Archive for ’70s prog-rock

Phil Lanzon – 48 Seconds

Posted in CD, Rock with tags , , , , on 17th August 2019 by mickbirchy

 

Phil Lanzon
48 Seconds
Prog Rock, Hard Rock, Classic Rock
Released 2nd August 2019
via Lanzon Ditties/Cargo Records

If you’re familiar with your classic rock and music history then I shouldn’t really need to tell you who Phil Lanzon is… But if you’re not acquainted with your old school prog rock, he is the man who you will usually find rocking the keyboard in Uriah Heep. They are one of those bands that encapsulates a lot of people’s image of the 70’s – 80 prog-rock scene. Phil has also brought his talents to other projects such as Grand Prix and The Sweet. He has had a legacy in music that, starting in 1986, carries on today. In recent years Mr Lanzon has been striking out as a solo musician starting with his 2017 record If You Think I’m Crazy! and on to this album, his latest release, 48 Seconds. This album is a pretty fun listen, with all songs written by Lanzon and produced by the excellent Simon Hanhart. It also features some exceptional talent that elevates this to excellence.

The album has a big band feel with multiple layered sections of music and a lot of different instrumentation. Ranging from very synth and keys focused songs to music bigger rock n roll productions. Every song has this big-sounding chorus that hits hard and feels uplifting when listening to it. It definitely feels like an album with an older school method of production. The way the album is mixed is excellent with each musical idea perfectly complementing the other. From the brass section to the violins to the excellent vocal performances, it all feels oh so glorious. Listen to the song “Rock n Roll Children” for an example of how great this album can sound. The production is just excellent, making this very easy on the ear and I think anyone can listen to music like this. Just so rich with sounds and beautiful, carefully crafted melodies. 

One of the major influences for this album is Lanzon’s love of film scores and soundtracks. That definitely translates as every song sounds like it comes from some forgotten 80’s flick that is only really remembered for its soundtrack (you know the ones). Every song is filled with such powerful emotion and it can be very easy to get caught up in it all. With each song just building to an eventual climax that is really satisfying by the end. I will say I prefer the songs that go with the more orchestral vibe than the straight-up hard rock songs. Though I do like some of those tunes too, for example, check out the songs  “Look At The Time” which feels like an 80’s era Uriah Heep tune or “In The Rain” which has more of a John Parr feel to it. What I’m trying to say is, this album is very eclectic in its sound and works for a variety of listeners.

Simply put, this is an excellent album made by a musician who clearly still loves making music. I love the way Phil Lanzon has written this album. Full of sharp singer-songwriter notes whilst scaling it up to be this massive production. From the quiet subtle slower tracks to the more lively and intricate songs this album is filled with emotions and brilliant musicianship. 

10/10

Mick Birchall

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Epitaph – Fire From the Soul

Posted in CD, Rock with tags , , on 17th March 2016 by izaforestspirit

Epitaph
Fire From The Soul
Released 18th March 2016
Hard Rock/Prog-Rock
Released via M.I.G Music GmbH

‘Fire From The Soul’ is the new album from the legendary German hard rock band Epitaph. The band was originally formed back in 1969 and in 1974 they became famous as the first German rock band to tour the USA promoting the ‘Outside The Law’ album. They had a hiatus during the 1990s before reuniting in 2000. This album features a handful of guest musicians including Tim Reese (Truckstop), Pete Sage (Santiano) and Klaus Henatsch (Nektar).

Starting off is Nightmare which has that stadium rock feel to it. Everything about that track is practically an invitation to join the overgrowing crowd of fans gathered at some open air show on a warm summer’s day and sway or air-guitar along to the catchy twin-guitar melodies. There’s nothing nightmarish about this so far. In fact I’m actually enjoying it. Man Without Face is another, infectiously catchy, guitar-driven track with a chorus that sticks in your head and makes you want to get up and dance. It’s not all about the guitars here, though. Singer Cliff Jackson’s melodic vocals and the additional choir on some of the tracks such as No One Can Save Me and Spark To Start A Fire create this positive vibe and overall pleasant atmosphere.

There are also the occasional retro, ’70s prog-rock elements on here with keyboards, a violin, acoustic guitars and epic ballad -style vocals being at the forefront. The title track is a good example of this style. Luckily this doesn’t sound dated but rather it puts a new spin on the genre while paying tribute to the band’s roots. The bonus track Love Child also caught my attention due to the memorable chorus and the uplifting guitar sounds.

Overall this was a very pleasant first encounter with Epitaph. I was apprehensive about it due to the band being often described as “prog-rock” – a genre which I’m not particularly fond of. Fortunately ‘Fire From The Soul’ proved to be a very accessible and enjoyable hard rock album.

4/5

Iza Raittila