Top 10 Albums of 2017 | Progressive Metal | 2 of 3
Welcome back. This is the second of three lists of Top 10 Albums of 2017 here at Power of Prog. This time we count down the Top 10 Albums of 2017 . We are also at a point in history where there is as much progressive metal as there is it’s paternal genre progressive rock.
As many know who follow this music, progressive rock now has its branches in many other genres or sub-genres of heavy metal music. This list below is compiled from traditional progressive metal, extreme progressive black metal, progressive power metal, cinematic progressive metal, progressive death metal and a progressive rock/metal opera. Without further delay here are my Top 10 Albums Of Year, Progressive Metal.
Arjen Anthony Lucassen – Electric and Acoustic Guitars/Bass Guitar/Mandolin/Synthesizers, Hammond/Solina Strings/All Other Instruments Ed Wabry – Drums
Original Cast Members/Vocalists
James Labrie – Dream Theater- As ‘The Historian’ Tommy Giles Rogers – Between The Buried And Me – As ‘The Chemist’ Simone Simons – Epica -As ‘The Counselor’ Mike Mills – Toehider – As ‘T-H1’ Floor Jansen – Nightwish – As ‘The Biologist’ Hansi Kursch – Blind Guardian – As ‘The Astronomer’ Tobis Sammet – Avantasia/Edguy – As ‘The Captain’ Michael Eriksen – Circus Maximus – As ‘The Diplomat’ Nils K Rue – Pagans Mind – As ‘The Prophet’ Zaher Zorgati – Myrath – As ‘The Preacher’ Tommy Karevik – Kamelot – As ‘The Opposition Leader’ Russel Allen – SymphonyX – As ‘The President’ Will Shaw – Heir Apparent’ Wilmer Waarbroek, Jan Willem Ketelaars, and Lisette van den Berg – Scarlet Stories as ‘The Ship’s Crew’ You … Insert Name Here … as ‘The Audience’
Production Lori Linstruth – Photo Stills/Ajren Lucassen & Ayreon Cast Wayne Joyner – Lyric Videos for Everybody Dies and Star Of Sirrah
Matthew Cerami – Vocals/Guitars/Bass Jordan Navarro – Guitars/Drum Programming/Keyboards/Additional Sounds Jordan Navarro And Nick Shann – Drum Programming/Arrangements
Additional Musicians Nick Shann – Guitar Solo & Stringed Arrangememnts on ‘The Long Road Home’ Violin on ‘My Father, My God Benjamin Ian Meyerson (Fin Amor) & Justin Barone (Consonance) – Additional Lyrics & Vocal Arrangements Samantha Marie Rae (Nectar) – Guest Vocals Charles Buonsera – Bass Solo on ‘Evisecrate Divine’
Los Angeles, CA – One of the true innovators of surf rock music, Merrell Fankhauser, has been a mainstay on the music scene in both California and Hawaii for decades not only performing live but also producing a much-loved TV variety show “The Tiki Lounge.” Now, fans of all ages can discover the magic Fankhauser creates with this live concert album, Tiki Lounge Live, set to be released on January 12 via Goldenlane Records. Enjoy performances by Fankhauser as well as special guests Ed Cassidy of Spirit, The Brymers, Lindsey Ikeno, and more!
Merrell Fankhauser’s career began in the 1960s with the instrumental surf rock group The Impacts whose hit album Wipe Out is now revered as one of the era’s best surf rock albums. He later formed two other bands, Merrell & The Exiles and H.M.S. Bounty, before embarking on a formative move to the island of Maui in 1973 with his group MU. Later projects found Fankhauser collaborating with everyone from drummer Gary Malabar of Steve Miller Band and John Cipollina of Quicksilver Messenger Service.
1. Merrell – Fair Winds Blowin
2. The Brymers – Love Of Rock N Roll
3. Lindsey Ikeno – My Ipo
4. Tim Fankhauser – Witch Doctor
5. Merrell – Jungle Lo Lo Band
6. Merrell – Sweet Janeita
7. Merrell – Nawiliwili With You
8. Merrell – Feelin Ok
9. Merrell & Ed Cassidy – Out Of The Town
10. Big John – Rockin Country
11. Merrell – California Cosmic Jam
12. Merrell – Tiki Lounge
Here is my list of Top 10 Melodic Rock/Metal/AOR Albums of 2017. This list does not reflect the other members of Power Of Prog or its followers. Hopefully you will discover that quality rock still exists. This is a first in a three part series of Top 10 of 2017 lists. The other two lists will be Progressive Rock and Progressive Metal.
