, Kaye, Bruhns and Connor, while Sherwood released his fifth solo album, What was the Question?. In 2012, Sherwood wrote, produced, arranged and performed on The Prog Collective, an album featuring vocal or instrumental contributions from many of the progressive rock artists he had worked with over the years. He reprised the concept with a similar collection of artists for Epilogue, released in 2013.

On October 8, 2013, they released the official video to William Shatner’s record Ponder The Mystery, followed by a sold out tour with CIRCA. Ponder The Mystery also features appearances of Steve Vai, Robby Krieger, Al Di Meola, George Duke, Vince Gill, Dave Koz, Rick Wakeman and Edgar Winter. He also played with Alan Parsons Project.

Sherwood appeared along with William Shatner in the Season 14 premiere of Hell’s Kitchen where they met blue team as part of their reward for winning the signature dish challenge.

On May 19, 2015, it was officially announced that Chris Squire would be undergoing treatment for Acute erythroid leukemia, and that Yes would continue their 2015 North American tour with Sherwood filling Squire’s role. After Squire’s passing on June 27, 2015, Sherwood—as well as other members of Yes (both former and current)–made a public statement expressing his grief. In regards to his new role as the now-permanent bassist for Yes: “Chris said to me, ‘play the music, be yourself and make me proud’. It’s my true desire now [to] live up to his wishes.”

On 11 January 2017, it was announced via Asia’s Official Facebook that Sherwood would be filling in for John Wetton for tour dates in the spring of 2017 while Wetton underwent chemotherapy. Weston died on 31 January 2017.

Discography

Solo albums

  • The Big Peace (1999)
  • No Comment (2003)
  • At the Speed of Life (2008)
  • Oneirology (2010)
  • What Was the Question? (2011)
  • The Art of Survival (2012)
  • Divided by One (2014)
  • Collection (2015), compilation with two exclusive tracks
  • Archived (2015), album sold at Yes concerts during their 2015 tour, availability on Sherwood’s website in 2016
  • Citizen (2015)

With World Trade

  • World Trade (1989)
  • Euphoria (1995)

With Lodgic

  • Nomadic Sands (1985)

With Yes

  • Open Your Eyes (1997)
  • The Ladder (1999)
  • House of Yes: Live from House of Blues (2000)
  • Also: production, songwriting and various instruments on Union (1991), and mixing on Keys to Ascension (1996), Keys to Ascension 2 (1997), Heaven & Earth (2014), Like It Is: Yes at the Bristol Hippodrome (2014) and Like It Is: Yes at the Mesa Arts Center (2015)

With Conspiracy

  • Conspiracy (2000)
  • The Unknown (2003)

With Circa

  • Circa 2007 (2007)
  • Circa Live (2009, + DVD 2008)
  • Circa HQ (2009)
  • Overflow (2009)
  • And So On (2011)
  • Live From Here There & Everywhere (2013)
  • Valley Of The Windmill (2016)

With The Prog Collective

  • The Prog Collective (2012)
  • Epilogue (2013)

With Yoso

  • Elements (2010)

Solo Production Credits

  • Back Against The Wall (2005)
  • Return to the Dark Side of the Moon (2006)
  • Songs of the Century: An All-Star Tribute to Supertramp (2012)

