Tuesday, June 30, 2015


A hazy, hot, humid, and heartfelt summer-time thank you for tuning in once again fellow progheads!  I hope last week's "Tensegrity" left you feeling vibrant and eager to continue the search for all things prog--I know it did me!  Liking the beach and enjoying some local sun, I decided to keep the Concert Closet grounded in the USA one more week...just gotta remember to keep slathering on the sunscreen...

This week I found a band with an impressive and remarkable history.  Releasing one self-produced album right out high school, Gaillion flamed out like the unfortunate fireflies I caught in a jar as a kid.  But alas, they have returned to the prog scene with new music, high energy, and a time tested vision for success...so let the re-discovered prog madness begin!

Self-described as a "prog rock power trio," Gaillion released their first CD in 1989--and it ultimately became their swan song.  But let us not mourn the loss of youthful exuberance--no;  let us instead celebrate the rebirth of a wiser, more focused and finely "aged-like-wine" progressive rock band. Seven days through the past or a backward step forward...let us amble on with ears wide open...

Stepping to the forefront of the buffet, I begin with a tune from the original album called "The Grand Facade."  The dark opening seems to slowly peel back a weathered, torn curtain as the the music begins to explode through the headphones.  Solid guitars being pushed by a steady drum beat accelerate this song from zero to sixty in short time.  Top notes lean toward a blend of Asia, a dash of Yes, and some latter-day Genesis.  Remembering the era of the birth of this album, Gaillion were focused students of the genre.  Strong vocals rise above the music, resting on top as if in a crow's nest guiding the band through rough waters.

My second selection from this "buffet of prog music past" is called "Red Sun Sets."  An extremely powerful drum opening fills your auditory canals swiftly and intentionally.  There is a Rush meets Dream Theater feel to this piece...feeling the tension build...waiting for the hammer blow...all the while being immersed in a whirling turbulence that, while never landing a fatal blow, does leave marks on the inside lining of your skull.  Gaillion performs with a turbo-charged energy level reminiscent of Grand Funk Railroad...

Liner Notes...the story of Gaillion is as unique as it is fascinating.  Originally from Avon CT, the trio consists of Todd Howard on bass, keyboards, and vocals, James Vasquenza Jr. on guitars and backing vocals, and Don Gunn on drums and percussion.  Gaillion came to be in the mid-80's and self-produced/released their debut album, "Admit One," in 1989.  Touring heavily across southern new England to promote the album, Gaillion went the way of many a "wanna-be" rock band...and when the dust settled Gaillion was no more--until now.

Flip the calendar ahead about three hundred months, and you discover Don has remixed and remastered the original tapes to release the 25th anniversary of "Admit One" and continued recording with Todd for about a decade starting in 1991.  No new music was released, but Don the "tape master" still holds those recordings.  Throw James back into the mix circa 2009...and Gaillion began to hold "unofficial" recording sessions hoping to bring the "prog rock power trio" back to the progressive music forefront.

In May, Gaillion released their first new song since I was a newlywed, and they hope to continue "spoon-feeding" prog gems to an enthusiastic, eager fan base every few months.  Despite living in separate time zones, technology allows Don, Todd, and James to record "together but separately" while continuing to chase the dream...

Venturing back into the past one more time, I savor the taste of a song called "Victory Parade."  Apparently strong drum and guitar openings are a signature for Gaillion, as they leap from the vinyl with bold, bright colors this time, emitting top notes of Rush and Uriah Heep.  The bass line in this piece pulls you through a gauntlet of sound that refuses to let go, drawing you in until the final note is echoing through your head.  Gaillion was onto something in 1989...let's hope they are able to keep that spark alive...

