To Be [Germany]

To Be (76)

Toad [Switzerland]

Toad (70), Tomorrow Blue (71), Dreams (75)

Guitar-based heavy prog.

Tollhouse [Germany]

Tollhouse (78)

Tolonen, Jukka [Finland]
Updated 4/16/05

Tolonen! (71)
Summer Games (73)
The Hook (74)
Hysterica (75)
Crossection (76, Compilation)
Impressions (77, Compilation)
A Passenger To Paramaribo (77)
Montreux Boogie Live (78, Live)
After Three Days (78, w/ Christian Sievert)
Mountain Stream (79)
JTB (79)
Vanspel (79) - Note: this album was listed in the original GEPR, but I cannot find corroboration of its existence.
Just Those Boys (80).
High Flyin (80)
Dums Have More Fun (81)
Touch Wood (81, w/ Coste Apetrea)
In a This Year Time (82)
Blue Rain (85, w/ Coste Apetrea)
Touch Wood (85, w/ Coste Apetrea, a US compilation of Touch Wood & Blue Rain)
Radio Romance (86)
Still Friends (87, w/ Christian Sievert)
Last Mohican (94)
Big Time (96)
On the Rocky Road - A Retrospective (00, Compilation)
Guitarras del Norte (04, w/ Raul Mannola & Timo Lehto)
Cool Train (04)
Jukka Tolonen (a recent picture)

Jukka Tolonen was perhaps the first true Finnish guitar hero. With his virtuoso playing and his blues-jazz-classical stylistic mixture on Tasavallan Presidentti's two first albums and Wigwam's Tombstone Valentine, he became the first domestic axeman that could meet the big-world giants on their on terms, a paragon to young Finnish rockers - right down to his long hair and emaciated looks. Along with Pekka Pohjola, he was in fact one of the first rockers with some formal musical education beyond the basics. When his first, all-instrumental solo album appeared in 1971, its cover told all that was necessary: just the trademark-like title Tolonen! and Reijo Porkka's grainy, stark black-white photo of boy and his guitar in the by-now formulaic guitar-hero pose. That's exactly what the album made out of Tolonen, a trademark. His virtuoso highlight, the unaccompanied solo-guitar cadenza in the appropriately titled jazz-rocker "Ramblin", became (unfortunately perhaps) the technical yardstick by which every aspiring rock guitarist was measured. But even in retrospect, when yardsticks have been revised and yesterday's heroes dethroned several times, Tolonen! shows that its creator had more in him than just fast fingers. "Elements Earth Fire Water Air" starts with his trademark wah-inflected, twangy electric solo counterpointed by spidery runs on acoustic, piano or spinet (also played by Tolonen), but then breaks into a stentorian classical-style piano part, starts again with a sweet melancholy sax theme and slowly builds on it again, contrasting the acoustic haziness with the wah's electric growl. "Mountains" has just a shimmering acoustic guitar and a little Leslie-hazy electric to support a ravishing theme on the saxophone, an epitome of melodic beauty and tasteful arrangement. Tolonen clearly had greater ear for composition and arrangement than many of his follower would have.

But Tolonen! had deeper impact than just hoisting Jukka Tolonen on a pedestal: it was the first genuine progressive rock record to make it to number six on the national chart and was voted the Album of the Year, incredible considering it was instrumental, hardly easy to take and that rock was still looked harshly upon by many of the musical establishment. Tolonen! in part served to legitimise rock and, more importantly, showed that progressive rock had commercial viability. In its wake, the already projected solo albums by Jim Pembroke and Pekka Pohjola got the go ahead. It was, however, still a musically immature statement, as confirmed by the inclusion of "Last Night", a short, shabby excerpt from a live jam with Wigwam.

Maturity came with Summer Games two years later. With a more acoustic overall sound, more prominent influences from Indian music, and very tasteful use of horns, this album flows almost unnoticeably from pastoral acoustic lounging to serene jazz-rock where Indian tabla rhythms, Western classical influences and superbly melodic horn arrangements form a rich and perfectly balanced whole. If seventies Finnish progressive rock can be credited with an original approach, it would be this earthy, warm and slightly jazzy sound, echoes of which reverberate in most Finnish progressive records of the time, however faint sometimes (others might want to take some aspects of the Canterbury sound as a reference point).

In comparison, The Hook (the title is perhaps a barb aimed at the American record company who refused the album because it supposedly didn't have any) is highly electrified and turns toward the North. The 12-minute opener "Aurora Borealis", two bolted-together fusiony rock vamps building into impressive climaxes, is harmonically more Nordic than Indian and Esa Kotilainen's bursts of frigid synthesizer washes give it a cool, cosmic coating. The rest of the album includes Big Band jazz, classical-style piano motifs, Zappa-like rhythmic quirkiness and even an acoustic lullaby. While not as solid as Summer Games, it represents Tolonen at his most "progressive" in terms of rhythmic complexity, keyboard arrangements but also orchestrating the music for various instruments so that none really dominates. Even with Tasavallan Presidentti withering, the world seemed open for Tolonen on his own.

With Hysterica he bowed to American wishes and made a more guitar-oriented, streamlined album, but it was still not enough to record-company tastes and did not become the expected breakthrough in the States. Musically, "Silva the Cat" is Tolonen at his quirky best, and "Jimi" and "Django" serve as suitable tributes to his two different influences without becoming mere pastiches. "Windemere Avenue" became a small radiohit, but only after it had been seconded to Crossection, an American compilation containing also tracks from Tasavallan Presidentti's albums. In retrospect, however, Hysterica shows that in terms of musical power Tolonen had already peaked.

For A Passenger to Paramaribo he put together a new group, the multinational Jukka Tolonen Band that featured among others the American drummer Billy Carson and Swedish guitarist Coste Apetrea (ex-Sammla Mamma's Manna). The group's work moved into a more ordinary jazz-rock direction, though A Passenger still has its strong moments (e.g. the easy-going rock of "Phantastes"), as does its successor, the live album with only new compositions Montreux Boogie. A Passenger was also the first of Tolonen's solo albums to include a vocal track. On the latter albums the other musicians took over more and more of the writing, until Dums Have More Fun had no compositions from Tolonen. Against this background, his 1979 solo release Mountain Stream is all the more interesting, being an all acoustic collection of pretty tunes that stretch from the by-now familiar Indian motives to samba and flamenco. Its highlight is a 14-minute classical-style piano piece "Spring Is Coming" whose semi-improvisatory course takes it from Far Eastern pentatonics to a virtual quote of "Bridge Over Troubled Water"'s chord progression. Similar in approach were Tolonen's two duo collaborations with Apetrea, Touch Wood and Blue Rain, both full of pretty, intimate acoustic numbers showing the two skilled guitar-slingers clearly relaxed and having fun outside the more strenuous arena of electric rock and fusion. Tolonen worked with Apetrea a lot in the early 1980s, guesting on Apetrea and Stefan Nilsson's Vänspel album and joining the Oreo Moon project for its one album Walk Don't Scream (essentially most of JTB playing Apetrea's compositions). Much of his most celebrated playing has actually been done as a guest or a hired-gun with another group, particularly his stint as an "associated member" of Wigwam (who wooed him to join, but he refused to leave Tasavallan Presidentti) in 1970-71 and with the progressive folk-rockers Piirpauke on their 1989 record Zerenade.

In fact, little of Tolonen's own subsequent output warrants similar enthusiasm, even if he has tried to explore different musical avenues. In a Year This Time is a laidback reggae album made with Caribbean musicians, containing vocal tracks and a couple of one-chord instrumental jams. Radio Romance is straight AOR, with typical mid-1980s production, lyrics from Jim Pembroke and rather underwhelming vocals from Tolonen. Big Time and The Last Mohican, made with two Swedish musicians as the Jukka Tolonen Trio, are mostly blues-based rock, often of the hard variety. While it would be unkind to call him a spent force, Tolonen's last twenty musical years have been underwhelming. However, 2004 saw him at least breaking out of the guitar boxes and rock riffs with two invigorating releases: Guitarras del Norte is an Al DiMeola-style acoustic foray into flamenco together with two other guitarists, the style's specialist Raul Mannola and jazz-oriented Timo Lehto. Cool Train, on the other hand, finds him tackling, with mixed success, the works of John Coltrane - one icon taking on another one's hallowed legacy. -- Kai Karmanheimo

Tolonen was the guitarist in the early 70's finnish progressive band Tasavallan Presidentti. His solo stuff is primarily in the jazz-rock vein, and inspired variation thereof. Some albums are better than others, but all are worthwhile.
[See Apetrea, Coste | Kotilainen, Esa | Paakkunainen, Seppo | Pembroke, Jim | Piirpauke | Tasavallan Presidentti | Wigwam]

Click here for Jukka Tolonen's web site

Tomita, Isao [Japan]
Updated 9/1/01

Snowflakes Are Dancing (74)
Pictures at an Exhibition (75)
Firebird Suite (76)
The Planets (77)
Sound Creature (77)
Kosmos (78)
The Bermuda Triangle (78)
Daphnis Et Chloé (Bolero) (79)
A Voyage Through His Greatest Hits (81, Compilation)
Grand Canyon (82)
Dawn Chorus (84, a.k.a. Canon of the Three Stars)
The Best of Tomita (84, Compilation)
Space Walk: Impressions of an Astronaut (84, Compilation)
Mind of the Universe: Tomita Live at Linz 1984 (85, Live)
Back to the Earth (88, Live)
Misty Kid of Wind (89, Soundtrack, a.k.a. Misty Kind of Wind)
Storm from the East (92, Soundtrack)
School (93, EP, w/ others, a.k.a. Gakkoh)
The First Emperor (94, Soundtrack, w/ others)
Nasca Fantasy (94, w/ Kodo Drummers)
Bach Fantasy (96)
Tomita Live at Linz

Isao Tomita is a japanese composer and performer. Before starting with electonic music, he composed award winning scores for NHK (Japanese TV) His debut album Snowflakes are Dancing, from 1974, feature interpretations of Claude Debussy's work played with a Moog Syntheziser and Mellotron, with a great result. Tomita inspired his work in the classical composers such as Bach, Mussorgsky, Mahler and many others combined with the electonic experiments of Wendy Carlos.

Instead of playing note by note interpretations, like Wendy Carlos once did with her Switched on Bach album, Tomita gives another perspective to the classics. The melodies are still recognizable, but he developed the sonic capabilities of the Moog Synth to the maximum, creating such Enchanting passages, and letting the synth sound with it's own voices instead of trying to imitate real intruments, like previous efforts.

Similar to early Jean Michel Jarre and Mike Oldfield. Fans of Progressive Electronic will be satisfied with his work. Snowflakes are Dancing is a great introduction to Tomita's work. -- Juan M. Sjöbohm

Isao Tomita was the second most famous of the electronic musicians who tried his hand at interpreting classics using his Moog modular synthesizer. The most famous was Wendy (then-Walter) Carlos with her "Switched-On Bach" series. Carlos was trying to prove that synthesizers were actually real musical instruments, not just buzzy noisemakers, and so the synthesizer timbres she used tended to be smooth and melodious with lots of dynamic range and subtlety of timbre. The interpretations of music were on the whole very true to the original scoring and intent of the original composers.

Tomita tended to go his own way ... firstly, he generally interpreted more modern composers, such as Debussy, Stravinsky and Mussorgsky rather than Carlos' Bach, Beethoven and Scarlatti. Secondly, he dispensed with rigorous interpretations of the pieces and became more fanciful ... initially staying true to the original scores but using imaginative synthesizer timbres. Later, he began taking more and more liberties with the scores and started adding his own sections of music, or melding multiple compositions into a single medley. By the time of Kosmos, many classically-oriented folks turned their backs on Tomita, saying he was catering too much to the non-classical folks in an effort to sell albums. While this was probably true, he is also responsible for introducing many modern classics to people who otherwise would have never listened to them.

From a progressive rock fan's point of view, Tomita can hold his own with all those re-interpretations of classics that certain prog types love to do. If you liked The Nice's interpretation of Sibelius, ELP's version of Ginastera's Tocatta on Brain Salad Surgery, Rick Wakeman's arrangement of Brahms on Fragile, or even King Crimson's mangling of the "Mars" movement of Holst's The Planets Suite on In the Wake of Poseidon ("The Bermuda Triangle" ... or didn't you know where Robert Fripp "borrowed" that funky 5/4 rhythm from?), then you should really check Tomita out. If you like quieter more serious classical music, start with Snowflakes are Dancing. If you're more into bombast, try The Planets. Most of these early albums are still in print on CD. -- Fred Trafton

Click here for a Tomita web site

Tomorrow [UK]

Tomorrow (68)

[See Pink Fairies | Twink]

Tomorrow's Gift [Germany]

Tomorrow's Gift (70), Goodbye Future (73)

I heard their contribution to the Hamburg 70 festival album. A very long track, about ten minutes at least. Joining the omnipresent grinding Hammond organ were prominent flute, good guitar work and a female vocalist. Their first album is supposed to be in this style. Goodbye Future features only the keyboardist and bassist from the original lineup, and is apparently much different. Keyboardist Manfred Ruerup later formed the fusion ensemble Release Music Orchestra, guitarist Carlo Karges turned up in Novalis. -- Mike Ohman

[See Novalis | Release Music Orchestra]

Ton Steine Scherben [Germany]

Warum geht es mir so dreckig? (71), Keine Macht fur niemand (72), Wenn die Nacht am Tiefsten (75)

Political rock ala Floh De Cologne.

Tonto's Expanding Head Band [UK?]
a.k.a. The Original and New Timbral Orchestra (T.O.N.T.O.)
Updated 11/19/07

Zero Time (71)
It's About Time (75)
Tonto Rides Again (96, CD compilation of Zero Time plus songs from It's About Time with new titles)
Malcolm Cecil seated amid the TONTO synthesizer

Tonto's Expanding Head Band was one of the first all-electronic bands, making music in the studio with gigantic Moog modular synthesizers. Zero Time sounds like it's recorded on a 4-track tape machine, with synthesized percussion (not a drum machine, but percusive sounds generated on the Moog). Though it sounds thin and amateurish by modern standards (no polyphonic keyboards, so no symphonic chordal fills of any sort!), it was an amazing album for its time, and you'll find copies of it in many electronic prog fans' collections, including mine. But admittedly it's more of a historical curiosity than spectacular music. Still, a good demo for just how fat a sound those old analog synths used to create. I never heard It's About Time, so I can't comment on that album.

TEHB was Robert Margouleff and Malcolm Cecil. Cecil, at least, continued to record and produce after the demise of TEHB, among other things producing Steve Hillage's 1977 album Motivation Radio. You will sometimes see Tonto spelled as T.O.N.T.O., which is an acronym for "The Original and New Timbral Orchestra", an alternate name for the band. Aside from this, I had discussions with other fans over whether it was Tonto's headband that was expanding, or this was a band celebrating Tonto's expanding head. We discussed many weighty matters such as this in the old days. Then Nancy Reagan came along and said "Just Say No", and ruined the whole thing.

The original albums Zero Time and It's About Time have never been released on CD under these titles. However, in 1996, a CD titled Tonto Rides Again was issued containing the whole of Zero Time 7 "unreleased" titles, which are actually the tracks from It's About Time with different names (most likely a copyright issue was involved). This CD currently seems to be unavailable. -- Fred Trafton

[See Hillage, Steve]

Tonton Macoute [UK]

Tonton Macoute (71)

If you like a mix of progressive rock and blues, this is a good place to start. I don't know much about the band. These guys move from rock to blues cleanly and effortlessly, and usually in the middle of a song. They have a Zeppelinesque feel as well that keeps things lively. There's enough instrumental proficiency to keep me tuned in, but this is something I tend to take more as a whole. If I had to compare then to another prog band it would have to be Steve Hillage and Dave Stewart's Khan. Not the same style but a very similar feel. Tonton Macoute employs more acoustic piano and walking bass lines, and the vocals and lyrics have a moving quality in them, though they say nothing profound. If you can find this, check it out.

Too Much [Japan]
Updated 6/15/05

Too Much (71)
Loud blues/rock, reminiscent of Flower Travellin' Band.

Tool [USA]
Updated 3/19/03

Opiate (92, EP)
Undertow (93)
Ænima (96)
Salival (00, Live, CD or DVD)
Lateralus (01)

Tool, maybe the most mainstream of the progressive metal outfits, could also be described as the most unconventional metal band you've ever heard. Strangely enough, considering their commercial success, the four members of Tool have always done their riffs their own way, and rarely stuck to traditional limits such as verse-chorus-verse song structures and kick-hat-snare drum grooves.

First and foremost, Maynard James Keenan is the best rock and roll vocalist this side of Freddie Mercury. His range is tremendous, his power is unrelenting, and when he sings he makes you feel what he's singing. He is not a conventional three-part melody rock singer. His lyrics are dark and insightful, in a way both removed from and connected to the messages found in alt-metal such as Korn, Linkin Park, and the like. He'll sing about his childhood and his losses, but he'll make you believe and share his pain.

Danny Carey, with his double-kick, deep snare drum set, is also unconventional. Not only in his setup, which includes numerous cup chimes, electronic pads and cymbals, but also in his approach and technique. Whereas other great drummers such as Neil Peart of Rush would back up a heavy crunching riff with a fast-tempo kick-snare-kick-snare groove, Danny would play an intricate, sometimes syncopated, multi-tom/snare/kick groove utilizing all his drums and some of his electronics. And when it does come down to kick-hat-snare, Danny can play odd time signatures like no one else, save perhaps Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater.

Justin Chancellor's bass guitar is also used in a very different role. Many times it can be treated as a second lead instrument, in songs such as the hit single "Schism". Justin can go intricate and melodic, or bottomed-out and bare-boned. His versatility and style of playing set him in a class apart with bassists such as Chris Squire of Yes.

Finally, not to be missed is Adam Jones' beautifully aggressive guitar work. Unlike other metal guitarists of the day, who rely on riffs that climb all over the fret board in a haphazard manner, Adam writes music that defies the metal quota. He writes simple, beautiful riffs, usually heavily distorted, that seem to, like The Who's Pete Townshend, keep the rhythm more so than provide solos and arpeggio fun.

It can be argued that bands like Tool are the shot in the arm that mainstream heavy metal, death metal, nu-metal, and even alternative rock, need so badly. And if the point were brought up, I would agree. In a world of Korn and Limp Bizkit copycats, it's refreshing to hear that a band with this much talent and potential is getting the radio airplay they deserve. -- Bryan Andrews - Bohemian Star Gazer

In the summer of 2001, Tool toured with King Crimson. (KC was the backup band). Robert Fripp even sat in with them on one song and played guitar. Some see this as a certification of authenticity from one of the old guard prog bands that Tool is, indeed, a prog band as well. I doubt that Robert Fripp would see it that way, however. I'm sure he would simply say that Tool is a band doing music its own way, just as he has always done, and labels like "prog" are irrelevant. He's probably right.