Other Appearances

  • Deep Purple – Slaves and Masters (1990)
  • Yes – Yesyears (1991)
  • Yes – Union (1991)
  • Regulators – The Regulators (1991)
  • Toto – Kingdom of Desire (1992)
  • Motörhead – March ör Die (1992)
  • Air Supply – The Vanishing Race (1993)
  • Paul Rodgers – Muddy Water Blues: A Tribute to Muddy Waters (1993)
  • Dangerous Toys – Pissed (1994)
  • Various Artists – Supper’s Ready (1995)
  • Various Artists – The Moon Revisited (1995)
  • Various Artists – Tales From Yesterday (1995)
  • Pam Thum – Faithful (1995)
  • Air Supply – News from Nowhere (1995)
  • Yes – Keys to Ascension (1996)
  • Def Leppard – All I Want Is Everything (1996)
  • Various Artists – Crossfire: A Salute To Stevie Ray Vaughan (1996)
  • Yes – Keys to Ascension (1997)
  • Various Artists – Dragon Attack: A Tribute To Queen (1997)
  • Paul Rodgers – Chronicle (1997)
  • The Key – The World is Watching (1997)
  • Treason – Treason (1997)
  • Ratt – Collage (1997)
  • Carmine Appice – Guitar Zeus (1997)
  • Flambookey – Flambookey (1997)
  • Various Artists – Thunderbolt-A Tribute To AC/DC (1998)
  • Michael Sherwood – Tangletown (1998)
  • Regulators – Bar & Grill (1998)
  • Quiet Riot – Alive and Well (1999)
  • Carmine Appice – Guitar zeus: Japan (2000)
  • Yes – Keystudio (2001)
  • Fear Factory – Digimortal (2001)
  • Carmine Appice – Guitar Zeus: Korea (2002)
  • Jack Russell – For You (2002)
  • Todd Rundgren – Todd Rundgren And His Friends (2002)
  • Medwyn Goodball – Anam Cara
  • Various Artists – Pigs & Pyramids-An All Star Lineup Performing The Songs of Pink Floyd (2002)
  • Ignition – Ignition (2003)
  • Various Artists – Bat Head Soup-A Tribute To Ozzy Osbourne (2003)
  • Asia – Silent Nation (2004)
  • John 5 – Vertigo (2004)
  • Larry Klimas – Retro-Spec(t) (2004)
  • Michael Schenker – Heavy Hitters (2005)
  • Various Artists – Back Against The Wall (2005)
  • Edgar Winter – The Better Deal (2006)
  • Various Artists – Return to the Dark Side of the Moon (2006)
  • Various Artists – An ’80s Metal Tribute To Journey (2006)
  • Various Artists – Lights Out: The Ultimate Tribute To UFO (2006)
  • Various Artists – An All-Star Tribute To Lynyrd Skynyrd (2007)
  • Graham Russell – The Future (2007)
  • Hollywood Roses – Dopesnake (2007)
  • Various Artists – 70’s Box: The Sound Of A Decade (2007)
  • Julie Francis – Lucky Penny (2008)
  • Various Artists – Led Box: The Ultimate Tribute To Led Zeppelin (2008)
  • Various Artists – Big Movies, Big Music Volume 1 (2008)
  • Various Artists – Big Networks, Big Music Volume 2 (2008)
  • Various Artists – Big Networks, Big Music Volume 9 (2008)
  • Various Artists – Ultimate Holiday Party Volume 1 (2008)
  • Various Artists – Ultimate Christmas Party Volume 2 (2008)
  • Various Artists – Ultimate Christmas Party Volume 3 (2008)
  • Various Artists – A Tribute To Thin Lizzy (2008)
  • Various Artists – Abbey Road: A Tribute To The Beatles’ (2009)
  • Eureka – Shackleton’s Voyage (2009)
  • Various Artists – An All-Star Salute to Christmas (2010)
  • Nigel Briggs – Unwind (2010)
  • Mars Hollow – World in Front of Me (2011)
  • John Wetton – Raised in Captivity (2011)
  • Flaming Row – Elinoire (2011)
  • Michael Schenker Group – By Invitation Only
  • Sonic Elements – XYZ—A Tribute to Rush (2012)
  • Jay Tausig – Pisces (2012)
  • Various Artists – Songs of the Century: An All-Star Tribute to Supertramp (2012)
  • Various Artists – Black on Blues – A Tribute to The Black Keys (2012)
  • The Fusion Syndicate – The Fusion Syndicate (2012)
  • Edison’s Lab – Edison’s Lab EP (2012)
  • Blackburner – Planet Earth Attack (2012)
  • Nektar – A Spoonful of Time (2012)
  • Nektar – Time Machine (2013)
  • Days Between Stations – In Extremis (2013)
  • Sons of Hippies – Griffones at the Gates of Heaven (2013)
  • William Shatner – Ponder The Mystery (2013)
  • Dale Bozzio – Missing In Action (2014)
  • Spirits Burning – Starhawk (2015)
  • Time Horizons – Transitions (2015)
  • Leon Alvarado – The Future Left Behind (2016)

Follow Billy Sherwood
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BillySherwoodMusic/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/billysherwood

All Information copied from Billy Sherwood – Wikipedia

 

 

Althea // Featured Artist of the Week

Althea

About
Althea formed in Milan from an idea of the guitarist Dario Bortot and bassist Fabrizio Zilio with the object of developing a free-of-schemes progressive metal rock project. With the entrance in the line up of the keyboardist Marco Zambardi the band produced a number of demo tapes and played live in many venues in northern Italy, also participating in several musical contests.
With Sergio Sampietro on drums and Alessio Accardo on vocals joining the band, the Althea line up stabilized and the group resumed live performances in several of the Milan clubs, including the LiveMi event in Piazza Duomo.