...which leads me to my music clip for the week.  I chose their new release, "Letters From the Skipper."  In an attempt to bridge twenty five years,  my intent here is to give you a glimpse of the past via a taste of the present.  Gaillion has not missed a step with this song.  Everything is tight and crisp.  It is as though Todd, Don, and James stepped out of a time capsule, picked up their respective instruments, and simply finished a recording session started in 1989.  Relevant and exciting, "Letters From the Skipper" will whet your appetite for more.  Learn about the journey Gaillion has been on at http://www.gaillion.com/.  Check out more of their music and make a purchase at  http://gaillion.bandcamp.com/.  Gaillion can also be found on Twitter, @JVVGAILLION.  Of course for the social media inclined, there is always Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/gaillion25?fref=ts
No matter how you get there--get there.  Gaillion will take you back, pump you up, and get you looking for your old high school yearbook...remember your first taste of prog rock?


Well fellow progheads, this is a first for the Concert Closet--a glimpse forward by looking back.  Gaillion has traveled a road not regularly trodden through the prog garden.  Picking up the pieces and continuing on is not easy and in many cases impossible.  Gaillion seems to have successfully checked egos at the door, walked into studio, and said to each other, "What do you wanna play next?" Knowing you have a good thing and making it work are two different things, and fortunately for Gaillion--and the prog faithful--Don, Todd, and James were able to pull it off.

Six months worth of 2015 are on the flipped-to-the-back side of the calendar, and my search for all things prog continues. Gaillion has opened a new avenue for my search..are there other bands that decided to take a quarter century hiatus, only to return to the studio with a drive and desire--as well as new material--to make another run at this prog thing?  I have no idea but I do know this; if there is a prog band calling Earth home looking to rekindle that spark, the Concert Closet will find them.

Right now, it is time to hit the pause button for seven days as the summer weather beckons and I can no longer resist the pull of the beach and all her warm weather antics.  Of course if I happen to stumble across a prog band or two while getting too much sun, I will happily report my findings...so please look for a fresh post July 14th...until then...

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Mood Manual, "Authentic Tensegrity"

Thanks for coming back another week fellow progheads!  The trip back from Oslo was long, but the music and time spent with Gentle Knife was well worth it.  This week the Concert Closet travels back to familiar landscape--the USA--so I can spend time talking with and listening to a prog band that dabbles in many different sections of the prog garden.  Faithful followers of the Concert Closet may recall my post/review last November of The Mood Manual...well I am pleased to let you know the band has recently released their full-length debut album, "Authentic Tensegrity."  This week's post is a double-win for me; not only have I been enjoying the album, I was fortunate enough to get an interview with the band.  So if you will be kind enough to indulge me, I will share the interview here and entwine it with a review of "Authentic Tensegrity."

My disdain for routine forces me to start in the middle with a cut called "Concrete Stiletto."  The guitars weave through this piece like a snake stalking dinner.  Strong drumming builds a foundation to launch the vocals that strike randomly from all sides.  The Mood Manual leaps off the disc with this cut, challenging your pre-conceived definition of what prog is...perhaps the liner notes should include not so much a warning label as a cautionary wake-up call--you are in for a potent, vigorous week!

Closet Concert Arena: How did The Mood Manual come to be?

The Mood Manual: We've undergone quite a bit of evolution over the years.  We started out as a three-piece with Jim on bass and lead vocals, Matt on guitar, and Gio on drums.  We then added Carolyn on saxophone, who still works with us to create artwork and the band's visual identity.  In 2012 Tyler joined as vocalist so Jim could focus on bass, and we haven't looked back.

CCA: Your debut album "Authentic Tensegrity" was released in May; what was that experience like?

TMM: It was the biggest creative project we've ever taken on, which was both exhilarating and overwhelming at times.  Tyler lost his studio recording virginity in the process.  We had to race against time a few times when Tyler had to leave for military training immediately after recording sessions, which helped keep the energy alive.  We thrive on letting each other's individuality shine through--which is not only amazing, but can also lead to four-way disagreements.  However, we developed the ability to "zoom out" and see the bigger picture of what we're trying to do and fundamentally we tend to agree on the overall vision.

CCA: There are a lot of moods and emotions on the album; did you draw from life experiences when writing or is there another "place" you go to when putting pen to paper?

