DEREK SHERINIAN – launches “Empyrean Sky”, first track taken from new album ‘The Phoenix’

World acclaimed keyboardist Derek Sherinian, (Sons of Apollo, Black Country Communion), one of the most significant keyboard players of the modern era, recently announced the release of his new solo album ‘The Phoenix’ on September 18th, 2020, his first since 2011’s ‘Oceana’. Derek comments: “I truly feel that this is my best solo record to date. Simon and I put a lot of energy into the writing, and I am grateful to all of the great players that contributed to this recording.”

Today sees the launch of the album’s first single, Empyrean Sky, which features Sherinian and drummer Simon Phillips joined by Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal on guitar, Jimmy Johnson on bass and Armen Ra on theremin. Listen to the track now here:

As mentioned, Sherinian has teamed up with drummer extraordinaire Simon Phillips, who not only plays drums but also co-produced and co-wrote the album: “It is always an amazing experience to be able to work with Simon. He’s been a hero of mine for ages, ever since I heard him playing on albums with Jeff Beck and Michael Schenker.  And he is such an invaluable part of the way this new record has come out.”

There are a number of top line guests featured on ‘The Phoenix’, as has been the case in the past for Sherinian, on both guitar and bass. Some have become regular contributors to his solo sessions. People such as bassists Tony Franklin (“He’s been on all my albums to date”), Jimmy Johnson and Billy Sheehan (Sherinian’s bandmate in Sons Of Apollo). Plus guitarists Joe Bonamassa and Zakk Wylde. In addition, others are welcomed into the fold for the first time. For instance, there’s master guitarist Steve Vai. “Steve Vai has always been on my hit list. But it was when I played keyboards on the Generation Axe tour of Asia in 2017 that I asked him to play on my record, which he gladly accepted” Also present are Sons Of Apollo bandmate Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal (Sons Of Apollo) and Kiko Loureiro (Megadeth).
“Kiko and I have known one another for about 20 years. But this is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to play with him.”

The album features 8 tracks, including a cover of Buddy Miles ‘Them Changes’, and will be released as a Limited Edition Digipak CD, 180g LP + CD & as Digital Album. Find the full track-listing below:

1. The Phoenix
2. Empyrean Sky
3. Clouds of Ganymede
4. Dragonfly
5. Temple of Helios
6. Them Changes
7. Octopus Pedigree
8. Pesadelo

Pre-order the album here: https://dereksherinian.lnk.to/ThePhoenix

Derek Sherinian’s far ranging talents have been much in evidence through the music of Alice Cooper (who once called him “The Caligula of keyboards”), Dream Theater, Black Country Communion and current band Sons Of Apollo. Moreover, proving just how much he is demand to work with rock royalty, Sherinian has also toured and recorded extensively with KISS, and Billy Idol, proving his classic and hard rock pedigree, whilst also being voted #9 in Prog Magazines greatest keyboardists of all time.

DEREK SHERINIAN online:
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https://twitter.com/DerekSherinian
https://www.instagram.com/dereksherinianofficial/  

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John Lodge releases new single In These Crazy Times (Isolation mix) featuring vocals from Jon Davison from YES. The song was written during isolation.

John Lodge bass guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for The Moody Blues has released a new single “In These Crazy Times (Isolation mix)”. The track isavailable to download on Amazon, iTunes, and all usual streaming services. 


Watch John chatting about and performing some of the track here: https://youtu.be/YWGat1uK7iQ


You can Listen and buy the track here : https://johnlodge.hearnow.com


John recorded the track in his home studio in Florida and he performed vocals and guitar and using GarageBand – keyboards and drums. Joining John on the song are his wife, Kirsten and son, Kristian, both of whom have never recorded before. John was also delighted to have Jon Davison, of YES, add backing vocals and harmonies. 


John says: “In 1967 “The Moody Blues” recorded ‘Days of Future Passed’, and we were in the studio in lockdown 24 hours a day creating an album that changed my life.  Being in lockdown now reminds me of the creativity and solitude that took place during that period of my life.  So I have taken the opportunity, given by this lockdown period, to write and record a new song about these difficult day – days that stretched into weeks and months.”


“When the pandemic came I had just finished up my US tour and the Rock and Romance cruise and within three days my wife and I were ‘stranded’.  Music is my life, and without a studio (or my band), I decided to perfect my use of ‘GarageBand’ to create all the instruments, and record my guitars and vocals in my “ home studio”. 


