Progressive rockers Haken are excited to reveal their new studio album ‘Virus’, the follow-up to 2018’s acclaimed album ‘Vector’, will be released June 5th, 2020. By way of introduction, the band have recorded a special video message to give some background to the record:
Today also sees the launch of the album’s first single and opening track ‘Prosthetic’, with a video directed by Vicente Cordero. Watch & listen to this punchy opening salvo here:
The band comments: “Prosthetic was the first song we completed during the ‘Virus’ writing sessions and we always felt it would be the perfect opener for the album. It’s a very guitar heavy track with its roots in 80s thrash riffing, but with the unconventional rhythmic twists and turns we often like to explore in Haken. We sadly never had a Jeff Hanneman and Robert Fripp collaboration, but this song at least draws on inspiration from them both!
Lyrically the song is a bridge between our two albums Vector and Virus. The message was brilliantly brought to life by video director Vicente Cordero, who also beautifully captured the live energy of the band in a way that both enhances the song, and perfectly sets the scene for what’s to come.”
Since releasing ‘Vector’ in October 2018, Haken have completed headline tours the world over, played sold-out shows across Europe and North America as support for Devin Townsend and picked up a Prog award for their efforts too! All the while, they have been quietly, secretly working on the follow-up album, entitled ‘Virus’.
Drummer Ray Hearne reveals, “since releasing ‘The Mountain’ in 2013, one question has been asked of us time and time again, ‘who is the Cockroach King?’. This is something we were interested in exploring more deeply too, so we essentially did that through our music; elaborating and expanding upon the intervallic, harmonic, rhythmic and lyrical themes of that song. The end result is in an arc which spans across two albums: ‘Vector’ and ‘Virus’”.
Once again, Adam ‘Nolly’ Getgood has mixed what is perhaps the most eclectic Haken album to date, with the 7 tracks revealing hints of influences from multiple genres, all intertwined with Haken’s own recognisable sound. Guitarist Richard Henshall had this to say about the production, “Using Nolly again was a no-brainer, as we wanted the two albums to be sonically connected. But having just spent a day mixing with him in his studio, it’s obvious that this album will be an evolution of the ‘Vector’ sound. These songs seem to allow a lot more freedom of creativity with the production, so we’re excited to see where it leads”.
The track-listing is as follows:
1. Prosthetic 2. Invasion 3. Carousel 4. The Strain 5. Canary Yellow 6. Messiah Complex i: Ivory Tower 7. Messiah Complex ii: A Glutton for Punishment 8. Messiah Complex iii: Marigold 9. Messiah Complex iv: The Sect 10. Messiah Complex v: Ectobius Rex 11. Only Stars
Longtime Haken collaborators, Blacklake, have designed the visuals and artwork and the album will be available as a Limited 2CD, Standard CD, Gatefold 2LP + CD & as Digital Album. Pre-order now here: https://haken.lnk.to/Virus
‘Virus’ is the culmination of a musical thought experiment which started with the ‘Vector’ writing sessions in 2017 and holds intriguing potential for the band’s future, as vocalist Ross Jennings explains, “whilst ‘Virus’ can absolutely be enjoyed as a stand-alone work, it is thematically and conceptually linked with ‘Vector’, so our intention is to perform both albums back to back for a special performance someday”.
HAKEN IS Ross Jenning Richard Henshall Charlie Griffiths Diego Tejeida Conner Green Ray Hearne
Four years since the release of “Disconnected”, Prog Rockers AIRBAG are set to release their fifth full-length album. Titled “A Day at the Beach”, the album will be released on the 19th June on Karisma Records, and today the label has given the band’s many fans a taste of what they can look forward to by releasing a track from the album.
The track is titled “Machines and Men”, and AIRBAG describe it thus: “This was one of the very first songs written for the album. The initial demo was basically just guitars, drums and vocals and during a period of working in the studio, rehearsing, and playing the song live, it slowly evolved into something new and fresh that defined most of the material we were working on. The lyrics describe the facts of war in a cold and objective fashion, only to turn to the spectator with a warning and a chance to look away“.