TMM: We draw from life experiences, imagination, and our own reactions to the music we make. Tyler wrote the lyrics to "Heresy" by tuning in to his genuine reaction to the raw sound of the music, which was composed beforehand, and the lyrics came out that way.  He also likes to tackle social issues, but in a way that's non-preachy; almost "sneaky."  Tricking people into thinking about the world we live in.  For the music itself, we draw from both our inner selves and the influences we're listening to at the time.  For example, when Matt wrote some of the parts to "Gold Mine" he was listening to a lot of King Crimson.  For "Concrete Stiletto," Gio was listening to a lot of Porcupine Tree.  Other songs, like "Architect," came seemingly out of nowhere.  We like to blend inner and outer influences; they help us stay true to ourselves and at the same time grow and expand.

Time to check out more of this album...and being curious about the song that "seemingly came from nowhere," I cue up "Architect."  The opening guitar is as intriguing as the lyrics...life through the eyes of those who lived and learned.  I feel as though I am an unannounced voyeur spying on the unsuspecting...the drums come through in an almost tribal chant, while the bass line keeps everyone focused.  The Mood Manual takes a hard left with this piece, moving into the cerebral section of the prog garden. I keep listening, over and over, and the music keeps bringing more substance to the surface with each go 'round...

CCA: You describe the band as creating unique and authentic art; can you elaborate?

TMM: Funny you mention it; we actually had an hours-long conversation to decide on that specific wording.  We want to be unique in that we want to contribute something fundamentally new to music as an art form.  The word "authentic" comes out of a movement that started in the San Francisco Bay area with a group named Authentic World (they're now based in Boulder).  We take "authentic" to mean holding attention in three places--on ourselves, our audience, and the relationship that unfolds between the two.  We say "art" instead of "music" because we think we have an opportunity to make our performances include other art forms like dance or visual art; to create something that's really alive.

CCA: What artists/bands have had an influence on the playing /writing style of The Mood Manual?

TMM: Everything but the kitchen sink, which is in keeping with our theme of tensegrity. We don't try to "filter out" certain influences to make our sound fit a particular schema.  There are tons of hard rock and prog artists such as Tool, Porcupine Tree, Led Zeppelin, Soundgarden, Rush, Pink Floyd, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dream Theater, etc. Some less obvious influences include Bjork, Tinarewin, Talking Heads, Radiohead, and various Middle Eastern influences.  There's even some classical influence in there, which you can hear in the fugue we wrote for Alchemy.

CCA: There is a definite metal edge to your sound, yet there is also a profundity to the playing that goes deeper.  How did that evolve?

TMM: Our sound comes back to the concept of tensegrity, which the album is named after.  We each give one another the freedom to play almost anything we want all the time, and the result is an eclectic sort of vibe.  We intentionally spend time working on the emotionality of our music, in addition to the more intellectual aspects like form and composition.

CCA: Are you touring to promote the album, staying local, or have you gone back into the studio?

TMM: We'd love to tour but we've been staying local for now.  We are planning to set up more performances toward the end of the summer to branch out regionally.  There's a bunch of administrative-type promotion work to be done and military training to schedule around, but in the fall we expect to be able to kick it into high gear.  Especially because as Tyler moves to Madison in July, we'll all be living in the same place--which hasn't been the case since 2008.

CCA: If you could play a live gig with anyone, who would you choose?

TMM: Our ideal bill would be The Mood Manual and Tool, with special guests Steven Wilson and Robert Fripp.

CCA: Please keep one seat open for me...

OK progheads, once last taste from this remarkable album...a haunting piece called "Alchemy."  The bare-naked acoustic opening takes you down an old road The Doors used to travel way back when. The vocals sink through the drumming, hitting the bottom and echoing back as if tossed flippantly into the Grand Canyon...deflecting off the walls of your mind.  The Mood Manual walks the dark outer edges with a keen insight about where to shine the light...stimulating for those who need their cerebellum poked now and then...

