Published on 1st November 2020

TPA News – November 2020

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Latest Prog News from across the progressive music spectrum & updated throughout November 2020.

26/11/2020: Vola Reveal New Song Head Mounted Sideways and New Album for 2021

Danish-Swedish quartet VOLA have released a new song, Head Mounted Sideways, their first new music in two years following Applause of a Distant Crowd (2018).

Asger Mygind comments: “The ‘head-mounted sideways’ is a metaphor for ‘looking the other way. I did not have any plan with the lyrics, but once I knew that they should convey anger, It was intuitive to talk about the decline of civilizations and not taking responsibility for the obvious decline. It doesn’t necessarily speak about Earth in 2020. What I felt was important to get across was the image of a world built on flawed morals, and how this world eventually crumbles and falls due to the cracks in the foundation.”

Songs for the new album were written shortly after returning from their 2019 headline tour across Europe. They have also toured with Dream Theater, Anathema, Katatonia, Haken, Monuments as well as performances at Euroblast, Ramblin’ Man Fair, Radar Festival, Bloodstock, Damnation Fest and Tech Fest.

Previous album Applause of a Distant Crowd tackled society’s distractions from thoughtfulness and examined the way human relationships have evolved, also touching upon fear and anxiety, whereas their debut Inmazes dealt with the struggle that came with being trapped in mental mazes. They lyrically entwine the exploration of behaviour and human nature with a deep character narrative.

Asgar continues: “I think Steven Wilson was a big inspiration in pushing me in the direction of writing songs about “the person next door” rather than philosophy, mythology etc. I like when lyrics contain characters and situations that are easy to relate to, with a frequent use of everyday nouns. I think this is a nice way of “grounding” the lyrics, while the music itself might be very intangible, seeking an otherworldly vibe.

We like contrasts, as it doesn’t just make it easier to create mood swings in the songs, but also the ability to change the point of view of the character that’s singing or being sung about,” he says. “In ‘Head Mounted Sideways’ the point of view changes to one of the victims of the decline in the 2nd verse.

VOLA are Asger Mygind (vocals/guitar), Martin Werner (keys), Nicolai Mogensen (bass) and Adam Janzi (drums) and their new album will be coming in 2021.

SOURCE: Mascot Label Group

Keep up to date with the UK dates (and more from across the progressive spectrum) with TPA Gig Guide

25/11/2020: H Announces Natural Livestream: 19th December 2020 at 7pm

Steve Hogarth has announced a H Natural Livestream Christmas show for 19th December 2020.

In a message posted on the Marillion website, H reports:

After a year without walking onto a stage, and with no chance of being together with you all this year I decided I should find a way to make a Christmas show for us all. Unfortunately St. John’s Oxford are unable to welcome the public during the current restrictions but suggested I might consider a live-stream.

So then I got to thinking… and the more I thought about it, the more I thought it must happen!

I will be playing songs in church, at the Steinway Piano, as the mood takes me, in the usual fashion.

Audience feedback will be via Facebook and Lucy Jordache will be presiding over your comments along with Ant Short. The show will include a short-ish Corona Diaries Live Podcast where Ant and I discuss your questions and I attempt to throw light on them. Also a short reading from the diary.

I will have to dress my own tree (boo) and drink my own tequila (even more bum chords than usual). Tim Sidwell will set up the cameras and the live stream so it will look good. Steve Finch will provide lights, so it will be pretty. Phil Brown will mix the broadcast sound so it will sound wonderful. And I will be listening out for your thoughts, comments and, dare I say it, requests.

If you can’t make it to the live stream on the night, the link will remain live for 48 hours to give everyone time to be “at” the show when they are able.

