The Piano Quintet in A minor is "grand" in more ways than one. It lasts more than 37 minutes. Each movement possesses its own fascination. The first offers heaving, swelling romantic music and engages all the instruments in daunting fashion. The second is a haunting, relentless scherzo that starts off with a lighter sound to build suspense. The slow third, major key movement starts off in rather saccharine style but turns persuasive in its own way.
Although he doesn't totally transcend his Stevie Ray Vaughan/Hendrix influences, Chris Duarte attempts to progress beyond them – occasionally – on his fourth release, Romp. Kicking off with the greasy Junior Kimbrough-penned title track, he then moves into a sizzling Hendrix-fueled instrumental, "101," which shows his hot-dog guitar prowess but could have been on any of his previous discs. Similarly, the flashy "Like Eric" doesn't hide the fact that if you wanted to hear Eric Johnson, you'd buy an Eric Johnson album. Things finally settle into a more unique groove on "My My." Here his haunting Hendrix-styled distorted fuzz tone nudges a mechanical beat that's creepy and edgy. Better still is a version of Dylan's "One More Cup of Coffee," the album's six-minute centerpiece that transforms the original into a dreamy, ominous ode, utilizing near spoken lyrics against a subtle and stark backing.
Defying expectations and throwing anyone for a loop who guessed what Marc Almond might do after Stranger Things, Heart on Snow is his Russian album. That is to say that some of the songs are traditional Russian folk music, some are inspired by Almond's somewhat existentialist views of Russian life and love, and others merely mention Russian life but come across like traditional Almond songs. Instruments mostly take a backseat to Almond's voice, which is in peak form, but each song has a firm foundation of a combination of upright bass, piano, accordion, violin, percussion, moody keyboards, and guitars.
A year after being recorded, The Acacia Strain’s 8th album, Gravebloom, will finally be released following up their last studio album, Coma Witch, which was released in 2014.
Vega were one of several Andalusian and Spanish bands who flourished in the mid- to late seventies by making music that blended flamenco, folk and jazz at times with English progressive tendencies, often resulting in a colorful and rich fusion sound. Acts like Triana, Cai, Mezquita and Azahar would establish themselves as the preeminent players on these scenes, along with the more contemporary counterparts like Los Canarios and Alameda. In this vein Vega combined Andalusian instrumentation (and sometimes traditional arrangements) with a less well-defined progressive bent, emphasizing instead a heavy flamenco influence and the showcased guitar work of band leader Tómas Vega. The group released three albums in three years, each accompanied by one single. The first two are heavily imbued with flamenco-driven fusion compositions.
Acacia Avenue is a very melodic hard rock/AOR band project, founded by guitarist and song writer, Torben Enevoldsen, back in 2008. The new Acacia Avenue album, entitled "Early Warning", was written and recorded during 2015 and features brilliant vocal performances by Rob Moratti (ExSaga, Final Frontier), Steve Newman (Newman), Andy Engberg (Sorcerer, ExSection A), Mats Levén (Candlemass, ExYngwie Malmsteen), Torben Lysholm (Pangea) and Albin Ljungqvist. Torben Enevoldsen (Fate, Section A) is once again playing guitar, bass and keyboards, as well as singing both lead and background vocals on a few songs. He also mixed and mastered the album at his "Funny Farm Studios"…