The Mood Manual is able to push buttons and tweak emotions...take you high only to "cut the engines" with no warning, sending you careening out of control--and then pull up at just the right moment, bringing normalcy back to life as we know it...pay no attention to the man behind the curtain...

As is my custom, I leave you with just a taste of the music...allowing you to savor the top notes and
overtones.  This week I offer an ardent cut called "i." The song comes at you from all directions--a kaleidoscope of sound in four powerful minutes.  Let the guitars wash over you like high tide after a hurricane as the vocals bounce around the rough edges.  Learn more about The Mood Manual and buy this amazing album at http://themoodmanual.bandcamp.com/.  You can dig a little deeper into what makes the members of the band tick on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/themoodmanual. Of course, following them on Twitter is also an option, @TheMoodManual.  Buy the download and plan to spend time getting lost in the prog garden for a while...you won't regret it.

Bringing this seven-day journey to an end leaves me sorting through many emotions.  The Mood Manual  is about so much more than music--prog or otherwise.  Catching a "behind-the-scenes" glimpse of a band with so much to offer has been inspiring to say the least.  The Mood Manual raises the bar for up-and-coming prog bands looking to mark territory and till acreage in the prog garden. Taking their craft seriously yet allowing room to breathe, grow, and enjoy the fruits of their labor puts The Mood Manual in the "bands that will still be relevant in twenty years" category.

But as always, all good things must come to an end...and I must once again  ready the Concert Closet for the next leg of the journey in my search for all things prog...until next week...

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Gentle Knife

Greetings once again from the Concert Closet Fellow progheads!  Leaving France was bittersweet for me; Enneade raised my intensity level and I always enjoy having the boundaries of prog pushed...good for the mind and soul.  This week my search for all things prog took a route less traveled--straight on to Scandinavia. Feeling the need to not only check out new places and different time zones, I have also been yearning for something that embodies prog in a more diverse way...combining the different "categories" of the genre into a distinctive sound.  And so I am pleased to introduce you to the enigmatic sounds of Gentle Knife.

Gentle Knife will certainly fill a phone booth...the band consists of ten members and describes themselves as a "...Norwegian progressive rock band...everything you would or would not expect...the band combines the mood of the '70s with a modern take on the genre."  That is mouthful with or without the ellipses, and the perfect hook for a proghead like me--simply gotta dig deeper!

Strolling to the prog buffet with a hankering for something with a "modern take," I find a large serving of "Eventide."  The opening imagery is a curtain drawn back to expose a grandiose performance, with top notes of King Crimson, The Moody Blues, and Gentle Giant seeping through the workings of the piece.  The shared male/female vocals add a velvety level of cool.  Horns lay low--just under the radar--but they fill the air without drowning anyone out.  Gentle Knife manages to pull a '70s prog sound into the 21st century with grace and ease.  The plethora of what is happening in this song is masked by its simplicity.

Time to saunter back for a second helping where I find this raucous piece, "Tear Away the Cords That Bind."  The opening guitar channels Transatlantic while the rest of the band discovered their inner Strawbs.  Combined with the dueling lead vocals, Gentle Knife occupies a relatively obscure section of the prog garden.  Using bright colors that spill onto a busy pallet, Gentle Knife offers a full sound with no anxiety about dabbling in the deep end of the pool.  The music cuts straight to the heart with surgeon-like precision, yet there is an ambience that is almost deceiving.  Gentle Knife draws you in with a subtle luring--a siren call--yet once the sound penetrates your auditory canals there is a placid urgency that demands attention.