Hailed as one of the most important bands to emerge from the Norwegian prog scene over the past decades, AIRBAG was formed in the mid-2000s by five high school classmates, which included two of today’s members Asle Tostrup (vocals) and Bjørn Riis (guitars). AIRBAG is a band that is able to blend diverse musical styles and sounds, with a strong narrative listening experience. Today’s lineup also includes Henrik Bergan Fossum (drums) and “A Day at the Beach” will be AIRBAG’s first album as a trio, and will also feature talented guest musicians including WOBBLER’s Kristian Hultgren.
Featuring six new songs recorded during the autumn and winter of 2019-20, and inspired by the resurgence of 1980s electronica, new wave and movie scores, “A Day at the Beach” sees AIRBAG creating a powerful sound combining ethereal soundscapes with their signature guitar driven progressive rock. The result is a stunning selection of songs revealing a mature band looking forward from its already impressive legacy.
Once again teaming up with long-time collaborator and engineer Vegard Sleipnes, “A Day at the Beach” was mastered by Jacob Holm-Lupo and produced by Asle Tostrup and Bjørn Riis. Cover design, is, as always, by vocalist Tostrup.
1. Machines and Men 2. A Day at the Beach (Part 1) 3. Into the Unknown 4. Sunsets 5. A Day at the Beach (Part 2) 6. Megalomaniac
The album is the result of a strong collaboration between all three of us. Having lost two original members since our last album, we were forced to rethink how we write and create new music, but it also allowed us to venture into something new that turned out to be very inspiring.
Lyrically, “A Day at the Beach” is very much a story of us and them, told by a husband, father and brother leaving his family behind into an unknown future. It’s the contrast between the desperate individual struggling to survive and people in power observing at a safe distance.
“A Day at the Beach” will be available in CD, black and coloured vinyls and Digital formats and is now available to pre-order from:
We are living in unprecedented times and crossing over uncharted waters, it’s a new world; one we may have to get accustomed to for the foreseeable future.
As of March 20th, there are a reported 255,729 Coronavirus Cases since the outbreak began in December of 2019. 10,495 have died due to the virus and 89,918 people have so far recovered from the virus, of course, these are only the documented cases and the numbers could be much worse; there is no end in sight the short term.
(Covid-19) is attacking the social and economic fabric globally and does not discriminate against race, creed, sexual orientation, political affiliation or anything else for that matter. It has ravaged and even closed down most trades and no industry has been spared, from restaurants to schools, airlines, supply chains, and the entertainment industry.
While this is devastating to all industries, I believe one of the hardest hit are musicians, some of which do not have a second job, they rely solely on tours, music and merch sales to pay the bills. Many musicians have more than one job outside of music to sustain a living however due to the layoff and closers of businesses these musicians are dealing with the same issues as full-time musicians, loss of most all income. Most musicians lack one of the most basic and fundamental needs: insurance!
So we reached out on social and asked musicians some basic questions on how they are dealing with this Pandemic?
Ember Swift ~ China
How are you adapting to the Covid-19 Pandemic? I’m not sure a person reacts to a pandemic as much as a person has to react to the response the society has to a pandemic. The pandemic will occur whether we have a reaction or not. It will just calmly sneak through all our societies and infect some, take some, spare others, etc. The reaction from each country from the government down to community levels is what we all have to adapt to, not so much the virus itself. For me, I have gone through many different phases over the past 2 months, emotionally and psychologically. The isolation, the panic, the fear, the frustration, the eventual calm, and inward thinking, the reshuffling of personal goals, etc. This is something I just wrote about on my blog, but I’ve been chronicling the experience throughout this whole time: http://emberswift.com/lockdown-imposition-or-opportunity/
What type of challenges or opportunities has this presented to you? The opportunity to re-assess the future, really figure out what I want to accomplish when life returns to normal, analyzing my life in a more complete and detached way and then coming to some conclusions about how I want to move forward. There’s nothing like being forced into a “stall” or “pause” that can help you determine which paths to take when you’re finally able to put your foot back on the gas, so-to-speak. On a practical level, I have been studying Chinese again (hope to do my HSK Level 6, a Chinese language proficiency exam, in June), practicing guitar every day, cleaning and sorting my life, doing physical exercise and strength training in the home, and really focusing on my kids and their education–not just scholastically but as people.
Are you working on a new release? My new album was completed late last year but still needed some finishing touches. This got seriously delayed and the originally planned-for release date was March 2020. That didn’t happen, of course, so now I’m slowly tying up loose ends but aiming for a September release. No matter what, I’m still really proud that there are some great songs in the pipe even if it takes a bit longer to release them to the world.