Tool has garnered a lot of criticicm about their lyrical content and claimed associations with the occult. Some have complained about Thelemic content on the Tool web site and one joker even also claimed they are engaging in mind control of their audience using Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Isn't it fun that any idiot can have a web site and say anything they want to? (Yes, I'm aware that you're looking at just such a site right now.)

Tool's Danny Carey is currently (3/18/03) working with Adrian Belew (King Crimson) and Les Claypool (Primus) on several songs for Belew's next CD, and are also working together on another (separate) project. -- Fred Trafton

Click here for the Official Tool web site
Click here for a Tool FAQ

Topos Uranos [Brazil]
Updated 6/15/05

Suìte Mìstica (83)
A rather interesting one-shot band from the late 80's, Topos Uranos made one album, Suìte Mìstica, and nothing since. It's mainly instrumental, much like Iconoclasta, with some powerful themes and blistering guitar. The weak link in the chain is the keyboard player, who is not bad technically, but is not very creative, too often relying on obvious presets. -- Mike Ohman

Topper [USA]

At Last (77)


Torman Maxt [USA]
Updated 6/2/11

Just Talking About the Universe ... So Far (99)
The Foolishness of God (01)
The Problem of Pain (Part 1) (07)
The Problem of Pain (Part 2) (10)
Toeman Maxt - Vincent (drums), Tony (guitar) and Dominic (bass) Massaro

Original Entry 3/13/02:
If I said "Three brothers who play Prog Metal", would you think of Kopecky? How about if I mentioned they played Christian rock? Oh, well, forget Kopecky then. I'm talking about Torman Maxt, these three brothers are Tony (guitar), Dominic (bass) and Vincent (drums) Massaro, originally from Florida. I recently got to hear their newest album, The Foolishness of God.

If you're expecting Christian Prog Metal along the lines of Divine in Sight (with whom they are acquainted), you're going to be disappointed. The Foolishness of God bears little resemblence to Divine in Sight outside of the "Christian Prog Metal" label. In fact, I wouldn't actually classify Torman Maxt as Prog Metal, at least on the basis of this album. Although certainly arranged with higher complexity than your typical pop song, I consider these pieces to be quite accessable, and not all that metallic either compared to other bands who sport the "Prog Metal" classification. Don't get me wrong ... I liked this album, I just think it's neither particularly progressive nor overtly metallic.

The first cut, "Vanity Explored" is dominated by picked acoustic guitars and harmonized vocals. This reminds me of nothing so much as Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young ... a rather heavy CSN&Y, to be sure, but still this is the main impression. The second cut, "Ghost Town" shows clearly that the band members are all heavily influenced by Led Zeppelin; this cut sounds like early Zep, particularly the Robert Plant style vocals, but also the guitar melody. On the third cut, "City of Man", we finally get into something a bit more progressive and far more metallic, especially at the end, where heavily compressed distorted guitars crunch out an almost punkish speed metal. But after this, we slow down again with "The Stage", back to the CSN&Y style.

With the fifth cut, "Space and Time", we mellow out and get even more folksy than CSN&Y ... America actually springs to mind as a comparison, though with mild metal trappings. There is a heavier, more metallic section in the middle, but this still comes across as an overall laid back cut. This is followed by "Off this Planet", a short instrumental piece with spacey echoed guitars and a childs voice. After this is "China Song", (although I can't quite figure out what this has to do with either the country or the dinnerware) which begins with a scripture reading, more really heavy CSN&Y guitars and Robert Plant vocal slides. Is this starting to sound familiar? Next up is "40 Days", which really baffles me with a tom-tom pattern and melody that sounds like a white man's version of what he thinks a Native American song is supposed to sound like. This cut seems oddly out of place on the rest of the album. Following this are "Life Sketches II: Sin" and "Silence Isn't Golden", which are back-to-back heavier tunes without all the vocal harmonies that make it sound folksy. Though I wouldn't call even these particularly progressive, they're some nice, heavy straight-ahead rock tunes. This set of pieces is topped off by "Life sketches IV: Eternity", a short instrumental, mostly acoustic guitar picking ending with spacey noises.

The final cut is clearly the epic tune for this album: "The Foolishness of God", at 10:46 by far the most extended piece on the CD. It starts with a fire & brimstone preacher, then adds music underneath. The preaching becomes a voice-over for a reasonably nice Prog Metal suite, though still neither overly complex nor overly metallic. One can hear all the afore-mentioned styles reprised again in this piece, though here we have by far the most progressive cut on the CD, with many mood and tempo changes, and feels that go from light acoustic picking to heavy metallic headbanging. This is a pretty good cut, easily my favorite on the album.

I guess my final assessment of this album is that it's pretty good. I will undoubtedly give it a spin on occasion. I think if you're used to bland Christian music, this will sound pretty darned progressive to you. However, for those of us who cut our teeth on more challenging fare, this album seems downright accessable. Personally, I don't know why anyone wouldn't like it. But if you want music that's difficult and challenging to listen to, look elsewhere. -- Fred Trafton

Update 6/2/11:
Since my last update, Torman Maxt has released two more albums, The Problem of Pain, Parts 1 & 2. Their first three albums are available for free download from their web site, and the newest (The Problem of Pain (Part 2)) is only five bucks for a download or $10 for a CD. I haven't had a chance to audition these yet, but I wanted to update their entry anyway, so here you go. -- Fred Trafton
Click here for Torman Maxt's web site
Click here for Vitaly Menshikov's overall view of Torman Maxt on his ProgressoR web site

Torre dell'Alchimista, La [Italy]
Updated 10/13/03

La Torre dell'Alchimista (01)
La Torre dell'Alchimista (not in photo order) - Davide Donadoni (bass, clarinet), Michele Giardino (voice, acoustic guitar), Michele Mutti (keyboards), Noberto Mosconi (drums, acoustic guitar), Silvia Ceraolo (flute, voice), Elena Biagioni (voice, keyboards)

La Torre dell'Alchimista (Kaliphonia KRCD25) was one of the most hyped progressive releases of 2001, and it is easy to see why: this Italian quintet seem to want to recapture the symphonic sound of their 1970's compatriots, and their chief weapons are Hammonds, Mellotrons and other much-loved and much-fetishised vintage keyboards that played such an important role back then. Their songs build melodic and but quite complex keyboard work, supported by guitar and flute, with lots of changes and soloing, while eschewing metal or overt pop influences. The playing is good throughout, even if the keyboard player hogs up most of the space, and avoids the metal or pop cliches of many latter-day bands. I also like vocalist Michele Giardino's contributions, as he is neither a metal screamer nor feels compelled to sing constantly at or beyond the edge of his range.

Yet after numerous listens, this album fails to impress me. Perhaps it is the sparsity of truly memorable melodies, most of which are crammed on the first side of the album. Tellingly, the most sublime of these, the gorgeous synth melody marching on a lofty Mellotron parapet at the end of the title track, is also the most obviously derivative, an early-PFM-style reverse-engineering of "The Court of the Crimson King" as filtered through Genesis' "Stagnation". Perhaps it is just that some of the compositions succumb to the common-enough failing of cramming virtuosic episodes together without the kind of smoothness that PFM in their prime, for example, exhibited in putting together their seemingly incongruous folk, jazz, rock and classical influences. Perhaps it is the production which, for all its polish, seems lacking in true dynamics and nuances, at least in comparison to their paragons. Or perhaps I am just being too harsh by pitting them against past masters. However, La Torre's contemporaries Groovector and La Maschera di Cera also operate in this retro-symphonic territory with largely similar instrumentation, and I find their debuts more compelling. All said and done, La Torre dell'Alchimista is still a very mature debut which many symphonic fans should enjoy. -- Kai Karmanheimo

Click here for La Torre dell'Alchimista's web site

Tortilla Flat [Germany]

Nur ein 3/4 Stundchen (74)

Underground jazz-rock. Flute and electric piano appear throughout. There's lots of jazzy soloing, and a laid-back "stoned" feel, but it never really sounds self-indulgent. They like taking solos, but know when to reel it in before the listener gets bored. A very jazzy record, it sounds like the perfect accompaniment for beat poetry. The sound is quite raw, but the great performances shine through. -- Mike Ohman

Tortoise [USA]
Updated 10/10/06

Tortoise (94)
Rhythms, Resolutions and Clusters (95, Remixes of Tortoise)
Millions Now Living Will Never Die (96)
Remix (96, Remixes of Millions ...)
A Digest Compendium of the Tortoise's World (96, Remix/Compilation)
TNT (98)
In the Fishtank (99, EP w/ The Ex)
Standards (01)
It's All Around You (04)
The Brave and the Bold (06, w/ Will Oldham)
A Lazarus Taxon (06, Compilation, Box set with 3 CD's and 1 DVD, including all of Rhythms, Resolutions and Clusters plus 7" and 12" EP's and other material)
Tortoise - Jeff Parker (guitar, bass), John Herndon (drums, vibes, keyboards, sequencing), John McEntire (drums, modular synth, ring modulated guitar, keyboards), Doug McCombs (bass 4 & 6, guitar, lap steel) and Dan Bitney (bass, guitar, percussion, vibes, marimba, keyboards, baritone sax)

Tortoise is a band from Chicago, Illinois. Many music critics have branded them as "Post Rock". This label branded onto them is somewhat true (we just call it "Progressive Rock"), because Tortoise are creating some of the most interesting Krautrock/Prog Rock/Ambient/Organic Trance music since Germany's Can. Tortoise are a hybrid mixture of Steve Reich's 20th Century compositions along with Future Days-era Can. The instruments used are Farfisa organs, Melodica, drums, vibes, djembe, bass, samples, and programming. No guitar or vocals (except for one song called "Night Air" on Tortoise; however, the vocals are barely audible. The highly recommended starter is Tortoise. The instrumentals float about like a tortoise's bodily movements, but they never bore. It's also great music to listen to while staring at a lava lamp (in complete darkness) when you're in a "certain" mood. On the second CD Millions Now Living Will Never Die, guitar is added. A Highly recommended band! -- Julian Belanger

TNT is Tortoise's third album and it sees them cutting back drastically on the guitar department. From having performed instrumental guitar music ("DJed" on Millions Now Living ... certainly stood out as NOT being a guitar song), they now use electric and acoustic guitars as features - leads, soundeffects, backdrop, sometimes heavily processed - in what I'd call electronic music. It's more or less only the titletrack that sounds like previous material. The last couple of songs are pretty much dance/dub music. I wouldn't dream of buying a dub record, but this is pretty cool because it contrasts with what they otherwise do, and probably 'cause it's all very new to me. This is my favourite Tortoise album, but also very different from earlier releases. -- Daniel
Marvelously inventive band that weaves bits and pieces of percussives, melodics and sounds into a progressive soup of texture. Unafraid to share the experience of music being made, Tortoise truly do take their time and really get into things; the value of one good riff, the beauty in a sample of tortured noise, the juxtaposition caused by a communion and sometimes clash between the 20th and 21st centuries. The best of the "post rock" wave, Tortoise will be looked back on as trailblazers in modern anti-rock music. The Standards CD from 2001 is a good starter and has plenty of guitar, harpsichord and vibraphone, and big, John Bonham-style tin foil drums. -- David Marshall
Click here for Tortoise' web site
Click here for an interview with Tortoise' Doug McCombs

Touch [USA]
Updated 2/23/01

Touch (68)
This Is (69)
Very early prog, and perhaps the first American prog?
Touch has sometimes been called the first American progressive rock band, and considering the album was recorded in '68 there's something to that. Definitely more progressive than the psychedelic bands of the time, and Touch is a very varied release at that. Highpoint being the album closer, the 11:45 "Seventy Five", which is unusually arranged as opposed to the improvised epics by other groups around that time (Grateful Dead, Iron Butterfly). These are written songs with no dead moments, and the musicians are good, especially the keyboard player impresses. Album opener "We Feel Fine" has great energy and is a great song, and songs like "Friendly Birds" and "Alesha and Others" put Jefferson Airplane to shame in the psychedelic ballad department. The beginning and end of "The Spiritual Death of Howard Greer" has a somber church feel to it (if Iron Butterfly ever wrote a good song it might sound like this). Another funny detail is the lead vocalist's high pitch crazy vibrato, but that's something I've learnt to love. This deserves to be a classic album, because at the time of its release there was nothing like it. -- Daniel
Unless you're a completist, not every album of a given genre is necessarily worth having. This is true of progressive rock. I mean, if you're not going to listen to it more than once every few years is it really a must have? Some of these records may be considered (and often are) "important", "influential" or my favorite, "seminal", but they just don't interest you. Unfortunately for most proggers, that's the category this band's self-titled album from 1969 would likely fall into. And yet, after a good third listening, I must say these boys cut quite an impressive slab of true 'proto-prog' in all its confused, shuddering, awkward infancy. Just off the high produced by The Nice, Moody Blues, and Blood, Sweat & Tears, these guys fully explored what a group of musicians with a classical background but an itch for rock and R&B could do in the studio. As ambitious as those bands but not as cerebral as Yes or King Crimson, Touch appear to have been America's first and only organ-based, truly progressive rock act at the time and for years afterward. Not until Todd Rundgren or Happy the Man did the U.S. begin to contribute seriously to the form (unless you include The Beach Boys, and then all bets are off). In particular the bonus track "The Second Coming of Suzanne", a film score, is a real lost gem. If you're interested in the history of orchestral rock, Eclectic Discs' 2003 reissue of Touch is a rewarding peek into the development of non-European prog. -- Dave Marshall

Townscream [Hungary]
Updated 10/22/01

Nagyvárosi Ikonok (Big City Icons) (97)
Townscream - Csaba Vedres (keyboards), Péter Ács (bass), Gábor Baross (drums), Béla Gál (cello and synth)

Townscream is a band fronted by the ex-After Crying keyboardist Csaba Vedres and their (apparently) only release Nagyvárosi Ikonok (Periferic Records BGCD011) is a minor masterpiece that, like After Crying's best work, mixes classical, chamber, symphonic, folk, even a dash of musique concrete with rock music, only in a streamlined and more urgent form. In addition to Vedres, the band features Péter Ács on bass, Gábor Baross on drums and Béla Gál on cello and synthesizer, with guest players providing trumpet and flute. The focus of it all, however, is Vedres' tasteful and mastery keyboard work that eschews the wide slabs of sound favoured by many modern prog keyboardists in favour of virtuoso piano and a single Korg Trinity Plus used sparingly for a range of tones, including an effective marimba-like ostinato and leads resembling feedback guitar.

The four-part title track ranges from ELP-styled bombast and classical piano fugues to a more reflective sections and to a drum break overlayed with almost industrial samples. The rest of the album divides itself between the loud and soft tracks. "Alászálla a poklokra" gallops jaggedly from a kinetic vocal section to ripping keyboard/cello interplay to a sudden symphonic interjection and back again, while "Az utolsó ikon" takes to martial drumming and bombastic, polyphonic brass fanfare under which a background chorus chants a barely recognisable fragment of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina's "Jesu, Rex Admirabilis".

While these are great numbers, I find the mellower tracks to be more distinctive: there is the mysterious, nearly a capella vocal of "Ime, hát megleltem hazámat"; the lazy bird noises and keyboard washes sound picture "Így szólt a madár"; and the delicate beauty of "Hajnali ének" which incorporates Crimson's "Peace" theme and has the kind of tranquil vocal arrangements that were so effective on Föld és ég. In fact Vedres' voice works much better on the softer material than on the rough stuff that puts a strain on his limited range.

Overall, how to sum up this album? On par with After Crying's best releases, this is 62 minutes of adventurous and compelling prog, impeccably produced and performed. While I may find some parts less successful than others (e.g. the brief "A Lazarus-bol"), there is not a bad track on this album, and despite the differences between the hardest and the softest tracks, it hangs together remarkably well. Very much recommended to fans of a bit more demanding prog. Too bad that Vedres seems to have abandoned this band as well, curbing any hope for further studio releases of unreleased songs which are known to exist. -- Kai Karmanheimo

[See After Crying]

Click here for a fan page within his After Crying web site
Click here for the official Townscream web site in Hungarian

Toy Matinee [USA]

Toy Matinee (90)

Toy Matinee is a splinter group from a group called Giraffe. They definitely fall under the classification of progressive pop. They only have one self-titled album out. Their music is highly polished studio work comprised mostly of studio musicians and associates. The core of the band is only two people a guitar player/singer and a keyboardist. If you liked Flat Earth by Thomas Dolby you will like this CD too. The bass player on the album is the most "in the pocket" player I've heard since Flat Earth (is that a bass or a machine?). You can usually find the album in the discount bins for $5-$6.

Kevin Gilbert (Giraffe) and Pat Leonard (who has worked with Madonna and Roger Waters) released one album under this name. Slightly danceable pop-prog, but a little mellower due to the influence of Pat Leonard, who is more of a Pink Floyd fan than a Madonna fan. Reminds me a little of the first album by the Fixx, of all bands. You'd probably find the Toy Matinee CD in a bargain bin. Oh yeah, Julian Lennon and Guy Pratt (bass player for Pink Floyd on their '88 world tour) appear on the album.

[See Giraffe]

Tr3nity [UK]
Updated 8/23/02

The Cold Light of Darkness (02)
Tr3nity is a new band from the UK making some excellent music, though a bit on the dark side. Since The Cold Light of Darkness is a concept album about a young girl being raised around drug abuse and having to deal with her own personal abuse, how can it be anything but dark and depressing? Still, the music does evoke strong emotions, and that's what it is designed to do. I would actually advise those who have been victims of abuse themselves to approach this album with caution ... you may find the subject matter a little too "close to home" for comfort.

Tr3nity is squarely in the so-called "neo-prog" camp, meaning that the music is not high complexity or flashy in either a rhythmic or "note-count" sense, but is instead about symphonic sound textures and melodic structure. The recording quality is excellent and crystalline, almost to the point of sounding minimalist at times. The guitar playing is very emotional in the slow, sustained-note vein of Pink Floyd's Dave Gilmour, and Dave has nothing on Tr3nity's Rob Davenport as he pitch-bends his way through many heart-wrenching solos on this album. Keyboard solos are also frequent, and bring to mind Marillion keyboardist Mark Kelly's most recent keyboard stylings; technically excellent, but tasteful almost to the point of being unadventurous. The lengthy intro cut "Eyes of a Child", for example, consists primarily of two chords being played over and over, though it hardly seems like it with all the synthesizer and guitar solos alternating during its length, not to mention the vocal storytelling.

