Fixed problems with interview audio

Tonight I got a few reports from people who were not able to properly play the interview I did with Karibow. Turns out the server that hosts my blog doesn’t really keep up with multiple people streaming audio in parallel. That is solved now in a way that I had in mind already, but hadn’t gotten around to implementing yet. The interview audio files are from now on hosted on Mixcloud, and links to the Mixcloud streams are included in the blog posts (all are updated already).

So for those who want to listen to an interview, you now have two options:

1) Open the blog post on this site, and play from the widget there, or

2) Go to my MixCloud profile where you can choose from all interviews I uploaded.

Interview: Karibow’s Oliver Rüsing and Gerald Nahrgang

During the Night of the Prog festival on the Loreley in Germany, I found some time to have a coffee and a chat with Oliver Rüsing and Gerald Nahrgang. One being the guitarist, vocalist and founder of Karibow, and the other being the band’s drummer, there’s no guessing to the subject of the interview we did there.

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Karibow have been about Oliver Rüsing’s musical work since 1997, although between 2000 and 2011 he mainly operated on his own. In 2011, the album Man of Rust won an award from the German Rock and Pop Musicians Association, and in 2014 a similar honour, the Best Progressive Rock album in Germany award, was given to the band’s most recent album Addicted. An album that made Oliver set up a real band again, for live playing, but also with an eye on a new album that is already in the making.





Gerald Nahrgang and Oliver Rüsing

Addicted, contains 16 tracks, and can be found on the border of prog and AOR. The tracks included were a deliberate selection out of 60 tracks that were available for the album, the others are still waiting for release. The album may not meet all ‘definitions’ of a full prog album, for Karibow musical quality in the form of composition and melody come first. The complexity may be hidden underneath that and not be obvious at first. As drummer Gerald indicates: “It’s hard work for me as a drummer. At first you don’t notice, but there are odd meters everywhere”. The two men don’t believe in progressive rock being a cage, in the end it’s about music, about ideas developing in a song, not about fitting a definition made certain listeners.

From this, in the interview we took off to discussing the album, the way of composing that Oliver applies and how that differs from what e.g. Genesis did in the past. We also touch upon loudness war, short sound clips that make up modern pop music, and the next album that Karibow is working on.

I had an interesting morning, and preparing the audio track of this interview made me think about the next one already – I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


Night of the Prog X 2015, the third and final day

And with the third day, the festival came and went. But what a wonderful day it was – the day of instrumentals, dynamic bass players (Special Providence, Steven Rothery, Pain of Salvation and Steve Hackett had those) and a crowd that didn’t care about a bit of rain in the afternoon.


When I arrived, Special Providence just finished their soundcheck and were ready to surprise us. An instrumental quartet from Hungary, who got the attention of the audience by combining riffs, great guitar tunes and (partly fretless) melodic bass playing. For lack of a vocalist, the bass player made sure he was all over the stage. I had heard of this band before, but seeing live conincved me that this band deserves a lot of attention. The fact that they sold out their CDs within an hour after the gig says it all. Next time, bring more, guys. I’ll probably go see them again when they support Neal Morse at the Boerderij in Zoetermeer.

Then IO Earth was on. Female fronted, close metal but with room for more – you have to if you bring a violin player and a flute player. The band put down a show with great music, and wonderful vocals. What surprised me though was that a large part of the set their singer was back stage while the band played instrumentals. It felt a little bit unbalanced, but given the reactions, the audience didn’t have a problem with it.

After these two relatively new bands, the stage was for four older acts, starting with Kaipa da Capo, headed by guitar mastermind Roine Stolt. He announced the band and started by saying ‘we’ll make some noises and that will develop into the first track’ – which they did. A nice show they put on, with music from the 70s that still doesn’t feel old.

Who also isn’t old yet, at least judging by his face, is Steven Rothery. Experienced as he is with audiences, he had no problem getting the audience’ attention. Even a short heavy rain pour just before the start couldn’t drive his fans away. Starting with some of his own instrumentals, half way through the set he brought on the singer of a Marillion tribute band (I have to look up the guys’s name soon) in order to play a few pieces of Misplaced Childhood, Slainte Mhath and one of my personal favourites Sugar Mice. I got my ‘childhood’ on the second evening, but this additional bit really came home.

Pain of Salvation is a band I discovered for real only about a year ago. I never really investigated them until then, which I regretted as soon as I started listening. Daniel Gildenlöw is of course the musical (and visual) center of this band, no matter how often the line up changes. He knows how to write his music, how to play it and (as he showed here) how to get an audience going. Due to a sound problem after 30 seconds, the band had to start over, which they did by ‘going backstage, we’ll come back and you pretend it’s the first time. This time we’ll come on really cool!’. Great musicianship, nice dialogs with the audience and a band that breathed energy on stage – what more can you want? Oh yes, my pic of the day of course, as shown above.