Tickets are available to the WORLD priced £12.00 each. If you’re planning to watch with family or friends, you can support the show by purchasing a family ticket for £18.00


Wishing you all a happy, healthy and hopeful Christmas

mr h

SOURCE: Marillion

Keep up to date with the UK dates (and more from across the progressive spectrum) with TPA Gig Guide

19/11/2020: Anneke van Giersbergen Announces New Solo Album The Darkest Skies Are The Brightest

Anneke van Giersbergen has announced a new studio album The Darkest Skies Are The Brightest for release 26th February 2021. The album’s title refers to the idea that, when facing personal challenges, we are forced to find answers to life’s biggest questions.

But she did not anticipate writing a new album. In 2018, Anneke began working on new material for her metal band, VUUR. Although their debut album In This Moment We Are Free – Cities was met with a mixed reception, fans were warming up to their heavy, progressive sound. However, behind the scenes, Anneke was experiencing doubts. “My belief in VUUR saw me spend all my savings on recording VUUR’s debut album and taking the band on the road. After completing our first touring cycle, I realized that more VUUR would mean yet more, huge financial risks.

In addition to financial considerations, her long-lasting marriage unexpectedly encountered difficulties. “I instantly knew I needed to write music about fixing my life. This creative endeavour would be far too personal for a VUUR album. And it would also require solitude.”

With just an acoustic guitar and basic recording gear, Anneke retreated to a small house near the woods, just outside her hometown of Eindhoven. She let go of the pressures of what VUUR’s future might be, and began the process of writing a solo album. In 2019, work continued on the new songs. In 2020, Anneke asked her friend and producer, Gijs Coolen, to help finish the album.

Throughout the completion of the album, Anneke’s acoustic song-stories were fused together with panoramic strings, horns, and percussion. The Japanese art of kintsugi has inspired Anneke to use a repaired heart as the album’s symbol. Kintsugi teaches that bringing together the pieces of a broken object – with the use of a precious metal – adds value and uniqueness to it. And, instead of giving up on their marriage, Anneke and her husband decided to take the time to mend their bond. They now cherish the repaired heartbreak as something profoundly valuable.

Their journey through this personal storm, and the album that Anneke created in the eye of it, proves that the darkest skies truly are the brightest.

The album will be available as CD Digipak, Gatefold 2LP + CD & as digital album.

Track List
01. Agape
02. Hurricane
03. My Promise
04. I Saw A Car
05. The Soul Knows
06. The End
07. Keep It Simple
08. Lo And Behold
09. Losing You
10. Survive
11. Love You Like I Love You

‘The Darkest Skies Are The Brightest’ is Anneke’s 23rd career album.

SOURCE: For The Lost PR

Keep up to date with the UK dates (and more from across the progressive spectrum) with TPA Gig Guide

09/11/2020: Transatlantic to Release Fifth Studio Album The Absolute Universe

Transatlantic – Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy, Roine Stolt & Pete Trewavas – have announced their fifth studio album The Absolute Universe for release on the 5th February 2021. Representing the band’s first new music since 2014’s Kaleidoscope, there will be two versions of the new album: The Absolute Universe: The Breath Of Life (Abridged Version) & The Absolute Universe: Forevermore (Extended Version).

Mike Portnoy explains: “We’ve got two versions of this album. There is a two CD presentation, which is 90 minutes long, and a single one – that’s 60 minutes. However, the single CD is NOT merely an edited version of the double CD. They each contain alternate versions and even in some cases, new recordings. We wrote fresh lyrics and have different people singing on the single CD version tracks as compared to those on the double CD. Some of the song titles have also been changed, while others might remain the same, but compositionally what you’ll hear has been altered. You must appreciate that what we have done is unique. We revamped the songs to make the two versions different.

Pete Trewavas adds: “We did write some new music for the single CD,” adds Trewavas. “What’s more, there are also differences in the instruments used on some of the tracks across the two records.

