User Page: Mike

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Joined 13 years ago
Last Visit 16 hours ago
Ratings Submitted 1728
Main Genres Set 2316
Artists Added 4069
Albums Added 23503
Trust level 8/10
Permalink http://progfreak.com/user/Mike
Last.fm Username MikeEnRegalia
About Me
I'm the founder of this crazy website ... I hope it's helpful to you in some way!
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Review by Mike 12 years ago <Permalink>
Mike KeneallyMyspace.com - Dancing 2000
9.0
Eclectic Prog Rock/Independent
This is one of the more accessible releases by Mike Keneally.
The album is a fascinating mix of genres and influences. Mike
is backed here by a number of musicians. On stage MK & Beer
for Dolphins usually are a 3 piece band, but here they're more
like 8 piece - and then some. Some of the songs are really
weird and Zappa-esque, but some are more in the Fusion style,
and some are quite plain. But they're all really good, and an
excellent starting point to get into the weird and amazing
world of Mike Keneally.
Show Track Info
Review by Mike 12 years ago <Permalink>
Dream TheaterMyspace.com - Awake 1994
9.4
Technical Experimental Prog Metal
This is my favorite DT album. Images & Words and Scenes are equally perfect from an objective standpoint (if I had to recommend one I wouldn't know which to choose) but this one is best balanced IMO. Scenes has that Rudess influence which moved DT a tiny bit closer to ELP, Images & Words is a tiny bit less "metal" than Awake. On Awake you have it all ... and I really like Kevin Moore's contribution, which adds an - if even only on the subconscious level - experimental and slightly avant-garde feeling, not only on Space-Dye Vest.

In a nutshell this album has all which makes Prog Metal the wonderful genre which it is - if you're into this sort of thing. Of course there are many reasons to dislike it ... outstanding musicianship, crystal clear production, amazing bandwidth of musical styles from soft/acoustic to heavy/thrash, you name it.

The only problems I have with the album are a few passages where LaBrie sings in registers which are on the fringes of what he's capable of - it's a bit better than on I&W though - and the track Lifting Shadows Off a Dream, which is perhaps the earliest example of DT honoring U2 and is simply not a particularly noteworthy song IMO.

But that still leaves us with over an hour of pure masterpiece.
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Comment by Mike 13 years ago
Karrin AllysonMyspace.com - Ballads: Remembering John Coltrane 2001
9.2
Retro Non-Prog Jazz
This is my favorite Jazz album ... the way Karrin Allyson interprets those Coltrane compositions is absolutely amazing. Her vocals sound almost like a saxophone at times, and every little detail fits perfectly. An absolutely essential release!
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Rating by Mike
Spock's BeardMyspace.com - The Light 1994
8.4
Symphonic Retro Prog Rock
What can I say - I love this album. Technically later Spock's Beard albums like V or Snow may be better, but in this case you can't really beat the charm and magic of a debut like this. Even long after Neal had left Spock's Beard the guys still played classics like The Light and Go The Way You Go on stage.

This album is essential to any modern prog rock collection. Having said that, it is a little bit derivative of the classic prog bands of the 70s. Although I personally think that Neal did a really good job and found a very unique way to blend all the influences into his very own, easily recognizable style ... some people disagree.
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Review by Mike 13 years ago <Permalink>
The GatheringMyspace.com - Souvenirs 2003
8.1
Eclectic Prog Post Rock
This album was even more a turning point for The Gathering than How to Measure a Planet. With this album they turn away completely from the kind of music which got them confused with Gothic Metal at the beginning of their career. Instead we get a really modern sound - lots of effects, different instrumentation throughout with the distorted guitar as an important, but not dominant element. The drums are really laid back, often not using the snare drum in favor of brush or rim/stick.
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Review by Mike 13 years ago <Permalink>
The Mistakes - The Mistakes 1995
7.9
Avant-Garde Prog Rock
If you enjoy early Mike Keneally albums like hat., Sluggo! or Boil That Dust Speck, you'll probably love this album. It is not a pure MK album though, Henry Kaiser adds tons of interesting ideas. Some of the stuff is pretty inaccessible for people not used to Jazz improvisation or atonal Avant-Prog though.