With this formation, the band composed and recorded new songs that after an intense amount of work in the recording studio, became part of the “Eleven” EP, released in February 2014.
Eleven received outstanding reviews from local and international press and the band played live extensively in iconic locations, including Colony club.

In 2016 the band went back into the studio to record the new full length concept album “Memories Have No Name”, a 16 songs concept album spacing from progressive metal, rock and experimental ambient sections to be released in January 2017.

Members
Dario Bortot (Guitar)
Fabrizio Zilio (Bass)
Marco Zambardi (Key and Loops)
Sergio Sampietro (Drums)
Alessio Accardo (Vocal)

Featured Artist Of The Week // Textures

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In 2003, the year of the launch of TEXTURES’ debut album Polars, the first reactions start to stream in: “This is the best metal album that’s ever come out of the Netherlands” according to the Dutch music magazine Oor. The standard is set. TEXTURES, once just a promising up-and-coming band from the South of the Netherlands, has now emerged, 3 albums later, as an established name in the worldwide metal scene.

The band’s fourth album Dualism — on the band’s new home Nuclear Blast — is groovier, catchier, and the production even grander than its 2008 predecessor Silhouettes. The band’s trademark mix of expertly crafted brutality, melody, freaky, innovative rhythms and catchy vocals is still intact, with Bart Hennephof and Jochem Jacobs’s expertly crafted sonic… um… textures and the unruly heavy-hitting of drummer Stef Broks creating the perfect metal cocktail. The climaxes of the songs on Dualism have been elevated to a higher level, partially due to the contribution of their new keyboard player Uri Dijk and new frontman Daniel de Jongh (ex-Cilice) who, as far as his sound goes, is every bit the talent as his predecessor Eric Kalsbeek.

Once again, the band took total control of every facet of the album. Everything was recorded at Split Second Sound, the new Amsterdam-based studio belonging to Jacobs, who produced the album. The band also handled all their own artwork and merchandising, which was designed by bassist Remko Tielemans.

The last album, Silhouettes, received worldwide acclaim from the international press. Everybody from Europe to the U.S. to India could sing along to the song “Awake,” which received strong support from online metal communities and got prime time airplay on Radio 3 fm (NL), Radio 1 (UK) and Triple J (AU). The video clip got airplay on MTV in Europe and Russia, and VH1 in India. In the Netherlands TEXTURES reached the Album Top 100 for the very first time. The band played at Graspop in Belgium, the Great Escape in the UK, Tuska in Finland, Hellfest in France and Lowlands in their home country the Netherlands and also toured with Arch Enemy and All That Remains, among others.

In 2009 the band flew to Bangalore to play India for the first time — where they’d just been featured on the cover of India’s most prestigious rock magazine The Rock Street Journal – and delivered an explosive headline performance for over 5,000 fans. Exactly a year later they return for another festival, dazzling the University of New Delhi where the band was welcomed by throngs of thousands once again.

With two new band members, a new record label and a new album TEXTURES will be hitting the road once again, touring all over the world in support of the album and going places where they’ve never been before, both literally and metaphorically.

MEMBERS:
Daniel de Jongh – vocals
Joe Tal – guitars
Bart Hennephof – guitars
Stef Broks – drums
Remko Tielemans – bass
Uri Dijk – synths

Follow
http://texturesband.com/en/news
https://www.facebook.com/textures/

The Tea Club // Featured Artist of The Week

the-tea-club

The Tea Club is a band from New Jersey consisting of Patrick McGowan (vocals/guitar/keyboards), Dan McGowan (vocals/guitar/keyboards), Jamie Wolff (bass/violin/cello), Joe Dorsey (keyboards) and Dan Monda (drums).

In 2008, the band was discovered by producer Tim Gilles (Anthrax, Taking Back Sunday, Hades, Bear vs. Shark, Thursday), who recorded, produced, and mixed their first album at Big Blue Meenie Studios. “General Winter’s Secret Museum” was released in July 2008. The album included original artwork by Dan and Patrick McGowan, with an album cover by artist Kendra DeSimone.