“As I believe we are all in this together, I thought what a great idea to involve all of my family.  My wife Kirsten is singing backing vocals (for the first time!), my son Kristian is playing Lead Guitar, his wife, Inga, took the photo for the cover (with social distancing!), Jon Davison, from the band ‘Yes’, joined me on vocals, and Emily, my daughter is managing the whole thing.”


“The track was recorded at my home and Kristian and Jon added their parts in their homes, before we sent it to Ray Nesbit, my Front of House Sound Engineer for him to mix at his ‘home’ studio.  It truly is an ‘Isolation Mix’.  My wish is that we can all be together again soon, and then I hope that my 10,000 Light Years Band and I can get together and make a ‘Freedom Mix’.”


“I hope you all can relate to this song as another step in life’s strange and mysterious path, and help you continue to keep the faith that we can do it together.”


About John Lodge:
John Lodge is bass guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for the iconic Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame 2018 inductees, The Moody Blues. Songwriter of such mega Moody Blues hits from “Ride My SeeSaw,” to “I’m Just A Singer (In A Rock and Roll Band),” “Isn’t Life Strange?” and many more, Lodge has been performing and recording with The Moody Blues for more than five decades, selling in excess of 70 million albums.  Lodge has been voted one of the “10 most influential bass players on the planet,” and has been the recipient of many awards, including ASCAP (American Society of Composers and Publishers), an Ivor Novello Award, to name just a few.  


In These Crazy Times (Isolation Mix) Out Now Listen and Buy the track here: https://johnlodge.hearnow.com
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PROG ENSEMBLE DARWIN TO RELEASE NEW SINGLE “NIGHTMARE OF MY DREAMS” FEATURING SIMON PHILLIPS, BILLY SHEEHAN, MATT BISSONETTE, GUTHRIE GOVAN & OTHERS…

First album track, “Future History”, to be released on Friday 10th July 2020. Video directed by Nigel Dick (Guns N’ Roses, Def Leppard).

Forthcoming new album “DarWin 2: A Frozen War” featuring Simon Phillips (Toto/The Who/Jeff Beck), Matt Bissonette (Elton John, David Lee Roth, Ringo Starr), Billy Sheehan (Mr Big/ Steve Vai/Winery Dogs), Guthrie Govan (Aristocrats/Asia/Hans Zimmer/Steven Wilson), Greg Howe (Michael Jackson/Justin Timberlake), Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater/Alice Cooper/Black Country Communion) 

Following the release of debut album “Origin Of Species” in early 2019, DarWin releases a new single, “Nightmare Of My Dreams”, on the 14th August 2020.

The epic 7 plus minute “Nightmare Of My Dreams” builds on the themes set out by DarWin on “Origin Of Species”.

The announcement of the first single will coincide with the release of the first album track, “Future History”.

Both songs are taken from the forthcoming album, “DarWin 2: A Frozen War”, which will be released later in 2020.

Once more DarWin has assembled a stunning ensemble of musicians. “DarWin 2: A Frozen War” continues the deep collaboration with Simon Phillips (drums, Toto/The Who/Jeff Beck) and Matt Bissonette (Elton John, David Lee Roth, Ringo Starr). Joining them are powerhouse players Billy Sheehan (bass, Mr Big/ Steve Vai/Winery Dogs), Guthrie Govan (guitar, Aristocrats/Asia/Hans Zimmer/Steven Wilson), Greg Howe (guitar, Michael Jackson/Justin Timberlake), Derek Sherinian (keyboards, Dream Theater/Alice Cooper/Black Country Communion) and more…

“Darwin 2: A Frozen War” was produced by DarWin and Simon Phillips and recorded primarily in Iceland and the USA.

DarWin says, “We started working on DarWin 2: A Frozen War while still finishing Origin of Species.  This new album is therefore more like a final chapter to OoS.  The title song “A Frozen War” represents the final battle for the future of Earth.  It has a heavier feel than the first album, and I think represents our best stuff.

“We shifted live recording to Iceland and Billy Sheehan joined us on bass in the studio while Matt was often traveling with Elton John.  We’re also joined on the album by Guthrie Govan, Greg Howe and Derek Sherinian doing killer leads, and many more players that are super exciting.

“This first song we’re releasing, “Future History” is about traveling faster than lightspeed and therefore going back in time.  It’s a real chuggy jam song that should rock hard.  Matt’s thick harmonies soar over the heavy grooves to provide a sensation of flying next to a ray of light and watching your life pass before you.  It was great to jam with Billy and Simon on this and trade licks with Greg in the solo section.  Check it out!”

