1. CRYPTEX -
Because The Reason Is You (3:28) Album
: Once Upon A Time (2020) Label/Distribution
The epic-proggy tracks of CRYPTEX do not need more than a pop song to unfold and impress. All in all, this results in an album that is as entertaining as it is exciting, and which musically draws on the full range of musical possibilities - like this track, which easily combines classical and spacy elements
2. ANUBIS - Home (5:08) Album
: Homeless (2020) Label/Distribution
: Anubis Music/Just For Kickswww.anubismusic.com
Focused on vinyl format, the Australians ANUBIS go to concept works on "Homeless". The themes: The gap between rich and poor, environmental crisis, increasing dependence on technology, overwhelming influence of social media. Cast in modern artrock with atmospheric depth like Marillion and Radiohead
3. THE ANCESTRY PROGRAM - Another Way To Fly (6:21) Album
: Tomorrow (2020) Label/Distribution
: The Ancestry Program/Just For Kicks
The debut album of the Munich quartet THE ANCESTRY PROGRAM sounds very fresh. The band confidently treads the line between prog and prog metal and always proves a skilful hand for atmospheric nuances. This is also the case with "Another Way To Fly", which features delay guitar and hissing Hammond.
4. LESOIR - Dystopia (6:44) Album
: Mosaic (2020) Label/Distribution
: Glassville/Dutch Music Works
The Dutch LESOIR think ahead with their modern artrock, in the centre the beautiful voice of Maartje Meessen. Heavy oriental ethno colours, inspired by Led Zeppelin, dark but with pop appeal. "Dystopia" captivates with "The Dark Side Of The Moon" atmosphere, but more rock flair
5. FUGHU - Martian (dedicated D. Bowie) (4:48) Album
: Lost Connection (2020) Label/Distribution
: Fughu/Just For Kickswww.fughu.com
Prog metal from Argentina? Definitely - even if FUGHU sing their songs in English. Fughu continue the long, venerable prog tradition of the Latin American country and inspire on their new album with powerful, melodic songs, sometimes angry, sometimes melancholic.
6. JOHN GHOST - Airships Are Organisms (5:34) Album
: Airships Are Organisms (2019) Label/Distribution
: Sdban/Rough Trade
On their second album "Airships Are Organisms" the Belgian sextet JOHN GHOST explores the spectrum from post rock and post jazz to minimal music and prog rock. On the title track, the group leads from herbaceous motor skills into zappaesque realms and at the end ignites a fusion firework.
7. I AM THE MANIC WHALE - Billionaire (7:25) Album
: Things Unseen (2020) Label/Distribution
: Plane Groovy/Just For Kickswww.iamthemanicwhale.com
The English band I AM THE MANIC WHALE makes exciting prog - without blinkers and with lyrical depth. On "Billionaire" they complement the light tooth-beat side with jazzy motifs and vocal lines like in Steely Dan; on top of that they combine Yes-like tempo changes with Spock's Beard grounding. Real head cinema!
8. THE STEEPWATER BAND - That's Not The Way (4:58) Album
: Turn Of The Wheel (2020) Label/Distribution
: Diamond Day/Just For Kickswww.steepwater.com
"That's Not The Way" is actually the most untypical song of the new album of the STEEPWATER BAND from Chicago. Because guest saxophonist Terry "Sonny Lee" Tritt shapes this song so much that the bluesy classic rock sound of the band sounds completely different than usual. An unusual, but interesting spot of colour!
9. SMOKEMASTER - Ear Of The Universe (10:20) Album
: Smokemaster (2020) Label/Distribution
Saucool, what SMOKEMASTER are doing on their self-titled debut. Space, blues and stoner, all interwoven. Sometimes rough and dirty, sometimes floating, and it always surprises. The 10-minute "Ear Of The Universe" is a good example of this interlocking diversity.
10. NAUTILUS - Point Of Return (9:51) Album
: The Mystery Of Waterfalls (2020) Label/Distribution
: Sireena/Broken Silencewww.nautilus-nedland.de
NAUTILUS have always set stories of Jules Verne as a listening adventure between artrock and traditional electronics. Now, after twelve years of band break, there is a sequel with "20.000 miles under the sea". Newcomer Meiko Richert enriches the Floydian longtrack "Point Of Return" with vocals.