Each album will be available on CD, LP & Digitally. But there will also be what has been called ‘The Absolute Universe: The Ultimate Edition’, which collects both versions together in one package that includes 5LP’s, 3CD’s & a Blu-ray that contains a 5.1 surround sound mix with visuals & a behind the scenes documentary. All editions have unique artwork created by Thomas Ewerhard. The full list of formats is below, and pre-orders start on the 20th November:

‘The Absolute Universe: The Breath Of Life (Abridged Version)’
Special Edition CD Digipak
Gatefold 2LP+CD
Digital Album
‘The Absolute Universe: Forevermore (Extended Version)’
Special Edition 2CD Digipak
3LP+2CD Boxset
Digital Album
‘The Absolute Universe: The Ultimate Edition’
Limited Deluxe Clear 5LP+3CD+Blu-Ray Box-set – contained within a foil-finished lift-off box with extended 16-page LP booklet & 60x60cm poster

Initial tracking began in September 2019 when the band met up in Sweden to write and arrange the new material. Portnoy explains: “Over a period of 10-14 days, we mapped out the songs. Then we all went back to our home studios and did the recording. That’s the way we always do it. At one point, though, it was suggested that instead of doing what was by that time going to be a double album, we should just be content to do a single CD.”

Stolt adds: “What happened was that everything kept expanding and expanding. Therefore we decided it made sense to make it a double album. It was Pete and Neal who then came out and said they felt this would be too long, and we should reduce it to one…But we were already recording, and it didn’t seem feasible to cut it back. There were so many pieces that each of us loved in what we were planning and didn’t want to lose. That’s when we ended up in discussions over the best way forward.

This album also marks a return to the concept album for Transatlantic. “Well, the idea of Transatlantic deciding to do a concept record this time around won’t shock anyone, right?” laughs Portnoy. “What we have is essentially one giant composition, split into chapters. The storyline is about the struggles facing everyone in society today.” “We didn’t start out with the idea of this being conceptual,” admits Stolt. “The way things work with us is that we have a load of ideas, and these are developed spontaneously when we meet up. Everything happens in the moment.

SOURCE: For The Lost PR

Keep up to date with the UK dates (and more from across the progressive spectrum) with TPA Gig Guide

08/11/2020: Midnight Oil Announce the Passing of Bassist Bones Hillman

Midnight Oil have announced the passing of their bassist Bones Hillman. A statement on their Twitter feed reads: “We’re grieving the loss of our brother Bones Hillman, who has passed away at his home in Milwaukee today after a cancer battle. He was the bassist with the beautiful voice, the band member with the wicked sense of humour, and our brilliant musical comrade.

The band continue: “Bones joined Midnight Oil way back in 1987 after stints in various Kiwi bands, most notably, The Swingers. He played and sang on every Midnight Oil recording since Blue Sky Mining and we did thousands of gigs together.

We will deeply miss our dear friend and companion and we send our sincerest sympathies to Denise, who has been a tower of strength for him. Haere rā Bonesy from Jim, Martin, Peter & Rob.

SOURCE: Midnight Oil

Keep up to date with the UK dates (and more from across the progressive spectrum) with TPA Gig Guide

06/11/2020: Nick D’Virgilio talks with TPA

Nick D'Virgilio

Nick, having released a solo album, Karma, whilst with Spock’s Beard in 2000, why so long until the release of Invisible?

With his second solo album, Invisible, released earlier this year, TPA’s Tony Colvill talks to Nick D’Virgilio, drummer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire with Spock’s Beard, Genesis (briefly), Big Big Train, and many more…

Nick D’Virgilio – InvisibleIt just took this long to get to this point, when I did that first record, I should say I was heavily involved in other bands and stuff. I had Spock’s Beard stuff going on, I was still doing Tears For Fears gigs, plus other stuff on the side, and family and normal day to day things. So, the solo artist thing really didn’t take hold for me because of the way my career was going, and looking back my song writing wasn’t as strong as it is now. When I started to sing lead in Spock’s around that time, we were required to write more for the band since Neal [Morse] had left, so that helped my song writing chops as well. It just took this long to get here, when I had the time, the confidence, and I just made it a priority.