Are you planning on performing via a live streaming platform? I thought of doing this in February, but during that time the rest of the world was going about life as usual and there wasn’t much of a call to do it. Now that everyone is on lockdown, I may consider it! I’ve never done a live-stream concert, but it sounds like a good challenge.
How has this affected you on a personal level? I sort of spoke about this above in how it has forced some self-reflection and re-assessment of goals/direction etc. It’s also challenged my patience and positivity, but I think I’ve become stronger for it. I would also note that pushing myself to do things on a daily basis that are good for me and trying to stick to it in a disciplined way (not that I’m always perfect because, yes, I do miss days!) has been the healthier approach to this. It’s really easy to get lost in TV series or constant media consumption when you’re stuck indoors, but I find this mind-numbing and hollowing. In the end, what’s best for me isn’t best for everyone, but this experience will show each of us, individually, what kind of life we want to life vs. the kind of life we have been living. This is invaluable information for our futures.
Will you continue creating and performing now and after the dust settles? Nothing will ever change the fact that I’m a musician and songwriter and creator. I have gone through worse ordeals in life and, in the end, the music still anchors me and serves as my greatest outlet for inspiration and expression. I often say that music is my essential nutrient and, without it, I’d be depleted. Therefore, there’s not a single droplet of doubt that I will continue to create and perform music indefinitely… most likely until my time on this earth comes to its natural end.
Ember Swift Is a Canadian Folk Pop musician based out of Beijing, China, Ember is planning on releasing her 13th album in September 2020
How are you adapting to the Covid-19 Pandemic? Like everyone really, the worse part of it for me is the ignorance of others who could harvest and pass it to others who might not be able to survive. The other is the hoarding of everyday items we all use and need, selfish assholes in the world instead of realizing there is more than just themselves.
What type of challenges or opportunities has this presented to you? Clearly the biggest one is not being able to tour, live shows and appearances are my life’s blood now. The business used to go hand in hand in terms of albums and sessions to royalties to touring. These days without being able to tour and play live, I just watch the past earnings dwindle at a rapid rate. It’s not so bad but upcoming shows and months of cancellations will turn into desperate times. Are you working on a new release? On several actually, I just finished my next solo album with Frontiers Records, “Wide Awake (In My Dreamland)”, I got my keyboardist/guitarist of SOTO a deal on the same label which I am co-writing and co-producing the album with my producer of the new JSS album, Alessandro Del Vecchio and we have started writing/recording the next WET album. I was stressed I had to do all of this while touring with Sons Of Apollo and my acoustic dates in May with Jason Bieler but the positive of this self-quarantine means I can do it all stress-free now.
Are you planning on performing via a live streaming platform? At the moment no, I don’t want to pressure or stress anyone out now financially that might be tightening their belts at this time. We’re all gonna suffer from this and I personally don’t feel it’s right to ask anyone to invest in me further until we see the light at the end of the tunnel. I don’t feel I have anything to offer in terms of pay-per-view or streaming so I would rather ride it out and hope the end is sooner than later.
Are you offering your fans any incentives to help support your music? I am pushing things here and there, again not asking them to invest money in now, more to remind them I will be returning soon, hopefully! I am trying to do my part in sharing my thoughts on staying the course, follow the advice so we can go back to normal life sooner than later. How has this affected you on a personal level? So far, not much, I am pretty much a homebody anyway, I gather with a small group of friends here and there but am actually quite content I could enjoy being at home during this time. It’s not difficult for me to hole up at home especially as I said, I am leisurely getting things I had to do without stress.
Will you continue creating and performing now and after the dust settles? Yes, I already answered this and any postponed shows have already been rebooked for upcoming months with hopes those don’t get moved as well. That will be the worst part, everyone clamoring to rebook all of these canceled tours and shows at the same time. People will need time to get their lives back in order before they will be ready to spend as they were before this all went down. I am hoping for everything to come back orderly so we can all pick up where we left off.
How are you adapting to the Covid-19 Pandemic? I have been following the progression for about 3 weeks now, In Canada, they closed everything mostly and we have to stay home. Hopefully, the quick response here will keep the casualties low. In the Studio, we are always locked up anyway.
