Early 2019 I received a very interesting book with lots of reviews in it of progressive rock acts from all over the world. It was written by Kev Rowland and named The Progressive Underground Volume 1 (see review). I could only be positive about this amazing bible of progressive rock literature. 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). I ended my review of this book with the words; '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!'. Now only a couple of months later we can welcome The Progressive Underground Volume 2. The follow up book to Volume 1.
With a big smile on my face I went through the next adventures written by Kev many years ago. First I read the introduction written by none other than Mark Colton, vocalist of the English band Credo. Both are long time friends and Mark named him a brother from a different mother. You can't get a bigger complement I guess! The comments on the rear are this time around written by Nick Barrett and Martin Orford. All speak highly about the achievements of Kev done for the progressive rock scene throughout the years.
Volume 1 featured artists A-H, and Volume 2 follows on from that with I-S, while Volume 3 (which is with the publisher) contains T-Z, plus DVD/Video/live reviews and interviews. While volume 1 contained 296 pages, this new chapter contains 334 and again its pure entertainment reading as many reviews as possible! Of course the book is written in the same style as the first edition. You cannot expect that you read every review written so I chose this time around to see what Kev thinks about my true masterpieces of progressive rock. Strangely enough he didn't find the debut and only studio album made by Janison Edge a true masterpiece. For me was The Services Of Mary Goode the best album released in 1999. He wrote; 'It is late evening relaxing music, but not something that is going to set the world alight'. At the time I wrote in my review; 'Clive Nolan eat your heart out'. Because Mike Varty was for me a true wizard on the keyboards. However the first two albums made by Spock's Beard are for Kev of the same high musical standard as I regard them. He wrote about Beware Of Darkness the following;'I seriously urge you to get one of the best albums of this genre that you are likely to hear'. I couldn't agree more! On the other hand the second album made by Dutch progggers Sinister Street was for Kev a nicely balanced album with the emphasis on songs and dynamics instead of overblown epics. But for me Trust was a true masterpiece. One of the few made in the Netherlands. I was surprised that Kev also liked the debut album of Pictorial Wand. He wrote about A Sleeper's Awakening the following; 'It is a mature album, one that has taken time to grow and if the listener is prepared to take the time to sit down to listen to this as an act instead of playing this in the background then they will be richly rewarded. Superb'. Finally about Pallas and their masterpiece The Cross & The Crucible (2001). At first he was afraid it would not be of the same musical level as you can find on The Sentinel (1984) and The Wedge (1986). He had been wrong many times in the past as he explains in the review. So he was also now because he admits it's a superb album, one that every proghead should put firmly in their collection. Right indeed Kev!
But in general Rowland has the same musical taste concerning progressive rock releases as I have and many other die hard proghead fans. I could hardly find an album which I liked and he disliked. I guess he is most of all, like myself, a reviewer who doesn't break down a release even if it has its weak points or doesn't get his interest right from the start. And that's just how I like it!
It's easy for me to say the same words like on the review of Kev's first book. So once again I can say is if you are a true proghead this book should be in your library of progressive rock literature. Because again it's a great work. Again a book to be considered of superior or lasting artistic merit. So once again thanks Kev for keeping the progressive rock flame burning!
Bring on Volume 3!!!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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