SOURCE: The Progressive Aspect

06/11/2020: Mexican Band Alpha Lighting System Release their New Single Mirage Today

Mexican prog rock band Alpha Lighting System is releasing their new single Mirage, with an accompanying lyric video premiering, today. Mirage is the fourth single out of their most recent album H+, mixed by Bruce Soord (The Pineapple Thief).

The Deluxe Limited Edition (CD + DVD) can be pre-ordered now exclusively at Bandcamp.

H+ Track List
01. Allison (5:46)
02. Mirage (5:34)
03. 2872 (7:05)
04. Against the Tyranny of Our Genes (0:59)
05. Δ (9:18)
06. «virtual.death» (5:16)
07. life.exe (3:33)
08. EV01VE (4:22)
09. Gone (10:38)

Alam Hernández / lead vocals, piano & synthesizers
Juan Gabriel Hernández / drums, percussion, backing vocals
Jaco Jácome / bass, bass pedals, backing vocals
Joshua San Martín / guitars, backing vocals

Source: Bandcamp

05/11/2020: Ken Hensley (ex Uriah Heep) Passes Away After a Short Illness

Ken Hensley, former Uriah Heep vocalist songwriter and multi-instrumentalist passed away peacefully on 4th November following a very short illness.

Hensley was one of the most important musicians of the past half-a-century. His work with Uriah Heep in the 1970s helped to make the band hugely influential. He also collaborated with bands such as Blackfoot, W.A.S.P. and Cinderella, as well as building a very successful solo career. As a writer he was responsible for such classics as ‘Lady In Black’, ‘Easy Livin”, ‘July Morning’ and ‘Look At Yourself’.

A very spiritual person, Hensley became an inspiration to many and known for encouraging talented artists.

Mick Box comments: “I am in deep shock at the news Ken Hensley has passed away, and my sincere condolences go to his family and wife Monica. Ken wrote some amazing songs in his tenure with the band, and they will remain a musical legacy that will be in people’s hearts forever. RIP Ken.”

Ken had recently finished work on a new project My Book of Answers which is due for release end of February 2021.

He leaves behind a wife Monica and 2 brothers Trevor, Mark and sister Dawn and his close friend and manager Steve Weltman. The family ask fans for some space and time to come to terms with the tragic and unexpected loss.

Keep up to date with the UK dates (and more from across the progressive spectrum) with TPA Gig Guide

04/11/2020: Steve Hackett to Release of a New Acoustic Album on 22nd January 2021

Steve Hackett has announced the forthcoming release of his new acoustic album Under A Mediterranean Sky on 22nd January 2021 as a Limited CD Digipak, Gatefold 2LP + CD + LP-booklet and Digital Album via InsideOut Music. Under A Mediterranean Sky is his first acoustic solo album since Tribute in 2008 and takes inspiration from his travels around the Mediterranean with his wife Jo.

Working closely with long-time musical partner Roger King, Hackett has used his time during 2020’s lockdown to map his musical journey around the landscapes and diversity of the Mediterranean. The album demonstrates the beauty of the nylon guitar whilst venturing into the ethnic soundscapes of the region, supported by orchestral arrangements.

Hackett comments:A lot of acoustic ideas had been forming over the years, and it felt like the perfect time to create this album, a time to contemplate the places we’ve visited around the Mediterranean with the kind of music which evolved from the world of imagination. Because we can’t really travel, substantially at the moment, I hope that the album will take people on that journey. Whether you sit down and listen to it or drift off to it with a glass of wine…

01. Mdina  The Walled City (Steve Hackett/Roger King)
02. Adriatic Blue (Steve Hackett)
03. Sirocco (Steve Hackett/Jo Hackett/Roger King)
04. Joie de Vivre (Steve Hackett/Jo Hackett)
05. The Memory of Myth (Steve Hackett/Jo Hackett/Roger King)
06. Scarlatti Sonata (Domenico Scarlatti)
07. Casa del Fauno (Steve Hackett/Roger King)
08. The Dervish and the Djin (Steve Hackett/Jo Hackett/Roger King)
09. Lorato (Steve Hackett)
10. Andalusian Heart (Steve Hackett/Jo Hackett/Roger King)
11. The Call of the Sea (Steve Hackett)