What type of challenges or opportunities has this presented to you? The biggest challenge was to decide if we canceled the European gigs for Mystery and Huis ( end of March 2020) it was a hard decision to make, did not please everyone, but now we know we took the decision and we are glad we took it before, it was forced on everyone.
The opportunities are that we will have more time for a while to create new music, but at the same time, I think all our 2020 gigs will be canceled now.
Are you working on a new release? Yes, both Mystery and Huis are working on new albums, both were already planned before the pandemic.
Are you planning on performing via a live streaming platform? The band has thought about it, we were supposed to try one this weekend but we had to cancel because everything is closed in Montreal. We are looking at what we will do with that, probably offering more Live videos in the coming week.
Are you offering your fans any incentives to help support your music? Our fans have always been really good to MYSTERY, and now I think it is important that they support their families,
How has this affected you on a personal level? Sincerely, very scared and not optimistic for once. I hope everything will be fine but…
Will you continue creating and performing now and after the dust settles? Of course, I am afraid traveling to other countries will become more difficult, We will see how this will change the world,
Michel St-Pere is a multi-instrumentalist Canadian founder of AOR Prog Band Mystery, a full-time member of Huis and Owner ofUnicorn Digital an independent record label.
What type of challenges or opportunities has this presented to you? Well we just had to cancel playing on Cruise to the Edge and two Canadian dates with The Flower Kings because of the Corona virus. As it is now I have festivals booked this summer with both HFMC and The Flower Kings. At the moment they’re happening but you never know?
Are you working on a new release? I had decided to record with HFMC Corona or not. However, we really had to change plans with The Flower Kings, with the result we’re about to start the recording as soon as possible.
Will you continue creating and performing now and after the dust settles? Corona will not make me stop. When this is blown over I most likely have two albums ready for release.
Hasse Fröberg is a Swedish Guitarist, composer, and vocalist for HFMC – Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion and The Flower Kings
How are you adapting to the Covid-19 Pandemic? Musicians are adaptable, we are used to having to deal with the obscure … it’s harder for others I think, well again it’s about adapting, you cut your cloth according to your needs …
Are you working on a new release? We are working on a new release hopefully for later in the year
Are you planning on performing via a live streaming platform? Possibly, we will look at live streaming and other options.
Will you continue creating and performing now and after the dust settles? It obviously depends on us all getting through it …but we are always optimistic (our middle name ) I hope everyone stays safe.
John Young is the founder, keyboardist, and songwriter for British Prog Band Lifesigns as well as a touring member and or session musician for the likes of Bonnie Tyler, the Scorpions, and Fish among others.
How are you adapting to the Covid-19 Pandemic? Well after the recent surgeries I thought this was the beginning of a fresh new start however this terrible virus has taken us all by surprise, being diabetic I have heart disease I am very vulnerable. I have not had the flue for over 7 years so I do have a strong immune system. I will not take any chances and will remain in lockdown until this thing is under control. I have plenty to do ie writing new music and rehearsing them.
What type of challenges or opportunities has this presented to you? As above
Are you working on a new release? Yes, working on songs for the second part Planetary Overload “HOPE” and my Solo album, “The First and Last” and one other project which will be revealed later in the year
Are you planning on performing via a live streaming platform? Sean and I might do something for the upcoming vinyl release of Artificial TBC
Are you offering your fans any incentives to help support your music? I haven’t thought about it, but I think you will see two new videos released very shortly that will hopefully push the album a little
How has this affected you on a personal level? I am just worried about my family, my Dad is 92 on 28th and my step mum is still alive at home and is completely isolated so that’s a good thing but I still worry about them. My brother has diabetes and Heart disease too so Like me we have to be very careful.
Will you continue creating and performing now and after the dust settles? We are planning to back to the USA in the new year and we are working on a European tour. UPF and UNITOPIA
Mark Trueack is an Australian Vocalist, Songwriter & Producer for both UPF (United Progressive Fraternity) – Unitopia
Steven Wilson’s new album THE FUTURE BITES is an exploration of how the human brain has evolved in the Internet era. As well as being Wilson’s phenomenal sixth album, THE FUTURE BITES is also an online portal to a world of high concept design custom built for the ultra-modern consumer.