1. Coldspell – A New World Arise
Label – Escape-music ltd. UK
Band Members Niclas Swedentorp – Lead Vocals Michael Larsson – Guitars Chris Goldsmith – Bass Perra Johansson – Drums Matti Eklund – Additional Keyboards
The debut solo album from the virtuoso Iamthemorning pianist featuring an impressive list of guest performers.
Following the success of two highly-praised albums with Iamthemorning, Russian virtuoso pianist Gleb Kolyadin affirms his musical authority with his debut, self-titled album on Kscope. The record features a staggering whos-who of performers, including: Gavin Harrison (King Crimson / Porcupine Tree) on drums; Nick Beggs (Steven Wilson) on bass; Theo Travis (Robert Fripp / Porcupine Tree / Steven Wilson) on flute and saxophone; the unmistakable voice and lyrics of Steve Hogarth (Marillion) alongside Mick Moss (Antimatter); and Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) on additional keys.”the single greatest pianist I’ve ever met in my life.” Daniel Cavanagh (Anathema).
Gleb Kolyadin is an emotive exploration of self-identity; a story of two parts with interweaving leitmotifs. The album’s central concept weaves through an elaborate tonal and thematic structure, built around the extraordinary rhythm section of Gavin Harrison and Nick Beggs, which is accented at its focal points by guest appearances from Steve Hogarth, Jordan Rudess, Mick Moss and Theo Travis.
The album is a collaborative piece with each musician recording their own parts separately, starting with Gleb recording himself on a grand piano in Moscow Winter-Spring 2017 at the famed Mosfilm studio. The album was mixed and engineered by Vlad Avy, who also previously worked on the two Iamthemorning records. Gleb Kolyadin will be released on CD / LP and digitally.
“Gleb Kolyadin is a beautiful pianist and a great musician. I was invited to collaborate on his new solo album and my mind was made up as soon as I heard the music.” Steve Hogarth (Marillion)
“Gleb is an extremely rare talent as a pianist and as a composer. His compositions are very inspiring as he breaks new ground on the instrument.” Gavin Harrison (King Crimson / Porcupine Tree)
“Gleb Kolyadin is a rare talent. A virtuoso classical pianist with tremendous compositional skills… believe you will find the listening experience quite breathtaking.”Nick Beggs (Steven Wilson)
Tracklisting Insight Astral Architecture (featuring Mick Moss) White Dawn Kaleidoscope Eidolon Into The Void The Room Confluence (featuring Steve Hogarth) Constellation / The Bell Echo / Sigh / Strand Penrose Stairs Storyteller (featuring Jordan Rudess) The Best Of Days (featuring Steve Hogarth)
The music has gone quiet temporarily at Melodic Revolution Records as we sadly report the tragic news of the loss of one near and dear to our hearts and a member of our Melodic Revolution Family. Last evening our dear friend and Musician Extraordinaire, Colin Tench left this world, and though the music lives on we will forever feel the loss of his creativity.
According to members of the family, we have learned that Colin passed away peacefully due to natural causes. Out of respect for his family, we felt it necessary to keep this info out of the public attention until all family members were notified.
On behalf of us all at Melodic Revolution Records, we extend our deepest love, eternal respect, and condolences to the family, friends, and fans of Colin Tench. Colin was 63 years old and had just released his latest album “minor Masterpiece” under the “Colin Tench Project.” Anyone that knew or had worked with him could and most definitely would tell you that he was an under-rated and exceptionally talented musician who was charismatic and witty, well respected and loved. Colin was a rare breed indeed in today’s world, a friend and mentor to so many. Colin will be missed more than words can express. We hope that he has taken his wings to join the great gig in the sky, heaven is blessed with our loss. May you rest in peace.
In a note from Gordo Bennet who just finished working closely with Colin on his new album.
“My heart and time stopped when I heard the news that my dear brother, friend, and musical mentor had left this earth on angels wings. It deeply saddens me, and I am broken right now because of it. Colin has touched so many of us in different ways but it was his music that brought us all together as one. I think that he would want us to “pay attention to the details” as he would say and focus on all the laughter, love, and music he brought to us all. It will be different for all of us but from his Brazillian to his final Masterpiece he will always be a part of me. “We Love and miss you Coilin”
“Sleep well, my friend…”
What do you get when you match a Brit from London who loves American AOR with an American from California who grew up on British Prog? Dukes of the Orientis the masterful pairing of vocalist John Payne (ex-ASIA, GPS) with keyboardist Erik Norlander (Last in Line, Lana Lane, Rocket Scientists) who now present their eponymous debut album, ten years in the making. Payne’s powerful arena-seasoned vocals carry soaring melodies and lush harmonies over the sea of classic synthesizers and keyboards artfully painted with Norlander’s signature sonic palette.