My feeling is that this is the kind of album that will appeal to both "neo-prog" fans and also to those who might normally turn up their noses at a "progressive" album; this is pretty accessable stuff, musically at least. If your musical needs include high complexity, dissonance, bizarre rhythmic structures, screaming synthesizer solos, metallic guitar stylings or freaky vocals, then you'll probably find The Cold Light of Darkness to be a little too sedate for you. I'm almost in the second camp, though I have to admit I've enjoyed contorting my face and playing "air guitar" to Davenport's guitar solos. No Floyd fan will be able to avoid doing this. It's just a little dangerous when you're driving a car. In all, a pretty good release. -- Fred Trafton

Say hello to Tr3nity, recent signings to the Cyclops label. Their album The Cold Light of Darkness is a concept piece telling the story of a drug addict and the effects drugs have upon her life. Theme-wise, this seems quite hard going, but luckily, the album is strong musically. For the purposes of this review, I have chosen to concentrate on the musical performance in hand; for those of you wishing to learn more about the story behind the album, the Tr3nity website contains all the relevant info.

The album opens in a rather epic way with "Eyes of a Child" which clocks in at over fifteen minutes. Its intro features some rather spectacular guitar work. I'd suggest that Andy Latimer has been a huge influence on Rob Davenport, as the atmospheric guitar part set against pulsing keys is reminiscent of "Pressure Points" from Camel's Stationary Traveller album. When the keys kick in they are clearly of the neo-prog variety from the early eighties. Inevitable comparisons have to be made between early Marillion and classic Pendragon. I can definitely hear Clive Nolan influences in the keyboard playing of Paul Gath. The vocals make a belated appearance (in true prog style) and in my opinion, they are of an acquired taste, reminding me a little of Arena's old vocalist, Paul Wrightson. The next section of this track is taken at a faster pace and is basically a forum for Paul Gath to show off his keyboard prowess - great stuff - before returning to the original musical theme which brings the song to a close. Whilst still remaining undeniably prog, "The Mask" has a more accessible and melodic edge. The vocals are softer and the guitar solo is a definite high point.

The first half of "Which Way?" seems out of character when compared to the rest of the album. The traditional prog hallmarks are replaced with a funk-edged pop/rock workout. Prog fans should have no fear though, as half way through, the mood completely changes. The second half's arrangement is all ambient keys accompanied by Pink Floyd-esque guitar soloing. Actually, it's so Floyd-like, if I was David Gilmour, I'd get off my recording-studio-boat-thingy and demand royalties! "The Film" makes good use of contrast between acoustic rhythm guitar parts and electric lead parts, which works well. This track and "Help Me", in my opinion, feature Chris Campbell's best vocal performances on this album. "Help Me" is particularly effective, as with only keys, voice and the sound of a ticking clock, the arrangement is very sparse. The song is a cry for help from a teenage girl contemplating suicide. To emphasise her vulnerability, the vocals sound very fragile in their delivery.

The last track, "Can't You See" has a slightly more AOR feel to it, with the dominant force being Rolf Smith's drums. Rolf says his main musical influences are Marillion and Toto, so he's a man with good taste! The closing section of this track reminds me a little of Pendragon. It sounds like a conscious effort to finish the album with something a little more musically uplifting.

The Cold Light of Darkness is an album that has a lot going for it. I think Tr3nity should feel proud. -- Lee J Aspin (

The Cold Light of Darkness was released by Tr3nity in 2002 on the Cyclops label. A quartet whose aim is to provide "music with purpose", which they achieve in full. It is thoughtful, structured, intelligent classic rock. From the delicate opening of the first track, "The Eyes of a Child", to the more upbeat ending of the last track "Can't You See", this is a concept CD of impressive compositions. It looks honestly and unsentimentally at the difficult and sensitive issues of child and drug abuse through the story of a fictional girl.

The CD, particularly the first half, is reminiscent of Pink Floyd but with a refreshing new twist. The track "Which Way?", for example, has a funky beginning which surprises and delights when it changes tempo to a stunning, nerve tingling, guitar solo. The track "Into the Dark" has both excellent guitar and keyboard solos woven into a song sung with depth and feeling. This is a superb CD. A famous song says diamonds are a girl's best friend but give me silver, silver discs with excellent music like The Cold Light of Darkness. -- Debbie a.k.a. "Diamond Debs"

Click here for Tr3nity's web site
Click here to order this album from GFT/Cyclops

Trace [Netherlands]

Trace (74), Birds (74), White Ladies (76)

Trace is sort of a poor man's version of Focus, in my opinion. Birds, the only album I have, features Rick van der Linden on keyboards, Ian Mosley (of Marillion fame) on drums, and Jaap van Eik on guitar and vocals. Guest Darryl Way (Curved Air) contributes violins. Like Ekseption and Focus, Trace play a very classically influenced style of progressive rock. In fact, Birds contains interpretations of two different Bach works, a two minute bouree and nearly eight minutes from a concerto for four pianos. Birds also contains the 22 minute title track that consists of 19 parts! The music on this album is all well executed and contains lots of organ, synth, piano and Mellotron but is also pretty derivative of everything Focus had already done. Darryl Way does turn in some excellent violin solos on the concerto interpretation. If you're heavily into Focus's style, check out Birds - but you won't find anything really new.

Dutch band that evolved from Ekseption. I haven't bothered getting any Ekseption because no one has had anything really exciting to say about them. Trace on the other hand, are a band to enthuse yourself over. Their album Birds features an untitled sidelong suite (only the subsections have titles) that combines the best of Focus and ELP. Rick van der Linden is a simply amazing keyboardist. The second you hear the pipe-organ blast at the beginning of this album, you know you're on one really fun ride. The B-side reads like a typical Ekseption album: 70% covers, 30% originals. Still, one of those covers-- "Opus 1065", a Bach adaptation-- features some stellar violin playing by Curved Air leader Darryl Way. The White Ladies looks like an Ekseption reunion. -- Mike Ohman

[See Brainbox | Ekseption | Focus | Marillion | Way, Darryl]

Tractor [UK]
Updated 6/15/05

Tractor (72)
Worst Enemies (96, unreleased tracks recorded 73-91)
Weird duo who were one of the early seventies British prog bands a la Gracious!, Cressida, Beggars Opera, and the bunch. Often quoted as classic, I am yet to be impressed. Released one album Tractor and purportedly are still around!
Heavy UK rock/prog. At one time, there's searing guitar that will remind you of the German underground, while the next moment is an acoustic ballad, followed by definite British blues rock. As it is so varied, you may want to try and audition it first, but fans of early UK rock and the German underground may enjoy it.
[See Way We Live, The]

Trader Horne [UK]

Morning Way (70)

Folk/rock with future Them (Van Morrison group) members.

Traffic [UK]

Mr. Fantasy (67), Traffic (68), Last Exit (69), Best Of (69), John Barleycorn Must Die (70), Welcome To The Canteen (71), The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys (71), Shoot Out At the Fantasy Factory (73), On the Road (73), When The Eagle Flies (74), Smiling Phases (91)

Steve Winwood's band before he became an adult contemporary star and after his R&B stint with the Spencer Davis group. Early Traffic is experimental and inventive psychedelic pop. Evolves to incorporate folk and jazz influences with progressive elements. Originally featured Steve Winwood (keyboards, guitar, bass and vocals), Jim Capaldi (drums and vocals), Dave Mason (guitar and vocals) and Chris Wood (sax and flute). Live, Winwood played bass parts with his feet. Debuted on the soundtrack "Here We go Round the Mulberry Bush," which included three Traffic songs. While two of the songs are included on later albums and compilations, completists will be compelled to find this one for the short "Am I What I Was or Was I What I Am." Debut album Mr. Fantasy is a definitive example of eccentric British psychedalia in the vein of early Pink Floyd, Tomorrow, Procal Harum and Family. Whimsical and inspired. "Dear Mr Fantasy" deserves its classic status. The follow-up Traffic follows in the same path and is possibly their finest album. Compositions become more involved. Traffic breaks up and Steve Winwood goes on to join Blind Faith. Last Exit, featuring a side of great singles and left-overs from their early period and a side of poorly recorded live covers, is released. Worthwhile for the studio material. The Best Of collection is made redundant by the more comprehensive 2-disc Smiling Phases - either one essential if only for the inclusion of early Traffic hit singles "Paper Sun," "Hole in My Shoe" and the worthy B-side "Smiling Phases." Smiling Phases compilation also has the early single "Here We go Round the Mulberry Bush." John Barleycorn Must Die started as a Steve Winwood solo project. Chris Wood and Jim Capaldi joined him towards the end. A big departure from their previous work: folk and jazz-inspired and longer compositions. A classic. Put together a touring band with Jim Gordon (drums), Ric Grech (bass), Reebob Kwaku-Baah (percussion) and joined once again by Dave Mason on the live Welcome to the Canteen. Good album, though dragged down by an overly long "Gimme Some Lovin." Mason leaves again. The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys, their most popular work, follows. Features the extended, laid-back funk and blues inspired title track and the folky "Hidden Treasure" and "Rainmaker." Marred only by the lame Grech/Gordon-penned "Rock Tn Roll Stew" and sub-par Capaldi-penned "Light up or Leave Me Alone." The rest is amazing. Grech and Gordon leave, replaced by session men Dave Hood (bass) and Roger Hawkins (drums). Shootout At the Fantasy Factory is less inspired and less focused than its predecessor. Muddy mix and some themes are labored for too long. The extended funk/blues jams have taken over, but here with less satisfying results. Standouts include Wood's instrumental "Tragic Magic" and the title track. This line-up records the double live album On the Road, featuring excellent versions of "Shootout at the Fantasy Factory" and "Tragic Magic." Standouts are "Glad" and "Freedom Rider." "Light Up or Leave Me Alone" is an over-long drag, however. Traffic reverts to a four piece and records When the Eagle Flies with new bassist Rosko Gee. Returns to sparser arrangements and a more intimate feel. Features Steve Winwood's most progressive songwriting; experimental, with lots of Mellotron. The haunting 11 minute "Dream Gerrard" combines strong bass and Mellotron, lyrics by Vivian Stanshall, and is a progressive masterpiece. Marred only by the forgettable "Memories of a Rock n Roller." Recommended: Mr Fantasy, Traffic, John Barleycorn Must Die, The Low Spark of High-heeled Boys, When the Eagle Flies.

Tragically underrated by progheads, their Phase One albums are some of the most durable, least-dated music of the '60s. Phase Two (1970-73) was their most fruitful period, particularly the classic album John Barleycorn Must Die. Fans of the early, folky-jamming Caravan ought to check this out. Phase Three (When The Eagle Flies) finds them moving into more direct fusion territory. Two members of this lineup (Rosko Gee and Rebop Kwaku Baah) turned up in Can. -- Mike Ohman

[See Can | Yamashta, Stomu (and Go)]

Traffic Sound [Peru]
Updated 9/7/01

A Bailar Go Go (6?)
Virgin (68)
Traffic Sound/Tibet's Suzettes (70)
Both of these [A Bailar Go Go and Virgin] are on one CD, the better is the second; First is fuzzed covers of Hendrix, Cream, etc, second is West Coast psych to Mersey beat with latin tinge.
Traffic Sound's self-titled classic album, also called Tibet's Suzettes ("Gently guaranteed to get you high" (?)) is a very cool affair. Good songs sung in English, and the CD inlay-pictures set an incredible atmosphere (probably doesn't make sense unless you see them for yourself - VERY hip rural late 60's). Basically early hardrock, late psychrock, and psychedelic folk rolled into one, making it almost proto-prog but not quite. If you're into the early "almost proto-prog" genre (you know the kind), this is highly recommended and I love it. Look out for lines like "Feelin fine & fortified while ballin' Betty Boop / But what you want & what you need is not in her balloons!", right next to pseudo-religious lyrics. A few flute-fills, and occasional brass arrangements. -- Daniel

Transachetion [Slovenia]
Updated 10/15/03

Practise Life '99 (01)
Well, here's a band you're unlikely to hear about anywhere else but the GEPR. That's because it was sent to me by frequent GEPR contributor Nenad Kobal, who plays alto sax on the CD. Practise Life '99 appears to be an album of four guys from Slovenia who have been listening to far too much Henry Cow to be good for them. A mix of HC and Escapade, really, since this album "contains 100% improvised material". The listener is admonished: "Don't play this for your girlfriend!".

Evidently a live recording, "(after only two rehearsals), much to the disappointment of about 100 spectators", this is an album of guitar, drums, sax and keyboards doing improvisational RIO music. There are definitely some sections where some members of the band synchronize their playing for awhile, but it's pretty much every man for himself for much of the album. Catchy song titles, too, i.e. "Expelled from the Realm of Essence (again), But this Time on the Waves of that God-damned Mooncycle".

But OK, enough of the humorous bashing. Actually, I'd be leading you astray to think this is an album of pointless noise, despite the band-generated attempts to make you think so. For those who enjoy RIO and avant-garde releases, this is actually rather good. It holds my attention much more than most free-jazz noodling and also more than Escapade, who are supposed to be one of the leaders in this kind of improv. If you're a fan of the above-mentioned styles, you should enjoy this CD.

But now the hard part ... how can I tell you how to get ahold of one of these? Let's leave it at this ... if you think this sounds interesting to you, drop me a line and I'll get you in touch with Nenad Kobal. I imagine he can figure out a way to get a copy of this release to you. -- Fred Trafton

Drop the GEPR a line at: and request contact info for Transachetion

Transatlantic [USA/UK/Sweden]
Updated 2/7/10

SMPTe (00)
Live In America (01, Live, 2CD)
Bridge Across Forever (01, in 1CD or 2CD "Limited Edition" versions)
The Transatlantic Demos (03, actually a Neal Morse release)
SMPTe - The Roine Stolt Mixes (03, limited run of CD's)
Live In Europe (03, Live, 2CD)
The Whirlwind (09, in 1CD, 2CD "Special Edition" or 2CD+DVD "Deluxe Edition" versions)
Transatlantic (about 2000) - Pete Trewavas, Neal Morse, Roine Stolt and Mike Portnoy

A project firmly wanted by Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy, Transatlantic comprises four excellent musicians who have prominent roles in the progressive universe: vocalist (and guitarist-keyboardist) Neal Morse of Spock's Beard, guitarist (vocalist and Mellotron) Roine Stolt of Flower Kings, bassist Pete Trewavas of Marillion and obviously Mike Portnoy.

The main reason the project was in the mind of Mike for a long time, is that he always wanted to do some prog-rock with strong ties to the scene of early '70, and with "SMPTe", I must admit that he almost accomplished his objective perfectly. Including a 30 minutes experiment divided in 6 suites, the record recalls fondly the Yes with a touch of Beatles-esque melody, however sounding also like a Spock's Beard record. To note that the limited edition of the album contains another CD with some jams and curious alternate versions of some tracks. Transatlantic have a set of live dates in the plans, but the reality of a second album remains a mystery (listening to the players, this is a strong possibility). -- Igor Italiani

I was leery about this album when I first heard about it. I had heard some of Liquid Tension Experiment and Platypus, and with Dream Theater's drummer (Mike Portnoy) in this band, I expected more crunching ProgMetal out of Transatlantic (don't get me wrong, I love DT, but I'm getting tired of the proliferation of over-commercialized ProgMetal these days). I haven't been that thrilled with the latest Spock's Beard or Marillion releases either, so my hopes were not high for this CD.

I was wrong. This is one of the finest CD releases I've heard in a long time. This is what The Beatles might have sounded like if they had really gone Progressive (The Beatles never played anything in 5's, right?). This CD has great playing on all the instruments, fantastic compositions, and a tightness that would be envied by most bands who have played together for ten years rather than getting together for the first time. It also has some wonderful psychedelic touches, which really suprised me. There's hardly a hint of ProgMetal. I've always been impressed with Portnoy's Zappa-precise power drumming in Dream Theater, now I'm impressed further to see that he is not stuck in this mode, but can also be the perfect drummer in this layed-back upbeat progressive psych style. I'll say the same for Neal Morse's keyboards ... this is the best work I've heard from him in years.

Since this album actually hit the European charts (not that high, but for a Prog album, this is amazing), there has been talk of a second album at some point. I'll be one of the first in line to buy it if they do. In case you haven't guessed, I highly recommend this album.

Oh, yeah, have you wondered what this "SMPTe" thing is all about? It's a musician's joke: SMPTe stands for the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, and is a collection of standards for film and video. As it is usually used, it is a synchronization standard. It was originally used to synchronize video cameras and equipment, and now has expanded to synchronizing everything from synthesizers to stage lighting to create huge multimedia events that all play together in perfect sync. Now it combines the best of four progressive bands in perfect sync to create Transatlantic. It's esoteric, but there you are. -- Fred Trafton

Transatlantic is a neo-prog "super-group" gathered together by Dream Theater's drummer Mike Portnoy. Mike really knew what guys must be in a neo-prog "super-group": there are Neal Morse (keyboardist and vocalist of Spock's Bread), Roine Stolt (guitarist and vocalist of my favourite neo-prog band The Flower Kings)and Pete Trewavas -- bass player of good old Marillion. At the moment when I'm writing this review (March of 2002) they have already released two studio albums and one live album.

The first album called SMPTe was released in 2000 and has only five tracks on it. The centerpiece of the album is certainly 31-minute 6-part suite called "All Of The Above". This song is maybe my favourite neo-prog epic, full of great professional jamming, solid melodies, good pop vocal parts and almost Dream Theater-like heavy parts. Stolt's epic ("My New World") is only a little bit weaker (due to those cheesy vocal parts) and cover of Procol Harum's "In Held Twas In I" is a boring, but tasteful showcase for these guys' playing talents. Two shorter songs (Morse's "We All Need Some Light" and "Mystery Train") are just good AOR and nothing else.

The double live album called Live In America was released the year later and features some classy Beatles ("Strawberry Fields Forever" with a huge jamming part in the middle and short parts of "Magical Mystery Tour" and "She's So Heavy") and Genesis (the instrumental part of "Watcher Of The Skies" and the whole "Firth Of Fifth" gathered in one medley). Plus,there are all songs from SMPTe perfomed as well (with the exception of "In Held...", but that's no tragedy - believe me). The ending mini-suite of the album consists of The Flower Kings' "There Is More To This World", Spock's Beard's "Go The Way You Go", Marillion's "The Great Escape", Dream Theater's "Finally Free" and the above mentioned Beatles' "She's So Heavy".