Where 2017’s To The Bone confronted the emerging global issues of post truth and fake news, THE FUTURE BITES places the listener in a world of 21st century addictions. It’s a place where on-going, very public experiments constantly take place into the affects of nascent technology on our lives. From out of control retail therapy, manipulative social media and the loss of individuality, THE FUTURE BITES is less a bleak vision of an approaching dystopia, more a curious reading of the here and now.
Musically, THE FUTURE BITES gleams. Featuring gorgeous electronic sounds warped by human intervention (King Ghost), soaring acoustics that head straight upwards into the stratosphere (12 Things I Forgot), relentless bass-driven Motorik grooves (Follower) and swampish, murky funk (Eminent Sleaze), it is Steven’s most consistently brilliant work to date. The album was recorded in London and co-produced by David Kosten (Bat For Lashes, Everything Everything) and Steven Wilson.
Online, THE FUTURE BITES is an open door to a world of purchase power where everything is marketable and nothing is too random to be put on sale. Inspired by such notable 21st century artefacts as the Virgil Abloh ceramic block and Vitality Air canned Canadian oxygen, The Future Bites is a fully designed consumer universe (built in collaboration with Baby and Crystal Spotlight) that’s been designed to be accessible and addictive to anyone from the casual fan to the hardcore collector.
The first track taken from the FUTURE BITES – the ten-minute long Moroder-Esque tour de force PERSONAL SHOPPER– is online on all streaming platforms and via THE FUTURE BITES website now.
Steven Wilson plays two previously announced UK shows in the autumn at Nottingham Arena (Thursday 17th September) and London’s O2 (Saturday 19th September). These are his biggest headline shows to date.
Hailing from the Southeast of the United Kingdom, melodic yet progressive rock act The Room is thrilled to announce their signing to White Star Records, the label owned and operated by Chris Hillman and John Mitchell. This announcement comes shortly after White Star Records added London prog rock outfit Quantum Pig to their growing roster of artists. Both bands now join a label that currently houses the likes of Voices From The Fuselage, Kepler Ten and The Paradox Twin.
Chris Hillman details the journey leading toward this signing event:
“I’d been aware of The Room for some time and became very impressed with their musicianship, however, the thing that really won me over was this huge step up in their melodic, anthemic quality. It feels like The Room is growing and developing with every album, and I find many of their melodies going around in my head after listening – real “earworms” that I think will resonate with a large audience. Get ready for some quality prog with sticky, memorable moments!”
Along with their signing announcement, The Room has simultaneously unveiled early details of a new studio album. Their upcoming third full-length is titled ‘Caught By The Machine’ and will be released on 22nd February 2019. Ahead of this release, the sextet is giving fans and newcomers a taste of things to come with their first video single for the track ‘Broken’.
Binding a broad range of musical influences into a distinct and nostalgic sound, smart songwriting and captivating melodies form the foundation of The Room’s musical core. ‘Broken’ proves no exception, but don’t let it’s bright, foot-tapping, major-key guitar riffing fool you – there’s more to the single than meets the eye…
“I had to think long and hard about how ‘Broken’ was to be approached,” explains vocalist Martin Wilson. “I’d always wanted to play with the idea that most problems people have been brought on by themselves; Wrong life decisions, bad investments, excessive drink, and drugs abuse, mistreatment of others and so on. Often, I have found that people in these positions are the first to complain, but the last to admit fault.”
“With ‘Broken’, the instrumental backdrop is uplifting, with this jaunty feel to it, but I wanted to find something different – a juxtaposition if you like – to the lyrics, adding a little more intrigue to the song. So we’ve got this upbeat instrumental backing, while the lyrics offer a slightly darker picture. Spiraling out of control because of one’s own actions, how life can crash over negativity you’ve brought on yourself and so on…and yet you still complain and pass blame.”
The Room unashamedly admits that they wrote “Broken” as something of a challenge to themselves. All too aware of the modern specifics of genre definition, the band hoped to be able to break prog traditions, writing a three-minute, mainstream song that would merge the great melodies and broad choruses of prog, whilst remaining radio-friendly and accessible.
Despite the strong narrative of ‘Broken’, The Room recognized the bounce and drive of the single and wanted to bring this to life even more with a quirky, fun music video, shot at the 2018 Cambridge Rock Festival by MHG Music Videos.
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