Welcome to Prog's Tracks Of The Week. Six new and diverse slices progressive music for you to enjoy.
A doff of the cap to UK prog rockers IO Earth whose return to action with new single Outside grabbed almost half of all last week's votes. Honorary mentions to The Book Of Revelations in a comfortable second with UK proggers ZIO in third place.
The premise for Tracks Of The Week is simple - we've collated a batch of new releases by bands falling under the progressive umbrella, and collated them together in one post for you - makes it so much easier than having to dip in and out of various individual posts, doesn't it?
The idea is to watch the videos (or listen if it's a stream), enjoy (or not) and also to vote for your favourite in the voting form at the bottom of this post. Couldn't be easier could it?
We'll be bringing you Tracks Of The Week, as the title implies, each week. Next week we'll update you with this week's winner, and present a host of new prog music for you to enjoy.
If you're a band and you want to be featured in Prog's Tracks Of The Week, send your video (as a YouTube link) or track embed, band photo and biog to us here.
So get watching. And get voting at the bottom of the page.
VOIVOD - CONDEMNED TO THE GALLOWS
Canadian prog metal pioneers Voivod are celebrating their 40th anniversary and will release a special Anniversary studio album entitled Morgöth Tales through Century Media in July 21. The album sees the band re-recording choice tracks from throughout their career. Condemned To The Gallows was originally recorded for the Metal Massacre V compilation album and was the only track that never appeared on the original LP or CD. From 1981 it respresents the rawer, heavier early sound of the band.
“The Morgöth Tales album starts where it all began," says signer Denis 'Snake' Belanger. "Condemned To The Gallows was the first song ever recorded in a studio. I recall being shocked, hearing my voice for the first time, and I was a bit intimidated. I had joined the band only a few months prior to that and I didn’t know how to sing or even if was capable of doing the job. So I jumped in, and this 40 year adventure was about to begin. Revisiting this song was a real trip. Going back in time when we were young and wild, recapturing that same fury inside that led us up to now made me realise that the spirit never gets old. Thanks to Mom, who kept well preserved, the only lyrics sheet existing on the surface of this planet, with my smudged left handed writing. Otherwise we would have been screwed.”
SOUTHERN EMPIRE - REACHING OUT
Australian prog rockers Southern Empire will release their new album Another World through GEP in September. It's the quintet's first new album in five years and sees new vocalist Shaun Hoton make his debut. Holton replaced replaced former singer Danny Lopresto, who left the band amicably last year. We're hearing traces of Yes in Reaching Out, the first new music available form the upcoming album..
"I am incredibly excited to have Shaun on board for the next phase of Southern Empire music," says founding member Sean Timms. "His range, tonal colour and song writing are impeccable and have a modern sensibility that will take the band further than I’d ever thought possible."
SUNS OF THE TUNDRA - THE ROT
UK prog metal band Suns of the Tundra release The Only Equation, the fifth album of their 20-year career on Friday June 16 on Bad Elephant Records, from which comes the ten-minute The Rot, an abridged verison of which you can watch below. It's one of three tracks on the new album to feature two drummers, one of whom is prog-loving comedian Al Murray!
The band developed out of 90s band Peach, in which their former bandmate was future Tool bassist Adam Chancellor. The Only Equation is "channelling the spirit of Genesis ‘77," the band admit, while singer Simon Oakes admits that "The Rot is a ‘homage to Hammill’!"
DAVEY JOHNSTONE - BLACK SCOTLAND
Former Magna Carta guitarist Davey Johnstone is, of course, better know as the lead guitarist for Elton John's band. Currently out on the road for Elton's Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, Johnstone has found time to create a new solo album, Deeper Than My Roots, which is out now through Spirit Of Unicorn Records. The quirkily psychedelic Black Scotland was inspired by rock'n'roll legend Little Richard, as Johnstone explains.
“I’m releasing the Black Scotland video, created by the amazing Tam Johnstone, to launch my YouTube channel," he says. "The title stems from a session I was playing with the late, great Little Richard. On hearing my guitar playing on Lucille, Richard said to me "Where you from, man?". I replied "I’m from Scotland!". Richard responded "Well honey, you must be from the black part of Scotland!"
THE MON - BURNING FROM AFAR
The Mon, the solo project of Ufomammut lead vocalist, bassist and synth player Urlo, who released their second album Eye through Supernatural Cat Records in May. It sees the musician shifting away from the heavy psych of Ufomammut towards a sound Urlo describes as "heavy dark folk electronic."
“Burning From Afar is like a lysergic fairy tale in which the lyrics chase each other to create a mystical nursery rhyme," Urlo explains. "It’s also one of the two songs in which my friend Dave from the White Hills played his magic guitar, along with Sarah Pendleton from the Otolith which created a wonderful texture with her violin.. This song is one of my favourites of the album, hope You’ll like it as I do."
MATTEO MANCUSO - DROP D
Sicilian guitarist Matteo Mancuso has already drawn plaudits from such six-string legends as Al Di Meola, Steve Vai and Tosin Abasi, and will release his debut album, The Journey, through The Players Club/Mascot Label Group. Drop D was one of the first songs written for the album, which pays tribute to his teens' hard rock and prog influences such as Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Yes, Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Dream Theater.
"It is a mix of typical rock and prog elements and one of the most fun songs to play live," he says. "I didn't really have a specific concept behind the album, but I wanted to do something that wasn't associated with only one genre, so there are some rock-oriented songs like Drop D and some modern Jazz tunes like Polifemo."
SOLSTEIN - INTERSECTION
More fusion, this time from Jacob Holm-Lupo's most recent outfit Solstein, which sees the White Willow/Opium Cartel man working with Toto/Steely Dan drummer Keith Carlock, American synth wizard Bill Bressler on lead synth and Fender Rhodes, Stian Larsen on lead guitar, Martin Windstad on percussion, and INA A who provides some wordless vocal harmonies. Their self-titled debut album is released through the Is It Jazz? label on July 7
"Intersection is named for its somewhat busy feel and on it the band is stripped down to its core trio of Larsen on fantastic lead guitar, Carlock on inimitably groovy drums, and Holm-Lupo anchoring on bass, rhythm guitar and keyboards," the band say. "It was one of the first tunes written for the album, and one we feel represents the sound of the band well."