Tag Archives: Also Eden

Now Playing: Also Eden, [REDACTED]. Bits of this record, especially “Chronoligic” remind me of Twelfth Night. Things seem to have gone rather quiet from the Also Eden camp of late.

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Also Eden tour with Silhouette in May

Bristol-based Also Eden have announced a short co-headline tour with Dutch outfit, Silhouette, with one date in The Netherlands and four in the UK, including a first ever visit to Scotland for either band.

The tour begins in Utrecht, after which Also Eden will also appear at the Prog The Castle festival in Heidelberg. The two bands will then play four co-headline dates in the UK.

The dates are:

  • Friday, May 8th – Star Sound in Utrecht
  • Thursday, May 14th – The Railway in Winchester
  • Friday, May 15th – The Railway in Bromley Cross, Bolton
  • Saturday May 16th – The Flying Duck in Glasgow
  • Sunday May 17th – The Thunderbolt in Bristol

More details from the Also Eden site.

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Also Eden & Morpheus Rising co-headliner

Also Eden Morpheus Rising

As readers of this blog ought to have noticed, I’m a big supporter of co-headline gigs, where two highly complementary bands not only give audiences good value for money, but both bands gain exposure to each other’s fanbases.

Also Eden and Morpheus Rising have played on the same bill before, and they’re together again on March 8th at The Asylum 2 in Birmingham. This ought to be a great night.

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2013 Albums of the Year – Part Two

Continuing the end-of-year albums-of-the-year contdown with the the first six from the top ten. Like the first part from 21 to 11, I have listed them in alphabetical order rather than attempting to rank them, but if I had, they’d be #10 up to #5.

Also Eden[REDACTED]

[Redacted] Also Eden have significantly raised their game with this, their second album since Rich Harding took over as lead vocalist. Despite occasional echoes of Tangerine Dream, Porcupine Tree and even Trespass-era Genesis in the album’s quieter moments, this is a harder-edged and more rock-orientated record than their previous work. The result is powerful yet richly layered record, with Simon Rogers’ inventive guitar playing at the centre of the sound, and Rich Harding’s lyrics moving from the political to the personal.

HakenThe Mountain

Haken The Mountain Haken are another band to step up to the next level with their third album. Previous albums had displayed some obvious influences, most notably Dream Theater and Zappa. But here, aside from a couple of nods to Gentle Giant, most noticeably on the completely bonkers “Cockroach King”, they develop a sound that’s all their own. There are metal riffs, church-like vocal harmonies, deep and complex arrangements and recurring motifs, resulting in a record that both progressive in every sense of the word, and very contemporary sounding at the same time.

Iain JenningsMy Dark Surprise

My Dark Surprise It was indeed a surprise when Mostly Autumn’s keyboard player released a solo album with very little fanfare early in the year. It’s a concept album with lyrics by vocalist Mark Chatterton, and guest appearances from Mostly Autumn’s Liam Davison amongst others. With its mix of hard rock and atmospheric ballads with touches of electronica it has many familiar ingredients, but it’s all put together in a different way and avoids sounding anything like a repeat of Iain’s earlier work. The way it seamlessly blends a lot of different styles demonstrates his skills as a composer and arranger. A dark surprise indeed, but a very pleasant one.

IhsahnDas Seelenbrechen

Ihsahn Das Seelenbrechen Ihsahn’s last couple of albums have been ideal for anyone missing Opeth from the time before Mikael Akerfeldt abandoned the cookie monster. But this album sees Ihsahn leave Black Metal behind, setting course for far stranger waters. There are still moments of ambitious prog-metal especially on the first half of the record, but this album also takes in avant garde noise, with storms of clattering percussion and passages of spooky atmospherics. It’s by no means an easy listen, but it does show how the more experimental end of metal can be far more progressive than many an act labelled as “prog”.

Magenta The Twenty-Seven Club

Magenta -  The 27 Club When it comes to old-school neo-prog, Magenta are still one of the best bands in the business. They’ve never denied their strong Yes influence. There are some very Steve Howe like phrases from guitarist Chris Fry, and Christina Booth often sings in similar register to Jon Anderson. although her performances have a lot more emotional depth. Their sixth album takes a position midway between the dark intensity of “Metamorphosis” and the commercial Magenta-lite of “Chameleon”. As a distillation of a lot of what’s good about Magenta’s music it makes a very good starting point for new listeners.