The first release “Future History” also features a video directed by the legendary Nigel Dick (Guns N Roses/Band Aid/Def Leppard/Britney Spears)

Watch the Videohere

DarWin’s critically acclaimed debut “Origin Of Species” was the first installment in an epic saga that addresses the challenges of mankind in our coming era.  It depicts the role of a changing planet, and the potential, as well as limitations, of technology to help solve mankind’s greatest challenges. A complex project that’s eschews the hollow immediacy of much contemporary art. A story that demands attention and imagination.  With music sweeping in scope, at times evoking hard rock virtuoso shredding, alongside grand orchestral compositions, warm harmonies and soaring choruses. A project that is even more relevant in the strange times we live in.

“At the end of it all, DarWin has saved the concept album as well as the planet.” – Classic Rock review of debut album “Origin Of Species”

“…a smorgasbord of styles, dripping in YES pomp, melodic pop and riffy modern day rock” – Prog Magazine review of debut album “Origin Of Species”

“DarWin 2: A Frozen War” is released later in 2020. “Nightmare Of My Dreams” will be released on the 14th of August 2020. It will feature an exciting narrative video, also directed by Nigel Dick

Darwin photo by Andy Earl

To pre-order “Future History”:https://darwin.fanlink.to/futurehistory

DarWin official website: http://www.darwin.is/

GAZPACHO, THE KINGS OF ATMOSPHERIC AND AFFECTIVE ROCK, RETURN WITH NEW ALBUM ‘FIREWORKER’ DUE FOR RELEASE ON KSCOPE ON SEPTEMBER 18TH

(photo credit: Nina Krømer  / www.ninafoto.net / @nina_kroemer) 

For nearly twenty years, Gazpacho have reigned as the kings of atmospheric and affective art rock. That’s certainly no small feat, as the subgenre is full of wonderfully moody, ornate, and emotional artists; yet, none of them manage to achieve the same level of exquisite baroque resonance and hypnotically introspective weight as the Norwegian sextet. As a result, they never fail to provide awe-inspiring examinations of the human condition, and their latest observation, Fireworker, is no exception. It is undoubtedly among their greatest achievements, as well as one of the most profound pieces of music you’ll hear in 2020.

LISTEN TO THE TITLE TRACK “FIREWORKER” HERE 

Conceptually, the album follows the band’s tradition of blending grand philosophical quandaries, stimulating literary leanings, and haunting personal turmoil. In a way, it acts as the culmination of the themes and techniques that’ve decorated earlier collections, combining the fatalistic isolation of Night and Missa Atropos; the ill-fated narrative drama of Tick Tockand Soyuz; and the hefty theological/scientific contemplations of Demon and Molok. Beyond that, its central premise (that humanity has always been controlled by an infallible and omniscient creature determined to propagate at any cost) means that Fireworker comes across like the overarching umbrella under which all of its predecessors occur.

Keyboardist Thomas Andersen elucidates: “There’s an instinctual part of you that lives inside your mind, separate from your consciousness. I call it the ‘Fireworker’ or the ‘Lizard’ or the ‘Space Cowboy.’ It’s an eternal and unbroken lifeforce that’s survived every generation, with a new version in each of us. It’s evolved alongside our consciousness, and it can override us and control all of our actions.” In order to get us to do what it wants, he clarifies, the “Fireworker” will silence the parts of our mind that feel disgust or remorse so that we’re unable to stop it. The conscious part of our mind, Andersen notes, will actually “rationalize and legitimize” those thoughts and actions so that we never discover the beast behind-the-scenes. No matter how we feel about ourselves in terms of identity, accomplishments, and value, we’re all just vessels—or “Sapiens”—that the creature uses until it no longer needs us. “If you play along,” Andersen explains, “It’ll reward you like a puppy and let you feel fantastic; if you don’t, it’ll punish you severely.” 

Like NightFireworker is a single “trip” broken into five chapters but meant to be appreciated all at once. This time, however, Gazpacho’s recurring protagonist is investigating the labyrinthian hive of his own psyche to engage in a Bergman-esque confrontation with the “Fireworker.” This journey is even represented by the Wimmelbilder cover, which, as usual, was designed by collaborator Antonio Seijas and depicts “the billions of neurons that create the cave of the mind”.