Payne says of the album, “With Dukes of the Orient we have dug deep with analog soundscapes, superlative musicians, and song-driven epics. Add to this the masterful artwork of Rodney Matthews and a journey that started with the supergroup ASIA, we give you the next chapter, one we are extremely proud of.”
The two are backed by a world-renown ensemble of top musicians including Jeff Kollman, Guthrie Govan, Moni Scaria and Bruce Bouillet on guitar, Molly Rogers on strings and Jay Schellen on drums. Payne provides bass guitar and additional lead and rhythm guitar parts to complete the audiophile production. The album was mixed on a traditional analog console to preserve and enhance the natural depth, clarity, and soul of the tracks with great care taken to avoid over-compression, extreme equalization, and distortion.
Dukes of the Orienthas its origins in 2007 as “ASIA Featuring John Payne,” a band that continued on after ASIA keyboardist, Geoff Downes, left the band to re-form the original 1982 lineup. Payne recruited Norlander to join Guthrie Govan and Jay Schellen for tour dates in the US and initial recordings, some of which endured to appear on the Dukes of the Orient album here. Govan left the band to form The Aristocrats and was replaced by guitarist Bruce Bouillet followed by Jeff Kollman and Moni Scaria. The final lineup resulted in the track, “Seasons Will Change,” released as a video in 2013 and also now appears on the Dukes of the Orientalbum. Following the death of original ASIA vocalist, John Wetton, in early 2017, Payne and Norlander decided that these recordings should give birth to a new band, both out of respect for Wetton and for clarity with the Downes-led ASIA.
John Payne grew up in Luton, England. Upon moving to Harpenden, England in his teen years, he started his first band. His love of music started long before, though. As a young teenager, he taught guitar at school and also played into the early hours of the morning at clubs in a local cover band. Tired of playing other people’s songs, he formed a three-piece called Moonstone. With influences such as Santana, Hendrix, Trower and Deep Purple, Moonstone toured both locally and around the UK rock circuit. With encouragement from Jim Rodford of The Kinks and Rod Argent, the music bug would not let go. John went on write, tour, session (both as a vocalist and guitarist), record and produce. Moving to London gave him his first break singing backing vocals for Roger Daltry of The Who on the album Under a Raging Moon. This started much session work leading to purchasing The Wall, his first recording studio, which would be one of many. Between session work, Payne was invited to Power Station recording studio to record vocals for the group ELO at the invitation of drummer Bev Bevan and producer Jim Steinman. When legal complications regarding the name arose, Payne made the decision to return to London, where he was invited to join Asia in 1992.
Payne has since toured as “The Parson” in Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds, toured and recorded with GPS, co-created and co-wrote the Las Vegas musical Raiding The Rock Vault, and formed The Rock Pack, hosting a plethora of iconic classic rock vocalists. His love of music and analog recording has taken him on a journey as multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, composer, scriptwriter, studio engineer, and producer.
Erik Norlander was born in Hollywood, California and went against the tide of 80s Sunset Strip pop metal, instead learning the craft of progressive rock keyboards inspired by the founding fathers of the movement, Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman, Eddie Jobson, Patrick Moraz and others, many of whom became friends as Norlander’s career developed. Both Emerson and Wakeman even wrote liner notes for Norlander’s early solo albums. As part of his indoctrination into the genre, he became obsessed with synthesizers and classic keyboards of all kinds, learning the subtleties of sound design and the inner workings of these arcane instruments including his own 1967 modular Moog synthesizer famously dubbed the “Wall of Doom.” This led Norlander to actually work on the design of synthesizers including the legendary Alesis Andromeda analog hardware synthesizer and IK Multimedia Syntronik virtual instrument among many others. Norlander has released 10 solo albums, 7 with his prog-rock band, Rocket Scientists, and 10 albums with his vocalist wife, Lana Lane. He also works with the Bob Moog Foundation to forward the legacy of the maverick inventor.
Dukes of the Orient to release their eponymous debut album with stunning cover art by Rodney Matthews on February 23, 2018, with select tour dates to follow.