Touchstone – Oceans of Time

Touchstone_OceansOfTime SMALL Touchstone’s fourth album sees something of a change of direction, with vocalist Kim Seviour and guitarist Adam Hodgson taking on a bigger share of the writing. The result is an album with a greater emphasis on songwriting rather than prog-metal instrumental workouts, and a rawer stripped-down sound with a lot more light and shade that gives Kim’s vocals space to breathe without being swamped by the instrumentation. With their most mature album to date they deserve to win themselves a much larger audience with this release.

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Crimson Sky return to Reading

Crimson Sky at The Fleece and Firkin, Bristol

As they say on their Facebook page, Crimson Sky return to Reading on Saturday, 9th November.

Bristol and Reading five-piece progressive rock combo Crimson Sky return to South Street for a third time with new material … and a new drummer! Come on down and see for yourself what all the fuss is about.

Plus very special guests: Rich & Si from Also Eden performing as “Neo Deals” and MC Steven C. Davis.

This should be a great night; the band have been working on new material this year, and this show will be the first opportunity for audiences to hear some of it.

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Also Eden’s [Redacted] now on sale

[Redacted]Progressive rock band (They’ve described themselves as “Neo prog my arse”) Also Eden are now taking orders for their fourth full-length studio album [Redacted] from Melody Collective.

It’s available both as a CD and Download (MP3 or FLAC), and orders for the CD also include the download.

The band will be playing a number of live dates to launch the album:

  • Wed 6th November – The Garage, Swansea
  • Thu 7th November – The Railway, Bolton
  • Sat 9th November – Neo Deals @ South Street Arts, Reading, supporting Crimson Sky (Neo Deals is Rich Harding and Simon Rogers as an acoustic duo)
  • Sun 10th November – The Musician, Leicester
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Crimson Sky & Red Jasper, The Fleece, Bristol

Crimson Sky at The Fleece and Firkin, Bristol

Red Sky at Night was the second of two double bills featuring the Bristol-based bands Crimson Sky and Red Jasper, a home town gig at the Fleece and Firkin in the centre of Bristol.

Opening act was Neodeals, who are Also Eden’s Rich Harding and Simon Rogers playing as a acoustic duo. Their half-hour set consisted of Also Eden material drawn from “Think of the Children” including the magnificent title track, and from the forthcoming “[Redacted]“. The songs came across remarkably well in acoustic form, with two interlocking guitars making a remarkably rich sound. As well as a strong vocalist, it’s often the guitar playing that makes the difference between a memorable acoustic act and a forgettable one, and Neodeals were memorable for all the right reasons.

Crimson Sky put in another enthusiastic and energetic performance with their mix of classic rock, prog and a touch of 80s new-wave. With a shorter than usual set they drew heavily from the EP “Dawn” with a few favourites from their 2009 album “Misunderstood”. This was the first gig with Adrian Ogden occupying the drum-stool on a permanent basis, and he acquitted himself superbly. This is likely to be Crimson Sky’s last live appearance for a while, as they concentrate on writing and arranging new material, and will be very interesting to see what they come up with.

Red Jasper at The Fleece and Firkin, Bristol

When I last saw Red Jasper many years ago they had a folk-rock feel, reminiscent of Jethro Tull. Now, with a much changed lineup with former drummer David Clifford now fronting the band, there was little of the folk flavour in evidence, with the six-piece band taking on a more of a 80s pop-prog flavour. It may be my lack of familiarity with their material, but they didn’t make quite as strong an impression as the other two bands, with a lot of the songs sounding rather similar. But they still had their moments, played with a lot of energy, and there was some great guitar work from founder member Robin Harrison.

This sort of gig, with a bill of two electric bands plus an acoustic opener represents an increasing common format in the progressive rock world. While some fans prefer to see their heroes play longer sets as sole headliners, double or triple bills attract bigger crowds, and expose the bands to each others’ audiences, which can only be a good thing. I last saw Red Jasper many years ago at a very poorly attended show in Windsor, where the support band outnumbered the paying punters. Twenty years later, while by no means full, The Fleece did attract a decent-enough crowd for a Thursday night.

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Howard Sinclair joins Also Eden

Howard Sinclair at The Railway in Winchester

Also Eden annouce announce their new keyboard player, replacing Ian Hodson who left the band in April.

Finding a replacement for Ian was never going to be easy but that, in itself, gave rise to some radical thoughts about the future shape of the band, involving pedals, guitar synths and more. This forward-looking approach has resulted in the arrival on board of Howard “H” Sinclair.

