In our ongoing mission to promote grass roots progressive music of a wide variety of styles, plus to further integrate the magazine and our digital presence, we're now introducing people to the Limelight and Prog Around The World bands for each issue, via the website, and through our social channels.
Prog magazine runs four Limelight features every issue – these are normally up and coming bands taking their initial steps on the ladder to success. And, as its title implies, Prog Around The World shines the spotlight on a band from other shores that we feel is deserving of your attention.
You can read these features in the magazine, Here we'll be precising the information for you but more importantly giving you links to follow and music that you can actually listen to while you check the bands out.
These bands represent the future of progressive music. Your support is essential. Enjoy...
Gaupa – the heavy Swedish art-rock quintet pushing at the edges of surrealism
This sensational five-piece formed in 2017, after bonding over a shared love of Kyuss and Gentle Giant, but Emma Näslund's have earned her numerous comparisons to the queen of quirk Björk.
"She’s a fantastic vocalist and she was the best music teacher I ever had,” says Näslund, who mimicked the Icelandic singer-songwriter while also opening herself up to the experimental music that graces their second album, Myriad.
LINE-UP: Jimmy Hurtig (drums), Emma Näslund (vocals), Daniel Nygren (guitars), David Rosberg (guitars), Erik Sävström (bass)
SOUNDS LIKE: A sludgy blend of art-rock that soars into the stratosphere thanks to Emma Näslund’s frankly brilliant Björkian vocal modulation
CURRENT RELEASE: Myriad is out now via Nuclear Blast
Circles – Aussie veterans refining their sound in their most confident era
Formed around 2009/2010 in Australia, Circles have refined their slick blend of avant-progressive metal in recent years thanks, in part, to the arrival of current vocalist and guitarist Ben Rechter in 2018.
“I actually had him in my sights right from when the band started," laughs fellow guitarist Ted Furuhashi He was playing in this other band called Glass Empire. I saw them playing and I was like, ‘That guy is going to be in my band one day.’”
LINE-UP: Ben Rechter (lead vocals, guitar), Ted Furuhashi (guitar, backing vocals), Dave Hunter (drums)
SOUNDS LIKE: Crushing riffs accompanied by soaring vocals and soothing melodies
CURRENT RELEASE: The Stories We Are Afraid Of Vol.1 is out now via Wild Thing
Grace And Fire – big melodies and a big sound from rising English prog rockers
They've only been around since 2019 but the fruit of Grace And Fire's labour is debut album Elysium, produced by Threshold’s Karl Groom. Vocalist André Saint says the reaction to the record, released in 2021, has exceeded expectations; their stock is bolstered, though, by guest cameos from keyboard whizz Derek Sherinian and ex-Yngwie Malmsteen vocalists Göran Edman and Mark Boals.
“We’re not contriving anything, it’s just taking it as it comes,” Saint says when asked about the future. “We just want to get the music out there as far as we possibly can. It’s never been about money. I just want the music to be heard.”
LINE-UP: Tim Ashton (bass), Graham Brown (drums), Aaron Gidney (guitars, Chapman Stick), Joshua Gidney (keyboards), André Saint (vocals)
SOUNDS LIKE: Classic yet contemporary progressive rock with a metallic edge
CURRENT RELEASE: Elysium is out now on OOB Records
Astrosaur – meet the ex-Leprous and Ihsahn guitarist leading Norway’s cosmic jazz-metal explorers
Guitarist Eirik Kråkenes (Leprous/Ihsahn touring member), bassist Steinar Glas and drummer Jonatan Eikum co-founded this instrumental project in the mid-2010s, while they were studying at the Conservatory of Music in Kristiansand, Norway. Since then they’ve released three albums, the most recent of which, Portals, pulls listeners through a universe of off-the-wall songwriting, jazz-level musicianship and metal exhilaration.
"The main goal for our music is to create a place where the listener can space out and really wander off into their own thoughts,” says Kråkenes. “We include a lot of different influences and don’t limit ourselves to one particular subgenre, but try to create something that’s cohesive and whole. These are dark times; I think some form of distraction is needed.”
LINE-UP: Eirik Kråkenes (guitar), Steinar Glas (bass), Jonatan Eikum (drums)
SOUNDS LIKE: Prog, jazz, space rock and metal pulling you through a wormhole of psychedelic sounds
CURRENT RELEASE: Portals is out now via Pelagic
Onsegen Ensemble – The Finnish psych/prog collective who are eyeing up the festival scene
The Finnish city of Oulu has long been home to a slew of weird sounding bands, and Onségen Ensemble are joining the club. Their newest album, Realms, was produced by ex-Messenger member, and master of the ‘vintage/modern’ sound, Jaime Gomez Arellano. The group use a gargantuan, nine-piece line-up to make the most maximalist of psychedelic rock. On the tune Naked Sky an army of vocalists sings atop of flutes, Ennio Morricone-esque strings and twinkling guitar arpeggios, for 10 minutes.
“We aren’t going to become famous,” admits vocalist Esa Juujärvi, “but I’d like to get invitations from bigger festivals to play live. We want to get just big enough to play some really good gigs.”
LINE-UP: Pasi Anttila (didgeridoo), Vilho Hintermeier (ocarina), Esa Juujärvi (vocals, bass, Mellotron), Merja Järvelin (vocals), Samuli Lindberg (drums, percussion), Joni Mäkelä (guitar), Mikko Vuorela (saxophone, flute, guitar), Jarmo Väärä (trumpet)
SOUNDS LIKE: Maximalist psychedelic rock with flamboyant landscapes inspired by Ennio Morricone
CURRENT RELEASE: Realms is out now