Following a brief East Coast tour, The Tea Club returned to Tim Gilles and Big Blue Meenie Studios to record their second album entitled “Rabbit“ which was released on October 9th 2010. The album featured guest keyboardist Tom Brislin (Yes, Renaissance, OK Go, Meatloaf, Camel).

Like General Winter’s Secret Museum, the album cover was painted by Kendra DeSimone and featured original artwork by Dan and Patrick McGowan. Rabbit was met with very positive reviews. The Organ ‘zine praised The Tea Club for being a band that is ”not afraid to nail their colours firmly to their mast and fly directly in to the face of fashion”. Indie Music Reviewer said that Rabbit ”can appease any listener of just about any genre”, giving the album 5 out of 5 stars.

They spent the rest of 2010 and 2011 touring the East Coast, including performances at the ProgDay Music Festival in North Carolina, the Philly Film & Music Festival, and the NJ Proghouse Music Series. Reviews and articles about the band were featured in publications such as Metro Philly, Indie Music Reviewer, Origivation, and JUMP. The band also released several homemade music videos for songs from the Rabbit album. They ended 2011 by opening for Jimmy Gnecco of the band Ours in Philadelphia.

In early 2012, The Tea Club once again returned to Big Blue Meenie Studios to record their third album with producer Tim Gilles. Following these sessions, the band was invited to support Beardfish on their mini-tour of the United States in May 2012.

The Tea Club’s third album, “Quickly Quickly Quickly”, was released on November 15th, 2012. Once again, the album cover was done by Kendra DeSimone with artwork by the McGowan brothers. Quickly Quickly Quickly was met with overwhelmingly positive reviews and made several “Top Albums of 2012” lists. Dangerdog Music Reviews called the album “wildly inventive”, while Instrumentali.com said that “The Tea Club has taken the dormant rock beast and tied a choke chain onto it.” Conor Fynes of The Metal Observer had this to say in his review of Quickly Quickly Quickly: “Although 2012 was a year host to output of impressive records from some of progressive rock’s finest, The Tea Club just may have topped them all.”

In 2013, The Tea Club travelled to Canada to perform two 90 minute sets at the Terra Incognita Festival in Quebec City. In August 2013, the band toured the United States with Thank You Scientist. The tour included a performance at Indie Music Reviewer’s IMR Music Festival 2013 in Atlanta, GA.

The Tea Club spent 2014 writing and recording at Big Blue Meenie Studios. These recordings became The Tea Club’s fourth album, “Grappling”, which was released on November 17, 2015. Grappling was met with critical acclaim, with many reviewers calling it the band’s greatest achievement, solidifying the band as a major presence in progressive rock.

2016 The Tea Club supported HAKEN in September on part of their “Affinity” Tour of the USA. The Tea Club also announced the upcoming release of the Grappling Graphic Novel, a 6-issue comic book series that elaborates on the stories told in the lyrics of their Grappling album. Written by Patrick McGowan with artwork by Dan McGowan and Kendra DeSimone, the first issue will be available October 10th, 2016 In December the band has embarked on a support tour of Thank You Scientist.

Website: http://www.theteaclub.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theteaclubband/

 

Clive Nolan // Artist of The Week

Clive Nolan is a British musician, composer and producer who has played a prominent role in the recent development of progressive and symphonic rock.

Clive Nolan

Born in Gloucestershire, he was a pupil at Wycliffe College and King’s School, Gloucester. He completed his B. Mus and M. Mus degrees at London University where he studied composition, orchestration and conducting. He has been the regular keyboard player in Pendragon (1986–present), Shadowland (1992–present), Strangers on a Train (1993–1994), Arena (1995–present) and Caamora (2006–present) as well as writing music and lyrics for Arena, Shadowland, Caamora and numerous other projects.

Nolan is the founder member of The Caamora Theatre Company formed to produce and perform the musicals of Clive Nolan. The premiere of ‘She’ took place in Katowice Wyspianski Theatre in Poland in October 2007. Subsequently, full theatrical performances of ‘She’ were performed in January 2010 in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, followed by the eight-man ‘She in Concert’ variation in Holland in September 2011. In February 2012 theatrical version of ‘She’ debuted in the UK in Cheltenham Playhouse Theatre. Recently, the revived theatre shows were performed again at the Cheltenham Playhouse in September 2015 during the anniversary event, “The Fire and the Quest”. ‘She in Concert” was also performed in Germany in 2015 and Holland in 2016.