Howard is well known as a solo artist, having supported Panic Room and others and being particularly prolific on the Bristol scene. He’s opened up for Also Eden before now, also appearing on the same bill as vocalist Rich Harding and guitarist Si Rogers, in their acoustic guise of Neo Deals, including at the Assorted Acoustic Afternoon in December 2010, when Rich was still in a wheelchair following his horrific motorcycle accident. Concidentally, a year earlier Howard had been playing keyboards in another band for whom Rich auditioned before joining Also Eden.

The new line-up’s first two gigs will be with F2 labelmates Manning, at The Robin 2, Bilston on Sunday, June 9th and The Met, Bury on Saturday, July 6th. Neo Deals are opening up for Red Jasper and Crimson Sky at The Fleece, Bristol on June 27th.

I didn’t see that one coming. It will be very interesting to see what Howard brings to Also Eden in the coming months and years.

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Also Eden and Sankara, The Globe, Cardiff

It was a last minute decision to go to this gig, at the end of what had been a rather rough week. A strong bill with three acts I was keen to see made it worth travelling to another country involving rail replacement buses and a stay in a cheap B&B. Sometimes it’s gigs like this where I’m reminded of the line in Mötorhead’s “We Are The Road Crew” ‘Another hotel I can’t find‘. But in this case I did manage to find the hotel, but got hopelessly lost in the decidedly non-Euclidian geography between the hotel and the venue. I was in a maze of small twisty streets, all alike. Fortunately I did eventually manage to find The Globe in time for the start.

Opener was the solo acoustic guitar virtuoso Matt Stevens. Matt plays acoustic guitar through a series of looping pedals and effects enabling him to turn a single guitar into a multilayered tapestry of sound. At times he uses his pedal board as an instrument as much as the guitar itself, and at one point was on his knees pressing buttons and making Hawkwind-like electronic effects. For the second half of his set, he was joined by virtuoso bassist and former Panic Room member Alun Vaughan, who played some imaginative bass parts to Matt’s solo compositions and added an interesting extra layer to the music.

I first saw Sankara at the 2012 Cambridge Rock Festival when they were still a four-piece, and the recently-formed band showed a lot of promise. Almost immediately after the release of their début album “Guided by Degrees” they changed personnel, with a new bassist and the addition of a second guitarist.

They now sound like a completely different band. Having two guitars fills out the sound significantly, with Jay and new addition Paul having contrasting and complementary styles. While their music still lies somewhere on the hard rock/AOR spectrum, they’ve now got a bigger, tougher and heavier sound than they had either as a four-piece or on record.

Their lengthy set including the majority of both the album and their earlier EP “Enigma”. Gareth Jones again impressed as a frontman, switching between the front of the stage and the occasional number sung from behind the keys. High spots included a very emotive “Lullaby for a Lost Boy”, which Gareth introduced as inspired by his day job in housing; ‘A song about homelessness’. Sankara have come on a lot in a very short time, and it will be interesting to see where they go from here.

Also Eden are another band in the throes of lineup changes. They’ve got a new bassist since I saw them last, and their current run of gigs marks the farewell appearances of founder member, keyboardist Ian Hodson. And although he’s established himself as the voice of the band over the last couple of years, Rich Harding wasn’t their original singer.

His politically-charged lyrics recall Geoff Mann-era Twelfth night, some of his theatrical vocal delivery reminds me a lot of very early Marillion, and his dedication of “1949″ to everyone who works in the NHS was a nice touch. Musically, despite sometimes lengthy songs and rich arrangements they avoid most of the obvious clichés of 80s neo-prog.

Their set drew heavily from their third album “Think of the Children”. For the older “Skipping Stones” they were joined on stage by their original singer Huw Lloyd Jones. They also played a substantial amount of brand-new material from the forthcoming “[Redacted]“. On first listen the new songs came over strongly, darker and heavier than their older songs, with “Chronologic” a particular standout.

From this performance Also Eden came over as a band who have significantly raised their game, and provided they manage to negotiate the speedbump of finding a replacement keyboard player they look about to move up to the next level. Certainly “[Redacted]” is now one of the most eagerly anticipated albums of the year.

In these cash-strapped times shows like this are exactly the sort of thing more bands ought to be doing, putting together a bill of two or three contrasting but complementary acts that give audiences their money’s worth regardless of who is the nominal headliner. It works for audiences, and I think it works for the bands as well.

All photos by Paul Johnson

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Morphus Rising and Also Eden in York

York old-school twin-guitar metal revivalists Morphus Rising will be playing the Duchess in York on Friday, March 15th. They’re always an entertaining live band, and this gig has the added bonus of the excellent “Neo prog my arse” of Also Eden as support. Should be a great night, since both bands are well worth travelling to see.

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