Also released in 2001, the second studio album called Bridge Across Forever has even four songs now! Great "All Of The Above"-like epics "Duel With The Devil" and "Stranger In Your Soul" shows the same direction of "All Of The Above". Some kind of Beatles tribute called "Suite Charlotte Pike" is a 14-minute suite in a way of The Beatles famous Abbey Road suite. For me,it is the best song on the album and maybe in all Transatlantic small entire career. The title track is weak and strange, very boring pop ballad that could ideally fit on Beard's Day For Night.

If you really like neo-prog - go and buy all of those albums now. If you hate neo-prog ... buy it too - Transatlantic can change your mind. -- Oleg Sobolev

Transatlantic (2009) - Pete Trewavas, Mike Portnoy, Neal Morse and Roine Stolt

In 2002, when Neal Morse announced that he was quitting Spock's Beard in order to pursue a solo career in Christian music, he also mentioned that other projects he was involved with, particularly Transatlantic, were also on ice for the foreseeable future. After many years of a successful and increasingly progressive series of Christian-themed solo albums, fans had just about resigned themselves to no further recordings from Morse in any other form.

That was certainly Mike Portnoy's (Dream Theater, etc.) impression ... until one day, in an e-mail on an unrelated topic (Portnoy is the drummer for all of Neal Morse's progressive solo albums), Morse dropped the bomb that he was thinking they should get together again for another Transatlantic album. He had been working on a lengthy prog epic that fit better into the Transatlantic mold than what he had been doing as a solo artist. The other members were quickly contacted, and a date was found for them to get together to record a new album. This is it ... The Whirlwind, released in October 2009 and consisting of a single 77-minute epic entitled "The Whirlwind". According to an interview in Progression magazine, not all of Morse's original material survived intact, though much of it did, with the other band members each making their own contributions.

In addition to the single CD release, there was also a "special edition" including a second disc with 4 additional original tracks and 4 cover tracks, and a "deluxe edition" which also included a "making of" DVD. There's a nice collage of snippets from "The Whirlwind" on the band's MySpace page if you'd like to check it out before you buy. -- Fred Trafton

[See Agents of Mercy | Dream Theater | Flower Kings | Iris | Kaipa | Liquid Tension Experiment | Marillion | Morse, Neal | Spock's Beard | Stolt, Roine]

Click here for the official Transatlantic web site
Click here for Transatlantic's MySpace page
If you're interested in the SMPTE synchronization standards, go to the SMPTE home page for more info

Transister [Netherlands]
Updated 6/15/05

Zig Zag (79)
Group formed by R. J. Stipps sometime after leaving Supersister. Said to be completely lame.
[See Supersister | Sweet'd Buster]

Transit Express [France]

Priglactic (75), Opus Progressif (76), Couleurs Naturelles (77)

Rather average French fusion band that put out a few albums in the mid seventies. Try Priglacit which is their best, albeit nothing that special.

Transylvania-Phoenix [Germany/Romania]

From the East (78), Sym-Phoenix (92)

[See Phoenix (Romania)]

Trap [USA]
Updated 6/2/05

Beyond the Status Quo (97)
Insurrection (01)
Trap's Gary Parra

Trap is Gary Parra's (drums, percussion, FX) next effort after Cartoon and PFS. The first album, Beyond the Status Quo was the first record to be released on Gazul, the "new music" (read: "more experimental") sub-label of Musea. Gary plays drums and is the guiding force behind this highly improvised RIO-styled music, though he makes use of a number of other excellent musicians including Don Falcone (Spaceship Eyes) to achieve a dense array of organized noise alternating with beautiful melodies surrounded by chaos. But most often, the pieces are chaotic and "difficult". Those who believe the prog world has been taken over by easy-to-listen-to Neo-Prog bands needn't worry; as long as there are folks like Gary around, you'll have plenty of challenging music to listen to. Beyond the Status Quo will appeal to fans of Henry Cow, Etron Fou Leloublan and Univers Zero. This album really belongs on the Cuneiform label, not Musea.

Insurrection is radically different. Featuring French TV's Chris Smith (guitars & other strings) and Warren Dale (keyboards), there's still plenty of RIO stylings here, but the chaos is more melodic and less noisy. Lots of dissonance, just not quite as much pure racket. It sounds like French TV, Philip Glass, Univers Zero and Tibetian monks and/or Native American drummers all playing at once. I really like Beyond the Status Quo a lot, but for my taste Insurrection is even better (too much improv starts to grate on my nerves after a while, and Insurrection is clearly far more composed).

Trap is excellent and if you haven't heard Parra's masterworks you owe it to yourself to seek these out. They are both incredible. -- Fred Trafton

[See Cartoon | Falcone, Don | French TV | PFS | Spaceship Eyes]

Click here for Trap's web site

Trapeze [UK]
Updated 4/6/11 (Format & Links only)

Trapeze (70)
Medusa (70)
You Are the Music, We're Just the Band (72)
Hot Wire (74)
Final Swing (74)
Hold On/Running (78)
Rocking 3 piece band originally produced by John Lodge of Moody Blues fame and released on Threshold Records. Several albums released only two of any consequence. With Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple.
[See Black Country Communion | Deep Purple]

Tre Milenio (III Milenio) [Brazil]

Alianca Dos Tempos: Ato 1:Tawan (90)

Here's an example of where vocals can be quite innovative and then subsequently make you wince. The album is obviously a concept album and in the vein of Ange, the vocals are theatric often being the voice of many different characters. Aron Shade at time portrays what seems to be either an old or very sick man, and while creative, it can be difficult to listen to (especially with friends) when he gets excited and sings out of tune. The opening of the second side (of the LP) ("Ilusao Inacabada II") has some very nice more traditional Brazilian vocals, and there are other times where the vocals are more conventional. The music of this quintet is definitely in the Pink Floyd (or Camel) vein of relaxed and powerful symphonic rock. Enlisting Fabio Ribeiro on keyboards (very digital) gives the music a touch of the Emerson/Wakeman type of sound (with a couple more annoying fanfare type of synth runs). The music is often excellent, and III Milenio has come up with a lot of good ideas, but sometimes the vocals ruin the occasion (especially the horrible female vocals at the end of side two (of the LP)). Overall, its far better than most of what I've heard of the new Brazilian scene (ie Tisaris, Dogma, Loch Ness, etc.) and is definitely worth a listen.

Alianca dos Tempos is a reissue of the 1990 debut release by this marvelous Brazilian band. True to progressive rock, Alianca dos Tempos is a concept album telling the story, in Portuguese of course, about a young man Tawan who discovers freedom. The original release only covered the first act of this remarkable story. What makes this reissue so special is that III Milenio and Musea included, as a bonus, the 30 minutes of the recently recorded second act. III Milenio's music is a highly original symphonic rock that alternates between gentle and violent passages. If I understood Portuguese I might have a better grasp of why their vocalist sometimes sings with a guttural hoarse voice. Alianca dos Tempos is a joy to experience! The keyboards and guitars are sometimes grandiose in the manner of Rick Wakeman's Journey to the Center of the Earth but they do not detract from the elaborate melodic and harmonic content of this disk. In addition to Musea's normal extensive band history they introduced a new feature, a mini poster collage of band photos and English lyrics. Just like the Beatles White Album! This CD is a "must have" and is an outstanding example of contemporary Latin American progressive rock.

Trees [UK]

On The Shore (70), The Garden of Jane Delawney (70), Live In Concert 1970 (??)


Trembling Strain [Japan]
Updated 3/18/02

Four Pictures (94)
Music for Aerial Sculptures (94)
Fu-Ka: Anthems to Rise the Dead (95)
Bottom of Empty (96)
Tower (97)
Dwelling of Telescopefish (99, as Akira and the Trembling Strain)
I occasionally see Trembling Strain mentioned together with progressive acts like Devil Doll and Popol Vuh. Based on Tower (Heresie HER 027), the only one of their releases I have heard, it is somewhat misleading to associate them with progressive rock; for one thing, they are not rock, no matter how much you stretch, bend or generally abuse the term "rock music". Though their history places them with the Japanese avant-garde crowd who inherited the earth after the floating world of the 1980's symphonic prog capsized and sunk, their sound holds few traces of the sonic terror those bands frequently unleash.

Apart from a few discreet synthesizer textures, Trembling Strain rely entirely on acoustic instruments, most of them ethnic contraptions, such as darbukka and jembe. The Popol Vuh reference is valid in that the music consist mainly of slowly-evolving melodic fragments, drones, ringing chords or gamelan-like ostinati, in a way of Popol Vuh's more subdued material, but melodically more languid and harmonically less certain. The only similarity to Devil Doll is that their moods tend to be darker than Popol Vuh's, sometimes even funereal in a way that reminds of Dead Can Dance in the 1990s. Interesting as this may sound, the actual listening experience tends to leave me cold. The music is very static, with very slow harmonic evolution and rhythmic progress, rather the focus is almost entirely on the intertwining of textures and subtle counterpoint of the unorthodox but narrow melodic material. Some of the shimmering textures and creepy vocal drones on the multi-part "Heaven in a Doze" captivate in earnest, but in too many other places this makes merely for exquisite musical wall paper. The band's leader Pneuma also has several solo releases to his credit. -- Kai Karmanheimo

After listening to Bottom of Empty I'd say that one could hardly encounter more enigmatic and deceptive trancy - psyched - but - still - quite - progressive music these days. Limbus IV could count, but they're not from these days. Trembling Strain are project-band of long-time Japanese electronicist Pneuma. Pneuma was seemingly fed up with Schultzean soundscapes of Berlin EM school and decided to create something different, no matter how strange it would sound. Bottom of Empty is vast, atmospheric work with slow-evolving, heart-stopping, hyper-proportioned tracks (OK, not so hyper-proportioned as on certain Ground Zero albums), which are built with precise layering of sounds both natural and founded, raw or processed via studio-trickery. Some structures remind me of Italian composer Giacinto Scelsi, who was infamous for his use of minimal and microtonal techniques in his large-scale works. Pneuma, who has definitely learned a lot from Berlin school, here successfully indulges in Japanese and other ethnic instruments but these elements are mostly well entangled in the mix, so they do not hit listener straight in the ear (with "Slough" being a decent exception). Noise-with-throat-maker Akira moans, groans, sighs, yawns, yelps, weeps, etc. in constant suffering after Trembling Strain have been raising the Dead on the previous album (They've raised some dead, so it sounds. On "Distant Drum" Akira "dances" with them, while on a titletrack he competes with synths in immitating noisome northwinds. Akira wins.). At once sombre, solemn and sad, sometimes depressed, yet repetitive and made for meditation, the music may transport listener deep in the realms of nothingness. Bottom of Empty exemplifies free-floating experimentalism with Zenic aesthetics. Unembraceable.

Dwelling of Telescopefish is quite different beast. I'm not sure, if it is beast at all. Akira, being the captain of the crew this time, purposefully approaches matter from different directions and angles and creates something what could be a compilation of at least three different bands of which one who tries who holds its album of Third Ear Band close to its hearts. Track 1 is mixture of ethnic rhythmics and alternative rock. Sound is cheaply plastic and college-radio-friendly and thin and my fingers are constantly tempted to press the skipper on my cd-player. Track 3 seems to be made for FM waves, it sounds like Beatles after unsuccessful anti-drug treatment or just running short of Prozac crossed with sort of new agey ambient. Too long for not aiming to be set adrift. Only a few studio effects could save it from being thrown into a sewer. Barely stomachable. The rest of the material present is, as implied early in this review, heavily inspired by Third Ear Band and thus more sympathetic. Some room is still left for experimentation, more on tracks 1, 3, 5 and less on track 6. If nothing else, there is some smoke. Tracks 2 and 4 are worth noting for the mixing of ethnically ethereal drift and contemporary classical 12-tone meandering. Overall not bad, but at least one track could be left off the "soundholder".

Considering the two reviewed releases, Bottom is better starting point, although I suspect neither one is the best. -- Nenad Kobal

Trespass [Germany]
Updated 3/9/05

The Final Act (90, Live)
Trespass's first appearance 6/16/84. Note two drummers!

Five-piece theatrical early Genesis wannabees. Musically they are on well treaded ground, with a sound that comes right out of the early seventies, but not that interesting. Unlike Kyrie Eleison's Fountain Beyond The Sunrise which *did* capture the essence of the early Genesis spirit, this one is mere shallow imitation, and I doubt that many readers would enjoy this stuff. In addition, the recording is very poor. Save your money.

Other reviewers have been more charitable about the music on this live album, but everyone agrees that the sound quality sucks. Some members of this band went on to form Inquire.

News 6/8/06:
Most of the original Trespass band members have regrouped and are working on new material and practicing old material for performances and eventually a new studio recording. See their web site below for details. It's mostly in German, so you may want to use Babelfish to translate. -- Fred Trafton

[See Inquire]

Click here for the new web site from Trespass

Trespass [Israel]
Updated 11/1/06

In Haze of Time (02)
Morning Lights (06)
Trespass - Gabriel Weissman (Drums), Roy Bar-Tour (Bass) and Gil Stein (Keyboards)

Original entry, 5/6/02:
This Trespass has nothing to do with the German band mentioned above, nor with the French Goth-rock band, nor with any other Trespass you may have heard of. They also have nothing to do with Genesis' Trespass album. This is a new band, a power keyboard trio from Israel which has spent far more time in my CD player in the last few months than it needed to just for the sake of doing a review of it. This is excellent stuff!

If the write-up from Musea is to be believed, composer / keyboardist Gil Stein had never heard of ELP before this album was written and recorded, but it's hard to believe. The Hammond work is particularly reminiscent of Keith Emerson's style (though any fuzzed Hammond playing high energy, complex music with oddball chords and counterpoint is going to be), and there's even a typically Emersonish honky tonk piano section in "The Mad House Blues", which also contains a section of a rocked out classical piece (I can't quite place the tune, though it may be one of the Bach "Well-Tempered Clavier" pieces). The synthesizer soloing, however, sounds nothing like Emerson ... but it does strongly remind me of Patrick Moraz, particularly around the time of his Story of and III albums. The first cut, "Creatures of the Night" is particularly Moraz-like. The bass and drums are also excellent on this album, and there's even some servicable guitar parts.

There isn't a bad cut on this CD, each one is highly inventive and high energy. I could only wish ELP was still making music this interesting. But I suppose there's no need, as long as new bands come along that are as interesting, and Trespass is every bit as exciting. They're looking for ways to get broader exposure, in particular they'd like to play a U.S. progressive rock festival. I hope they get their wish, because they deserve the exposure, and I think they should find an audience for their music. A highly recommended new release, and I'm hoping to hear more from these guys. -- Fred Trafton

Update 11/1/06:
Morning Lights

Well, it looks like I got my wish ... in 2006, Trespass released their long-awaited (by me at least) sophomore release, and it was well worth the wait. The line-up has remained the same as the first album, but keyboardist Gil Stein has added recorder and vocals to his repertoire, and he does very well on both. The recorders are overdubbed to create Bach-like counterpoint at many points in the music. Good question how they would pull this off in a concert, but perhaps recorder samples in a keyboard could be substituted.

All the songs are all very busy with lots of counterpoint, including strong interplay between the keyboards, bass and drums all weaving in and out of each other. This album also surprises with some nice vocals by Stein, who reminds me of a less-flamboyant Freddie Mercury in his tone (but with a bit of what I assume is a Hebrew accent). The Emersonish organ work seems to have been intentionally toned down quite a bit (now that Stein has been exposed to some Emerson!), though many of the synth solos, particularly because of the way the pitch-bending is done, continue to remind me of Patrick Moraz. But that's not a bad thing! Though all the songs are very good, the highlight is the 21:33 "side long" epic "Morning Lights", which features Stein's vocals prominently. The backwards recorder intro is cool too. In addition to the original compositions, there's also "Vivaldish", a reworking of Vivaldi's "Violin Concerto in A Minor" arranged for rock band, which works very well!

Last but not least, the cover art (above) is very cool. Though it's not the name of the painting, I'll call it "God takes a nap". Click here for a larger version of the cover. Though I thought it would be difficult to do, Trespass has surpassed their first album in every way with this release. If I had to make a complaint, it would be that the bass is recorded so boomy that I have to turn the volume (or the bass EQ) down on my car stereo or it rattles my speakers. I'd have preferred more bass with less "boom". But that's a minor complaint, and my home stereo doesn't mind ... though the glasses in my cupboard do sympathetically vibrate when I've got it turned up "loud enough". My highest recommendation! -- Fred Trafton

Click here for Trespass' web site
Click here to order In Haze of Time or Morning Lights from Musea Records

Trettioåriga Kriget [Sweden]
Updated 2/29/07

Trettioåriga Kriget (74, Remastered/reissued 2004)
Krigssang (75, Remastered/reissued 2004)
Hej på er! (78, Remastered/reissued 2005)
Mot alla odds (79)
Kriget (80)
War Memories 1972-81 (92, Mostly Live)
Om Kriget Kommer 1972-1981 (96, Compilation?)
Elden av år (04)
Glorious War - Recordings from 1970-71 (04, Previously unreleased recordings)
I början och slutet (07)
Trettioåriga Kriget in 1974

An old fav. of mine. Put out three albums (I think) in the seventies. The first, self-titled from 1974, is in many ways like Rush circa 1980! Characteristics are: very intricate song structures with lots of riffs in odd meters, pretentious lyrics, and a singer with an overly strained voice. Somewhat metal like at times, guitar-oriented sound. Later they changed name to just Kriget (The War) and calmed down.

Originally Trettioåriga Kriget ("The 30-year War"). I don't know if I would consider them "progressive," but rather a good rock band with fairly intelligent lyrics (not common on the Swedish scene!). Ok, the first two albums contains longer songs and could qualify. On the other hand, these albums are only for the completist, the later albums are considerably better.
Of Kriggsang: I find this to be more average sounding hard rock than progressive, with plenty of extended gratuitous guitar jams. Overrated.
I really dig this Swedish band, or more properly Krigssang which is all I've heard). They're a guitar oriented quartet (a fifth "member" is credited with lyrics) with a fair dosage of Mellotron played by the drummer. Vocals are in Swedish, of course. In several ways, Trettioåriga Kriget can be compare to Änglagård without keyboards. There are similarities in some of the guitar work (particularly the acoustic guitar), the strong bass presence (comparisons to Johan Hogberg are valid) and the vocal stylings, though Robert Zima's voice is deeper than Tord Lindman's voice. Clearly, Änglagård drew from Trettioåriga Kriget as one of their influences. The 17+ minute "Krigssang II" is a standout track which includes a little synth work in addition to the Mellotron. There are several changes and good development. But all the songs are good, as far as I'm concerned. The overall lack of keyboards tends to make Krigssang sound "rockier" but this album is a good guitar oriented progressive rock. Recommended.
Trettioåriga Kriget broke up after the release of 1980's Kriget. But in 1992, three of the members played an acoustic set together at a release party for the CD release of Krigssång. After this, they did two reunion concerts together in Stockholm for the release of War Memories. By 2002, they started writing new material and recorded a reunion album Elden av år ("Fire of Years"), which was released in 2004 to wide acclaim.