Liner Notes...Gentle Knife hails from Oslo, Norway and requires a large stage when performing.  The bands consists of ten--count 'em ten--members.  Melina sings lead female vocals while Hakon sings lead male vocals and plays acoustic guitar.  Pal plays synthesizer, trumpet, and sings backing vocals, Thomas plays tenor sax, and Astraea plays flute.  Odd plays bass guitar, Ove Christian plays guitar, and Eivind plays guitar and synthesizer.  Ole Martin plays drums and percussion, and the decuplet is rounded out with Brian on samples, lyrics, and vision.  Aside from needing several tour buses and one helluva lot of roadies, Gentle Knife draws from the many flavors of the genre to create a sound that reflects classic, nostalgic, and modern prog.  The band's eponymous debut is an extraordinary concept album dealing with the tragedy of wandering onto the path of the unknown...

The final selection to close out the buffet this week is aptly called "The Gentle Knife."  Eponymous song on an eponymous album...hmmm.  Melina opens with vocals as smooth as caramel poured on a marble slab.  Soft guitar folds together beautifully with the horns, and the entire piece moves back and forth through mood swings and tempo changes on carefully constructed drum work.  Hakon comes in with darker vocals, leading you through a labyrinth of sound you aren't sure you want to leave.  Gentle Knife fills the air with aromatics of the Flower Kings and Under the Psycamore, with just an inkling of Marillion.  This is a band that studied well the sacred sounds of prog past and prog future, while setting out to define prog yet to come....

The clip posted for your listening pleasure this week is called "Remnants of Pride."  The opening flute melts away the trouble and stress of the day, leaving you deceptively calm and serene.  Of course Gentle Knife has mastered the art of sensory deception, and you fail to heed the warning until way past the point of no return.  So just sit in the canoe and flow with the current...enjoying the ride in blissful tranquility.  Learn more about Gentle Knife at http://www.gentleknife.com/.  Gentle Knife can also be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/gentleknife as well as Twitter, @gentleknife_jp.  Purchase the CD along with a bottle of deep, dark red wine, light a candle, and settle in for what should prove to be a most imaginative evening...

Spring is ending her 90-day stay in 2015 and Gentle Knife is a fitting lead-in to summer.  With horns and woodwinds to make most bands envious, Gentle Knife rolls through the prog garden  like a cool breeze on a cloudless day; soothing, satisfying, and a gateway to excitement.  A true gem was unearthed in Oslo...time now to get the Concert Closet back up and running as the search for all things prog continues to scour the landscape...until next week...

Tuesday, June 9, 2015


Warm weather greetings fellow progheads!  I know summer  does not officially make her entrance for almost a fortnight, but why wait to celebrate and waste all this great weather?  Last week was another Concert Closet UK experience, and Gandalf's Fist was truly a "cosmic" prog experience...but as promised, we will venture elsewhere this week.  Keeping the search for all things prog on high alert, I decided to bring the Concert Closet thirteen hours and 800 miles south for a tour of France and an opportunity to explore some depth in the prog garden.  Welcome to the sounds of Enneade.

Describing themselves as "...a cutting edge prog'rock combo with a lingering 70's aftertaste..." Enneade has touched a nerve that only some prog salve can soothe.  Time to check out what the French consider "cutting edge," so let us disembark the Concert Closet and do some exploring, shall we?

The buffet seems exceptionally heavy this week, and I want to run this gauntlet to the end, so best to start slow and focused.  Serving number one is an emotional roller coaster called "Elements." The song opens the same way a hurricane starts...slowly off the periphery.  You can sense anxiety and a foreboding darkness looming; you aren't sure when the earth shattering kaboom is going to land--you just know it's coming straight toward you.  The guitars hang like a Sword of Damocles in the air ready to strike that fatal blow.  Drums come from the bottom and build a force that permeates the entire piece...yet through all of this you never feel like doom has invaded your most private space--rather it is an air of defiance that fills the room.

Enneade has strong aromas of Opeth and Dream Theater, and a lingering top note of Ted Nugent in his "Stranglehold" days.  Striding back to the buffet for a stronger dose, I come away with an attention-grabbing song called "Tunis Area."  This piece is redolent of the 80's incarnation of King Crimson...an almost avante-garde opening leading quickly down a dark tunnel to madness and mayhem.  The guitars seem to be crying as they bleed out, running down your spine like sap oozing from a maple tree.  The drums fit perfectly, leaving just enough space to let the air out of the piece. Enneade squeezes your head with this one and never lets go--but instead of pain you feel mesmerized.