I had a great time doing this album, seeing it take shape, and I’m very pleased with the outcome. I’m very proud of it. The nylon guitar has a very individual sound but, within the compass of what the nylon-strung guitar can do, there are a lot of different tones. You can do the full-on attack, the kind of salvo that you expect from the flamenco players but, at the same time, it can also be very gentle, gentle as a harp. It’s shades of black and white. It’s also exciting to play alongside instruments from around the world, as well as a wide range of orchestral sounds.”

Under A Mediterranean Sky released on 22nd January 2021
Formats – Limited CD Digipak,
Gatefold 2LP + CD + LP-booklet
Digital Album via InsideOut Music.

SOURCE: The Publicity Connection

02/11/2020: Iamthemorning Announce New EP Counting The Ghosts for December Release

Iamthemorning are set to self-release a new EP Counting The Ghosts on 4th December to raise funds to record their new album next year.

Consisting of 4 tracks and recorded in isolation in the UK, Russia and Canada, Counting The Ghosts features 2 new original songs from the duo of Marjana Semkina and Gleb Kolyadin, alongside 2 traditional Christmas choir pieces that have been re-imagined by the band. Marjana comments: “Cradle Song is something I wrote just a couple of weeks ago – it wasn’t supposed to be anything, just a demo I recorded spontaneously to try out the new guitar. Gleb loved it so we decided to use the track and arranged it together – i play the guitar myself in the final recording alongside our sound guy Vlad Avy who added his guitar on top of it. The lyrics are influenced by writings of William Blake and stylised after him.”

The title track “is a thought provoking tribute to the dark year that has been 2020. As you will hear i don’t have much good things to say about it. “This year is over but nothing feels right, we have come a full circle while burning alive” pretty much sums it up for me.”

The other tracks on the EP see Iamthemorning adding their own twist to two traditional festive songs, the 12th century hymn ‘Veni Veni Emmanuel’ and the more modern piece ‘I Wonder As I Wonder’ which was thought to be collected by John Jacob Niles in 1933 from a young traveling evangelist Annie Morgan. Marjana states ‘This arrangement is based on the one by John Rutter but again adjusted to fit the character of music we make.” The multi-layered arrangements of ‘Veni Veni Emmanuel’ sees Marjana singing in Latin and were inspired by the works of Benjamin Britten.

Pre-order’s for the EP begin on Friday 6th November via the band’s Bandcamp Page

01. I Wonder As I Wander
02. Cradle Song
03. Counting The Ghosts
04. Veni Veni Emmanuel

SOURCE: For The Lost PR

01/11/2020: Releasing in November 2020

Albums releasing in November 2020, arranged in order of release. Updated weekly. (Last updated 01/11/2020)

Arcana – Letters From A Lost Soul – Act I: The World One Forms (EP)
Self-Release: 6 November 2020

Garmarna – Förbundet
Season of Mist: 6 November 2020

Kimono Drag Queens – Songs Of Worship
Copper Feast Records: 6 November 2020

SÓLSTAFIR – Endless Twilight of Codependent Love
Season of Mist: 6 November 2020

Dune Sea – Moons of Uranus
All Good Clean Records: 13 November 2020

Intervals – Circadian
Self release: 13 November 2020

Katatonia – Dead Air
Peaceville: 13 November 2020

Lunatic Soul – Through Shaded Woods
Kscope (ROW) / Mystic (PL, CZ): 13 November 2020

Airbag – All Rights Removed (remastered)
Karisma Records: 20 November 2020

Airbag – The Greatest Show on Earth (remastered)
Karisma Records: 20 November 2020

Avandra – Skylighting
Layered Reality Productions: 20 November 2020

Our Oceans – While Time Disappears
Long Branch: 27 November 2020

Keep up to date with the UK dates (and more from across the progressive spectrum) with TPA Gig Guide

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