About half of the album tracks are short bits of less than one minute ... I'll just comment on the longer tracks. But these bits are not just interludes ... sometimes they contain motifs which are explored in the longer tracks, sometimes they are funny outtake-like clips.
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Review by Mike 13 years ago <Permalink>
Green CarnationMyspace.com - A Blessing In Disguise 2003
8.6
Experimental Prog Metal
I love this album. I like all of the Green Carnation albums, but this one is special to me ... I think it is also better than their alleged masterpiece "Light of Day, Day of Darkness". I recommend it to anyone who appreciates the lighter side of Scandinavian Death/Black influenced metal. There is no growling on this album though, and it deals with personal issues like loss, birth and the universe rather than burning churches.
What I like most is that each of the tracks has its own unique qualities, with no filler material. The tracks get to the point, dwell on it as long as necessary and then then next track kicks in another "gear". Some tracks are driving, fast-paced metal songs, others are sad, moody songs with clever string arrangements and keyboards.
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Review by Mike 13 years ago <Permalink>
Pagan's MindMyspace.com - Enigmatic: Calling 2005
8.7
Prog Power Metal
This album is a feast for fans of technical excellence. The music is a mix of Pain of Salvation, Dream Theater and many Neo Prog Metal bands ... but Pagan's Mind manage to create their own recognizable style. The guitar work is stunningly accurate and perfectly in sync with the rhythm group, and the vocals are much better than the genre average ... a bit whiny at times and too much in the high registers for my taste though.

The keyboards are in the background and provide for spherical textures more often than duelling with the guitars or taking the helm themselves, so that's a major difference to Dream Theater. They're very present though, and that emphasizes the Neo Prog influences in their sound, while the guitar dominance makes them sound a bit heavier than their peers ... but I wouldn't go so far as to call them Power Metal.
Show Track Info
Review by Mike 13 years ago <Permalink>
Tool - Lateralus 2001
8.9
Experimental Prog Metal
This is a real masterpiece of prog metal ... a genre defining album. I won't go into too much detail in this review, maybe I'll expand it later on. The foremost quality of this album is its unbelievably focused and determined approach - Tool are a quite popular band, but they make absolutely no compromises here. Every little bit is carefully arranged, and the subtle mathematic implications of the rhythmic changes are stunning and never seem uncalled for or out of place. The result is a complex work of art, which is up there with albums like Larks Tongues or A Pleasant Shade of Gray.

This is an absolutely essential album in every prog collection ... even if you don't like prog metal, you should at least have heard this album.
Review by Mike 13 years ago <Permalink>
EvergreyMyspace.com - The Inner Circle 2004
8.5
Prog Metal
This is an album which takes a little more time to settle than your usual prog metal album. It's about cults and how people get seduced by spiritual leaders and get drawn into something which they can't control anymore. In the liner notes the band even cautions the listener about the seriousness of the music ... and it really is quite intense and emotional.

Much of the intensity has to be credited to their singer, who does a tremendous job. The vocals are not for everyone though, they remind some people of 80s hair metal bands, which is a connection that I can't reproduce at all. Composition and musicianship is excellent throughout, as is the production and sound. I rate this album 4.5 stars, and it is heavily recommended to fans of Pain of Salvation or Riverside. Evergrey have a heavier sound than those bands though.
Review by Mike 13 years ago <Permalink>
AdagioMyspace.com - Underworld 2003
8.7
Orchestral Neo Classical Prog Power Metal
Summary: This is a masterpiece. A perfect blend of prog metal with an agressive edge and classical music. It's really different from bands like Rhapsody who try to create the impression that there is a fully fledged orchestra playing. Although Adagio also do this occasionally, they mainly use piano and strings/synth/effects which create a rich, polyphonic experience. Usually there are one guitar, one pianist and underlying strings - and of course the bass and vocals.

I won't mention each song here - they are all really outstanding, not at all derivative of bands like Symphony X and Dream Theater. Many rhythmic extravaganzas, purely classical piano interludes by maestro Andersson and stunning guitar solos by Mr. Forte. What I like most about this album is the diversity of the songs which at the same time really work as a whole, every little melody seems to be vital, nothing uncalled-for or forced. The vocals are more than a match for the best vocalist of the genre - namely Russell Allen of Symphony X.
Review by Mike 13 years ago <Permalink>
TherionMyspace.com - Vovin 1998
5.0
Orchestral Prog-Related Metal
A mediocre album ... any Rhapsody album is at least 10x better in terms of musicianship and proper implementation of classical music. There are also many metal bands which are generally considered to be less progressive, for example Blind Guardian, who do a much better job than Therion. It's hard to believe that this is even considered to be one of their better albums ...
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Review by Mike 13 years ago <Permalink>
Steve VaiMyspace.com - The Ultra Zone 1999
8.9
Prog-Related Rock
This is a stellar release from one of the best and - at the same time - most underrated guitarists ever. Two common preconceptions about Vai are that his primary asset is technical prowess and speed, and that his playing and songwriting lack emotions. Well, on this album he again proves that both assumptions are wrong.