After playing at several big rock fests including ProgDay in 2004, Sweden Rock in 2005 and Baja Prog in 2006, they recorded and released their latest album, I början och slutet ("In the beginning and the end") in 2007. Finally, in the wake of successful gigs in South America and France (Crescendo Festival), they are currently scheduled to play at the first annual Madrid Art Music Festival in Spain on April 26, 2008.

I've only heard their latest album I början och slutet, and I must agree with the reviewer above who said they're not really that prog. More like classic rock with loads of Mellotron, but that doesn't mean they're not enjoyable. Sorta like Jane meets Pavlov's Dog but sung in Swedish. A pretty good release if you like guitar-oriented classic rock with a few proggy twists and turns, but not really much in the way of metal stylings. I enjoyed this album, but it won't go near the top of my "best albums of 2007" list. And it doesn't really need to ... it's an enjoyable listen anyway. This album is downloadable from Mindawn (click OGG or FLAC in discography). -- Fred Trafton

Click here for Trettioåriga Kriget's web site
Click here for Trettioåriga Kriget's MySpace page

Tri Atma [Germany]

Sehnsucht und Einklang (??), Ka-Jakee Music (??), Belong to the Sun (89)

Jens Fischer was the lead guitarist/synth player from Tri Atma. His solo work features ethnic influences co-mingling with modern day synth technology.

Triana [Spain]
Updated 6/15/05

Triana (75, aka El Patio)
Hijos Del Agobio (77)
Sombra Y Luz (79)
Un Encuentro (80)
Llego El Dia (80)
Concierto Basico 1980 (80)
Triana (81)
Quinto Aniversario (85, Compilation)
Un Jardín Electrico (97)
Una historia ... de la luz y de la sombra (98, Compilation)
En Libertad (99)
A symphonic prog band that defined Flamenco progressive and were the foremost Spanish progressive band. These guys, at times, remind me a lot of King Crimson in their early days, yet were a genre in themselves. With poetically styled songs, gorgeous flamenco guitar, and a very Spanish sound, Triana are a must to try, being a very important progressive band. Any of their first four El Patio, Hijos Del Agobio, Sombra Y Luz and Un Encuentro are all worth the find.
Their first may possibly be best described as symphonic Flamenco. Lots of flamenco guitar stylings surrounded by a lush synth and Mellotron backdrop. Electric guitar is also well represented, though usually limited to solos and the occasional fill. Triana have created a very original version of symphonic progressive and is well worth hearing. The vocals are in Spanish, very lovely, and are fairly abundant. Later albums follow in the same vein. Start with the first and work your way forward. Good stuff though they ran out of good ideas on the last couple of albums.
I admit it, I was a bit disappointed by El Patio. It just seemed a tad too low-key and mainstream for my taste. Perhaps I'm spoiled, as I'd heard bands like Mezquita, Guadalquivir and the like previously. Not to say it's a bad album, if you're looking for an introduction to the Flamenco-rock genre, this is a perfect one to ease you in: it's easily digestible for someone just starting out, yet it's not too commercial (like Alameda). -- Mike Ohman
[See Alameda]

Triangle [France]

Triangle (70), Triangle (72), Homonymie (73)

One of the very early French progressive bands, and highly influenced by the Canterbury scene. In fact, their debut, Triangle sounds very much like Traffic or Caravan, and is a classic example of early progressive rock.

[See Edition Speciale | Lorenzini]

Triangulus [Sweden]

Triangulus And Bjørn J:son Lindh (85), Reliques (87)

One of Peter Bryngelsson's bands. Similar in style with an emphasis on long atmospheric compositions as opposed to melody.

The guitarist Peter Bryngelsson (Ragnarok), the drummer Hans Bruniusson (Samla Mammas Manna, Ensemble Nimbus), the guitarist Roine Stolt (Kaipa) and the excellent flutist Bjorn J:son Lindh are some of the musicians that can be heard on these two records. -- Gunnar Creutz

[See Bryngelsson, Peter | Ensemble Nimbus | Ragnarok | Samla Mammas Manna | Stolt, Roine]

Tribal Tech [USA]

Dr. Hee (87), Spears (88), Nomad (89), Tribal Tech (90), Illicit (92), Face First (93)

Since the other fusion bands, such as Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return to Forever, were included in this survey, I thought I should include this band. In my mind, Scott Henderson is one of the best fusion guitarists today. He displays an energy that most of today's fusion bands (read Spyro Gyra, Yellow Jackets, other fuzak bands) completely lack. He has chops, he has tone, he has emotion, he has talent. Along with bassist Gary Willis, Tribal Tech explodes with intensity and excitement. Check out Nomad, Dr. Hee, and Illicit. They really illustrate how today's commercial fuzak is sad, weak, and vastly overrated. In other words, all fusion fans should give these guys a good listen.

Tribute [Sweden]
Updated 4/19/01

New Views (84)
Breaking Barriers (86) Live! The Melody-The Beat-The Heart (87)
Terra Incognita (90)
Vaguely commercial Swedish symphonic band who put out a few albums in the eighties. New Views, supposedly their best, is a lot like the new symphonic bands ala Iskander, Isildur's Bane, although not quite as good.
Progressive rock on the edge of fusion, similar to Pierre Moerlen's Gong, with many passages that are reminiscent of Camel.
A very symphonic Swedish band, mostly instrumental, with a strong percussive presence, using guitar, keys, drums, tympani, vibraphone, glockenspiel, etc. Their sound falls somewhere between the percussive power of Pierre Moerlen's Gong and the symphonic aspects of The Enid, with some additional comparisons to bands like Maneige, Isildur's Bane, etc. very melodic and rhythmic. Each of the studio albums contains one sidelong opus, plus several shorter tracks. The live album contains a couple cuts from the first, but otherwise is all new material, and features Pierre Moerlen in addition to the regular six piece lineup. All three albums are outstanding. Start w/New Views.
Tribute is a Swedish band that featured French percussionist Pierre Moerlen. New Views is all instrumental with an emphasis on keyboards though there is both electric and acoustic guitars. But what is Moerlen doing? Compared to the excellent percussion work he's done with Gong, his playing on New Views is trite, bland and boring. The first couple of tunes ("Icebreaker," "Too Much at One Time") are fairly commercial sounding. There is, to the albums credit, some very nice, very spacy keyboard work, probably closest in style to Eloy though this is a bit more engaging. However, that's not really enough because much of this album simply lacks any kind of excitement. I recommend a "try before you buy" approach, if you can.
Orchestral fusion? Sounding like big band playing kinda prog-fusion. Kinda prog-fusion. My ears felt quite embarassing after listening to them. I listened to all albums, and I haven't heard a chord which would justify this band to be put in GEPR or any other prog site. Well, maybe one or two, but they were smashed with a cheesy arrangements half a bar later. With other words, the music of Tribute is ultra boring radio-friendly kind of sympho amalgam. I could use the expression of Stan from Southpark whenever he meets a sexy woman. I heard this band to be compared with Isildurs Bane. I can assure you that IB at its worst are at least three (3) classes higher than that, call it stuff. As in the case of Anabis' Theatre, someone should be ashamed of putting such things on vinyl or CDs. Far below the average. -- Nenad Kobal
[See Gong, Piere Moerlin's]

Tricantropus [Spain]
Updated 5/30/08

Recuerdos del Futuro (08)

The band Tricantropus comes from Madrid, Spain and was formed early in 2007, when the band arose from the ashes of a project called Anmarna. The band has been extremely busy in their first year creating the tracks for their excellent debut album Recuerdos Del Futuro (Memories from the Future) on Mylodon Records.

The members of the band have worked together on previous projects in years past, but have gathered together for this very promising band called Tricantropus. The band is made up of Manolo Manrique on Hammond organ, synthesizers, electric piano, he is a former member of the classic Spanish progressive band Azahar, who released two great albums in the seventies, Pedro Parrago on bass and keyboards, and Javier Pardo on guitar and keyboards.

On their first CD Recuerdos del Futuro released in February 2008 on Chilean Mylodon Records (MYLOCD58) the band saw collaborations of Curro Cueta (Flute), Oscar Gavilan (Piano and keys), Marina Martin (Viola), Carlos Ramirez (Guitars) and Willie Sagone on drums.

From the selection of 11 songs one can quickly detect the bands influences, the opening number "Los Puertos Grises" establishes Javier Pardo as a fan of David Gilmour and Pink Floyd. Throughout the CD he also weaves Andy Latimer and Camel, Pat Metheny, Santana and Steve Hackett in the mix with lots of versatility and proves he is quite capable as a guitarist, often showing enormous sensitivity in his creations. Manrique fills in the other musical spaces with a wide array of keyboards, showing his 30 plus years of experience weaving gorgeous melodies and harmonies. It is clear that Javier Pardo is the creative mind and is the main songwriter of the band. Javier's guitar play soars on many occasion showing lots of versatility and although the general sound is light Symphonic Rock some songs could have extended play on a Light Jazz radio station if given the opportunity. The band shows more versatility in "Bajo el Sindromo del Koro" when Javier introduces some metal riffs, which gives an interesting blend that I would like to see them explore more. The third main member and contributor is the very capable bass player Pedro Perrago, the trio worked on most of the songs for the better part of a year, inviting other musicians to leave their mark on the recordings.

Since the release the band actually has added a new drummer Juan Barroso and a second guitarist Daniel Denis [no, not that Daniel Denis --Ed.] and are playing live gigs around Madrid and Spain.

Spain had a very influencial Progressive Music Market in the seventies, equal to Italy but with a very original sound often mixing the richness of the Spanish culture in the mix of sound. In 2007 several Spanish bands of the Seventies have made a come back including Cai, Imán Califato Independiente, Atila and Ibio. Tricantropus doesn't fail to show its Spanish influence, as it reminds me most of Iman and the guitar stylings of Manuel Rodriguez Gomez (Iman). It is good to hear that Spanish musicians still find the progressive music inspiring and Tricantropus will help keep the torch alive and shining brightly. -- Peter Huender

[See Azahar]

Click here for Tricantropus' MySpace page
Click here to order Recuerdos del Futuro from Mylodon Records

Triggering Myth, A [USA]
Updated 11/26/07

A Triggering Myth (90)
Twice Bitten (93)
Between Cages (96)
The Sins Of Our Saviours (98)
Forgiving Eden (02)
A Triggering Myth - Tim Drumheller and Rick Eddy

Maryland-based A Triggering Myth consists of two multi-instrumentalists, Rick Eddy and Tim Drumheller, but keyboards are the dominant instrument. On their first album, two guest musicians contribute some guitar, bass and additional keyboards on a few tracks. There is strong emphasis on counterpoint and sublime interplay between the two musicians. Using digital keyboards and MIDI technology, the music has a very contemporary feel (though not Adult Contemporary radio schlock) broken by occasional passages of searing guitar (e.g., "The Delicate Balance of Coincidence") or other instrument. Overall, much of the music has a feel that combines Happy the Man style with an Italian sense of composition in a technically modern mixture. Digital percussion is handled through MIDI. While often very tasteful, a real (and quality) drummer would have brought the music to a higher plane. A good first effort, the instrumental album is very strong in the first two thirds but falls off for the last 14 minutes. Songs like "The Biology of Doubt" and "Swimming With Sharks" offer depth of sound and texture, and some fine playing. Some of the later songs (e.g, "The Eye in the Looking") show promise but somehow don't seem fully realized. Overall, their eponymous release is very satisfying.

Twice Bitten carries on in the same style as A Triggering Myth, emphasizing the interaction of the two sets of keyboards with occasional guitar mixed into the musical melee. While the style is the same, the music itself is much improved over their debut, reflecting a maturity both in playing and composition. On their first release, titles like "Biology of Doubt" and "Swimming with Sharks" hint at a certain predilection toward the darker recesses of the human psyche. This trend continues with "The Perils of Passion" and "Falling Over Fear." But, not only is this mysterious and somewhat dark quality reflected in the song titles (and the cover art by David Freed), it is quite evident in their music. Rarely, if ever, are we treated to upbeat or uplifting rhythms. Even when the guys kick into high gear, the atmosphere is suspenseful and tension-filled, not light- hearted. Take the 21 minute "Myths (Parts I-VII)," for example. Making excellent use of dynamics, counterpoint, a wide variety of digital sounds and judicious doses of dissonance, A Triggering Myth paint a picture akin to an old, isolated cemetery at midnight under a full moon on All Hallows Eve. Theirs is not a sinister music, however. While Devil Doll might make you run screaming from the cemetery with your britches wet, A Triggering Myth has you looking constantly back over your shoulder into the shadows made darker by the slivers of pale moonlight. "English Lesson" is divided into two parts, beginning with the British-sounding contrapuntal passages of "The Noun," with it's harpsichord and English Horn timbres. This soon turns into the contrasting RIOish dissonance of "The Verb." This creative experiment seques into the seven minute "Suddenly South," a strong tune of searing guitar and intricate keyboard work. One song is called "Holding Up Half the Sky" so, for fun, I compared it to Henry Cow's "1/2 the Sky." "Holding Up Half the Sky" is one of the lightest moments on the album, with two acoustic guitars and keyboard flute, and may indeed hold up the ozone-depleting sonic assault of Henry Cow! As before, the band uses a variety of digital instruments, to create both realistic and other-wordly timbres. The programmed drum work is outstanding. I'm amazed at how well artists like Fonya and A Triggering Myth are able to utilize drum machines effectively. Still, they sound like machines. I think A Triggering Myth's music would be so much more incredible with a live drummer to join in the fray. The use of guest musicians on various songs (particularly, Steve Williams' electric guitar work) adds depth to the band's sound and is, I think, part of the strength of Twice Bitten over their debut. A drummer would make this strong album even stronger. Still, that's a minor quibble from my way of thinking. Strong writing, inventive compositions and solid musicianship: these are the characterstics of A Triggering Myth.

No significant style changes are heard on the six songs of Between Cages; their strength continues to be the interplay between Drumheller and Eddy's keyboards. One significant improvement is drummer Moe Vfushateel. Though not an official member of the band -- Ken Golden tells me the pair would love to have a full-time drummer -- real drums played by a live drummer add a new dimension that a drum machine can't provide: feel. Vfushateel's jazzy snare work compliments the often jazzy comping of the keyboards. The opening "Habile" is a jazzy but perfunctory tune showcasing the band's style but it doesn't stand out from their better efforts. Two songs that do stand are "Deftly Dodging" and the ten minute "Squdge." An Arabesque figure leads off "Deftly Dodging," upon which Drummheller and Eddy build up contrapuntal layers of synths and guitars. Vfushateel's brush work really helps set the mood of the quiet middle section. "Squdge" once again brings out the dark, brooding side of ATM, beginning with clanking percussion sounds and other dissonance, then a somber section, then a jazzy solo that reminds me of Gilgamesh or the like, and still more follows. Opening and closing with a paraphrase of "L'elefante bianco," "Il Voce"* is a "live in the studio" recorded tribute to Demetrio Stratos, the extraordinary vocalist of Area. Not the band's best effort but their intention is admirable. "Midiots, Vidiots and the Digitally Delayed" could have come from Djam Karet's Reflections From the Firepool and introduces the 21 minute "Between Cages" suite which is the album's highlight. Moody, jazzy, dark, classical, playful ... all the hallmarks of A Triggering Myth can be heard in this suite. Because Between Cages is quite similar to Twice Bitten, the band is in danger of stagnation creeping in on future releases. I hope ATM find a new challenge to stimulate their compositional creativity, but Between Cages is still an excellent effort from this duo. -- Mike Taylor

* Editor's note: Drummer Mark Cella, later of Eccentric Orbit and owner of M&M Music, plays drums on this track. -- Fred Trafton.

A Triggering Myth is an American duo where mostly keyboards are shared but also guitars, percussions, flute and trumpet. On Twice Bitten, guests contribute on bass, drums, guitars, keyboards and percussions. The composition show an unpredictable style that cleverly blends symphonism, jazz and rock. Most tracks are keyboards based (excellent piano) but the arrangements integrate the contributions of the other instruments with much pertinence. Modern and unconventional music with influences that include more than one style. Between Cages is a curious fusion of jazz, rock and classical music. The keyboards (excellent piano) remain an essential base to the compositions but the duo uses a variety of other instruments as well as guests on drums and percussions. The style, modern and experimental, is still unpredictable. Symphonic keyboard arrangements often accompany themes which progressive developments also include improvisations (keyboards or guitar) with jazzier rhythms. A rich production of music that often diverges from the usual rock formulas. -- Paul Charbonneau
East coast duo who play technostalgic rock fusion in a classic but not tired way. Ambitious and highly capable, Drumheller and Eddy do a great job of fulfilling their vision of traditional progressive matrices carried on with a fresh, intelligent outlook, and the lack of human drumming on some of the CD's leaves no unpleasant aftertaste. From time to time the music is a little flat and loses my attention, but altogether, these are fine albums from a rare breed: smart players who don't mind if their music is twenty-five years too late. Comparisons to Happy the Man (and maybe even Ra era Utopia) are fair but not to the dusty Canterbury tones of Soft Machine or National Health. ATM have their own quality, but the highly varied sound occasionally reminds of anything from Return to Forever and Gentle Giant to Univers Zero and early Genesis. -- David Marshall
[See Eccentric Orbit]

Click here for A Triggering Myth's web site
Click here to order albums from The Laser's Edge

Trilogy [Germany]

Here It Is (80)

Trilogy were so enamoured with ELP's third studio release that they named themselves after the album. As you would suspect, there are definite ELP overtones to the music but we can't dismiss Trilogy as an ELP clone. Trilogy is fronted by the dual keyboards (organs, clavinet, synths) of Jochen Kirsten and Guido Harding. Detlef Deeken plays electric and acoustic guitars while Ludger Samson (bass) and Martin Breuer (drums) comprise the rhythm section. There are an abundance of Emerson's trademark licks to be heard throughout Here It Is but Kirsten and Harding also show influences from Rick Wakeman, Tony Banks and even Gerd Führs (of Schicke Führs Fröhling). The band takes full advantage of the dual keyboard setup, creating rich and complex arrangements of classically-styled Prog. Guitarist Deeken is generally not an important part of the mix, except in a few instances. He turns in some nice acoustic guitar on the opening "Venice" (I would have liked more keyboard and acoustic guitar arrangements throughout; it worked nicely) and has a strong electric presence in beginning and ending sections of "Crowded." As the longest tune (at nearly 13 minutes), "Crowded" contains many different passages of intricate keyboard work, in addition to the guitar sections. The length of the other six tunes varies from 4-9 minutes. Nothing in particular struck my ears regarding bass and drums; they were competent but did nothing to stand out. On the CD reissue, Musea have included one bonus track, "Treibsand," Trilogy's first full composition. It was recorded at the time of the other songs but was not included because it would have made the LP too long. A bit different from the other tunes, "Treibsand" shows strong SFF tendencies though without the Mellotron. While Trilogy won't shatter you with originality, the dual keyboard front is quite appealing. A nice release. -- Mike Taylor

Trinity [Hungary]
Updated 5/20/02

Trinity demo 2001 (01, CD)
Trinity (three out of five of them) - I believe these three are Segesdy Márton (vocal,keyboard), Balogh Zoltán (bass) and Kun Krisztián (drums). Other band members not pictured are: Koppány Ferenc (guitar) and Róna Zsófia (flute)

Trinity is a five-piece band from Hungary. One listen to their demo and you can tell who their main idols must be; these tunes sound an awful lot like Trespass-era Genesis. That's true both melodically and due to the murky studio sound. Except, of course, that the vocals are in Hungarian. I would complain about the quality of the recording, but to tell the truth, it goes very well with the old Genesis style music. I actually hope they don't clean up their studio techniques too much as they continue to make recordings. Maybe just a little more clarity on the drums, which seem to sometimes get lost in the murk.