Fireworker declares its mesmeric dominance right away via “Space Cowboy,” a side-long suite whose ominous lyricism (“The parasite / That lives in me / Murders words / From where I stop / And it breathes in / We’re biting our tail / The cycle begins”) is but one of many reasons why it’s among Gazpacho’s greatest compositions. From its heartbreakingly delicate first movement and chaotic centerpiece, to its mournfully symphonic penultimate phase and thunderous outro, it is a masterpiece onto itself, cementing how vivacious, evocative, and imaginative Gazpacho remain after all these years.

From there, the sequence remains just as seductively eccentric and beautiful. In particular, “Hourglass” is a gorgeous piano ballad that evokes March of Ghosts in its fusion of welcoming melodies and gentle orchestral flourishes. That then make way for the feisty layers and catchy hooks of the band’s first single and title track “Fireworker.” Fittingly, “Antique” takes over with angelic mystery and the album closer “Sapien,” echoes the dynamic range and epic scope of “Space Cowboy,” resulting in an awe-inspiring finale that envelops you in luscious arrangements and poignant existential realizations. 

Naturally, Gazpacho’s career has been full of great performances and glowing praise. Outside of issuing three superb live LPs (2010’s A Night at the Loreley, 2011’s London, and 2015’s Night of the Demon), they’ve played festivals such as Be Prog! My Friend, Night of the Prog, Midsummer Prog Festival, and Cruise to the Edge, where they delighted audiences alongside exceptional brethren like iamthemorning, Anathema, Pain of Salvation, Caligula’s Horse, Riverside, The Neal Morse Band, and Steve Hackett. Unsurprisingly, their records have been met with similarly enthusiastic reception; for instance, their previous statement, 2018’s Soyuz, earned superlative accolades from publications such as PROGEchoes and Dust and Louder than War.

Fireworker is truly a life-changing experience, so you would be wise to turn off all of the lights, clear your mind as best you can, and prepare to meet the Fireworker.

FIREWORKER tracklisting
1. Space Cowboy [19:43]
2. Hourglass [04:15]
3. Fireworker [04:41]
4. Antique [06:24]
5. Sapien [15:22]

Fireworker will be released on Kscope on 18th September, on CD, a gatefold 2LP on 180g black vinyl  (3 sides audio, 1 side art etching) and digitally (digital pre-orders receive the title track “Fireworker” as an instant download) and is available to pre-order HERE (https://gazpacho.lnk.to/Fireworker)

GAZPACHO LIVE
Sadly, due to the current covid-19 situation the band’s European and UK dates scheduled for October 2020 have been postponed to October 2021, but as the band didn’t want to disappoint their fans Gazpacho are planning to play Fireworker in its entirety via a livestream, alongside a Q&A about the concept plus will play a few favourites from their repertoire. Details of the streaming event and the rescheduled tour will follow soon

In the meantime, they suggest, you should internalize the record as much as possible to eventually “research your own ‘Space Cowboy.’” Anderson adds: “It’s an attempt at a safe way of looking at something highly dangerous because the animal does not understand music or poetry. We’re trying to outsmart it by writing around it, as music can go places words can’t and there’s a magic to it all.”

Gazpacho are:
Thomas Andersen – keyboards, programming
Jan-Henrik Ohme – vocals
Jon-Arne Vibo – guitars
Mikael Krømer – violin, additional guitars
Kristian “Fido” Torp – bass
Robert R Johansen – drums

Follow Gazpacho online:
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www.gazpachoworld.com

Neal Morse announces new solo progressive rock concept album ‘Sola Gratia’

Neal Morse is pleased to announce the release of ‘Sola Gratia’, his new solo progressive rock concept album, on September 11th, 2020. Originating from a seed planted in his mind about writing a record based on the apostle Paul, ‘Sola Gratia’ quickly came together at the beginning of 2020. The album sees Neal working with long-time collaborators Mike Portnoy, Randy George, Eric Gillette, Bill Hubauer and Gideon Klein.
 
The title ‘Sola Gratia’ of course has echoes of Morse’s 2007 epic ‘Sola Scriptura’, about the life of Martin Luther, but was in fact originally the result of a simple marital misunderstanding: “I was talking to my wife Cherie about debuting this new piece at Morsefest 2020 (Morse’s annual fan convention in Nashville) and she said she thought it would be good for me to do a solo album. However, I thought she said ‘Sola album’ and – because some of the new ideas involved Paul’s aggressive pursuit of the early Christians, I could see a link to some of the themes of persecution in ‘Sola Scriptura’.” 
 