This album is not for the faint of heart - I'm sure that many people will not be able to get into it. Steve Vai is a guitarist, and of course all the songs have lengthy guitar solos. But the reason for giving this album 4 stars on a website for progressive music is that here he goes way beyond other shred guitarists. Joe Satriani's Engines of Creation has a similar concept, but The Ultra Zone is like ten times more adventurous and bizarre. You can hear his Zappa influences throughout the album, not just on the
song "Frank". The whole album is a mixture of weird Avant-Prog and cool Jazz-Metal- Fusion - except for a few songs which are not very progressive, and that is the only reason for me not giving this album 5 stars.
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Review by Mike 13 years ago <Permalink>
Heaven's CryMyspace.com - Food for Thought Substitute 1997
9.2
Eclectic Technical Prog Metal/Rock
This is a prog metal gem. Unfortunately these incredible musicians are far less popular than they should be, as their albums easily compete with the best works of Pain of Salvation or Shadow Gallery. At the same time, they are also very different. They have an unique approach to songwriting, most of the time far from the usual metal structures. This band might be really something for prog fans who dislike prog metal because of the rigid form and structure of most metal styles. That doesn't mean that they're not heavy though - the band has three guitarists.

The vocals are truly amazing - they have three vocalists and make as heavy use of them as of the guitars, so most of the time, all three of them are singing. The lyrics are also really clever. Generally, Heaven's Cry lyrics deal with social issues, environmental pollution and other serious problems. But they're going about it in a mystic and really artsy way. The production is great - they created a good balance between guitars and vocals in the mix. Also, you can always hear the bass guitar - Auclair plays with a plectrum most of the time, and the bass has a life of its own on their albums, unlike many other prog metal bands where the bass doubles the rhythm guitar most of the time. The original CD pressing suffers a little bit from digital distortion (clipping) - you can purchase a remastered edition from their website.
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Review by Mike 13 years ago <Permalink>
Kevin GilbertMyspace.com - The Shaming of the True 2000
9.2
Eclectic Prog Rock/Pop
This is an incredible concept album about the music business. Kevin Gilbert truly was an imaginative person, and a multitalent on many instruments. On another website someone stated that he could pick up any instrument and play it nearly instantly - and knowing his music, I'm inclined to agree.

I won't go into too much detail on what his beef was with the music industry - suffice it to say that he wrote a lot of songs on Sheryl Crow's debut album and wasn't even mentioned in the liner notes. Having said that, let me assure you that The Shaming of the True doesn't even remotely sound like Sheryl Crow ...

On this album Kevin is mainly backed up by Nick D'Virgilio, who is also a multi instrumentalist to no lesser degree - well, maybe just a tiny bit less. Anyway, every instrumental part is done flawlessly, and at the same time with great passion and ambition. Production is top notch, and the mix is very open, with very little compression. I apologize for the length of this review, but one of the most intriguing aspects of this album are the lyrics, and I just had to quote some passages.
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Review by Mike 13 years ago <Permalink>
Roine Stolt - Hydrophonia 1998
8.9
Instrumental Prog Rock
This is a remarkable solo album. Like The Flower King, this album obviously sounds much like the Flower Kings, as they are mainly based on Stolt's songwriting. Let me rephrase that - This album sounds like the essence of the Flower Kings. It's so full of beautiful melodies, interesting and sometimes funky rhythms, and very dynamic. Every theme is fully developed and explored here, a quality that many similar albums lack.
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Review by Mike 13 years ago <Permalink>
Chroma Key - Dead Air for Radios 1998
8.2
Minimalistic Prog Post Rock/Electronic
Kevin Moore obivously chose to do something completely different when he left Dream Theater. I think the term Space Rock fits best, although this has nothing to do with Pink Floyd, I don't even think there's any guitar involved. On second thought - there are guitars involved, but only in the background. The main instrument on this album is the piano, and lot's of keyboard textures - and samples.

It all creates a soothing ambience of sound. Moore's voice get's a little dull sometimes, he rarely uses any advanced phrasing technique - it's a strange mix of talking and singing. That - and the lyrics - remind me of Roger Waters a little bit.

I give this album 4 1/2 stars - I really can't put my finger on it, but something is missing for this to be a masterpiece. It's very good though, and really deserves to be more popular among prog fans than it apparently is.
Review by Mike 13 years ago <Permalink>
Power of Omens - Rooms of Anguish 2003
7.8
Technical Prog Metal
Power of Omens are a really small band. Their albums are mainly available from their website. It's a pity, because they put tremendous efforts into those albums. This is highly complex Progressive Metal that can rival the most complex bands of the genre, like Cynic, Watchtower or Spiral Architect. Ironically, that is also a drawback in case of this album, because I think that they went a little over the top here ... on their previous album, they had a better balance between complexity and simple parts.

Musicianship is stellar, and the vocals are outstanding - the singer sounds very much like Geoff Tate in certain passages, great range and volume in the lower registers.