Trinity does not have a real album release yet, but they do have a three-song demo which you can order or download from [no longer available -Ed.]. I've enjoyed listening to these immensely. Check them out for yourself! -- Fred Trafton

Click here for Trinity's web site

TRIO (The.Rhythm.Is.Odd) [Sweden]
Updated 3/22/10

From Nowhere to Eternity (08)
TRIO - Tobbe Johanson (guitar, vocals), Bjorn Egelius (bass) and Leif Fredriksson (drums)

If Rush played Mahavishnu Orchestra covers, it would sound like this. Excellent hard-rockin' fusion. The bass player may have heard some Geddy Lee in his life ...

Yes, "The.Rhythm.Is.Odd" does refer to the fact that they do not want to play in 2/4 or 4/4 time, and they're intentionally composing music outside of that box. But it rocks nonetheless. Check out samples at the various links below. -- Fred Trafton

Click here for TRIO's web site
Click here for TRIO's MySpace page
Click here for TRIO's Facebook page
Click here to order or download From Nowhere To Eternity from CD Baby

Trion [Netherlands]
Updated 12/13/07

Tortoise (03)
Pilgrim (07)
Trion - Edo Spanninga (Mellotron [flute, oboe, strings, organ, cello, vibe and choir], Elka leslie), Menno Boomsma (drums and cymbals) and Eddie Mulder (6 & 12 electric and acoustic guitars, mandolin, Fender bass, 5 string bass guitar, effects)

[Tortoise] is a wonderful record of old school prog, in fact, if you do not know the year it was made you would swear it's a lost album from the 70's. Trion according to the notes on the CD booklet is a contraction of the words "trio" and "tron" (short for Mellotron), yes you got the idea this record is soaked in Mellotron sounds, no moog, piano or Hammond. This project formed by Odyssice and Flamborough Head members, is an instrumental record with 11 beautiful tracks, no waste in this CD, spaning from just over one minute to eight minutes in length. I have found influences from several bands from the 70's, Camel and Genesis being the most prominent.

When I listen to this music others groups come to mind other than the above mentioned, most recent works like Ad Infinitum and Willowglass. I highly recommend this record to all those old progs that miss the 70's sounds. Even the cover seems straight out of the 70's and you will swear belongs to Roger Dean, but it is made by a Dutch artist named Jasper Joppe Geers.

They also participated in a project called The Spaghetti Epic with a 25 minute track released by Musea. -- Julio Lopez

I've recently got to hear both of Trion's albums (grateful thanks to Edo and Menno for sending them!), and they're very good. Their first album, Tortoise, was originally just three musician friends writing pieces to play in order to learn to use some new equipment. But when they released it as a CD, the response was so positive from the prog community that they were asked to contribute a piece for The Spaghetti Epic, one of the Musea/Colossus compilation projects. The piece was entitled "Frank" and was about 25 minutes long. At this point, Trion had to admit to themselves that they were a band, and started to write music for a follow-up album.

The follow-up is titled Pilgrim and continues the story of the journey of Jemetrion the tortoise from the first album. Like Tortoise, Pilgrim is all instrumental, so the story line really exists only in the CD liner notes and can be enjoyed or ignored at the owner's discretion. The notes also say that the band got a good chuckle over the debate that Tortoise caused in some circles over the fact that they used Mellotron samples rather than a real Mellotron for the all-Mellotron keyboards. They point out that a Mellotron is already a sampler, so the distinction seems to them to be silly. Either way, for Pilgrim, they include other keyboard timbres including Fender Rhodes and Hammond Organ sounds, though I believe that both of these are modern counterparts as well rather than the original instruments. To my ears these sound just as good or better (lower noise) than the originals, but I'm sure that purists will disagree. Whatever. I like the sound just fine. And anyway the music is more important than the hardware, right?

Musically both albums are similar ... mellow instrumental prog that reminds me at turns of Camel (especially The Snow Goose), Greenslade, Focus (at their mellowest) or Jon Anderson's Olias of Sunhillow. Both albums definitely seem like they fell through a time warp from the '70's, even the Roger Dean-like cover of Tortoise and the Hipgnosis styling of Pilgrim. Pilgrim also contains a re-recording of "Frank" as a (25-minute!) bonus track, so you won't need The Spaghetti Epic to complete your Trion collection.

Trion is really good stuff for when you're in a mellow mood ... put away the headbanging Dream Theater and depressive Porcupine Tree albums for a while and chill out, dude. -- Fred Trafton

[See Flamborough Head | Odyssice]

Click here for Trion's pages on the Flamborough Head web site

Trip, The [Italy]

The Trip (70), Caronte (71), Atlantide (72), Time Of Change (73)

The noted drummer Furio Chirico (see Arti E Mestieri) hails from The Trip who's fourth album Time Of Change is graced by his presence. The Trip are another three man classical rock band in the realm of the Nice and Le Orme are maybe not as good as the latter but are worthy of note. Although Chirico is not on the first two, their middle two are their best although are not personally my favorite type of progressive music. Caronte and Atlantide are recommended to ELP or Le Orme fans.

[See Arti E Mestieri | Gray, Billy]

TriPod [USA]
Updated 2/6/02

TriPod (00)
TriPod (two thirds of them) - Clint Bahr (lead vocals, bass, bass pedals) and Keith Gurland (woodwinds, bass pedals, vocals). Not pictured - Steve Tobin (drums)

TriPod's "claim to fame" is that they're a hard-rocking band with no guitars or keyboards. Well, that's slightly bending the truth since bassist Clint Bahr uses 12-string basses and a 10-string Stick to get up into the guitar sonic spectrum, and also uses Moog Taurus Bass Pedals which is just a "keyboard" controlled with the feet instead of the fingers. Okay, they didn't say "no synthesizers", just "no keyboards". Well, don't hold this truth-stretching against them, because the music is just plain excellent.

Originally, I was going to claim that TriPod was actually an album created by Camembert Electrique-era Gong members when Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth were abducted by a flying teapot for awhile. Lacking a vocalist, Didier Malherbe, Christian Tritsch and Pip Pyle drafted a youthful Greg Lake fresh from his stint with King Crimson to do the vocals, and thus TriPod was born. Of course, that's just silly (I was accusing them of truth-stretching?) and not really what happened at all. But it does give you an idea of what TriPod's debut CD sounds like. The music isn't really derivative ... I wouldn't be surprised to learn that TriPod has never even heard of Gong. But their styles are descended from a common musical background, so they sound similar.

I'll admit, my comparison with Gong is based mostly on the way woodwind player Keith Gurland rocks on saxes, clarinet and flute. The only other person who can play sax like this (outside of the jazz community) is Didier "Bloomdido" Malherbe of Gong, and that's why TriPod keeps reminding me of them. Clint Bahr plays bass, though with a 12-string bass, the notes get quite a ways up into the guitar register, though we are spared the standard guitar power chords one might usually hear in a band that rocks this hard. He also sings, and his vocals sound a lot like Greg Lake's, therefore the preceeding description. Both his clear and growl vocal styles resemble Lake's, and this complements the music well. Steve Tobin's loose, bashing, barely-controlled drumming also reminds me of Pip Pyle's early anarchic drum styling, which adds to the air of frenetic energy on this album.

Interestingly enough, the third leg of this "tripod" has vanished from their web site ... drummer Steve Tobin has evidently left the band, and they are working on obtaining a new drummer. TriPod consider themselves to be primarily a performing band (they do not rely on overdubs to get the thick sound heard on the CD), so they're going to need a new drummer. In the meantime, according to their web site, they're working on a new album. Rumors that they are changing their name to BiPod are unfounded ...

So if you're looking for an album that really rocks, is quite original sounding, and does not rely on the "traditional" guitar or keyboard sounds to get your heartbeat pumping, TriPod is your band! Check out their web site and order a copy of their debut. -- Fred Trafton

TriPod is a very unusual progressive rock trio, consisting of bass guitarist/vocalist, drummer and wind instruments player. The latter is a central "progressive" figure in this formation, as only his virtuostic solos on saxophones and flutes create real arrangements in combination with quite diverse bass guitar themes. Of course, the work of the drummer is also very good, though only his ability to accentuate the changes of themes and tempos plays in such a kind of music some more or less significant role, whereas his mastery jamming just demonstrates his own professional data. I think, even such an unusual prog-formation could play much more adventurous music, but TriPod prefer songs with the level of complexity from "very accessible" to "moderate". But, as I love to repeat, I can accept music with lack of complexity if this music is really original. So, such a really good rating in absolute compliance with four rating stars is just confirming my attitude to originality: yes, you've still heard nothing like this. -- Vitaly Menshikov
Click here for TriPod's web site

Tristan Park [UK]
Updated 6/15/05

At the End of the Day (93)
A Place Inside (95)
Leave to Enter (97)
Looking Homeward (98)

Triton [Japan]
Updated 1/18/02

No albums at the time of this writing
Triton is one of the symphonic rock revivalists that began to appear in Japan during the latter half of the 1990s. A trio of keyboards, drums and bass/vox, their style is bombastic keyboard-driven sympho in the style of Gerard and Ars Nova; in fact, Triton's keyboard player Mika Nakajima (the self-declared "smallest keyboard player in Japan") would get a second job as a member of Ars Nova in 2000.

At the time of writing (August 2001), their only available release was a self-published CD-R-single "Canaan"/"Unreal Love"; I bought my copy at an Ars Nova concert. "Canaan" has competent, if not terribly distinctive vocals from bassist Noburu Nakajima, but most of the song's nine-minute duration is devoted to Mika Nakajima's multi-layered keyboard attack. She provides the usual growling Hammond, blistering analog-style leads and euphoric fanfares in the way of Gerard's Toshio Egawa and Ars Nova's Keiko Kumagai (themselves influenced by 1970's European prog keyboardists), without getting as heavy as the former or as intricate as the latter. There is real fire in her playing, however, and it's symphonic in the real sense of the word by employing a large and shifting palette of overlayed or interlocking keyboard tones instead of just static pads on the left hand and a few leads on the right. The high point of the song is the triumphant contrapuntal march at the middle, built from a gentle piano part up to a stirring symphonic climax.

"Unreal Love" is a bit closer to pop metal (in the way of Irony of Fate-era Gerard) with its overdubbed backing choir, but again Nakajima's instrumental work supports the rather obvious melodies and stretches out with excellent instrumental exploration. The keyboards are pushed high enough in the mix that they almost sidetrack vocals, bass and Yukihiro Miyakawa's metallic drumming, though otherwise the production is quite sound. A very promising single of rather unsurprising symphonic prog. -- Kai Karmanheimo

[See Ars Nova]

Click here for a Triton web site (in Japanese)

Tritonus [Germany]

Tritonus (75), Between the Universes (76)

A German trio led by keyboard-virtuoso Peter K. Seiler. Most everyone associates the trio format with ELP, and here it's viable, although only the track "The Day Works" is explicitly Emerson-esque. The rest of the album is rather more Germanic sounding with lots of synthesizer, used to best effect on the pulsating instrumental "Mars Detection." Other than that, it's not overly impressive. This album would probably have been better served as an all-instrumental one, two tracks (the aforementioned "The Day Works" and the title song) are ruined by horrible choir-arrangements.

Triumvirat [Germany]
Updated 5/6/03

Mediterranean Tales (72)
Illusions On A Double Dimple (73)
Spartacus (75)
Old Loves Die Hard (76)
Pompeii (77)
Ala Carte (79)
Russian Roulette (80)
The Website Story (Recorded 2002, but unreleased so far)
Triumvirat (circa 1972, Mediterranean Tales line-up) - Hans Pape (bass), Hans-Jürgen Fritz (Keyboards) and Hans Bathelt (Drums, Percussion)

If I had to rate them on the whole as a progressive band, I'd give them about a 6.0. If I had to rate them on the whole just as a music band, I'd give them an 8.5. That's basically to say that those who know very much about music won't think very much of Triumvirat. This is another example of how a band goes from good to bad. Many people talk about Spartacus as being their "anthem album." This may be so, for some reason, perhaps because it has the most keyboard work of all of their albums (and keyboard player Jurgen Fritz is the "ring leader," so to speak). But if you listen closely to the music on that album, you can see that the music isn't really all that complex, but rather simple. The vocals on the album are not really impressive at all. The drumwork seems a bit relaxed except on a few high points on the album. It's really not too much more than an ELP clone. And that's at what people consider to be the "best" of their career. I feel quite the opposite. The album Spartacus is rather a pain for me to listen to the whole way through. This one and all that followed, are difficult to sit through, if you admire symphonic progressive. Illusions on a Double Dimple is a better example of Moog work that is not unbearably "rip-off music". Rather, focus your attention on the undiscovered treasure of Mediterranean Tales (Across The Waters) from 1972. It's their first album and quite an interesting one at that. There's no Moog work on the album at all, but lots of Hammond abuse instead. Also, that is the one album where, in the process of finding out what their "main style" is, they've been the most original. I can hear elements of Blues, Jazz, Classical, Swing, and even Hardcore/Punk (a little) on it!! This is my number one recommendation for all Triumvirat would-be-fans. (I say "would-be" because they *would be* fans if Triumvirat played more challenging music more often). So, if you don't think that Triumvirat has done anything interesting with their music, go back to their roots, and listen to the first album. If you can, STAY AWAY from A la Carte. Thank goodness it's pretty much a lost work. It's gone way beyond the limit of good taste. Here's what we have on it: "A Bavarian In New York" this is the number one song on it. It is reminiscient of the better Billy Joel songs like "Angry Young Man" and "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant", which I can certainly withstand. (I like it when talented pop musicians make an attempt at art-rock) But then we have "Official Soundtrack to the Motion Picture O.C.S.I.D. (Which was never made)" Yes, that's the entire name of the track! Actually, I think it's pretty hilarious...everyone should just start making official soundtracks to movies that "are never made". In any case, we also have "Darlin' ", which is a Beach Boys cover, of all things, and done with no more "progressiveness" than the original "artists" themselves! All the other songs have a very PLAIN art-rock feel to them, nothing challenging at all. Actually, it might even be good to seek out this album (on vinyl) maybe to hear it a few times and make sure you know you're not missing out on anything. After all, "A Bavarian in New York" is a fairly decent art-rock song. In summation, each album after 1976 has their song(s) that are the high points among the rest of the drab. Old Loves Die Hard has "Panic on 5th Avenue". Pompeii has "Vesuvius 73 A.D.". -- David Barro

German trio that were most obviously influenced by ELP. Nowhere is this more obvious than on their 1975 album Spartacus, which became a sizable hit in the U.S., definitely because there was no concurrent ELP release that year. But Triumvirat did produce the superb Illusions on a Double Dimple album, which is good from beginning to end, something you can rarely say about an ELP album (which are almost universally interrupted by some idiotic song like "Are You Ready Eddy?"), with the possible exception of Brain Salad Surgery. On Mediterranean Tales, the ELP influence isn't quite as evident as on the later ones, but Hans Juergen Fritz' Emerson-styled keyboard work is definitely up-front, but some tracks (like the confusingly titled "E Minor 5/9 Minor 5") are more decidedly Germanic sounding. Later albums went downhill, slowly at first, then really plummeting with A La Carte. I've even heard Russian Roulette (which was recorded with several members of Toto) called "the worst album of all-time, progressive or otherwise." -- Mike Ohman
A German ELP clone. Spartacus and Illusions on a Double Dimple are both great; they sound like they could be ELP albums (if you ignore the German accent on the vocals).
Originally, a German ELP clone. The sound of Illusions on a Double Dimple and Spartacus is pure ELP, down to song titles (e.g. "Lucky Girl") and pirated riffs. They moved to more of a pop sound later, and got progressively less interesting.
Illusions On A Double Dimple and Mediterranean Tales are prime examples of ELP-influenced progressive rock from the seventies. The keyboardist could well be Keith Emerson's Dutch twin brother!
Generally dismissed as an ELP clone, but I think Illusion on a Double Dimple stands quite well on its own. Two songs, each featuring some great moog work. Spartacus is also very good though I don't think it's on a par with Illusion. I've not heard Mediterranean Tales but later albums pale. Start with Illusion or Spartacus.
In spite of the rather harsh treatment Triumvirat received in some of the reviews above (and in many others during their heyday), I've always liked Triumvirat, particularly the first four releases. They started to lose me on Pompeii, which I can only describe as "OK", not really "good", and the last couple of albums are universally reviled by just about everyone. It is true that they were an ELP clone band, but they were a pretty darn good ELP clone band, and I could never get enough of that Emersonian Hammond organ work, so I enjoyed them.

In 2002, Jürgen Fritz re-formed Triumvirat with some old and new musicians and recorded a new album, The Website Story. However, as of this writing (May 6, 2003), the album has yet to be released because the band is trying to find a label. In the meantime, you can hear some excerpts on their official web site (see below).

