After 5 years IQ returned with one of their maturest and "darkest" albums they ever released, 'The road of bones'. The title and the main theme of the album refers to the tragic story behind the R504 Kolyma highway in Russia, which is also known as the Road of Bones, as the skeletons of the forced laborers who died during its construction were used in much of its foundations.
(The Kolyma highway was constructed during the Stalinist era of the USSR. The first strech was built by the inmates of the Sevvostlag labour camp in 1932, and construction continued with the use of goulag labour until 1953. The road is treated as a memorial, as the bones of the people who died while constructing it were laid beneath or around the road. As the road is built or permafrost, interment into the fabric of the road was deemed more practical than digging new holes to bury the bodies of the dead).
With such a tragic story as a main theme, it is normal that the album is 'dark' and gloomy, starting from the cover, and continuing with the songs in it. But the band's synthetic ability is at very high standards once more. Almost all the songs are excellent and rather complicated compositions, so the album needs a few listenings before it reveals all its hidden treasures.
There are only 5 songs in the basic single-cd edition, most of them long ones. But I will recommend the double-cd edition with 11 songs, and almost 100 minutes of total running time.
The road of bones is without a doubt one of the greatest releases of 2014 in general, and that's why I strongly recommend it to all Progressive Rock fans.
I'm adding the song 'Ten million demons' here for you to listen to and get an idea.
Kaipa is a Symphonic Prog band from Sweden. They started their career in the mid 70's when Roine Stolt (later The flower kings) was a member of the band. In the early '80's they were disbanded, but almost 20 years later they returned better than ever. Their new album is named 'Sattyg' and it is one of their best - if not their best - work so far. Their work has all those elements which make a nice Prog album. Equal doses of guitars and keyboards, of melodies and rhythmic riffs, and above all, very beautiful vocals performed by 2 singers. Especially the performance of Allena Gibson is a really great one! Her vocals are adding a lot to their music, giving a unique character to the songs.
The albums includes 7 songs, and it has a total running time of almost 62 minutes. And that is normal if you consider that there are 3 songs of almost 15 minutes length each one.
The album opens with the 15 minute-long 'A map of your secret world', and from the first few minutes you realise that you have something really good in your hands. And when the second song enters, then you know you made a great choice!
It was released on the 10th of November, but I discovered it almost 3 weeks ago, and since then I haven't stop listening to it. And every time I find something new I haven't noticed before.
I highly recommend this album to all the fans of Progressive Rock. You definetely have to add this album in your collection!
I'm adding a song for you to listen to. It's the album's second track 'World of the void'
Kayak is a Dutch band, which shares many similarities with 'Kaipa'. They formed in the '70's for the first time, and disbanded in the early 80's. And twenty years later they were re-formed, and they are active since then. Their discography consists of 16 studio albums, and 7 of them were released between 2000 - 2014.
Their latest release is the Rock opera 'Cleopatra the crown of Isis' which as the title implies has an Ancient Egyptian theme. The albums consists of 2 cd's and has a total running time of almost 110 minutes. As you can understand in such a big project it is difficult to maintain high standards in every song, so there are some parts which are less interesting. But the overall result is excellent.
For the recordings of the album 7 extra musicians were used and if we count the 7 members of the band as well we have 14 musicians in total. The impressive thing is that there are 7 singers in the album, playing the different roles, and that is something which gives a more theatrical style to the music, and I really do like it. In order to be able to fully appreciate the album you have to listen to it again and again, because there are many small details every now and then, and on every listening you will discover something new.
I highly recommend the album to all the fans of Progressive rock, and to all those who are interested in Rock operas in general.
I'm adding a video here for you to have an idea, but my options in YouTube were very limited, that's why I couldn't post any of the songs I really like.
A few months ago I hadn't even heard the name 'Salander', and now their latest album 'Stendec' in icluded in my 2014 Top-10 list. And why is that? Well, for many reasons! One of them is that I was really touched by the story and the efforts the 2 members of Salander are doing in order to make their dreams come true. Dave Curnow and Dave Smith are two friends who share a vision, and try to accomplish it on their own. So, they recorded the songs in their home, they did the mix of the album by themselves, and they uploaded it in Bandcamp. There are no record companies or managers involved here. Everything is home-made, authentic, and that is something they should feel proud of. And especially when we talk about an album like 'Stendec'. A very "gentle" and emotional album filled with a very beautiful sound.
The album includes 7 songs and has a running time of almost an hour. Some of these songs are of the highest quality, and I'm really sure that if they could afford a company studio production the result would be a stunning one! But this doesn't mean anything really. Music is not only about technical means and money, but above all it's all about talent, feelings and emotions. And Stendec delivers it all!
I highly recommend 'Stendec' to all of you, especially the ones who can appreciate a melodic and romantic album. In case you are interested, you can find it here: http://salander.bandcamp.com/
I'm also adding a video of the really wonderful song 'Zeitgeist'. Enjoy it!