InsideOut Music

Nad Sylvan – The Regal Bastard Review

Nad Sylvan – The Regal Bastard Review

“Having ensnared my heart in 2015 (Courting the Widow) and delivered a solid follow-up in 2017 (The Bride Said No), Nad Sylvan and his merry band of prog musicians have returned in 2019 to conclude the so-called ‘Vampire Trilogy’ of linked albums. The Regal Bastard spins a typically perverse tale and represents a not insignificant musical step forwards from Bride. Widow is one of the best progressive rock releases in the past 5 years while Bride was somewhat less ostentatious and stuck with me far less. Bastard draws from both of these experiences in forging a surprisingly fresh release in what can be a particularly stuffy genre. Prog nerds, read on.” Triple the Nads.

Pattern-Seeking Animals – Pattern-Seeking Animals Review

Pattern-Seeking Animals – Pattern-Seeking Animals Review

“While everyone knows that many of the other writers here, including AMG Himself, are big prog heads, ol’ Grier is not. Sure, I’m a fan of prog rock pioneers like Pink Floyd and, a decade back, found a soft spot for bands like Dream Theater, but prog rock/metal ain’t my thing. Unless, oddly enough, you are talking about Spock’s Beard.” Bearded animals.

Devin Townsend – Empath Review

Devin Townsend – Empath Review

“I have been a fan of Devin Townsend for well over a decade now. I’ve been with him through half his career, including his entire Devin Townsend Project phase. But his most recent output started to feel a little stale. It was like he had painted himself in a corner and was finding it difficult breaking out of a rut formed from Epicloud’s echoes. Ziltoid 2 was overwrought, more of a comedic radio drama than a music album, and its companion piece Sky Blue had no staying power for me. Transcendence fared only marginally better. So when Devin announced he was laying the Project brand to rest, it made me hopeful. Could Empath, the first album since Ziltoid under his own name, be Devin’s new metamorphosis?” The Devin you know.

The Mute Gods – Atheists & Believers Review

The Mute Gods – Atheists & Believers Review

“With some exceptions, in a rule-of-thumb sort of way, the ‘technical’ modifier means ‘this was harder to play’ while ‘progressive’ means ‘this was harder to write.’ As such, experience is highly valued among progressive musicians especially, and progressive supergroups seem more common than other genres. The Mute Gods is another one of those, consisting of Steven Wilson’s bassist Nick Beggs and drummer Marco Minnemann, who also performs guitars here, and keyboard player Roger King who played with Nick and Steve Hackett of Genesis fame.” Great expectations.

Spock’s Beard – Noise Floor Review

Spock’s Beard – Noise Floor Review

“That is the power of Spock’s Beard, a band known for musical prowess, superb vocal harmonies, counterpoints, and friendliness. It’s been fifteen years since founder Neal Morse left the band (on the friendliest of terms of course), and although the band hasn’t reached the heights of yore, they’ve soldiered on with the best of intentions. Will Noise Floor, their thirteenth album, return them to past glories? Beards and noddles special.

Vuur – In This Moment We Are Free – Cities Review

Vuur – In This Moment We Are Free – Cities Review

“I’m about as far from a nationalist as you can get, but for metal I make an exception. In the Netherlands, for a country 17 million strong, the amount of metal icons is remarkably low, with Ayreon probably the most famous example from our little patch of Earth. But we did produce some big names among female vocalists, and none more so than the insanely productive Anneke van Giersbergen, whose angelic voice featured on a wide array of guest performances, three Ayreon albums, numerous Devin Townsend collaborations, The Gentle Storm and of course quirky doom goth icons The Gathering, where her upward trajectory began. Seeking more focus in her musical escapades, she decided to relegate her more quiet acoustic side to her solo name (formerly Agua De Annique) and concentrate her progressive metal tendencies in new project Vuur.” The unsinkable Anneke.

Caligula’s Horse – In Contact Review

Caligula’s Horse – In Contact Review

“‘I am convinced,’ Nietzche wrote, ‘that art represents the highest task and the truly metaphysical activity of this life.’ Though he wrote this in a preface to his first work, The Birth of Tragedy, he was certainly not referring only to the written word — an art that few can claim more ownership of than him. That preface was written by none other than Richard Wagner, and though Nietzche would sour on him later in life, this profound appreciation for art in a broad sense would not end. The love of aesthetic creation, the belief in its power to affect the heart and erode human differences, is the very core of In Contact, a starry-skied series of extended vignettes on love and revolution, passion and loss, fragility and courage, rain-soaked in the joy of creation.” Creationism ascendant.

Nad Sylvan – The Bride Said No Review

Nad Sylvan – The Bride Said No Review

“2015’s Courting the Widow by the dandyish Nad Sylvan was a sadly overlooked little gem. It’s one of my favorite prog releases in recent years and was perhaps unfortunate to miss out on my 2015 list. It featured accomplished prog in the vein of the ’70s but most importantly had a charming joviality and insincerity which made it a genuine pleasure to hear. I was therefore only too happy to find that a sequel was primed for release called The Bride Said No.” Nad’s back!

The Mute Gods – Tardigrades Will Inherit the Earth Review

The Mute Gods – Tardigrades Will Inherit the Earth Review

“Complexity is an issue which many an academic seem to confuse with quality — the same can be said of progressive music as a whole. Sure, intricacy is a hallmark of the genre, but sometimes less is more. England’s The Mute Gods are a particularly fine example; a crew of dyed in the wool musicians pumping out highly musical platters of prog rock with lashings of memorable pop-rock sensibility.” Pop-prog is a thing now?