Also in 2002, EMI remastered and re-released the entire back catalog of Triumvirat albums, with bonus tracks. They are generally available through the usual mundane sources such as -- Fred Trafton

[See Jail]

Click here for a Triumvirat fan web site
Click here for the Official Triumvirat web site (promoting their current project)

Troc [France]

Troc (72)

Jannik Top's first band. Jazzrock. Their LP consists of lenghty pieces with strong characteristic vocals (in english, I think the singer is from the UK, judging from his name). Could be compared to Khan (the singer is quite similar) or Tempest including longer guitar improvisations (no Zeuhl!). After this recording Top joined Magma. This one is a bit hard to find, and if you find it it will be expensive. But its very good. Recommended! -- Achim Breiling

[See Magma; Musea's "La Discographie du Rock Français" indicates that this band released the album under the name of Alex Ligertwood & Co. with a title of Old Man River. Yet, all this information is under the band name Troc.]

Il Trono Dei Ricordi [Italy]

Il Trono Dei Ricordi (94)

On Il Trono Dei Ricordi, ITDR is a five-piece band of Alessandro Lamuraglia (keyboards), Erik Landley (bass, sax), Stefano Cupertino (electronics, effects), Paolo Lamuraglia (guitars) and Alberto "the Wizard" Mugnaini (vocals). Notice that this line-up doesn't include a drummer. For some "mysterious" reason, Cupertino, the band's drummer, could not record for this release. Thus, Fabrizio Morganti was hired to fill the slot. Guest Francesco Bocciardi contributes bouzuoky on the opening cut, "The King of Memories." After a few ominous rumblings, the band herald this 20 minute track with a synthesized brass fanfare, before moving through a variety of episodic sections.
Vocals are an important component of the band's music. Rather than writing original lyrics, ITDR use the poetry of author William Blake, with just a few embelishments from the Wizard in two of the four songs. As such, the lyrics are imbued with a certain quality not often found in music lyrics. Because Blake's writings are in English, the Wizard sings in same, with nary a trace of accent. Mugnaini's delivery is in the same dramatic style as Peter Gabriel and he often, but not always, sounds quite like Genesis' former singer. The Wizard was responsible for forging the melodies and writings into a cohesive whole. With a wonderful sense of timing and pace, I'd have to say he succeeded admirably. Keyboardist Lamuraglia is the other key musician. He is apparently responsible for the skeleton of each song, which was then fleshed out by the band. Alessandro brings a sense of classic Italian technique to the compositions. It is his keyboard abilities that truly stand out in this music, whether playing a classically derived piano passage or a driving synth solo. Impeccable is his sense of dynamics, which keep the music flowing through the many different instrumental sections, none of which seem too short or too long. Guitarist Lamuraglia's contemporary guitar style is only sometimes employed as a lead instrument. He more often is responsible for driving the groove (along with the bass and drums) while Allessandro plays on top. The rhythm section is the weak link. The drumming is usually regular and on the beat, although some sections find him riffing steadily along on the snare. Bassist Landley plays down to this level. Unfortunately, I have no idea how Cupertino is as a drummer, but it is this instrument where the band can use some improvement.
Musically, the band comes together quite well. Despite the drumming, I often found my head bobbing to the rhythm. ITDR made many of the right moves to overcome their weak spot. During some of the synth jams, ITDR grooves with the best. One fine example is the first synth solo in "King of Memories" which gives way to classical structures of "strings" and organ or piano. Later in this song, the Wizard speaks several lines of Blake's poetry, the band shifts into a spacey, resting section, then slowly build the pace into another synth solo. Similar is "Visions of the Daughters of Albion," in which a cranking guitar solo shifts into a laid back electric piano line, marking the beginning of the spacey middle section. The guitar comes back with a spacey, bluesy solo, then SLAM! comes heavy riffing, vocals and another sinuous synth jam. The strong classical nature of these cuts speaks of the Italian influence, while some of the rhythms recalls Genesis. For example, the 3-3-2 rhythm that begins "A Memorable Fancy" is similar to the 9/8 rhythm of Genesis' "Apocalypse in 9/8", while one of the vocal passages near the beginning of "Visions of the Daughers of Albion" recalls "Watcher of the Skies."
With regards to classification, I predict there will be two different schools of thought. Again, the classical structures reveal the '70s Italian pedigree. The vocal similarities to Gabriel, scattered Genesis-patented rhythms, modern guitar tones and basic drumming will make you think, "neo-prog." Depending on my mood and what passages I'm hearing, I can fall into either category. On some listenings, I think of ITDR's music as very good modern progressive rock, that could be superb with better drumming. Others times, I hear a band that sets new standards for the concept of excellent neo-progressive rock. In reality, ITDR takes a major step in closing the gap between what I consider quality progressive rock and quality neo-prog. I suspect the greater majority of you will be very enthusiastic about this band once you give them a much deserved listen. This album was a real grower for me. On a final note, the multiple foldout booklet is lavishly produced, with complete lyrics and color photos of the band in action. -- Mike Taylor

On Il Trono dei Ricordi, this band plays in a style commonly associated with British bands. The long tracks are an excellent format for this intense but melodic symphonic rock where captivating instrumental breaks alternate with quieter but no less dramatic passages. An excellent production makes the arrangements of vocals (in English), guitar, keyboards, effects, bass and drums even richer. The variety of influences, with a potential to reach many listeners, are nevertheless fused in a familiar style that first appeals to a taste for the usual British productions. -- Paul Charbonneau

Troya [Germany]
Updated 10/13/03

Point of Eruption (76)
On their journey of musical discovery through the garages of German-speaking countries, Garden of Delights have stumbled on the ruins of Troya. The band's story is like that of many others: young band eager to expand rock's boundaries towards classical music trudges along for a couple of years, and then breaks up, but not before leaving behind a self-financed album recorded with a minuscule budget. And like many of those releases, their 33-minute recorded legacy has more value as a curiosity and a document of the band than as a full-fledged musical experience.

The six tracks on Point of Eruption (Garden of Delights CD 049) are full of Farfisa organ, fuzz guitar, rather bland vocals and hard-hitting but streamlined rhythm section typical of so many German bands. Mellotron and flute also make cameo appearances but the primitive production renders them almost inaudible, and as the album was mastered from vinyl, albeit with the best decrackling methods available at the time, little could be done to improve the quality. Typical is also the music, the kind of melancholy, organ-dominated pseudo-symphonic rock where classical suffuses blues, and guitar plays jagged but melodic solos. The band play well and with energy, but the writing quality fluctuates: "Battle Rock" and "Chromatik" display some lofty melodic peaks and nicely-crafted, baroque keyboard passages, but "She" and "Festival" sound incomplete and truncated. The austere sound is also to blame: too much burden is placed on the smooth organ tone and occasional piano, which simply cannot sustain the breadth required by the arrangements all the time, and the thin, piercing wail of the smudgily-reverbed guitar gets irksome soon, at the latest during the otherwise spirited solo climax of "Choke". All in all, not bad but nothing that hasn't been done better by Novalis, Epidaurus or Ramses. -- Kai Karmanheimo

Trúbrot [Iceland]

Trúbrot (69), Undir Ahrifum (70), ....Lifun (70)

Trúbrot is an Icelandic band who released a few albums in the early '70s. ....Lifun is their third work and is pretty typical of early '70s UK bands like Salamander, The Moody Blues, etc, though sometimes a bit heavier. The album tells the story with English lyrics of a man from his birth to his death. The music is dominated heavily by guitar and organ giving it a quaint (read: dated) sound. The album is very short, timing in at just over 33 minutes. The songs are all short but all flow together for two 15 minute "suites." Nothing special unless you're into that early '70s organ-dominated UK sound or a collector of Scandanavian prog. Trúbrot is said to have lots of organ and flute with a woman singing in her native Icelandic tongue. Undir Ahrifum is said to be heavier and more psychedelic with a couple of longer tracks. They also dropped the female singer. ....Lifun is said to be the most progressive of the bunch. -- Mike Taylor

True Myth [Canada]
Updated 11/23/01

True Myth (79)
Telegram (81)
True Myth was the brainchild of classically-trained keyboardist Tom Truemuth (notice the pun in his name?). I have the first album, and it is mainly piano and keyboard driven progressive rock with high-caliber musicianship throughout. The other musicians include Tony Cook (guitar), Steve McKenna (bass), Brian Bollinger (drums), and Bruce Cumming (vocals). The vocals are crystal clear, and sometimes don't fit in when the band is trying to play faster passages, making some parts sound cheesy. On the whole, this album is pretty good, and grows on you with repeated listens. Some parts have interesting polyrythmic interplay similar to Yes (as on the intro to "Time And Time Again"). Not essential, but definitely worth checking out if you find it at a reasonable price. -- Simon Karatsoreas

Tryo [Chile]
Updated 3/6/01

Tryo (96, reissued 2000)
Crudo (98)
Patrimonio (99)
Tryo in 1995

Red-era King Crimson would be the most obvious comparison to the music of Tryo. But, this is often said about groups like, for example, Anekdoten. And the fact is that Anekdoten doesn't sound like Tryo. Most of the compositions are dominated by dense, powerful and aggresive guitar textures, but again, they are far from the prog-metal sub-genre, and there's little, if any, improvisational (Crimsonian) passages; compositions are tightly structured and demanding both for the player and listener, and the abundance of ideas reminds me of some Italian classics (say, RDM circa Contaminazione) though this parallel refers only to the density of musical and rhythmic ideas, not to the general sound. Being three clasically trained musicians (in fact the members, Ismael Cortez - electric and acoustic guitar - , Francisco Cortez - bass and cello - , and Félix Carbone - drums and melodic percussion - are established members of the Viña del Mar Philarmonic Orchestra, Viña del Mar- Chile, being their hometown), the influences of 20th century composers are clear (an adaptation of Messiaen is featured in Patrimonio). There is also a visible jazz sensibility, particularly in some percussion and bass sections, as well as a RIO influence. Maybe the most interesting fact is that Tryo have an "acoustic side": some compositions are played by the same musicians on cello, acoustic guitar and melodic percussion, and they present acoustic versions of sections of the electric compositions. In these cases, the amazing beauty of the music appears, having being partially hidden by the electric arrangement on the full versions. Few tracks have vocals, and these are hard to understand, even being a native Spanish speaker ...

They list Led Zeppelin and Yes as influences, I do humbly disagree with the first (no signs of Led Zeppelin anywhere), and with Yes, I see just a connection in the complexity and dedication to the elaborate arrangements, but this is common to most prog music.

Their first album, self-titled, contains nine "electric" compositions ranging from three to nine minutes each. The re-edition added two acoustic bonus tracks. Crudo features six electric and five acoustic tracks, The electric set was recorded live in 1996. Five of them do not appear on any other studio album, the remaining ("Fuenteovejuna") is featured in their first. The contrast between acoustic and electric compositions works remarkably well. Their third, Patrimonio, features the four part suite "Valparaiso Patrimonio", integrating an opening electric movement, and three acoustic sections.

In my opinion, the three albums show a similar and excellent level of composition, arrangement and execution. Highly recommended if the references and influences listed sound appealing to you. -- Rodrigo Farías M.

Tryo are quite appealing prog-musical, you guessed, trio full of power (guitars, bass/cello, drums/percussion), recording for Brasilo-Argentinian label Record Runner. They're a part of the new wave of Chilean bands like Daltonia and Ergo Sum. I've two of their albums and both are quite good to my ears, though not really a revelation.

I read about their music as a mixture of Henry Cow and Curved Air. Well, debut could be defined as Present-lite with strong leanings on King Crimson circa Red and with strong Cynical infusions, but overall result is not that close to Gordian Knot. Some Cowisms appear here and there, but Tryo are not Fulano. At least on debut Tryo are working in much more narrower environment than their daring compatriots. Sometimes they remind of Turkey's Nekropsi minus Turkish ethnic influences plus a strong latino feel and have less distinct aerial dimension. They called themselves progressive jazz rock with strong hard rock (I'd say metal) feel. Yep, these guys seem to like Cynic at their mellower, because there's a lot textural guitar playing and distinct bass grooves. This later could be also associated with Weather Report. The two bonus tracks recorded in 2000 help album get more of variety. Overall, as debut not bad at all.

Patrimonio is more diverse, and also less "hardened", perhaps more mature album. It kicks off with suite-like 4-tracker "Valparaiso Patrimonio", which is kinda ode to their native city, Valparaiso. First movement is entitled "Valparaiso Psicodelico" and indeed sounds very aerial but also quite predictable. Part 2, "Juegos" is essentially trio of accoustic guitar, cello and tuned percussion, the former two making vehicle for splashes of syncopations vibraphone is resonating. "Puertos" is similar, here tuned percussion being replaced by triangle or bells, not sure. Part 4, "Marina" goes again in similar vein this time drummer uses sort of native drums. "Patrimonio Valparaiso" could be also called "The Wavelets Suite" ;-). With "Camino" band continues in Gordian Knot vein, guitarist is well emulating Malone's Chapman Stick. "Contrastes" adds latino element to that, and we are witnessing something essentially Tryo-ish. "Recuadros" adds dissonances not too dissimilar of Tiemko circa L'Ocean, so we could say that are Tryo inspired mainly by sea and the coast. Very important is a track entitled "Danza del Furore" inspired by Olivier Messiaen's "Quartet for the End of Time", finely crafted by cello and vibraphone in best contempo-classical fashion. No doubt, this is my favourite track. Very well done, guys. Afterwards band shows its metallic roots. "Justicia" is definitely heavier than debut's average of heaviness and has the eminent power of good metal tracks, giving the listener superb feeling of hovering above ground for brief but memorable periods of time despite heaviness of sounds. Goooood!!! "Justicia" is at the same time the longest track (6+), while median length fluthers around two minutes and a half, so track-lengths are rather odd here. The next, closing two tracks are also quite powerful. So Patrimonio finishes more than usually groovy.

I guess Crudo could be placed among both reviewed albums, concerning the degree of maturity of the presented on Patrimonio. Everything heard promises to me a great things band is (by my opinion) capable of doing in the future. As of now, not to be missed by the fans of the genre. -- Nenad Kobal

Click here for Tryo's web site (in Spanish)

Tuchmanov, David [USSR/Russia]
Updated 4/18/01

Po Volnie Moyey Pamiaty (75)
A Russian reader of the GEPR sent me a CDR of this album. He described it as "out of print and impossible to find". He also claimed it was the only example of Russian Prog he knew of. Well, I've recently reviewed some fine examples in the GEPR, including Horizont and Epos, so I can't agree with this last statement. Still, Russian Prog is rare enough that it's interesting to hear something new.

The album is a strange mixture of music, with a recording style that screams "70's!" Definite progressive tendencies, with songs that sound like Frank Zappa and others that remind me of early Gong (Camembert Electrique). Other parts sound like a soundtrack to a nonexistent movie (10cc's The Original Soundtrack comes to mind as a comparison) or a Russian party complete with folky Russian dance music. But even the folky parts are disturbed by odd countermelodies played on non-traditional instruments (synths and electronic pianos) to go with the violins. Some of the violin parts sound like they could be from "Fiddler on the Roof". There is a definite movie soundtrack or broadway show tunes feel to the whole thing.

If I thought there was any way for you to find this album, I would recommend it only for those willing to take a risk outside of the usual range of symphonic prog. If you get a chance to hear it, it's well worth a listen. -- Fred Trafton

... about David Tukhmanov... I've got a couple of his LP's in my collection including Po Volnie Moyey Pamiaty (perhaps, an English equivalent to the album title will be "Sailing The Seas Of My Memory"). He was one of the major Soviet composers writing for VIA's ("vocal-instrumental ensembles", VIA was an official Soviet term to describe this music) and popular singers (actually, most of the songs from "Sailing ..." were performed by different artists; Tukhmanov wrote all tunes, arranged and played some keyboards). In my view, this record has more political value than musical - it was, perhaps, the very first Soviet release with definite influences of "bourgeois rock-music", a kind of "Comsomol rock-n-roll" ... Tukhmanov left his "amusements" very soon and came back to his common practice of composing "epic patriotic songs". He still remains one of the most respected and professional composers in this country. -- Igor Gorely

Tudor Lodge [UK]

Tudor Lodge (70)

Folk prog in vein of Trees, Fairport Convention, Saint Just, etc. Said to be one of the best in this genre.

Tulipe Noire, La [Greece]
Updated 6/11/08

In the Gates of Dream (97)
Shattered Image (00)
Faded Leaves (02)
Nostimon Hemar (06)
La Tulipe Noire - Kostas Savvides (electric & acoustic guitars), S. Kontakis (electric & acoustic guitars), Hyde (bass), Ima (vocals), Nick Kassavetis (drums) and Alix (keyboards)

Original Entry 1/14/03:
Rumor has it that the first two La Tulipe Noire albums are heavily Marillion influenced, but I can't really say since I've heard only their third release, Faded Leaves. Although I might be able to hear a little Marillion in here, i.e. really clean symphonic prog with emotional lyrics and without getting really complicated about it, they wouldn't be my first choice of comparison at all. I would describe this as more like Pink Floyd with a female vocalist playing a thick symphonic version of "alternative" music. Or something like that.

Each tune is based around a simple (usually melancholy) chord progression with lots of poetic lyrics sweetly sung by vocalist Ima and embellished with lots of breathy, sparkling digital keyboard pads. The guitars are in the spacey, bluesy, sustained-tone style of David Gilmour, though there aren't really any guitar solos for their own sake here. Too bad, since guitarist S. Kontakis sounds pretty good, but spends most of his time in the background.

All tunes are written by Hyde (bassist) and Alix (keyboardist), though neither of them are show-offs. The central focus of these songs is certainly singer Ima, which isn't bad, but the album might have been better with more variety and more trading off of the spotlight between musicians. Even the instrumental breaks aren't particularly memorable, but seem to be just minor restatements of the melodies you were hearing during the vocal parts.

All in all, not a bad album, but a bit on the simple side for my taste. Actually, the sound reminds me a lot of the new UK band Tr3nity, with lots of Floyd vibe, a melancholy feel and slowly developing, hypnotic musical density. Lots of people love this stuff, and if you're one of them, Faded Leaves will be right up your alley. -- Fred Trafton

Update 6/11/08:
After listening to La Tulipe Noire's latest release, Nostimon Hemar, one thing I can't say about them is that they've stood still musically. I can't really hear any Marillion sound here, nor much in the way of Floyd either. My best attempt at summarizing the sound on this album would be, "sounds like a mix of Vangelis and Berlin (remember them? "Riding on the Metro"?) with some prog-metal guitar chugging and Rick Wakeman keyboard solos to go along with it. Sound strange? It is, but not bad.