The production is not as good as it should be - but you can't hold that against them, as they are not a full time band, and don't have a big record company to support them.
Review by Mike 13 years ago <Permalink>
Devin TownsendMyspace.com - Terria 2001
9.3
Experimental Prog Metal
This is Devin's masterpiece. The following album has more hooks and catchy tunes, but this one is truly majestic, epic and utterly wonderful. This is a complex work of art.

This albums is also so unique - it defies categorisation. Although this is metal, there is no other Prog Metal band that comes close to what he does. Earth Metal, Epic Progressive Metal ... that begins to describe it.

The most unique thing about the Devin Townsend albums is that he uses a very large number of tracks during recording, which are layered on top of one another to create a wall of sound. He does this for individual instruments as well as the whole tracks. This results in a incredible level of detail - with a good hifi system, you can hear lots of different instruments "below the surface".

This album doesn't have a story as such, but a topic: Nature - Canada in particular - and spirituality. The song titles and lyrics excerpts give you a good idea of what you can expect.
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Review by Mike 13 years ago <Permalink>
WindsMyspace.com - The Imaginary Direction of Time 2004
8.3
Symphonic Experimental Prog Metal
I give this album 3 1/2 stars ... it's an excellent addition to any prog metal collection, but the average prog listener might consider this to be too heavy. I don't mean the level of distortion of the guitars, but the general approach to songwriting and song structure. It seems a bit crude and in my opinion needs much refining.

The album features a string quintet that not only plays a few intros and interludes, but is fully integrated into all of the songs. Together with a piano and clever arrangement, the melancholic songs work tremendously well, but there are some passages where the vocals and guitar riffs seem too heavy and don't fit too well into the concept. Bands like Pain of Salvation do a better job of blending everything together nicely and creating a balance. Also, the band plays metal double-bass rhythms too often, in situations where sparse drums and/or free time would be appropriate.

If you like melancholic metal bands like My Dying Bride combined with authentic classical instruments and progressive elements, this might be something you should check out. At times, they even create a similiarly epic feel like Opeth do.
Statistics
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Albums
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2017
All
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Studio
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All
Favorite LPs of 2017
AyreonMyspace.com - The Source
 #1
9.2
Prog Rock
Steven WilsonMyspace.com - To the Bone
 #2
9.0
Prog Pop
Foo FightersMyspace.com - Concrete and Gold
 #3
8.8
Non-Prog Rock
The Night Flight Orchestra - Amber Galactic
 #4
8.8
Retro Non-Prog Rock
Avatarium - Hurricanes and Halos
 #5
8.8
Prog-Related Rock
Public Service Broadcasting - Every Valley
 #8
8.5
Prog-Related Rock
Playlist
1
2
...
118
1-20 of 2343  
Foo FightersMyspace.com - Concrete and Gold 2017
 one month ago
8.8
Non-Prog Rock
The Night Flight Orchestra - Amber Galactic 2017
 2 months ago
8.8
Retro Non-Prog Rock
Steven WilsonMyspace.com - To the Bone 2017
 3 months ago
9.0
Prog Pop
Public Service Broadcasting - Every Valley 2017
 3 months ago
8.5
Prog-Related Rock
Avatarium - Hurricanes and Halos 2017
 3 months ago
8.8
Prog-Related Rock
Avatarium - Hurricanes and Halos 2017
 6 months ago
8.8
Prog-Related Rock
AyreonMyspace.com - The Source 2017
 6 months ago
9.2
Prog Rock
AyreonMyspace.com - The Source 2017
 7 months ago
9.2
Prog Rock
Dream TheaterMyspace.com - When Dream And Day Unite 1989
 8 months ago
8.1
Technical Experimental Prog Metal
Neal MorseMyspace.com - The Similitude of a Dream 2016
 10 months ago
9.0
Prog Rock
GhostMyspace.com - Meliora 2015
 12 months ago
8.8
Prog-Related Metal
Neal MorseMyspace.com - The Similitude of a Dream 2016
 12 months ago
9.0
Prog Rock
Blind GuardianMyspace.com - Imaginations from the Other Side 1995
 2 years ago
9.0
Heavy Prog-Related Power Metal
King CrimsonMyspace.com - Red 1974
 2 years ago
9.1
English/British Experimental Prog Rock
Witherscape - The Northern Sanctuary 2016
 2 years ago
8.8
Heavy Prog Metal
Fates WarningMyspace.com - Theories Of Flight 2016
 2 years ago
8.7
Prog Metal
Cult of LunaMyspace.com - Mariner (with Julie Christmas) 2016
 2 years ago
9.0
Atmospheric Prog Post Metal
HakenMyspace.com - Affinity 2016
 2 years ago
9.0
Eclectic Prog Metal
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