Anyone who writes reviews knows that it is not always easy to find inspiration to write something new. I have been writing reviews myself since 1996 and during all those years I didn't always find the inspiration or the motivation to come up with a good well written review. Therefore, my sympathy goes out to one of my colleagues. His name is Kev Rowland who has occasionally written reviews for Background Magazine as well. Kev comes from the UK where he wrote for Feedback magazine. He emigrated to New Zealand in 2006, but never stopped writing reviews for other magazines and websites such as Progarchives. In 2018 he reviewed 850 albums of multiple genres. Something which I could not see myself doing. So, a big bow to Kev! An even bigger bow goes to him for presenting his first book The Progressive Underground Volume 1.
This is the first volume of his three books on the underground progressive scene between 1991 and 2006. It has finally been released by Gonzo Media. Together, the three books contain all his progressive demo/CD/Video/DVD and gig reviews from that period, as well as all the progressive interviews he undertook. and contains all his demo/CD reviews from A-H. Volume 2 will contain all his demo/CD reviews from I-S, with the final volume containing
Lucky enough for me a copy was sent to review. In the book you can read that many musicians also love what Rowland does for the progressive rock scene. Volume 1 has a foreword by Stu Nicholson (Galahad) plus nice comments on the rear from Greg Spawton (Big Big Train) and Clive Nolan (Pendragon and Arena). He has been friends with all three of these guys for some 25 years now and they all speak very positive about him. Something which I will do myself as well, because he has published a rather entertaining book. A book in which you can find lots of reviews from acts which are not always the big names in the scene. They also deserve to be in the spotlight as well. And Kev gives them that spotlight with well written reviews about their releases. Probably many progheads have never heard about Alientar, Budderfly, Centrozoon, Degree Absolute, Eskaton, Farmakon, Tadachi Goto or The Gak Omek. He gives them as much attention as the well known acts such as Asia, Peter Banks, Barclay James Harvest Featuring Les Holroyd, Colin Bass, Curved Air, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Galahad, Gentle Giant or Glass Hammer. Also, you can find reviews from acts from all over the world. For instance, acts from my own country the Netherlands are written about as well. I read reviews about Jan Akkerman, Ayreon, Brassť, Egdon Heath, Flamborough Head, Focus and many more. And every review tells you what this release is all about music wise. Many time line ups and a discography are mentioned as well. And as mentioned earlier, an album cover is always present! Well I can rave on and on about this wonderful book with so many reviews about releases I never was aware of until now. But I wont!
All I can do is finally mention Martin Springett as well. He was the person who designed the beautiful covers for all three books. Volume 2 is currently with Gonzo for final checks and I can hardly wait to get my hands on this edition. Because I think it will be of the same high level as The Progressive Underground Volume 1. No doubt about that!
All I can say is if you are a true proghead this book should be in your library of progressive rock literature. Because it's a great work. A book to be considered of superior or lasting artistic merit. Thanks Kev for keeping the progressive rock flame burning!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Dave Smith)
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