Closing act of the festival was Steve Hackett, playing Genesis Revisited for the last time, with Nick Beggs, Nat Sylvan and other great musicians. There I did the same as with Fish – take pictures half an hour and then go up the hill to just enjoy the music. All Genesis classics came by, in a slightly modernised jacket, but reliving the moments that I missed because I was only 4 years old when Genesis reached their (prog) peak. I vowed not to buy CDs at the festival – in case of Special Providence I wanted to break that vow but came too late, with Steve Hackett I did break it, and got the Royal Albert Hall CD of this tour. The highlight for me was Pain of Salvation, but what Steve Hackett gave us was the perfect closing act for the Night of the Prog 10th anniversary.

Thanks to all the bands, and to the organisers – I will be coming back to this festival and wonderful venue for sure.

Night of the Prog X, Day 2

Today was the day I had been waiting for – the day I had come to Night of the Prog X for. Read on and you’ll find out why… the picture I picked today is a bit of a giveaway…


First of, I have to admit that although 7 bands were scheduled today, I only heard 6 of them. Due to another appointment, I missed Luna Kiss. I’ll have a listen at their album later to find out what they are about, today I missed them – I arrived at the Freilichtbühne during Haken’s soundcheck.

Although early in the day, Haken were ready for a good show. Their heavy progressive rock went down quite well with the present audience, and they easily filled their slot. Heavy riffs and nice vocal harmonies (real ones here, not lead and backing vocals) are an interesting combination. Someone referred to them as a heavy version of Gentle Giant. That may be a bit far fetched, but the combined vocals do have some hints of what GG did in the past.

After Haken, the stage was for Sylvan, a German act from Hamburg who have played NotP 5 times before. With a seventeen year old guitarist and a manic bass player, they managed to win this home match easily. Classified by some as neoprogressive, they certainly aren’t an 80s Marillion or Pendragon copy. In fact Sylvan sounds far more modern and varied than that. The guitar and keys power the band, the bass player owns the stage when playing live. I’m not too familiar with their work, but what I heard today was certainly inviting.

Around diner time, Lazuli from French was the main occupant of the stage. A wonderful band, with a very own, rather heavy sound – partly thanks to the léode, a synth like instrument that looks as if it is played like a Chapman stick, but it has no strings. With the lead and a guitar playing duo leads, and the vocalist playing a third guitar, a lot is possible – certainly when taking into accounts the keys and percussion. On stage, the band put on an energetic show, with lots of interaction on stage and with the audience. If you love music, having people like this on stage can make your day.

The Enid followed. A completely different beast than the preceding bands. Founded in 1972, with only one original member remaining, the band plays symphonic prog that resembles musical music – an impression strengthened by the stage act of the vocalist. A mix of a musical star and a young Freddy Mercury probably describes him best (also when it comes to vocal range). I can enjoy musical and symphonic prog, but today this was a bit much for me – although the band played very well and tight.

So, after leaving The Enid half way through, I went for a walk and could still hear them outside the venue. Until I dosed off that is, and was awoken 15 minutes early by the sounds of Riverside reaching my ear. I rushed back to the photographers corral in time to catch most of their opening track. Riverside put on a heavy prog show in the way they are known for – a tight ship, run by bass master captain Mariusz Duda, a beast unleashed on stage. Old and new material were mixed, and receive with great enthusiasm (including mine).

And then, finally, the moment I had been waiting for. Fish was here to play Marillion’s Misplaced Childhood live, as part of the 30th anniversary tour for that album. Since one of my favourite live videos is Marillion’s Live at Loreley in 1987, this is what got me to buy a ticket to the festival.
Fish opened with a few of his won tracks, including Feast of Consequences. Then he announced Misplaced Childhood, and the band played it integrally, without interruptions. I decided to do what I had been wanting to do after getting a ticket and before getting my photo pass: I quit photographing after Lavender, went up the hill above the amphitheatre and sat down in the grass, enjoying the music. It wasn’t entirely up to expectations – Fish’ voice has know better times, and some songs seem to be played in a slightly lower key (probably for the same reason). However, I decided to not let that disturb me – and it worked.
After completing the album, the band played Market Square Heroes and said goodbye. Wanting to avoid traffic, I left quickly and to my surprise I could walk to the car on the tunes of an encore, The Company. Pity I missed that? No, I had my wish fulfilled.

On to day three now, but first – sleep!

Night of the Prog 2015, The first day!

And Friday’s gone at Loreley… And what a Friday it was. No Murphy this time – my photo pass was there, the photographers corral in front of the stage was well guarded by a huge (Polish?) security guy and everything worked out pretty well. The weather was a bit too hot, 35 celcius, but who cares when they get treated to a day of music like we had today. Wifi is still broken so I’ll limit the amount of photos to 1 and will do the same tomorrow and Sunday – to save money on my mobile phone network connection. An overview of the best pics of the festival will follow within about a week, to make up for this.