He was voted Best Keyboard Player by Classic Rock Society in the years: 1995, 1996, 1998, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2015 and 2016. In 2010 the Bolivian government awarded him with the title of Honorary Visitor to Santa Cruz, Bolivia for his theatre work in the city of Santa Cruz. In 2013 he was awarded with the Polish MLWZ “Golden Lexicon Award” for Outstanding Achievements in Music for his musical ‘Alchemy’.

Nolan released his second musical ‘Alchemy’, with libretto based on the composer’s original story, early in 2013. In February 2013 the live show was recorded for the DVD at the famous Wyspianski Theatre in Katowice, Poland. The full theatrical shows of ‘Alchemy’ were performed by the Caamora Theatre Company at the Cheltenham Playhouse Theatre in September 2013. In 2013 and 2014 the concert version of ‘Alchemy’ headlined musical and theatre events in the UK and Holland. In August 2014 ‘Alchemy’ was performed over a week at the Jermyn Street Theatre in the London Off-West End. In november 2014, ‘Alchemy’ returned in a concert version to be performed in Reichenbach, Germany. Recently the musical was once more performed at the Cheltenham Playhouse as part of “The Fire and the Quest” festival.

 

Clive Nolan with Arena

Studio

  • Songs from the Lion’s Cage (1995)
  • Pride (1996)
  • The Visitor (1998)
  • Immortal? (2000)
  • Contagion (2003)
  • Pepper’s Ghost (2005)
  • The Seventh Degree of Separation (2011)
  • The Unquiet Sky (2015)

Live

  • Welcome to the Stage (1997)
  • Breakfast in Biarritz (2001)
  • Live & Life (2004)
  • Arena: Live (2013)
  • Arena: XX (2016)

EP’s

  • The Cry (1997)
  • Contagious (2003)
  • Contagium (2003)

Compilations

  • Ten Years On (2006)

Videos/DVDs

  • Caught in the Act (2003) (live)
  • Smoke & Mirrors (2006) (live)
  • Rapture (2011) (live)
  • Arena: XX (2016) (live)

Clive Nolan with Pendragon

  • The Jewel (1985)
  • Kowtow (1988)
  • The World (1991)
  • The Window of Life (1993)
  • The Masquerade Overture (1996)
  • Not Of This World (2001)
  • Believe (2005)
  • Pure (2008)
  • Passion (2011)
  • Men Who Climb Mountains (2014)

Clive Nolan with Shadowland

Albums

  • Ring of Roses (1992), reissued with two extra tracks (1997), remastered with bonus tracks (2009)
  • Through the Looking Glass (1994), reissued with one extra track (1997), remastered with bonus tracks (2009)
  • Mad as a Hatter (1996), remastered with bonus tracks (2009)
  • A Matter of Perspective (2009)

DVDs

  • Edge of Night (2009)

Box sets

  • Cautionary Tales (2009)

Clive Nolan with Caamora

  1. Clive Nolan & Agnieszka Swita – Closer – CD – 2006
  2. Caamora – Walk on Water (Mini-Album) – CD – 2007
  3. Caamora – Embrace (Single) – CD – 2008
  4. Caamora – Journey’s End… An Acoustic Anthology – 2CD – 2008
  5. Caamora – She – 2CD / 2CD Digipak / 3LP – 2008
  6. Caamora – She (Live) – DVD / DVD+2CD / 2CD – 2008

Clive Nolan with Strangers on a Train

  1. The Key – Part 1 – The Prophecy – Verglas 1990
  2. The Key – Part 2 – The Labyrinth – Verglas 1993

Clive Nolan and Oliver Wakeman

  1. Jabberwocky – Verglas 1999
  2. The Hound of the Baskervilles – Verglas 2002

Clive Nolan with Casino

  1. Casino – Verglas 1992

Clive Nolan with Neo

  1. Broadcast (DVD) – Metal Mind 2007

Clive Nolan

  1. Skeletons in the Cupboard -Archive – Vol 1 – Verglas 2003

Clive Nolan with Gandalf’s Fist

  1. A Forest of Fey 2014
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