The music was recorded ‘virtually’ in April 2020 at the height of the Coronavirus lockdown with long term collaborators Mike Portnoy (drums) and Randy George (bass): “It’s the first album we have ever made remotely: I sent them the basic tracks and asked if they wanted to rearrange things, but they just said ‘No, it’s great!’, so they just played to it and sent their parts back over. It wasn’t an easy way to make an album, but creating always has its challenges, no matter how you do it.”
 
As Morse explains, it was this process that decided that ‘Sola Gratia’ was to be a Neal Morse album, rather than being credited to The Neal Morse Band: “With the Neal Morse Band, the whole band works together on the writing, and while Eric Gillette plays some guitar and Bill Hubauer has added some keyboards on this one, neither of them wrote – or is singing – on this album.”

Scary man with the scythe is the winter snow.

‘Sola Gratia’ will be released as a limited CD/DVD Digipak (featuring a ‘Making-Of’ documentary), Gatefold 2LP + CD, Standard CD Jewel Case and as a Digital Album. The cover art was created by another longtime collaborator, Thomas Ewerhard.

The full track-listing is as follows:

1.Preface
2.Overture
3.In The Name Of The Lord
4.Ballyhoo (The Chosen Ones)
5.March Of The Pharisees
6.Building A Wall
7.Sola Intermezzo
8.Overflow
9.Warmer Than The Sunshine
10.Never Change
11.Seemingly Sincere
12.The Light On The Road To Damascus
13.The Glory Of The Lord
14.Now I Can See/The Great Commission Neal Morse will debut ‘Sola Gratia’ live at his annual Morsefest convention on the 18th and 19th September 2020. A very limited number of people will be able to attend in person, with the event also being streamed online. More details and tickets are available here: https://nealmorse.com/tc-events/morsefest-2020/

Look out for the first track release and pre-order opportunities starting on July 17th.

NEAL MORSE ONLINE:

https://www.facebook.com/nealmorse/
https://twitter.com/nealmorse
https://www.instagram.com/neal_morse_official/


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The Osiris Club sign to Bad Elephant Music Announce Live Album.

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Bad Elephant Music is delighted to announce the signing of London-based progressive rock band The Osiris Club, together with the release of Blazing Worlds – Live At Roadburn, ahead of their new studio album later in 2020.

The band’s first full release since 2018’s acclaimed The Wine-Dark Sea, the new record documents their stand-out performance at the Roadburn Festival in 2015, which saw The Osiris Club in their full theatrical, robed and masked glory.

“We’re really happy to be joining BEM”, says Andrew Prestidge on behalf of the band. “Releasing the recording of our 2015 performance at the Roadburn festival is a great way to launch the partnership. Although mostly thought of as a doom metal festival, Roadburn also programs a good number of prog and cinematic-flavoured acts, among other genre-adjacent picks. It’s been a lot of fun revisiting the recordings, and we hope everyone enjoys them!”

David Elliott from BEM: “We’re really delighted to welcome The Osiris Club into the family. Although we’d originally planned our first release with them being their new studio album, the opportunity to release the Roadburn set ahead of that was too good to pass up.”

Blazing Worlds – Live At Roadburn will be released on 3rd July 2020, exclusively on Bandcamp as a strictly limited-edition compact disc, and digital download. The download edition (which CD buyers also receive) includes two cover versions – Random Hold’s Meat, and Leaf Scrapings by Cardiac Arrest (later Cardiacs). There will be no pre-order for this release.

Originally conceived as an instrumental project fusing horror movie soundtracks with avant-metal, The Osiris Club take the best parts of 1970s progressive, 1980s post-punk and 1990s extreme rock, to create their fresh, new sound, radical and uncompromising yet still melodic and accessible.

The band was founded by Andrew Prestidge (Suns of the TundraZoltan, Winters) and Chris Fullard (Winters) in 2013, releasing their debut album, Blazing World, the following year. The record was hailed as “…a provocative and self-asserting album by Planetmosh.com, and described by Metalasf***.net as “arty, sing-song, dark prog…marvellous”.

Blazing World was promoted by a series of incendiary live performances, the band donning robes and plague masks to enhance the mood, exemplified by their appearance at the Roadburn Festival in the Netherlands in 2015. The recording of this event will be released by Bad Elephant Music in July 2020.

The masks were gone by the time of The Wine-Dark Sea being released in 2018, an album which once again gained plaudits in the prog and rock press – “an effervescent blend of psychedelic rock, glowering post- punk and mischievous, scattershot prog” (Metal Hammer) – as well as significant airplay, including on BBC Radio 1’s rock show.

Their long-anticipated third studio album, The Green Chapel, will be released in 2020 on Bad Elephant Music.

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