Exhausted your playlists and need some inspiration while you’re on lockdown? Want to explore some new sounds? We’ve been in touch with musicians far and wide to hear what’s keeping them sane during these difficult times.
Here’s Newcastle’s Lee Anderson, bassist with UK death metal outfits Live Burial and Horrified, and four-stringer for death-grind experimentalists Plague Rider, on what’s keeping him going while he’s holed up at home.
And as you can see, the talented Tynesider is a wee bit of a prog-head…
Space – Magic Fly (Disques Vogue, 1977)
This is first time I heard anything under the ‘space disco’ moniker. The first song I ever landed on with this was the album’s epic closer, Carry On, Turn Me On – an utterly sublime track. It comes in with this chilled build, gradually picking up the pace until it kicks in and at that moment, that’s where it gets you. I wasn’t prepared for the ride but I’m glad I stayed until the end. Huge grooving bass lines, drums with attitude, amazing space-like synth and that voice. A powerhouse performance.
Turns out that song doesn’t sound a lot like the rest of the album but that’s not to say it’s bad. In fact, the rest of the album is incredible. It’s all instrumental. besides that one track. The title track from this album was actually their biggest hit and as great it is, the rest of it is just as good, if not better.
Ahead of its time, for sure.
Eloy – Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes (EMI Electro, 1979)
My all-time favourite band and favourite album of theirs. I’ve been a huge lover of prog rock for years now and when I discovered Eloy it was like I hit a peak with music. To me this band are perfection and deliver on everything I look for in music. There’s not an album of theirs I don’t like, but this one is their best in my opinion, from their peak period back in the 70s.
This was the last in the trilogy involving their classic line up. The album opens up with an intro reminiscent of Pink Floyd but what’s to follow is a space prog voyage of musical ecstasy. Enter the drum and bass work followed by layers of synth and guitar – and a voice sent from deep space.
The production on this record is up there in terms of quality and each instrument really gets its deserved treatment: the wandering bass work, amazing drum fill work, elevating synth layers and the virtuoso guitar work from main man, singer/guitarist/songwriter Frank Bornemann, who I would put on the level of David Gilmour and Andrew Latimer (Camel) as a lead player. The Apocalypse from this album is one of the finest songs I’ve ever heard.
Drab Majesty – Modern Mirror (Dais Records, 2019)
An unashamedly tribute to the 80s with plenty of nods to goth and dreampop. I really love the aesthetic of Drab Majesty’s sound and I feel with this album they really hit their stride.
Modern Mirror is drenched with layers of synth which really create the atmosphere of the music, coupled with some stunning jangly guitar playing, programmed drums to give it that 80s electronic kit sound and the deep, goth-like singing.
There are a lot of catchy and big, powerful choruses. The Other Side, for example, has an amazing chorus which you can’t help but get in to. The track Oxytocin is another highlight, one that taps into the softer side of the band: it is such a transcendental piece.
Renaissance – Scheherazade and Other Stories (BTM, 1975)
A release I’ll never get bored of. Renaissance really hit their creative boom with this one and managed to blend folk and prog rock perfectly.
The arrangements and orchestrations sound fit for a stage play and Annie Haslam’s voice is something to behold – my favourite female voice for sure. I remember reading she could demonstrate a five octave range which is incredible and it’s proven at the climax of the final track, Song of Scherazade, a stunning piece clocking around just under 25 minutes long which plays out like different acts within. That final vocal note really lifts you out of your seat!
King Buffalo – Dead Star (Stickman Records, 2020)
This album was only released March this year, but I’ve been heavily rotating it since purchasing.
I’ve been following King Buffalo for years now, since I first came across their debut album. They’ve got this desert rock/psychedelic prog mash up going on and its very adventurous with plenty of long songs in their arsenal.
With this record they’ve added a few more spices to the mix, sometimes going in a much darker turn with the epic opening track, Red Star part 1 & 2 (clocking in at over 16 minutes) kneeling down to the altar of Sabbath at some moments and for the first time, they did a track which is entirely synthwave. Incredibly, it fits with the flow of the album and sets up the next track Eta Carinae up with a smooth transition.
Their vocalist has one of the nicest voices I’ve heard, very clear and soothing with a story telling lyric style. Also, there is some phenomenal lead playing at hand!
Fuzzy Duck – Fuzzy Duck (MAM, 1971)
An album for any fun occasion. This is one of the many albums that will keep my head dipped in to believing the 70s was the best period for music.
Released in 1971, it features that crisp yet raw production where you can hear every instrument and it’s a great thing as well because all these guys were in their own world yet are still coming together to create a magic listening experience.
Huge jams here, with some very fancy hammond organ action and ripping guitar moments. Seriously, the tone on this guitar is blazing with attitude.
It also includes one of my all-time favourite bass performances from Mick Hawksworth, a very underrated bassist who also played in 60s band, Andromeda. He really grooves on this.
My personal highlight is Afternoon Out which just oozes cool in every department and has outrageous guitar licks.
Spiralmaze – Dunes of Dorlmeus (Self-released, 2018)
I call this album the gift that keeps on giving. Why? Because it’s one of those records where there’s so much going on that you get lost in this different dimension of music. When you think it has reached the end, it starts back up again, like switching drivers and entering another portal. It’s such a different beast and the only band I can really compare Spiralmaze to is Ozric Tentacles, which is enough to say it’s quite unique!
It’s a massive instrumental cocktail of genres and mood changes. One moment you’ll be in amazing psychedelic bliss and then it will jump to some intense acid trance, heavy riffs, tribal beats and so on, with none of it sounding forced. I can’t narrow this album down to a single song because I believe it needs to be listened to from start to finish for the full experience.
Just coming in at under an hour it feels like you’ve been there a long time while listening, but in a way that you never want to leave.
Captain Beyond – Captain Beyond (Capricorn, 1972)
Featuring the original singer of Deep Purple, Rod Evans and members of Iron Butterfly, this album spawns a marriage of excellent song writing. There is a lot of attitude on show with this one, especially when those heavy surf-like riffs kick in and get going.
Another early 70s album which was ahead of the game. There’s even a riff on the intro track, Dancing Madly Backwards, which if sped up would totally pass for something Atheist would churn out! Plenty of ripping riffs and slick leads on this one with grooving drum and bass really driving the band.
Morbus Chron – Sweven (Century Media, 2014)
A unique album and always makes for a very interesting listen. There’s this hazy, dream like atmosphere all the way through the album which sounds like the soundtrack to trying to escape from a nightmare. There are calm interludes before the madness ensues again.
The band don’t go for any expected harmonies or note choices in their song writing, which helps it stand out. There are some chaotic moments with an underlining of bliss and the tortured wails of vocalist Robert Andersson throughout. The best way I can describe this album is psychedelic death metal.
Elbrus – Elbrus (Kozmik Artifactz, 2016)
An amazing band from Australia that I stumbled on a few years ago. What got me first was the captivating artwork drawn up by none other than Adam Burke. It’s hard to tie this one down to a single genre. A lot of psychedelic and doom elements are involved but there is also a slick, laid back country vibe to it at times. The duel vocals in the opening track blend perfectly and give a soothing induction in to the journey to follow.
It contains plenty of stand out moments such as the infectiously catchy track, Break The Machine, which features one of the wildest harmonica solos my ears have ever heard and the huge closer, Three Walls, which rounds off the album in huge, space-psych fashion.
Thanks to Lee for his lockdown lowdown!
Check out Live Burial on Bandcamp here.
Check out Horrified on Bandcamp here.
Check out Plague Rider on Bandcamp here.
View our verdict on the new Live Burial album, Unending Futility, here.