Liner Notes...Enneade began in 1996 in Lyon, France.  The present line-up consists of of Georges-Marc Lavarenne on guitars, keyboards, and backing vocals, Julien Fayolle on bass, chapman stick, and glockenspiel, Mallory Durieu on vocals, Christophe Goulevitch on guitars, and Frederic Lacousse on drums and percussion.  However; through the years many a talented musician has passed through the Enneade turnstyle...much the way Yes has a who's who of alumni.  While Enneade occupies a lot of acreage in the metal section of the prog garden, they also have off-shoots in areas where the sun shines a bit brighter.  The library of music Enneade has put out screams multiple-personality disorder...which in the world of progressive rock is very much a good thing. Understanding when it is best to either hit hard or pull punches, paint with bright colors or use a dark canvas to reflect passion and emotion, Enneade comes bursting through the noise and clutter with tight sound and a cohesiveness born of almost two decades riding the prog carousel.

Moving back one last time to the calorie-laden buffet, the final serving this week is called (appropriately enough) "Farewell Goodbye."  Enneade's brighter, happier side comes through at first...smooth like a sailboat on the lake.  A steady drumbeat reminds you that nothing last forever while the keyboards and guitars sit on top like whip cream on a sundae...and then the beast starts to bend the cage bars.  The tension is as tangible as a cold knife blade against your neck...although the fatal strike somehow eludes.  Enneade builds a tension throughout without tearing your scalp off, resulting in a somewhat eerie gladness.

The clip posted below is an emotion tugging piece called "The Dreamscape Part I: The Awakening."  Enneade starts out slowly here, painting with a subtle brush using soft strokes.  You start to feel lulled into a feeling of safety; no head banging to be found.  Just to remind you what Enneade is about however, the metal seeps through the headphones at a level able to kick start your metabolism. The vocals throughout are soft without being mushy...strong enough to hold up to the pulsating drums and powerful guitar without exploding into a frightening shrill.  Yes, Enneade is able to run the gambit of metal emotions without leaving burn marks.  Learn more about Enneade at http://enneadeband.com/. You can also follow the band on Twitter @enneade and find them on Facebook at
https://www.facebook.com/enneadeband?fref=nf.  Whichever your preference, Enneade is a band worth delving into...just be sure to wear protective head gear...   


Once again fellow progheads we have reached the end of an exciting week.  Creeping up on the halfway marker for 2015 seems almost surreal, yet knowing there are many more surprises out there just waiting to be found keeps the Concert Closet on the prowl for all things prog.  Enneade has an approach to progressive rock that is just this side of different; they know when to blast you hard enough to remove the outer layer of epidermis and when to take a more relaxed approach and melt through that hard exterior.

The search for all things prog continues...time once again to refuel the Concert Closet and leave a jet stream in my wake...until next week...

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Gandalf's Fist

Welcome once again to the Concert Closet fellow progheads!  The search for all things prog has left Mexico after a much appreciated week relaxing with Luz Negra...now it's decision time.  Of course, when in doubt there is always a prog band in the UK waiting for me to touch down and spend 168 hours immersed in a new and different sound.  With that thought in my head, I take you back once again to England--before the chaos of Wimbledon sets in next month--for a seven day visit and existential prog journey with Gandalf's Fist.

Referring to themselves as "...UK purveyors of medieval space rock..." Gandalf's Fist is a must-listen for those who appreciate the deep roots, multi-layered sound, and spacious artistry that is progressive rock.  Viewing and listening from the vantage point of the average fan, I will admit to a higher energy level this week since I am more familiar with the music of Gandalf's Fist going in than I have been with many bands posted about previously.  However; I am approaching this leg of the journey with no preconceived expectations or ideas about where the music will take me.  So with mind and ears wide open and ready for a prog deluge, let the madness begin!