The songs all have a bit of "sameness" to them for the duration of the song. The composition style is mostly "theme with variations" where a particular theme is played over and over while different instruments weave in and out taking over the theme, and then variants on the theme are explored. On first listen, I thought it was a bit simple, but after a few more listens, I would say "subtle" is more the right term. You don't hear the way the instruments and counter-melodies change the first time through. It all has that Vangelis-like "epic" feeling, which I suppose was done on purpose since this is a modernization/allegory using Homer's The Odyssey stories as the song's subjects. Vocals, as before, are handled by Ima, who sings in English for all but two paragraphs in ancient Greek! Well, it's fitting for an album with lyrics inspired by The Odyssey, don't you think?

Anyway, pretty nice stuff in spite of losing one guitarist since last album (Kontakis left, leaving only Kostas Savvides on guitar ... which may, come to think of it, explain why the Floydian guitar sound has gone away ...). LTN evidently has two more projects partially complete, but aren't going to hazard any guesses on when they'll be released at this time. While you're waiting, give Nostimon Hemar a try! As before, this album is available from Musea Records (see link below). -- Fred Trafton

Click here for La Tulipe Noire's web site
Click here to order any La Tulipe Noire CD from Musea Records

Tully [Australia]

Tully (70)


Tunnels [USA]
Updated 6/28/06

Percy Jones with Tunnels (93)
Painted Rock (99)
Tunnels with Percy Jones (99, re-release of Percy Jones with Tunnels on Buckyball Records label)
Nuove Musiche (00, w/ Sarah Pillow)
Progressivity (02)
The Art of Living Dangerously (04, Live)
Natural Selection (06)
Tunnels (Natural Selection line-up) - John O'Reilly Jr. (drums), Percy Jones (bass) and Marc Wagnon (vibraphone)

The following review was moved here from the Percy Jones entry:
Right from the start of Percy Jones with Tunnels, we recognise the bass player from Brand X with his fretless sound and his unique style. Here, he is joined by a guitarist and a drummer and the keyboards role is held by a MIDI vibes player. As you might have guessed, the result is a jazz-rock fusion with complex and furious rhythms. Danger! This disc contains raging energy that can make your head spin and involves much improvisation. Its content is for listeners who seek technical performances in a fairly heavy context. -- Paul Charbonneau

Tunnels is a band whose main members are Marc Wagnon (ex-Dr. Nerve) and Percy Jones. They have stong ties to Brand X due to the fact that Percy Jones plays bass in both bands, vibraphonist / pianist Marc Wagnon played on their 1997 Manifest Destiny album and Brand X guitarist John Goodsall guested on Tunnels' Progressivity and The Art of Living Dangerously. Not to mention the newest Brand X albums are released on Wagnon's Buckyball Records label. But enough of pedigrees ... let's get on with the musical description!

... which will have to be a strange one. You see, I've never actually heard a Tunnels CD, but I've heard them live at NEARFest 2003. To be honest, I'm baffled by the talk from other reviewers about how challenging and oddball the music of Tunnels is, because ... well ... their NEARFest performance was memorable to me only for how mellow it was. No, forget "mellow". It was putting me to sleep except when guest guitarist John Goodsall stepped up for a solo. Perhaps it's just the soft, bell-like melodious sound of the Vibraphone that did me in ... there were certainly plenty of notes happening in a very professional and intricate way. But I could say the same for old Lionel Hampton albums, and he's not my first choice for music to listen to. I could barely keep my eyes open. My wife had the same reaction, and blamed it on Tunnels being too jazzy sounding.

OK, so much for my personal opinion on Tunnels. If someone else has something more positive to say, I'd be happy to publish it. One day, I hope to hear a CD and say, "Oh, so that's what all the fuss is about!" But with my only experience being from NEARFest, I can't say I particularly care for Tunnels' music. -- Fred Trafton

[See Brand X | Dr. Nerve | Jones, Percy | Lancaster, Jack and Robin Lumley]

Click here for Tunnels' page on the Buckyball Music web site

Turms [Switzerland]

Turms (??)

Keyboard prog.

Twelfth Night [UK]

First Tape Album (80), Early Material (Second Tape Album) (80), Live at the Target (81), Smiling at Grief (81), Fact and Fiction (82), Live and Let Live (84), Art and Illusion (84), Twelfth Night (86), Collector's Item (91)

Along with the stream of eighties progressive bands that came out of UK, such as Marillion and IQ, there were a host of groups that did not achieve the mass popularity (so to speak) of these two. Any reasons for this are certainly *not* apparent in their music, which is prime progressive rock, melding the spirit of the seventies with the technology of the eighties. Chief among these were the bands Pendragon and Twelfth Night. Live At The Target is their best live recording, and is all-instrumental keyboard/guitar-dominant progressive rock. Their best studio work is Fact And Fiction falling into the neo-progressive realm, but with more quirky lyrics and compositions. Collector's Item is a compilation of tracks by Twelfth Night and is a fine introduction to one of the best progressive bands of the eighties. The sound is oriented around keyboards and guitar, including an abundance of instrumental leads. The cassette tape version contains 92+ minutes of music, and includes a 19 minute unreleased track called "The Collector." Also present are a couple of standout tracks from their best work, Fact And Fiction. The package is rounded off with a biography of the band, lyrics, and detailed liner notes. The tape has about 20 minutes of material that is NOT on the CD, contained in the two tracks, "The Ceiling Speaks," from Live And Let Live, and a previously unreleased version of "Creepshow" from Fact and Fiction. However, it does not contain the track "Blondon Fair," a B-side, that appeared on the CD.

I have two early Twelfth Night album, Live at the Target and Fact and Fiction. While far from the best prog I've ever heard, both of these albums rank up there as some of the best *neo-prog* I've ever heard. (It's better by far than the likes of Pallas or Chandelier, and, for my money, better than IQ or Pendragon.) Live at the Target consists of four instrumental songs that are full of time changes. Instrumentation is the basic four: guitar, bass, keyboards and drums. Live at the Target has catchy melodies ala Genesis with Steve Hackett-influenced guitar setting the mood. The first couple of songs could use more thematic development. They sound like music written for verse but there is none. The last two songs, especially the 20 minute "Sequences," are much better but not perfect. The drumming is rather basic and uninvolving (the bane of all neo-prog, it seems) which prevents me from really enjoying the music. Not bad but not the best of the two. Fact and Fiction features the vocal talents of Geoff Mann, which is both good and bad, depending on your point of view. With lyrical depth rivaling Peter Hammill, Fish and Peter Gabriel, Geoff Mann becomes the focal point of the album. He's not as wild as Hammill, not as depressing as Fish, nor as enigmatic as Gabriel. The music supports well Geoff Mann's lyrics but I'm afraid it isn't strong enough to stand on its own but there is, overall, better thematic development. Stylistically, the music is closest to Marillion and Genesis. The soaring guitars recall Steve Hackett while the keyboards recall Mark Kelly from Marillion. If you prefer strong lyrical content, check out Fact and Fiction. To hear their instrumental style, go for Live at the Target. To hear prime prog, look somewhere else entirely. -- Mike Taylor

Long, complex songs with great vocals. Definitely part of the neo-prog genre that includes bands like Marillion and Pendragon. Some of their earlier albums were all instrumental; then they had a couple or three different singers.

Incredible neo-prog band that featured basically two different lead vocalists yet throughout their career kept the same backing musicians. They ranged from incredible anthematic songs such as "Take a Look" (on Twelfth Night) to what must be regarded as their true classics "Sequences" (both instrumental and vocal version), "We Are Sane" and of course the beautiful "Love Song." Recommended starting point would probably be their best of Collectors Item. Other great places to start would be the instrumental Live at the Target and Fact and Fiction.

Maybe the earliest neo-prog band, Twelfth night put out a truly excellent instrumental album Live At The Target before going in the same direction as Marillion and IQ. IMHO, they should have stuck to the instrumental stuff.

Twelfth Night did seem to be breaking out of the smaller venues, having headlined several times at the Marquee in London. Before I came out here, they had done nothing for several years. The last album I am aware of is a mini LP called Art and Illusion which has Geoff Mann songs (a great lyricist and ex-singer) sung by Andy Sears. They have a couple of other albums, the names of which escape me. Their original material was Floyd-ish/Genesis (so, mainly keyboards, but with some great bass and guitar work) but they gradually became "harder." I think they are worth a listen, though there is relatively little stuff.

[See Catley, Marc and Geoff Mann | Eh! | Mann, Geoff]

21st Century Schizoid Band [USA]
Updated 6/21/07

21st Century Schizoid band - Official Bootleg Vol. 1 (?)
21st Century Schizoid band - Official Bootleg Vol. 2 - Live in Japan (?)
21st Century Schizoid band - Official Bootleg Vol. 3 - Live in Italy (?)
21st Century Schizoid band live (in no particular order) - Ian Wallace (drums), Peter Giles (bass), Ian McDonald (sax, flute, keyboards), Mel Collins (alto & tenor sax, flute, keyboards) and Jakko Jakszyk (guitar & lead vocals)

21st Century Schizoid Band is a King Crimson cover band. No they're not ... they are another aspect of King Crimson, or maybe early '70's King Crimson without Fripp. The original line-up was brothers Michael (drums & percussion) and Peter Giles (bass), Ian McDonald (sax, flute, keyboards), Mel Collins (alto & tenor sax, flute, keyboards) and Jakko Jakszyk taking over both Fripp's guitar duties and lead vocals. Michael Giles soon dropped out, and another Crimson alumnus Ian Wallace took over for him.

The 21st Century Schizoid Band has been touring since 2003 and released several live albums with their versions of early King Crimson favorites, with the knowledge and blessing of Robert Fripp. With the recent death of Ian Wallace, however, future plans are uncertain. -- Fred Trafton

[See Giles, Giles and Fripp | Jakszyk, Jakko | King Crimson | McDonald and Giles | Wallace, Ian]

Click here for 21st Century Schizoid Band's web site
Click here to order 21st Century Schizoid Band albums from Burning Shed Records

21 Peron [Turkey]
Updated 6/19/07

21 Peron? (?)
This is a band from Izmir, Turkey which existed between 1973-1980 and was responsible for an incredible style of symph-prog being influenced by such wide sources as Turkish folk to Stravinsky and from psychedelia to King Crimson. At the time, they weren't able to release their music on vinyl so they were completely unknown. [Recently] a new label took matters into hands and released their long lost previously unreleased album on vinyl and CD.

The band consists of a keyboardist, two guitar players on the 1975 recordings and one guitarist on 1977 recordings, a drummer, a bassist and a viola player! When you come to think of it, viola was never a conventional instrument for rock music leave alone for Turkish rock! If you know the music of names like Erkin Koray, Baris Manco, 3 Hurel etc. and don't fancy them much as they are too much ethnic psych, please leave out the prejudices aside and tune in to this one! : it's nothing like what you have heard from 70's Turkey. This is fantastic complex progressive rock showcasing a mind-bending amalgam of eastern melodies executed in the Euro progressive style and completely instrumental. If you have the LP, you are likely to get a bonus single which has one vocal track and all else is perfectly instrumental. The closest comparison I can come up with is that it sounds like members of Mogollar and East of Eden are jamming with the 73-74 line up of Crimson. This sounds so fresh to ears still now, it's hard to believe.

Album kicks of with "Anne" (Mother), which builds up on a main melody of an old Turkish lullabye and after the heavy guitars take the scene with very clever and soothing counterpoints with keys and viola it all sets the tone perfectly for the whole album. The next track "18400 TL" is where any band in Turkey and beyond would have wanted to sound like in 1970's! There's one incredible Stravinsky rendition "Petrushka" and a Debussy rendition "The Dance of the Arabic Baby" along with six other original great prog tunes. In a sea of Genesis, Yes or Crimson copycats of 70's Euro prog and after all the unearthings done mainly in 1990's, this is a really original sounding treasure coming from a time and place which many people will be surprised about! Can't recommend it enough ... -- Gokhan Aya

Click here to order the 21 Peron album from Arkaplan

2066 And Then [Germany]
Updated 1/10/01

Reflections Of The Future (72)
Reflections of the Past (91)
Reflections! (94)
All of these releases were recorded around 1971-72. I've only listened to the CD only Reflections! which compiles tracks from the other two albums. The music is excellent, similar to Thirsty Moon, with elements of jazz, some high energy rhythmic parts and quick changes, mixed with weird psychedelic electronic effects. The vocalist was the one weak link. His hoarse voice seems too conventionally hard rock and it detracts from the music. Still, there are a lot of long instrumental passages, so it's not a complete loss. -- Rolf Semprebon
[See Cherubin | Emergency | I Drive | Karthago | Kin Ping Meh | Nine Days Wonder]

Twenty3:Fifty9 [USA]
Updated 7/28/11

The Count, Act I - The Soul of a Prisoner (09)
Twenty3:Fifty9 - Bill Rankin (drums), Brian Bradford (keys), Tom Martino (bass, vocals) and Jeff Beardsley (guitars, vocals) -- Photo: Fred Trafton

Original Entry 3/8/06
Twenty3:Fifty9 is a progressive metal outfit based in Dallas, Texas. The name is a little hard to remember until you think of it as "one minute to midnight" (an allusion to the fact that guitarist Jeff Beardsley tends to wait until the last minute to do things). Beardsley and keyboardist Brian Bradford were members of a Dallas-area "party band" called D'Nile. Inspired by a trip to ProgPower IV they and D'Nile drummer Bill Rankin decided that the Dallas area could use their own prog-metal band influenced by such bands as Dream Theater, Fates Warning, Symphony-X, Savatage and Evergrey. After recruiting bassist Tom Martino, they have been working on a rock opera of The Count of Monte Cristo. They are partway through recording sessions for their first CD entitled Act One. This will be followed up by a second CD, which, of course, is to be called Act Two.

I saw these guys (and gal ... more on that in a moment) playing their second live concert in Dallas' Deep Ellum club area downtown in a place called The Galaxy Club on Friday, November 11th, 2005. I had heard the recordings on their web site of their work in progress on the album and was pretty impressed. Though the acoustics of The Galaxy Club left something to be desired, they did a great and powerful show. I later discovered that getting out away from my table, where I was drinking a beer, and moving out onto the dance floor (just to listen, not to dance) dramatically improved the sound quality. Yes, I can certainly hear the Dream Theater influence, but also a bit of Kansas-style accessible-but-not-sold-out prog. I was surprised to see a woman join them onstage to sing for several numbers. She turns out to be Kristine Rios, their former lead singer from D'Nile (yes, they did call her "The Queen of D'Nile", wouldn't you?), who sings the role of Mercedes in the rock opera, both on stage and in the recordings. They have recently included another local club band singer, Barbara Jean to sing one of the roles in the opera, and have just finished recording her first number for the album.

The recording process has been slowed up recently due to other commitments for the band members, but sessions have now been restarted in earnest. They post their work in progress on their web site so you can follow along as the abum is being recorded. Jeff tells me they now have about one hour's worth of material for the first album and are continuing to work on it as time permits. They don't intend to release it until everyone in the band is happy with the sound. Though the work posted on their web site is "incomplete", it still sounds pretty darn good to these ears. Give it a listen and if it sounds like something you'd want to hear the finished version of, e-mail the band and tell them you think they rock! I do. -- Fred Trafton

Update 7/28/11:
Twenty3:Fifty9 finally finished that debut CD in 2009. I've heard several cuts from it, but not the whole thing. It's quite good, sorta Dream Theaterish, but with more Kansas style symphonic style and harmonized vocals. After a few years hiatus, the band is once again performing in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. I'll have to go see them and ask Jeff about the reasons for that hiatus. Maybe they'll have some copies of that album available too ... -- Fred Trafton
Click here for Twenty3:Fifty9's web site
Click here to order The Count, Act I - The Soul of a Prisoner from CD Baby

23rd Hour [USA]

Immortal Coil (96)

Influences including Rush, King Crimson, Yes, Dream Theater, and Peter Gabriel, with shades of Living Colour and Tool.

Click here for the 23rd Hour Home Page

Twice Bitten [UK]
Updated 6/15/05

Dialogue (84)
No Third Man (85)
Early-80's acoustic guitar oriented duo featuring Rog Patterson. The sound was roughly comparable to Anthony Phillips of the same period. Cassette releases.

Twin Age [Sweden]
Updated 6/15/05

Month of the Year (96)
Lialim High (97)
Moving the Deckchairs (00)
This band features the usual five piece formation. The tracks on Month of the Year are text-based (in English) but all involve important instrumental work. The style is a melodic/symphonic rock that evokes the late 70's. The sumptuous and delicate arrangements of guitars (arpeggios) and keyboards (symphonism) are very Genesis-like ('76 to '78). The precise and energetic rhythms, as swell as the instrumental development of themes (guitar or keyboard solos) also show a similar inspiration. A high quality production that remains safely in familiar territories. -- Paul Charbonneau

Twink [UK]

Think Pink (70)

A real masterpiece of psych/prog. John Alder (former drummer of Tomorrow) recorded this one before he joined the Pink Fairies for their Never Neverland LP. I don't know if their are some Fairies on this record because there are no credits, but I would guess so because the style is quite similar. If you like Never Neverland get this one, its even better! Highly recommended!! -- Achim Breiling

[See Pink Fairies | Tomorrow]

Tyburn Tall [Germany]
Updated 10/19/01

Tyburn Tall (72)
Five piece band Tyburn Tall hailed from Europe and recorded one self titled album back in the glory year of 1972. Consisting of guitar, keyboards (organ, piano) bass, drums, and lead vocals in English, these guys were very indicative of the times. Long tunes were written by the band that featured epic guitar and organ jams that were harnessed in song lengths mostly exceeding ten minutes. Organist Rheinhard Magin is really the star of the band, and trades nimble lines with guitarist Werner Gallo, who is a fine player in his own right, but more in a heavy blues style. At times the music takes on a complex and heavy nature, others more atmospheric, and sometimes a blues/jazz influence creeps in. There is also a hint of classical as well, which mainly comes from Magin's organ style. This can be heard on the excellent thirteen minute opener "War Game." While musically this band could stand up fine next to bands like Atomic Rooster, Cressida, Beggar's Opera, or Black Widow, the main weakness was in the vocals. Klaus Fresenius spends too much time trying to wail and scream like Deep Purple's Ian Gillan, and he clearly does not have the pipes to hit those high notes. On the album's more somber tracks is where he is more effective. Thankfully, much of the album is based on instrumental battles between the guitarist and organ player, and that makes this band worth checking out. -- Peter Pardo

Tyndall [Germany]

Sonnenlicht (80), Traumland (81), Reflexionen (82), Durch die Zeiten (84)

Synth duo.