Dutch band Lesoir was a pleasant surprise. I had heard about them, in a positive way mostly, but had not gotten around to checking them out. Metal? Perhaps, perhaps not. I heard some pretty heavy riffs, but also Porcupine Tree or Sylvium like sounds, and the flute of vocalist Maartje Meessen may be made of metal, it certainly isn’t a typical metal instrument. They took care of the not always thankful job of opening the festival, in a brilliant way. The not yet complete audience was happy enough to cheer them on.

After Lesoir, Beardfish from Sweden took us along among others their albums Sleeping In Traffic Pt2, The Void. and their latest +4626-COMFORTZONE. Rikard Sjöblom showed up in a Hawaiian shirt and led the band through a great and energetic set. Their bass player is the the scariest person I saw on stage today, but also very energetic and full of movement. If not the most energetic bass player of today, then he is only second to Johan van Stratum of Gentle Storm.

Gentle Storm, who came on third, are headed by Anneke van Giersbergen, who’s voice was ‘fucked’ as she said herself. With the help of backing singer Marcella Bovio, she managed to play the full set anyway. I saw this band three times now, the first two were the opening gigs of the Diary tour, in Amsterdam and Ittervoort. In these four months, the band has become tighter and their performance breads fun and friendship, the interaction on stage is amazing. Still, third time, same set (albeit somewhat shortened today) is a bit of a let down for me personally, but the audience definitely enjoyed it.

Another band that usually is good for fun and partying is Pendragon, with captain Nick Barrett taking centre stage. With their latest album, they’ve moved to slightly darker course, which showed also in the show today – but it was still the normal, well performed and uplifing Pendragon we saw and heard.

After Pendragon, the two acts of which the most was expected took the stage – first the Neal Morse band, with Mike Portnoy on drums and then Camel.

Neal Morse is a man I know from Spock’s Beard, and due to his views on life, I never bothered checking out his ‘solo’ works. What a mistake that turned out to be. The band came on stage and blew me out of my shoes with energising instrumentals, brilliant vocal harmonies and none of the preaching I had expected. The only time the word prayer was used, was when Neal dedicated a song to a girl who had a stroke and was taken to hospital during the festival. Can’t blame him for that, can I? The picture below is from Neal Morse’s show, at some point he simply ran into the audience and started hugging people. He had visited the audience earlier also, but from within the photographers area, the second time he went outside.

Funny detail: I had Mike Portnoy dead center in my lens the first time, and he seemed to have noticed that. He pointed to my left, just before I shot my pic, to Neal running past me – as if hinting me to a different target.

After Neal Morse, the closing act of the day was Camel. A band from the seventies, that I know from albums like Nude and Mirage, but some of their older tracks are much more worthwhile – e.g. Snow goose or Lady Fantasy, and top of the bill the instrumental guitar track Ice. The latter two were part of this show, which I enjoyed while having a very late dinner (just before midnight), and without being too focused on the setlist. That was easy to do, because we were directed out of our photo pit after three tracks. No more picture taking (and no filming at all), per request from Andy Latimer himself (just like on other dates of the current tour). Nevertheless, a worthy closing act, because in the end it is about the music, and Ice is breath taking, always.

Off to bed now, and on to tomorrow….

Night of the Prog, the morning before…

I arrived on Thursday night, with my mind set on a very busy schedule – three days of prog bands live, and me having a press/photo pass to cover it for my blog, Background Magazine and ProgPlanet.

I booked a hotel in Kestert, 10 minutes from the Freilichtbühne, and the town was crowded with prog fans – the two restaurants and the three guesthouses were full of them. Old, young, fat, skinny, male, female, but most of all recognisable through t-shirts, hairdo and the occasional tattoo that seem to mark music fans world wide.

The hotel WiFi gave up at 11PM on Thursday night, so while I type this I have no clue whether I can post it to any of the web sites during or only after the festival. The hotel manager is going to fix it, they promised, but he’s not on site right now and I have no clue when he will be….

It’s a Murphy’s law weekend anyway, so we’ll see.  Murphy’s law? Yes indeed, the one that makes things go wrong just because they can. First I forgot my laptop, so I had to go buy another one to be able to type this. I got one, but it doesn’t have an SD card slot, so now I have to get my pictures from the camera through a USB cable. Oh well – it’s not that much slower.

On a plus – while I was at breakfast, the cleaning lady made my bed and even folded up my roadworn jeans from yesterday. Won’t be needing those today, with temperatures going into the 30s in the afternoon…. Let’s take the sun screen, pack the camera’s and get going for a nice first day at Night of the Prog 2015….