My first foray to the prog buffet fills my plate with a tune called "Drifter on the Edge of Time."  The song opens in a poignant mood; you can feel emotions oozing through the soft keyboards and surreal guitar work.  Gandalf's Fist comes right at you with everything--the music is in full bloom almost immediately and the imagery is a panoramic view of all things progressive.  Try to imagine King Crimson collaborating with Pink Floyd and the Moody Blues...you're almost there...

Moving down the buffet line to sample some of the band's earlier work, I discover a dark, multi-faceted piece called "Untrodden Ways."  As the music begins to seep through the inner lining of your cranium, you feel as though you have been swept back to medieval times...the mood is tranquil and all that's missing is a minstrel in full regalia prancing through a meadow.  Suddenly and without much fanfare the entire piece veers 90 degrees hard left and BAM!  Gandalf's Fist starts to channel a Dream Theater/Dropkick Murphys hybrid--just long enough to have you question reality.  This is a band unafraid to explore the dark outer edges of the prog garden at night...

Liner Notes...Gandalf's Fist hails from Cumbria, which is in northwest England.  The band was founded by the multi-talented Dean Marsh on lead vocals, guitar, keyboards, banjo, mandolin, bass, and percussion, along with Luke Severn on lead vocals, narration, keyboards, hand percussion, and the genius behind some pirate/wizard impressions.  Dean and Luke have since been joined by Stefan Hepe on drums and Chris Ewen on backing vocal and bass guitar.

Since forming in 2005, Gandalf's Fist has not only released seven LP's/EP's, they have recorded on various compilation albums as well.  With roots deeply entrenched in the classic section of the prog garden, Gandalf's Fist has also ventured successfully into other realms, leaving an indelible mark along the way. The art of the concept album was mastered by The Alan Parsons Project, and Gandalf's Fist has proven to be a most worthy protege.  Dabbling in the outer reaches of other worlds, ancient times, and the modern-day, Gandalf's Fist sees the planet through a lens that brings the puritan past and the here-and-now into juxtaposition, allowing the listener to explore different levels of consciousness on his/her own.

Serving number three from this "interstellar" prog feast is a brightly colored, elaborate song called
"The Circus in the Clearing (Including the Fanfare for the King's Tournament)."  All at once the circus does indeed come to life...the calliope at full steam.  Everything flows beautifully--to single out an individual instrument would do injustice to the music in its entirety.  That is the beauty of Gandalf's Fist--you can't pull the band apart; each member a vital carrier of the band's lifeblood. Take the time to appreciate and enjoy Gandalf's Fist as you would the birth of your first child...soak it all in and relish every moment.

The clip posted below is the title cut  from an earlier album called "The Master and the Monkey." This piece is Part I and it is striking.  The pleading guitar that opens the track is backed by a pulsing drum that keeps your subconscious dialed in...meanwhile Dean's banjo underscores a suite that has strong top notes of Al DiMeola and Jean-Luc Ponty.  Gandalf's Fist seems to only be contained by their own imaginations and bravado.  Learn more about Gandalf's Fist at http://www.gandalfsfist.com/home.  Of course you can also find the band on Facebook,
https://www.facebook.com/gandalfsfist?fref=ts and Twitter, @gandalfsfist.  Before venturing into deep water for the first time, make sure you surround yourself with good friends, good food, good spirits, and of course, lots of time....

Well fellow progheads, we are almost to the half way marker of 2015...hard to believe I know. Gandalf's Fist brings a level of intensity to the prog garden many bands only aspire to.  The band brings its music to life without bling and glitz--just straight up progressive rock.  Leaving nothing in the proverbial tank, Gandalf's Fist lays souls bare and emotions spent as the laser finishes reading the disc...and so too the Concert Closet must lay bare (for at least a week) the familiar tundra that is the UK.  Expanding the search for all things prog, it is time to search out new sounds and continue raising the standard...until next week...