SANTANA - Blues Magic (4:25)
Album: Santana IV (2016)
Label/Distributor: Santana IV/Thirty Tigers/Alive
A fascinating album that not only takes up the spirit of the early Santana in its title. If you listen to the new songs of the guitar magician, you immediately get the often quoted 'Woodstock-Feeling', also with the atmospheric "Blues Magic". Produced in a pleasantly old-fashioned way and yet never old-fashioned at any time. Album of the month!
HAWKWIND - Synchronized Blue (5:22)
Album: The Machine Stops (2016)
Label/Distribution: Cherry Red/Rough Trade
Hawkwind in 2016 is a sensation. In this outstanding quality few would have expected a new album from Space Rocker in the fifth decade of their career. Everything you love about the band is in here. And hand on heart: The Synthiesolo in "Synchonized Blue" is worth all honours.
BLACK SPACE RIDERS - Starglue Sniffer (4:08)
Album: Beyond Refugeeum E.P.
The Black Space Riders are on a wrong track, on new tracks and on old paths. On their 6-Song-EP they play with modern electronics, also a bit hippie, not afraid of old sequencers and also rocked really crunchy - as the present "Starglue Sniffer" proves. (MAY 13, 2016)
TILES - Stonewall (6:49)
Album: Pretending To Run (2CD) (2016)
Label/Distribution: The Laser's Edge/Alive
The US-Prog-Hardrocker Tiles have expanded their musical spectrum again on "Pretending 2 Run". There, as with the sampler track "Stonewall", the tempo is not pressed as much. Other tracks are more complex or hard rock. Because of the variety it is their strongest album so far!
THE ENID - Someone Shall Rise (edit) (4:40)
Album: Dust (2016)
Label/Distribution: The Enid/RSK/Soulfood
The British Symphonic Progger THE ENID plunges us on "Dust" into a true roller coaster of emotions. They succeed particularly impressively with "Someone Shall Rise", that deals with heroic individuals, that rise against unjust conditions. Outstanding: the vocal performance of Joe Payne.
SOPHIA - Resisting (4:36)
Album: As We Make Our Way (Unknown Harbours) (2016)
Sophia mastermind Robin Proper-Sheppard deliberately creates Proper-Sheppard from a reverberant guitar sound, a small sequence of notes, a single line of text, layer by layer, working with enhancements to create his dramolette for relationships - and "resisting" is pure intensity.
THOMAS COHEN - Ain't Gonna Be No Rain (4:02)
Album: Bloom Forever (2016)
Label/Distribution: Stolen Records/[PIAS]/Rough Trade
Thomas Cohen has recorded an album about mourning, but it's always lively and melodic and wonderfully arranged. The ex-S-C.U.M. frontman skillfully stages his small dramas with the greatest effect, combining lyrical melancholy with musical ease and world-class refrains ("Ain't Gonna Be No Rain").
THE STEEPWATER BAND - Break (4:07)
Album: Shake Your Faith (2016)
Label/Distribution: Diamond Day/Just For Kicks
It's hard to judge the band from Ohio by a song, be it the loose and driving "Break" or one of the other ten new songs, because Jeff Massey and Co. are traditionalists, but they cover a wide field from Bluesrock to Americana and straight Rock'n'Roll.
EPITAPH - Nightmare (Radio edit) (3:45)
Album: Fire From The Soul (2016)
It's always reassuring to know that even a band itself knows which songs they've done best. "Nightmare" is a strong, varied and partly very hard piece of epitaph. The opener paves the way for listening with open ears to the sometimes very refreshing album.
DANTE - Finally (edit) (9:58)
Album: When We Were Beautiful (2016)
Label/Distribution: Gentle Art Of Music/Soulfood
Setbacks have only made the southern German prog band DANTE stronger. With their new album the quartet sounds fresher than ever, because they combine crisp hardness and sparkling melodies in an original way. The final longtrack "Finally" bears eloquent witness to this.