Today’s program:

13.30 Lesoir

15.00 Beardfish

16.30 Gentle Storm

18.20 Pendragon

20.30 Neal Morse Band

23.00 Camel

Oh what the heck… it’s text only, so I’ll cannibalise a bit on my 3G data roaming and post this anyway. It won’t hurt much, assuming the WiFi gets fixed today.

Dave Kerzner – New World

If ever there was a time to stop doing track-by-track album reviews it would be now, with the album New World by Dave Kerzner. The Deluxe Edition of this album, as I have right here contains 23 tracks, with a total running time of over 2 hours and 20 minutes.

Now at first, some might wonder what Dave Kerzner is (a few less after the good review this album received over the past 6 month, but still). Dave has been involved in music since he was quite young, but didn’t get around to getting a record deal when he wanted to start a career in music. [acfw id=2]

coverInstead, he founded Sonic Reality, the renowned company that creates MIDI samples from original instruments, so that they can be used in synthesizers. Doing this helped him to not only make a living, but also create a huge network of artists, some recording samples others using them. This, and being a more than decent keyboard player himself, caused him to be able to work with people rating from Beyonce to Neil Peart and from Madonna to Jon Anderson.

This huge network of artists plays a role on his debut solo album New World as well. Besides drummer Nick D’Virgilio and guitar/bass player Fernando Perdomo, with home Kerzner forms the core band for the album, 18 other musicians play their parts on different tracks. They all seem to have a relation with bands that have influenced Kerzner over time: Pink Floyd, Genesis, Spock’s Beard, Yes, … As such, expect to find names like Lorelei and Durga McBroomBilly Sherwood, but als Keith Emerson on the guest list.

The music on the album is a similar mix of influences, taking the listener from a Pink Floyd/David Gilmour opening to Genesis land and on to Yes oceans. At some point, I even heard hints of Rush mixed with Great Gig In The Sky singing by one of the McBroom sisters. It’s never a straight copy, but a modernised use of sounds and styles, that somehow works out really well. It’s not renewing per se, but certainly an eclectic mix of good things if ever there was one, and musically executed without flaws.

Production wise, the mix does appeal to my ears, although the bass is often a bit hidden underneath the keyboards. These same keyboards also seem to be the cause of some of the tracks being a tad too loud, forcing me to turn down the volume. Overall, it works fine at slightly lower volume.

This album rocks and is a musical journey for those willing to spend 2.5 hours listening intently. For the less patient once, I’d recommend getting the regular, 78 minute edition instead.


This is the first album that is being subject to a rating on this site (although I will go into the back catalog of reviews soon to rate those as well). The way I rate is not by giving a single score, but rather focusing on a few different areas. That will be explained later this week in a separate blog post.

Alogia – Elegia Balcanica

A few months ago, I got sent an album by Serbian band Alogia, called Elegia Balcanica. I hadn’t heard of the band before, and was surprised to learn that their guitarist Srdjan Brankovic is behind Expedition Delta, a musical project that involves or has involved quite a few renowned musicians, like Erik Norlander (Rocket Scientists)Rene Merkelbach (Ayreon) and Gary Wehrkamp (Shadow Gallery) that found a place in my music collection ages ago.

In AlogiaSrdjan plays together with his brother Miroslav (guitar)Vladimir Ranisavljevic (bass)Srdjan Golubica (drums), and vocalist Nikola Mijic. [acfw id=2]

alogiaKeyboards and synths are played by Vladimir Djedovic, who unfortunately had to leave the band after recording the album to pursue other activities.

These six musicians delivered an album with powerful metal that shows both great musicianship and a couple of very clear influences.  Sometimes there’s a hint of early ’90s progressive metalthen power metaland always two guitars and a keyboard ready to add some fast, whirling or mixed melodies over the metronomic rhythm guitar and drums. The high pitched vocals are well executed, although the Serbian lyrics may be a bit of a hurdle for an international audience.

On the album, this leads to a mixed variety of tracks. On tracks like Almagest, Callis Ad Astra and Galija we find rhythmic riffing that reminds of early 80s prog metal (Dream Theater) mixed with late 80s melodic keyboards and guitars (Halloween, Gamma Ray). In other places, the prog metal element disappears in favour of power metal, which is the case on Vreme je and the title track Elegia Balcanica.

Of a completely different nature are the tracks Us Tisini, which is slower and more keyboard heavy than the rest of the album and Intentionally Blind, a thrash metal bordering track. The latter is a worthy tribute to Death founder Chuck Shuldiner, who died of cancer in 2001.

Production wise, the album could have benefited from a slightly lighter mix. The bass is hard to be found, because the low end is dominated by drums, keyboard and rhtyhm guitar, and the drums sound a bit ‘woody’ in places.

Overall, this is a well executed power metal album, by a capable band, but with room for improvement. Given that this is the bands fourth album, and especially the previous two received good reviews, there is more to check out than just this one for who’s really interested.